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  • Jean Ang

Oh No I Have A Muffin Top!

Updated: Jan 14

BMI = weight / height2 (kg/m2)

If your BMI is between 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2 – Congrats, you have a healthy BMI.


A study* from the University of South Australia reveals that some types of obesity lead to a reduction in the brain’s gray matter.

“Gray matter is an essential component of the brain that is rich in neuronal cell bodies, glial cells, and capillaries".

The gray matter includes regions of the brain involved in:

  • muscle control,

  • sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making

  • self-control

Imagine a reduction in the gray matter just because you had/have been constantly eating too much.

According to WHO, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight in 2016. Of these over 650 million were obese. With obesity being a severe public health crisis, the link between body fat and cognitive health is put on the alert. Researchers indicate that patients with unfavourable or neutral types of obesity were at highest risk of reduction in the brain’s gray matter. Although the prevalence of overweight (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 25 kg/m2) among all Singapore adults in 2013 was 34.3%, the number of obesity and overweight in adults has been increasing steadily over the years.


Obesity is likewise a disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Obese 肥胖 was seen in the ancient 黃帝內經 Huang Di Nei Jing as “肥貴人”, literally translated as obese-wealthy person, because only the rich could afford to eat.

TCM views that there are at least five syndromes for Obesity, the Phelgm-turbidity Syndrome being the most common one that I observed clinically. There are many causes of obesity including genetics, certain disease and medications, age, lifestyle choices, stress and lack of sleep. The Phelgm-turbidity Syndrome is mainly a result from eating more (and unhealthily) than your body requires. Over time the Spleen weakens, subsequently associating with the brain’s lack of focus and general sluggishness. 《脾胃论·肺之脾胃虚论》中说:’’脾胃之虚怠惰嗜卧。”

More researches and trials have to be done to link obesity and the effects on the brain in the Chinese Medicine field. I hope I will have the drive and energy to initiate it eventually. Till then my dear people, eat well, eat enough, eat slowly, and eat wisely. In Singlish, it is “don’t everything also anyhowly eat, can”.

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