Archive for August, 2011


Smoke-Free college campuses are a good thing.

This summer, a group of University of Kentucky students and staff has been patrolling campus grounds — scouting out any student, employee or visitor lighting a cigarette.

Unlike hall monitors who cite students for bad behavior, the Tobacco-free Take Action! volunteers approach smokers, respectfully ask them to dispose of the cigarette and provide information about quit-smoking resources available on campus.

The University of Kentucky is one of more than 500 college campuses across the country that have enacted 100% smoke-free or tobacco-free policies as of July 1. Although policy enforcement varies from school to school, most prohibit smoking on all campus grounds, including athletic stadiums, restaurants and parking lots.

An increasing number of colleges adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies in the past few years, according to American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation Project Manager Liz Williams. In the past year alone, 120 campuses were added to the smoke-free list.

Good for them and let’s lower the smoking rate even further – for better health.

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In a new study, the answer is snuff.

Babies born to snuff-using mothers were more likely to have breathing problems than those whose moms smoked cigarettes while pregnant, in new data from Sweden.

Snuff — ground tobacco that is high in nicotine but doesn’t generate the same additional chemicals as cigarette smoke because it’s not burned — is generally assumed be safer than cigarettes, said the authors of the new study.

That’s still the case for many people — but it’s not a good option for pregnant women, according to Dr. Anna Gunnerbeck, the lead researcher from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The smokeless tobacco “may have a little bit different effect than smoking, because smoking has the combustion products, but it’s still not safe during pregnancy,” Gunnerbeck told Reuters Health.

These tobacco products are just bad news for a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke or use snuff – especially if you are pregnant.

Just say no!

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This post of a paper caught my eye this morning, since I am dieting and trying to reduce my body weight. I am using My Fitness Pal online and count calories in and exercise calories expended. So far I have lost about 9 pounds.

Common rules of thumb exaggerate how much weight people will lose from a given dietary calorie reduction, leading to unrealistic expectations and disappointment, researchers said.

Whereas patients are often told that cutting 500 calories a day will let them lose a pound a week, a more realistic formula is that such a caloric reduction would lead to a 50-pound loss over three or more years, according to Kevin D. Hall, PhD, of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues.

Even then, they explained in the Aug. 27 issue of The Lancet — a special edition devoted to obesity — such weight loss is possible only if the calorie reduction is actually maintained over that time.

The standard rules — endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the American Dietetic Association, among others — fail to consider that human metabolism responds dynamically to changes in diet and body composition, Hall and colleagues asserted.

If a 300-pound dieter could really lose a pound a week by cutting his regular diet by 500 calories, he would vanish entirely in six years.

“This ubiquitous weight-loss rule (also known as the 3,500 [calorie]-per-pound rule) was derived by estimation of the energy content of weight lost, but it ignores dynamic physiological adaptations to altered body weight that lead to changes of both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy cost of physical activity,” the researchers wrote.

When people gain weight, their baseline energy needs increase, to keep the extra tissue alive and to move it around. Likewise, when weight is lost, their baseline needs decrease.

So when people cut calories below the baseline requirement — thereby triggering weight loss — the gap between their intake and their baseline energy needs begins to shrink. At some point, it may disappear altogether, at which point weight loss stops.

Hall and colleagues put together what they said was a better model of caloric intake and resultant weight loss, incorporating feedback mechanisms to reflect metabolic changes over time in response to diet and body weight.

It indicated that weight change in response to caloric restriction occurs over a relatively long period of time.

Each reduction of 100 kilojoules daily — 24 calories — in intake eventually leads to a loss of 1 kg (2.2 lbs) in body weight, the researchers determined. But only half that loss occurs in the first year. In three years, 95% of the ultimate loss will be realized.

On the flip side, using data from previous studies, Hall and colleagues said their calculations suggest that the U.S. population has a persistent excess energy intake of 30 kilojoules (7.2 calories) per day, explaining the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity.

For the population to return to body mass index values that prevailed in the 1970s, average diets would need to shrink by about 220 calories per day.

The researchers pointed out that these figures are averages for the adult population. Individuals’ metabolic requirements for sustaining a given body mass vary substantially.

Consequently, “a given diet results in an uncertain degree of energy deficit,” Hall and colleagues wrote.

I suppose I will just have to be patient and wait the three to five years to reach my weight goal. But, then again, I have been packing on the extra weight for decades now and I cannot expect a quick fix.

I can do it.

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According to the latest Gallup Poll.

Colorado continues to be the state with the lowest obesity rate in the country, at 20.1% in the first half of 2011. Fewer than one in four residents are obese in the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates. In the 10 states with the highest levels of obesity, rates are 29% or higher. West Virginia has the highest obesity rate in January through June 2011, at 34.3%, which is also the highest Gallup has measured for any state since it began tracking obesity rates in 2008.

These results are based on 177,237 interviews conducted daily from January through June 2011. Gallup tracks U.S. obesity levels as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, using Americans’ self-reported height and weight to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) scores. BMI scores of 30 or higher are considered obese.

The 26.3% obesity rate for the nation overall in January through June of this year is essentially unchanged from 26.6% in 2010. However, this 2011 rate is higher than the 25.5% in 2008. So far in 2011, obesity rates are generally more likely to be rising in the states where they are already the highest and declining in the places where they are lowest.

These obesity rates are way too high and I am doing my best to lose weight.

Diet plus exercise should do the trick but it is a slow – very slow – process.

While obesity in the United States as a whole remains unchanged so far in 2011 compared with last year, many of the country’s most obese states continue to see the trend go in the wrong direction. At the same time, many states are registering improvements this year. Still, in no state are obesity rates lower than 20%, revealing residents throughout the entire country have much work to do to begin to tackle the nation’s obesity problem.

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Bill Clinton while as President was renown for his Big Macs and junk food. And, who in 2004 had quadruple heart bypass surgery has gone vegan.

The former president, known for his love of burgers, barbecue and junk food, has gone from a meat lover to a vegan, the strictest form of a vegetarian diet. He says he eats fruits, vegetables and beans, but no red meat, chicken or dairy.

Clinton, 65, who had quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 and then stent surgery in 2010, is following this eating plan to improve his heart health.

He talked about his plant-based diet last year, saying he lost 24 pounds on it for his daughter Chelsea’s wedding, and he chatted about it again recently on TV, drawing national attention to the potential health benefits of this type of diet.

“Veganism is the most extreme type of vegetarianism,” says Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University.

Types of vegetarians:

  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Does not eat meat, fish or fowl. Eats dairy and egg products.
  • Ovo Vegetarian: Does not eat meat, fish, fowl or dairy products. Eats egg products.
  • Lacto Vegetarian: Does not eat meat, fish, fowl or eggs. Eats dairy products.
  • Vegan: Does not eat any animal products including meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy, honey, etc. Source: The Vegetarian Resource Group

About 3% of U.S. adults are considered full-fledged vegetarians because they never eat meat, poultry, fish or seafood, and about 1% of people are vegans because they also never eat dairy, eggs or honey, says the Vegetarian Resource Group. “The percentage of vegetarians has doubled since 1994,” says John Cunningham, consumer research manager for the organization.

Elizabeth Turner, editor in chief of Vegetarian Times, says, “A much larger number of people — 22 million based on a poll the magazine did in 2008 — are what I’d describe as vegetarian-inclined. These are the people who might have the occasional chicken or fish. They’re interested in vegetarianism and moving in a veg direction, but they aren’t all the way there yet.

“What the science shows is that people who are vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer, especially colon cancer, and they tend to live longer,” Turner says. “They’re also less likely to be overweight.”

But, “a vegetarian diet is not by definition a healthy one. You can’t just replace meat with French fries,” she says. “What makes a great vegetarian diet is eating whole foods that come from the earth like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts. Beans are the ultimate source of protein, and they are loaded with fiber.”

Clinton says he was inspired to follow a low-fat, plant-based diet by several doctors, including Dean Ornish, author of Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. Ornish has been working with Clinton as one of his consulting physicians since 1993.

I have certainly modified my diet over the past year. But, I still enjoy limited amounts of red meat and poultry.

Diet, plus exercise = good health and a longer life.

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