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…)
Ten percent can be a large or small amount, depending on the context of what it represents. If we’re talking about unemployment, 10% is unacceptable. If we’re talking about income tax, paying only 10% would be a blessing.
For today, we’re avoiding politics and the economy and instead, talking about the 10% of Americans who use wearable tech fitness trackers to monitor and track their daily activity, food intake, sleep, and exercise. This 10% of Americans make up a group of people that health insurance companies are examining closely to determine more accurate ways of calculating insurance premiums. On average, your premiums fluctuate once each year, which usually means added cost. That added cost doesn’t always have anything to do with you, and is often part of a re-rating of the group pool you’re a part of, like the company you work for.
What if your premium was calculated based on how you, as an individual, actually live? What if your premium fluctuated because of choices you make regarding your individual health and not because of others in your insurance pool dragging you down? (more…)
A new study out of the CDC finds that 82.5% of firefighters in the U.S. are overweight or obese, a figure alarmingly higher than the rest of the general population, which hovers around 67%. The study found that, of 1,002 firefighters who participated, 854 had a BMI over 25%. A BMI under 25% is considered to be “normal.”
The main purpose of the Centers for Disease Control’s study was to determine whether firefighters were receiving recommendations from their health care providers regarding their weight and whether they needed to gain weight, lose weight, or simply maintain their current weight. The study found that 69% of them, despite having visited their physician in the last 12 months, received no recommendations or advice.
This is especially problematic, considering that data from earlier this year by Johns Hopkins University found that cardiovascular problems are the leading cause of death (45%) for active duty firefighters. They attribute that staggering statistic to the high stress factor of the job and poor lifestyle habits surrounding it.
What can be done to reduce obesity in our first responders? (more…)
Nearly 1 in 3 children in America are overweight or obese
8.4% of children 2 – 5 years old are obese
17% of children 6 – 11 years old are obese
20.5% of children 12 – 19 years old are obese
This afternoon, Dr. Richard Besser hosted a conversation on Google+ Hangouts as part of TED-MED to discuss childhood obesity. Dr. Besser is a pediatrician and the Chief Medical Editor at ABC News, and the author of Tell Me the Truth, Doctor,a comprehensive health guide that will both inform and surprise as he deciphers fact from fiction for nearly 70 confusing medical questions.
Dr. Besser assembled a discussion panel for today’s session, including:
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association
Don Schwarz, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, City of Philadelphia
Elissa Epel, Professor, UCSF School of Medicine
Lisa Simpson, President and CEO, Academy Health
The group began by talking about stress and the effect it has on health, both in children and adults. Stress is biologically potent and causes us to overeat sweets. Research shows the combination of stress and overeating is “the most dangerous combination,” Elissa says. One of the challenges the group agrees on is taking the research and putting it into practice. Very little is happening so far to create actionable programs that make a difference.
Sometimes in life you meet that special person who fills your heart in all the right places, and you find that you want to be with them all the time. It didn’t take long for Crystal and Lior Collins to find this cozy place. Unfortunately, cozy became sedentary, and they both resumed old patterns of unhealthy eating.
After an embarrassing party epiphany, they decided to take the weight off the way they had put it on, together. Now, they have a combined weight loss of almost 200 pounds.
Crystal admits she and her husband, Lior, both struggled with weight problems in middle and high school. “Separately we were able to lose weight,” she said. “So when we started dating in 2003, we were finally under control in the weight department.” Unfortunately, the couple spent their free time focusing on what Crystal calls their only hobbies, “eating and drinking.”
The Wii Fit Voice Is Harsh
The pair knew they were eating too much and not getting enough activity but nothing spurred them into changing their habits. In 2007, while visiting with friends, Crystal became fascinated by their new Wii Fit gaming system. Eager to try it out, Crystal stepped on the pad, only to hear the machine say, “Oh. You’re obese.” Lior wouldn’t go near it.
Honesty is always the best policy, but when it comes to our weight, many of us may fudge the facts a bit. A new survey indicates that less than 40 percent of Americans report being overweight, though research shows the actual statistic is much higher.
We first heard of this news from our friends at Shape Magazine, and then checked out the survey results ourselves. Not only do just 36 percent of Americans see themselves as overweight, of those people, less than 20 percent are actively trying to lose weight.
Health researchers continue to study—and warn about—the rising rate of obesity worldwideand particularly in the United States. The concern, of course, is for people’s overall health: Being obese is associated with a ton of medical problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is why you’ve probably heard that obesity is one of the main causes of skyrocketing health care costs. (more…)
There is a new documentary in the works, and it has certainly captured my attention. Executive produced by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, the film “Fed Up” explores the American obesity epidemic, specifically focusing on sugar. However, the film differentiates itself from other books, movies, television specials that focus on sugar in one big way: In addition to railing on sugar as the cause of obesity, “Fed Up” focuses on the fact that skinny is not a sign of healthy.
It’s about time.
I’m so glad that we are finally having a conversation around the fact that someone can thin but still have as much internal body fat as a morbidly obese person. In recent years, emerging research has shown that just because a person is skinny it does not mean that they are healthy. People of average weight can suffer from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions once thought to be associated with only obese individuals. Weight may not be the driver behind this, but body fat that comes from foods loaded with sugar most certainly is, according to “Fed Up”.
The film attacks sugar pretty seriously, even referring to it as the “new tobacco,” and blaming the food industry and the government as the biggest pushers of the substance. Fed Up focuses on the importance of not blaming children for the fact that they are obese, but rather the marketing that has pushed our country into a sugar induced epidemic. (more…)
“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco.”
That’s what Belgian professor Olivier de Schutter of the World Health Organization (WHO) told the organization’s annual summit. It’s also a pretty bold statement considering tobacco has been held as one of the highest risks to global health for years.
He went on to say, “Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed.”
Cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes are the four main groups of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). They’re also a main cause of preventable, premature deaths.
New researchshows that over 15 years 37 million premature deaths due to NCDs can be prevented. How? By reducing or curbing only six modifiable risk factors: tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, salt intake, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity. As in, if you keep up your bad habits, chances are you won’t live as long. If you drop them, and get healthier, you’ll likely live longer, and our guess is your quality of life will improve too.
How, exactly would changing these 6 factors improve your life expectancy and reduce your risk of premature death?
Tobacco Use – Kick the habit to reduce risk of death by at least 30 percent, and up to 50 percent
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death, and is responsible for 5 million deaths per year worldwide.
By reducing tobacco use by 50 percent, risk of dying from the four main NCDs would drop by 24 percent in men and 20 percent in women.
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