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Healthy School Lunch Reform is Fighting Childhood Obesity, Tackling TV is Next Step

A team of cardiologists at the University of Michigan has found that among obese middle schoolers, 62 percent watched two or more hours of TV a day. The data suggests that when “screen time” replaces physical activity, obesity is likely to ensue. When you pair this decreased activity with the calorie-rich, fat-laden lunches served in schools, you have a full on epidemic.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was meant to provide healthier food for the national school lunch program, which took effect last year. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but still far from perfect. As for the other side of the coin, it’s ultimately up to parents to tackle the TV problem. The life-long effects of poor dietary and activity habits can lead obesity, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.

Boy in Cafeteria Line

Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, has been an ardent supporter of the school lunch overhaul, and told us that for many kids, half of a child’s calorie intake comes from school lunch, and those calories were 34 percent fat.

“French fries and other potato products accounted for a disproportionate number of the vegetables on kids’ trays,” she said. “But improving school lunches is only one part of the obesity problem. Parents at home have a far greater impact.”


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Retrofit Finds That Tech Gadgets Make Weight Loss More Manageable

Weight loss is rarely a walk in the park, and some plans are so complex they can be downright intimidating. The strict dietary limitations and harsh fitness regimens of a new weight loss plan can conjure feelings of anxiety and can cramp the process entirely. A study involving the weight loss company Retrofit has revealed that their state of the art data tracking technology limits stress and confusion while producing positive weight loss results.

fitbit

Retrofit uses a 3D motion sensor called a Fitbit to track steps, calories burned, and sleep patterns to be analyzed by their team of weight loss experts. Retrofit employs a wi-fi Withings scale that calculates BMI and body-fat percentage. The data can be viewed online via software on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. In a 12-month study, lead by Retrofit, those using the technology lost an average of 19 pounds, while zealous clients who weighed themselves everyday lost an average of 26 pounds.

Retrofit CEO Jeff Hyman claims the program is effective for individuals as well as corporations looking to lower health care costs. “This statistical data proves that in personal wellness, you can manage what you can measure,” said Hyman. “In order for employers to reduce health care costs due to obesity and its related diseases, companies simply must have a weight loss program that seamlessly collects and monitors employee data.”
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Cancer Has a Sweet Tooth! New Research Names Sugar a Detector for Cancer Cells

If you haven’t already, now may be a good time to decrease your consumption of processed sugar. New research published in the journal Nature Medicine shows a link between processed sugar and cancer cells. Though it is not the first study to find a correlation between the two, this particular study is the first to suggest sugar as a way to detect cancer in the body.

sugar

The detection method, called glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer (glucoCEST), was discovered when scientists from University College London were experimenting with a new cancer detection method involving a unique form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The scientists programmed an MRI scanner to look specifically for glucose, and found that cancer tumors lit up brightly when scanned in this way due to their high sugar content. “The method uses an injection of normal sugar and could offer a cheap, safe alternative to existing methods for detecting tumors, which require the injection of radioactive material,” said Dr. Simon Walker-Samuel, the lead researcher of the study in a release.


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We Love Yoga Jones and How Orange is the New Black Highlights the Benefits of Prison Yoga

Amidst the cat fights, mind games, racial tension, and sexual promiscuity, there stands one prisoner in Orange is the New Black who seems to bring a much needed zen to the chaotic environment. Yoga Jones is one of our favorite characters on Netflix’s hot new series, which gives a seemingly painful depiction of life in a minimum security women’s prison.

The women are often free to moderately pursue their passions during their incarcerations, and for Yoga Jones, that’s following the tenants of Buddhism with regular yoga practice. And like any good yoga instructor, she shares that practice with all who will join her.

yoga jones orange is the new black

The juxtaposition of the serene yoga practice against the hardened, extreme prison environment may be a surprising scene for viewers of Orange is the New Black, but it’s actually a reality in prisons throughout the country.

Bo Cox told us the benefits of yoga in prison were very evident. Incarcerated in an Oklahoma prison for nearly two decades, the author of God is Not in the Thesaurus, said, “I can say that people who did [yoga] were above and beyond model prisoners. Peaceful and serene in a world anything but. And, not pushovers or victims either. Good examples of quiet strength.”

Litchfield’s women’s prison, the setting for Orange is the New Black, is not the only place where inmates can be found practicing yoga. It’s something available to some prisoners in the US and abroad, like in these Mexican prisons, and coincidentally is being lauded with some exciting new research out this month.
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Is There a Correlation Between Blogging and Weight Loss? Help Us Find Out.

Martinus Evans is a man on a mission, to get healthy, lose weight, run his first full marathon in October and blog about every step of the way. Known by his popular online moniker “300 Pounds and Running,” Martinus recently attended FitBloggin to mingle with fellow fitness fans and flash his infectious smile. In one short year he’s gone from sedentary college student with muscle aches and fatigue to a grad student writing his master’s thesis on social media/blogging and weight loss.

If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, he could use your help.

300 Pounds and Running

Martinus is currently conducting a short survey to aid in the collection of data for his thesis. If you’re a weight loss blog writer or reader, he’s looking for you!

Click here to take the online survey about why you write or read blogs about weight loss. You’ll be part of the very first social media study of its kind and just for playing along, you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing to receive one of three $100 gift cards to the store of your choice.


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