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Obesity
05/13/2010
IconBeware "The Calorie Police!"' At least, that's how some look at the newly proposed Federal legislation which would require chain restaurants with 20 or more establishments to post the calories of everything they serve, right on the menu.' The National Restaurant Association, which originally fought calorie posting, now says it supports it.Dr. Lynn Silver, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention & Control at New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says "We hope this law will have a significant impact on both the frequency of obesity and diabetes in our city [which already has the law, by the way].' We estimate that in our city there will be 150,000 fewer people obese because of this." Well, I don't know if that's true, since every time I go out to eat, I see relatively fit people eating fish and vegetables and fat people eating lasagna with extra cheese.I've only encountered the calorie menu one time so far, and it was in New York.' There were dishes I thought were healthy, but I was totally wrong about them.' I definitely ordered my meals completely based on calorie content, leaving out foods I knew were yummy but which were calorie-laden.' Nonetheless, I was shocked to see how many relatively innocent-looking dishes had enough calories for the entire day and the next morning too.I know people who have worked in a number of restaurants, and they tell me that to make food "delicious," extra sugar, fat and salt are added by the bucketful.' Butter, butter, and more butter; sugar to make the food sweeter, and salt to give more flavor.' This is especially true when the meat, poultry or fish is not of the highest quality or if it's a bit old.I've gotten to the point that no matter what I order (even fish), I ask for whatever sauce they are serving to be put on the side.' I never have salad with dressing - again, I order any dressing on the side.' If I use any sauce or dressing at all, it's a micro drizzle for a little taste.'Do I think this will diminish obesity?' No.' I do think, however, that it will help people with self discipline as well as the motivation to be healthy to make the right choices and not be undermined right under their noses.' I think that, generally, folks with limited motivation and self-discipline will ignore or rationalize the calorie facts and add unwanted pressure to our health system, where the health-conscious have to financially support the health- un conscious behavior of others.'I do believe that the calorie count posting laws might serve to have restaurants cut fewer corners when it comes to the quality of their cooking and their menu planning.' And that I am looking forward to! More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesity
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05/13/2010
IconI recently read a news report from Kansas City about a 5 foot tall, 275 pound woman who needed an MRI exam.' The problem is that MRI tables often can't support heavier patients and the tubes into which the patient must be moved generally can't fit someone of her girth.You don't usually see body scanners that will accommodate bigger patients, because they don't provide the clearest images, and those that have large openings increase the possibility of the magnetic field dissipating into the room.The obese woman in question reported that someone at the hospital suggested that she could go to the zoo for an MRI as they accommodate larger critters.' The suggestion was made to "help" and not to "insult."' According to news sources, the woman said: "I thought, I know I'm big, but I'm not as big as an elephant.' And my husband got mad." Sadly, she has a tumor on her spine, has had multiple surgeries, and now has partial paralysis. This event is purported to have happened two years ago.I've heard that there are some court cases to force airlines not to charge obese people for the two seats it takes to carry them.' This is yet another situation where no responsibility is taken for being obese.' What is it with our thinking that no matter what irresponsibility we demonstrate, the world is supposed to accommodate us?There is a difference between making access for folks who are in wheelchairs and making access for people who simply abuse their bodies and then demand that the consequences of their actions be borne by others.This woman eventually did find a place with an "open" MRI machine.' I hope her treatment is successful and she takes from this experience some sense of purpose in getting her body more healthy, rather than anger that not everything will adapt to her.' She has some responsibility too. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityPersonal ResponsibilitySexSexuality
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05/13/2010
IconThere are two sure fire comments that I can make on the air which will get hackles way, way up.' The first is to say anything which even sounds remotely like a criticism of cats (for some reason it doesn't work for dogs, chickens, pigs or parakeets...just cats) or comment that, for the most part, being fat is your own darn fault.' There's even a fan site for my show called "We Love Dr. Laura" - which has a thread that goes wild whenever I take a "fat" call and give my opinion that by and large, being fat and unfit is a voluntary condition.Let me give you an example: a woman called to tell me about her mean, mean, and oh so mean, husband who is trying to influence her to lose weight and start working out.' She just about had a fit on the phone, telling me that he should just love her the way she is...or he's, simply, a bad guy.' Since when don't we owe our families our healthiest selves: mind, body and soul?When I didn't agree with her, the harrumph resounded across the land.I've basically told people who call about weight that it is ultimately a simple issue: "eat less, move more."' That might not result in the kind of body they show off in all those home exercise equipment videos (by the way...does anybody believe you go from fat and flabby, to svelte and ripped exercising 20 minutes a day, three times a week?).' Nonetheless, you can evolve into a more healthy, fit, and attractive version of yourself.This is all in preparation for an inspirational story of a fat man, 330 pounds, who wanted become a Marine.' Their answer was, well, nope.' Committed as he was to joining the military, he did what is generally said to be too difficult to do: without miracle weight loss potions sold on television, he moved more and ate less.' The 23-year old man gave up beer, cut his food portions way, way down, and exercised 140 pounds away in about a year.Kindly, the Marine recruiters also worked with him - helping him to develop an appropriate, safe yet effective workout regimen.When his friends would sit down for beer and pizza, he'd put on a head lamp and go out for a run in the dark.Eat less...move more.' It's the least expensive weight management program on the planet. More >>

Tags: BudgetEat Less-Move MoreEconomyNutritionObesity
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05/13/2010
IconAll those who don't follow the guidelines for good eating and no smoking are just going to have fewer choices available to them.' Free will to be self-destructive is about to managed by the government.The Los Angeles City Council approved a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a 32 square-mile area of South Los Angeles, an area plagued by above-average rates of obesity:' 30% of adults, as compared with about 21% in the rest of LA.' Nationally, 25.6% of adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.When you look at the realities, an intact family with a homemaker mom or dad (versus a two-career, busy, busy, busy set of parents) generally results in everyone eating less fast food, and more nutritious at-home meals.' But promoting marriage and a division of responsibilities is politically incorrect, isn't it?California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law ordering that, as of 2010, no California restaurant will be able to serve foods containing a harmful form of fats called trans fats .' Baked goods containing trans fats will be banned in California as of 2011.' If a product's list of ingredients contains the words "partially hydrogenated," the product contains trans fat, which is used to harden vegetable oils into shortening and margarine to help extend product shelf life.' Trans fats lower "good" cholesterol (HDL) and contribute to other health problems.According to the New England Journal of Medicine , eliminating artificial trans fats from the food supply "could" prevent between 6 and 19 per cent of heart attacks and related deaths each year.'Do you think there'll be an underground market for trans fat products?San Francisco is ready to become the first city in the nation to ban sales of tobacco products at pharmacies, which last year accounted for almost 20% of U.S. tobacco sales.' The logic is that pharmacies are places people go to get healthy, so cigarettes ought not to be on the shelves as they are a known health hazard.'Since trans fats are going to be off the supermarket shelves because they're unhealthy, shouldn't supermarkets stop selling cigarettes too?I am all for healthy habits.' I work hard at eating as healthily as possible, generally ordering fish without sauces in restaurants and salad without dressing.' As sauces, gravies, and dressing are very high in calories, perhaps they should be banned from restaurant recipes, or ordered only under a physician's approval...assuming you already have a very high HDL level.Lastly, restaurants around the country will soon have to post on menus the exact calorie count of a meal.' It will blow your mind to see what you thought was healthy is actually loaded with hidden calories.' There's a terrific book, called "Eat This, Not That" which will make your head explode when you find out where calories are hidden in some of your favorite meals. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityPersonal ResponsibilitySocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconThe American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that under the current guidelines, thirty per cent of the nation's children are overweight or obese.' Many doctors fear that a rash of early heart attacks and diabetes will strike these children as they grow older.The nation's pediatricians are therefore recommending wider cholesterol screening for children - starting at age two - and more aggressive use of cholesterol-lowering drugs starting as early as eight years of age in hopes of preventing adult heart problems.Because statins (cholesterol drugs) have been around since only the mid-1980s, there really is no evidence to show whether giving statins to children will, indeed, lower the risk for heart attack in middle age.The main problem is that we live in a culture which is largely hooked into electronic entertainment and spend too much time feeding one end and not moving the other. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthObesityParenting
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05/13/2010
IconJapan has instituted one of the most serious campaigns in the world to get its citizens to be fit.' This action is motivated by the rapidly aging society's ballooning health care costs, as most Japanese are covered under public health care or through their employment.The term "metabo," comes from the medical concept of "metabolic syndrome," i.e., the factors that heighten the risk of developing vascular disease and diabetes.' They are:' obesity, high blood pressure, high glucose, and high cholesterol.' The term "metabo" has become the nation's nickname for "overweight."Under a two month-old national law, companies and local governments must measure the waistlines of people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of annual checkups.' That amounts to 44% of the population of Japan.The International Diabetes Federation's ( www.idf.org ) guidelines for Japan of no more than 33.5 inches for men's waistlines and 35.4 inches for women is being used as the standard.' When folks are over those measurements and have a weight-related ailment, they will be given dieting guidance and education.The government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments that fail to meet these targets.' NEC, a Japanese personal computer production company, said to the New York Times (6/13/08) that if it failed to meet its targets, it could incur almost 20 million in penalties.A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics in the U.S.A. found that the average waist size for Caucasian American men was 39 inches, a full inch smaller than the 40 inch maximum established by the International Diabetes Federation.Ladies didn't do as well:' the average waist size of Caucasian American women was 36.5 inches, about two inches above our threshold.' (The differences in thresholds between Japanese and Americans and men and women have to do with height and body type). More >>

Tags: ChildrenEat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityParentingSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
Icon"Obese and overweight people require more fuel to transport them and the food they eat, and the problem will worsen as the population literally swells in size," a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says.' This adds to food shortages and higher energy prices, say the School's researchers, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts, who wrote about this subject in the most recent issue of the medical journal Lancet .At least 400 million adults worldwide are obese.' The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that by the year 2015, 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.' The researchers calculate that these fat and obese people require 18% more energy than someone with a stable Body Mass Index (BMI).Is the next step giving tax breaks to those who are thin and fit? More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesitySocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconWe already have taxes levied on cigarettes, purportedly to pay for education to stop smoking.' So, what's so wrong with a tax on fast food to subsidize education about "eating less and moving more," considering that two-thirds of the American population is fat or obese?Lawmakers in New Jersey are considering such a tax, and planning to use the revenue from it to fund struggling hospitals.' Obviously, the old hat argument comes out that condemns such a tax as specifically aiming at the poor. When you want to budget money for eating, why not consider eating at home and brown-bagging it for lunch?' Everyone knows that this is a cheaper and more nutritious alternative.As one taxpayer pointed out, "It costs $12.86 for fries and this little chicken wrap...." This taxpayer was complaining about adding a tax.' Yipes.' This taxpayer should have been complaining about how much money he's wasting on such a menu.' He did also comment that "if they raise it [i.e., the price with a tax], I'll stop buying it." Brilliant!' If it's unhealthy, he'll eat it.' If it has a "sin tax," he'll stop.' I think that's a good enough reason for the tax. More >>

Tags: BudgetEat Less-Move MoreEconomyObesitySocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconA study by Harvard-affiliated researchers published in the Archives of Internal Medicine challenges the notion that you can be fat and fit.' They found that being active can lower, but not eliminate heart risks faced by women who are fat or obese.This new study involved nearly 39,000 women, average age of 54, who filled out a questionnaire at the beginning of the study detailing their height, weight and amount of weekly physical activity in the past year, including walking, jogging, bicycling, and swimming.' They were then tracked for approximately 11 years.Women were considered "active" if they followed government-recommended guidelines, and got at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.' Women who got less exercise than that were considered "inactive." Weight was evaluated by body mass index (BMI):' a BMI between 25 and 29 is considered overweight, and 30 or higher is considered obese.Compared with normal-weight active women, the risk for developing heart disease was 54% higher in overweight active women, and 87% higher in obese active women.' By contrast, the risk for developing heart disease was 88% higher in overweight inactive women and 2 1/2 times greater in obese inactive women.About two in five American women at age 50 will eventually develop heart attacks or other cardiovascular problems according to the Associated Press report ( 4/29/08 ).' Excess weight can raise those odds in numerous ways, such as increasing blood pressure and increasing the risks for diabetes, as well as increasing "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.' Exercise counteracts all three.If there's one place in the world where there is no excuse for being inactive, it's southern California.' Between the glorious weather, the hiking trails in the mountains, marked bicycle lanes and more, it's almost impossible to excuse or explain being out of shape. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesity
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