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 research shows 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.
With the new year, New York City bid farewell to Mayor Mike Bloomberg after a twelve-year term. Love him or hate him, his achievements in public health were stunning. While others only talked, he managed to act on smoking, obesity, and hypertension—and he placed the burden of fixing them on the industries that profited at the cost of the public’s health.
The Mayor showed that public health is a priority for local government, not just for the federal government to create health policies from on high. Bloomberg used New York City as a laboratory for public health innovation, spotlighting issues and testing solutions on a relatively small scale.
Here’s a reminder of Mayor Bloomberg’s most significant public health campaigns:
See more Empty Calories right here in the blog. (more…)
By Team Best Life
Bloating, high blood pressure, extra calories… too much sodium in your diet can lead to all three, none of which are conducive to weight loss. Experts recommend 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily, or 1,500 if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, are African American, or 51 and older. That means about half the U.S. population should, theoretically, cap it at 1,500 mg, but it’s pretty much impossible unless you do all your own cooking and use very few packaged foods. In fact, you’d be surprised how easy it is to blow right by these levels. (Check out Why You Should Shake Your Salt Habit to learn why everyone should cut back on sodium.)
You can slash your intake by:
Reading labels. It’s eye-opening how many foods are laden with sodium, from your go-to whole-wheat bread to your favorite salad dressing to your usual breakfast cereal. Make it a habit to check the label for sodium content before putting anything in your grocery cart. Choose foods that are lower in sodium in each category, or even better, opt for “no salt added” (canned tomatoes, canned beans, grain mixes). (more…)
A recent study found a correlation between how high a nation’s sugar consumption is and its type 2 diabetes rate. Now researchers are taking it a grim step further by estimating how many deaths can be directly attributed to sugary drinks.
Researchers at Harvard have linked sugary drinks to the deaths of 25,000 Americans every year and 180,000 deaths worldwide.
“We know that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity, and that a large number of deaths are caused by obesity-related diseases. But until now, nobody had really put these pieces together,” said Gitanjali Singh, the lead author of the five-year study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.
In a not-so-shocking development, The American Beverage Association issued a critical response to the study’s findings.
“It does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer – the real causes of death among the studied subjects,” the industry group said in a written statement. “The researchers make a huge leap when they take beverage intake calculations from around the globe and allege that those beverages are the cause of deaths which the authors themselves acknowledge are due to chronic disease.” (more…)
It seems the general rule when it comes to salt is ‘don’t have too much – it’s not healthy for you.’ And after hearing this message for most of our lives, the majority of people view it as fact. Put the salt shaker down; it’ll give you high blood pressure.
But a recent editorial piece in the New York Times by Gary Taubes argues otherwise, questioning whether or not salt really is as bad as they say it is.
Taubes points out that recent evidence suggests restricting the amount of salt we eat can actually increase our likelihood of dying prematurely, which is the exact opposite of what we thought before. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture still considers salt the nation’s greatest health threat before fats, sugars and alcohol. But, a new rebel band of health experts now suspects that it’s more likely that eating the amount of salt the USDA and CDC actually recommends would be doing more of a disservice than benefit.
In the 1970s, despite no conclusive evidence showing a connection between salt intake and serious health problems, salt reduction was declared a must. Health experts at the time thought this to be true primarily based on the observation that populations outside the U.S. that ate little salt had minimal hypertension, as well as a study that showed a group of rats developed hypertension on a high-salt diet. (more…)
Before you eat that chicken nugget, you might want to think first. Because it may just have sky high salt content, especially if it’s produced in the U.S.
A new study has been released that set out to examine the salt levels for products offered at fast food chains, including Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway.
The objective was formed after several fast food companies made commitments to reduce the salt levels in their food, but later cited ‘technical issues’ as the reason they couldn’t follow through with their promise and make any substantial reductions.
The study – conducted by lead author Elizabeth Dunford, the global database manager for the Australian branch of World Action on Salt and Health – compared the salt content of various food items from fast food restaurants in six countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Canada and New Zealand. Results showed that the U.S. reigned supreme when it came to overly-salty foods. Canada ranked not far after, and France and the U.K. came out on top with the lowest overall rankings. (more…)
Most of us already know that too much salt isn’t a good thing. Yet what’s surprising is that despite decades of warnings to reduce sodium intake, Americans continue to over-consume the flavorful staple in most households. A new Harvard study shows that our salt intake really hasn’t changed over the past 50 years, and it seems like that intake is hardwired and not easy to change no matter how many PSAs or dietitian visits we have.
As more processed foods hit our shelves and as obesity rates continue to soar, it almost seems as though sodium levels would have continued to increase, not necessarily stay the same. Yet, after multiple studies were reviewed, all occuring between 1957 and 2003, it appears that 3700 milligrams of sodium was consistently consumed over the years. Of course, other measures of our sodium intake don’t necessarily reflect the same pattern. In fact, the NHANES, or National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, does indeed show an increase in salt consumption. The biggest difference between these survey results and that observed in the Harvard study is that the NHANES relies on food records where as the Harvard study took a look at urinary sodium output which is supposedly more accurate.
Current guidelines for sodium intake are 2300 milligrams a day for healthy adults and 1500 milligrams a day for those at risk of high blood pressure. That’s quite a difference. And although this message has been touted for over twenty years, it appears that few are following it or that these recommendations are too stringent for the majority of Americans.
Elevated sodium intake isn’t just occurring in American populations though. In fact, the average sodium intake appears to be similar on an international level. This means that there may be more to this whole sodium intake thing than we think. It also begs the question- are our recommendations wrong?
Holly Perkins is the New Balance Fitness Ambassador and an Exercise TV Trainer. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition from Penn State University and has worked with Adrian Grenier, Howard Stern and a Presidential Candidate. Holly’s advice can been seen in many national publications and websites.
In addition to being the New Balance Fitness Ambassador, I am a personal trainer most days of the week. While my clients come in all shapes and sizes, and have varied fitness goals, there is one request that I hear regularly: “I need to get in shape fast for a big event this weekend!” I get asked this so often that I’ve developed my special recipe for success. After 16 years in the fitness industry and many hours working with celebrities, models, and athletes, I’ve developed 5 steps to get you slim in 5 days. Keep in mind that these 5 steps will make you slimmer and lean quickly, but the results aren’t completely fat loss. A 1-3 pound water loss with these steps is expected. If you lose more weight than that, you can know for sure it’s real fat loss!