HEALTHY NUGGETS - Without the Calories

I trust your summer is in full bloom. Hopefully, you are a lot more acclimated to our heat and humidity than a month ago! I always enjoy sharing pearls of healthy news that just may provide inspiration and/or knowledge. Below are a few news items I recently found insightful.
I especially enjoyed the article "What's the most unhealthy thing you do every day?" by James Vlahos in the April 17, 2011 issue of The New York Times Magazine. Mr. Vlahos focused upon the research of Dr. James Levine from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Levine has an intense interest in how much, and how little, people move. A weakness of traditional activity and obesity research is that it relies on self-reporting. Research has shown that overweight people usually OVERSTATE the amount of exercise they achieve and UNDERSTATE the volume of calories they consume.
Dr. Levine has gone beyond the conventional wisdom that inactivity will likely result in excess body fat – especially over periods of months and years. He has accumulated detailed research that clarified the activity levels for participants into the amount of quantifiable movements per day. Dr. Levine measured the move- ments using his own testing method for non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT.) The obese subjects averaged only 1,500 daily movements and nearly 600 minutes of sitting. Conversely, Dr. Levine studied non-obese farm workers in Jamaica who averaged 5,000 movements and only 300 minutes sitting per day.
Clearly, sitting was targeted as the unhealthiest thing we do every day. According to Marc Hamilton, an inac- tivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, when we are sitting the electrical activity in our muscles drops. "Muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse." This quickly leads to a series of harmful metabolic effects. These effects include; a reduction in the rate you burn calories and a drop in insulin effectiveness – increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also noted, inactivity causes the enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglyceridesto fall dramatically, which in turn causes the levels of good HDL cholesterol to fall. Hamilton explains that the "vacuuming-up of fat out of the bloodstream" becomes inhibited.
Dr. Levine summarizes his research very bluntly; "Excessive sitting is a lethal activity!" I don't know about you, but I had the strong urge to stand up and move around as I read about his research. Be very afraid of too much sitting.
From the Consumer Reports on Health, August 2011; in a review published in the May 10, 2011 Journal of American College of Cardiology, researchers pooled data from studies involving almost 16,000 people with heart disease. Adults with a high waist-to-hip ratio and large waist circumference (known as an apple body shape) had nearly double the mortality risk verses people who did not carry a spare tire around their middle. Note, this was concluded regardless of body mass index (BMI.) People who carry their extra body fat in their belly were at greater risk for heart disease. Belly fat is especially dangerous!
I also found two other studies that were mentioned in the August 2011 CR on Health very interesting. One study detailed how adults who were overweight during middle age are more likely to develop demen- tia later in life than adults who maintained a normal weight. This research was originally published in the May 3, 2011 issue of Neurology and involved 8,534 adults. The second study included adults with type 2 diabetes and showed that those who participated in a structured exercise program for more than 2.5 hours a week, for at least three months – had notably improved blood glucose levels. With only thirty minutes of exercise, five days per week; these diabetics had significantly more improvement than those who exercised less or were not in a supervised program. This information clearly reflects the importance of long-term healthy lifestyle choices and their impact on our quality of life as we age. If you develop healthy habits today; you not only enjoy the current benefits of a healthy body, but will be around for many more years to enjoy the future benefits of a healthy mind.
I hope you find some energy, knowledge and inspiration from each and every one of my South Tampa News articles. We have archived many of these articles at Have a healthy day!

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