Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Health News Roundup

Every so often, I like to do news searches to see what is being reported in the world of health. Today, I came across an article that stated that more U.S. women may be obese than previously thought. Okay, that's not good news. The discrepancy stems from different obesity standards used by the World Health Organization and the U.S. federal guidelines. Some experts suggest the BMI basis used in the federal guidelines is not right for everyone. See the full article here.

Another article focused on childhood obesity and how the risk for this increases 12 times if a child has two obese parents. It's just another way children learn from and take after their parents. See the full article on the UK study yielding these stats here.

And do you need another reason to make healthier choices? How about eating more veggies and fruits, getting more exercise, quitting smoking and cutting alcohol consumption equaling 12 additional years on your lifespan? That's the result of a recent British study you can read about here. It reminds me of those conversations that Dr. Huizenga has with the Biggest Loser contestants when they arrive at the ranch. Seeing actual years added to our lives is a very powerful motivator.

Have you seen any health or fitness news lately that made you rededicate yourself to your healthy endeavors? And does anyone have that Fit TV channel? I wish I had that on my cable package.

6 comments:

Sally Kilpatrick on April 27, 2010 at 10:16 AM said...

I saw the article on the British study, and I really liked how their guidelines for, say, eating fruits and vegetables weren't that stringent--something like an apple, a carrot, and a glass of orange juice.

Obviously, we all need to do better than that, but I think getting fit is sometimes so overwhelming that people stick with bad habits because they fear they'll never be able to "do it right." I know I've fallen into that trap on more than one occasion.

Other than that, I was kinda inspired by the Jazzercise ladies as I drove Lorelai to school this morning. ; )

Michelle Butler on April 27, 2010 at 2:48 PM said...

I do wonder, from a public health standpoint, what would motivate a lot of overweight/obese people to try to lose weight. For me, it was a very personal journey with motivation I had to find inside of myself to do for myself. No scare them straight health news/label/etc. really motivated me to change. So, the labels I'm obese vs. I'm overweight just didn't rock my world.

Honestly, stories that gave me hope - e.g. Biggest Loser (even if it is so extreme) and friends of mine who were able to do it were so much more effective than any "let's scare them with the latest health study" kind of article. Even the longevity stories don't rock my world. My grandmothers both lived into their 90s, and quality of life is just not that high in your 80s and 90s from what I've seen.

In terms of public health, what messages do work? For nicotine/smoking, was it "this could kill you" and getting it to be something that most folks in society look down on? I faced social disdain/ostracism for my weight, and that made me want to eat more (for comfort) lots of times.

I'm not trying to be a downer bc I'm very glad I've lost the weight I have loss and plan to keep at it - I'm just curious as to what would convince others to do it.

Sally Kilpatrick on April 27, 2010 at 7:44 PM said...

Michelle,

I don't think you're being a downer; I think that we need to face questions like these. In general, we live in a society that idolizes starved women with breast implants while simultaneously working people to the bone so they don't have the time to exercise or eat properly. We have a serious double standard going on.

As a society we have to first start placing a higher value on health itself which will lead to a decrease in obesity. In general, we as a society need to place more emphasis on being healthy, being a family, and getting a good education as opposed to making more money and having more stuff. It all goes together. Students learn how to be healthy and graduate from college to get a job where the company understands that healthy people are both cheaper to insure and more productive. As a result, people spend more time with their families, fix homemade meals, and do outdoor/physical activities together.

And now I will step off my soapbox.

Heather Snow on April 27, 2010 at 10:13 PM said...

It's hard to stay motivated, I think because there is rarely immediacy involved. It's a choice we have to live with every day and you get used to the status quo. I am accustomed to where I am, and thinking about dying earlier way out into the future doesn't truly motivate. Of course, the catch to that is it may not be way out into the future, but sometimes, unless it is tomorrow, we just don't feel it. It's not urgent.


"Someday" mentality, I guess. We focus on what is in front of us today, only. That must be why I do better if I wake up every day and focus on why being healthier is a priority. Sadly, I don't do that enough mornings to really make a difference.

Michelle Butler on April 28, 2010 at 9:01 AM said...

Heather,

The thing that helped me the most was to promise myself I would give it my all for one year. For that one year, I could not quit no matter what. I had to keep working on it. I didn't necessarily recommit every morning, but I did touch base enough to keep going. To help me/force me to do it, I also committed to going to WW meetings at least 45/50 times that year. That meant I checked in at least once a week.

For the most part, I focused on giving it a year (basically a time commitment) as opposed to focusing on I will lose XX amount of pounds. I do much better with time commitments - and ones that focus on the process as opposed to the outcomes.

This promise of a year doesn't suddenly make it easy, but it made a huge difference for me. I'm not sure I could ever count how many times I've tried to lose weight and ultimately quit. This is the one time I haven't quit. Best wishes, Heather!!!

Michelle Butler on April 28, 2010 at 3:38 PM said...

Sally,
I think you are right about society's mixed messages. The idea that consuming more - buying the biggest house/greatest car - will make you happy is so empty and yet so compelling for so many folks. It can be hard to tune it out.

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