Omega-3, western diet and overweight

 
 
 

First of all, let’s clarify what is considered overweight y obesity from the perspective of health. Only weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is defined as overweight or obesity. And the tool used to assess weight in relation to height is the Body Mass Index (BMI): With the metric system, the formula for BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters (formula: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2). If you want to use pounds and inches, calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703 (formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703).

For adults (men and women) 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted as follows:

  • If BMI is less than 18.5, underweight.
  • If BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, normal or healthy weight.
  • If BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, overweight.
  • If BMI is 30.0 or higher, obese.

Since the Industrial Revolution, western diets contain excessive levels of omega-6 fatty acids but very low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The intake of omega-6 has increased and the intake of omega-3 has decreased, resulting in a large increase in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio from 1:1 during human evolution to approximately 20:1 today. This change is related with the increase of overweight and obesity in western societies: A high omega-6 fatty acids intake and a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio are associated with weight gain, whereas a high omega-3 fatty acids intake decreases the risk for weight gain. And it has been shown that obesity can be reversed with increased intake of EPA and DHA (the main omega-3 fatty acids).

A balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio is important for health and in the prevention and management of obesity.

 

Bibliography

 

 
 

Omega-3 and polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most usual endocrine disorder (among women, of course) and the percentage of women affected is growing. It consists in having many small cysts on t[...]

 
 

Omega-3 and overweight

A study has evaluated the combination of omega-3 with a very low-calorie diet and regular exercise: 27 obese women underwent a 3 week inpatient period of weight reduction in which [...]