How your body build affects your health?

A plus size black lady.

What is the relationship between body build type of body build and one's health?

Studies indicate that each type of body build has its strong points, its tendencies, its dangers and its distresses.

Researchers point out that there is a greater frequency of some diseases in persons exhibiting a predominance of a particular body build.

Thus the knowledge of the general relationship between body build and health may provide the basis for some preventive measures and at the same time throw some light on why it has been said that one man’s meat is another’s poison.

The combination of weight and height of a person results in a general build of body called habitus.

This word is defined as:

 “the body build and constitution, especially, as related to predisposition to disease.” 

There are three general divisions.

The heavy ones, usually high in what is called endomorphy; the medium or muscular ones, usually high in mesomorphy; and the thin ones, usually high in ectomorphy.

The study of body build in relation to health is being given increasing consideration these days.

It will be interesting to examine what some researchers have found in this matter, both as to disease susceptibilities and health assets.

Digestive system dominant 

A plus size white lady.

This is known as endomorphy, with this body build the abdomen is bulkier than the chest and the limbs are comparatively short.

Those high in this body component are said to have splendid digestion; they can enjoy a heavy meal that would make a thin person most uncomfortable.

With the endomorph build usually comes an unusual freedom from nervous disorders.

Relaxation comes easily.

Sleep also comes easily and is deep.

Dr. Sheldon reports that those high in this body type can get along with less sleep than those of ectomorphic (thin) build.

He states, however, that those of endomorphic build often get too much sleep.

Hence those of this body type need to guard against the tendency to sleep in overdoses, a tendency that can become habitual.

Studies indicate that this body type does not often fall into the snare of overdoing exercise, since there seems to be a tendency to dislike vigorous exercise.

This body build is said to “work off” less food by exercise than others.

Food‘ is said to be. a sheer delight for those of this body type, and almost any kind can be eaten

Without difficulty, including coarse foods and fibers.

Midget meals do not seem to lit the capacious digestive tract of these persons, and they seem to do well with a moderate breakfast and two fairly large meals a day.

There is a tendency, as Dr. Sheldon puts it, for these persons to eat “more than is conducive to [their] best mental. development.”

Moreover, if they are not carefully moderate in food, especially with fats, oils, creams, sugars and gravies, they may easily put on thirty or more pounds every five years until middle life.

Though persons high in other body types may regulate their intake and output of energy quite automatically, a person high in endomorphy often cannot rely on his automatic regulations and may need to follow a dietary regimen prescribed by a physician, if he wishes to avoid the consequences of his constitutional trait.

What about the goal of an ultra-slim figure for those of endomorphic build?

They should remember that a relatively heavy build is natural to their body type, and as Dr. H. J . Berglund writes:

Weight tables, as published by insurance companies and publicized on penny scales, are of little value. Even the recent breakdown into three different tabulations for slight, medium, and heavy skeletons, does not make them individual enough. A person with small bones is probably an endomorph who is more likely to be healthy with a heavy load than many with more expansive skeletons.” 

Taking special precaution to guard against overdieting, overeating and oversleeping is thought to be beneficial for those high in this body type.

Bones and muscle system dominant 

A muscular man.

This is called mesomorphy.

Those high in this body type have heavy bones and well-developed muscles.

They may be heavy but not overweight.

As a group these persons are said to be endowed with an unusually rich health capital.

Among their health assets are tremendous physical drive and endurance, with a relatively low sleep requirement, all of which gives them not only more energy than others but more time.

Another benefit is said to be infrequent food requirements, so that they often can go a long time without the thought of food.

Still another benefit of this body build is said to be the relative immunity to common nervous disorders.

There is a natural love for exercise on the part of those high in mesomorth; and since this body build benefits most from exercise, there may be a tendency to overdo it, spending too much time on bodily training.

Hence persons of this body type need to watch that the craving for exercise does not get out of hand, consuming valuable time that should be devoted to more essential things.

If the food habits of youth persist through middle age for persons high in this body build, body fat may accumulate.

Hence it may be necessary for many persons of this type to go easy on oils, fats, creams, gravies and concentrated sugars.

Since high blood pressure is quite common among persons prominent in mesomorphy, they are usually advised to take special care to avoid dangerous emotions, such as jealousy, resentment, anger and rage.

Skin and nervous system dominant 

A slim and tall girl.

Those high in ectomorphy often have long limbs and delicate bones, long neck, small stomach and a relatively short digestive tract.

Thus the large, heavy meal may overload the small stomach of these persons, causing great discomfort.

They are said to do better with many small meals through the day.

Some studies indicate that persons high in ectomorphic build are relatively free from appendicitis, gall-bladder disorders, nephritis and many infections, except those of the upper respiratory tract.

Persons of this body type are said to have a lower degree of heart and arterial diseases than those of the other two body types, and so they are often regarded by insurance companies as excellent mortality risks.

Weight gains often are only three or four pounds after adolescence, so that the weight curve is consistent with long life expectancy.

Tenseness is said to be common among those of this group, and there is usually a hypersensitivity to insect bites, sometimes a tendency to unexplained itching.

Because those high in ectomorphy present a relatively larger body surface to the impacts of environment, the result is greater energy expenditures, coupled with the fact that there is less opportunity for accumulation of reserves (fat, protein, water, etc.).

The main susceptibility of the group is that of fatigue, caused partly by the fact that the digestive tract is poorly upheld.

Though exercise to strengthen the abdominal muscles is recommended for this group, Dr. Sheldon points out:

“Unnecessary vigorous exercise, instead of building up energy in these people, seems to exhaust the already scanty reserve and to leave them inefficient victims of chronic fatigue.” 

Despite the tendency toward fatigue, Dr. Sheldon adds that these persons may be just as zealous in their activities as those who have greater energy potential, but those of ectomorphic build may not be able to carry through as well as those with the heavier build.

Because of limitations on their energy, coupled with a zeal that may be as intense as those of mesomorphic build, those of this body type may sometimes experience feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction.

More sleep is required for those high in this body component, and they must exercise caution in such matters as socializing and staying up late at night.

Sometimes persons of this body type succumb to a nervous breakdown before they realize that they cannot keep up with the late hours and pace of those with stronger builds.

Thus Dr. Logan Clendening writes in his book The Human Body:

What can be done to help guide a constitutionally thin or heavy person past his dangers? Considering the inherent difficulties of the task, a good deal. For the ones we have called the thin people . . . they should sooner or later be brought to a realization of the very important fact for them that they have not the same powers of endurance as other people with stronger structures. This sounds very logical as put down here, but it is astonishing how long it takes some of these people to come to this conviction, how much turmoil they go through, how many diagnoses are pronounced upon them. My colleagues in the medical profession have been very slow to grasp this idea of the whole man. Rest for certain periods in the day sufficient to renew the stores of energy which these bodies need is the first element in treatment or adjustment. . . . Other accessories to treatment ’ are exercise to strengthen the abdomen-lying on the back and raising the legs to a vertical position-the wearing of supporting corsets, and an increased diet to fatten up persons of this type. . . . The heavy ones . . . must learn to be abstemious at the table.” 

Further suggestions are given in the volume Constitution and Disease for those predisposed to nervous disorders.

It is conceivable that those predisposed to [disorders] of the nervous system may be benefited by vitamin B in doses larger than those required by normal individuals. . . . [With reference to persons of various builds he said:] Regulation of diet, habits, mode of life, advice concerning choice of profession, periodic examination with regard to the individual morbid predisposition, physical and mental hygiene, are the means at our disposal for making up for what nature has denied to certain individuals.” 

Moderation in all habits will do much to help a person of any body build combat adverse predispositions.

And yet, as we have seen, what may be moderate for one body type may well be excessive for another.

Each one must use good judgment in determining.

And this includes moderation in the use of knowledge concerning health matters, preventive measures, and so forth.

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