What are the numbers that represent your health? Heart rate, breath, body temperature and sometimes blood pressure. Those are 4 important and sure life signs. In case you get a knife stabbed into your chest, the doctors will fix your eyes on the screen to track those 4 numbers.
But what about in everyday life? These numbers are almost useless. You have a normal heart rate, so are your breathing rates, temperature is around 37oC, blood pressure is neither high nor low.
Only 4 normal numbers will tell you that you will live and stay healthy in the next few minutes. But if you want to know if you will be healthy after 5 years or 10 years, you may need other numbers.
What are the numbers that represent your health?
BMI: An outdated health index
The first and most common numbers to predict long-term health are age and body weight. Both the US health care system currently prioritizes the second number, in the form of body mass index, or BMI.
BMI calculated by weight (kg) divided by square height (m). It is a simple rate for determining obesity and overweight, which helps to lay down risks in the insurance and health care industries.
It seems simple, but BMI constantly affects the lives of millions of people and is a pillar that coordinates the flow of billions of dollars.
Despite this, there have been doubts today about the ability to predict BMI's mortality and morbidity rates. The shortcoming is that it does not take into account the ratio of fat and muscle. A large muscular athlete may be counted as obese if only BMI is used. In contrast, people with high visceral fat, abdominal obesity but overall leanness still have a healthy BMI.
So to know health is more closely correlated with body fat percentage and position than absolute weight. But accurately measuring a person's muscle-fat ratio is not easy.
Building indicators that focus on appearance can also pose more risks than fat itself. For example, a fat person who wants to lose weight is often obsessed with his appearance, which can lead to eating disorders, depression, isolating himself from society …
BMI calculated by weight (kg) divided by square height (m)
Except in extreme cases, not a single figure gives a good idea of whether a person is functionally healthy. Common indicators often do not manifest directly to health or easily change.
However, when the health care industry still needs dominant numbers, more and more emerging evidence points to useful and cheap candidates, which anyone can use to monitor health. their health.
If these new numbers are not studied seriously, perhaps few people can trust them because they are too simple.
What are the replacement numbers?
The speed at which you walk is an example, it's strange that this number can predict your health status. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed 35,000 people aged 65 and older. Accordingly, those who can walk at 80 cm / s, about 1.4 km in half an hour are more likely to live on their average life expectancy.
If their speed increases every second, for every 10cm the mortality rate in the next 10 years will decrease by about 12%. (Whenever I think about this study, I start walking faster).
Walking speed can predict your life expectancy
And walking speed is not the only number. This study of simple life expectancy methods appears every few years, reassembling into a set of alternative health indicators.
In 2018, a study of half a million middle-aged people who discovered fistful force could be used to predict well the incidence of lung cancer, heart disease and all-cause mortality.
Yes, your grip force can predict the risk of death better than blood pressure or overall physical activity level. A previous study showed the power of holding hands of people over 80 years old to predict the proportion of people living to age 100 or not.
Even in a study examining 18-year-old rookies in Sweden, their fist strength was able to predict well the mortality rate of cardiovascular disease when they turned 40.
Another study earlier this year stated that the number of push ups can predict your risk of heart disease. Accordingly, those who have the ability to push on 11 will have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Those who can make 40 or more inhalations have the lowest risk, when their risk of cardiovascular disease drops by 96%, which is 25 times higher than those who fail 10.
Stefanos Kales, a professor at Harvard Medical School, found that the leading cause of firefighters' deaths when on duty was not to inhale smoke, burns, or injuries, but sudden death from heart disease. vessels, most coronary artery disease.
Even in a high-risk profession, firefighters can still die because of the same risks as other normal people. In addition, they also need to do performance screening tests to assess fitness before the task.
Anti-push is a better measure of cardiovascular disease than a jog test.
Because firefighters are generally well-proportioned physicians, Professor Kales' lab has considered another test: anti-push. He found that anti-push was a better measure of cardiovascular disease than a jog test.
The results showed a strong link between resistance to push and a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease in the later part of life, Professor Kales said.
More accurate and humanistic indicators
Often, when such studies are published, experts immediately assume that their results should be applied to the clinical health sector. In other words, using new numbers can cut health costs and better monitor health based on body weight.
But over time, the novelty that these studies yielded, and the health care system continues to rely on body weight. Professor Kales thinks this needs to be changed, the numbers and scales beyond BMI and age must be taken seriously.
This is driven in part by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination in occupational environments based on BMI or age.
Before the law was enacted, a fire or police department could recruit people through the BMI standard, Professor Kales said. Now they want to rely on functional standards. For example, they want to assess whether you can do the job through the number of push ups, even if you're fat.
Michael Joyner, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, focuses on limited areas and human performance, said: Research on push-ups can extend beyond firefighters.
"Anti-push is another indicator in the story to find a number that reflects body fitness and predict mortality"Joyner said."Any form of testing that requires full body movement can also predict mortality on a large enough population. ”
Training will help you win fate
Say so to know: Health is not simply the number of push ups you can make. Similarly, the grip power or walking speed are not magic numbers. But they still have the ability to tell us a lot.
More resistant firefighters are less likely to have high blood pressure, while cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels are low. They also do not smoke. The least pushers are more likely to smoke, have a larger waist circumference and have a higher body fat percentage. They also watch more TV and eat less fruit and vegetables.
Basically, these quick measures can play an alternative role, correlating with all the determinants of a person's overall health. Many of these factors are difficult to measure, even if they are invasive and expensive.
Therefore, if we are forced to choose a single, simple, universal number to determine health, any of these functional figures may be the opponent to beat BMI.
Health domino effect
A good measure of health should be meaningful, easy to measure, can promote action and survive over time. Body weight and BMI are not always meaningful and motivate people to act, as many people have tried to change them.
Other scales require you to draw blood from a doctor's office, or spend money to send saliva or feces to the lab, and then get the sequencing results from companies like 23andMe or UBiome.
You can't just spend the day counting the steps and walking speed. While just 1 minute of pushing against or grasping the dynamometer can help you evaluate your health.
An anti-push can also help you be aware of your health
Granted, Joyner and other experts estimate that only 20-30% of Americans can now resist one. But to improve the number of push ups, training will win fate. "Most people can resist 30 to 40, unless they have shoulder problems or obesity", follow Joyner.
Actions that produce clear results in the short term can lead to domino effects of health behaviors. "If someone reads this article and starts trying to push it, then they will have their own awareness of health and motivation for improvement."Joyner said.
"The same is true for many other health behaviors. People who adhere to healthy principles like good eating, giving their children vaccines, they also tend to participate in many other healthy behaviors. "
Joyner noted, the behavior "conscious"This is both predicting mortality and fitness. Unlike BMI, anti-push encourages people to be aware of what their bodies can achieve, not their appearance. look how.
Consciousness means seeing how you are living in relation to your future, thereby making you change your actions. Not only building chest and shoulder muscles, push also helps you build a sense of health.
Pharmaceutical companies and health-care systems rely on drug treatment and products that give you an idea that you can do anything, just cure it.
The use of the drug does not promote your consciousness, even sagging it. Functional scales such as anti-push, on the other hand, will help you be aware of how to maintain better health.
Prevention is better than cure, if you act, you won't get stuck in a cycle that the health care industry is currently drawing.