On Wednesday the annual County Health Rankings were released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. These rankings break down each state into its counties and then rank them on various factors that influence health. The 25 factors evaluated include smoking rates, obesity levels, access to doctors and dentists, and physical activity levels.
On the healthier side of things are the states that made up the top five in last year’s Health Rankings. Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota boasted fewer average days of poor physical health than the least healthy states. Counties in the healthier states also show higher rates of diet and exercise. Read Full Post >
We all have that friend. The skinny one who eats whatever they want and never exercises. We all secretly dislike them for this trait and at the same time, wish we could be like them. New research is showing that they might be in a bad position, even worse than an overweight person who hits the gym. As scientist Bente Pedersen said this week, “It’s much better to be fit and fat, than skinny and lazy.”
Pedersen contributed along with many other professionals in Bill Gifford’s article for Outside this week. The article focused on more truths that have been revealed about fat. The report was lengthy but it highlighted some important misnomers about fat. Most know that we have “good” fat and “bad” fat, or subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. The good fat is more or less padding, while bad fat builds up in our mid-sections and can infiltrate our organs. A picture of fat invading muscles like the marbling of beef was used to describe how visceral fat can affect the inactive, not just the obese.
This bleak outlook of how fat can literally take over was explained further by Gerald Shulman, M.D., a diabetes researcher at Yale who contributed to the Outside article. Shulman explained how the amount of fat one has isn’t the problem, more so, it’s how the fat is distributed. He explained how fat build up in areas like the muscle and liver, or places it simply should not be, is when ailments like type 2 diabetes arise. Read Full Post >
The war on junk food is in full throttle. It began its slow escalation from proposals to improve school lunches and banning soda machines in schools, then maybe took a left turn into a little absurdity with the Mayor Bloomberg-led moratorium on giant-sized sodas in New York City (which takes effect tomorrow).
Junk food has been front and center in recent weeks as a high profileNew York Times report outright accused food makers of a concerted effort to hook the public on cheap unhealthy snacks. Now, sugar is back in the crosshairs, and candy makers are beginning to sweat.
It’s nothing short of surreal: the candy industry wants to offer solutions to the obesity crisis.
“If we don’t [act], I worry that someone else will do it for us.” said Debra Sandler, president of Mars Chocolate in North America at the National Confectioners Association meeting in Miami. “We need the whole industry to step up… We are not judged by the leaders of the category but by those who do not take responsibility for change.”
One place Mars and its competitors are starting – their youngest consumers. “They have adopted a policy to voluntarily stop direct marketing of candy to children under 12 years old. That’s a start,” noted Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert. Read Full Post >
The Mediterranean Diet has long been lauded for its vast health benefits, often being deemed the healthiest of all diet styles. Heart health now joins fertility, Alzheimer’s, longevity, lower cholesterol, and even diabetes as some of the many ways this diet improves health, per a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study found that there is a 30 percent decrease in the development of cardiac disease, including heart attack and stroke, when a Mediterranean Diet is followed. The New York Times reported it was “the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.” Read Full Post >
We, as a society, are far too sedentary. We hear more and more than we’re killing ourselves by sitting and that the least amount of exercise we can get away with each week is 150 minutes, or 30 minutes on five days a week. Most people balk at that, citing that even a brief half hour most days is too much for their chaotic schedules. Could new research from the University of Alabama help you squeeze in a workout?
Four workouts each week might be all you need, according to the study just published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The study found that, amongst women ages 60-74, that they were getting as much out of a workout, if not more, by doing so four times per week than those doing more or even less. In the group that did three aerobic workouts and three resistance workouts per week, they did not train any better than their counterparts, completing two of each type of workout each week.
Fitness expert Jessica Smith balks slightly at the study results, suggesting they could be misleading.
“I would agree that you can do less ‘working out’ in one week (4 vs. 6 sessions), but I worry that this kind of a headline will make people think that they can just hit the gym four days a week and then be sedentary the rest of the time.” Read Full Post >