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9 Reasons to Lose Weight That Have Nothing to Do with Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans

9 Reasons to Lose Weight That Have Nothing to Do with Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans

Exercise as Medicine: Spotlight on Walking

Exercise as Medicine: Spotlight on Walking

Family walking a dirtroadDo you want to become healthier and stay healthy longer? Take a walk. That is the message of two important new studies.

In the first, from Tel Aviv University in Israel, researchers found that a simple aerobic program based on walking was as effective in alleviating lower back pain as muscle-strengthening programs that required specialized rehabilitation equipment. The researchers recruited 52 patients with chronic lower back pain, and assigned half of them to complete a six-week, clinic-based muscle-strengthening program, exercising under supervision two to three times a week. The other half of the patients spent the six weeks of the study walking for 20-40 minutes two to three times a week.

According to study leader Dr. Michal Katz-Leurer, in research published in the journal Circulation, the walking program was “as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic.” He explained that when people walk, their abdominal and back muscles are forced to work in a similar way as when they complete rehabilitation exercises targeting those areas. And unlike rehabilitation, which requires specialized equipment and expert supervision, walking is an activity that can be performed alone, and easily fit into a person’s schedule.

In the second study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed data collected on the activity and sitting habits of 36,000 older men, over a period of 24 years. The researchers determined how much time the men spent sitting, performing other activities, and walking, and whether they walked at an easy, average, or brisk pace. What they found was that even a little walking each week significantly lowered the risk of hip fractures in men over 50.

Over the period of the study, which was published in in the American Journal of Public Health,  546 hip fractures occurred, 85% of which were from “low trauma” events such as slipping, tripping, or falling from a chair. The study data indicates that the more the men walked, and the more vigorously they walked, the lower their risk of hip fracture was as they aged. Walking over four hours per week was identified as the point at which the most significant benefits occurred, providing a 43% lower hip fracture risk than in men who walked only one hour a week.

Study author Diane Feskanich says about her findings, “It’s well known that physical activity helps to prevent hip fractures, that it helps to build bone and muscle tone. It can help with balance, too. One thing we’re pointing out here is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be strenuous activity. A lot of studies have focused on the benefits of strenuous activity, but we found walking alone helped to prevent hip fractures, and when you come down to it, older people are often more comfortable with walking.”

 

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!

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

 

 

 

 

Dieting in the U.S.—A Statistical Snapshot of What Works and What Doesn’t

Dieting in the U.S.—A Statistical Snapshot of What Works and What Doesn’t

measuring waistIf there is one thing that Americans are obsessed with, it’s dieting. Just turn on any television and you are bombarded with ads for weight loss drinks, programs and foods that are guaranteed to have you looking slim and trim in a matter of weeks. But given the enormous amount of money spent on the quest for a smaller waistline (upwards of $69 billion each year), the growing obesity epidemic suggests that diets generally do not generally work.

Following are a few facts about dieting in the US:

  • At any given time, 50% of women and 25% of men are on a diet.
  • Dieters lose between 5% and 10% of their starting weight within the first six months, but 66% of them gain it back within a year, and 95% of them have regained all the weight they lost, and more, within 5 years.
  • The average diet costs 50% more than what the average American spends on food each week.
  • Between 40% and 60% of American high school girls are on a diet at any given time.
  • Both men and women who participate in a formal weight loss program gain significantly more weight over a two-year period than those who do not participate in a formal program.

Dieting is actually unhealthy. Studies have shown that repeatedly gaining and losing weight causes damage to the immune system and increases rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. This is not to say that there is nothing you can do to lose weight, but it’s important to find a way of eating that does not involve dieting.

What does seem to work, according to the most recent research, is changing what we eat. In contrast to what we have heard for years, a calorie is not just a calorie. One calorie of sugar is not metabolized by the body in the same way as one calorie of broccoli. The first raises insulin levels, causing that calorie to be stored as fat, and the second does not, so it gets used as immediate energy, along with providing important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the effects of three different types of diet consisting of the same number of calories: a standard low-fat diet (60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat), an ultra-low-carb (Atkins) diet (10% carbs, 30% protein, 60% fat) and a low-glycemic diet (40% carbs, 20% protein, 40% fat). The low-fat dieters fared worst. The Atkins dieters burned 350 more calories per day than the low-fat dieters, and those following the low-glycemic diet burned 150 more calories per day than their low-fat diet counterparts. However, the Atkins type diet causes inflammation and raises cortisol, which can damage the heart, so your best bet is to follow a diet consisting mostly of low-glycemic foods.

Although the percentage of carbs in the low-glycemic diet were just slightly less than those in the low-fat diet, those carbs consisted of vegetables, fruit, legumes and minimally processed grains, whereas the low-fat diet included processed foods. Processed foods have had many of the compounds removed (such as fiber) that slow the release of sugar into the blood. A diet consisting of whole foods, minimally processed grains and moderate amounts of fat is still delicious, and you won’t have to feel that you are starving yourself. Over time you will find that you are slowly losing weight, and in a way that is healthy and more likely to become permanent.

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!