Life expectancy has fallen in hundreds of US counties

Children's Health, Obesity, Parenting
In my 2005 book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I published this the then shocking statement, "If we don’t get a handle on (childhood obesity), this generation of kids coming up will have a shorter life span than their parents. That’s scandalous!” Now, we're seeing some data indicating this unfortunate prediction may indeed be happening. (more…)
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How (and why) to increase the number of family meals at home

Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
Family meals have long been an American tradition. During the past several decades, however, the American family has undergone radical changes—and family meals have changed at the same time. And as family meals have decreased, so has the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health of our children. (more…)
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Insufficient, irregular sleep associated with childhood obesity

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I made the then startling claim that childhood obesity was associated with a lack of sleep. And, in a clinical study, we showed that families who make wise nutrition choices, activity choices, AND increase the amount of sleep children get, can prevent or treat childhood obesity. Since the publication of the book, study after study (many reviewed in this blog) have demonstrated the association between poor sleep or inadequate sleep and childhood obesity. Now, a new study suggests that sleeping in on the weekend may help children fight obesity. Here are some details from HealthDay News: Too little sleep puts kids at risk of obesity and other health conditions, but "catch-up" sleep on weekends and holidays can mitigate…
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Adolescent obesity associated with risk of severe obesity in adulthood

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Like many physicians who care for children and teens, I'm acutely aware of and concerned about the epidemic, the tsunami, of childhood overweight and obesity. Because of that, I headed a research project at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida, that resulted in the book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. The book is currently on sale in HARDCOVER for $4.99 here (save $18) and in SOFTCOVER for $1.99 here (save $11). If you have children or teens who are overweight, NOW is the time to make some changes. And, my book has an 8-week plan your family can put into action to start the New Year. The reason to do so is that to NOT act is to doom your kids to a shorter life…
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Comparing Weight Loss Plans, Dollars Per Pound

Nutritional Health, Obesity
Well,  it's the day after Thanksgiving, and there are at least two or three things on most people's minds: (1) Black Friday shopping, (2) Football, and/or (3) Weight Loss. Have you ever wondered which of the weight loss plans cost you the most for each pound dropped? Well, here you have the answer, provided by ABC News: $500 per pound with Liposuction $300 to $400 per pound with Gastric Band Surgery $235 to $353 per pound with Duodenal Switch Surgery $237.56 per pound with One-on-One with Jenny Craig $173 per pound with Non-prescription Weigh Loss Aids when paired with a Low-Fat Diet SAVE $12.50 per pound by just Kickin' It Old School Here are the details: 1) One-on-One With Jenny Craig Bottom-Line Estimate: $237.56 per pound for one-on-one weight loss support and…
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Three Healthy Habits Cut Breast Cancer Risk, Study Finds

Cancer, Woman's Health
There's been a lot of debate about mammograms for breast cancer screening, but an even more important health promotion exercise would be for women to everything they can to prevent breast cancer. And now experts are reporting that women can do three things to dramatically reduce their risk of getting breast cancer -- especially if they have a strong family history of breast cancer: Exercise (20 minutes of heart-rate raising exercise at least five times a week), Maintain a healthy weight (BMI of 18.5 to under 25), and Watch alcohol intake (fewer than seven drinks per week). Here are the details in a report from HealthDay News: Women who maintain certain "breast-healthy" habits can lower their risk of breast cancer, even if a close relative has had the disease, a…
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Three Meals A Day May Beat ‘Mini-meals’ For Weight Loss

Nutritional Health, Obesity
Sitting down to eat a real meal three times a day may be a better strategy for weight loss than grazing on several smaller "mini-meals," new research shows. Here are the details in a report from Reuters Health: Overweight and obese men on low-calorie, high-protein diets felt more satisfied and less hungry when they ate three times a day compared to when they ate six times a day, Dr. Heather J. Leidy and colleagues from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, found. "There's a lot of lay press about eating frequency," Leidy, who is now at The University of Missouri in Columbia, told Reuters Health. While there's a widespread perception that it's better to eat little meals more often, she added, "these mini-meals everyone is talking about don't seem to…
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Many Americans Don’t Even Know They’re Fat

Nutritional Health, Obesity
A recent Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found that 30 percent of overweight Americans mistakenly think they're normal size. Do you think you're normal weight, overweight, or obese? you might be surprised. You can find out for sure here. In the meantime, here are the details from HealthDay News: Many Americans have skewed perceptions when it comes to their weight, often believing they are thinner than they really are, even when the scales are shouting otherwise, a new poll finds. As part of the Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey, respondents were asked to provide their height and weight, from which pollsters calculated their body-mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight to height. Respondents were then asked which category of weight they thought they fell into. Thirty percent of those in the "overweight" class believed they…
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Losing Weight the Smartphone Way, With a Nutritionist in Your Pocket

Nutritional Health, Obesity
FOR most of us, the formula for losing weight is a simple one: eat less, exercise more. But humans are anything but simple, and the majority of Americans struggle endlessly with losing pounds and keeping them off. Consuming fewer calories is perhaps the most difficult part of the weight-loss equation; many dieters are daunted by the prospect of tabulating their daily intake. That’s why many experts and consumers are excited about the new weight-loss programs available for iPhone, BlackBerry and other smartphones. Here's a story from the New York Times on how to do it: "We really haven’t come up with one good weight-loss solution,” said Dr. James A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic. “If we had, everyone would be using it.” The apps — which are simple,…
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Four Recommended Apps for Losing Weight

Nutritional Health, Obesity
Here are a few well-regarded weight-loss programs to consider, courtesy of a report in the New York Times. LOSEIT (iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone; free): Tell the app how much weight you want to lose and how many pounds per week you want to take off, and it calculates the amount of calories you can consume each day. LoseIt has a database of 40,000 food items and can also calculate how many calories your daily exercise burns up. CALORIE COUNTER by FatSecret (works on all platforms; free): This program works much like LoseIt. But one advantage is that when you enter your basic information, you can sync up with the FatSecret Web site. The site has forums where users can swap ideas about diets, recipes and working out. TAP &…
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Weight loss may help reduce menopausal hot flashes in overweight or obese women

Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
CNN reports, "Overweight women who experience hot flashes -- the uncomfortable flushing and sweating spells that accompany menopause -- may be able to cool those symptoms by losing weight," according to a study published in the the Archives of Internal Medicine. HealthDay explained that study participants "were encouraged to exercise at least 200 minutes a week and reduce caloric intake to 1,200-1,500 calories per day." Meanwhile, matched controls "received monthly group education classes for the first four months." WebMD pointed out that participants all "had a BMI of 25 or higher" at the study's start. Six months later, "compared with those in the health education program, women who were in the weight loss program and were bothered by hot flashes had more than twice the odds of reporting a measurable improvement after…
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Letter from Professor about the Family Physician Academy and Coke

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
In a past blog of mine (Partnership Between Family Physicians and Coca-Cola Poses Ethical Problem) I wrote, "What does my national academy of family physicians, the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians), and Coca-Cola have in common? The common sense answer should be, 'Nothing.' The actual answer is, '$500,000.' Ouch!" Now, the family medicine professor I featured in the previous blog has written the following to me. I'd be interested in your take, dear reader, on this issue: Dear Walt, Partnership Between Family Physicians and Coca-Cola Poses Ethical Problem As a fellow family physician, I am sure you know about the AAFP's decision to accept money from Coca Cola to develop "health education materials" regarding beverages, hydration and sweeteners on familydoctor.org. True to their word, they have done this. What…
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Bullies Target Obese Kids

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I discuss the studies showing that if your child is overweight or obese, he or she is significantly more likely to be bullied or to become a bully. Now, a new study has found that being overweight is PRIME factor regardless of race or family income for being bullied. In other words, for kids, a few extra pounds may invite trouble from the schoolyard bully. HealthDay News reports the details: New research suggests that just being overweight increases the risk of being bullied. And factors that usually play a role in the risk of being bullied, such as gender, race, and family income levels, don't seem to matter if you're overweight -- being overweight or obese trumps…
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Could African Mango Help With Weight Loss?

Nutritional Health, Obesity
Irvingia gabonensis is becoming a popular natural ingredient for weight loss. It is now showing up in several weight loss products such as Integra Lean Irvingia, Vitagetics Vita Lean, Dr. Sears Private Label Primal Force Primal Lean, and others. But, does it work, and is it safe? Irvingia gabonensis, also known as "African mango" or "bush mango," is a tree from Africa that produces a mango-like fruit. The seeds have high soluble fiber content and function as a bulk-forming laxative. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD, one of my most favorite web sites for trustworthy information on herbs, vitamins, and supplements), there is some research that suggests that a seed extract from the plant reduces the accumulation of fat in fat cells called adipocytes. Clinical research shows that…
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The latest drugs and supplements used for weight loss. Are any worth trying?

Nutritional Health, Obesity
As soon as the holiday goodies are gone, people begin to try various products to try to lose weight. Why? Because most of us gain weight over the holidays. So, pharmacies report a run on the over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss products. However, people typically lose just 5 to 10 pounds in a year with OTC orlistat (Alli, etc), or even with prescription sibutramine (Meridia) ... phentermine ... or diethylpropion. And, there are new concerns about increased cardiac risk with sibutramine ... possibly due to increased blood pressure and pulse. So many people are looking for new options. Here’s a brief review of these products by the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database - an evidence-based source of information I've frequently recommended to you: Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, Pregnyl, etc). Proponents say…
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Horror Show = Movie Popcorn = 3 Burgers + 12 Pats of Butter

Nutritional Health
According to a report from Fox News, "The food at movie theaters is scarier than 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' a frightening new study reveals." The double-features of artery-clogging tubs of fatty-fried popcorn and sugary, super-sized drinks — not to mention high-calorie candy — is nothing short of a health hazard, according to a study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest called, "‘Two Thumbs Down’ for Movie Theater Popcorn." The CSPI sent food from three national theater chains to a lab and found they may have to soon start installing extra-wide seats. The worst offender, the study found, was Regal Cinemas, where a medium popcorn contains 1,200 calories oozing with coconut oil and saturated fat. The lab calorie counts were higher than claimed by Regal. The company said…
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Partnership Between Family Physicians and Coca-Cola Poses Ethical Problem

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
What does my national academy of family physicians, the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) and Coca-Cola have in common? The common sense answer should be, "Nothing." The actual answer is, "$500,000." Ouch! Here's the story and an opinion about this type of relationship from a family physician that was posted on the ABC News web site: The American Academy of Family Physicians announced this month that it has received a $500,000 donation from Coca-Cola as part of their Consumer Alliance Program. In theory, this program seeks "to develop robust new programs and educational materials" to help patients and health care providers make "better choices ... to achieve a healthy lifestyle." According to its Consumer Alliance Web site, the Academy recognizes the "significant influence" that corporations have over consumer choices…
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The Ten Commandments of Preventive Medicine – Part 2 – Obesity

General Health, Men's Health, Woman's Health
In my newest book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People, I teach people how to utilize the ten essentials that are necessary to live a happy and highly healthy life. Under The Essential of Self-Care, I’ve developed a list of what I call “The 10 Commandments of Preventive Medicine."  Here’s the second installment of this ten-part series. More information: (more…)
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Excess Pounds, but Not Too Many, May Lead to Longer Life

General Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
As we head into the July 4th holiday weekend, readers may not be thinking too much about their waist circumference or those excess pounds. But, given a recent report showing that the number of overweight and obese people in the United States is soaring, I've found some good news for those who are just a few pounds overweight. More Information: (more…)
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