Sunday, February 27, 2011

news to you's guys

being from philly, i had to adapt some of my dialect once i settled in nashville 41 yrs ago. for one thing, i stopped referring to the fuel you put in cars as 'gaz' since someone pointed out that it's spelled 'gas'. for another, ya'll is a better way to pluralize you compared to you's guys. that said, below are comments on news you might want to investigate:

bone building drugs for osteoporosis prevention and management have been around a long time. some people, tho, cannot take these bisphosphanates due to digestive issues; some, however, have had unusual breaks, usually after 5 yrs of usage. the latter has raised concerns among many women in particular. but, read the meat, not the headline, and you'll see: you're better off taking than not taking these drugs, esp if you are unwilling or unable to do the 'natural' things to build bone, preferably before the age of 30: consume more dairy (not pills, milk products), get vitamin D (some sunlight, and some supplements), and lift weights (mostly lower body, heavier than you might want on the front end; jumping drills work too). since most folks don't or won't or can't, don't be afraid of the drugs.

getting older means losing some bone, some muscle and some mental function. staying in shape means doing some cardio, some wt training, and some stretching. getting in shape to get older healthfully means preventing bone and muscle loss because, statistically, those who do maintain more mental function. what to do? well, here again is another article on why and how to strength train in older age:

the gist of it is, you can start at any time in life. the benefits are the same tho the results are less dramatic than if you had started young. can't do much about the saggy skin or hair loss, but there's no reason you can't move, feel, and be stronger. lift!

however the mind can build 'muscle', too, in particular, in the hippocampus. that's where memory resides, sort of. and it seems that cardio is more beneficial for that part of the brain than is strength training. so, add cardio:

bottom line, as yous guys might expect, is do a well balanced cardio-strength workout at least 3 maybe even 6 days per week and live life to its fullest. as you've heard me say before, even if it does not help you lose all those extra pounds, tho you should lose some, it will help you live more per unit time than just living longer, which it may do, as well.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

vitamin d....again???

it seems that science is a very
not too long ago, i posted some of the latest info, from newspaper review, of vitamin d requirements based on a large body of studies reviewed by experts. seems the numbers just keep getting more confusing - not too much, just this amount, no more than that amount, etc etc. now, here's a study that shows you need waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than what's been recommended to fight off cancer:

so what should we make of this? first of all, i'm not a biochemist, a dietitian, nor even a nutritionist - i'm just a personal trainer who's very well educated in the exercise and wellness field. an expert - i hesitate to claim that for myself, esp when it refers to nutrition. but i am smart enough, and well read enough, and maybe even intelligent enough to know this: just wait long enough and whatever else i think i know will probably be wrong. until then, however, you gotta keep on truckin'.

so, here's my spin on this controversy. while most of the data suggests a multivitamin is probably unnecessary, for some nutrients most of us require supplementation. if you don't spend a lot of time outside in the sun year 'round, and if you don't do vitamin d-reinforced dairy products in large amounts, and if you are older than, say, 55 and at risk of osteopenia/osteoporosis, then you need to supplement with vitamin d, and most likely calcium. how much to take? well, you can ask a doc, a dietitian, or read this article - which calls for way more than the newer recommendation of 800 IU - or at least get that minimum of 800. in the end, you will die either way, and who knows if it's from lack of d or other aspects of your life and lifestyle. but if you read this while young enough, let's just hope these docs are not too aggressive and you die from vitamin d overload. that'd be a real bummer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

real costs of obesity

this chart, from the McKinsey Quarterly, a free, on-line business resource, demonstrates the real and devastating costs of obesity in america. as the article points out, these costs are rising world-wide:

i have written much on obesity, some to the dismay of my colleagues with the EDCT. nonetheless, since each person's weight issue is a private matter with public consequences, the message must get out somehow and with some solutions that people can, pardon the pun, digest. i am at a loss as to how to do this but as last week's post re the government's admonition to 'eat less' revealed, this is a crude but necessary start. and how will it affect those apt to read too much into the message and start on the path toward a real eating disorder? i suspect few will go that route simply because they hear it in the media or from the government. i suspect that, like people who become sex-addicts or drug/alcohol addicts, where both are in ample supply and receive ample media attention, some will but most won't. food is simply too satisfying....even if you eat less of it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

obesity, kids, and school lunches

should the State dictate what you eat? nope. but if it's paying for it, it has the right to lay out a menu that it believes is better for you than menus we know are unhealthy and promote obesity. hence, when i read this in the Times: - i felt like laying out my public health philosophy. it goes like this:

private health impacts public health. private health issues that cost lots of money to the health care system is not something you alone pay for, either in insurance premiums, cash, or otherwise. hence, we all pay for the actions, or as the dispute over the Obama-care plan would label, the inactions of others, and ourselves. thus, we are all liable, and responsible for the rising cost of health care and therefore all have a right to demand from others to alter behavior.

now, what is 'demand from others'?

basically, if you wish to live a lifestyle that clearly increases your risk profile for disease, and injury, too, then you should pay higher premiums. if you have the means to do so, then your premiums should be waaaaaay higher since your actions, or inactions, increase my costs, too. but since most of those who have lifestyle-created chronic diseases that tap the system hard tend to be lesser educated, lower-incomed potential, or unemployed (statistically, not racially, ethnically, or other -ally), and we the people (who do pay taxes and generate our and others' incomes via commercial activities) end up paying for these behaviors, then we have a right to demand changes in behavior. since we cannot impose physical activity, esp on the youngest, oldest, or sickest of these unhealthy folks, if you ask for food from us, we have the right to monitor that food in quality and in caloric quantity. hence, given the choice between providing french fries at 300 cals/serving or a turkey over lettuce salad with a piece of whole grain bread and an apple for the same number of calories, i vote to feed you the latter. if you have the money to cover the fries, and it's not from any financial assistance i offer you, such as welfare or food stamps, then by golly eat fries. but if i give you financial assistance, it's for shelter and decent food, not junk.

i know that sounds like a sean hannity/rush limbaugh prescription of harsh platitudes, but it's the one area where we might actually concur; all others are out of the question. i do have a heart, and i'm very forgiving and accommodating for the most part. however, when i survey the landscape, i believe the most patriotic among us are not those who vote one way or another, but those who vote with their minds and bodies in support of what our nation needs: healthy, informed citizens. and i simply don't countenance to those who choose otherwise. (excepting small kids raised by parents who don't teach their kids right. that's where i'm more liberal than my conservative friends.)

so the question arises, how about if i am rich enough to afford to eat like shit, not exercise, pollute the earth and destroy the health care system? are you going to impose your dictatorial mandates on me, too?

well, yes. for if you think you have the right to take liberty with your body, your mind, and your earth, and think it won't impact my world, too, including the system by which i stay healthy, then you're an arrogant SOB. just because you can pay does not give you the right to abuse. man's history is full of upper class abuses that invariably are suffered by the masses. then, in some cases, rebellion occurs but only after many years of suffering said abuses. and when that occurs, guess who suffers most, during the rebellion? right - the masses. sometimes the greedy bastards who abused the economic, political, ecological, and medical resources suffer the backlash, but, for the most part, after years of passing such attitudes on to others, these folks get the axe. historically, while tragic to any one individual, i take the more global view: that there are tens of thousands if not millions of others who have suffered the abuse of the few and the balance of justice is on their side, not that of the few.

going back to my thesis, then, so long as the u.s. or state governments are providing food for the masses, which is an obligation with which i am in full concurrence, that food should be the most healthy and properly-distributed we can afford. and for those - the conservatives -who argue that the masses should eat cake, well, we know the result of that line of thinking, and i'm not supportive.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

whole body vibration, bones....and FAT!!!!

wow, this changes the discussion:

yes, whole body vibration (WBV) has been in the states now for over a decade, a technology popularized by Powerplate but not proven by US standards as having utility until the research community started checking it out. (if you'd like a compilation of research abstracts and some articles on it, email me - i have plenty: most research has shown it valuable for bone density issues; some have shown value for strength and power; few have shown benefits for balance; and none have demonstrated body composition/fat loss benefits. until this one. it's complicated - and not directly implicating fat loss via WBV. but it does suggest that biochemically via bone marrow and stem cells, that maybe multiple bouts of impact exercise, whether jogging or vibrating...or lifting wts, may be better for bone building than a single session of either. regardless, it's strong new data and well worth considering for those of you who have or work with people who have osteopenia or osteoporosis.

on another note, the US gov has come out with the simplified message - eat less - as a way of battling obesity. some of my EDCT (eating disorders coalition of TN) colleagues got in a wad when i posted the NY Times article about this and threw my hat in support of an organizational shout out for the effort to help americans shed extra pounds. mind you, one of the reasons i'm involved with the EDCT is for that reason: as an organization that suggests it is offering help, hope, and support to those with eating disorders, it has primarily aimed at anorexia and bulimia, the two most dangerous mental health diseases and the hardest to deal with. but i have brought some sensitivity to the issue of overweight-ness/obesity (OO) despite it not being always a case of mental health, or eating disorder. despite the DSM-IV not categorizing it as such, one would be hard pressed to say it's not a health issue and that it does not carry with it some very severe mental health concerns not the least of which is body image issues. why else are so many trying to lose weight?

granted, we should be aware that some will take the message too far, but most won't even hear it. after all, TV and other marketing venues try to make you eat more, and more crap. just by watching it, you are helping to make yourself less fit and more fat. but it is in my opinion a public health concern of the utmost importance. and, as an organization dedicated to helping people deal with body image issues, food issues, and mental health issues, i feel we need to get out in front of the message and buffer its negative effects while supporting its positive ones. my colleagues seem too sensitive to the the latter while overly driven by the former to act.

where do you stand?