Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obesity - The scourge of this century.

Obesity kills far more than any killer.  Yet, it is never listed as a killer in our health statistics. Nevertheless,  all health professionals knew that obesity is the notorious 'abettor' of most top listed killers.  It is an indirect killer, a killer in disguise.  This killer in disguise in reality is far more dangerous because it often strike within close range through many 'assailants'.  Obesity kills through top listed killers such as heart attacks and cancers.  It also kills through suicide resulting from depression, stroke and many other listed causes of death.

According to Obesity Unit, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, the prevalence of obesity is increasing globally, with nearly half a billion of the world's population now considered to be overweight or obese. The obesity epidemic is related both to dietary factors and to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Obesity has significant co-morbidities and these are associated with substantial health care and social costs. Of particular concern is the fact that obesity is increasing among children and adolescents. National health policymakers must take action to deal with the obesity problem. Prevention should be the primary target, but it is also important to develop strategies to treat those already affected with obesity.

While health policy makers are doing their part to alleviate damage of the scourge of this century, the public should do their part to educate themselves and take the necessary actions:

Have a look at the following hard facts:
(References:  American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

1.  Heart Disease — According to the American Heart Association, obesity is a major risk factor for developing coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. People who are overweight are at a greater risk of suffering a heart attack before the age of 45. Obese adolescents have a greater chance of having a heart attack before the age of 35 than non-obese adolescents.   If you are overweight, losing 10-15 pounds can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. If you exercise regularly, the risk of developing heart disease falls even more. Read: Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise.

2.  Cancer — A study by the American Heart Association found that being overweight increases your chances for developing cancer by 50 percent. Women have a higher risk of developing cancer if they are more than 20 pounds overweight. Regular exercise and a weight loss of as little as 12 pounds can significantly decrease the risk.

3.  High Blood Pressure — High blood pressure is the primary cause of death among Americans older than 25. About 75 million people suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

4.  Diabetes Obesity is considered one of the most significant factors in the development of insulin resistance, and insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, more than 90 percent of diabetes patients worldwide have type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the development of diabetes by making cells more resistant to the effects of insulin. A weight loss of 15-20 pounds can help you decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Read:Exercising with Diabetes.

5.  High Cholesterol levels — High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. Cholesterol is transported through your blood in two ways: the low –density lipoprotein (LDL), which transports cholesterol to the cells that need it, and the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the healthy cholesterol that reduces your risk for heart attack. Having high LDL levels raises your risk of having heart disease by 20 percent. Losing 11-20 pounds can help you significantly reduce your cholesterol level.

When I was in Taiwan about a year ago, I pointed out to my friend that at least 90% of Taiwanese are slim and lean.  While writing this blog, I am currently in Nottingham and while I was walking on the street yesterday, I did a head count of the people whom I considered fat (obese/overweight) by eyeballing and at the end of the day I gathered that at least 50% of the population are fat. I believe this small population is a good representation of the general population of both United Kingdom and USA,

What a big contrast?  Why are the Taiwanese so slim and lean?  After some discussion and research, I came to the conclusion that Taiwanese are generally very health and beauty conscious.  In addition, they are highly disciplined and shall do all it takes for good health and good look.  Perhaps, fat countries should have a serious look at the Taiwanese and incorporate whatever that are applicable to their own population.  The scourge of the century made worse by quick development of the fast-food industry should be addressed with speed and diligence so that the potential damage can be effectively mitigated.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Holistic Look At Men, Lifestyle, Environment and Good Health.
     I am a Family Physician with special interest in Preventive Health Care who came to the realization that almost all diseases are lifestyle related.  The top killers in my country and many countries especially the developed countries are definitely life-style related.  The two most important lifestyles that are pertinent to good health are a lifestyle rich in exercise and a lifestyle of good eating habit – eating healthy foods that are chemical free.  There is something common in these two – FARMING. 

     Incidentally, FARMING is also the greatest inheritance that I received from my parents.  As a little boy, I was actively involved in helping my father in the planting of paddies and vegetables.  This explains the mystery of my passion in Farming and anything that is eco-friendly. Besides attending to my faithful patients, I am also the caretaker of an orchard on the hill, several vertical gardens at my house, a bio-pond and a roof-top vertical vegetable farm.  I also created a FARMING EXERCISE PAGE in my Facebook as a community service to encourage people from all walks of life to participate in FARMING EXERCISE to produce healthy vegetables that are devoid of chemical for own consumption, for good health.  I am killing two birds with one stone.  That’s not all.

     My conviction that human beings and his environment are one and inseparable is unshakable.  Thus, I have also ventured further than just promoting FARMING EXERCISE.  After shifting to my new house with a very eco-friendly environment, I haven’t fall sick in the last three years, not even the frequent pharyngitis that I used to have.  I attribute this to the lifestyle change and the cool, de-stressing positive effect of my green-wall, bio-pond and roof-top farm that are now part of me.  They create a great balance in my mind, body and immune system.  This good story must be told to the world because I feel I am one of the few who is blessed and not everyone is as fortunate as me.  I feel that a big part of what I learned and experienced has to go back to the community.  Thus, the passion in my life is not all.  I have a great purpose in life.  I have a dream; a legacy to work on, a castle in the air to build.

     Once upon a time, our environment was nothing but green.  Sadly, that doesn't remain long.  Trees were slashed mercilessly at magical speed by the most intelligent species on earth out of greed and stupidity.  Today, our green jungles are gone.  Concrete ‘jungles’ sprout everywhere.  Global warming set in quickly. Then the El Nina phenomenon and melting of icebergs in the north and south poles follow.  The awesome force of nature such as tornadoes and hurricanes strikes again and again.   Flash floods, droughts and forest fires occur at increasing frequency. Many small islands in middle of the ocean are sinking with the rising sea level.  The heat stress on our body, mind and immune system probably contributed greatly to the onset and progression of many diseases. 
     Seeing all these happening, I can’t close my eyes, doing nothing knowing that I understand the interconnectedness of human health and his environment better than most people.  Thus, I am working on my legacy to educate people to green the earth.  I have personally put aside much time and invest much money on researching on the various eco-products that can be used to green the earth.  We can’t bring back the virgin green jungles but if we can convert as many concrete walls in the concrete jungle to living green-walls, our concrete cities can be converted to green cities again.   We can expand the green lungs in our environment and live healthier and perhaps longer.  That is the closest we can get to.

To date, I am happy to say that much of my effort is bearing fruit.  One of them is the innovative soilless planting media that my company 1 Eco Innovation is launching soon.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eco-Friendly is Health Friendly.

Eco-Friendly is Health Friendly!

Being a family physician by training, I tend to look at all things from the health point of view. Nevertheless, I think many house owners do the same for the simple reason that “Health is the greatest Wealth”, as quoted by a great philosopher about 2,500 years ago.  Yet, the way I look at it may be very different from an ordinary layperson.

Try visualizing yourself coming back from a hard day work with multitude of problems lingering in your mind.  You take a cup of coffee, head towards your green pond, sit comfortably on a raised concrete platform overlooking the school of beautiful fishes swimming freely and happily in the crystal-clear water. Resting your left arm lazily on the slightly raised edge of the large fish pond with your tired eyes gazing on the greenery of banana and guava trees growing on the small islets of the pond, you could hear and watch the rhythmic tapping of water droplets from the hydroponic green-wall onto the surface of the pond. The multitude concentric waves that arise and spread gently over the surface of the crystal-clear water caress and serenade your tired nerve and mind. You rest your stiff and tired back comfortably on the cool concrete wall that supported another system of roof-top garden just over and behind you with bougainvillea's canopy of leaves and flowers casting a much desired cool shade over you. The air molecules acquire negative ions after bouncing repeatedly from the leaves and water into the ample space of the garden.  These negatively charged ions that come into contact with your skin and lungs gradually refresh and revitalize your body and mind.

What do I gained from all these?  Well, certainly this is a very relaxing, refreshing environment that is certainly de-stressing.   Researchers have proven that views of greenery, fish swimming as well as rhythmic sound of water droplets effectively de-stress our mind and even lower our blood pressure.

We may not be aware that the fresh air in the vicinity is a result of the lush greenery and fresh pond that is bio-filtered by the roots of the plants.  The air is well humidified and effectively cooled by the evaporating pond and evapo-tranpiration of water vapour through millions of stoma pores of the great number of leaves.  

Plants are also known to remove numerous harmful gases collectively known as VOCs that is known to cause dizziness, nausea, headache and feeling of shortness of breath.

Speaking through direct experience, I must say that the highest benefit that one can acquire from a garden house is the direct participation in what I called the “interactive gardening”.  When you labour with passion, you don’t feel you are labouring.  You only feel happy doing it.  You will also rejoice seeing the plants growing well and compliment you with bountiful beautiful blooms and sometimes edible fruits.  You are also exercising, stretching your muscles, mobilizing your joints and exposing yourself to an optimal amount of sunshine to generate enough vitamin D to keep your bones strong and firm.  

Last but not least, less stress also means lesser likelihood of getting heart attack, cancer, depression, anxiety and all forms of psychosomatic problems.  The green wall and bio-pond is constructed by 1Eco.  Visit for further information.