Dieting for workplace dollars

By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe, Ap Medical Writer

ATLANTA — How much money would it take to get you to lose some serious weight? $100? $500?

Many employers are betting they can find your price. At least a third of U.S. companies offer financial incentives, or are planning to introduce them, to get their employees to lose weight or get healthier in other ways.

“There’s been an explosion of interest in this,” said Dr. Kevin Volpp, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Incentives.

Take OhioHealth, a hospital chain whose workforce is mostly overweight. The company last year embarked on a program that paid employees to wear pedometers and get paid for walking. The more they walk, the more they win — up to $500 a year.

Anecdotal success stories are everywhere. Half of the 9,000 employees at the chain’s five main hospitals signed up, more than $377,000 in rewards have already been paid out, and many workers tell of weight loss and a sudden need for slimmer clothes.

But does will this kind of effort really put a permanent dent in American’s seemingly intractable obesity problem? Not likely. [Read more...]

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Good health should begin in youth

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Gaining muscle rather than fat

From DrMirkin.com

If you think you’re too thin and want to gain weight, don’t just sit on the couch and stuff yourself with food. Weight gain should always be in the form of muscle, not fat.

To build muscle, start a weight-bearing exercise program. Go to a gym and learn how to do the weight training circuit. Build up those arms and legs! As you exercise, your appetite will respond to meet your needs. It only takes 15 extra grams of protein a day to build a pound of muscle a week — so you really won’t need to eat a lot more.

(Remember that muscle weighs more than fat and also burns calories while fat simply stores calories. Think of a car engine versus a car trunk — Lori)

It’s never too late to start a weight training program. Underweight older people look and feel frail because they have lost most of their muscles, not because of lack of fat.

If you are inactive, you lose muscle mass to the point where you are unable to carry out daily activities — climbing stairs, getting up out of a chair — because your muscles are not strong enough to move the weight of your own body. [Read more...]

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Living lazy = living large

Teen Obesity: Lack of Exercise May Not Be to Blame
By Alice Park of TIME magazine

You don’t have to spend much time with teenagers to know that the average adolescent would rather devote an afternoon to sitting in front of the TV, computer or video-game console than working out in a gym. And in recent years, as physical-education classes have been progressively cut from cash-strapped public-school curriculums, teens have had even more time to lounge, slouch, hang out or do anything but break a sweat.

It’s no surprise, then, that obesity rates among U.S. youngsters have skyrocketed, tripling from 1976 to 2004. Public-health experts and obesity researchers attribute the trend in part to kids’ increasingly sedentary lifestyles. As teens spend more and more time anchored before a screen — burning fewer and fewer calories each day — they’re storing more of that unused energy as fat. Hence, the ballooning rates of obesity. (See TIME’s video “Obesity and Social Networks.”) [Read more...]

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Sleep more, weigh less?

Want to lose weight?   Perhaps you should get more sleep.

Researchers from Case Western University in Ohio monitored 70,000 women for over a 15-year period and determined that those getting five hours or less of sleep each night 30 percent more likely to gain weight than were those getting seven hours or more of sleep.

Light sleepers also have a significantly higher risk of becoming obese, according to the study supervised by Dr. S. Patel of the university.

What surprised the researchers was that sleeping patterns had a much greater influence on women’s long-term weight than eating habits or physical activity.

At the start of the study, the women who slept up to five hours a night weighed 5.4 pounds more than those who got 7 hours or more. They also put on 1.6 pounds more each year than the good sleepers. [Read more...]

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Key health care reform? Cut obesity

By Karen Pallarito
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 — A diverse alliance of payer, provider and consumer organizations, girded by two former U.S. Surgeons General, on Wednesday urged policymakers to address the nation’s obesity epidemic as part of federal health care reform legislation.

Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, whose 2001 report on obesity recognized the problem as an “epidemic,” emphasized the need to invest in health promotion and disease prevention, particularly for the health of the nation’s youth.

“We are in essence addicting our children to sedentary lifestyles; we’re addicting them to high-salt, high-sweet, high-fat diets,” he said, “and then we pay for it later on when they come to us with cancer, heart disease, [and] diabetes.” [Read more...]

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Pass this quiz for a longer life

chicken wrap
Heart Healthy Quiz: How Much Do You Know?

1. Which of the following foods is not specifically linked to a reduced risk of heart disease?
a. Garlic
b. Oats
c. Corn
d. Grape juice
e. Nuts

2. The fiber in which of the following foods will lead to a reduction of blood cholesterol?
a. Whole-grain bread
b. Brown rice
c. Bran cereal
d. Carrots
e. Oats

3. What percentage of total deaths in the United States is linked to heart disease?
a. 20%
b. 30%
c. 40%
d. 50%
e. 60% [Read more...]

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‘Supersize me!’ – a major wake-up call

Few movies have opened as many eyes about health habits as has the movie Supersize me! I’ve encouraged many people to watch this frightening account of a young man who ate nothing but fast food for 30 days and nearly died.

I continue to be shocked at the number of people who eat poor-quality fast food, seemingly oblivious to the fact that years of life expectancy are likely melting away as they consume grease-laden, salt-permeated and synthetics-laced food.

You can watch the movie in the YouTube window below. Please encourage others to watch this movie. Perhaps some will change their eating habits and enjoy longer lives as a result.
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Sour news about too much sugar

For research documentation, click here

DALLAS (Associated Press)– A spoonful of sugar? Americans are swallowing 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, and it’s time to cut way back, the American Heart Association says.

Most of that added sugar comes from soft drinks and candy — a whopping 355 calories and the equivalent of guzzling two cans of soda and eating a chocolate bar.

By comparison, most women should be getting no more than 6 teaspoons a day, or 100 calories, of added sugar — the sweeteners and syrups that are added to foods during processing, preparation or at the table. For most men, the recommended limit is 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories, the heart group says.
[Read more...]

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Study: weight gain shrinks brain

A new Livescience.com article reports that obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said.

Those classified as overweight have 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains appear to have aged prematurely by eight years.

The results, based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, represent “severe brain degeneration,” said Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology.

“That’s a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain,” said Thompson. “But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control.” [Read more...]

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