Overweight and obese women who take oral contraceptives are 60 percent to 70 percent more likely to get pregnant while on the birth-control pill, respectively, than women of lower weight, according to new findings from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. (Related article: Birth control options for women)
The study, led by epidemiologist Victoria Holt, Ph.D., M.P.H., a member of Fred Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division, and funded by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, is the largest case-control study of its kind to examine the link between body-mass index and oral-contraceptive failure. The research was conducted in collaboration with Delia Scholes, Ph.D., a senior investigator at the Center for Health Studies at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle.
"The results of our study represent yet another reason why obesity is a health hazard," Holt said. "Overweight and obese women have a significantly higher risk of getting pregnant while on the pill than women of normal weight, and this translates into a substantial number of unplanned pregnancies." Among 100 women taking oral contraceptives for a year, Holt's study suggests that an additional two to four women will get pregnant due to being overweight or obese. (Related article: How to motivate an overweight spouse or family member to lose weight?)
"This higher risk of pregnancy also translates into a higher number of obesity-related complications of pregnancy, which range from gestational diabetes and high blood pressure to Cesarean delivery," Holt said.
Body-mass index, or BMI, is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. The World Health Organization divides BMI into four categories for both men and women: underweight (18.5 or lower), normal (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25 to 29.9) and obese (30 or greater). A BMI calculator is available on the MYNIPPON Lifestyle website.
"We found little difference or variation in the risk of contraceptive failure among women who fell into the first three quartiles of body-mass index, but the risk jumped up dramatically among women in the fourth quartile," said Holt, also a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine.
Holt and colleagues found the association between extra pounds and pill failure first surfaced among overweight women whose body-mass index was 27.3 or higher, which is equivalent to a 5-foot, 4-inch woman who weighs 160 pounds or more. These women faced a 60 percent greater risk of getting pregnant while on the pill. Those considered obese, with a BMI of 32.2 or greater, faced a 70 percent greater risk. (Related article: How to tell an overweight spouse to lose weight?)
While no one knows for sure why overweight and obese women experience a higher degree of oral-contraceptive failure than their thinner counterparts, several biological mechanisms could account for the effect.
One possible explanation is increased metabolism. "The more a person weighs, the higher their basal metabolic rate, which can shorten the duration of a medication's effectiveness," she said. Another possibility is that the heavier a person is, the more liver enzymes they have to clear medications from the body, causing a drop in circulating blood levels of the drug. A third theory is based on the fact that the active ingredients in oral contraceptives — the hormones estrogen and progesterone — are stored in body fat. "The more fat a person has, the more likely the drug is sequestered, or trapped, in the fat instead of circulating in the bloodstream," Holt said.
Another factor that may account for obesity-related pill failure is that today's oral contraceptives contain relatively low hormone levels compared to those first introduced four decades ago. "Hormone levels have decreased fivefold in an effort to reduce unwanted side effects ranging from weight gain to risk of blood clots and stroke," Holt said. "Today's pill dose is high enough for most women but may not be adequate for all."
So does this mean that overweight women who don't want to risk an unplanned pregnancy should demand a higher-dose pill? Not necessarily, Holt said. "Overweight women are more likely to have cardiovascular-disease risk factors than normal-weight women, and to increase the dose of contraceptive hormones might increase cardiovascular risks even more," she said. Instead, Holt recommends that overweight women who have completed childbearing consider a permanent form of birth control such as sterilization, and that overweight women who have not yet completed childbearing consider using a backup form of birth control while on the pill, such the condom or other barrier methods.
Another recommendation for heavy women on the pill is to lose weight, although this study did not specifically examine the impact of weight loss on the pill's effectiveness. "I think losing weight, if one is substantially overweight, is a terrific idea for many health reasons and a laudable goal," Holt said. "I also acknowledge that it is often difficult to do."
Recommended article: How to eat right?
Monday, December 27, 2004
What are resolutions?
We are not always sure what resolutions mean in real terms, but it can mean desires or goals for some people. Desires are those things that we want or would like to have, goals are those things we are willing to work to have. Do you have desires, dreams or goals? It is OK to have all of them.
A wish will read something like this: I would like to go to Paris this year.
An undefined resolution: I will go to London this year.
A goal (or resolution) will be something like this: I will go to Namibia in the summer of this year for three weeks.
How to reach your goal or resolution?
The way companies do it is through business plans or execution plans and you can take the same approach for your goals. These are the main elements: Define your goal. Assess what you have and what you need to reach your goal. Establish milestones to measure your progress and feed new information to keep up with changes in your life. Goals, as business plans, need to be put in writing and reviewed often. Let us take a closer look at these elements:
- You need to define the goal in specific terms so you can measure your progress. Example: Go to Utila in the spring for three weeks.
- Needs assessment. Determine what will you need in order to go to Barbados. You will need: money, time, and air ticket, someone to take care of your while you are there. How much money will you need? Perhaps you do not know. Well, you have to find out to see if this is a project you can take. Let’s assume you did some research on the Internet, you visited online travel sites and determined that you need at least $3,000 to be in St Lucia for 3 weeks on a moderate budget.
- Assets assessment. What do you have on hand? Vacation time available, $1,000, and a promise that your parents will take care of your home while you are out. You also know now that you are $2,000 short of cash. What can you do? You can save some money, you can borrow money or you can postpone your trip. Let’s say you decide to go and you will manage to get the money.
- Action plan. Now you are going to determine the logistics of the trip: how to get a good price for the air ticket, what types of hotels are available, etc. So you do more research, visit several travel websites and decide that by March 28, you would have completed your research and have a clear idea of the options. In April, you would like to start to research the activities that Cancun offers during that time of the year and you will buy a language book to learn some French. By August, you will need to buy the ticket to get a good price and on and on. This is an action plan. It has specific activities at specific times.
- Measure. What if you are running late with your goals? Well, how are you going to know if you are running late? This is why we need to be able to measure our activities. For example, if you want to lose weight (probably the most popular New Year resolution) you have to have clear milestones. One of this could be: lose 2 pounds a month. Control measurement: step up on the scale twice a month and monitor your progress. If you are not losing weight you must have a plan in place to correct that.
- Retro-feeding. Every two weeks read your goals and evaluate progress. If circumstances have changed, the goals maybe modified or adjusted to the new reality. Continuing with the Paris trip example the person may have an unexpected big expense and she can not have the money ready by August, when she was planning to travel. In that case, she changes the plan and moves it to go in November. Your goals may change and this is OK and some of them may need to be dropped altogether. That is also fine.
If you do not do research, do not develop an action plan and do not take corrective measurements as needed, the possibilities to reach your goals are very low. When you are accountable to yourself and organize that way, you can reach many goals. This is the reason people who attend support groups to lose weight are more successful than those who don’t. It may look like work, but goal setting can be fun and once you reach your goal, you will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment and you will be motivated to reach higher goals.
Have a great time setting goals and reaching them.
Recommended link: Better lifestyle resources
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons offers its Top 10 Hot Topics in Plastic Surgery.
- Teenage plastic surgery – If you believe everything you read, you might think more teenagers are having cosmetic surgery than are going to college. Contrary to popular belief, people 18 and younger make up only 4 percent of all cosmetic procedures. Although numbers have increased, teens are a small percentage of the total plastic surgery population.
- “Reality” television or programs like The Swan – For network executives, the recipe for high ratings is plastic surgery combined with reality television. Unfortunately, these shows can foster unrealistic and unhealthy expectations. Plastic surgery is real surgery with real benefits and risks.
- Body contouring following massive weight loss – Weight loss patients turn to plastic surgeons for chest reductions and upper arm, lower body, thigh, and lifts to eliminate excess skin and contour their smaller bodies. The ASPS predicts these procedures will continue to rise as Americans tackle the obesity epidemic.
- More injectables – Continuing an exciting trend which began with Botox in 2002, the FDA approves Sculptra, Hylaform Plus and Captique. Popularity of minimally invasive procedures continues to push demand for more options to smooth wrinkles for longer periods of time.
- Governor Schwarzenegger terminates California oral surgeon bill – Proposed bill would have allowed oral surgeons to perform cosmetic plastic surgery. Patient safety triumphant against political pressure.
- The many uses of Botox – Beyond wrinkle smoothing, studies find it can be used for pain control following reconstruction, relief of migraine headaches and reduction of excessive underarm and palm sweating. Botox is FDA approved for use in forehead expression lines between the eyebrows (glabellar region). All other uses are considered off.
- Face transplant – Plastic surgeons make preparations to conduct the first face transplant in the United States. Surgeons believe they have found the correct mixture of immunosuppressive drugs to safely perform the procedure, but ethical questions remain.
- Cosmetic surgery tax – Politicians in New Jersey and Illinois believe they can balance budget deficits and fund state initiatives by taxing elective cosmetic procedures. What’s next for lawmakers – taxes on bariatric, lasik, and orthopedic procedures?
- Taboo of plastic surgery eroding for ethnic groups – More and more African American, Hispanic, and Asian people embrace plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons continue to hone techniques to maintain a patient’s ethnicity while enhancing features.
- Stem cells from fat? – Doctors can harvest and store adult stem cells from liposuction fat and successfully grow stem cells. While this advance is exciting, treatment of medical disorders using stem cells from liposuction has yet to be developed.
Recommended articles: Plastic surgery among men
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Full coverage bra
If you are getting ready for a "normal" day, then it is best to have the maximum coverage and support and that is what a full-coverage bra provides. Many bras come with extra wide straps and may have an underwire support system as well to give the support that is very important for women with C or larger cup size.
High cut bra
If you have a large cup size and often find that you have side spillover (which can look quite tacky), a high cut bra is for you. The side panels go right up to your armpit and then you do not have to worry about any fat spilling out. Perfect for women with large cup size.
Only recommended for special occasions and dresses that require it since these bras provide little or no support. What you can do instead is to buy a bra with invisible (made from a plastic material) straps or go with a convertible bra that you can wear with or without straps . Some of these convertible bras allows you to remove just one or both straps or even cross them depending on what you are wearing.
Bras for backless dresses
Backless dresses are now very popular but you don't have to go without a bra. These bras (e.g. NuBra) essentially stay on with the help of an adhesive and excellent alternatives to wearing a bra and letting the straps show (which some women find rather tacky).
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
There are several reasons why desire goes down over the years and you must try to find out what is the reason. It may also involve consultation with a doctor to find out if she has a physical or mental condition. Depression, stress, and worry are some of the psychological reasons that can affect mood and desire. Similarly, biochemical changes in the body can have disastrous consequences on desire.
That brings us to the topic of menopause. Many men forget that while they are largely unaffected the special woman in their life is starting to see the gradual impact of menopause. Even many women do not realize that they are entering the menopause phase. Desire in this phase drops rapidly and women just do not know what to do or even if there is a problem.
So what can men do?
- Talk to your wife/partner first. Find out if there is anything wrong.
- If you can not find out the reason by talking as a couple, you must schedule an appointment with your family physician, who can then recommend if you should have more tests or see a marriage counselor.
- Learn more about menopause. There is plenty of information on the Internet on how couples can deal with menopause. More research will help you better deal with it.
- Finally, be there for each other. It is understandable that you are frustrated but once you talk as a couple you will be able to figure out a way.
Recommended article: How to have a strong relationship?
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
But take a look at what the plastic surgeons have found: Liposuction patients are 3 times more likely to gain weight without adhering to a proper diet and 4 times more likely to gain weight without regular exercise, says a study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Patients who do not follow a healthy lifestyle after liposuction may be considerably less happy with their results, the study also found.
“If patients want positive long-term results from liposuction, they have to be willing to eat a proper diet and exercise. Ultimately, it’s a lifestyle choice,” said Rod Rohrich, MD, ASPS past president and author of the study. “This is especially important to remember as we approach the holiday season when people are invited to more parties and social activities where diet and exercise may be overlooked.” (Related article: Weight management tips for the holidays)
According to the study, patients play a considerable role in the long-term success of their liposuction results. Not only are patients who have poor eating and exercise habits more likely to gain weight after liposuction, those who do gain weight have a 62 percent chance of an increase in clothing size, causing them to be 10 times more likely to be dissatisfied with their results – compared to patients who eat a healthy diet and exercise.
In contrary, patients who adhere to a proper diet after liposuction are two times more likely to lose weight. These patients have a 96 percent chance of a decrease in clothing size, causing them to be 15 times more likely to be satisfied with their results and have improved long-term outcomes, the study concludes.
“Liposuction should be used as an adjunct to living a healthy lifestyle rather than as a weight loss tool,” said Dr. Rohrich. “My practice turns away approximately one in five patients requesting liposuction because they are not appropriate candidates - many are 50 to 70 pounds overweight. Patients need to understand that they are responsible for the long-term results of their liposuction by adopting and continuing a healthy lifestyle.”
In the study, which surveyed more than 200 patients, 43 percent gained weight after having liposuction, with the majority gaining weight after six months; 25 percent lost weight; while 32 percent experienced no change in weight.
Recommended article: Tummy tuck plastic surgery procedure
Monday, December 13, 2004
It should come as no surprise to you that after the holidays you might gain a couple of pounds. With all the parties to attend and delicacies to eat at home (along with the kids), it is natural to consume a few more calories than you normally would. Even the most health-conscious people gain some weight.
Here are a few simple weight management tips so that you can keep your weight under control during the holiday season:
- Avoid hidden calories in salad dressings and snacks.
- Eat only those foods that really deserve to be eaten - don't eat just because the food is there.
- Keep the calories for what you really like. Do not waste the opportunity by consuming calories eating a bad cheesecake, stale cookies, or bad supermarket-bought eggnog. Keep those calories for you favorite cookies and desserts.
- Concentrate on eating the foods you really enjoy no matter how fattening they are. If you keep this tip in mind, you will not be tempted by junk foods that are in front of you.
- Be alcohol wise. In general, cocktails have more calories than wine and beer. Unless you truly love a cocktail drink, think about having wine, beer or pure liquor on the rocks. Remember that alcohol itself has calories; so drink in moderation.
- Keep your schedule as normal as possible. It is a time of stress and rush but keep your meal schedule, do not skip meals, since if you are not careful about your meal times, you will only eat more of those awful snacks in the office kitchen.
- Do not forget to exercise. Remember what Goldie Hawn once said in a movie, “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.” Shopping is better than eating, so keep walking in the mall, and go to all the shops. Or buy your gifts online and go to the gym.
- Remember that stress makes you fat. So enjoy the holidays and exercise regularly; you will not gain weight.
Recommended article: How to develop the will power to lose weight?
Source: Lindisima Latinas
Friday, December 10, 2004
So many times has the question been asked, "So what does a woman want?" It is a valid question to ask since it is the woman who is the inscrutable one and the man does not understand her. But nothing is as simple as it seems. Now women are asking a similar question, "So what does a man want?" Or in other words, what are the qualities a man looks for in a women, and what characteristics do men find attractive in women.
The simple reality is that like women, there is no one type of man. Men have very different opinions as well, all the way from those that are basically looking for a maid-servant (cook, clean, take care of the kids, and provide some intimacy when they want) to those that want a true "friend" (think of a woman as a partner in the pursuit of happiness, share the work, and even enjoy shopping with women). But based on our research, here are a few things that almost all men seek in a woman:
Beauty: Now mind you, it does not mean that there is any uniform standard of beauty, but in general men want a beautiful woman. Some of the characteristics that define beauty in the minds of men are a proportionate body, clear skin, a sense of style, and a pleasant demeanor. To this you can also add characteristics that are of secondary importance: full lips, shiny hair and good muscle tone.
Personality: There are many misconceptions among men about women but you can definitely erase that by having a positive attitude and giving men their space. Just because men want their space it does not mean that they don't love you or they are having an affair. So try not to be intrusive or pester them. Of course all men seem to look for common interests, optimism, and comparable levels of intelligence.
Communication style: There is no doubt that men are less emotional creatures than women and they feel uncomfortable when they have to deal with their own emotions or those of others. This is also reflected in their communication patterns. They say things without getting too emotional and can come across as harsh and direct. As a woman, you need to appreciate this and also try to be more direct with them than give hints. Men are poor at receiving hints.
Recommended articles: Doing "IT" to make him happy
Sunday, December 05, 2004
One would think that exercise more, and you are all set. Unfortunately, it is not, because inside us we have way too many problems that stop us from doing these two simple things. That is why there is multi-billion dollar weight loss industry.
Let us talk about a classic example provided by David. He says, "I am trying to lose weight (about 25 lbs.). I tell myself this is what I am going to do from now on. Then I wake up next morning and eat 4 donuts. I am supposed to follow a plan. I tell myself everyday "I will do it tomorrow." I think I have been doing that for 5 months. But the problem is if I did follow the plans I could have been skinny in that 5 months. ARGGGG. I can't stop eating. Especially SODA. Just can't stop. Can you help me?"
David (and all the other men and women like him who do this), you have plenty of company. The reason America has an obesity problem is that many Americans like you lack the will-power to do two simple things. While we take enormous pride in being a people with the CAN-DO attitude, when it comes to our personal health, we do a terrible job.
Losing weight is not rocket science and in most cases you need no fancy diets or trips to expensive gyms. In fact, just making minor changes in your diet (cut back on fat, sugar, and carbs; and portion control) can do wonders. If you combine that with even moderate exercise, for instance, running a couple of times a week in a park, will do a lot of good. Other than that, drink a lot of water and keep smiling. MYNIPPON.com has found that those people who join an online program like eDiets or eFitness or South Beach Diet find it much easier to manage their diet since the computer does the hard work and you simply follow the instructions.
But how to get the will-power to do it?
- First, you have to make sure you understand why you want to lose weight. Is it because you want to look better or become healthier or look younger or some combination of these and other reasons? Once you know that you will be able to better visualize what you will look like when you achieve the results. And that is a great way to increase your will power.
- You also have to want it so bad that the will power will come automatically.
- Set a final goal for yourself and then a few small, reasonable goals. For example, if you want to lose 25 lbs in 6 months and then try to lose about 5 pounds each month and when you achieve your goal each month, reward yourself. Similarly, when you achieve your final goal, reward yourself by taking a trip or buying that perfect suit that you can now wear or start dating different type of people (if you are single).
- Find a close friend or partner or family member to be your mentor to help you stay motivated all along and to monitor you if you miss your target. Give them full freedom to tell you exactly as they feel so that they can be honest with you.
- Finally, do it for yourself. While your good looks and good health will help you in many other ways, think of it as a personal challenge that you can overcome and learn from it about self-discipline and control.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Indeed, it is quite obvious that Dr. Perricone is pushing those products aggressively. That is where he makes money. The book "The Perricone Promise: : Look Younger, Live Longer in Three Easy Steps" is merely the brochure (one that you have to pay for) to sell the products that can cost hundreds of dollars a month.
MYNIPPON research shows that the diets and other habits that Dr. Perricone are good ones. While these have been known for centuries (for instance, the emphasis that he places on herbs and spices is directly lifted from Ayurveda texts), he has done a great job putting it all together in a form that any one can follow.
Should you buy the neuropeptide products?
Our recommendation is that you buy it with caution and be realistic about the results. If you can afford to follow the complete program, please go ahead and do it but remember that Dr. Perricone is not guaranteeing results. He is only stating that in independent tests, people saw results. However, that allows him a lot of leeway if you do not see any results at all.
We could not come up with any research (neither on Dr. Perricone's website nor in other medical journals) that establishes a clear relationship with applying peptides on the skin and getting better skin. As you might know, peptides and neuropeptides are chemicals that produced internally by the body for a variety of purposes but no research shows that if you put them on your face, you will become younger.
Dr. Perricone is not the first one to put peptides in personal care products. Hundreds of other products already contain a variety of peptides.
In conclusion, our recommendation is that if you follow the Perricone approach and make a gradual transition to a healthier lifestyle, you will see results even without neuropeptides.
Recommended article: Anti-aging solutions