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March 31, 2009, 3:49 PM CT

Exercise in those winter months

Exercise in those winter months
Eventhough winter's grasp has subsided to spring, its effects could have a long term impact on the exercise patterns of teenagers. As per a five-year study reported in the Annals of Epidemiology, while teens are generally more active in warmer months, significant drops in physical activity during winter months contributes to a general slowdown in exercise habits throughout adolescence that could persist over time.

Study researchers from the Centre de Formation Mdicale du Nouveau-Brunswick of the Universit de Moncton and Universit de Sherbrooke, the Universit de Montral and McGill University counter that declines in physical activity could be offset by promoting a diversity of physical activities including those that can be enjoyed during winter.

"While physical activity augments in spring and summer, these increases do not compensate for winter drop offs, which contribute to declining physical activity throughout adolescence," says Mathieu Blanger, main author of the study, research director at the Centre de formation mdicale du Nouveau-Brunswick and epidemiologist at the Centre de recherche Beausejour. "Throughout our five-year study, the average daily number of physical activity sessions among participants decreased by nearly one third. The sharpest declines occurred during the coldest months".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 31, 2009, 3:28 PM CT

You would eat healthier if restaurants provide nutritional data

You would eat healthier if restaurants provide nutritional data
As more and more Americans eat meals outside the home, the country also faces an epidemic of obesity. An association between eating out and weight-related diseases has led to demands for nutritional labeling of restaurant foods. A newly released study in the Journal of Consumer Research examines the potential benefits of such labeling.

"Using only the sense of taste, smell, and sight to accurately estimate the levels of calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium found in a typical restaurant food serving is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most consumers," write authors Elizabeth Howlett (University of Arkansas), Scot Burton (Sam M. Walton College of Business), Kenneth Bates (University of San Diego), and Kyle Huggins (James Madison University).

The authors set out to examine how providing calorie and nutrient information on restaurant menus and menu boards influences consumers' food-related assessments and choices. They looked at how participants' previous expectations came into play and whether providing calorie and nutrient information after the consumptive experience changed their subsequent food choices.

The scientists observed that providing nutritional information can influence subsequent food consumption, particularly when consumers' expectations are not fulfilled when they examine the information. "When a 'great taste' claim was used to describe a restaurant menu item, the provision of calorie information did not affect consumers' perceptions, presumably because foods that claim great taste are typically expected to be relatively high in calories," the authors explain. "Conversely, when a 'low calorie' claim was presented but the menu item was higher in calories than expected, the provision of nutritional information increased the perceived likelihood of 1) gaining weight and 2) developing heart disease."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 31, 2009, 3:25 PM CT

Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets

Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets
Here's another reason why dieters should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: When faced with a large variety of items, consumers tend to underestimate how much of each item is present, as per a newly released study in the Journal of Consumer Research

Authors Joseph P. Redden (University of Minnesota) and Stephen J. Hoch (University of Pennsylvania) investigated consumers' perceptions of quantity in a set of experiments that may help us understand how quantity perceptions influence portion sizes.

"Does a bowl with both red and blue candies seem to have more or less than a bowl with only one color candy?" the scientists asked. "Contrary to popular belief, the presence of variety actually makes it seem like there are fewer items".

To investigate the question, the scientists first exposed participants to images of colored dots and geometric shapes. "When items differ, people tend to focus on one type or the other, and find it difficult to merge the multiple types into a whole," the authors write. "However, a set composed of only identical items makes it easy for people to perceive the items as a single, unified whole."

The authors observed that focusing on the larger whole makes a set appear to occupy more space. "Since people rely on spatial area as a cue for quantity, a set appears to have more items when they are all identical." After demonstrating this perceptual effect in two studies with geometric shapes, the scientists moved on to food.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 31, 2009, 5:12 AM CT

A cup of coffee before your morning workout

A cup of coffee before your morning workout
Stopping to smell the coffee and enjoy a cup of it before your morning workout might do more than just get your juices flowing. It might keep you going for reasons you haven't even considered.

As a former competitive cyclist, University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Robert Motl routinely met his teammates at a coffee shop to fuel up on caffeine previous to hitting the pavement on long-distance training rides.

"The notion was that caffeine was helping us train harder to push ourselves a little harder," he said.

The cyclists didn't know why it helped, they just knew it was effective.

"I think intuitively a lot of people are taking caffeine before a workout and they don't realize the actual benefit they're experiencing. That is, they're experiencing less pain during the workout," Motl said.

He said it's becoming increasingly common for athletes before competing to consume a variety of substances that include caffeine, motivated by "the notion that it will help you metabolize fat more readily".

"That research isn't actually very compelling," Motl said. "What's going on in my mind is people are doing it for that reason, but they actually take that substance that has caffeine and they can push themselves harder. It doesn't hurt as much".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 31, 2009, 5:02 AM CT

How much that muscle mass can increase?

How much that muscle mass can increase?
Octogenarian women were unable to increase muscle mass after a 3-month weight lifting program targeted at strengthening the thigh muscle, as per a newly released study from the Journal of Applied Physiology. The results are surprising because prior studies have observed resistance training capable of increasing muscle mass, even for people who are into their 70s. An increase in muscle size translates to an increase in strength.

Still, the Ball State University study contained some good news: The octogenarians were able to lift more weight after the training program, likely because the nervous system became more efficient at activating and synchronizing muscles.

The American Physiological Society published the study, "Improvements in whole muscle and myocellular function are limited with high-intensity resistance training in octogenarian women." The scientists are Ulrika Raue, Dustin Slivka, Kiril Minchev and Scott Trappe.

Aim: Strengthen Octogenarian Thigh Muscle.



The experiment involved six women, all in their 80s, all of whom lived independently and came to the laboratory three times a week for three months. The women exercised on a machine designed to strengthen the thigh (quadriceps) muscle. They did three sets of 10 lifts, with a 2-minute rest period between sets.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 30, 2009, 5:05 AM CT

Infant weight gain linked to childhood obesity

Infant weight gain linked to childhood obesity
As childhood obesity continues its thirty-year advance from occasional curiosity to cultural epidemic, health care providers are struggling to find out whyand the reasons are a number of. Increasingly sedentary environments for both adults and children, as well as cheap and ubiquitous processed foods no doubt play a role, but scientists are finding more evidence that the first clues for childhood obesity appears to begin as far back as early infancy.

A newly released study led by scientists in the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, as well as Children's Hospital Boston, has observed that rapid weight gain during the first six months of life may place a child at risk for obesity by age 3.

"There is increasing evidence that rapid changes in weight during infancy increase children's risk of later obesity," says main author Elsie Taveras, assistant professor in the HMS Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention and co-director of the One Step Ahead clinic, a pediatric overweight prevention program at Children's Hospital Boston. "The mounting evidence suggests that infancy appears to be a critical period during which to prevent childhood obesity and its related consequences."

These findings are reported in the April edition of the journal Pediatrics........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 26, 2009, 9:53 PM CT

Anorexia and psychiatric disorders

Anorexia and psychiatric disorders
Credit: Ben Kokolas
The study was initiated in 1985. A total of 51 teenagers with anorexia nervosa were studied, together with an equally large control group of healthy persons. The groups have been investigated and compared several times as the years have passed.

"This study is unique in an international perspective. It is the only study in the world that reflects the natural course of anorexia nervosa in the population", says Elisabet Wentz, Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The research group has published new results from the study in two scientific journals: the British Journal of Psychiatry and the International Journal of Eating Disorders

Three women have not yet recovered from anorexia, 18 years after the start of the study. Thirteen people, or around 25%, are on disability benefit or have been signed off sick for more than six months due to an eating disorder or other psychiatric disorder. Thirty-nine percent have at least one other psychiatric disorder, in addition to the eating disorder. The most common of these is obsessive compulsive disorder.

But the results also contain some positive surprises.

"Prior studies have shown that anorexia is a diagnosis with a very poor prognosis, with as a number of as one in five patients dying as a result of the disease. In contrast, we have not had a single death among the subjects of our study", says Elisabet Wentz.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 26, 2009, 9:46 PM CT

Public transit may help you keep fit

Public transit may help you keep fit
A newly released study by scientists at the University of British Columbia suggests taking public transit may help you keep fit.

The study, reported in the Journal of Public Health Policy, finds that people who take public transit are three times more likely than those who don't to meet the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's suggested daily minimum of physical activity.

Doctoral student Ugo Lachapelle and Assoc. Prof. Lawrence Frank of the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning used 4,156 travel surveys from metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, to examine whether transit and car trips were linked to meeting the recommended levels of physical activity by walking.

Because transit trips by bus and train often involve walking to and from stops, the study observed that users are more likely to meet the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, five days a week.

As per the study, people who drove the most were the least likely to meet the recommended level of physical activity.

"The idea of needing to go to the gym to get your daily dose of exercise is a misperception," says Frank, the J. Armand Bombardier Chairholder in Sustainable Transportation and a researcher at the UBC Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. "These short walks throughout our day are historically how we have gotten our activity. Unfortunately, we've engineered this activity out of our daily lives".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 26, 2009, 9:34 PM CT

Exercise and Migraine

Exercise and Migraine
While physical exercise has been shown to trigger migraine headaches among sufferers, a newly released study describes an exercise program that is well tolerated by patients. The findings show that the program decreased the frequency of headaches and improved quality of life. The study is published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

The study used a sample of migraine sufferers who were examined before, during and after an aerobic exercise intervention. The program was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise) and was designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake without worsening the patients' migraines.

After the therapy period, patients' maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly. There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period and, during the last month of therapy, there was a significant decrease in the number of migraine attacks, the number of days with migraine per month, headache intensity and amount of headache medicine used.

Individuals with headache and migraine typically are less physically active than those without headache. Patients with migraine often avoid exercise, resulting in less aerobic endurance and flexibility. Therefore, well designed studies of exercise in patients with migraine are imperative.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

Longer bouts of exercise to prevent childhood obesity

Longer bouts of exercise to prevent childhood obesity
Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Ian Janssen
Photo by Stephen Wild
Children who exercise in bouts of activity lasting five minutes or longer are less likely to become obese than those whose activity levels are more sporadic and typically last less than five minutes each, Queen's University scientists have discovered.

Led by Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Ian Janssen, the newly released study supports Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth, which call for children to accumulate at least 90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity over the course of the day, in bouts of at least five to 10 minutes' duration. Until now there has been no scientific evidence to support the recommendation of sustained, rather than sporadic exercise.

"Even in 60-minute physical education classes or team practices, children are inactive for a large portion of the time and this would not necessarily count as sustained exercise," says Dr. Janssen. "When children engage in longer periods of sustained physical activity, there is a smaller likelihood that they will be overweight or obese." .

The findings are reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Conducted by Dr. Janssen and graduate student Amy Mark, the study analyzed data from 2,498 youth aged eight to 17, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Sporadic (one to four minutes), short (five to nine minutes) and medium-to-long (10 minutes and longer) bouts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were measured using motion sensors. Participants' body mass index (BMI) was used to classify them as normal weight or obese.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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