Learning to gain weight is as important as learning to loose it

Weight gain can be done in an effective way

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How to Gain Weight in a Healthy Way

It can be as difficult as losing weight for some people

Just like losing weight is a goal for some people, gaining weight is a goal for many others. And figuring out how to gain weight can be equally as difficult, for many different reasons. Factors like genetics, medications, stress, chronic health problems, and mental health struggles like depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder, can all make putting on weight a physical and mental challenge.

“We constantly hear about the obesity epidemic, and our society places such an emphasis on weight loss and dieting, but there are so many individuals out there who are struggling with the opposite problem,” Marla Scanzello, M.S., R.D., director of dietary service at Eating Recovery Center, tells SELF. “It is essential for [those individuals] to recognize that their needs are different and to tune out the unhelpful dieting and weight loss messages surrounding them,” Scanzello adds.

The truth is that for some people, being their healthiest self means gaining some weight. “Being underweight puts you at risk for a variety of health issues, including fragile bones, fertility issues, hair loss, a weakened immune system, fatigue, and malnutrition,” Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF.

Of course, healthy weight ranges will be different for every person. If you’re not sure what that means for you, definitely talk with your general physician or a registered dietitian. This is tricky, and what works for your friends won’t necessarily work for you, so it’s essential to do what’s right for your body and keeps you nourished, happy, and healthy.

(If you have an eating disorder, seeking help from a treatment center, or just a trusted doctor, is essential. You should not change your diet, count calories, or try to put on weight on your own before speaking with a professional who can help you come up with the right plan for you.)

If you are looking for ways to make weight gain easier, here are some tips for doing so in a healthy way.

Go get a physical.

If you don’t already know why weight gain is tough for you, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Some chronic health conditions like hyperthyroidism and some digestive issues like Crohn’s disease can cause weight loss. You may also just have a very high metabolism, Rumsey says. Figuring out the underlying cause (if there is one) and treating that will help you reach your goals.

Do a mental health check.

“Some people may lose weight during times of stress or depression and need to regain weight for optimal health,” Scanzello says. “In these cases, it may also be helpful for them to see a therapist to address the underlying emotional issues contributing to lack of appetite and/or weight loss.”

Weight problems can be a physical symptom of stress, so check in on yourself and assess your stress levels. If you realize you need to get them in check, or that you’re struggling with other things like depression or anxiety, seeing a therapist can help you sort things out.

Eat smaller meals throughout the day.

“Often it can feel overwhelming to sit down to a large plate of food, so start out by eating more frequent meals,” Rumsey suggests. “Eating every two to three hours can help you get a lot of calories in without feeling stuffed.” It can also help mitigate some of the GI discomfort you may feel. “When individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight start increasing their food intake, they often experience uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as constipation, gas, bloating, and stomach pain,” Scanzello says. It may just be more comfortable physically to spread out the extra food needed to gain weight throughout the day.

Drink smoothies and shakes.

Energy-dense liquids are an easy way to take in more calories without feeling too uncomfortably full. “It is often easier to drink a lot of calories than to eat those calories via real food,” Rumsey notes. You can also pack them with vitamins and nutrients, and drink them on the go. Other calorically dense drinks can help, too. “Caloric fluids like milk and juice can also be added or used to replace fluids, such as water and diet drinks, to help meet energy needs for weight gain,” Scanzello says. Just be cautious of how much sugar you’re drinking—excess sugar can have negative health consequences, and you don’t want to fill up on sugar instead of nutrient-rich foods.

Focus on calorically dense but healthy foods.

It’s really important that you’re getting a healthy mix of nutrients, not just calories. “Weight gain due to more calories from unhealthy food sources like large amounts of salty, greasy, sugary, highly processed foods can cause other health problems down the road, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease,” Rumsey says.

Also, if you’re not loading up on healthful foods, you run the risk of remaining malnourished even after putting on weight. “It is best to increase food intake with a variety of foods and balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to help replenish nutritional status,” Scanzello says. She suggests focusing on energy-dense foods, such as nuts, oils, dried fruit, granola, peanut butter, and other spreads and fats.

Cut back on cardio.

Scanzello emphasizes that for some people, exercise can be dangerous until you’ve reached a certain weight. “It is best to be medically cleared for exercise if underweight,” she says. If you’ve talked to your doctor and are given the go-ahead, Rumsey says stick to strength training over cardio. “For people looking to gain weight, I recommend an exercise regimen of mostly strength training, with very little cardio,” she says. Yes, you’ll still burn some calories lifting weights, but you will also put on muscle mass. Exercising a bit may also help stimulate your appetite, giving you an extra nudge toward reaching your goals.

Reference for the above article is SELF

Author’s opinion

Most people are only familiar with loosing weight, this leave the other population unaware of how they can gain weight. This overlooking of gaining weight leads to the belief that only being over weight is a problem. However it is vital to know that being underweight is just as dangerous as being over weight. Having a small body from a young age I can attest to the fact that it is extremely difficult to gain weight in a healthy way as the popular belief is that one needs to indulge in fatty foods to accomplish such feat. This is what leads to young people having conditions such as high cholesterol.

Too much money spent on fitness

healthy living doesn’t have to include high expensive fitness costs

healthy living tips

Why You’re Paying So Much to Exercise

Millennials are turning the fitness industry upside down.

On a frigid Sunday this month, Rianka Dorsainvil, a 29-year-old financial planner outside Washington, D.C., found herself running up a steep, snowy hill wearing a 20-pound vest and dragging a 215-pound man behind her.

She was paying for the privilege. The man harnessed to her was her personal trainer, who runs a studio out of his home and micromanages not just Dorsainvil’s workouts but her meals, too. She calls him the “mad scientist.”

“It’s great to have an expert pushing you in the right direction,” she said.

A growing segment of the U.S. population is making a significant sacrifice for physical fitness, and not just in sore muscles and pre-dawn wake-ups. More and more people are paying hundreds of dollars a month, or thousands a year, for personal workouts, special classes, and ever more luxurious gyms.

Dorsainvil and her husband, a technology consultant, spend about 10 percent of their monthly budget getting fit, she figures. That includes training, memberships to a gym where she starts her day at 4:30 a.m., and the bulked-up grocery bills, including supplements, that fuel all that exercise.

By contrast, the average American spends a minuscule amount on getting in shape. Almost one-fifth of Americans are health club members, and the average U.S. club dues are $54 a month, or 1.2 percent of median household income, according to the latest data from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, or Ihrsa, the fitness industry trade group.

Even if you stick with a regular gym, though, your dues have probably been going up. Traditional health clubs held off on price increases in the years after the recession but are now feeling squeezed by rising costs and new competition robbing them of longtime members.

Thousands of boutique gyms have opened, each with a niche. Studios feature one-on-one training and group classes in CrossFit, cycling and spinning, kickboxing, barre, boot camp training, yoga, pilates, martial arts, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), indoor rock climbing, and countless others hoping to be the next fitness fad

They aren’t cheap. SoulCycle, the popular cycling studio brand, costs $34 a class, or a discounted $850 for 30 classes, in New York. Go three times a week for a year and that’s at least $4,420.

Luxury gyms are also seeing brisk business. Equinox opened 10 new clubs last year, bringing its total to 86. In New York, where a third of Equinox clubs are located, monthly memberships can start above $200 a month.

Many of the most enthusiastic exercisers are millennials, a generation that would appear least able to cover the extra costs. Weighed down by student debt and living in cities with skyrocketing rents, young urban dwellers still shell out $20 to $40 for an hourlong class and $50 to $100 or more for a personal training session.

One way they save money is disloyalty. Ihrsa estimates that 86 percent of patrons of studio gyms also visit or are members of other gyms. You could mix your SoulCycle with some equally pricey kickboxing or CrossFit, but there are also many new cheaper options. Even as Dorsainvil pays up for a trainer, her main gym costs her just $10 a month.

Hers is one of a wave of budget gyms, costing $20 or less a month, that have swept across the U.S. since the recession. The idea is to offer exercise equipment without extras. Planet Fitness, for example, has 1,200 locations in 47 states and has plans to grow to 4,000 clubs in the U.S.

While midmarket clubs barely gained members, the number of budget club members grew 69 percent in 2015 alone, Ihrsa estimated last year. Much of this growth is driven by franchising, a trend that has brought outside money to the fitness industry. Entrepreneurs who might have opened a sandwich shop are opening a franchise of Planet Fitness or Blink Fitness, which is a budget brand owned by Equinox.

Fitness was already a cutthroat industry. Clubs face a constant churn of members. About 30 percent of the people who signed up for clubs in 2014 were gone a year later, Ihrsa estimates.

“There are more former club members than there are present ones,” Stephen Tharrett, co-founder and principal of the consulting firm ClubIntel, said.

January is the most popular month to join a gym. It’s also when many clubs raise their dues, a process that risks prompting members to leave. “It’s always scary when you raise dues, because you don’t know how many members you’re going to lose,” said Bill McBride, a fitness club consultant and chief executive officer and co-founder of Active Wellness LLC, which runs more than 60 fitness facilities across the U.S.

Many clubs have no choice. Unless they constantly renovate and reinvent themselves, older clubs won’t attract new members to replace those who are leaving, McBride said. Many health clubs are also facing higher rents and rising labor costs thanks to increases in the minimum wage in many parts of the country. The arrival of new studios and budget clubs makes the competition even more intense.

“The number of health club members has been increasing,” McBride said, “but the number of clubs has been increasing exponentially more.”

Shortly before Christmas, DavidBartonGym declared bankruptcy and abruptly shut down eight high-end clubs in New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, and outside Seattle. The chain blamed “severe competitive pressures, particularly in New York.” 1 DavidBartonGym locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Honolulu are owned by a separate company and remain open.

Expect more clubs to close and consolidate, said ClubIntel’s Tharrett. Even studio clubs could feel squeezed. In some cities, you see “four or five different studios on the same block,” he said. “Something has to give.”

Studios have plenty of advantages. They’re designed to be social. Customers keep coming back because of personal relationships with instructors and other clients. Serious exercisers need to be constantly challenged, and personal attention makes that easier.

Studios can also make extra money off customers by selling merchandise, like T-shirts and hats, or energy snacks and drinks. With “highly specialized, tribal experiences,” Tharrett said, a studio “creates a sense of belonging.”

Still, fashions change. If customers get bored of cycling or rock climbing, there’s no membership contract to keep them from trying something new. A notorious example is the fitness chain Curves, which rapidly opened, and then shut, thousands of locations across the U.S.

In fitness studios, “the barriers to entry might be very low, but the barriers to success are very high,” said IBISWorld analyst Andrew Alvarez. Plus, “there’s only so much money you can extract out of your core demographic before your revenue flatlines.”

So far, there’s little evidence that members of studios and luxury gyms are tightening their belts. Overall, Ihrsa estimates the health club industry’s revenues jumped 6.1 percent in 2015, to $25.8 billion. Veterans of the fitness industry sound surprised that gyms’ youngest clients are acting less price-sensitive than older generations. Why are millennials willing to pay hundreds of dollars a month?

“I have no idea,” except that “they’ve made fitness a priority,” said Rick Caro, a consultant at Management Vision and former club owner with 43 years of experience.

Dorsainvil has a theory. “Our generation is a generation of multitaskers,” she said. “It’s only when we’re working out that we really get to concentrate on one thing.”

Debbie Freeman, a 35-year-old financial planner in Denver, agrees. “I use exercise as a way to pull myself away from the day-to-day grind,” said the mother of a 4-year-old and 6-year-old. “It’s the one time of the day when I can do something by myself and for myself.”

Freeman spends significantly less than Dorsainvil on exercise. She’s not interested in crowding into a group studio or meeting up in the park for a boot camp. Instead, she mostly runs outside. Her only expenses are a $20-a-month gym and the occasional entry fee for a half marathon or 10K race.

Are people who spend thousands of dollars on fitness wasting their money? Neither of the two financial planners thinks so.

If you’re meeting your retirement and other savings goals, “who am I to say you’re spending too much?” said Dorsainvil, who started her own planning firm, Your Greatest Contribution, about a year ago. “You only get one body.”

Freeman, the director of tax and financial planning at Peak Financial Advisors, has a friend who pays more than $200 a month at a CrossFit gym. “It keeps her accountable,” she said. “The money is a motivator for her to go do it.”

Whatever works for you, Freeman said. “The shape you’re in from your 30s to 50s is going to affect the shape you’re in in your 70s and 80s.” If clients need to cut their budgets, she advises them to start with alcohol or restaurants or cable.

Exercise? “That’s one of the last places I’m going to tell them to slice,” she said

The above article can be found at Bloomberg

seems to secret to living long has been found

Calorie restriction seems to be a way to longer lifespan

healthy living tips

Photocred:daily mail

Monkeys that eat less live longer after all, University of Wisconsin study finds

Monkeys that eat less than normal live longer and are healthier than other monkeys, meaning the same is likely true for humans, according to a new study by scientists at UW-Madison and the National Institute on Aging.

The institutions teamed up to look at why their previous, separate studies yielded contradictory results. Monkeys put on restricted diets in Madison saw benefits in survival and warding off disease, but similar monkeys at the federal institute in Baltimore, Maryland, did not.

The discrepancy raised questions about whether caloric restriction, found to increase lifespan in yeast, worms, flies and mice, could do the same in primates, including people.

Now, after combining data and comparing notes, the two groups of scientists found that the UW-Madison conclusions hold true overall, they reported Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

“Reducing calorie intake improves health and survival,” said Rozalyn Anderson, a UW-Madison associate professor of medicine involved in the study. “What you eat and how much you eat will affect how you age.”

The cooperative analysis led to a new proposition, however. The level of caloric restriction necessary to extend life and improve health, initially thought to be 30 percent below a normal diet, might be considerably less. Researchers hope additional studies can pinpoint the amount.

“Is it 10 percent? It is 15?” Anderson said. “Maybe a little bit of food intake reduction is good enough.”

That premise stemmed from differences in how the studies at UW-Madison and the aging institute have been conducted. The institutions run the only long-term studies of caloric restriction in rhesus monkeys, considered good models of human biology.

The university’s study, started in 1989, involved 76 monkeys. The aging institute’s study, which began in 1987, enrolled 121 monkeys. Many of the monkeys have died naturally over the years, but the studies continue.

Both groups of scientists fed half of their monkeys less than normal. But in Madison, the food has been higher in fat and sugar, and monkeys on regular diets have been more free-fed. The university’s study didn’t initiate caloric restriction until monkeys were adults, but the aging institute started some monkeys on special diets when they were young.

At the aging institute, monkeys on regular diets didn’t eat much more than those whose caloric restriction started as adults. The body weight of monkeys on regular diets and special diets didn’t vary much.

 

That made it seem like eating fewer calories didn’t help the monkeys. But when both groups of monkeys at the aging institute were compared with those at the university, where food intake and weight among the groups differed more, it became clear that eating less prolongs life and improves health.

Another finding from the new analysis is that caloric restriction in monkeys is beneficial in adulthood but not when started at a young age, which is different from what had been found in mice.

Rhesus monkeys generally live 26 years, but those on the restricted diets live about 28 years, which translates to a gain of about six years for humans, Anderson said.

Rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions are more than twice as high among monkeys on regular diets than those on restricted diets, she said.

Among the 10 monkeys from the UW-Madison that are still alive, eight have been on restricted diets, with the oldest one nearly 36 years old, said Ricki Colman, a senior scientist at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, involved in the study. In the aging institute study, the oldest monkey is 43.

A caloric restriction study in people, based at Washington University in St. Louis, found that eating less than normal appeared to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and make people more sensitive to insulin.

But the study, in which people aimed to cut daily calorie intake by 25 percent over two years but achieved only a 12 percent reduction, did not find metabolic benefits identified in animal studies, according a report published in 2015 in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

The goal of the UW-Madison study is to better understand how the aging process increases the risk for disease, with the potential to identify new targets to prevent disease, Anderson said.

“When we can figure out what (caloric restriction) is doing, that will inform what is creating disease vulnerability in aging,” she said.

Reference for the above article is HostMandison

My opinion

The studies reveal that restricting calorie intake increases llifespans of monkeys and people. Studies also reveled that restricting diet from a young age depicted negative results on the monkeys,this could be due to the fact that at a young age we are all required to have enough food to fuel our bodies for us to function well. So as we grow older we merely need to consume foods that are not only healthy but not those are small in portions as our bodies have accumulated a lot already. The calorie deficient is also an element used in loosing weight.

 

Cellphone is said to pose danger in your fitness routine

Cellphones have become an integral part of our lives but studies reveal how dangerous on your health and fitness

healthy living tips

Photocred:Actorfit

Why you shouldn’t use your cell phone while exercising

Do you really need your mobile when you’re working out? Researchers say talking and texting during exercise can cause all sorts of problems.

Talking or texting on your cell phone may spell trouble during exercise, researchers say.

Divided attention

In two studies, they found that talking or texting on a cell phone during a workout lowers the intensity of your exercise session. More importantly, the study team noted that cell phone use affects balance, which can increase your risk of injuries.

“If you’re talking or texting on your cell phone while you’re putting in your daily steps, your attention is divided between the two tasks and that can disrupt your postural stability, and therefore, possibly predispose individuals to other greater inherent risks such as falls and musculoskeletal injuries,” study author Michael Rebold, assistant professor of integrative exercise science at Hiram College in Ohio, said in a school news release.

Specifically, texting on a cell phone reduced postural stability by 45 percent. Even talking on a cell phone reduced postural stability by 19 percent.

But, if you want to pump up your workout with some tunes, go right ahead. Listening to music on a cell phone had no significant effect on postural stability during a workout, according to the study of 45 college students.

The studies about the effects of cell phone use during workouts were published in the journals Computers in Human Behaviour and Performance Enhancement & Health.

Reference for the above article is Health24

My opinion

It is evident that cellphone, although with their good benefits they give to use, they also have a huge disadvantage in our health. Although research dismisses cellphones as an item which disturbs us it is vital to know that they can be a great tool that the health sector can use to benefit us rather then disturb us. This can be done but incorporating vital apps o tools in the cellphones that will help to give us more out of the device or at least inhibiting apps for exercises.

More of the money spent by consumer goes to sodas

Healthy living for your grocery spending goes too much on sodas

In the Shopping Cart of a Food Stamp Household: Lots of Soda

healthy living tips

What do households on food stamps buy at the grocery store?

The answer was largely a mystery until now. The United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the $74 billion food stamp program called SNAP, has published a detailed report that provides a glimpse into the shopping cart of the typical household that receives food stamps.

The findings show that the No. 1 purchases by SNAP households are soft drinks, which accounted for 5 percent of the dollars they spent on food. The category of ‘sweetened beverages,’ which includes soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks and sweetened teas, accounted for almost 10 percent of the dollars they spent on food. “In this sense, SNAP is a multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy of the soda industry,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “It’s pretty shocking.”

For years, dozens of cities, states and medical groups have urged changes to SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to help improve nutrition among the 43 million poorest Americans who receive food stamps. Specifically, they have called for restrictions so that food stamps cannot be used to buy junk food or sugary soft drinks.

But the food and beverage industries have spent millions opposing such measures, and the U.S.D.A. has denied every request, saying that selectively banning certain foods would be unfair to food stamp users and create too much red tape.

Continue reading the main story

While the report, published recently, suggests that a disproportionate amount of food stamp money is going toward unhealthful foods, the U.S.D.A. said it was unfair to single out food stamp recipients for their soft drink consumption.

The report compared SNAP households and non-SNAP households. While those who used food stamps bought slightly more junk food and fewer vegetables, both SNAP and non-SNAP households bought ample amounts of sweetened drinks, candy, ice cream and potato chips. Among non-SNAP households, for example, soft drinks ranked second on the list of food purchases, behind milk.

“Sweetened beverages are a common purchase in all households across America,” Kevin Concannon, the U.S.D.A. under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, said in an interview. “This report raises a question for all households: Are we consuming too many sweetened beverages, period?”

The report was based on data from an unnamed, nationwide grocery chain, which provided the U.S.D.A. with monthly records of food items bought in 2011 by more than 26 million households, about three million of them food stamp recipients. The grocery chain identified and tracked SNAP households by their use of SNAP benefit cards at the checkout aisle. One limitation of the report was that it could not always distinguish when SNAP households used their benefits, other money or a combination of the two to pay for transactions.

Nonetheless, the report provides a striking look at the foods American households typically buy.

Across all households, the report found, “more money was spent on soft drinks than any other item” — a finding that reflects the fact that, while consumption of sugary drinks is lower today than it was a decade ago, the United States still consumes more sugary drinks than almost any other developed country, studies show.

The U.S.D.A. report found that milk, cheese, potato chips, beef, cold cereal and baked bread were among the top purchases for all households. It indicated that all Americans bought ample amounts of desserts, salty snacks, candy and other junk foods. But the SNAP households spent slightly less money on nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Over all, the report found, SNAP households spent about 40 cents of every dollar at the grocery store on “basic items” like meat, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and bread. Another 40 cents of every dollar was spent on “cereal, prepared foods, dairy products, rice and beans.” Lastly, 20 cents of each dollar was spent on a broad category of junk foods that included “sweetened beverages, desserts, salty snacks, candy and sugar.”

SNAP households spent 9.3 percent of their grocery budgets on sweetened beverages alone, not including soft drinks. That was slightly higher than the 7.1 percent figure for households that do not receive food stamps.

The U.S.D.A. concluded that both food stamp recipients and other households generally made similar purchases.

But several public health experts said the findings were deeply troubling.

David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said the purpose of SNAP was to protect the health and well-being of the nation, not to ensure that poor households had ample access to sugary drinks.

“We have more evidence for the harms of sugary beverages than for any other category of food,” he said, “and yet it tops the list of reimbursed products in SNAP.”

Dr. Ludwig said other government programs had common-sense restrictions. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, and the national school lunch program have strict nutrition standards. Medicare pays for necessary medical procedures but does not reimburse for ones it considers harmful, ineffective or unnecessary. SNAP, Dr. Ludwig said, should be structured similarly.

“No one is suggesting poor people can’t choose what they want to eat,” he said. “But we’re saying let’s not use government benefits to pay for foods that are demonstrably going to undermine public health.”

The federal government provides SNAP benefits to roughly 23 million households each month, many of them single-parent homes at or below the poverty line. The average household receives about $256 in monthly benefits. That means a household that spent 10 percent of its SNAP money on sweetened beverages could buy at least 20 two-liter bottles of orange Crush soda at a Fine Fare supermarket in New York City, or about 50 cans of Sprite at a Walmart near Oakland, Calif.

Since 2004, a number of cities and states have sought to restrict sugary drinks from their SNAP programs, including Maine, Minnesota and New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2011. But doing so requires permission from the U.S.D.A., and the agency has denied every official request.

Mr. Concannon at the U.S.D.A. said the agency had “intermittent dialogue” with municipalities across the country about prohibiting the purchase of sugary drinks through SNAP. But he said the agency would grant a state or city permission to do so only on the condition that it first conducted “a rigorous pilot study” and offered food stamp recipients the ability to opt out of the soda restrictions.

“We’d want rigorous evaluation to see what is the impact of such a policy,” he said.

PepsiCo lobbied the federal government to prevent restrictions on food stamp purchases in 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit that tracks money in politics. Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and the sugar industry lobbied against a Florida bill in 2012 that would have banned using food stamps to buy soda and junk food. And in 2011, the Snack Food Association teamed up with beverage industry lobbyists and the National Confectioners Association, which represents candy companies, to defeat New York City’s proposed ban on using food stamps to buy sugar-sweetened beverages.

Mr. Concannon said the U.S.D.A., rather than restricting junk foods, had made incentive programs that encourage nutritious foods a priority. The federal farm bill that designates money for the SNAP program, for example, set aside $100 million for programs that increase the value of food stamps that are used to buy fruits and vegetables at retail stores or farmers’ markets.

“Our goal has been to nudge people in the right direction,” he said.

While there is evidence that people do buy more fruits and vegetables when given incentives, research suggests that banning sugary drinks would have a far more powerful impact on health.

In 2014, a group of Stanford researchers studied 19,000 SNAP participants and compared whether banning sugary drinks or incentivizing fruits and vegetables would affect obesity rates. The researchers found that the incentive program would not. But banning sugary drinks from SNAP, they said, “would be expected to significantly reduce obesity prevalence and Type 2 diabetes incidence, particularly among ages 18 to 65 and some racial and ethnic minorities.”

Michele Simon, a public health lawyer who published a critical 2012 report on the food stamp program, said the new report showed that the federal government was subsidizing many foods that its own dietary guidelines explicitly told Americans to consume less of.

“This is the first time we’ve had confirmation that this massive taxpayer program is promoting all the wrong kinds of foods,” she said. “I think we now have the data to back up the policy argument that this program needs to be improved.”

Correction: January 13, 2017
An earlier version of this article misstated the portion of grocery spending used to purchase soft drinks. Households receiving food stamps spent 9.3 percent of their bills on “sweetened beverages,” a category that includes soft drinks, juices, and energy drinks, among others. The article also misstated the location of a Walmart store in California that was used as an example of prices in California. The store is in San Leandro, Calif., which neighbors Oakland.

The reference for the above article is nytimes

Exercising only on weekends is considered to be the best way to a healthy you,a study reveals

Exercising on weekend for health is seen to produce great results

Weekend exercise alone ‘has significant health benefits’

ideal healthy living tips

Photocred:healthcuretips.com

Cramming all your recommended weekly exercise into one or two weekend sessions is enough to produce important health benefits, a study suggests.

And being active without managing 150 minutes of moderate activity a week was still enough to reduce the risk of an early death by a third.

The findings are based on a survey of about 64,000 adults aged over 40 in England and Scotland.

Health experts said purposeful exercise was key to better health.

Researchers from Loughborough University and the University of Sydney analysed data on the time people spent doing exercise and their health over 18 years.

They found that no matter how often people exercised in a week or for how long, the health benefits were similar as long as they met the activity guidelines.

Fighting the flab

This was good news for people with a busy lifestyle who turned into “weekend warriors” in order to fit in all their recommended physical activity, they said.

Compared with those who didn’t exercise at all, people who did some kind of physical activity – whether regularly or irregularly – showed a lower risk of dying from cancer and from cardiovascular disease (CVD), which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

“Weekend warriors”, who did all their exercise on one or two days of the week, were found to lower their risk of dying from CVD by 41% and cancer by 18%, compared with the inactive.

Those who exercised regularly on three or more days per week reduced their risks by 41% and 21%.

Even the “insufficiently active” lowered their risk by a significant amount – 37% and 14%, the researchers said, writing in an article published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

How much physical activity should I do?

People aged 19-64 should try to do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking every week, and
  • strength exercises (such as lifting weights) on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles

Or

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running or a game of singles tennis every week, and
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles

Or

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week, such as two 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking, and
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles

Source: NHS Choices and Public Health England

Dr Gary O’Donovan, study author and expert in physical activity and health, from Loughborough University, said the key was doing exercise that was “purposeful, and done with the intention of improving health”.

“You are not going to fidget or stand your way to health,” he said.

He added that a commitment to an active lifestyle was usually accompanied by other healthy lifestyle options, which made a positive difference regardless of body mass index (BMI).

But Dr O’Donovan said no-one yet knew the best way of meeting the weekly recommended exercise total.

‘Every little counts’

The study cannot show a direct link between physical activity and a reduction in health risks in individuals.

But extensive research has shown that exercise and a healthy diet can reduce the risk of a range of diseases – such as cancer, heart disease and type-2 diabetes – as well as helping to control weight, blood pressure and reduce symptoms of depression.

Justin Varney, national lead for adult health and wellbeing at Public Health England (PHE), said: “The maximum health benefits are achieved from 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

“However, every little counts and just 10 minutes of physical activity will provide health benefits.”

Source of above article is BBCNEWS

A new campaign to help with developing health consciousness

This health campaign is one of a kind

Meals On Wheels Wants To Be The ‘Eyes and Ears’ For Hospitals, Doctors

healthy living tips

Photocred: Chicago.Suntimes.com

Debbie Case held an insulated bag with two packaged meals — a sandwich wrap and fruit for lunch, a burrito and cauliflower for dinner.

“You’re going to eat well today,” Case told 75-year-old Dave Kelly as she handed him the meals. Kelly lost his sight about two years ago and reluctantly gave up cooking.

After putting the food away, Kelly chatted with Case about his experience as a folk musician. As they talked in his living room, Case, CEO of San Diego County’s Meals on Wheels program, glanced around for hazards that could cause Kelly to fall.

Kelly said the homemade meals keep him from eating too much frozen food or take-out. But more than that, he said he appreciates someone coming by to check on him every day.

“Anything could happen,” Kelly said, adding that he worries about falling. “I wouldn’t want to lay around and suffer for days.”

Meals on Wheels is undergoing a dramatic overhaul as government and philanthropic funding fails to keep pace with a rapidly growing elderly population. The increased demand has resulted in lengthy waitlists and a need to find other sources of funding. And at the same time, for-profit companies such as Mom’s Meals are creating more competition.

Meals on Wheels, which has served seniors for more than 60 years through a network of independent nonprofits, is trying to formalize the health and safety checks its volunteers already conduct during their daily home visits to seniors. Through an ongoing campaign dubbed “More Than a Meal,” the organization hopes to demonstrate that it can play a critical role in the health care system.

“We know we are keeping people out of the hospital,” Case said. “Seven dollars a day is cheaper than $1,300 a day.”

Meals on Wheels America and several of the local programs around the country have launched partnerships with insurers, hospitals and health systems. By reporting to providers any physical or mental changes they observe, volunteers can help improve seniors’ health and reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and nursing home placements, said Ellie Hollander, CEO of Meals on Wheels America.

“It’s a small investment for a big payoff,” Hollander said.

healthy living tips

Photocred:khn.org

Studies conducted by Brown University researchers have shown that meal deliveries can help elderly people stay out of nursing homes, reduce falls and save states money.

Kali Thomas, an assistant professor at Brown University School of Public Health, estimated that if all states increased the number of older people receiving the meals by 1 percent, they would save more than $100 million. Research also has shown that the daily meal deliveries helped seniors’ mental health and eased their fears of being institutionalized.

Meals on Wheels can be the “eyes and ears” for health providers, especially in the case of seniors who are ill and don’t have family nearby, said Thomas, who authored several studies of the organization.

Meals on Wheels has “the potential to capitalize on that,” she said. “They realize they are doing something that is unique and needed in our current health care space.”

Visitors from Meals on Wheels are the only people some seniors see all day. The volunteers get to know them and can quickly recognize problems.

“You notice if they are losing weight, if their house is a mess, if they are talking awkwardly,” said Chris Baca, executive director of Meals on Wheels West in Santa Monica. “Our wellness check is critical and almost as important as the food itself.”

The meal delivery and in-home visits also reduce isolation among residents, said Zia Agha, chief medical officer for West Health, which has organizations that provide and study senior services. Agha said that while numerous high-tech gadgets are available to keep an eye on seniors, they can’t replace a volunteer’s human touch.

Meals on Wheels, Brown University and the West Health Institute recently launched a two-year project in six states to formally build health and safety screenings into daily meal deliveries. The goal is to improve seniors’ health and catch problems early.

“The fact that you don’t have resources to feed yourself or you are so frail you can’t cook is a very big marker that you are going to have high health care utilization,” Agha said. “There is value in targeting these clients through this meal delivery service.”

That’s also what Meals on Wheels America is planning to do in a new partnership with Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. The project aims to keep seniors at home and reduce their need for costly health services after hospitalization. The idea is to have trained volunteers report red flags and ensure, for example, that patients with congestive heart failure are weighing themselves regularly and eating properly.

Dan Hale, who is leading the project from the hospital, said the meal delivery volunteers can help track patients’ health even months after discharge and keep them from returning to the hospital. “It makes sense financially,” he said.

Funding for Meals on Wheels organizations primarily comes from the federal government, state organizations and donors.

The partnerships with health care organizations and insurers mean additional money for the Los Angeles County programs, said Baca, who heads a countywide association of local Meals on Wheels organizations.

On a recent day in Santa Monica, volunteers showed up just after 10 a.m., loaded up their cars with meals and headed out to deliver them. One of the clients, 58-year old Patrick Ward, receives daily meals at his apartment in Venice.

Ward, who has osteoarthritis and knee problems, said he has fallen numerous times and also had a heart attack this year. He said he can take care of himself pretty well, but his lack of mobility makes cooking difficult.

“It takes one thing out of the day that I don’t have to worry about,” Ward said. “I know they are going to be here every day.”

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Reference fo the above article is California healthline

The trend of eating the good foods seems to increase

Healthy eating habits to continue this year

Consumers are increasingly interested in functional foods, and enthusiasm for protein won’t trail off anytime this year, predicts the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation.

healthy living tips

photocred:hsph.havard.edu

The reference for the above article is Food navigator

Irregular heartbeat disorder patients are not taking their medication

Healthy living with irregular heartbeat

One-Third With Common Irregular Heartbeat Don’t Take Blood Thinners

healthy living tips

Many people with the heart condition known as atrial fibrillation stop taking the blood-thinning medication that’s prescribed to help prevent a stroke, a new study reveals.

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that causes the heart to quiver. This raises the risk of blood clots and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

People who’ve had a medical procedure such as cardioversion (electrical shocks to the heart through electrodes placed on the chest) or ablation (using heat, cold or radio energy to scar heart tissue via catheter or surgery) to help manage their condition were even more likely to ditch their prescribed drugs.

“We don’t know if changing the heart to a normal rhythm, by either cardioversion or ablation, always removes the risk of stroke,” said study author Dr. Geoffrey Barnes, a cardiologist at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

“It’s an ongoing debate, whether to continue the patient on blood thinners after a procedure,” Barnes said in a university news release.

The study included more than 700 people with atrial fibrillation. All had started taking the blood thinner warfarin (brand name Coumadin) between 2011 and 2013.

In less than one year, nearly 37 percent of these people stopped taking the drug, the study found.

The research team also found that more than 54 percent of those who had cardioversion or radiofrequency ablation were off warfarin after one year.

Study participants who didn’t have one of these procedures, however, were much more likely to continue warfarin therapy, the study showed. The researchers pointed out that about 30 percent of these people stopped taking the medication, which is still a sizable group not adhering to their treatment plan.

“When we took into account whether the patient had undergone a recent [atrial fibrillation] procedure, the numbers look very different,” said Dr. James Froehlich, a study researcher and a Frankel Center cardiologist.

It’s unclear why these patients stopped taking warfarin. The researchers speculated the drug’s side effects, such as bruising, may play a role. People taking warfarin must also undergo routine blood tests. Some people may stop taking the drug to avoid having to do this, the study authors explained.

“We need to understand why they are stopping warfarin and figure out what other medications might be better adhered to in order to prevent strokes,” said Froehlich.

Barnes said more study is needed to learn whether or not blood thinners are needed to prevent stroke after medical procedures. “We need more data to help us understand what the risk of stroke is after cardioversion or ablation, to inform physician decision-making and guidelines,” he said.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

The reference for the above article is HealthDay News

Lack of Vitamin D is linked to headache problems

Increase your Vitamin D to help your health as a whole

Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of chronic headache

Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of chronic headache,according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in Scientific Reports.

The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, analysed the serum vitamin D levels and occurrence of headache in approximately 2,600 men aged between 42 and 60 years in 1984-1989. In 68% of these men, the serum vitamin D level was below 50 nmol/l, which is generally considered the threshold for vitamin D deficiency. Chronic headache occurring at least on a weekly basis was reported by 250 men, and men reporting chronic headache had lower serum vitamin D levels than others.

When the study population was divided into four groups based on their serum vitamin D levels, the group with the lowest levels had over a twofold risk of chronic headache in comparison to the group with the highest levels. Chronic headache was also more frequently reported by men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September. Thanks to UVB radiation from the sun, the average serum vitamin D levels are higher during the summer months.

The study adds to the accumulating body of evidence linking a low intake of vitamin D to an increased risk of chronic diseases. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with the risk of headache also by some earlier, mainly considerably smaller studies.

In Finland and in other countries far from the Equator, UVB radiation from the sun is a sufficient source of vitamin D during the summer months, but outside the summer season, people need to make sure that they get sufficient vitamin D from food or from vitamin D supplements.

No scientific evidence relating to the benefits and possible adverse effects of long-term use in higher doses yet exists. The Finnish Vitamin D Trial, FIND, currently ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland will shed light on the question, as the five-year trial analyses the effects of high daily doses of vitamin D on the risk factors and development of diseases. The trial participants are taking a vitamin D supplement of 40 or 80 micrograms per day. The trial also investigates the effects of vitamin D supplementation on various pain conditions.

Reference for the above article is Science Daily