Essay on Maintaining a Healthy Body

1575 Words Apr 14th, 2012 7 Pages

A healthy body goes hand in hand with a person’s healthy lifestyle whose characteristics include someone who does not smoke, has a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 25, eats 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and has daily exercise (9). The World Health Organisation (WHO) classify values outside of the normal parameters as being underweight if the value is below 18.5 while values exceeding 25 are considered to be overweight (14). To put this into context, it is reported by the Northern Ireland (NI) Executive that 450 deaths in NI were caused by obesity in 2010 while Trevedi (2006) estimates that 75% of worldwide deaths from non-contagious diseases will be related to an unhealthy diet by 2020
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The consumption of a balanced diet, inclusive of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, is supported by Bhattacharya (2003) who studied patients following an ‘ape diet’ rich in plant food that he found lowered the amount of LDL’s in the blood consequently reducing cholesterol levels (1).

There is controversy surrounding the use of BMI as it does not take into account the relative proportions of muscle, bone and fat in the body as each will have different densities. Athletes will therefore have a much higher BMI, due to their high muscle and low fat content in their body (4). The heart is a muscle that provides the body tissues with blood rich in glucose and oxygen, as well as removing waste products such as carbon dioxide. Exercise tones the heart muscle making it more efficient at supplying the needs of these tissues by increasing cardiac output which is ‘stroke volume x heart rate’ (6). An increase in exercise will increase aerobic respiration therefore releasing more carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 forms a weak acid which is detected by pH receptors in the aortic body which will then send nerve impulses to the breathing centre in the brain resulting in an increase in ‘the rate and depth of breathing’ (6). It is for these reasons that Government policy and local council directives have introduced schemes such as cycling to work incentives, revitalisation of public parks and National Health Service (NHS) mobile health checks for blood pressure to screen for early
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