Monday, March 31, 2008

Launch of Increasing Physical Activity for Over 55s Initiative-Ireland

More Patients Are Being Asked about Their Weight, Eating Habits

“The California Medical Association Foundation and the California Association of Health Plans have developed a "tool kit" for doctors to talk with patients about their weight. The tool kit is an outgrowth of the governor's 2005 summit on health. ‘Less than one-third of overweight patients report being counseled by their physicians regarding obesity,’ said Dr. Frank Staggers of the California Medical Association Foundation. Nine out of 10 Californians want their doctors to be their primary source of information about nutrition, physical activity and other issues associated with weight management, he said, citing a recent survey. Last year, the fourth annual ‘F as in Fat’ report from the Trust for America's Health found more than one out of five adults in California were obese and one out of eight youths 10-17 were overweight. Those numbers are only slightly better than the national average.”

It's Never too Late to Get Active, Expert Says

“For life-long couch potatoes in their 60s, 70s and beyond, the prospect of starting an exercise program can be daunting -- but it doesn't have to be, a researcher told t American College of Sports Medicine's 12th annual Health and Fitness Summit in Long Beach, California. In an interview with Reuters Health, Melissa Miller, who spoke at the meeting, noted that 4 out of 10 older adults suffer from a chronic condition, like heart disease, high cholesterol, or arthritis. ‘A lot of these older adults avoid exercise because they think they are going to hurt themselves or make their condition worse, when, in fact, almost all conditions can be helped by exercise,’ Miller said. Almost anyone can do some form of exercise and reap the benefits, which in the immediate-term include relaxation, stress and anxiety reduction, and enhanced mood. Long-term benefits of exercise, in addition to weight loss, are increased strength and balance, and improvement in chronic ailments, including improved mental health, a sense of belonging, increased life span and overall quality of life. ‘There is really only 1 or 2 percent of the population that cannot exercise in some capacity to improve well being,’ Miller said. ‘Most just need guidance on what type of exercise is best for them.’”

You May Be the Key to Cancer Prevention

Up to half of cancer deaths could be avoided with lifestyle changes, experts say

“Imagine therapies that could cut cancer deaths in half. Well, these ‘breakthrough’ treatments are here, according to a recent American Cancer Society report that said as many as 50 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting screened for certain malignancies. ‘Nearly half of all cancer is related to two things -- tobacco and obesity,’ said Dr. Jay Brooks, chief of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La. ‘That's something I don't think people truly grasp.’

Preschool Program Prevents Early Obesity Trend

“Investigators say an obesity prevention program that helps preschoolers get on the road to healthy eating has shown impressive results in early testing in eight subsidized inner-city childcare centers in Miami Dade County, Florida. Two- to five-year-olds who participated in the program adopted a healthier diet than those that did not. They ate less junk food, more fresh fruits and vegetables and drank less juice and more low-fat milk and water. And almost all of the ‘intervention’ children who started out at a normal weight stayed at a normal weight while those who were at risk for obesity lost a little weight. The results were presented earlier this month at the American Heart Association's Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. ‘Nobody would dispute that we are experiencing an epidemic of obesity in this country,’ Dr. Ruby Natale at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, who was involved in the research, said in a statement. ‘Children as young as 7 years old are experiencing health consequences of being overweight, suggesting that intervention must occur as early as possible and involve the entire family.’”