Browsed by
Category: Obesity

Tips for a Healthy Spine

Tips for a Healthy Spine


A healthy spine is an often overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle. People who suffer from back pain, particularly if it is long-term, are generally less healthy than those who do not. In fact, back pain costs are staggering not only financially, but also in terms of lost time from work and because of psychosocial problems that arise during the healing process associated with long-term back pain.

Unfortunately, approximately 80-90% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point. People who are overweight or obese, and who smoke, lift heavy objects, or had a previous episode of back pain, are more likely to experience back pain.

Because so many people suffer from spine pain, it’s important for you to try to keep your spine as healthy as possible. Following simple posture, lifting, and healthy lifestyle guidelines can help you keep your back in good shape. One of the best things you can do for your spine is to get regularly adjusted. If you are in need of an adjustment, be sure to call our office at 406-652-3553 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander. In the meantime, here are some good ways to take care of your spine:

The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following spinal health tips:

Standing

• When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This position helps to take the pressure off your low back.

• Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your low back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.

Lifting

• At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your —spine, especially while lifting.

• If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.

• If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.

Sitting

• Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight.

• Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).

• Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.

Reaching and Bending

• When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may

not only hurt your mid-back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.

• Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.

• Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up.

• Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your body, and lift with your legs, not your back.

Carrying

• When carrying objects, particularly if they are heavy, keep them as close to your body as possible.

• Carrying two small objects—one in each hand—is often easier to handle than one large one.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

• While the proverbial jury is still out, we suspect that extra weight puts undue strain on your spine. Keep within 10 lbs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back.

• “Beer belly” is likely the worst culprit, as it puts unwanted pressure on the muscles, ligaments and ten- dons in your low back.

• The most efficient and effective way to reduce weight is by eating a sensible diet and exercising regularly.

• Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, particularly if you have a health condition.

Sleeping

• Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. Other positions may be better

.
• Placing a pillow under your knees while lying on your

back cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.

• Lying on your side with a pillow between your ——– knees may also reduce the pressure on your back.

• Never sleep in a position that causes a portion of —- your spine to hurt. Most often, your body will tell you what position is best.

Quit Smoking

Smokers have more spine pain than nonsmokers, and they also heal more slowly when they have an episode of back pain because the chemicals in tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in and around your spine.

While following these instructions is no guarantee that you’ll be free from back pain for your entire life, it can certainly reduce your risk of developing it. These simple steps will help you keep your spine in good shape, making you a healthier, happier person.

Lawrence H. Wyatt, DC, DACBR, FICC, Professor, Division Of Clinical Sciences, Texas Chiropractic College, Writer

Nataliya Schetchikova, PHD, Editor

This health article was shared from the following website: http://www.chiroworkscarecenter.com/documents/Articles/ACA_healthy_spine.pdf

Beating the Odds: How Some People Stick with Diet and Exercise Plans

Beating the Odds: How Some People Stick with Diet and Exercise Plans

Billings Chiropractic Diet Services
balance-scales

How long did your last diet or exercise plan last? If you’re like many people, your answer is “not that long.” In fact, one UK survey found that the average length of time a person stays on a nutrition plan is 19 days. A slightly more positive poll found that women tended to quit their diets after five weeks and two days. If these statistics sound distressingly familiar, it might be time to reassess how you approach your own diet plan.

How Do People Stick with Their Diet and Exercise Plans?

If you want to make sure your diet and exercise plan doesn’t become just another statistic, a change in attitude can make all the difference. In order to create a diet plan you can stick with, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what types of changes will fit into your lifestyle. Diet plans with long lists of “bad” foods might help you cut back on calories in the short term, but do you really plan to go the rest of your life without cake? People who stick with their diet plans take a more moderate approach, making small changes that they can live with in the long term.

Exercise plans can be just as difficult to carry out. People who stick with their exercise plans view physical activity as a regular part of life, not something they do only when they have the time, energy, and motivation. Of course, sticking with physical activity is much easier when it’s enjoyable. Rather than slogging it out on the treadmill, try yoga, martial arts, or another exercise program that stimulates your mind as well as your body. And variety helps too!

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Whether you’re building a diet plan or an exercise program (or are making changes in both areas), the people around you can make a huge difference in your level of success. If your spouse, children, or friends tend to turn to food in celebration or out of boredom, it’s easy to forget about your diet goals. Getting enough exercise is a lot more difficult if the people around you would rather watch TV than go on a walk.

Fortunately, when it comes to sticking with your diet and exercise plan, the people around you can also be a huge help. Making dietary changes as a family can help everyone involved lose weight and improve their health, while exercising with a friend can make the time go by much more quickly and pleasantly.

Having the support of a chiropractor who really understands the power (and challenges) of making healthy lifestyle changes (think nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management, for example) is another way to help you meet your goals. The staff here in Billings at Oblander Chiropractic can work with you to make targeted, realistic adjustments that you’ll be able to stick with in the long term. Sticking with a diet and exercise program isn’t always easy, but you might be surprised by just how easy it is to make the changes you’re looking for with the right type of advice and support!

Techniques for Improving Circulation

Techniques for Improving Circulation

industrial-pipes-200-300A healthy circulatory system is crucial to good health. To be at its best, your body needs to be able to keep blood pumping from the heart and lungs through the arteries to your organs and extremities, and then keep pumping it back to the lungs for re-oxygenation. Anything that interferes with the proper circulation of blood puts your body’s health at risk for lots of reasons.

“Poor circulation” can mean many things. Common symptoms include having consistently cold fingers and toes, experiencing tingling in your feet and hands, feelings of numbness, tiredness and a general lack of energy, and chronically dry skin. More serious symptoms of poor circulation can include headaches, hair loss, dizzy spells, varicose veins, muscle cramps, feeling short of breath, memory lapses (due to impaired blood flow to the brain), bluish-tinted skin, and slow healing times for wounds.

What causes poor circulation?

One of the most common causes is inactivity and lack of exercise. To keep the blood moving, you need to keep your body in motion. And do it often. Poor diet and carrying excess weight can lead to poor circulation, as can diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Medically, if you have been diagnosed as hypertensive (having high blood pressure), this is almost always an indicator of poor circulation. The “high pressure” is caused by your heart having to pump harder to cause the blood to keep flowing, often because of blood vessels that have become constricted because of stress, disease, or the buildup of plaque.

How can poor circulation be treated?

Serious circulatory problems can be treated with medication. But for most people anxious to improve their circulation and thus their overall health, a few lifestyle changes can do wonders:

  • Get more exercise. Walk rather than ride. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Go for walks after lunch and go to the gym after work. Your body functions best with a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day.
  • Stretch more. Not just before exercising, but at your desk at work. Stretching helps to relieve stress, and stress is one of the things that can constrict your blood vessels.
  • Get massages. Massage improves circulation by stimulating the soft tissues of your body and encouraging blood flow.
  • Put your feet up. After you exercise, elevating your legs can really help you not only to relax, but increase your circulation. It also reduces your risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Eat healthier foods. Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (from fish, olive oil, and nuts), and lean meats. Try to avoid processed foods.
  • Drink more water, and less caffeine. When you’re thirsty, drink water instead of coffee or black tea or soft drinks. Try to cut down on or avoid alcohol, because it definitely impedes circulation.
  • Don’t smoke, or quit smoking if you do. Nicotine and the pulmonary perils of smoking are among the most common causes of poor circulation.
  • Destress, however you can. Stress has an extremely negative effect on your circulation. So try to find healthy outlets for the stresses you encounter at work and in other areas of your life, to release the stress rather than have it build up and become toxic.
  • Consider herbs and supplements that can help. Ginger, hawthorn berry, cayenne, motherwort, garlic, ginkgo biloba and vitamins C and E all can help to improve your circulation.

If any of the symptoms become chronic, see your doctor or chiropractor. Don’t try to “tough it out” and live with the discomfort of consistent symptoms of poor circulation. Some of the causes can be very serious indeed, so see an expert to make sure.

 

Want Your Kids to Be Active? Here Is Why YOU Should Be their Lifestyle Role Model

Want Your Kids to Be Active? Here Is Why YOU Should Be their Lifestyle Role Model

family-bicycling
family-bicycling

It’s not news—obesity is a growing national epidemic among young people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that obesity in children has doubled in the last 30 years and quadrupled in adolescents. Nearly 20% of children 6-11 years old are obese as are almost 23% of teenagers. This places them at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Finally—and even more concerning—studies have shown that people who are obese as children tend to be obese as adults.

What’s happening here?  In large part, it comes down to our lifestyle choices. Record numbers of both adults and children are succumbing to the temptations of TV, computers, and video games, and many of us simply don’t get the exercise our bodies need to stay healthy.

Naturally, parents who read statistics like these may be—and should be—concerned about their kids. More and more often, they ask themselves questions like “What can we do to help our kids be more active and physically fit?” One answer to this question is pretty simple: To get your kids to be more active, engage in more active pursuits with them. One of the keys to getting children to exercise more is to have them see their parents exercise more. That’s the finding from a new study published in the journal Pediatrics

In the study, researchers at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in England fitted 554 mother-child pairs with equipment to measure how much exercise they were getting when they were together as well as when they were apart. Accelerometers tracked their exercise levels, and GPS devices measured how close they were to each other. Over the course of seven days, the findings were clear – the more physical activity the mother was engaged in while with the child, the more active the child was during the rest of the day. In fact, for every minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity the mother got, the child was likely to get ten percent more of the same activity. Conversely, for every minute the mother was sedentary, the child was 0.18 minutes more sedentary. Both of these effects were more pronounced in girls than in boys.

These findings seem to indicate that parents can be effective role models for their children by getting more active exercise themselves. But specialists emphasize that parents don’t have to drop their other priorities to do this. Physical therapist Teresa Beckman suggests, “Incorporate small changes into your daily life. For example, rather than playing a board game together, go outside and play hopscotch. Or if you’re planning a trip to your local playground, try walking instead of driving.”

Other suggestions for becoming more active with your children include playing more sports with them, walking more with them (if you take the bus, get off one or two stops early and walk the rest of the way), riding bikes together, and even playing Frisbee. Dancing is good exercise, so you can encourage your kids to take lessons in various forms of dance and then set a good example for them by attending the classes yourself. You can join exercise classes together, schedule regular pre-dinner walks or runs, or just play family games of basketball or soccer.

You are your child’s most important role model when it comes to teaching them about the importance of exercise. And exercising together is just as good for you as it is for them. So switch off that TV or computer and go out to play! You’ll both be doing something good for your health and having fun at the same time!

 

Why Lose Weight?

Why Lose Weight?

man-and-children-200-300It almost seems like a silly question, but it’s worth answering nonetheless. Why? Because it’s too important not to—a great many people could avoid the potentially serious health problems associated with being overweight or obese by losing the extra pounds. And the sooner the better.

Obesity and related conditions take an enormous toll in terms of reduced quality of life and lost productivity for individuals. They’re also extraordinarily expensive for society at large, accounting. The US alone spends an estimated $168 billion annually to treat chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), high cholesterol, gallstones, osteoarthritis and more.

  • Type 2 diabetes is a disease most commonly caused by obesity. Though it used to develop primarily in adults, it is now quite common in children as well, with the recent increase in the rate of childhood obesity. Blood sugar levels become elevated due to the insulin resistance caused by obesity and greatly increase the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Heart disease can develop as a result of fatty deposits building up in the arteries, and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) is 10 times more common among the obese than in the population with normal body weight. Fat tissue also requires blood to survive, so more blood vessels are created, putting greater strain on the circulatory system, increasing blood pressure and making the heart work harder to circulate that extra blood.
  • Those who are obese have an increased risk of cancer, especially cancer of the colon, breast, prostate, gallbladder and uterus.
  • Obesity adversely affects both the metabolism and endocrine system, often resulting in metabolic syndrome, the fastest-growing obesity-related health problem. This refers to a group of risk factors that increase your risk of more serious diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Symptoms include excess weight particularly located around the middle of the body, insulin resistance, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and high triglycerides.
  • Women who are obese can suffer from a number of reproductive health problems, including infertility, uterine cancer and PCOS. Because obesity causes disruption in the menstrual cycle and the endocrine system that is responsible for the delicate balance of hormones necessary for successful ovulation, studies have found that even a modest reduction in body fat of between 5 and 10 percent is often enough to restore ovulation and fertility.
  • Osteoarthritis has grown increasingly common as the rate of obesity has increased. The excess weight adds to increased wear and tear on the joints, particularly on the knees and hips. Obese women are nine times more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee, often leading to the need for a total joint replacement. However, researchers have found that losing as little as 11 pounds can reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis by half.

Collectively, these are sometimes referred to as “lifestyle diseases” because they are—to a very high degree—the result of day-to-day decisions people make about their own nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management. This means that they are preventable! Losing weight NOW can reduce the risk of these six diseases. Even losing just a few pounds has been shown to have a positive effect on your health.

Need more incentive? Carrying lots of extra weight is also very hard on your back, hips and knees. Losing it can reduce the cumulative wear and tear on your musculoskeletal system—the bones, muscles and joints that you count on to remain mobile throughout your life.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with weight loss, call or visit our office today. As chiropractic physicians, we have a unique, holistic approach to health and healthcare. We can help!

Seven Deadly Health Sins

Seven Deadly Health Sins

jolly-roger-200-300Behind many of the debates about healthcare in the US—its availability and cost as well as its effectiveness—is an important phenomenon. The demands being placed on healthcare providers are growing and changing (at least in large part) because of the way we live our lives.  Day-to-day choices we all make are contributing to a wide variety chronic health conditions that are sometimes referred to as “lifestyle diseases.” And while our healthcare system is very good at treating acute medical problems, it is not very good at preventing or treating chronic ones.

In many cases, it’s fair to say that the health we get in the future is a result of the lifestyle decisions we make in the present. With this idea in mind, it’s also fair to ask whether it makes good sense to ask our healthcare system to single-handedly save us from the effects of our own unhealthy habits. This is why, as chiropractic physicians, we work closely with our patients to help them be more active in their own health by taking more responsibility for their own lifestyle choices.

So which lifestyle choices are causing the most trouble? While we could obviously point out harmful behaviors like smoking, drinking too much alcohol or using harmful drugs, the behaviors that really need more attention from most people are much more fundamental. We call these the “Seven Deadly Health Sins” that compromise longevity and quality of life.

Sitting Too Much. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have a sedentary lifestyle are in danger of things like “obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.” A recent study showed that those who spend a large amount of time in front of a television or other forms of screen entertainment had a roughly 50% greater risk of death from any source.

Eating Too Much Fat, Sugar and Salt. The typical American diet not only contains too many calories, it’s also too high in fat, salt and sugar. In excess, these ingredients (all too common in processed foods) trigger a wide range of complex, self-inflicted health problems.

Sleeping Too Little. According to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation, a combination of daily stress and lifestyle choices (including nighttime activities as well as eating and exercise habits) is causing more than a third of the U.S. population to get fewer hours of sleep than they need.

Drinking Too Little Water. Most of us would be much better off if we drank lots more water and fewer sugary drinks. While there’s no real evidence that Americans are chronically dehydrated (despite all the hard work of bottled water companies), there is plenty of evidence that the things we are drinking aren’t particularly good for us from a nutritional point of view.

Mismanaging Stress. Our relationship with stress is a complicated one. The simple truth is that stress itself isn’t inherently positive or negative for our health. The thing we actually have to pay attention to is how we respond to it. While the physiological stress response we’ve inherited through evolution is designed to help us confront immediate physical dangers, most of today’s threats aren’t immediate or physical. The result of this mismatch is that our “fight or flight” response may stay switched on for much longer periods than nature intended. This in turn can cause a variety of health problems. Since stress is an inevitable part of modern life, it’s important for us to embrace the positive view of stress that helps us grow and develop while also learning how to turn off the harmful effects.

Ignoring Posture Problems. The way we carry ourselves while sitting or standing can have lasting implications for our musculoskeletal health. The bad news is that poor posture can reduce our strength, flexibility, and balance and—at the extreme—can cause pain and even compromise organ function. The good news is that posture problems can be corrected once they’ve been recognized. Even better, it’s possible to prevent them by developing good habits in the first place.

Putting Off Preventive Healthcare. The best time to pay attention to your health is while you still have it. Unfortunately, many Americans still cling to the reactive “sickness care” model and don’t take full advantage of the expanded preventive care options that have been made available to them as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates the ACA made 76 million Americans “newly eligible” for free preventive care. But a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll in March 2014 revealed that only 43% of the population was aware of the change, meaning that many people are probably foregoing preventive care out of cost concerns. Remember—it’s always better to recognize and treat a health problem early before it grows worse and becomes more difficult to address!

By avoiding these Seven Deadly Health Sins, you can also avoid many chronic health conditions. If you or someone you care about has health questions or concerns, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’re here to help!

Why Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop the Obesity Epidemic

Why Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop the Obesity Epidemic

Girl on the couch
Girl on the couch

It’s no secret that many Americans’ eating habits have taken a turn for the worse over the past 20 years in terms of the quantity, quality and combination of foods we eat. A number of diet-related trends have converged to help create a perfect storm of expanding waistlines:

  • Beginning in the mid-1970s, government nutritional guidance (backed by the limited scientific data that was available at the time) triggered a nationwide shift away from foods with saturated fat (such as milk, eggs and meat). However, it also inadvertently ushered in the age of “fat-free” marketing that gradually drove Americans toward a diet high in complex carbohydrates.
  • The rise of convenience-oriented packaged foods made home cooking seem unnecessary. As a result, a generation (or maybe two) grew up without planning meals, shopping for ingredients or preparing food. While it’s easy to focus on the loss of these basic skills, something else was lost, too—control over the contents of the food itself. In adopting diets built on ready-made meals, American ouseholds left decisions about fat, sugar and salt as well as chemical additives to the chefs in corporate kitchens.
  • A new culture of snacking evolved that made eating a sort of parallel pastime—something that was done almost without thinking alongside other day-to-day activities. Plus, grab-and-go packaged food meant that the dining room was now anywhere you happened to be.
  • Supersize portions, value meals and double desserts slowly changed Americans’ ideas about how much food should be eaten at a single sitting. For much of the population, the new normal included many more calories than would have been common in the 1970s or 1980s.

But for all the evidence that the American diet has played a prominent role in the current obesity epidemic, there is also evidence that another factor may be even more important.

On average, Americans are LESS PHYSICALLY ACTIVE THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME in our history. Sweeping changes in the kinds of work we do and the way we do it, along with changes in how we get from place to place and how we spend our leisure time have meant that much of the population just doesn’t move around very much. We increasingly lead very sedentary lives.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine drives home this point. According to researchers at Stanford University who analyzed 20 years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a very sharp drop in leisure-time physical activity may be responsible for the general upward trend in obesity rates.

Dr. Uri Ladabaum, Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and lead investigator, noted that total daily calorie, fat, carbohydrate and protein consumption hasn’t actually changed much over the past 20 years but that the general level of physical activity has. “At the population level, we found a significant association between the level of leisure-time physical activity, but not daily caloric intake, and the increases in both BMI and waist circumference.”

The fall-off in physical activity over the past two decades is truly striking:

  • During the 1988-1994 period, the number of female American adults reporting no physical activity was 19.1%. During the 2009-2010 period, it was 51.7%.
  • The percentage of American men reporting no physical activity grew from 11.4% in the 1988-1994 period to 43.5% in the 2009-2010 period.

Over the same time frame, the incidence of obesity across the country has grown. While the average BMI has increased across the board, the most dramatic change has been among woman between the ages of 18 and 39.

An earlier study reported in the December 2013 Mayo Clinic Proceedings painted a similarly grim picture. Based on two years’ worth of data collected from sensors attached to 2,600 people, investigators concluded:

  • Men and women of normal weight exercised vigorously (think jogging or a brisk uphill hike) for less than two minutes a day. They engaged in moderate exercise (yoga or golf, for instance) about 2.5 to 4 hours per week.
  • By contrast, the average obese American man gets only 3.6 hours of vigorous exercise per YEAR, and the average obese American woman gets only ONE hour of vigorous exercise in the same period of time.

What’s happening here?

According to Edward C. Archer, a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “We’ve engineered physical activity out of our daily lives and that’s causing the health disparities that we have in this country.”

There is a very clear relationship between physical activity and your health—including your musculoskeletal health. But it’s also true that there’s a link between your musculoskeletal health and your ability to lead an active lifestyle. If you’re suffering from back, neck or joint pain, it can be very difficult to exercise. This in turn raises your risk of weight gain as well as your risk of other health problems.

We can help relieve musculoskeletal pain and restore your mobility. Just call or visit our office today!

 
Additional Resources

Lack of exercise, not diet, linked to rise in obesity, Stanford research shows. http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/07/lack-of-exercise–not-diet–linked-to-rise-in-obesity–stanford-.html

U.S. mothers, 1965 to 2010: More TV, less housework leading to a more obese population. http://www.sph.sc.edu/news/mothers_inactive.html

‘Get Up!’ or lose hours of your life every day, scientist says. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-get-up-20140731-story.html

 

 

 

 

Unrealistic Expectations for Gluten-Free Diets?

Unrealistic Expectations for Gluten-Free Diets?

breadIt is official: the gluten-free diet is the latest “magic bullet” weight-loss craze. Seeing shelf after shelf filled with gluten-free foods in grocery stores is becoming the new norm, which is great news for the relatively small number of people who truly suffer from gluten-intolerance (aka celiac disease). But gluten-free has become something much larger—the nation’s newest weight-loss love affair. However, evidence suggests that a gluten-free diet by itself is largely useless if you’re trying to lose weight. So, this begs the question—do Americans now have unrealistic expectations when it comes to living gluten-free?

In a word, yes. According to the Wall Street Journal, about a third of the American populace is avoiding gluten, a protein that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough that is often found in grains such as wheat. While about 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease, sales of foods labelled “gluten-free” have exploded and are now worth an estimated $23 billion per year. Many people take up this diet with expectations of losing weight—but they may find themselves disappointed.

As US Newsreports, “But there’s no hard evidence that a gluten-free diet is appropriate for weight loss or is any more effective at whittling waistlines than other diet plans. Most experts recommend it only for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, says David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.”

However, the article goes on to say, “Still, cutting out gluten can lead to weight loss, since the plan forces dieters to shun high-calorie refined carbohydrates. ‘Tell anyone to cut down on bread and pasta, and they’re likely going to drop calories and lose weight,’ Politi [Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C]says. But gluten-free is no weight-loss panacea, either. ‘If you’re going down the grocery aisle grabbing gluten-free cookies and pasta and bread, you probably won’t be as successful.’ A gluten-free brownie is still a brownie. Often, these products are packed with saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar to improve taste.”

Not only are many gluten-free products packed with unhealthful ingredients, they are often more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts—sometimes much more. This puts the gluten-free diet in the same category as other expensive fad diets that have given false hope to their followers. Instead, nutritionists agree, it is far better to live on a low-sugar diet that’s packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and low-fat dairy.

As WebMD puts it, “Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits. But the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all carbohydrates in the diet come from whole grain products.”

So unless you suffer from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you may consider saving your money and lowering your expectations for gluten-free. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again: there is no magic weight-loss bullet—at least not yet—and if you truly want to live a healthy lifestyle, proper diet and exercise is still the best way to go.

 

Young Children Pay a High Price for Screen Time

Young Children Pay a High Price for Screen Time

Little baby boy playing with TV remoteMany parents are occasionally thankful for the television—after all, it can serve as a low-cost, short-term babysitter while they cook or do housework. At the same time, however, many parents are concerned about the amount of television that their children watch—and for good reason. Statistics tell us that in America, children under six watch an average of two hours of TV a day, and children eight to 18 spend an average of four hours in front of a TV and often an additional two hours a day on computers or playing video games.

So what does all of this screen time mean for America’s children? Recent research published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that it is results in poorer well-being and sleep and that it contributes to childhood obesity.

In the first study, part of a larger research project called IDEFICS (Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants), researchers examined 3,604 children aged two to six to determine if there was a relationship between their electronic media use and their sense of well-being. They assessed the children based on six standardized indicators of well-being (including emotional problems, peer problems, self-esteem, family functioning, and social interactions) and compared the results to the number of hours they spent in front of a TV, computer, or video game screen. They found that increased media use predicted much poorer senses of well-being. TV was found to be more harmful than computer use, but overall they found that there was a 1.2- to 2.0-fold increase in emotional problems and poorer family functioning for each additional hour of media use.

A second JAMA Pediatrics study involving 1,713 Spanish children found that children who watched more than 1.5 hours of television per day had shorter sleep duration and began to suffer from sleep deprivation. Their sleep duration shortened with every extra hour of television watched over the 1.5-hour baseline. And in a third study, researchers found that increased media exposure resulted in sharply increasing BMI (Body Mass Index) scores, and thus a tendency toward childhood obesity.

So how much TV is too much? Every day more research comes out indicating that exposure to electronic media can have adverse effects on children—effects that can persist into adulthood.

As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of two not watch any TV, as the first two years of life are a critical time for brain development. Television and other electronic media can prevent exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, all of which are critical for social development. In addition, the AAP suggests that children older than two watch no more than one to two hours of electronic media per day.

Obesity Facts and Figures

Obesity Facts and Figures

big-belly-200-300

Obesity is fast becoming the number one health problem in the world, contributing to an increased risk of other diseases and putting a strain on national health budgets. Following are some interesting facts and figures related to obesity:

 

* About 17% of medical costs in the US are due to obesity and its related diseases, totaling an estimated $168 billion per year.
* Obesity adds about $2,800 to a person’s medical bills annually.
* An estimated 300,000 premature deaths in the US each year are caused by obesity.
* One third of US adults are obese, indicating a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
* If an 18-year-old remains obese throughout their adulthood, it will cost them $550,000.
* 80% of cases of Type 2 diabetes are related to obesity. The rate of diabetes has doubled in eight states since 1995.
* 70% of heart disease is obesity-related.
* Low-income women are more likely to become obese than high-income women. Over 33% of people earning less than $15,000 annually are obese, as opposed to a 24.6% rate of obesity in those earning $50,000 or more.
* The highest rates of obesity are found among non-Hispanic African Americans (44.1%), followed by Mexican-Americans (39.3%), Hispanics (37.9%) and non-Hispanic whites (32.6%). Asians have the lowest rate of obesity at 16.7%.
* In the last 30 years childhood obesity has tripled, from 6.5% in children aged 6 to 11 years to 19.6% today. The obesity rate in teenagers aged 12 to 19 years has increased from 5% to 18.1%.
* Of children who are overweight at age 10-15, 80% will be obese as adults.
* As a percentage of the population, the US has the highest number of obese people (33.9%), followed by Mexico (24%), the UK (23%), Slovakia (22.4) and Greece (22%).
* College graduates have an obesity rate of 20.8%, which is lower than the 29.5% rate of those who have only graduated high school.
* Obesity begins to decline after age 60. The population of those over age 69 has an obesity rate of 20.5%.
* The rate of obesity is increasing in the US. In 2007 only one state had an overall obesity rate of over 30%. In 2011, 12 states had a greater than 30% obesity rate.
* 40% of obese Americans aged 50 to 84 have osteoarthritis of the knee, caused by the wear and tear to the joints from excess weight stress. One extra pound of weight is equivalent to four pounds of stress on the knee.

Good health is a combination of many factors including your nutrition, preventative care, appropriate corrective care and the small choices you make every day in the course of living.

If you are overweight and would like to lose weight and/or learn more about how to eat for health and weight maintenance we can help! Our doctor supervised diet helps you safely lose weight while maintaining muscle mass. As a bonus, with the help of our weight loss coaches, you will learn nutritional and lifestyle skills that will serve you well for a lifetime! For more information, call our office at 406-652-3553 or go to www.healthyhabitsbillings.com.

If you have questions about this article, your general or spinal health, please ask. We are here to help!

google-site-verification: google27ea280976b3c539.html