MUSCLE HEALTH – WHERE DO WE STAND AS A COUNTRY?
“Building muscle is like building a personal pharmacy stocked with ‘medicine’ that does your body good” has been said by Professor Rob Newton, Director of the Exercise Medicine Research Institute at Edith Cowan University, Australia. He also explains the detrimental effects of sedentary living and its negative impact on muscle tissue which causes the ‘pharmacy’ to shrink and reduce production of the beneficial chemicals.
There has been ample evidence to support the importance of muscle mass, strength, and metabolic function in performing day to day activities as well as in exercise. However, current evidence and studies point out that muscle metabolism is also involved in the origin as well as prevention of several pathological conditions and chronic diseases. This proves that muscle is not only important for carrying out our daily activities but also to maintain a healthy, disease-free life!
Now since we know that muscle health is very important, the next question that comes to mind is ‘How can my muscle health be measured’ and the curiosity ‘Do I have good muscle health? In order gain an understanding on this, we at InBody along with renowned recruitment agency IPSOS undertook an all India initiative to assess the body composition of Indians with particular interest in muscle health and fat mass.
With the help of IPSOS, we engaged a large sample size of 1243 people (men and women) randomly selected from different states of India namely Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Patna and Lucknow. The selected people were a mixed group of working and non-working individuals in the age group of 30-55 years.
The body composition of these individuals was analyzed after a 2 hour fasting period using our InBody 270 machine which is based on BIA principle which gives the following parameters:
Body composition analysis (total body water, protein and minerals, body fat mass, visceral fat and weight); Muscle fat analysis in terms of weight, skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and body fat mass which classifies whether the individual falls in the category of under, normal or over by evaluating the muscle mass and the percentage.
The detailed reports were analyzed and validated using suitable software. Sample report attached.
Results and Key findings:
We found very interesting results which seemed surprising, or maybe we could say, staggering.
71% INDIANS HAVE POOR MUSCLE HEALTH
One of our major research finding showed that 72% of the people had poor muscle health and need to gain muscle mass. Especially for people above 50 yrs of age, where 77% of them need to gain the muscle mass. East and South have higher number of people with low muscle health; and, numbers are even more alarming in case of women from East where close to 80% of them have poor muscle health.
Demographics/ geographic findings on Poor Muscle Health:
- Indians between 31-40yrs observe maximum increase in Poor Muscle health (72%)
- Working Indians score poorly (72%) Vs Non-working (69%) on Muscle Health
- SEC B class (74%) is more affected Vs SEC A (68%) on Muscle Health, in fact SEC B Male score gets worse to 78%
- Lucknow (81%), Patna (77%), Hyderabad (75%) & Ahmedabad (73%) are over-indexed and highly impacted on Poor Muscle Health scores
- Number reaches 80% + for Females in Patna & Lucknow
At pan India level, 7 out of 10 people having poor muscle health is definitely a matter of concern and it is important to find out ways and means to address the issue. Nutrition and exercise have shown to play a major role in improving muscle health. With reference to diet, one specific nutrient that plays a role specifically in the arena of muscle health is – Protein. And, our research acknowledges the importance of protein in daily diet to continue healthy life. Hence, with the help of InBody 270 machine, we also assessed the protein levels in the body of these people
68% of INDIANS HAVE LOWER PROTEIN CONTENT THAN ADEQUATE
This results of protein content of the body corroborated with that of muscle health with about 68% of people having a lower protein content in their body than adequate. And, in direct correlation with muscle mass, lower level of protein observed in people above 50yrs of age and women from East.
An adequate intake of dietary proteins is vital to maintaining muscle mass as it ensures the provision of essential amino acids and stimulates protein synthesis. Dietary protein and/or specific amino acid ingestion largely increases muscle protein synthesis rates and inhibits protein breakdown, thus favoring net muscle protein deposition. The anabolic power of dietary protein, that is its ability to promote muscle mass is influenced by its amino acid content. Essential amino acids (EAA’s) are considered to be the most important stimuli for protein synthesis (http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/5/295/htm).
This clarifies that consumption of proteins with essential amino acids is important to promote muscle health. As per the RDA given by ICMR for Indians, 0.8-1gm protein/kg body weight/day is the requirement of a normal, sedentary person without any disease conditions.
Other Key findings from the research:
95% INDIANS NEED TO LOWER BODY FAT; 56% ARE THREATENED BY GREATER VISCERAL FAT
Another worrisome finding was that 81% of Indians have higher body weight than normal. And, situation is unsettling in case of women where overweight situation found in 86% of cases. In order to better understand the Indian population’s overweight issue, we further analyzed another body composition indictor – Body Fat Mass.
We found that higher body fat as one of the major cause for overweight issue in Indian population. 95% of Indian population need to lose body fat in order to lead healthy life style. Whereas, the concern observed to be equally challenging in case men & women; it is even more worrying for people above the age of 40 years as higher fat mass observed in 97-98% of cases.
There are mainly 2 types of fat – subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Even though both the type of fats are not healthy to have in excess, higher visceral fat will certainly raise the alarm. Several studies have shown that increased body fat, especially visceral fat, is particularly damaging and greatly increases the risk of diabetes, cardio vascular disease, hypertension and certain cancers. InBody 270 machine also suggests the level of visceral fat in the body from the scale of 1 to 20. On assessing this parameter, we found that 56% of Indians have higher visceral fat than normal (fat stored in the central segment of the body). And, women are greatly threatened as 75% of them observed to have higher visceral fat levels than normal. In women, a greater visceral fat deposition has been linked to insulin resistance (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1365-2265.2006.02587.x) which is further linked to conditions like poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and gestational diabetes.
Both men and women are even more exposed to earlier mentioned life style related diseases in later stages of life (40+ yrs) as >40% of men and >80% of women have higher visceral fat them normal. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1038/oby.2006.277).
We observed that Indian population between the age group of 30yrs to 55yrs to have poor body composition based on the poor muscle mass and higher fat present in the body. The results from the study clearly point that there is an urgent need for interventions to spread awareness of Muscle Health and its importance on daily basis. It is important that we increase our dietary protein consumption by including more of protein rich foods in the daily diet. Use of low fat, good quality protein supplements providing at least 9-10g protein per serve, along with other vital nutrients could also be explored to meet the gap in protein intake.