One in five women are doing no exercise at all, according to new statistics from Cancer Research UK's Race for Life, supported by Tesco. The research shows that less than a third of women are doing the recommended levels of exercise, despite the fact that almost half of women know that taking regular exercise can reduce their risk of some cancers and is critical for good health overall. A fit body is also extremely helpful in attracting the right kind of men and keeping your man interested if you are already in a relationship.
Of those surveyed, almost half perceive themselves to be overweight or obese. Excess body weight can substantially increase the likelihood of being diagnosed with the disease. The data is strongest for colon cancer with research showing that regular exercise can cut the risk of the cancer by up to 50 per cent. There is also evidence that regular physical activity may help prevent lung and endometrial cancer. The most effective way of maintaining a healthy body weight is by combining a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in foods that are high in fat and sugar with regular physical activity.
In terms of diet, which is linked to around a third of all cancers, only one in three women are eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day. And, despite intense publicity about the dangers, almost a third of women surveyed smoke. (Related article: How to quit smoking?)
Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Cancer Information at Cancer Research UK, says, "We are very concerned by the results of this survey which show that, in many areas, women are making lifestyle choices that are likely to increase their risk of cancer. Many people think that cancer is purely a matter of chance but in reality at least half of all cancers are preventable. We can reduce our own risk of cancer and we can do this throughout our lives."
Source: Cancer Research UK
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
The circumference of a man’s waist is a better predictor of his risk of developing type 2 diabetes than his body mass index (BMI), which is a weight-to-height ratio, or waist-to-hip ratio alone. This finding, published in the March 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is based on data collected from 27,270 men tracked over 13 years who participated in the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. (Related article: How to lose weight fast?)
Men who had larger waists (assessed using waist circumference and waist-hip ratio) or higher overall body fat (indicated by BMI) had a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The researchers grouped the study participants into five groups according to their waist size. Compared to those in the group with the smallest waists (29-34 inches), the other groups (34.3-35.9 inches, 36-37.8 inches, 37.9-39.8 inches, 40-62 inches) were 2, 3, 5 and 12 times more likely to develop diabetes, respectively. Similarly, risk was 2, 3, 4 and 7 times greater when waist-hip ratio was measured in men; and 1, 2, 3 and 8 times greater when BMI was measured. (Related article: Losing weight easily)
“Both BMI and waist circumference are useful tools to assess health risk,” said the study’s lead author, Youfa Wang, PhD, MD, assistant professor with the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “But abdominal fat measured by waist circumference can indicate a strong risk for diabetes whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his BMI.” (Related article: Tummy tuck)
The authors suggest that the currently recommended waist circumference cutoff of 40 inches for men may need to be lowered. “Many of the men who developed type 2 diabetes had measurements lower than the cutoff,” explains Wang, “and the risk associated with waist circumference increased at a much lower level.” (Related article: How to weight train?)
While nearly 80 percent of the men in this cohort who developed type 2 diabetes could be identified using a BMI of 25—the cutoff for overweight—only half (50.5 percent) had a waist circumference greater than or equal to 40 inches—the cutoff recommended by the National Institutes of Health. (Related article: Benefits of alpha lipoic acid)
Men with waist circumference of 40 inches or greater and who also fell into the obese category with a BMI of 30 or greater were at more than twice the risk to get type 2 diabetes as were those who had a high BMI or a high waist circumference alone. In addition to measuring BMI, the investigators recommend that physicians and researchers measure waist circumference instead of the waist-to-hip ratio because it is a better measure of central obesity for predicting the risk of type 2 diabetes and is subject to fewer measurement errors. (Related article: Diets for losing weight)
The study authors also urge that more research on this topic be conducted with cohorts that include women and different ethnic and racial groups, since the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study only followed a cohort of largely white, professional men who are likely to be healthier than the average American.
“Comparison of abdominal adiposity and overall obesity in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes among men” was written by Youfa Wang, Eric B. Rimm, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett and Frank B. Hu.
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Sunday, March 20, 2005
A recent study determines that obesity currently reduces life expectancy by approximately four to nine months. The researchers also predict that the rapid rise in obesity among children and teenagers in the past 30 years will have life-shortening effects in the future -- perhaps enough to offset any improvements in longevity from anticipated advances in biomedical technology. (Related article: Health emergency developing in the USA)
Researchers also believe the life-shortening effect of obesity could rise so rapidly in the United States -- from two to five years in the next 50 years -- that it may eventually exceed the current life-shortening effects of cancer or ischemic heart disease. The findings are contrary to what some scientists predict about human life expectancy, which assumes that past increases will continue indefinitely. Most forecasts of life expectancy are based on historical trends, but the authors conclude that such estimates fail to consider the obesity epidemic. (Related article: How to lose weight easily?)
Jay Olshansky and his colleagues argue that current extrapolation models used to predict life expectancy do not take into consideration the health status of people currently alive. Longevity predictions are crucial for health policy and for economic policy as well. "One of the consequences of our prediction is that Social Security does not appear to be in nearly as bad a shape as we think," Olshansky said. "The obese may be inadvertently 'saving' Social Security, but the obese themselves and the health care system that cares for them will pay a very heavy price in terms of higher death rates and escalating health care costs."
To estimate the current impact of obesity on life expectancy, the researchers calculated how much longer people would live if obesity did not exist. To do this, they used recently published health statistics and assumed that everyone who is currently obese acquired the body mass index of people who have the lowest risk of death. (Related article: Lose weight, have fun)
By calculating years-of-life-lost due to obesity and combining that with estimates of the prevalence of obesity in younger generations, the authors were able to illustrate that in the coming decades the risk of death from obesity-related causes is about to rise. The hardest hit will be minorities, because of limited access to health care and because they have experienced the most rapid increases in obesity in recent years, according to the authors. (Related article: Diets for happy weight)
It is well documented that obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other complications. Obesity and overweight are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. And the largest increases in obesity have occurred among children and minorities. (Related article: Makeovers are not just about losing weight)
Body weight is affected by many genetic, psychological and environmental factors that influence diet or physical activity levels, says Dr. David Ludwig, associate professor and director of the Obesity Program at Children's Hospital Boston and a co-author of the study. For children in particular, fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages and other high-calorie/low-quality junk foods are major contributors to obesity.
"These adverse changes in diet have been driven by a multi-billion dollar marketing campaign by the food industry aimed at young children," said Ludwig. "Cutbacks in funding for regular, mandatory PE classes and limited insurance reimbursement for obesity prevention and treatment are also contributory."
The researchers predict that unless effective interventions are developed to reduce obesity, children today may live less healthy and shorter lives than their parents. "In addition to the enormous economic costs of obesity, the personal toll is incalculable," Ludwig said. "The rapidly escalating prevalence of childhood obesity and its most feared complication, Type 2 diabetes, raises the prospect of heart attack becoming a common condition of young adulthood."
The authors expect that this study will raise awareness of the importance of increased funding for obesity research and treatment, especially in children. They also point out that new investment into the Social Security system, while at the same time under-funding obesity prevention and treatment, is not sound economic or public health policy.
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Friday, March 18, 2005
Do you want to proudly show your body in a bikini in summer? Are you ready to firm up your body, burn some calories, and eat better? It is easier than you think. Here is some advice that will not fail you:
- Start working out at least four times a week; five times is even better.
- Twice a week, do strength training, preferably at the gym. It will take about 40 minutes to do a complete body workout; that’s it. Only 40 minutes; maybe less.
- Do cardio twice or thrice a week. Do an activity that will give you fast results, such as jogging, fast energetic walking on a treadmill using the incline, rope jumping, spinning or kick boxing. The more cardio you do, the more calories you will burn. (Related article: Lose weight and have fun)
- Go easy on refined carbohydrates, for example, rice, white flour, potatoes, sugar, and pasta. Try to avoid them and eat only in moderation if you have to.
- Avoid processed foods, including processed cheeses, pastas, etc.
- Eat breakfast regularly and try something healthy (and inexpensive) like homemade oatmeal (just buy the ingredients separately in a health foods store).
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- Go easy on fried foods. Use non-hydrogenated oils and take a supplement of either fish oil, or even better, flaxseed oil.
- Use girdles to get the right body shape.
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Thursday, March 17, 2005
One reason why truly overweight people fail to lose weight is that the task seems so big. When you are overweight by 50 lbs or more, it seems so overwhelming that you find it hard to even get started. So what do we suggest? Keep your goal small. How about one ounce (or whatever unit of weight you use in your country) at a time? (Related article: Lose weight and have fun too)
Small steps, big rewards? Indeed, it is possible. Robert Maurer, a psychologist, has written a book based on his experience about how to reach your goals by taking small steps. The book “One small step can change your life: The kaizen way workman” explains how the plan works.
Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “continuous improvement.” It is used in manufacturing systems in Japan and many other countries, including the United States. It is a key philosophy of how business is done in Japan. The author believes that if we divide large projects into small steps and take them one at time, we can reach even the biggest goals in our lives. (Related article: Japanese diet for weight loss)
The story is that when Robert Maurer decided to lose weight, he did not follow a complex diet or fitness program. Instead, he decided to throw out the first French fry on his plate. Eventually, it became two, then three French fries, or a tiny bit of whatever other food he was eating. He cut down the portions little by little. (Related article: Oprah's bootcamp)
In this way Dr. Maurer lost 45 pounds in 18 months and became a living example of the premise of his book. Kaizen works very well in quality improvement, so Maurer took the concept to our lives.
The United States has traditionally preferred dramatic innovation. "Americans have this myth of the big change," Maurer says. Maurer says anxiety stops people from reaching their goals. He believes this destructive emotion paralyzes the cortex, the thinking area of the brain and center of creativity. If one begins by taking tiny steps, panic and anxiety can be sidestepped. Maurer in his book gives many examples on how small steps can bring big rewards if the person is persistent and increases the activities one step a the time. (Related article: How to overcome fears and anxiety?)
So buy a more accurate scale (the one that can also measure ounces and not just pounds) and get started. And just focus on an ounce at a time. It is up to you if you want to lose an ounce in a day or three days or a week, but what is important is that you can set a goal that is achievable and once you achieve it you can set another achievable goal. It will take you longer though, but you are guaranteed to produce results. And once you have lost the weight, apply the idea to other aspects of your life.
Tips on weight loss
Monday, March 14, 2005
Recent studies suggest that just moving around is a great way to lose weight. During the day, you have plenty of opportunities to move around. If you are trying to stop gaining weight, do follow some of the well-known tricks. For instance, take the steps instead of the elevator if you have only a few floors or at least take a few flights if you work in a skyscraper, walk to a colleague’s cubicle instead of calling, etc. Little by little you will burn calories. (Related article: Lose weight and have fun)
If you want to lose weight, but you hate working out, be flexible but consistent. Start small and increase your program as you progress. For example, do not wait to have a full half hour to workout. Do ten minutes, but then do it everyday. Increase time and speed as you progress but always workout. (Related article: How to lose weight fast?)
Cut your portions, especially of bad foods. If you cut the size of your portions, you will be eating less calories. Let’s say you cut the portion by one third, you will automatically be cutting your calorie intake by one third.
Include good foods in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are good for you. If you learn to cook your vegetables in a healthy way, you will be consuming valuable nutrients and potentially substituting high calorie foods by vegetables. (Related article: Healthy eating lifestyle)
Think positively. Do not think eating healthy is a challenge or a torture. Instead, think that eating healthy is loving yourself and pampering your body. A change in your point of view is crucial to changing bad habits.
If you drink more than one drink a day and you want to lose weight, you will have to reduce your alcohol intake. Even better, do it only once or twice a week or on special occasions only, or quit completely, if you can.
Drink water. 8 to 10 glasses a day. 75% of Americans are dehydrated; do not be one of them.
Eat your last meal early and then brush your teeth immediately. Apart from promoting good oral health and better looking teeth, you will also not eat junk after dinner. In Ayurveda, it is recommended that you must take a small walk after dinner. If you can get out then do it. If not, just walk inside your home. If you can not take a long walk, at least walk 100 steps. This allows the food to digest better and prevents your tummy from becoming huge.
Think you can. Be positive.
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Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Oprah Winfrey wants to help you lose weight. Certainly she know what it takes to lose weight. After years of fighting obesity, Oprah has reached the best figure she probably has had in her life. Oprah has a plan for us to lose weight: A weight loss boot camp. In O The Oprah magazine, the main article is about the details of Oprah’s boot camp to lose weight. (Related article: Lose weight, have fun)
The boot camp was Oprah’s take on the fitness program that she embraced about three years ago to become skinnier and healthier. The program was originally designed by the now star fitness trainer Bob Greene. The program was described in the magazine and it is also available on Oprah’s website.
Oprah is not kidding when she calls her program a boot camp. It really is one. A quick overview of the program is as follows:
- 12 weeks of about 1 to 2 hours of daily workouts
- A strict diet consisting of two weeks of proteins and veggies
- Second phase of proteins, veggies, and healthy carbohydrates
- The diet prohibits simple carbohydrates, or anything white, for example, rice, sugar, flour, potatoes etc., and alcohol.
Anybody will lose weight with such a program. That is, if you can follow it. It is tempting to get into a promising program that has already shown amazing results on Oprah herself. Here is what it takes to follow this program:
Iron willpower: Mental conviction that you can do it and you are going to do it. The first thing Oprah asks you to do is to sign a contract with yourself. This type of program is brutal and such a strong workout routine can be very, very tough on most people, especially if you are not only overweight, but also obese. The diet is a no-nonsense, low-carb diet. The first two weeks are very difficult especially if you are “addicted” to sweet foods. So this is not for the faint of heart.
Good physical condition: The workout program and diet require you to have good health. The workout program may need modifications if you, let’s say, have weak knees or similar health conditions. If you are not in perfect health, you can do it, but you may need some help.
The diet is very strict. Oprah is totally against consuming alcohol and eating anything white. She even said on her television program that she did not even try the delicious cake for her 50th birthday last year (the cake was considered as a work of art by many). Frankly to us (and we are health freaks), that is overdoing it. An occasional glass of wine or even a 4 ounces glass a few times a week is not going to spoil your diet and an occasional piece of cake, let’s say once a week, is not going to kill your diet either. There is no need for such strong requirements.
Our take on it is that if you are ready for an extremely tough program and have the time, this will be an excellent way to start a healthier life. You will lose weight, probably feel wonderful, and at the end, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
But if you are like the vast majority of people, this program only puts mental barriers to start to lose weight. It requires time that most people do not have, and imposes unnecessary rules that most people cannot follow.
If you do not have the time, the physical condition or the will power to take this program, but you still like some of the elements, most of the advice is part of Bob Greene’s books. These books have good advice and you can implement it as a whole or parts of it.
If you have been physically inactive for many years, then start little by little on your fitness routine. You will avoid both injury and disillusion. We have seen people who started walking fast for 5 minutes and ran out of breath. They continued working out and after one week did 7 minutes, and as time progressed, they became athletic and healthy. Yes, you can, even if the boot camp is to too hard for you.
We love Oprah, but we think the boot camp is not for most people.
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