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January 6, 2010, 4:24 PM CT

A lifetime of inactivity

A lifetime of inactivity
Humiliation in physical education class as a child can turn people off fitness for good, as per a University of Alberta researcher.

Billy Strean, a professor in the U of A's Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, says a negative lifelong attitude towards physical activity can be determined by either a good or a bad experience, based on the personal characteristics of the coach or instructor. For example, negative experiences may come from a teacher who has low energy, is unfair and/or someone who embarrasses students.

During his research, Strean heard from individuals who opened up about negative experiences with coaches and instructors, some from a number of years ago.

One study participant wrote, "I am a 51-year-old-woman whose childhood experiences with sports, especially as handled in school, were so negative that even as I write this my hands are sweating and I feel on the verge of tears. I have never experienced the humiliation nor felt the antipathy toward any other aspect of life as I do toward sports".

Strean hopes to raise awareness of such experiences so those who instruct children in sport will realize they have the ability to create either a fun and playful experience or an experience of humiliation.

Strean has tips for coaches and teachers, including putting attention on fun, connecting with friends and learning, and, until kids enter their teens, minimizing attention on outcomes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 5, 2010, 8:50 AM CT

Obesity now equals smoking in posing threat to quality of life

Obesity now equals smoking in posing threat to quality of life
As the US population becomes increasingly obese while smoking rates continue to decline, obesity has become an equal, if not greater, contributor to the burden of disease and shortening of healthy life compared to smoking. In an article reported in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, scientists from Columbia University and The City College of New York calculate that the Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) lost due to obesity is now equal to, if not greater than, those lost due to smoking, both modifiable risk factors.

QALYs use preference-based measurements of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) which allow a person to state a relative preference for a given health outcome. Since one person may value a particular outcome differently than another person, these measures capture how each respondent views his or her own quality of life.

The 1993-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the largest ongoing state-based health survey of US adults, has conducted interviews of more than 3,500,000 individuals; annual interviews started with 102,263 in 1993 and culminated with 406,749 in 2008. This survey includes a set of questions that measures HRQOL, asking about recent poor health days and tracking overall physical and mental health of the population. The authors analyzed these data and converted the measures to QALYs lost due to smoking and obesity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 5, 2010, 8:41 AM CT

Ffat mass helps build bone mass in girls

Ffat mass helps build bone mass in girls
As per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), fat mass is important in increasing bone size and thickness, but this effect may be stronger in girls than boys.

Lean mass is one of the strongest determinants of bone mass throughout life. Until now, it has been unclear whether fat mass and lean mass differ in how they influence bone development in boys and girls. Findings from prior studies have been inconsistent regarding whether fat mass has a positive or negative impact on bone development. This newly released study shows that fat mass is a strong stimulus for the accrual of cortical bone mass (hard outer layer of bone) in girls.

In this study, scientists used dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to determine total body fat mass and lean mass, and peripheral quantitative computer tomography (pQCT) to measure cortical bone mass at the mid-tibia, in 4,005 boys and girls with a mean age of 15.5 years. Eventhough lean mass was the major determinant of bone mass, fat mass also exerted an important positive influence, especially in girls, in which the effect was approximately 70 percent greater than in boys.

"The effect of fat mass on bone mass may be strongest in girls," said Jonathan Tobias, PhD, of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and main author of the study. "Girls clearly have more fat mass than boys and our findings show that whereas the greater lean mass in boys contributes to their greater cortical bone mass, this effect is partly counteracted by the greater fat mass in girls".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 29, 2009, 8:52 AM CT

Why some continue to eat when full

Why some continue to eat when full
The premise that hunger makes food look more appealing is a widely held belief just ask those who cruise grocery store aisles on an empty stomach, only to go home with a full basket and an empty wallet.

Previous research studies have suggested that the so-called hunger hormone ghrelin, which the body produces when it's hungry, might act on the brain to trigger this behavior. New research in mice by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest that ghrelin might also work in the brain to make some people keep eating "pleasurable" foods when they're already full.

"What we show is that there appears to be situations where we are driven to seek out and eat very rewarding foods, even if we're full, for no other reason than our brain tells us to," said Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, assistant professor of internal medicine and psychiatry at UT Southwestern and co-senior author of the study appearing online and in a future edition of Biological Psychiatry

Researchers previously have linked increased levels of ghrelin to intensifying the rewarding or pleasurable feelings one gets from cocaine or alcohol. Dr. Zigman said his team speculated that ghrelin might also increase specific rewarding aspects of eating.

Rewards, he said, generally can be defined as things that make us feel better.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 10, 2009, 8:13 AM CT

How calorie-restricted diets fight obesity

How calorie-restricted diets fight obesity
Fruits and vegetables are a key part of calorie-restricted diets, which may increase longevity.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Eric Hunt

Researchers searching for the secrets of how calorie-restricted diets increase longevity are reporting discovery of proteins in the fat cells of human volunteers that change as pounds drop off. The proteins could become markers for monitoring or boosting the effectiveness of calorie-restricted diets the only scientifically proven way of extending life span in animals. Their study appears online in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research

Edwin Mariman and his colleagues note that researchers have long known that sharply restricting intake of calories while maintaining good nutrition makes animals live longer and stay healthier. Recent studies suggest that people may gain similar benefits. But researchers know little about how these diets work in humans, especially their effects on cells that store fat.

The newly released study focused on proteins in abdominal subcutaneous fat cells from a group of overweight people before and after they went on a five-week-long calorie-restricted diet. The volunteers each lost an average of 21 pounds. Researchers identified changes in the levels of 6 proteins as the volunteers shed pounds, including proteins that tell the body to store fat. These proteins could serve as important markers for improving or tracking the effectiveness of therapies involving calorie-restricted diets, they say.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2009, 11:31 PM CT

Those weekend parties and obesity

Those weekend parties and obesity
The holidays can be challenging for even the most diligent dieters. But are weekends just as detrimental? Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., observed that weekend eating patterns change significantly.

J. Jeffrey Inman, a University of Pittsburgh professor of marketing and associate dean for research in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, and his coauthor, Adwait Khare, Quinnipiac University professor of marketing, studied two years' worth of data on consumers' eating behavior and observed that the quantity and quality of foods eaten during a meal and over the course of the day differs considerably on weekends and holidays.

Just as important as the daily caloric increase on weekends and holidays is the nutritional value of the food consumed, as per the research, which was reported in the Fall 2009 issue of the "Journal of Public Policy & Marketing." Labor Day barbeques and Thanksgiving Day feasts focus on family and friends bonding over tables laden with high-calorie foods. Because the quantity and quality of food consumed changes during these times, Inman suggests that the U.S. Department of Agriculture incorporate recommendations for holiday and weekend eating into its food pyramid guidelines.

Understanding eating patterns and knowing that a weekend can be just as dangerous to the diet as a holiday dinner arms consumers, doctors, and nutritionists with more knowledge to fight obesity, says Inman.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 7, 2009, 10:22 PM CT

Fit teenage boys are smarter

Fit teenage boys are smarter
In the first study to demonstrate a clear positive association between adolescent fitness and adult cognitive performance, Nancy Pedersen of the University of Southern California and his colleagues in Sweden find that better cardiovascular health among teenage boys correlates to higher scores on a range of intelligence tests and more education and income during the later part of life.

"During early adolescence and adulthood, the central nervous system displays considerable plasticity," said Pedersen, research professor of psychology at the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. "Yet, the effect of exercise on cognition remains poorly understood".

Pedersen, main author Maria berg of the University of Gothenburg and the research team looked at data for all 1.2 million Swedish men born between 1950 and 1976 who enlisted for required military service at the age of 18.

In every measure of cognitive functioning they analyzed from verbal ability to logical performance to geometric perception to mechanical skills average test scores increased as per aerobic fitness.

However, scores on intelligence tests did not increase along with muscle strength, the scientists found.

"Positive associations with intelligence scores were restricted to cardiovascular fitness, not muscular strength," Pedersen explained, "supporting the notion that aerobic exercise improved cognition through the circulatory system influencing brain plasticity".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 1, 2009, 8:19 AM CT

Overweight children may develop back pain

Overweight children may develop back pain
Being overweight as a child could lead to early degeneration in the spine, as per a research studypresented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"This is the first study to show an association between increased body mass index (BMI) and disc abnormalities in children," said the study's main author, Judah G. Burns, M.D., fellow in diagnostic neuroradiology at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City.

In this retrospective study, Dr. Burns and his colleagues evaluated MR images of the spines of 188 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 who complained of back pain and were imaged at the hospital over a four-year period. Trauma and other conditions that would predispose children to back pain were eliminated from the study.

The images revealed that 98 (52.1 percent) of the patients had some abnormality in the lower, or lumbar, spine. Most of those abnormalities occurred within the discs, which are sponge-like cushions in between the bones of the spine. Disc disease occurs when a bulging or ruptured disc presses on nerves, causing pain or weakness.

"In children, back pain is commonly attributed to muscle spasm or sprain," Dr. Burns said. "It is assumed that disc disease does not occur in children, but my experience says otherwise".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 1, 2009, 8:15 AM CT

Successful weight control strategies

Successful weight control strategies
Adolescent obesity is a major public health problem that impacts one out of every three children, resulting in 4-5 million overweight youth in the United States. As per a research findings reported in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, scientists reviewed differences in weight control behaviors, including dietary intake and physical activity, comparing overweight adolescents who lost weight and those who did not in order to better understand which strategies could be most effective.

Research has documented that one of the strongest predictors of adult obesity is adolescent obesity, with 70% of obese adolescents becoming obese adults. Identifying effective weight control strategies for adolescents is important and could help influence interventions for obesity in youth.

Investigators surveyed 130 adolescents, 62 who had been successful in losing weight and 68 who had been unsuccessful. Questioning adolescents and their parents, the authors reviewed weight control strategies, sedentary behaviors, dietary intake, physical activity, weighing frequency and current weight status.

In this pilot study weight control strategies were broken down into four categories. The first, "Healthy Weight Control Behaviors" (HWCB ), included eating less calories, increasing exercise, eating less high fat and junk food, drinking less soda, drinking more water, weighing oneself, eating more fruits and vegetables, and engaging in different kinds of exercise. The second category, "Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors" (UWCB) included laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, smoking, and fasting. The third category, "Extreme Dietary Changes" (EDC), included use of liquid diet supplements, the Atkins diet, a structured diet, fasting, and increased protein consumption. The fourth category, "Structured Behaviors" (SB), included eating a certain amount of calories, counting calories, recording food intake, and working with a professional.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 30, 2009, 8:08 AM CT

Too much physical activity may lead to arthritis

Too much physical activity may lead to arthritis
Middle-aged men and women who engage in high levels of physical activity appears to be unknowingly causing damage to their knees and increasing their risk for osteoarthritis, as per a research studypresented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Our data suggest that people with higher physical activity levels appears to be at greater risk for developing knee abnormalities and, thus, at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis," said Christoph Stehling, M.D., research fellow in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and radiology resident in the Department of Clinical Radiology, University of Muenster, Gera number of.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects an estimated 27 million American adults.

The UCSF study involved 236 asymptomatic participants who had not reported prior knee pain and were enrolled in the National Institutes of Health Osteoarthritis Initiative. Study participants included 136 women and 100 men, age 45 to 55, within a healthy weight range. The participants were separated into low-, middle-, and high-activity groups based on their responses to the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire. PASE is a standard test that scores an older individual's physical activity level, based on the type of activity and the time spent doing it. Several factors contribute to the final PASE score, but a person whose activity level is classified as high typically might engage in several hours of walking, sports or other types of exercise per week, as well as yard work and other household chores.........

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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