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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

HEALTH


The Battle of the Bulge

The WHO starts a public offensive
OBESITY HAS BECOME A major public health issue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Although many Asian countries have a low percentage of overweight individuals, the highest rates in the world are found among Melanesians, Micronesians and Polynesians, where an estimated 70% of women and 65% of men are overweight. Fat protects internal organs and provides a quick energy source, but too much fat significantly increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, gall-bladder disease and osteo-arthritis. How fat is too fat? Experts recommend using the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a guide to healthy body proportions. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height squared (kg/m2). Your BMI should fall between 20 and 25. Anything above 30, the WHO warns, warrants close attention. The organization is developing a global data bank to monitor weight trends and recommend treatment.


Wealth Hazards

Heart disease is rising
ECONOMIC PROSPERITY CAN BE dangerous to your health. To determine just how dangerous, Merck Sharp and Dohme Asia initiated a region-wide study last month; it will assess the risk factors -- obesity, smoking, high-cholesterol diets and stress -- associated with wealth. "Coronary heart disease appears to be a growing problem because of the increasing 'westernization' of diet and lifestyle habits of Asians combined with continuing economic prosperity," says Dr. Anthony Keech of Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council. Any abnormal condition that affects the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle is classified as heart disease. Doctors in various Asian countries have reported a rising incidence of heart ailments in the past few years, but until now no comprehensive survey had been undertaken to confirm their findings. The researchers will collect data on heart patients' medical histories, eating habits, drug treatments and lifestyles; they will then advise health-care workers on how best to treat those at risk. Between 200 and 400 patients in Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand will participate in the nine-month study.


Cholesterol Patrol

Black tea can shore up arteries
ICED, DECAFFEINATED, LOOSE, BAGGED, blended or pure, tea is one of the world's most popular drinks. Black tea (the kind most often consumed in Europe and North America) could soon become even more popular. A recent study published in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine found that men who drank more than 4.7 cups of black tea a day were 69% less likely to suffer a stroke than men who drank only 2.6 cups each day. Black tea, made from fermented leaves, contains flavonoids, non-nutritive compounds that maintain the normal state of blood vessel walls and prevent cholesterol from degenerating into low-density lipoproteins. That, in turn, can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes.


More May Be Better

Vitamin E can reduce heart attacks

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

AsiaNow


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