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Health Tips #78 ~ [Issue 0106-2]  Wellness Weekly
 Jan 09, 2006 12:33 PST 

* Heart Disease And Women

Long thought of as a man's disease, cardiovascular disease also
affects women, killing more of them each year than the next seven
causes of death combined. The American Heart Association (AHA) wants
to raise awareness that cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of
women. The AHA urges women to take charge of their heart health. Some
90 percent of women say they have power over their health, yet only
27 percent list their health as a top priority, an AHA survey
reveals. Dr. Brigitta Brott, cardiologist at the University of
Alabama, Birmingham, says to reduce their risk, women should learn
the warning signs of the disease.

* White Bread Unhealthy

Avoiding white bread may mean avoiding diabetes as well. In a recent
study, people who consumed more white bread than whole-grain breads
tended to have the highest risk of adult-onset diabetes. Other foods
made from highly refined flours or sugars, such as cookies, crackers,
and cakes, also were associated with an increased risk of the
condition. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole-grain
breads, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta, which help keep blood
sugar levels steady. These foods have a low glycemic index, which
means that they are broken down slowly by the body, helping keep
blood sugar levels stable. On the other hand, foods made from white
flour and refined sugars are high-glycemic-index foods; they tend to
cause spikes in blood sugar levels. In addition to eating a balanced
diet that focuses on low-glycemic-index foods, other ways to reduce
your risk of diabetes are to exercise regularly and maintain a
healthy weight.

* Diabetics Can Be Helped By CLA Supplement

Supplementing the diet with a certain fatty acid could lead to better
weight control and disease management in diabetics, a past study
suggests. Diabetics who added an essential fatty acid called
conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, to their diets had lower body mass
as well as lower blood sugar levels by the end of the eight-week
study, conducted by Ohio State University researchers. They also
found higher levels of this fatty acid in the bloodstream means lower
levels of leptin, a hormone thought to regulate fat levels. The
researchers said they think high leptin levels play a role in
obesity, one of the biggest risk factors for adult-onset diabetes.
Although CLA supplements are available to consumers, the researchers
urged diabetics to get their CLA mainly from food sources - primarily
beef, lamb, and dairy products.

* Inactivity To Blame For Obesity

A past study shows too few physical activities rather than too many
calories are at the root of adolescent obesity. An analysis by a
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, nutrition researcher shows
between 1980 and 2000 obesity rates increased 10 percent among
adolescents. At the same time, physical activity decreased 13 percent
but caloric intake rose only 1 percent among American teens. The
report, presented at the Experimental Biology '03 meeting in San
Diego, points to the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. "Much of the
debate regarding obesity has been focused on diet, yet there is
evidence to suggest that activity plays a significant role in obesity
for kids 12 to 19 years of age," said study author Dr. Lisa
Sutherland. "The decrease in physical education in schools, changes
in transportation methods and popularity of television, video games,
and the Internet all contribute to an increasingly sedentary
lifestyle for kids. Given these trends, it is crucial that we find
new and creative ways to increase physical activity in adolescents as
a first line of defense to combating obesity."

* Helping Overweight Children Trim Down

Obesity in children is a major public health problem that really
forebodes serious issues for the future. And now the prevalence of
obesity has doubled in children in the last 15 to 20 years; about 15%
of children today are overweight. The problem is twofold - poor
eating habits and lack of exercise. Kids are more sedentary than they
have been in a long time. They come home and play video games or get
on the computer as opposed to going outside and playing baseball or
soccer. Fast food is also a major contributing factor.

There are serious problems associated with childhood obesity. One is
the problem of self-esteem and interacting with their peers and other
children. That can have serious psychological effects that could
affect them long term. Overweight kids also face serious medical
problems. Diseases that we normally see in adults because of obesity
are now being seen with increasing frequency in children,
particularly type-2 diabetes, gall bladder disease, and liver disease.

Have the pediatrician who is involved in the child's care be a guide
and look at the child's body weight in relationship to height or body
mass index according to the growth charts that are distributed by the
Center for Disease Control. And if the child hits a certain target in
terms of the growth chart, treatment usually revolves around diet,
exercise, and patterns of behavior in the family. Treating children
who are obese requires a family commitment and requires parents to be
directly involved. It is not effective by just treating the child
alone. Parents can offer choices of a variety of foods, as far as
fruits and vegetables and meats, lower-fat choices. Watch the amounts
of what they eat and lead by example. A parent that sits down and
eats a healthy meal himself will be a big encouragement.

Parents also should decrease television viewing and sedentary
activities at home. So, watching TV, playing video games, and being
on the computer should be limited. Parents should also establish
increased physical activity behaviors with them and their children.
Go out for walks on a regular basis after dinner, embark on family
activities that increase physical action.
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