A study by a Michigan State University epidemiologist finds that very few Americans are doing all they can to maintain a healthy life, a situation he said could have dire consequences if it doesn't change. The research of Mathew Reeves, which used nationally representative data from 153,000 adults and was published in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that only 3 percent undertook four basic steps that define a healthy lifestyle:
- Not smoking,
- Holding weight down,
- Eating right and
This is a very scary finding since we are already suffering from the worst obesity epidemic, health insurance costs are exploding, and quality of food available in the supermarket continues to decline.
Of the 153,000 respondents, only 3 percent participated in all four of what are termed healthy lifestyle characteristics, or HLCs. Looking at these HLCs individually, about
- 75 percent reported they didn't smoke;
- 23 percent included at least five fruits and vegetables in their daily diets;
- 22 percent took part in regular physical activity, which is defined as at least 30 minutes of activity a day, five or more times a week; and
- 40 percent maintained a healthy weight, which is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or less.
Reeves said that women tended to follow more of the HLCs than men, as did whites compared with minority populations. But no one group, he said, came even close to what is necessary to lead a healthy life.
According to Reeves, all of the HLCs defined in the study are controllable, so the million-dollar question is, why are only a tiny minority of adults able to follow a healthy lifestyle? He said that in order to get a large segment of the population to change its ways of living, it will be up to society as a whole to shift the cultural norms in terms of how it views healthy lifestyles. Here are some suggestions on how to have a healthy lifestyle:
- If you do smoke, consider quitting it as soon as you can. There is tremendous help available on how you can stop smoking.
- Manage your weight. You can do that simply by consuming calories that are in proportion to your lifestyle. And to lose the extra pounds, if you have them, is to exercise.
- Eat healthy. Without your realizing, a lot of the processed food that you buy in the grocery store is simply inedible. What you need to do is to buy raw food, cook it at home the healthy way, and eat in moderation.
- There is simply no excuse for not exercising. In fact you need not even go to the gym and waste money. You can do many exercises right at home or at work without spending a penny. For more exercise choices, you can look at pilates, yoga, rope jumping, aerobics, bellydancing, etc., simply buy the DVD or video and simple equipment, and workout right in your living room (or your hotel room when you travel).
Monday, April 25, 2005
Bellydancing is no longer just a dance that women enjoy for fun; on the other hand, as we have pointed out before in a series of articles, belly-dancing is now considered as a great way to lose weight, stay fit, and bring out your feminine side. (Related article: Bellydance for losing weight)
But bellydancing is not for everyone. Apart from being a very strenuous form of exercise for beginners, it is particularly hard on a woman's knees. That is why we have suggested that if you have knee problems, you should stay away from it.
Sandy, who has a bad left knee, is very interested in bellydance lessons. She asks, "I take Cortizone shots every three months but with certain movements, it hurts really bad. Would you recommend bellydancing for me? And do you think it would be safe for my bad knee. My (male) doctor who knows nothing about bellydancing and can never appreciate how much I want to do it, simply keeps telling me to walk. Please advise."
As we said in the article, bellydancing is tough on the knees and it is best to discuss this with your doctor before you decide to do it. However, it may be OK to start with simple moves and stop when it hurts. Also stay away from those moves that seem to put undue pressure on your knees.
And since you may not have this freedom in a formal class, try to buy a DVD and do it at home so that you can enjoy it at your own pace and pick the moves that work for you. A bellydance teacher is likely to follow a set routine that will work for a small group of women. She may not be able to accommodate your individual requirements.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
It is great to have manicures, but if you cannot go to the spa or between professional manicures, following is a great way to pamper your fingers:
- Prepare some warm water and add a few drops of rose water or a few drops of lemon or lime juice. If you want to make it very special, then add some rose petals. Once that is done, get your favorite music or movie going and put a cup of herbal tea or any other of your favorite drinks at hand.
- Soak your hands for 5 to 10 minutes.
Nail oil treatment
- Apply nutritive oil on your hands. You may use almond oil, apricot oil, castor oil, any nut oils, and add, if you have, a few drops of Vitamin E (you may simply break a Vitamin E capsule). Massage in the cuticles and leave it on you hands.
- Push the cuticles with a nail stick.
- File your nails to your favorite shape.
- If you like to add polish, first clean the nails with alcohol or nail polish remover; otherwise the polish will come off easily.
- Do the treatment once a week if you want healthy strong nails.
Oh Honey…. My skin is so soft
Soft skin is an invitation to hug. Daily body lotion application and exfoliation are the key for soft and strong skin. This exfoliation treatment is both an exfoliant and a moisturizer treatment.
- ½ cup of raw turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
- ¼ cup of honey
- Add some essential oil to make even better. Our choice is rose or a citric smells, such as tangerine.
- Mix all ingredients.
- Scrub you body during the shower. Use one of those scrub gloves or natural loofah, if you have one. Put more on rough areas such as on the heels and elbows and in cellulite-prone areas such as the outer thighs and rear.
- Wash away with water. Your skin will glow and feel really soft.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Indeed, this term "backne" (sometimes also spelled as "bacne") is relatively new for most people. But it is simply acne that happens to be on your back rather than on the face. This article is going to talk about what you can do if you have backne.
If you have severe inflammatory acne on the back, the best thing to do is to visit a dermatologist. Only prescription treatments will help you. Another choice is to use alternative medicines, for which you may or may not even need a doctor’s prescription.
If you have less severe acne on the back, you can obtain good results with simple care and by taking over-the-counter medicines. Below is the most common treatment:
- Avoid bacterial growth and pore obstruction.
- Keep the area clean. If you workout or sweat, try to clean immediately. Keep your sheets clean as well.
- Keep the clothes that are in contact with affected areas always clean.
- Keep your hair clean, particularly if you have long hair that covers your back.
Cleaning and treating the affected area in the back to avoid acne or bacne
- Try to use a cleanser with either salicylic acid or glycolic acid. There are many options from the very popular Proactiv to many store brands at Walmart, CVS, Target etc.
- Put a light coat of a cream with benzoyl peroxide with 2.5% to 5% concentration. You can buy a branded product or a cheaper option is to simply buy the store brand. One of the brands is OXY 5. Try to wait a few minutes before putting your clothes on to avoid stains on the clothes.
Although controversial, the idea that nutrition and acne are related is back. In any case, eating healthy, with plenty of raw veggies and fruits, good carbohydrates, water and healthy proteins is not going to hurt you and it may actually even help you.
And of course, even with acne or backne, you are a diva. So smile and be happy.
Recommended article: Adult acne treatment
Sunday, April 10, 2005
So what can you do if you are seeking pain relief? Particularly from arthritis. First of all it is important to understand that every drug has side effects. So every time you choose to seek relief from pain using a drug, you are exposing yourself to some side effects.
The second point to understand is that painkillers do not cure the underlying disease. They merely make the pain go away. While in most cases you are probably already seeking a cure for the underlying disease, it is important that you just do not pop a painkiller every time you have pain. If you are experiencing regular pain, you need to get all the tests done to determine the source of the pain. (Related article: Pain relief options)
Chemicals alone do not provide relief from pain. Many people find pain relief from simple tricks like putting a cold mask on their eyes or taking a long hot bath. Or just by closing your eyes and relaxing for a few minutes while listening to soft music. A lot of instances of pain are related to lack of sleep or stress. Acupuncture is also being used to provide pain relief.
Finally, we Americans are obsessed with instant gratification. Indeed, pain can be quite painful but let us remember that we need to learn to bear some pain to protect our bodies.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
My diet is the best
Think about this. 66% of the adults living in the United States are overweight. What will happen to the diet industry if 90% of these people became skinny? Obviously their business will suffer big losses. There are many other conflicts of interest when it comes to the weight loss industry. It is in their best interest that you and I keep losing weight and gaining it back. We are not saying that they are trying to make us fat, but what they really like to see is people gaining and losing weight all the time so that you are always on a diet or some exercise program or whatever other new solution they have for that perfect body.
My diet saved me
How many celebrities (Anna Nicole Smith, Oprah, etc.) have published books and built big businesses based on the diet that saved them? Very many. Most of these diets, as a friend of mine said, “...make something simple very difficult.” To lose weight, plain and simple, we have to consume fewer calories than we burn. It is that simple. A lot of the celebrities’ diets are based on combining food groups, complex rules, and extremes. Examples of this are Mary Lou Henner and Suzanne Summers. Other diets are innovative, but somewhat questionable. An example is Carol Alt and her raw diet. She looks great, but did she ever look bad? No, she always has been beautiful and extremely skinny.
Avoid food groups
In the Atkins diet, carbs are out. In a low fat diet, of course, you must avoid fats. What the doctors say, though, is that you need all food groups in balance. To eat unhealthy carbs or fats is not only going to make us fat, but sick as well. You do not have to avoid the whole group; you simply have to eat in moderation and pick healthy options in each group. People who follow the Atkins diet often do not consume enough fiber, so they suffer constantly from constipation.
Some types of fats do make us sick. It is now known that the worst fats are hydrogenated fats, such as butter substitutes, margarine, vegetable shortenings, and many processed oils. One oil in this category that was thought to be good is canola oil, but now it is known that it is a highly processed oil. That may not be good for you. The best sources of good fats are cold press natural oils, fish oils, raw nuts, avocado, and flaxseed oil. Your body needs about 50 grams of fat daily. Some butter, especially clarified butter, is also good for your skin.
Die due to hunger and be a martyr
A healthy diet will keep you satisfied and it will keep your cravings under control. If you go hungry, you are more likely to abandon the diet. Also, if you eat at regular intervals, you will control your blood’s sugar level better and you will not suffer from hunger attacks.
If we in the USA are getting fat, it is because we have developed bad eating habits and are not doing enough physical exercise. Changing bad habits is not easy, but it is not impossible either. There is no one diet that works for everybody. If you are serious about keeping you and your family or future family healthy, it is worthwhile to invest time in learning about nutrition, fitness, how to cook healthy, what to eat, and how to avoid hunger attacks.
Recommended article: How to get a body that is ready for the beach?
- By Lisa Kramer