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How to live longer: Dr Hilary shares what can stave off heart disease, cancer and diabetes

Fitness & Health:

Health Survey for England revealed that over three in five Britons are at an increased risk from serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as a result of being overweight. This is where the new Better Health campaign steps in with its mission to get the nation moving and eating healthier. Dr Hilary Jones has joined the campaign and spoke to Express.co.uk about the one thing that can lower the risk of the three deadly diseases.

Dr Hilary shared the one simple trick, which can cut the risk of heart disease, 12 types of cancer and diabetes is losing excess weight.

The doctor defined excess weight as body mass index (BMI) over 25. 

He added: “The other, much simpler [tell] is your waist circumference compared to your height. Your waist circumference should be less than half of your height.”

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So, anyone who falls into this category can boost their health and longevity by shedding some stones.

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Heart disease

Heart disease claims around 160,000 lives each year, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Dr Hilary explains how excess weight contributes to the “world’s bigger killer”: “If you’re overweight, your blood pressure tends to be higher and that has an implication for heart attacks and strokes.

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“The second thing with regard to heart disease is your cholesterol levels tend to rise, not just the overall cholesterol but the bad cholesterol.”

“Bad” cholesterol is the problematic one as it can cause heart disease and stroke, according to the NHS.

The third factor is inflammation which can affect blood vessels, the doctor shared.

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Cancer

Cancer is responsible for more than 166,000 deaths in the UK every year, as reported by Cancer Research UK.

The reason why being overweight can lead to cancer is inflammation, which leads to cells dividing more “rapidly”.

Dr Hilary said: “When the cell division is too rapid that is how cancer can start, so interestingly when people lose weight, they not only look at the scales and see the numbers falling but they’re improving their general health. 

“In terms of cancer risk, at least 12 common cancers have been identified as being at greater risk of developing if you’re overweight.

“Now top of the list, there would be breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreas cancer and kidney cancer.” 

Diabetes 

The longer you have diabetes and don’t control the elevated blood sugar levels, the more likely is the condition to become life-threatening.

Having excess weight boosts your risk of diabetes as you can become insulin resistant, the TV doctor explains. 

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He said: “The tissues in your body becomes resistant to the effect of insulin, which takes sugar out of the bloodstream and fuels the tissues, the cells of your body.

“So, when insulin resistance occurs, the blood sugar starts to rise, leading to the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

“There are 13 million people in Britain currently living with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes because 63 percent of the British population are overweight.”

How to lose weight?

The Better Health campaign offers free or discounted advice and guidance, including apps you can keep on your phone.

Dr Hilary recommends lowering the intake of energy-rich foods and cutting back on treats.

He said: “It’s about choosing foods which are less calorific, contain less sugar, less salt, less fat.

“It’s about a programme, where you’re eating more fruit and veg, where you’re retraining your palate to appreciate those more delicate flavours and not reaching for the really salty, sugary things.

“Losing just a few pounds, just five percent of your body weight can have measurable and significant improvements for your overall health.”

The doctor added the key is being patient, doing things gradually and setting realistic goals for yourself.


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