Archive for the 'Obesity' Category

Why Throwing Groceries Into Food Deserts Won’t Help Cut Obesity

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Obesity

Areas controversially named ‘food deserts’ where there is little or no access to healthy foods have been put under scrutiny in relation to the obesity epidemic which is affecting many first world countries. Food deserts are urban areas where grocery stores and supermarkets have been pushed out resulting in the only foods readily available are to be had from fast food restaurants.

It was thought that obesity was endemic in these areas because they mainly occurred in poorer districts: Poor people with no access to the means to prepare their own diets equates to an over-consumption of junk food. While not having access to groceries does mean that people will have to order fast food more, the lack of access to markets doesn’t seem to be the primary cause of being overweight.

To clarify, people who do have access to fresh meat, fruit and vegetables are as much a part of the weight problem as those who have little or no access to such ingredients. A study which has been observing thousands of participants for 15 years found that the subjects didn’t eat better just because there was better food available to them, the deciding factors were income and the availability of fast food.

It would be nice to think that people would eat better and lose weight if only they had a grocery nearby where they could get their fresh produce to cook their own balanced meals but the evidence suggests a different story. It’s not the lack of access to good food that drives up the width of the waistband but the ease of access to bad foods. It would be nice to also think that encouraging markets to open up in areas where obesity is a problem would go some way to resolving the issue but it seems rather not.

The study has been conducted by Barry Popkin, director at the Nutrition Transition Program based in the University of North Carolina. It observes that notwithstanding everything else, the grocery is chock full of poor health choices as well as the good. Also, a fresh food shopping bill will invariably come to more in cost than a few burgers and fries, therefore it seems more expensive to buy store cupboard foods than ready to go processed food. Popkin says: “This raises the serious issue of how we get people to eat healthy.”

Popkin’s study had been observing African-American and white adults from Birmingham Alabama, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland California since 1985 and the results were published this year. The survey includes data like the participant’s diet and the distance they lived from either fresh produce or fast food. However, the survey hasn’t information on height, weight or BMI. It was able to confirm the findings of other surveys that proximity to fast food was clearly concomitant with greater fast food consumption, particularly among low income males.

Unfortunately the inverse wasn’t found to be the case, ie, that being proximate with healthy food supplies meant that consumers made that choice. Popkin said that his study had found, much like others, that the introduction of a supermarket into a previously food deserted area did not significantly increase the eating of fresh fruit and vegetables among the badly off. In both Scotland and New York City research found no identifiable impact between supermarket locality and the people’s consumption of fresh foods.

Policy reformers have been pushing to change the disparity between the number of fast food restaurants and groceries in recent years, So, while it’s true that if there are more supermarkets and fewer fast food places there is an effect, simply increasing the number of food markets itself without removing fast food joints, it won’t noticeably improve public health.

Some Diet, Exercise and Homeopathy Tips for Losing the Extra Flab

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Obesity

“Losing weight” seems to be on the New Year agenda of most people. Among 10 people I asked “what your New Year resolution is, more than 6 people answered that they want to lose weight and get into shape! Well, not a bad trend, right? But why today particularly the younger generation admires being thin so much? Probably the ramp-models have the answer. The size zero is quickly becoming popular and even the middle aged moms are trying hard to fit in the jeans of their twenties. Is it the right thing or we need to think more?

Let’s see-

One thing is sure that having extra flab on the body is not a healthy sign. Flab means fat, not muscle. Therefore, losing this flab should be the priority no doubt. Lesser the activity level, more one should worry for the flab. Yes! Read the sentence carefully. Today scientists have found a great positive relation between health and activity level. Regular the exercise, lesser are the chances of ill-health relatively irrespective of your weight.

But one should also understand here that more the weight, lesser is the activity level in many cases (due to inability to move faster) and this further contributes to high fat. How to halt this vicious cycle?Can we?

The answer thankfully is YES!

If you were lean, thin and healthy in your twenties, you have every right to remain so in your mid-forties and thereafter too. What exactly goes wrong? Many women think that childbirth is the culprit that contributed to their flab. Many men think their highly stressful job is the reason. But the fact is that despite child birth and stressful jobs, there are men and women that can maintain ideal body weight and live healthy life. So, why can’t we? We can too!

What can be done?

Steer clear of myths-

  1. We should follow strict diets if we want to lose weight- The foremost pre-requisite to idealize your weight and health is not to fall prey to the rumors. You must have seen (or done yourself) many people staying just on either bananas, hot water, soups, or ‘just’ vegetables for days together! This is one of the top myths that eating less will reduce your weight. It will not. It will just weaken your immune system and make you vulnerable to graver diseases. So firstly, stop any such staple diets if you are following. Our body needs enough quantity of all ingredients of diet including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and trace elements to be able to cope with the wear and tear. Only-carbohydrate or Only-protein diets might help for a temporary duration to reduce weight (you tend to reduce muscle mass too during the process and not just fat). But once you wean off these diets, you tend to put on more weight, because obviously you cannot follow such stipulated diets for life (I hope you do not; otherwise…hats off to you!)
  2. Having just 2 full-meals per day- Many elderly are happy because they feel we are eating just two times a day and not recurrently. This is another myth that makes us fat. When you leave larger gaps between your meals, you obviously tend to eat lot more than can be properly digestible. Therefore, the excess sugars and proteins tend to get converted into fat and it deposits beneath your skin and in the arteries (leading to atherosclerosis)
  3. Eating fat-less diets can reduce weight- remember that fat is also an essential element of diet. Just we need to take it in stipulated quantity not to exceed beyond limits. Have seen many patients who deprive themselves of fat completely. What they get in turn is the shriveled old-looking skin. Fat is the natural moisturizer and toner for your body and therefore essential. Just reduce the excess quantity you eat and it will not affect you detrimentally.
  4. Joining the gym is the only way to lose weight- well, here we are not belittling the importance of gym exercises but let’s not make it the rule. There are many ways of exercise by which you can stay fit. Rather, in many cases, some of the gym exercises are harmful for certain people. People with joint problems and cardiac disease should exercise great caution while joining the gym. More than that, stipulated kind of exercises for weeks and months together reduce the interest. Instead, engaging ourselves in different types of exercises keep our motivations alive for longer (probably this is what we need the most). You can jog, swim, dance, or cycle your way to health!

Treatment Regimes for losing weight-

  • Lose your weight homeopathically-

We homeopaths always stress the importance of homeopathic treatment for weight reduction. Here I am not advertising any patent homeopathic medicine for weight loss. We are talking about classical homeopathy. Does it help? Yes, it helps in lot more ways than we anticipate. The major reason why homeopathic medicines help in weight reduction is their ability to act on mind.

“Mind” plays a very crucial role in maintaining or enhancing your weight. It is mind that makes you stressed and you tend to eat more or less. It is the mind that makes you dull to start your exercise regime. It is mind that encourages you too to take the issue of obesity seriously and do something constructive about it.

And homeopathy helps in all these aspects to shape your mind and make it do what needs to be done. It is not exaggeration. Have seen absolutely lazy patients take up exercise regimes scrupulously once they are on constitutional homeopathic treatment, because of the ability of homeopathic remedies to act on higher planes. Same goes true for maintaining ideal diets.

The homeopathic medicine also helps the person to tide over the hormonal imbalances that contribute to excess weight. Therefore, when a patient of hypothyroidism and/or polycystic ovarian disease starts homeopathic treatment, the apparent edema on the body disappears gradually and makes the patient fitter to achieve his or her goals.

  • Exercise-

As discussed above, there is no option to exercising your way to health. If someone tells you to follow a regimen that excludes exercise for weight loss, they are lying to you! Try to inculcate variations in your regime not to get bored and feel energetic for years to come. Adding this component to your day to day life is the most rewarding experience you can give your body, mind, and spirit. Couple it with relaxing techniques and your benefits get doubled!

Some auxiliary tips for losing weight-

  1. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of plain water per day
  2. Have enough fiber, for it will boost up bowel health and avoid constipation. Also it is one of the sure shot ways to delay ageing
  3. Recognize bodily deficiencies and seek natural supplementary help from an expert
  4. Eat frequent small meals (preferably 2 to 3 hourly)
  5. Be consistent in your regimens. To make that happen, set smaller goals and reward yourself when you accomplish them
  6. Some meditation techniques help a great deal in stabilizing one’s absurd eating behavior and providing the essential motivation to do your best
  7. Steer clear of the myths and don’t fall prey to heavy advertising of patent diet pills, unless you verify their authenticity via an expert

May the year 2011 bring lots of happiness, health and fitness for you to stay for life!

Belly Fat Removal

Friday, December 10th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Obesity

Are you one of the obese or overweight people who have been searching for belly fat removal? Are you sick and tired of taking belly fat pills and ab gadgets that have never given you the result you ever desired? Are you willing now to do extra effort to remove that belly fat, that extra roll from all dimensions in your tummy region?

Belly fat has always been the number one part of the body that is so easy to gain but very hard to lose. It is even called stubborn because no matter how you tried doing everything to lose it, such as liposuction and spot reduction exercises, it has not changed, and even when it was removed, it comes back from time to time. It can also pose health problems, as fat in the tummy is close to the vital organs such as liver and kidney, it can cause problems on such parts, and it can increase your risk for heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and increase blood cholesterol. So in any attempt to lose belly fat, you are attempting to lose weight in general because fats in the belly are effectively remove when total body fats are also removed. You cannot simply spot reduce the belly with your abdominal exercises, but you have to work out your total body. It is a must!

Although there are lots of ways to remove belly fat, the differences among those ways are the effectiveness they can give, and the person who will performs the ways. If with correct perception and knowledge about it, sure you can have the best result in time.

Let’s take considerations some expensive “In demand” procedures for belly fat removal, and also the cheapest but the most effective of all. Read and learn.

The Things You Know! Remove Belly Fat Now!

Before starting, the most important thing you must know is to give time, sacrifice and effort when doing the tips below. The success of removing belly fat depends on your consistency and determination. As much as possible, incorporate these in your life, make it a routine, a habit that you will forever be doing, and you will see how it can positively affect your life and health.

1. Start Choosing The Right Food

One way to help you remove belly fat is your proper and well balanced diet. You have to eat well but the calories must be less than what you burn. Reducing the calorie intake from your diet can help but do not practice the habit of starving yourself to death. It will not help. What you need to learn is starving can starve your body too. The metabolism process of the body will slow down, causing you to store more fat that are not burn.

If you are eating unhealthily as in indulging yourself from fried foods, chocolates, breads, pasta, etc. you need to switch from a healthy diet, foods rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals but less fat, carbohydrates, sugar and salt. Add more vegetables and fruits because even if you eat more of those, the more they can help you burn calories. Add some lean cuts of meat, legumes and nut too. They are rich in protein that can make you feel full longer and prevents you from overeating. Whole grains are also advisable; consume brown rice, whole grain bread and pasta as these are light and healthy. No to high processed, salty and sugary foods. It is also advised to avoid soft drinks, and drink more water instead. Water has zero calories and soft drinks have lots of it, and it has been considered the cause of bloating of tummy among many.

Remember to eat less but regularly. You can eat several times daily, 5-6 small meals daily. This can satisfy your hunger and prevents overeating. This is also effective in removing belly fat or total body fat because once the body is give enough nutrients to function, it’s burning process also is stimulated, thus increasing its rate of function.

Although reducing calorie intake to lose belly fat is not easy and hard to keep the track of calories you are consuming, it is beneficial and a big help for you to browse a book or check online to see the amount of calories your foods have.

2. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is always important in our life. It doesn’t only help you to keep in shape but it can help improve your overall health. Exercise is best combined with diet which is mentioned above. Exercises can be done such as your cardio training and strength training exercises. Your cardio exercise will work out your total body, leading a total body fat loss, including fats in the area. These are best done for 30 minutes daily, early in the morning 1 hour before breakfast, 3-5 days weekly.

These are your jogging, brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, dancing, etc. Strength training exercises with abdominal workouts include:

  • Abdominal crunch
  • Reverse crunch
  • The plank
  • Shoulder press
  • Side bending
  • Leg lifts
  • Vertical crunch
  • Back press

These exercises are also done 20-30 minutes in alternation with cardio training. In exercising, you are burning calories. It can also improve circulation, breathing and heart’s pumping ability. More so, the metabolism of the body is increased, thus resulting to burning belly fat.

3. These are surgical ways that can also be possible to remove belly fat especially for obese people that losing of fat cannot be effective with diet and exercise…

SmartLipo is a new advanced option in liposuction surgery. It makes use of laser therapy to melt fats and tighten the skin.
Stomach stapling or gastric bypass is another form of removing belly fat. These are recommended for extremely obese people.
Traditional liposuction is still in demand now and it is also one of the means for belly fat removal. This is an invasive procedure that requires you to be sound healthy for the successful process and result. It sculpts your body in removing fats and diet is still required.

Are You Eating Your Dreams Away?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Obesity

Do any of you realize how long it takes to eat and digest the foods you are eating? Your dreams are being wrapped into some of those “wraps” you are eating and flushed down an endless tube into oblivion.

Are you really so far gone as to be just forgotten? Are you eating your dreams away? Many of us are so tied down with work, family and other responsibilities that we often forget what is really important. Ourselves! How often do we take the time to worry about just that,”us”?

Break down the 168 hours in a week and lets look at where it all goes:

  • We need 56 hours of sleep to let our mind do it’s work. Digestion is a big part of the problem if you are consistently eating your dreams away.
  • Another 40 hours are being consumed earning the “bacon”(pun intended) we need to finance the eating and all other responsibilities we have.
  • Hours spent on exercise 0.
  • Hours spent watching TV at least 40.
  • 32 hours to eat.

Incredible but true. The time we spend eating is often less than the time we spend watching television. I guess the time spent watching TV only adds fuel to the time we are eating, because the dreams of eating overtake the real dreams we should be having. Food has become the most important dream we have in our lives. Does any of this sound familiar?
How can it be that our whole lives revolve around food and yet we spend most of our time doing something else? Well the time we spend eating is just the beginning of a long process our mind takes to adapt itself to the lifestyle.

  • Watching TV is relaxing and keeps your body in shape. Imagine all the ups and downs we do just getting out of the chair to go the fridge. That is exercise.
  • Sleeping is often disturbed and distributed around the eating (often at night). The mind needs to process all this info to better use the blood flow and your lungs are working overtime to supply the air to this incredible habit we all have, “Eating”.
  • And yes, many of us (Not ME) still smoke up a storm just to make sure we relax as we let our bodies assimilate all the messages it need just to barely keep us alive.

The time going to the Doctors office and hospital have not been counted, yet, it will surely need to be as we keep destroying all the real dreams we should be having and replacing them with ones that are slowly killing most of us.

In this article I am using the “Me” as part of the “We” because I use to be just like you. I am not anymore but often have nightmares about my past, fast food eating, life.

Teen Obesity

Monday, March 29th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Obesity

This is a topic that needs our immediate attention.

I recently watched our fearless first lady on television discussing her new initiative… “The War on Teen Obesity”. Her national campaign to address this problem obviously demonstrates a real need for change with our children’s daily habits.

We are seeing more and more teens with grown up health issues… diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension.

How has this happened?

Why are so many American teenagers gaining weight at such a rapid rate?

Well… I witnessed this problem first hand my first year of coaching in a middle school. I was asked to be one of the basketball coaches and during one of our practices I divided up the players in to two groups… shirts and skins.


These kids should have been in the best shape of their lives but what I witnessed was numerous kids completely out of shape.

Now we can identify the many reasons fro this epidemic… excessive caloric intake, consumption of excessive sugar, lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle.

It is sad the farther our students progress in school, the less physical activity they are afforded throughout the school day. Most school districts require students to complete one credit of physical education to graduate high school. This can be accomplished in a semester… the remaining 3 ½ years our children continue to live sedentary lives. When I was attending elementary school we had numerous opportunities to play at recess. High school students… not so much!

All of these reasons have contributed to the obesity epidemic we have today.

So now that we know the why to this problem… let’s discuss some ways to combat this epidemic.

It goes back to daily habits… not only our childrens habits but also as role models what are the habits we display to our children each day.

The reality is kids will model behaviors they see… NOT what they hear. So please don’t give your kids the one liner… “Do as I say, not as I do”

  • Take responsibility for your own actions and model healthy choices for your children.
  • Increase Daily Exercise

We must place our children in situations that will benefit their physical fitness. Here’s an example… Yesterday my family celebrated my 8 yr old sons “end of the season” basketball party. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach the team so my wife and I decided to celebrate the successful season and gather the boys together before they transitioned to baseball or other spring sports.

We decided to have the party at a dodge ball facility. You talk about FUN!!

We reserved the facility for 2 hours and had food and awards for the kids… though I must say the highlight of the evening was the actual dodge ball games with the kids.

At one point, all of the kids and the adults were participating in the games. It was a great workout and the kids and adults had a blast!

This was a great activity that included the entire family in a physical activity setting.

We need to plan more activities in to our daily and/ or weekly schedules that will force our children to become physically involved.

Bottom line… We must change our daily habits.

We must adjust our eating habits… we must change our physical activity habits… and we must continue to model positive habits for our children.

Remember the definition of insanity… “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

If we want a different result for our teens physical fitness then it is critical we change as well. We must change the little disciplines in life if we want to see true change with our physical fitness.

Drink more water… eat nutritional meals and snacks…exercise daily… refrain from polluting your body with drugs and alcohol…these will get you on the path toward improved physical fitness and vitality.

Unfortunately our youth will continue to grow to massive sizes if we as adults allow it. Educate your child and continue to practice healthy habits throughout your life.