Addiction (Part I): Stop emotional overeating, obesity: You’ve “had enough”!

January 26, 2012 by  
Filed under OBESITY, VIDEO

Hot Women Are Bad For Your Health (Study)

March 12, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=6M7C56zrfkM%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

New TYT Facebook Page(!): www.facebook.com Don’t forget to check out Ana’s blog at: www.examiner.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com TYT Network (new WTF?! channel): www.youtube.com Check Out TYT Interviews www.youtube.com Watch more at www.theyoungturks.com

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Best Aerobic Exercise?

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=T-QQIFj_1mI%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Which is the best aerobic exercise and which aren’t that good. BodyPerformanceTV.com

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Are soda taxes worth it?

January 11, 2011 by  
Filed under OBESITY

America is overweight.  With people moving less and consuming more junk food and highly-sweetened beverages, a population with 26% overweight prevalance is not surprising.  As it is not easy to drive people to visit gyms or ride their bikes more often, making them consume less sugary beverages may be a measure against obesity and, at the same time, increase much needed revenues.

 A new study from the Duke National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, however, found that imposing 20 or 40% taxes on sweetened beverages  „would lead to only minimal weight loss among most people and would have no effect on weight among consumers in the highest and lowest income groups“.   

 The researchers used American database on beverage purchases from stores and household consumption and employed statistical techniques to come up how changes in prices affect buying habits.  They also calculated weight losses due to reduction of beverage consumption as a result of tax increase and weight gains due to brand switches.

 Their computations show that a 20% sales tax would generate $1.5 billion a year and a 40% tax, $25 billion a year, which, as another economist commented,  may be regressive as people from lower income groups pay a higher proportion of these taxes.  However, since generic beverages are much cheaper, low-income groups buy more of these brands.  The researchers stated that these groups would actually account only for „20 percent of total tax revenue whereas those in each of the two middle income and high income groups would contribute 25 and 30 percent of the total, respectively.“  This switching to cheaper sweetened beverages would generate a calorie reduction of 6.9 per day, which is just equivalent to 0.7 pounds a year per household member while a 40% tax would reduce calories of 12.5 a day amounting to 1.3 pounds a year.  These figures are not really significant.  However, according to Finkelstein, the study’s lead researcher, any strategy that fights  obesity should be considered however modest.  It should also be noted that the data considered were all based on purchases from stores.  Purchases from restaurants and vending machines were not included.  Who knows?  If sodas get unaffordable from school vending machines, kids would start drinking water and fruit juices, like it used to be.  Like it’s suppose to be.

 Note: This post was written by Joyce, a colleague covering for me during my stay in NZ. Thanks, Joyce!

Workplace stress linked to obesity

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under STRESS

The typical American employee is overstressed, sedentary and overweight. This is according to a study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center. And even a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables cannot undo the damaged.

The researchers looked at 2,782 employees of a large manufacturing company in upstate New York, whose working conditions are supposedly representative of any job situation where lay offs are of major concern. The employees were typically middle-aged, white, married, highly educated (college degree or more), relatively well-paid (earning more than $60,000 a year), with an average of almost 22 years at the company.

The study results indicate the following:

  • Most of the employees are chronically stressed.
  • 72 to 75% of the employees were overweight or obese. The body mass index (BMI) of the employees surveyed was similar to that observed in the general American population, i.e. obesity rates of 32% in men and 35% in women.
  • Workers seldom take time to take a proper lunch or go for a walk for fear of their jobs.
  • When pink slips are circulating, fat- and calorie-rich snacks from the vending machines become very popular.
  • At the end of a working day, employees would eventually “vege out” in front of the TV. 55% of employees watched at least 2 hours of TV each day.
  • Employees engaged in jobs of high stress levels have higher BMs compared to those engaged in low-stress, more passive jobs.

 

A healthy diet doesn’t seem to help much. The lack of physical exercise at the workplace as well as at home seems to be highly responsible for the weigh problems.

This is not the first study to link stress at the workplace to weight problems and the links can be direct as well as indirect.

Directly: stress can affect the neuroendocrine system, resulting in abdominal fat, for example, or it may cause a decrease in sex hormones, which often leads to weight gain.

Indirectly: stress is linked to the consumptions of too many fatty or sugary foods and inactivity.

The study results emphasize the importance of improving corporate polices to protect the health of employees.

According to lead researcher Dr. Diana Fernandez:

“In a poor economy, companies should take care of the people who survive layoffs and end up staying in stressful jobs. It is important to focus on strengthening wellness programs to provide good nutrition, ways to deal with job demands, and more opportunities for physical activity that are built into the regular workday without penalty.”

Aside from weight gain, pressure and stress in the workplace has been linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, exhaustion, anxiety and weight gain.

Does your BMI really reflect your health status?

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under OBESITY

weighing-scale-with-fruitThose who are closely watching their weight are familiar with the term BMI, short for body mass index. Body weight in absolute terms cannot be used as accurate measure of obesity for simple reason that there are short people and there are tall people, and weight can therefore vary relative to height. That’s why scientists use BMI, a numerical value of weight in relation to height, calculated as a person’s body weight divided by the square of his or her height, as a diagnostic tool to evaluate weight problems and health status of a person. Weight status based on BMI (usually expressed in terms of kg/m2) is categorized as follows:

  • Underweight  – 18.5 and below
  • Normal weight – 18.5 to 25
  • Overweight – 25 to 30
  • Obesity class I – 30 to 35
  • Obesity class II – 35 to 40
  • Obesity class III – above 40

This has been like this for years but recently, there have been concerns that BMI may not be an accurate way of assessing a person’s true health status.

Based on BMI measurements, almost one-third of the American population is considered overweight, which is the middle range between normal weight and obesity. Excess weight has been identified as a major risk factor in many chronic diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.

Several research studies looked at how BMI is related to mortality rates, were surprisingly inconclusive and sometimes contradictory results. Scientists now think that that BMI may not be the right measurement because:

  • BMI doesn’t distinguish between different types of fat mass. For example, there is the fat mass which is of important health concerns as it is closely linked to type 2 diabetes. However, there is also lean mass, especially muscle tissue, which reduces health risks.
  • BMI does not directly measure the distribution of body fat. Depending on location, fat may have more or less impact on health. Visceral fat or fat at the waist, for example, is more detrimental to health than fat at the hips.

Thus, using BMI as health status indicator does not actually show the complete picture and may miss the health risks that slight overweight may present.

According to lead author Dr. Cora E. Lewis of the University of Alabama at Birmingham

“This larger picture includes important relationships between BMI and other health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and its risk factors. Arguably, the most important relationship among the cardiovascular disease risk factors is diabetes, which is significantly more common in overweight than in normal-weight people.”

Considering the increasing number of children who are overweight, health experts are urging researchers and clinicians alike to act now and conduct research that goes beyond just BMI.

Dr. Lewis continues

“Weight gain is progressive and weight loss difficult. Although a young child is unlikely to have a heart attack, overweight children are likely to become overweight or obese adults, which puts them at risk for cardiovascular events as they mature. Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is of high importance for all Americans.”

School diet program helped children in controlling weight problems

July 24, 2008 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

In some parts of the world, children are dying of hunger; in other parts, children are dying from obesity-related health problems. Such irony.

Childhood obesity is becoming a major problem in the developed world. In the US alone, 16.9% of boys and 15.6% of girls aged 6 to 11 years among non-Hispanic whites are overweight. Among non-Hispanic blacks, it’s 17.2% of boys and 24.8%of girls in the same age group. For Mexican Americans, it’s 25.6% of boys and 16.6% of girls. (Source: American Heart Association (AHA)). Obesity is a major risk factor in cardiovascular health as well as type 2 diabetes.

Many studies point to the causes of these weight problems – poor nutrition and lack of exercise. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association have issued guidelines on how to clinically monitor and control cholesterol levels in children who are overweight or obese.

However, health solutions that go beyond the clinical settings are necessary to stem this rapidly growing problem.

Schools are one of the ideal places to start with. After all, children spend a large part of their daily routine at school. This study led by the Center for Obesity Research and Education, Temple University examined

the effects of a multicomponent, School Nutrition Policy Initiative on the prevention of overweight … and obesity … among children in grades 4 through 6 over a 2-year period.

1,349 pupils from 10 Philadelphia elementary schools were involved in the study. 5 schools implemented the School Nutrition Policy Initiative and 5 schools did not and served as conrol. The schools who had implemented the policy drastically changed the food available at school, be it at the cafeteria or in the vending machines. Sodas were replaced with fruit juices, low-fat milk, or water. Candies and sweets were banned and snacks were scaled down in terms of fat and sugar content. In addition, rewards in the form of raffle tickets for sports equipment were given to those who made wise food choices. In addition, the pupils were encouraged to perform physical exercises at break times. The children were monitored, their weight and height measured and their eating and exercise habits were checked with a questionnaire. The school staff who organized the study was specially trained in nutrition education.

The schools also stepped on nutrition and health education. Nutrition education is incorporates as much as possible in all school subjects. Special classes were organized not only for the pupils but for teachers and parents as well.

Social marketing on nutrition was also employed. Slogans and posters on healthy lifestyle were posted everywhere.

And here are the results:

The intervention resulted in a 50% reduction in the incidence of overweight. Significantly fewer children in the intervention schools (7.5%) than in the control schools (14.9%) became overweight after 2 years. The prevalence of overweight was lower in the intervention schools. No differences were observed in the incidence or prevalence of obesity or in the remission of overweight or obesity at 2 years.

This means that after two years, the number of overweight pupils at the five “nutrition-friendly” schools dropped while the number of overweight children in control schools increased. Also fewer new overweight children were observed at the “nutrition-friendly” schools.

Unfortunately, no such significant difference has been observed in the incidence of obesity in the 2 school groups. Also, remission or the tendency to gain back lost pounds did not significantly decrease.

In conclusion, special interventions such as used in this study do help in controlling the problem of overweight among children. However, it doesn’t seem to be enough. Other measures have to be taken including implementation of such initiative earlier. In addition, future initiatives should focus on other aspects of the school environment such as PE classes as well as environments outside the school – at home!

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Weight Loss, Osteoarthritis and Your Christmas Recipes

December 23, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Tomorrow night will be Christmas Eve and you most likely have your recipes memorized and the ingredients all bought in preparation for the food you will serve your family on Christmas.

What if there is an arthritis patient in your family? Then you have to put that into consideration when planning your meals for the holiday. Not only arthritis, but what if there is a diabetic or an hypertensive person in the family?

If that is the case then I always recommend cooking healthy foods to be on the safe side. Let not be the holidays be an excuse to forget that particular diet you were following in lieu of your condition — diabetes, hypertension, arthritis…etc.

One more thing I would like to remind you of: your weight. If you have arthritis, being overweight or obese is not going to help you. Being close to your ideal weight will surely reduce your risk for osteoarthritis. (Read more about the osteoarthritis-weight association from Johns Hopkins.)

Being overweight is a clear risk factor for developing OA. Population-based studies have consistently shown a link between overweight or obesity and knee OA. Estimating prevalence across populations is difficult since definitions for obesity and knee OA vary among investigators.

Data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES I) indicated that obese women had nearly 4 times the risk of knee OA as compared with non-obese women; for obese men, the risk was nearly 5 times greater. (ref. 6) In a study from Framingham MA, overweight individuals in their thirties who did not have knee OA were at greater risk of later developing the disease. (ref. 7)

Other investigations, which performed repeated x-rays over time also, have found that being overweight significantly increases the risk of developing knee OA. (refs. 8 and 9) It is estimated that persons in the highest quintile of body weight have up to 10 times the risk of knee OA than those in the lowest quintile. (ref. 5)

Case in point: mine. Earlier this year, I weighed a whooping 165 lbs. I am barely 5 ft. tall, so I know that is too far from my ideal weight. When my osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms attacked in mid-August, my weight made it even worse. I changed my eating habits and now I weigh 135 lbs. My OA is better, not only due to my changed diet but also because of the meds, vitamins and other therapies I am taking. The symptoms are less and I don’t suffer as much as I used to.

At 135 lbs., by BMI says I’m still a bit overweight. While I am convinced I need to shed more weight, this holiday season is an odd against that goal. Despite that, I am keeping myself from overeating. I definitely do not want to regain all those pounds I lost.

SO. If you are arthritic like me. remind yourself to eat healthier, not only this holiday season but for all times.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.