It was Hippocrates who first said “Let thy food be thy medicine.” And while it may have taken a few thousand years for this to really catch on, doctors in New York City have finally started applying this concept to their patients.
NYC docs involved in the Wholesome Wave program have now started writing prescriptions for fruits and vegetables for their patients battling obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high-cholesterol, and other weight-related diseases. Instead of drugs for weight loss, doctors provide these patients with a “prescription” of sorts to eat more vegetables and fruits.
It is this program’s goal to empower under-served and low-income communities with access to healthy foods in efforts to manage obesity and its resulting health conditions. In recent coverage from the New York Times, success stories are popping up throughout the 1200 different low-income families enrolled in the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or FVRx, in four major hospitals throughout New York City.
Most astonishing is that after just four months in the program, 40% of children successfully lowered their body-mass index (BMI) once they ate their prescribed fruits and veggies. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., RD, Best Life lead nutritionist
Here’s a secret from a nutrition insider: Even experts find weight loss fraught and confusing. A recent paper by The Obesity Society, a scientific organization devoted to researching causes and treatments for obesity, says as much. In an attempt to provide clarity, the organization published core guidelines. Not earth-shattering by any stretch, they provide an un-faddist view of the basics of weight control.
BMI is just a screening tool, not a diagnosis of 25 to 29.9 is considered “overweight” and 30-plus is “obese.” If you’re at 25-plus, you don’t necessarily need to lose weight. But if you also have a waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men, you likely do need to shed pounds.
Focus on percent of weight loss, not ideal BMI. Not everyone needs to drop below a BMI of 25 to be healthy, and some just cannot. Instead, if you have too much body fat, focus on losing at least three to five percent of your starting weight—it can significantly improve blood pressure and other aspects of your health. Losing more, like 10 percent, can be even more helpful. (more…)
Obesity is no longer a disorder, it’s a disease.
This week, the American Medical Association voted to reclassify obesity—a $150 billion annual health care headache—from a chronic health condition to a disease. According to the CDC, 35 percent of adult Americans are obese. To be considered obese, you must have a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher. A healthy BMI is is between 18 and 25, and the CDC has a handy BMI calculator on their website.
Dr. Richard Besser, Chief Health and Medical Editor for ABC News, couldn’t care less about the formalities. “I think it matters little whether we call obesity a disease, a condition, or a disorder,” he told us. “It matters less what we call it than what we do to prevent it.”
The question is, how will medical treatment change in response to this new decision? Labeling obesity a disease quickly left those in the medical establishment with uncertainty about the future of obesity treatment. There are a slew of surgical procedures that combat obesity, none of which cure it completely. The onus is on the patient to follow through with the treatment and reach a healthy weight. Obesity is a unique disease because nutritional education, fitness awareness, and simple willpower are the most effective remedies. “We need to get physical activity back into everyone’s lives, starting with our kids,” said Dr. Besser.
Greta Funk is a mother of four who runs multiple 5K races each year and stays busy chasing her brood across the plains of Kansas. To look at this busy mama, all feisty 5 foot 3 of her, you’d never know that at one time, she weighed just shy of 200 pounds. Through portion control, food tracking and consistent cardio workouts, Greta has managed to shed 51 pounds and keep it off.
Through high school, Greta remembers being thin but said she noticed the pounds start to creep on when she started college. She gained the classic Freshman 15 and then once she started having babies, the pounds refused to budge. Poor eating habits added to the weight gain. “I was terrible about watching portion sizes or stopping when my brain was full,” she said.
The validity of the BMI measurement tool has long been a point of contention among health professionals and consumers alike. A new report will not only cast further doubt, but actually go one step further: overweight people may live longer than their “normal” weight counterparts.
According to the report involving nearly three million people from nearly 100 studies, those who were overweight had a lower risk of death than people who were normal weight, defined as a BMI range of 18.5 – 25.
“Fat per se is not as bad as we thought,” said Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, professor of medicine and public health at the University of California, Irvine, in a story at New York Times.
While that may sound controversial, the fact of the matter is that health is often so much more complex than we’d like. Weight is but one factor in our health. You may be heavy with normal blood pressure, or thin with dangerously high cholesterol or blood sugar levels. (more…)
I have what I like to call an irrational fear of my daughter being overweight. It’s irrational because our lifestyle in no way engenders a possibility that she will be one of the millions of overweight or obese children in our country. She’s also 2.5 years old and never strays far from the third percentile for weight.
Blame it on my profession and the amount of information I’m inundated with daily, but I’ve got a tall soapbox when it comes to children’s health, especially my daughter’s. So when I see news of an obesity prediction calculator, believe I clicked through and ran those numbers.
The predicted probability that my daughter will be obese is 24.14 percent. That’s not an unreasonable number. I certainly wish it were lower. At the end of the day, I put the bulk of that responsibility on my very shoulders. In my opinion, every parent should be the sole barer of that responsibility.
The Obesity Prediction Calculator was developed by researchers at Imperial College London who believe that a particular equation can accurately predict your child’s propensity for being obese. The calculator asks for the mother’s BMI, father’s BMI, mother’s professional category (i.e. unskilled, skilled, professional), mother’s gestational smoking history, and the child’s birth weight. Six factors that, these researchers say, influence a child’s weight. (more…)
By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
You’re looking to drop some weight—but how much? What weight is right for your body? Use the five steps below to make sure the goal weight you have in mind is a healthy one.
Step One: Look at Your Family Tree.
Your weight is determined primarily by genetics. This doesn’t mean that you’re destined to follow in your parents’ or grandparents’ footsteps when it comes to weight, but it can give you an idea of what’s realistic for you. For instance, if your parents have always struggled with weight, you may not be able to get to the lower end of the BMI scale, but you can certainly get into the healthy category.
Step Two: Assess Your Habits.
Your choices and habits also affect your weight. Look at your lifestyle: What has been the lowest weight you’ve maintained as an adult? Have you had children? How active are you? These factors influence how low a weight you’ll be able to get down to now. (more…)
Today marks the first day of fall! Before you clock out for the weekend take some time for a healthy dose of news. This week’s HealthBuzz consists of hot headlines from DIR and our partner sites, including Shape, IVillage, and Fitday, as well as some delicious banana recipes from Undressed Skeleton and Thinin10.
Don’t wait until the last day of the week to hear from us! Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest! Also, don’t forget to ‘Like Us’ on Facebook for the chance to win a year’s supply of guacamole from Wholly Guacamole!
Choose the Right Gym For You (So You’ll Actually Use the Membership)
With the fall and holiday season quickly approaching, gyms will be filling up with people wanting to maintain their health and figure for social gatherings and special events. Gyms can be uncomfortable and expensive and there is nothing like wasting money on a membership that you don’t use! Let us help you choose the right gym with this helpful guide.
Seven Fall Activities For the Whole Family
September 21 is the official day of fall! What better way to enjoy the weather then with your family? Stephanie Mansour from Step It Up With Steph shares seven fall activities for the whole family. There is even a healthy recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds! Fall has never been so healthy before. (more…)
Even if the scale says your weight is in the acceptable range, your belly could be telling a different story. Recent studies have found that those with a normal weight who have excess belly fat are putting the same risk on their lives as those who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. We were as shocked at the news as you are.
John Cloud recently wrote about this research for Time. Cloud reported on the findings of a 14-year study led by Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez – a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Lopez-Jimenez concluded that those who have a normal weight but have concentrated “central” or belly fat are more than 50 percent more likely to die earlier from issues like cardiovascular disease and other ailments than those who are obese.
This conclusion was found after researchers followed nearly 13,000 Americans for 14 years. The test subjects were divided up into categories based on their Body Mass Index (BMI) and their waist-to-hip ratios. At the end of the study, approximately 2,500 subjects had died. The analysis of the deceased found that those in the normal BMI/high waist-to-hip ratio group had the highest mortality rate. These mortality risk rates were compared to smokers who smoke nearly one pack of cigarettes a day. These are pretty staggering rates for people who aren’t even overweight. (more…)
As a registered dietitian, I don’t have a problem with the Body Mass Index (BMI.) This is probably because my expectations are entirely in line.
I understand that it is only one of several nutritional status assessment tools. It is an inexpensive and easy way to administer and uncover possible health problems. No screening tool is perfect, however. There are always false negatives and false positives. The BMI was actually designed for population studies, not for diagnosing individuals.
Body Mass Index is a proxy measure of a person’s “degree of adiposity,” or fatness. It is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. The concept was devised by scientists in the 1800s, but it did not become an international standard for measuring obesity until the 1980s. In the late 1990s, it received popular attention when the government made it part of healthy eating and exercise initiatives.
For practical use, BMI is displayed as a “BMI chart” with weight on one axis and height on the other. A BMI of 18.5 to 25 corresponds to the “healthy weight” range; BMI less than 18.5 indicates underweight; BMI between 25 – 29.9 is the overweight range. Obesity starts when BMI is 30, and it is considered “extreme” when BMI is 40 or higher. (more…)