Monday, June 30, 2008

Gym Offering Free Teen Memberships

“According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 17-percent of teens are overweight and the U.S. Surgeon General reports only 25-percent of teens are active and get enough exercise. School's out for the summer, and instead of staying indoors, playing videogames and being couch potatoes, one program hopes teens will stay active and be fit. The Anytime Fitness location on west Charleston is taking part in a national campaign called the Teen Fitness Connection. ‘This is Vegas after all. This is summertime, and the norm is perhaps to stay indoors, but this is an alternative to indoors,’ said Yorgho Triantaphyllou with Anytime Fitness. To keep teens healthy and active, the gym is giving teens what basically amounts to a free summer membership -- no contract and no strings attached. Several student-athletes from Clark High School are already part of the program. ‘I think it's great because there are a lot of people that want to work out, but it's too hot to go outside, so you come in here and it's fresh and it's free,’ said Brenda Garcia. And whether you're a young gym rat or never set foot inside an athletic club, the Teen Fitness Connection is open to any teen this summer. Their recommendation for teens to stay healthy is a minimum of a 30-minute workout, five days a week.”

U.S. Program Targets Obesity At Grassroots Level

"A new program developed by the U.S. government is tackling the obesity epidemic by helping "tween" girls and their parents make small but important changes to build a healthier lifestyle. The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office on Women's Health launched BodyWorks in 2006 by training instructors in the hopes that they would bring the program home to their communities. All materials are provided free, but communities must find the resources to pay trainers and a place to offer the program. ‘Throughout the years I've worked with nutritionists, I've worked with diet programs, and it's very frustrating,’ Dr. Monica Richter, a pediatrician on staff at the Children's Hospital Seattle and a BodyWorks instructor who coordinates fundraising to help support the program, told Reuters Health. ‘I'm hoping that this will be one of the answers to this growing problem.’ Girls 9 to 13 years old who are overweight or obese are referred to BodyWorks through their pediatrician, or by word of mouth. Parents and caregivers attend 10 weekly 90-minute sessions, and girls are expected to show up for at least three. The goal is to give parents and caregivers ‘hands-on tools to make small behavior changes to prevent obesity and help maintain a healthier weight,’ according to the BodyWorks Web site ( There are now 1,700 BodyWorks instructors based in 43 states, according to Dr. Wanda Jones, the director of the Office on Women's Health and deputy assistant secretary for women's health at HHS. About 700 parents and caregivers have completed the program.”

Military-Style Fitness Boot Camps On The Rise

“’If you get to the point where you feel that you almost can't get up, that's when you know that you're doing it right,’ certified personal trainer Karianne Dickson called out encouragingly as she led 18 sweaty women through her 60-minute fitness boot camp of squats, jumps, drills and ball slams. Dickson's workout is part of an increasingly popular trend: Fitness boot camps are springing up in parks and other outdoor facilities in New Jersey and around the nation. The boot camps incorporate the drills and calisthenics used in military boot camps, but most - including Dickson's - are doing so without the tactics of a screaming drill sergeant. These rigorous exercise programs are gaining popularity because they provide fast results. ‘You work the entire body in a very short period of time with various types of exercises,’ said exercise physiologist Cedric Bryant, who is chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise. Boot camps were reported as a growing trend in the council's 2008 survey of more than 3,000 fitness professionals. In a survey released in April by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, 30 percent, or 1,003 member clubs that responded, reported having fitness boot camps among their offerings.”

Death Risk Climbs As Waist Circumference Grows

“Even among people with a normal weight, having a big belly may be deadly, a new study shows. ‘People should not only look at their weight, but also consider their waist,’ Dr. Annemarie Koster of the National Institute on Aging, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health. Being overweight or obese is clearly bad for one's health, but the best way to gauge whether a person's fatness is putting them at risk has been ‘controversial,’ Koster and her team write in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Body mass index, or BMI, has been the standard measurement used, they add, but the way fat is distributed throughout the body -- especially at the waistline -- may be even more important than how many excess pounds a person is carrying.”

Fast Rising Obesity Rate Is Driving Up The Rate Of Cesarean Sections In Canada, Obese Women Facing Greater Risks During Pregnancy

“Obese women (those with a body mass index greater than 30) tend to both give birth to larger babies and to experience longer labors. Both of these factors contribute to an increased likelihood that a C-section will be necessary. Moreover, Cesareans are more difficult to perform on obese women, and carry increased risks for the mother during pregnancy and childbirth.”

iPhone Gym Equipment Coming Soon

“Apple looks set to capitalize on the money making opportunity of tie-ups with the fitness industry, in particular by expanding its existing Nike + iPod system to gym machines Apple is about to take this concept to the next level by announcing partnerships with various fitness equipment producers including TechnoGym and LifeFitness. iPhone compatibility is also coming soon if Apple's recent patent application is anything to go by. The application shows an extensive interface running on the iPhone. The black and white images show the iPhone interface controlling and monitoring all details, from starting the treadmill to managing the number of bicep curls you do as part of your workout routine.”

Obesity May Interfere With Prostate Cancer Screen

“The test commonly used to screen men for prostate cancer may be more likely to miss tumors in obese men, a new study suggests. In a study of 535 men in a free prostate cancer screening program, researchers found that obese men were more likely to have relatively low levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), even when their prostate findings were abnormal. PSA levels in the blood typically rise when a man has prostate cancer, so PSA testing is often used to screen for the disease. Men with a high PSA level can then have further testing to get a definitive diagnosis. The new findings, published in the journal Urology, suggest that because obese men's PSA levels tend to be relatively low in general, some cancers may be missed or not detected promptly.”

Friday, June 27, 2008

24 Hour Fitness First to Offer Nike + iPod Experience in the Gym

24 Hour Fitness, the largest fitness club chain in the U.S., is the first to offer new Nike + iPod enabled gym equipment in select clubs across the country. Nike and Apple worked with major gym equipment manufacturers to make their cardio equipment Nike + iPod compatible so gym members can easily track and record workouts on cardio equipment like treadmills, stair steppers, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes. Beginning in July, select 24 Hour Fitness clubs in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, Portland and Salt Lake City will begin receiving Nike + iPod enabled gym equipment, just in time for members to use the new machines to prepare for and compete in the Nike+ Human Race on August 31, 2008.

Play On! GameTime Brings P.E. to the Playground

“Looking to get more out of your playground investment? Now you can meet national standards for physical education, take the classroom outdoors, and make P.E. even more fun for children who don’t always embrace physical activities...all on your playground! Developed in partnership with a team of curriculum experts from the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation, GameTime recently introduced Play On! to help educators and programmers use playgrounds to promote physical activity, develop wellness habits, and meet national standards for physical fitness – all in the context of fun. GameTime is committed to developing healthy habits in America’s youth because we know the most reliable way to become a healthy adult is to be an active and healthy child.”

Germany Launches National Anti-obesity Drive

“The German government on Wednesday unveiled a bundle of measures and incentives to whip millions of overweight adults and children into shape. The 30-million-euro (47-million-dollar) programme running for the next two years is intended to improve the well-being, productivity and quality of life of Germans, the health ministry said. ‘This can only work if we anchor healthy behaviour and prevention in our social values, which is something that has been important to us for a long time," Health Minister Ulla Schmidt said in a statement. About 37 million adults and two million children and teenagers are overweight, according to official figures. Some 1.4 million young Germans show symptoms of an eating disorder. The health ministry said that illnesses due to poor nutrition and a lack of exercise were costing the state 70 billion euros a year, compounding the problems created by Germany's fast ageing population.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Untargeted Exercises Don't Aid Post-Stroke Walking

“Aerobic cycle training and strength training do little to improve the ability of stroke patients to walk greater distances or at a faster clip, Australian and US researchers have found. Stroke survivors need specific training to improve their ability to walk, which is often compromised after stroke, they suggest. ‘The implications from our study,’ Dr. Sharon L. Kilbreath told Reuters Health, ‘are that patients following stroke can undertake a vigorous exercise program to address the underlying problems such as loss of fitness and weakness. However, addressing these underlying problems does not necessarily improve their ability to perform everyday tasks such as walking.’ After 30 exercise sessions over 10 to 12 weeks, the team found that, compared to sham exercise, neither aerobic nor resistance training led to any significant improvement in the 6-minute walk test or in gait velocity. However, resistance training prompted a significant 17 percent improvement in stair climbing power, as well as improvements in muscle strength, cycling power and endurance. The only improvement seen with cycle training was in indicators of aerobic fitness. Stroke survivors, Kilbreath concludes, ‘need specific training to address walking ability’ and participating in a vigorous exercise program may make walk training easier.”

More Employers Give Healthy Living Gift Cards

“Increasing numbers of the nation's largest employers are offering gift cards and other incentives to encourage workers to slim down and quit smoking, a survey found. More than three-quarters of big U.S. employers offer formal health and wellness programs, while more than half have disease management programs amid rising health-care costs. The use of incentives with health and wellness programs increased, while the use of incentives with disease management programs declined, according to a survey conducted by Health2 Resources and paid for by IncentOne, a provider of incentive solutions for employers. The results were culled from 225 major U.S. employers who are members of the National Association of Manufacturers or the ERISA Industry Council. The value of incentives is typically $100 to $300 per person, per year, the survey said. Incentives were paid out in gift cards, cash bonuses and premium reductions and were used to help ‘shape healthy behavior,’ Katherine Capps, author of the study, said in a telephone interview. Gift cards became the top incentive choices in 2008, with usage rising to 28 percent from 17 percent in 2007, while the use of cash bonuses and lower premiums declined during that period.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Time Spent Exercising Increased By "Directed Thinking"

“‘Directed Thinking’ involves asking people to think about information related to a topic that they already know which directs them to action. A study in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research shows how ‘directed thinking’ led to an increase in exercise performance and fitness in sedentary college students. Laura L. Ten Eyck, PhD, Dana P. Gresky, PhD, and Charles G. Lord, PhD, studied 61 college students who did not exercise on a regular basis or exercised inconsistently. Researchers asked students to think about ideas that fell into either the "reasons" category or the "actions" category. For example, some participants were asked to list the reasons why they should increase the performance of a target cardiovascular exercise they had previously selected, such as to be healthier or lose weight. Other participants were asked to list actions they could take to increase exercise performance, such a joining a gym or working out with a friend. ‘Our results suggest that people who are out of shape and at risk for serious health problems may be able to think their own way out of their unhealthy lifestyle and onto the path towards better physical fitness,’ the authors conclude. ‘It could change the way that people think about motivating themselves and others.’”

New Obesity Treatment Option For NHS Patients As It Emerges Public Want Doctors To Help Obese Patients Lose Weight

“The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued new guidance recommending use of Acomplia® (rimonabant) in England and Wales, within its licensed indications, as an adjunct to diet and exercise for adults who are obese or overweight and who have had an inadequate response to, are intolerant of or are contraindicated to other anti-obesity agents that have previously been reviewed by NICE. The NICE guidance on Acomplia® comes as new national survey data released today shows that three quarters of Britons think GPs should help obese patients lose weight, if they are at risk of associated diseases and have already unsuccessfully tried diet and exercise. Dr David Haslam, Clinical Director of the National Obesity Forum welcomed the new NICE guidance. He said: ‘Obesity is a chronic disease that places a significant burden on society as well as an individual, so it is vital GPs have a full range of options to help treat obese and overweight patients especially those with associated risk factors such as type 2 diabetes. Trials show that Acomplia®, in addition to diet and physical activity, provides clinically meaningful weight loss and improvements in related risk factors, such as better blood sugar control.’”

Disney Launches "Healthy Families" Initiative With Kaiser Permanente

“While more than two-thirds of parents surveyed say they are concerned about the healthy ingredients in the food their child eats, just under half of parents know the correct number of recommended daily servings of whole grains for children. And more than half say their child exercises for an hour or less each day, while nearly nine of every 10 people eat fast food one to two times a week, according to a recent online survey about healthy living from Disney Furthermore, according to general healthcare standards based on age, height and weight, one in five of the surveyed parents have children who are considered overweight or at risk for being overweight. Disney and Kaiser Permanente have joined to help close that gap on nutrition knowledge and to help parents encourage their children to become more physically active. In addition to the survey findings, the new Disney "healthy families" section features tips and ideas aimed at providing ways parents can make lifestyle changes for themselves and their families. As part of the initiative Disney will look to collaborate with Kaiser Permanente, leveraging the health care organization's health content and experts to communicate the importance of nutrition and exercise to parents, and offer real strategies for families to improve and maintain their health.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fit, Not Frail: Exercise as a Tonic for Aging

“Fact: Every hour of every day, 330 Americans turn 60.
Fact: By 2030, one in five Americans will be older than 65.
Fact: The number of people over 100 doubles every decade.
Fact: As they age, people lose muscle mass and strength, flexibility and bone.
Fact: The resulting frailty leads to a loss of mobility and independence.”

“The last two facts may sound discouraging. But they can be countered by another. Regular participation in aerobics, strength training and balance and flexibility exercises can delay and may even prevent a life-limiting loss of physical abilities into one’s 90s and beyond. The last two facts may sound discouraging. But they can be countered by another. Regular participation in aerobics, strength training and balance and flexibility exercises can delay and may even prevent a life-limiting loss of physical abilities into one’s 90s and beyond. This last fact has given rise to a new group of professionals who specialize in what they call ‘active aging’ and an updated series of physical activity recommendations for older adults from the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. These recommendations are expected to match new federal activity guidelines due in October from the United States Health and Human Services Department.”

Waistlines Expand Into a Workplace Issue

“Nearly two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the percentage of adults classified as obese doubled from 1980 to 2000 to 31 percent of the population. In their capacity as health insurance providers, employers pay heavily for obesity’s spread. Obesity accounted for 27 percent of the rise in medical costs from 1987 to 2001, according to research by Kenneth Thorpe, a professor of public health at Emory University, and three colleagues. Obesity costs companies $45 billion a year, according to a report by the Conference Board and RTI International, a research institute. Obese people tend to miss work more often and tend to be less mobile on the job than their thinner counterparts. Obesity is also a more powerful trigger for chronic health problems than either smoking or heavy drinking, according to research by Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. American employers may also believe that obesity is not their problem to solve, particularly in industries with high employee turnover. ‘For most companies, it’s not a smart business move,’ said Eric Finkelstein, director of the public health economics program at RTI. ‘Putting on a public health hat, you might say it’s unfortunate that companies don’t do more for employees. But it doesn’t make sense from an employer’s point of view.’ Still, companies can — and a few do — take cost-effective steps to encourage employees to lose weight and keep it off. Several studies indicate that simple cash incentives, like payments to employees for completing questionnaires assessing their health, discounts at health clubs, reduced health insurance premiums, can all help.”

Experts Discuss Getting Most Out Of Gym Membership

Experts: Important To Ask Lots Of Questions Before Joining

The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association says the average member goes to the gym about one and a half times a week. But a lot of people who go to the gym don't know all their gym has to offer and end up wasting money. Amy Dipasquale, the director of operations at Fitness First, recommends asking a lot of questions before joining a gym and afterward. ‘When we sit down with you, we find out what it is you're looking for and how we can best suit your needs,’ she said. Experts recommend checking out the schedule for group classes. A lot of gyms offer classes that incorporate cardio and strength training so you can get a full workout in one visit. Another piece of advice experts have is taking advantage of personal trainers and other gym staff. Many people don't realize their gyms offer free personal training sessions. Some gyms even have nutritionists and physical therapists on staff. And the trainers can help navigate all the intimidating equipment. Another thing some people don't realize is that their gym membership may give them privileges at other gyms in the same network. Some gyms offer this bonus and it gives members the option to workout near home and work.”

Monday, June 23, 2008

Junior Workouts - More Kids Turning To Gyms To Shape Up

“Just four months ago, Alex Rummel could barely keep up in gym class. ‘It was anything. If I was hanging out with friends walking down the street, I would be behind,’ said the 12-year-old who lives with his parents in Columbus and Minerva Park. With their help, he found a kids' boot camp for 8- to 13-year-olds at Metro Fitness in Worthington. He also works with a personal trainer. ‘I'm starting to feel better . . . and I can keep up with all of my friends,’ Alex said between swigs of water after a weekly aerobics class. ‘It's a good feeling.’ Alex isn't alone in his desire to be fit. The younger-than-18 set is the second-fastest-growing demographic for gym membership, said Rosemary Lavery of the Boston-based International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, which tracks industry data. The number of fitness-club members ages 6 to 17 more than tripled between 1987 and 2006. ‘I think kids aren't always interested in a sports program, and no one plays in the street anymore,’ said Michael Dyer, founder of Lifestyle Family Fitness, based in Lakeland, Fla. ’So where does a teenager come for exercise these days? The fitness center.’”

Tick, Tock On The Obesity Clock - Battle Against The Bulge

“With startling new figures on the obesity epidemic being released today, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is calling the crisis the 'ticking bomb' for Australia's health. ‘We have to act now to address this critical health issue. The link between obesity and cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions, makes this one of Australia's number one health priorities,’ said Dr Kelly Seach, GP and RACGP Registrar Representative. ‘This is not only an issue for the health of our patients; it is also about the health of our medical system, which is nearing breaking point. Unless the obesity epidemic is halted, it may tip the scales.’ ‘We support the call of the Baker Heart Research Institute, in their report Australia's Future Fat Bomb, for people concerned about their weight to work towards a loss of five kilograms. All the evidence shows that a modest weight loss of five to 10 percent of your starting weight will result in significant health benefits such as decreased hypertension as well as positive economic and personal outcomes,’ said Dr Kelly Seach.”

Sleep Problems in Elderly May Be Helped by Tai Chi Chih

“For the more than half of all Americans over age 59 who complain about not being able to fall asleep easily, the answer may rest with a 2,000 year old Chinese series of movements. Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found that the 19 moves and one pose found in tai chi chih -- the Western version of the ancient philosophy that combines movements and poses to relieve stress and find spiritual fulfillment -- actually allowed study subjects to improve their sleep patterns. The 112 older adults in the study who ranged in age from 59 to 86 were divided into two groups, one taking tai chi chih instruction and the other group taking classes that included stress management, diet and advice on improving sleep patterns. According to a UCLA news release, the tai chi chih group ‘showed improved sleep quality and a remission of clinical impairments, such as drowsiness during the day and inability to concentrate, compared with those receiving health education.’ ‘It's [tai chi chih] a form of exercise virtually every elderly person can do, and this study provides more across-the-board evidence of its health benefits,’ said lead study author Dr. Michael Irwin, the Norman Cousins Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, in the news release.”

Low Leptin Levels Undermine Successful Weight Loss

“Individuals who are obese are at increased risk of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As 75%-95% of previously obese individuals regain their lost weight, many researchers are interested in developing treatments to help individuals maintain their weight loss. A new study, by Michael Rosenbaum and colleagues, at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, has provided new insight into the critical interaction between the hormone leptin and the brain's response to weight loss.”

Health Tip: Make Exercise A Daily Habit How To Stick To Your Schedule

Choosing the right exercise program is one of the first steps toward sticking with your exercise goals. Try these suggestions to make exercise a tough habit to break, provided by the American Academy of Family Physicians:

· Plan to exercise at a certain time every day, so it becomes part of your schedule.
· Write up and sign a contract, where you agree to exercise.
· Mark your calendar with a daily appointment for exercise.
· Keep a diary of all of your exercises. Log everything you do, and your progress.
· Have your doctor write out an exercise prescription, including how much exercise you should do and how often.
· Try joining a health club or gym. Paying a membership fee may prompt you to get your money's worth and go more frequently.

People Who Carry The Obesity Gene Eat More

“People with a variant of the first common gene linked to obesity on average eat more, according to new research. Scientists in Aberdeen have found that people who carry a variant of the FTO gene that is linked to increased obesity - called the 'at risk' variant - eat more food than those who do not have the 'at risk' variant. ‘Our data clearly suggests that people with this variant of the FTO gene may become fatter because they are driven to consume more food.’ ‘Because this over consumption may be driven by their genes, it may be far harder for such people to control their intake than people who do not carry 'at risk' variants of food intake control genes.’”

'Feeling Fat' Is Worse Than Being Fat

“The quality of life of adolescents who think they are too fat is worse than for adolescents who really are obese. This was a result of the all Germany Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS) of the Robert Koch Institute, as presented by Barbel-Maria Kurth and Ute Ellert in the current edition of Deutsches Arzteblatt International. In the course of the KiGGS study, almost 7000 boys and girls aged between 11 and 17 years were weighed and asked about their self-assessment, ranging from ‘far too thin’ to ‘far too fat.’ In addition, they all completed a questionnaire about quality of life. As a result of their analysis, the scientists established that about three quarters of adolescents are of normal weight. Almost 55% of the girls, but just under 36% of the boys thought that they were ‘too fat,’ although only about 18% of the adolescents were actually overweight. 7% to 8% of the adolescents were underweight. The quality of life is lower in obese adolescents. However, this correlates to a large extent with self-evaluation. If adolescents think they are "far too fat," they forfeit a lot of their quality of life, whatever their actual weight. This is particularly marked with girls. On the other hand, if they consider their weight "just right," their quality of life is the same as if they were of normal weight, even if this is not true. The proportion of adolescents who think they are overweight has been increasing more rapidly in recent years than the proportion of those who really are overweight.”

Friday, June 20, 2008

Strength Training May Help Women With Fibromyalgia

“Postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia seem to have less physical strength and endurance than healthy women, so they might benefit from an appropriate training program, a new study by Finnish researchers suggests. Fibromyalgia, which is characterized by pain, fatigue and difficulty sleeping, is most common in women after menopause, Heli Valkeinen of the University of Jyvaskyla and her colleagues note in a report in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, but most studies have focused on women 50 and younger. Some research in premenopausal women has found lower-than-normal muscle strength and aerobic capacity, the researchers add, but fitness has not been investigated in postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia. To determine whether women with fibromyalgia might experience a steeper decline in physical fitness after menopause than their healthy peers, the researchers looked at 23 women with the condition and a comparison group of 11 similar but fibromyalgia-free women. The average age for both groups was 58. They conclude, ‘The results suggest that more attention should be paid to train muscle performance, together with overall training of physical fitness, when developing rehabilitation programs for postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia.’"

Walk Your Way To A Healthier Lifestyle

“‘Walking is the most prevalent and preferred method of physical activity for both work and leisure purposes, making it a prime target for exercise interventions,’ says lead author David Williams, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. ‘Based on our review of studies, walking promotion interventions can be effective in helping people initiate regular walking programs, particularly for those motivated to sign up, and certain aspects of these programs may be more successful than others.’ He notes that increased walking on a population level has the potential to significantly decrease the incidence of chronic disease. ‘While researchers have made great strides in understanding the impact of physical activity on health and wellness, the current challenge is to continue to develop intervention programs that successfully motivate the adoption and maintenance of physical activity,’ he says.”

Weight Gain Within The Normal Range Increases Risk Of Chronic Kidney Disease

“Healthy individuals who gain weight, even to a weight still considered normal, are at risk for developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a study appearing in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). The study suggests that CKD should be added to the list of conditions that are associated with weight gain, including diabetes and hypertension. According to Dr. Ryu, because the recommended weight for a person of a given height spans a wide range, individuals are not likely to be observant of weight fluctuations as long as they remain within the healthy range. But this study shows that weight gain even within the normal range is significantly associated with an increased risk of developing CKD. ‘Our findings show that weight gain within 'the normal' weight range is clearly one of the risk factors in developing CKD, and initial low body mass index does not counteract the deleterious effect of weight gain. Therefore, avoidance of weight gain, even among lean individuals, is important to reduce the risk for this disease,’ the authors said.”

Big, Well-Balanced Breakfast Aids Weight Loss

It Led to Almost 40-pound Reduction Among Sedentary, Obese Women, Study Found

“Starting your day with a large meal packed with both carbohydrates and lean protein, and even a small piece of chocolate, can help lessen cravings and hunger the rest of the day, which can lead to significant weight loss, new research suggests. ‘We treat obese people by telling them to eat less and exercise more, but that does not take into account feelings of carb cravings and hunger. We have to change our approach and find a diet that can control cravings and hunger,’ said the study's lead author, Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, a clinical professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and an endocrinologist at the Hospital de Clinicas Caracas in Venezuela. To combat both the addiction cycle and the hunger that inevitably seems to come with calorie reduction, Jakubowicz and her colleagues designed the ‘big breakfast’ diet. In this eating plan, your breakfast accounts for roughly half of your daily calories, and breakfast includes milk, 3 ounces of lean meat, two slices of cheese, two whole grain servings, one fat serving and one ounce of milk chocolate or candy. The high protein, carbohydrate mix gives the body the initial energy boost it needs in the morning. Throughout the rest of the day, the meals are made up of protein and complex carbohydrates, like vegetables. Because protein is digested slowly, Jakubowicz said, you won't feel hungry.”

Mental And Physical Exercise Improves Genetic Mental Impairment

“Australian scientists have shown that mental and physical exercise can improve coordination and movement problems in Rett syndrome, a devastating genetic brain development disorder that primarily affects females. Using a mouse model of Rett syndrome developed by the Children's Medical Research Institute in Sydney, researchers from the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne found these mice responded positively to the effects of environmental enrichment. A/Prof Anthony Hannan from the Howard Florey Institute said the onset and severity of coordination and movement problems was reduced by giving the Rett syndrome mice a range of mazes, toys and exercise equipment to stimulate them both mentally and physically. ‘This discovery shows that gene-environment interactions may be important for all brain diseases’, including those caused by an inherited gene mutation.”

Less Than a Fifth of Americans Exercise on Average Day

“Only about 16% of people in the U.S. participated in sports and exercise activities on an average day in recent years, about a fifth of the number who watch TV on an average day, according a Labor Department spotlight based on the American Time Use Survey. Almost 75% of people who engaged in a sports and exercise activity on an average day in 2003-06 did so for less than two hours. However, the amount of time varies considerably by the type of activity. ‘Those who used cardiovascular exercise equipment, did aerobics, ran, lifted weights, walked, or did yoga spent the least time exercising,’ the Labor Department said. ‘Those who danced, played baseball or softball, bowled, played football, hiked or golfed spent the most time doing sports activities.’”

Weight Loss After Gastric Bypass Is Key to Easing Diabetes

“Weight loss plays a major role in improving diabetes after obese patients have stomach-reduction surgery, say Duke University Medical Center researchers. Previous studies have suggested that gastric bypass surgery- which re-routes how food is sent from the stomach to the small intestine- helps improve diabetes by causing changes in the way hormones are secreted from the gut and pancreas. But the metabolic effects shouldn't overshadow the importance of losing weight after surgery, the Duke team said. ‘Yes, there are physiologic changes related to the restructuring of the gastrointestinal or GI tract that appear to influence the rapid improvement in diabetes following gastric bypass. But our study shows the patients who were able to get off medications completely and go into remission were the ones who lost the most weight,’ Dr. Eric DeMaria, director of bariatric surgery at Duke University Medical Center, said in prepared statement.”

Most Schools Fall Short of Minimum Physical Exercise Requirements

“Like many city schools, PS 54 has no gymnasium or physical education teacher. The state suggests gym class three times per week, but a recent survey of 93 schools by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum found 88% failed to meet the two-hour-a-week requirement. The city Education Department, which created an office to promote physical education in 2003, noted it has reduced the number of elementary schools without a gym teacher from 90 in the 2006-07 school year to 68 this year - still about 10%. But while the phys ed programs have increased, schools still fall short of time mandates, and the city does not necessarily create new gym space for overpopulated schools such as PS 54.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Obesity-Related Cancer On The Rise

“As Americans' collective waistline has continued to expand, so has the prevalence of obesity-related cancer. According to the June issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, an estimated 14 percent of cancer deaths in older men and 20 percent in older women can be attributed to excess body fat. It's not fully understood why excess body fat increases the risk of cancer.

Theories include:
• Insulin -- Obesity and inactivity generally lead to higher levels of insulin circulating in the blood.
• Estrogen -- Adding to insulin's influence on estrogen levels, fat tissue also produces this hormone.
• Immune system -- Excess fat is thought to release proteins that may suppress the immune system and increase inflammation.

Although there's evidence that gaining weight increases the risk of cancer, there has been almost no research that demonstrates whether losing weight will reduce that risk. Two major components of weight loss -- a healthy diet and exercise -- appear to be excellent ways to reduce cancer risk.”

U.S. Employers Facing Big Increases in Health Care Costs

“Health care costs for American employers are expected to increase 9.9 percent this year and another 9.6 percent in 2009, says a PriceWaterhouseCoopers study released Tuesday. There are two main reasons for the rising costs, the study said. One is an increase in the expenses people with insurance are paying for people without coverage. Second, many hospitals are replacing facilities and adding private rooms and outpatient treatment centers, the Associated Press reported. ‘Health care providers, insurers and employers will have to monitor medical costs carefully if we are to avoid a resurgence of the double-digit annual increases seen in the past,’ said Dr. David Chin, leader of the Health Research Institute at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. In an effort to control health care costs, study leaders said employers are increasing wellness, prevention and disease management programs designed to keep workers healthy and boost productivity, the AP reported.”

'Being Fat In Today's World' Invites Social Discrimination, Australian Study Shows

“Obese people feel 'a culture of blame' against them, which they say has been made worse by media reports about the health risks of obesity, a new study from Australia found. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne conducted one-hour personal interviews with 76 obese individuals (62 females, 14 males), ranging in age from 16 to 72 years. The aim of the study was to better address issues of concern to obese people, in an attempt to improve interventions for the increasing epidemic of obesity, said the lead author, Paul Komesaroff, MD, PhD, director of the university's Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society. The authors found that the messages from media and health care professionals to engage in healthy behaviors, such as physical activity and eating healthier, may actually be doing more harm than good, Komesaroff said. ‘Obese people frequently feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the publicity about their condition,’ he said. ‘They often feel disrespected and not understood by medical practitioners. Our participants express the view very forcefully that they feel victimized by current social attitudes about obesity. To be told that, in addition to the problems that they recognize only too well, they are now regarded as 'sick' is unlikely to assist them to find a solution.’”

Exercise Reduces Hunger In Lean Women But Not Obese Women

“Exercise does not suppress appetite in obese women, as it does in lean women, according to a new study. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. ‘This [lack of appetite suppression] may promote greater food intake after exercise in obese women,’ said Katarina Borer, PhD, a University of Michigan researcher and lead author of the study. ‘This information will help therapists and physicians understand the limitations of exercise in appetite control for weight loss in obese people.’ Borer and her co-workers sought to better understand how changes in body fat level influence appetite and a hormone called leptin, which in animals curbs appetite when body fat increases. When leptin levels rise, it supposedly shuts off appetite and motivates physical activity to burn calories. However, as obese people become fatter, their leptin levels rise, but they become resistant to the actions of this hormone. ‘The hormone doesn't do the job it's supposed to do in lean people,’ Borer said. As expected, obese women had much higher leptin levels than in lean women, study data showed. But during intense exercise, obese women did not have reduced production of leptin, as lean women did. Only moderate-intensity exercise lowered leptin in obese women. ‘Obesity interferes with leptin's detection of exercise energy expenditure and with appetite suppression,’ Borer said. ‘Obese women perhaps need to consciously watch their calories because some of the hormonal satiety [fullness] signals don't seem to work as well.’”

24 Hour Fitness Selects Team Members to Serve as Fitness Ambassadors at U.S. Training Center During Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

“24 Hour Fitness, the largest privately-owned U.S. fitness chain and the Official Fitness Center Sponsor of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, announced that 21 team members will serve as ‘Fitness Ambassadors’ and staff the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) High Performance Training Center (HPTC) in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games. Fitness managers and master trainers from the 24 Hour Fitness network participated in a rigorous selection process by submitting an application detailing how they changed people’s lives by helping them achieve their fitness goals, along with inspiring member testimonials. The selected staff attended a three-day training at the USOC headquarters to prepare them for their assignment at the HPTC. ‘24 Hour Fitness is proud to continue its support of the U.S. Olympic Team by providing this unique opportunity to its own team members,’ said Carl Liebert, Chief Executive Officer, 24 Hour Fitness. ‘No other fitness company in the country can offer the chance to be the ‘team behind the team.’ Our trainers have proven their ability to change lives within the walls of our clubs, now they have their minds set on helping our Olympians bring home the gold.’”

Obesity Battle Aided By Red Wine's Resveratrol

“Resveratrol, a compound present in grapes and red wine, reduces the number of fat cells and may one day be used to treat or prevent obesity, according to a new study. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany wanted to know if resveratrol could mimic the effects of calorie restriction in human fat cells by changing their size or function. The German team used a strain of human fat cell precursors, called preadipocytes. In the body, these cells develop into mature fat cells, according to the study's lead author, Pamela Fischer-Posovszky, PhD, a pediatric endocrinology research fellow in the university's Diabetes and Obesity Unit. In the cell-based study, they found that resveratrol inhibited the pre-fat cells from increasing and prevented them from converting into mature fat cells. Also, resveratrol hindered fat storage. Most interesting, according to Fischer-Posovszky, was that resveratrol reduced production of certain cytokines (interleukins 6 and 8), substances that may be linked to the development of obesity-related disorders, such as diabetes and clogged coronary arteries. Also, resveratrol stimulated formation of a protein known to decrease the risk of heart attack. Obesity decreases this substance, called adiponectin.The new finding is consistent with the theory that the resveratrol in red wine explains the French paradox, the observation that French people eat a relatively high-fat diet but have a low death rate from heart disease. ‘Resveratrol has anti-obesity properties by exerting its effects directly on the fat cells,’ Fischer-Posovszky said. ‘Thus, resveratrol might help to prevent development of obesity or might be suited to treating obesity.’”

Queen Latifah Achieves Weight-Loss Goal

“After signing on to be a Jenny Craig spokeswoman in January, Queen Latifah has shed a few pounds and is continuing her mission of encouraging others to lead a healthy lifestyle. The Mad Money star, 38, who is known for embracing her curves, said her weight-loss goal wasn't ‘about getting skinny.’ ‘My intention was to lose five to 10 percent of my body weight because it makes a difference with health related issues, and I achieved that goal in a couple of months,’ she told PEOPLE at the first annual National Awards & Recognition Luncheon for The League recently. ‘I'm excited about this weight loss.’ In addition to following the Jenny Craig program, the singer-actress hit the gym five to seven days a week, switching between the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour. ‘My jeans are looser, I feel more energetic,’ she said of shedding the weight. ‘People dig it. They come up to me and say 'I'm glad you're talking about the health side of it.' People get that message, which is important too.’”,,20207156,00.html

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bernanke: Improving Health Care is Critical Challenge

“Bolstering the performance of the U.S. health care system is one of the biggest challenges facing the country, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday. New medical technologies and treatments are allowing people to live healthier, longer and more productive lives. However, the aging of millions of baby boomers coupled with rapidly rising heath care costs are accounting for an ever-growing share of both personal and government budgets -- strains that will become increasingly burdensome unless changes are made, the Fed chief said. Challenges, he said, fall into three major areas: improving access to health care for the 47 million Americans -- or about 16 percent of the population -- who lack health insurance; bolstering the quality of care; and controlling costs. ‘Improving the performance of our health care system is without a doubt one of the most important challenges our nation faces,’ Bernanke said in remarks to summit on health care reform organized by a Senate panel on Capitol Hill. On the health care front, Bernanke didn't recommend specific solutions, saying the difficult choices involved with improving access and quality and controlling costs were best left to policymakers in Congress, the White House and elsewhere. Spending on health care is the single-largest component of overall consumer spending -- larger than spending on either housing or food, Bernanke said. For the federal government, spending on health care accounts for about one-quarter of total spending. By 2050, it will account for almost one half, Bernanke said.”

Healthy Lifestyle Triggers Genetic Changes: Study

“Comprehensive lifestyle changes, including a better diet and more exercise, can lead not only to a better physique but also to swift and dramatic changes at the genetic level, U.S. researchers said on Monday. In a small study, the researchers tracked 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer who decided against conventional medical treatment such as surgery and radiation or hormone therapy. The men underwent three months of major lifestyle changes, including eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products, moderate exercise such as walking for half an hour a day, and an hour of daily stress management methods such as meditation. As expected, they lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and saw other health improvements. But the researchers found more profound changes when they compared prostate biopsies taken before and after the lifestyle changes. After the three months, the men had changes in activity in about 500 genes -- including 48 that were turned on and 453 genes that were turned off. The activity of disease-preventing genes increased while a number of disease-promoting genes, including those involved in prostate cancer and breast cancer, shut down, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Government Should Tell Parents If Their Child Is Obese, Parents Say

“Parents are supporting the Government's intended plans to change whether parents are told if their child is obese, but want the plans to go even further than those currently proposed. In a study of Child Obesity to be launched next week by Havas media agency MPG, 9-in-10 parents (89%) believe the government should actively tell parents if their child is obese. This is in line with present government intensions. However, 7-in-10 parents (72%) believe parents should NOT be allowed to opt out of being told if their child is obese. Currently, the government is planning to allow parents the chance to opt out from receiving their child's results. As part of the government's National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), every year, children in Reception and Year 6 are weighed and measured during the school year to allow analysis of trends in growth patterns and obesity. Currently, to get their child's results, parents need to request them (i.e. actively "opt in"). The Government intends to change legislation so that parents receive their child's results, regardless of their weight, unless the parents request not to receive the results (i.e. actively ‘opt out’).”

High Blood Pressure in Kids Tracks into Adulthood

Study Also Suggests Strong Association Between Childhood Overweight and Higher Readings

“People who have high blood pressure in childhood are also prone to hypertension as adults, say researchers who analyzed data from 50 studies conducted over four decades in different countries. ‘Our meta-analysis reinforces the concept that blood pressure tracks from childhood to adulthood and that elevated blood pressure in childhood is likely to help predict adult hypertension,’ co-author Dr. Youfa Wang, associate professor of international health and epidemiology in the Center for Nutrition, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Health at Johns Hopkins University, said in a prepared statement.”

Exercise Increases Protein That May Curb Appetite

“In a small study of overweight and obese adults, 3 months of aerobic exercise, with no change in diet, led to a significant decrease in body fat and a spontaneous drop in calorie intake. The amount of weight loss and the reduction in calorie intake were directly related to blood levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). ‘The reduction in calore intake could be related to the effect of BDNF,’ Dr. Henry Anhalt of the Animas Corporation, West Chester, Pennsylvania told the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Francisco. ‘It is possible that the increases in this compound in fact suppress appetite; however, this was not directly tested,’ added Anhalt, who moderated a press conference where the study was reported. In the study, Dr. A. Veronica Araya and colleagues from the University of Chile Clinical Hospital in Santiago evaluated blood levels of BDNF before and after 3 months of aerobic exercise in 15 overweight or obese men and women. The 7 men and 8 women, ages 26 to 51 years, exercised on a treadmill and bicycle.”

Obesity More Common In Low Income Families: Expert

“Nutrition experts say children in low-income families are far more likely to be obese than those from wealthier homes.

A study by Dr Jenny O'Dea, associate professor of child health research at the University of Sydney, revealed that childhood obesity is more of a problem among poorer families rather than a disorder linked to affluence. ’The low-income children are two and half times more likely to be obese than the higher-income children,’ said Dr O'Dea. ’So there's something protective about income and health, and we've known this for a long time.’

But Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the national focus of the government's childhood obesity prevention efforts is not misdirected. ’An effective national strategy has to be tailored to the different demands of different localities, but the overall objective has to be this - you can either let the figures go up and up and produce an epidemic of chronic diseases, or act nationally to bring it down,’ Mr Rudd told reporters in Brisbane.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Japan, Seeking Trim Waists, Measures Millions

“Japan, a country not known for its overweight people, has undertaken one of the most ambitious campaigns ever by a nation to slim down its citizenry. Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population. Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months. To reach its goals of shrinking the overweight population by 10 percent over the next four years and 25 percent over the next seven years, the government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments that fail to meet specific targets. The country’s Ministry of Health argues that the campaign will keep the spread of diseases like diabetes and strokes in check.”

Fitness a Key Element in Determining Male Diabetic's Longevity

“A new study expected to be presented in San Francisco this weekend at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society found that physical fitness appeared to be more important than weight in estimating a male diabetic's longevity.‘Death rates were the highest for those who were 'low fit' in all weight categories,’ researcher Dr. Roshney Jacob-Issac, an endocrinology fellow at George Washington University Hospital, said in a prepared statement. Researchers used 2,690 male diabetic veterans in VA hospitals, most of whom were overweight or obese based on their body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat using height and weight. The researchers found that the higher the man's level of fitness, the lower his risk of dying during the study period. For example, those in the high fitness level -- whether at normal body weight or overweight -- reduced their risk of death by 40 percent. The findings were even more dramatic for those classified as obese but in reasonable good shape: a cut in death risk of 52 percent, when compared to peers not physically fit, the study found during its seven-year follow-up period. ‘Diabetics should improve their fitness level or exercise capacity to at least a moderate level, by being physically active. Weight loss is great, but being active is just as important,’ Jacob-Issac advised.”

Most Kids Not Getting Enough Exercise

“Just three in 10 children in Ireland take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day – the minimum recommended amount, new research has shown.
According to the findings from the HSE, Safefood and the Northern Ireland Health Promotion Agency (HPA), while 85% of children enjoy physical activity every day, around 70% are not reaching the recommended amount of one hour per day. Furthermore, eight in 10 parents mistakenly think that their children are reaching this minimum amount. The research noted that children now spend as much time at sedentary activities, such as watching TV and surfing the Internet, as they do engaging in any physical activity. It also noted that while seven in 10 parents agree that their own activity levels and eating habits influence those of their children, just over one in 10 spontaneously mentioned making changes to their own habits as a means of tackling potential obesity problems among their children. “It is now very clear that it is not about severe or fad diets nor is it about running a marathon, but little steps along the way to a healthier future,” commented Catherine Murphy, assistant national director of population health with the HSE.”

Childhood Anti-Obesity Campaign Launched

“Entitled Little Steps Go a Long Way, the campaign is a major awareness initiative - involving television, radio advertising and a website - designed to show that small changes to physical activity and food habits can have a big impact on health.”

A Whole Lotta Shaking

Technology Developed To Tone Bodies In The Gym Is Being Used To Treat The Symptoms Of Crippling Conditions

“Whole body vibration has been the most talked about development in fitness circles for years. The best-known technology, the Power Plate, has gained fans because of its famed ability to deliver the results of a 60-minute workout in a gym in just 10 minutes on the machine. But while the toning aspects of whole body vibration (WBV) have been heavily highlighted, less has been written about the health benefits. Some people dealing with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and cerebral palsy have found WBV to be a big help in dealing with their symptoms. Some research has been carried out on the specific health benefits and dozens of studies are still ongoing. However, it's not just muscles that benefit from the process -- studies have shown that WBV can help the nervous system, circulation and lymphatic drainage. It's also been proven to help bone density. The reason why the technology was originally developed was to help reduce muscle and bone loss in cosmonauts (see panel) and several studies have shown that it can achieve that.”

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fight Cancer Risk With Exercise

Study: Physical Activity Helps Reduce Risk Of Cancer Recurrence

“The standard weapons in the fight against cancer — surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — may soon be joined by something far simpler: exercise. New research shows that regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer and slows the advance of prostate cancer. In a few years, exercise will probably be prescribed regularly for cancer rehabilitation, said Melinda Irwin, an expert on cancer and exercise at Yale University School of Medicine. Personal trainers may join oncologists, surgeons and radiologists as members of the cancer-treatment team. Exercise will become a ‘targeted therapy, similar to chemotherapy or hormonal therapy,’ Irwin said Any regular physical activity — the equivalent of a 30-minute walk, five times a week — will do. ‘Don't think you have to work up a sweat or train for a marathon to benefit,’ Irwin said. Exercise offers many other advantages: It fights the fatigue caused by cancer treatment, calms anxiety and helps survivors feel better about themselves and their bodies. Some personal trainers now specialize in working with cancer patients and more will soon be certified through a program of the American College of Sports Medicine.”

Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms 

Brazilian Study Finds 36% Reduction In Time Awake And A Drop In Anxiety Levels

“A session of moderate aerobic exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve the quality of sleep for insomnia patients, according to a Brazilian study. Heavy aerobic or moderate strength exercises don't have the same effect. Researchers at the Federal University of Sao Paulo divided 28 women and eight men with primary chronic insomnia into three exercise groups -- moderate aerobic, heavy aerobic, and moderate strength -- and one control group. After the exercise session, those who did moderate aerobic exercise showed reductions in sleep onset latency (54 percent) and wake time (36 percent) and increases in total sleep time (21 percent) and sleep efficiency (18 percent). They also showed a 7 percent decrease in anxiety. ‘These findings indicate that there is a way to diminish the symptoms of insomnia without using medication,’ study author Giselle S. Passos said in a prepared statement. ‘This is the first study to look at the importance of using physical exercise to treat insomnia and may contribute to increased quality of life in people with one of the most important kind of sleep disorders around the world,’ Passos said.”

Whole Body Vibration May Do Muscles, Bones Good

“Standing on a vibrating platform may sound like an odd way to pass the time, but a new research review suggests it may do the muscles and bones some good -- particularly in older or sedentary adults. Writing in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports, researchers detail the evidence for and against so-called whole body vibration training. WBV involves standing on a platform that sends mild vibratory impulses through the feet and into the rest of the body. These vibrations activate muscle fibers more efficiently. it is claimed, than conscious contraction of muscles during regular exercise. WBV is often touted as a way to improve muscle power, jump higher or sprint faster. The tactic is also being studied for its therapeutic potential, such as increasing older women's bone mass.”

REM Sleep Associated With Overweight In Children And Adolescents

“Short sleep time is associated with overweight in children and adolescents, a core aspect of which may be attributed to reduced REM sleep, according to a research abstract presented at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS). The study, authored by Xianchen Liu, MD, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, focused on 335 participants between seven and 17 years of age, who underwent three consecutive nights of standard polysomnography, or an overnight sleep test, and weight and height assessment as part of study on the development of childhood internalizing disorders (depression and anxiety). According to the results, compared with normal-weight children, overweight children slept about 22 minutes less, had lower sleep efficiency, shorter REM sleep periods, lower REM activity and density, and longer latency to the first REM period. After adjustment for demographics, pubertal status, ethnicity, and psychiatric diagnosis, one hour less of total sleep increased the odds of overweight by about two-fold, one hour less of REM sleep increased the odds by about three-fold, REM density and activity below the median increased the odds by two- and three-fold, respectively.”

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Spain 1 In 4 Obese School-Aged Children Suffers Metabolic Syndrome

“One out of every four obese school-aged children (6 to 12 years old) develops an illness typically associated with adults that are nearly 40 years old, metabolic syndrome, due to one clear reason: child obesity. It has been revealed in a study carried out by the department chair of the Institute of Food Nutrition and Technology of the University of Granada, Angel Gil Hernandez, who warns that this syndrome provokes arterial hypertension in children, insulin resistance, and, in the long term, type two diabetes, an illness associated with numerous cardiovascular pathologies and whose treatment will mean an elevated cost for the Spanish Health Service in the future. According to the estimations of the study group directed by the University chair, if present day pattern continues, the cases of type-two diabetes in child population will have quadrupled by 2020.”

Discovery Of Gene Linked To Adult-Onset Obesity

“Researchers in the lab of Kevin Wickman, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, removed a single gene from mice as part of an ongoing study to understand how the brain controls heart function. While some cardiac deficiencies were detected in these mice, the researchers unexpectedly found that these mice exhibited a predisposition to adult-onset obesity. ‘This was not an outcome we expected, but now we have an animal model that may provide new insight into human obesity,’ said Wickman, co-author of the article. By examining closely where this gene, termed Girk4, is expressed in the body, the researchers found particularly high levels in the hypothalamus, a brain region involved in regulating food intake and energy expenditure. Wickman speculated that disruption of normal function in the hypothalamus may underlie the obesity seen in the mutant mice, but he acknowledges that more research is needed to understand where and how this gene works, and consequently, why mice missing this gene develop obesity.”

Sleep Problems Linked To Obesity, Lower Quality Of Life In School-Aged Children

“A research abstract presented on Tuesday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS), finds an increased prevalence of sleep problems among school-aged children who are obese and an association between increased weight and lower quality of life. According to the results, children who were obese had poorer scores for sleep onset delay, sleep-disordered breathing, sleep duration, and daytime sleepiness, compared to children who were overweight or healthy weight. Weight category was a significant predictor of parent-reported physical, psychosocial, and total quality of life scores, as well as child-reported physical functioning scores. Weight category and sleep problem category were significant predictors of child-reported psychosocial and total quality of life scores. ‘In this study, sleep and weight each contributed unique variance for quality of life scores, thus indicating the need to evaluate daytime functioning in children with both obesity and sleep problems,’ said Davis.”

Neighborhood Environments May Impact Residents' Weight

“Neighborhoods that enable physical activity and offer access to healthy foods appear to impact residents' weight. Neighborhoods ‘influence the extent to which people adopt and maintain behaviors linked to obesity,’ Dr. Mahasin S. Mujahid of Harvard University's School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts told Reuters Health. ‘Even highly motivated individuals will find it very difficult to be more physically active and eat healthy foods if they live in environments that do not help support these lifestyles,’ said Mujahid. Mujahid and colleagues looked at associations between the physical and social aspects of neighborhoods in New York City, Baltimore, Maryland, and Forsyth County, North Carolina and the body weight of 2,865 adults who lived in these locations between 2000 and 2002. The researchers found that men and women living in neighborhoods with better walking environments and availability of healthy foods were leaner than those living in less physically desirable neighborhoods. Neighborhoods rated higher in social qualities, such as safety, aesthetics, and social cohesion, were associated with lower overall body mass index among women. However men showed the opposite -- higher body mass index among those residing in highly rated social neighborhoods -- and the investigators say further research must confirm this unexpected finding.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

American Children Face A Crisis On The Scale That Only Healthy Eating And Exercise Can Stop

“Attention, children: Step away from TV, video games and from those burgers, fries and pizza. Pick up a ball, jump on a skateboard, hop on a bike or skip rope. Eat an apple. Attention, parents: Encourage your kids to eat healthy and get fit. Stop the excuses and lead by example. Overweight children has become a national epidemic, and Bay County isn't immune to the problem. About 15 percent of Bay County children and adolescents are obese, a number that parallels national statistics, said Dr. Inez Balinska, who practices at Bay Regional Pediatrics, 1456 W. Center Road in Essexville. One in three American children are overweight.’ We’ve seen an increase over the past 10 years,’ Balinska said of the rate of childhood obesity. ‘It used to be 3.5 percent, almost nonexistent. Now it's widespread.’ It's a problem that is putting an entire generation at increased risk for a long list of health ailments, experts say. The solution has to start at home, experts say. Families and pediatricians must work together to get children eating better and moving more, Balinska said.”

Obese Have Heftier Medical Bills Despite Shortened Lives

“Obese twentysomethings — those who are 30 or more pounds overweight — will have lifetime medical bills that are $5,000 to $21,000 higher than their normal-weight peers. And extremely obese young adults — 70 or more pounds overweight — will incur $15,000 to $29,000 more in lifetime medical expenditures than their healthy-weight peers, according to a study in the journal Obesity, published in advance online. These numbers take into account a shorter life expectancy for heavy people. ‘We have prior work that shows that obese people miss more days of work and have a lower quality of life,’ says lead author Eric Finkelstein, an economist with RTI International, a non-profit research organization in Research Triangle Park, N.C. For the latest study, he and colleagues analyzed national data on medical expenditures and life expectancy. They found that the greater the weight, the higher the medical costs.”

Warning Labels for Inactivity: A New Trend in Health Education?

“This is an era where lawsuits are filed for the absence of warnings — the McDonald’s lawsuit of 1994 (81-year-old woman awarded 2.9 million dollars for being scalded by a beverage that she ordered) and of 2003 (the plaintiff complaint stated that eating at McDonald’s contributed to his obesity; was dismissed and later modified to state that the fast food giant did not disclose it’s ingredient list). Can we expect a lawsuit against professionals in the healthcare field for not aggressively educating the community about the consequences of prolonged inactivity? The answer may well be in the affirmative. In order to preemptively address this issue, I propose the following to spread awareness about the importance of incorporating moderate physical activity daily. Research certainly confirms that inactivity leads to obesity, and can advance to other diseases — diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, stroke. A story covered by the Canadian Broadcast network in 2002 suggested that only 10% of 1700 high school students surveyed were participating in adequate levels of physical activity, and 40% of students were either obese or at high risk of being obese. Various hurdles to students joining gym class were cited — such as conflicts with academics and overbooked gym teachers. Some suggestions to encourage activity in students in and outside of school:
Some suggestions to encourage activity in students in and outside of school:
· Posting catchy slogans posted around the school campus (e.g. “Run! Run! Run… so obesity doesn’t catch up with you”).
· Introducing non-traditional class formats where science and math classes are held outdoors and involve learning through activity.
· Setting assignments in social studies or civics that involve research into the ill-effects of inactivity, so students come to a realization on their own; and then providing resources and options for increasing activity.”

Teen Obesity Tied To Death Risks In Middle-Age

“Obese teenagers are more likely than their thinner peers to die of heart disease or certain other ills by the time they are middle-aged, a large study suggests. Researchers found that among more than 200,000 Norwegians followed from adolescence to middle-age, those who were obese or overweight as teens were three to four times as likely to have died of heart disease. Similarly, their risks of death from colon cancer or respiratory diseases, such as asthma and emphysema, were two to three times that of adults who had been thinner as teenagers. They were also more likely to have died suddenly. It's not clear how much of the mortality risk stems from early obesity, per se, according to lead researcher Dr. Tone Bjorge, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Bergen. Study participants who were obese as teenagers, she told Reuters Health, tended to remain obese into adulthood. Obesity later in life has long been implicated as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, Bjorge noted, whereas the long-term effects of childhood obesity are uncertain.”

Health Campaigns Lost On The Poor

“Health campaigns prompting people to exercise are missing the point, especially when it comes to the poor, according to a study. The study, by researchers at Queensland University of Technology, sought responses from people of lower socio-economic backgrounds to gauge their attitude to, and level of, physical activity. The study found these people felt ‘patronised’ and overwhelmed by continual messages from advertisers and the government to get active, and that, while most saw exercise as a good thing, many saw serious exercise, like going to the gym, as a dream. Exercise needs to be perceived as something not just for the rich and the thin, and options need to be local, affordable, safe, and family friendly, said Julie-Anne Carroll, who led the study.”

USC Study Shows Belly Fat May Affect Liver Function

“A study by the University of Southern California (USC) suggests the release of lipids from abdominal fat, which drains directly to the liver, increases overnight, providing additional insight as to how abdominal fat is associated with type 2 diabetes risk. The results of the study were presented at an oral session Monday, June 9 at the American Diabetes Association 68th Scientific Sessions held in San Francisco.”

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Starting Aerobics Two Weeks After A Stroke Can Improve Mobility

“Treadmill training and stationary cycling just two weeks after a stroke can help patients become fitter, walk further and enjoy better cardiovascular health than those who remain inactive, according to a CIHR-funded study at Toronto Rehab Institute led by Drs. Dina Brooks (University of Toronto) and William McIlroy (University of Waterloo). ‘We need to build awareness of just how important exercise is, because it’s a non-pharmacological intervention that virtually everybody can benefit from,’ says Dr. Brooks. The Toronto Rehab team is one of the few groups in the world exploring the benefits of early aerobic exercise for people with stroke.”

Women Who Gain Excessive Weight During Pregnancy More Likely To Have Overweight Children

“Children of mothers who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight at age seven, say researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in a study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Children of mothers who are obese prior to pregnancy and gain excessive weight are at the greatest risk for overweight. ‘The earliest determinants of obesity may operate during intrauterine life, and gestational weight gain may influence the environment in the womb in ways that can have long-term consequences on the risk of obesity in children,’ said study leader Brian Wrotniak, P.T., Ph.D., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. The authors say that encouraging pregnant women to adopt healthy eating practices and engage in aerobic physical activity could help them achieve appropriate weight gain and also help prevent obesity in their children. They add that benefits would likewise result from healthy eating and exercise before becoming pregnant, as well as reducing postpartum weight retention before a subsequent pregnancy.”

The War on Obesity Targets Toddlers

“The jury is still out on whether obesity programs for toddlers work or are even desirable. Because such programs are so new, their effectiveness hasn't been well-documented and the limited research that exists is mixed. Experts also caution that children need a balanced diet and should be able to eat unlimited amounts of nutritious foods, like vegetables. Children up to about the age of 5 need a higher percentage of fat in their diet than do adults, so following professionals' nutrition advice is critical for parents who want to manage their children's weight.”

Fitness: Gyms Go Designer

“Those seeking a gym worthy of their Stella McCartney exercise clothes are in luck. A new wave of luxury fitness centers allows exercise lovers to work up a sweat in high-concept spaces designed by brand-name architects. For complete privacy, the Technogym Kinesis Personal Heritage home machine allows for more than 200 resistance-based exercises but takes up just one square meter of space. The limited-edition gold model is completely hand-covered in gold leaf, guaranteeing that even those who slack off from their workout routines have something pretty to look at.”

Mother's Obesity A Factor In Newborn Deaths For Blacks, Not Whites, New Study Reports

“A study led by the University of South Florida sheds new light on obesity's role in the black-white gap in infant mortality. While maternal obesity appears to have no impact on the early survival of infants born to white women, the situation is different for black women, researchers report in the June 2008 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Infants of obese black mothers had a higher risk of death in the first 27 days following birth than newborns of obese white mothers, the researchers found. Furthermore, this black disadvantage in neonatal infant mortality widened with an increase in the body mass index (BMI). ‘Even if the infant of an obese black woman survives pregnancy, labor and delivery, that baby is at greater risk of dying than a baby born to an obese white woman,’ said the study's lead author Hamisu Salihu, MD, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the USF College of Public Health.”

Finds Fat Mass and Obesity Associated Genes Increase Risk of Disease In Mexican Americans

“A study from the University of Southern California (USC) suggests people of Mexican-American descent who have genetic variants of fat gene FTO and Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LO) had higher triglyceride and lower HDL levels. The findings were presented as an oral presentation on Sunday, June 8, at the American Diabetes Association 68th Scientific Sessions held in San Francisco. ‘Our results confirm the association between FTO and fat mass and indicate that the 5-LO promoter modifies the association between FTO and lipid levels,’ says Mary Helen Black, candidate for PhD in Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology, at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and lead author of the study. ‘The genetic interaction between 5-LO and FTO was significantly associated with an inverse relationship between triglycerides and HDL levels.’”

Monday, June 9, 2008

Stretching Exercises May Protect Against Preeclampsia

“Contrary to previous research, a new study says that stretching may be more effective than walking or rigorous exercise at reducing the risk of preeclampsia in certain women. The findings, by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, apply only to women who were not physically active before becoming pregnant and who have experienced preeclampsia before. Up to 8 percent of pregnant women experience preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, putting the condition among the leading causes of maternal and fetal illness and death worldwide. In preeclampsia, blood pressure sharply increases (readings of 140/90 or higher must occur twice within six hours) and swelling and kidney problems may also result. The findings, presented last week at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, in Indianapolis, were expected to be published in the spring issue of Hypertension in Pregnancy.”

Keeping Your Body Fit Can Keep Your Mind in Shape Too

“Exercise fights off depression without a need for pills, says Barney Larkin. With the latest research showing that cases of mental health disorder are rising, it is important now, more than ever, to educate the public on how exercise can keep their bodies and minds in shape.The latest research from the King's Fund shows the cost of caring for people with mental health disorders is expected to spiral as the population ages. Chris O'Nions, a chartered psychologist and member of British Military Fitness (BMF), believes that sufferers of mild or moderate depression should be encouraged to try outdoor exercise before opting for a standard treatment of medication. As the UK's largest military-style fitness provider, we believe that keeping active, eating a healthy diet and early diagnosis of more people with conditions such as depression could help reduce the number of people taking medication.”

When It Comes To Type 1 Diabetes, Weight Gain May Be Healthy

“Gaining body fat may be a good thing, at least for people with type 1 diabetes, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Their study, being presented at the 68th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco, followed 655 patients with type 1 diabetes for 20 years and found that patients who gained weight over time were less likely to die. ‘Although weight gain in adulthood is typically associated with increased mortality, this may not be the case for those with type 1 diabetes,’ said Trevor Orchard, M.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. ‘Gaining a reasonable amount of weight may be a sign patients are getting enough insulin and appropriately controlling their disease, which may partly explain why those who gained weight over time had lower mortality rates,’ said Dr. Orchard, who also is professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.”

Losing Weight Without Losing Bone

“A higher-protein diet that emphasizes lean meats and low-fat dairy foods as sources of protein and calcium can mean weight loss without bone loss--and the evidence is in bone scans taken throughout a new University of Illinois study. The research, which compared the results of a high-protein, dairy-intensive diet with a conventional weight-loss diet based on the food-guide pyramid, was published in this month's Journal of Nutrition. ‘This is an important finding because many people, especially women in mid-life, are concerned with both obesity and osteoporosis,’ said Ellen Evans, a U of I associate professor of kinesiology and community health and member of the U of I Division of Nutritional Sciences. ‘Furthermore, treating obesity often increases risk for osteoporosis. Many people lose bone mass when they lose weight,’ she said.”

Active Students Fit For Better Grade

“When a quarter-million Ontario school children were prepping for last week's province-wide tests in the ‘3 Rs,’ they may have overlooked a surprising study tool. The workout. New Ontario research shows schools that push fitness and nutrition have watched their standardized scores rise by as much as 50 per cent over two years in Grade 3 reading and 39 per cent in Grade 3 math – outscoring other schools in similar neighbourhoods by about eight points across all three subjects.”'shealth/article/439648

Office-Gym Etiquette: Burn Calories, Not Bridges

“Sure, a fitness center seems like a great perk for employees. Work gyms are convenient and cheap, if not free. Of course, they're also inherently awkward. ‘It's a little more stressful sweating profusely around people that you are in a professional atmosphere with,’ says Justin Lucas, 25, a Washington resident who works for a human resources consulting firm. ‘Or vice versa: seeing somebody really, really talented sweat all over the place.’ Close proximity makes interaction unavoidable, but Lucas says that he and his boss, who also uses the gym, keep their fitness exchanges brief. ‘I already saw you for eight hours today,’ Lucas says. ‘That's my professional life. Now I'm just going to work out and be myself.’ Those who exercise at work say that they and their co-workers for the most part are respectful of this boundary. They recognize that lifting weights is about building muscle, not business. But even if you're not talking shop, your colleagues see you -- and they may be judging. So, some self-awareness is necessary at an office facility, where adherence to basic gym etiquette isn't just courteous, it's imperative.‘The same rules apply in the office gym, and the consequences could be even worse if you act like a boor in the office gym because it could seep into office politics,’ says Caroline Tiger, author of ‘How to Behave: A Guide to Modern Manners for the Socially Challenged’ (Quirk Books, 2003).”

Friday, June 6, 2008

Local Gyms Are Hot Spots This Summer

“Although warm weather has led to a rise in outdoor exercising, local gyms have not felt the heat. Al Calogero, owner of The Fitness Mill on Main Street in New York Mills, said the number of members at his gym stay consistent for a variety of reasons. One of the most important: A fitness center gives you the ability to train in ways that would be difficult to do outdoors. ‘We have a large weight room, and we offer a lot of different classes,’ Calogero said. ‘You can’t do those things outside.’ Edwin McTiernan of Powerhouse Gym on Champlin Avenue in Utica thinks the air conditioning is also a big draw for members during the summer months. ‘The hottest days of the summer are usually some of our busiest days,’ he said. ‘Exercise is something you need to do continually. Even if you want to scale it down for the summer, work out two or three times a week just to maintain yourself and make it easy to get back into your routine in the fall,’ McTiernan said."

Soda Consumption Fuels Obesity

“Health advocates hope 400,000 Bay Area residents will commit to enjoying this summer sipping fewer sodas, or none at all. On Wednesday, public health leaders from six Bay Area counties gathered in Oakland to launch the area's first ‘Soda Free Summer’ campaign. Alameda County ran a successful ’Soda Free Summer’ pilot project last year, in which 42 percent of the participants polled reported reducing their soda consumption during the summer campaign, with half of those giving it up altogether. Impressed with the results, health officials from Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Marin counties organized to launch a region-wide initiative this year. ‘There was great enthusiasm from everyone for taking it Bay Area-wide,’ said Dr. Armor Santiago, chairman of the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative, a coalition of more than 80 public and private organizations that promotes sound nutrition and physical activity, particularly in low-income communities. The Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley, states that sugared beverage consumption has increased 500 percent over the past five decades — at a rate that roughly corresponds with the increase in overweight children.”

Exercises Can Help With Urinary Incontinence

“Your doctor first will want to rule out such causes as infections or tumors, said Dr. Daniel Swift, a urologist and partner in Rockford Urological Associates Ltd. Then, he or she will help determine what is causing your incontinence.
Knowing the cause is crucial when using exercises and physical therapy to help alleviate incontinence, said Denenga, a physical therapist at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center who receives all her patients through doctor referral.
’With pelvic floor muscles,’ Denenga said, ‘it’s important to determine whether you have a weak pelvic floor or a tense pelvic floor. You don’t want to increase muscle tension by doing exercises.’ ‘The number of repetitions and sets always depends on the patient’s strength and endurance. It’s not recommended to start a pelvic floor exercise program without proper evaluation by a physical therapist first.’”

Latin American Women Are At Greater Risk Of Suffering Cardiovascular And Metabolic Diseases

“A Spanish research study analysed the nutritional status and menstrual characteristics in a sample of native and immigrant Latin American girls. The data showed that immigrant girls have a higher percentage of body fat when they reach reproductive maturity which can be related to suffering cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. ‘Immigrant girls have a higher body mass index and higher body fat percentage than Spanish girls when they reach reproductive maturity, as well as higher truncal fat accumulation, which is related to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases’, Raquel Fern├índez, the main author of the study, explained to SINC. The research was carried out in four schools in the Madrid region and analysed 284 girls between 9 and 16 years old, who were assessed over a two-year period.”

Half The Population Prone To Obesity, Says Liow

"Almost half the country’s population [Malaysia] is prone to obesity, said Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai. He said the age of those affected by obesity was getting younger, adding that many Malaysians do not maintain a healthy lifestyle. ‘When your input is more than output (eating too much), automatically one will gain weight and slowly but surely, he or she will become overweight’ ‘Malaysians should stick to a healthy diet and exercise regularly,’ he told reporters Friday after launching the 25th Health Ministry Sports Meet at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Liow said a well-maintained body weight was necessary to keep away diseases. He said obesity could lead to non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart attack and high blood pressure."

Forget Fad Diets. Get The Facts On Weight Loss

“Weight loss happens in two stages that require two different approaches. First, there's the losing stage. What’s the second stage? Maintenance. And that's when exercise becomes much more important. By burning a few hundred extra calories a day, you can eat a little bit more, which makes the diet tolerable and easier to maintain. Exercise helps you find a healthy balance between the calories you consume and the calories you burn. Successful dieters typically exercise a lot — 60 to 90 minutes a day. That's not just a short walk. They really prioritize daily, vigorous physical activity.”

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More Kids Work Out At Gyms

“‘What we're seeing now is kids taking on what normally would be considered adult exercises,’ says Dr. Bob Duggan, a foot and ankle surgeon in Orlando, Fla., who specializes in sports medicine. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, which represents about 9,100 health clubs worldwide, 4.1 million kids (ages 6 to 17) belonged to health clubs in 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available. That's up 28 percent since 2000 and a more than twofold increase over 1987, when the association began tracking kid memberships. The group reports that health clubs are responding to the teen trend as they did a couple of decades ago when there was a new demand for women-oriented clubs. ‘Whether health clubs for teens ever rack up the numbers or achieve the success of single-sex express workout clubs remains to be seen,’ the Boston-based association reports in its online newsletter. But, it adds, with the nation's teens having an estimated $200 billion in spending power -- a number ‘expected to more than double within the next five years’ -- the clubs are doing their best to find out.”

Physical Fitness Keeps Seniors Healthy

“A new study has suggested that seniors who are physically active and exercise for more than 60 minutes each week can lessen their chances of disability as they age. Led by Bonnie Bruce, of the division of immunology and rheumatology at Stanford University Department of Medicine, the study looked at 805 adults between the ages 50 and 72 at enrollment and followed for them for 13 years, from 1989 to 2002. After a follow-up of 13 years, researchers found that the overweight active seniors (average disability score 0.14) had significantly less disability than the overweight inactive (average disability score 0.19) and normal-weight inactive seniors (average disability score 0.22) seniors. The researchers concluded that being physically active, regardless of body weight, helped lessen disability. The study appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health.”

Drawing A Line Against Cardiovascular Disease

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States according to the American Heart Association (AHA). This might not come as a shock to most people, but the actual statistics for heart disease are mind blowing: the AHA reports that 60.8 million Americans suffer from some form of heart disease; that's one in every five Americans. Nearly one of every 2.5 deaths in this country stems from cardiovascular disease. ‘It is important for Americans to know just how deadly heart disease is,’ says Debbie Williams, VP of Medical Affairs for Meridian Co. Ltd. Meridian has developed a medical device called the Digital Pulse Analyzer (DPA), which provides early detection of arterial wall stiffness and determines the biological age of arteries ‘The DPA provides a simple way for people to monitor their cardiovascular health,’ explains Williams. ‘Along with a healthy diet and exercise, early screenings for heart disease contribute to protecting and preventing cardiovascular disease.’”

Former U.S. Surgeon General In City; Advocates Nutrition, Activity

“Tempt children with salads, vegetables and fruits, and keep senior citizens active in the job market. That was the advice from former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, the featured speaker Wednesday at an AARP-sponsored health care forum at Oklahoma City University. Satcher, 67, said having children eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly is a key part of improving the health status of Americans. With encouragement, American youngsters can be captivated by healthy foods instead of junk foods, he said. He’s sounding an alarm. Satcher was U.S. Surgeon General 1998 to 2002. He is director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.”

Obesity Prevention: The Role Of Policies, Laws And Regulations

“When the free market creates substantial population detriments and health inequalities, government policies are needed to change the ground rules in favour of population benefits. Concerted action is needed from governments in four broad areas: provide leadership to set the agenda and show the way; advocate for a multi-sector response and establish the mechanisms for all sectors to engage and enhance action; develop and implement policies (including laws and regulations) to create healthier food and activity environments, and; secure increased and continued funding to reduce obesogenic environments and promote healthy eating and physical activity. Policies, laws and regulations are often needed to drive the environmental and social changes that, eventually, will have a sustainable impact on reducing obesity. An 'obesity impact assessment' on legislation such as public liability, urban planning, transport, food safety, agriculture, and trade may identify 'rules' which contribute to obesogenic environments. In other areas, such as marketing to children, school food, and taxes/levies, there may be opportunities for regulations to actively support obesity prevention.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Expert: Exercise Fights Addiction

“New approaches for treating and preventing drug addiction range from low-tech - regular exercise - to high-tech such as experimental vaccines aimed at helping to prevent former drug users from relapsing. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is just as excited about both options. Of the two, though, exercise will probably yield the quickest payoff. ‘It's something we could apply right away,’ she said. ‘Vaccines, we're not going to get those results in one or two years. It will take probably five, six years to results.’ Statistics indicate that teens who exercise daily are the least likely to report using drugs or alcohol, Volkow said Tuesday at a NIDA-sponsored conference on addiction treatment and research at Duke Energy Center downtown. NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring research to see if - and why - regular exercise prevents substance abuse. The agency is also awarding grants to determine whether working up a sweat can make addiction treatment more successful. Exercise has the advantage of being inexpensive and easily accessible, Volkow said.”

Health Talk: Exercise and Your Heart

“The benefit of exercise in patients with and without heart disease continues to be rediscovered every few years. The benefits of a regular exercise program in patients with newly diagnosed coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease remains an underutilized treatment in the physician's toolbox. Fewer than 20 percent of eligible patients with coronary artery disease are referred to exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programs. Higgins and Ades reviewed the clinical benefits of exercise in a controlled and systematic program after coronary events and identified several direct and immediate benefits of exercise including decreased mortality, increased exercise capacity, improved heart function and blood flow to the heart itself and an improved quality of life with reduced costs. There is also evidence that suggests there could be a decrease in cardiac events, defined as sudden cardiac death and heart attack.”