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Health and Wellness in America: The Consumer Perspective

September 10, 2014 Comments off

Health and Wellness in America: The Consumer Perspective
Source: Nielsen

Health is trending in the U.S. From superfoods like kale to new exercise fads like yoga and CrossFit, healthy habits are on the tip of the American public’s tongue. So with health and wellness going mainstream, have people really changed their habits?

Consumers aspire to better health and healthier eating, but wanting and doing are two different things. More than one-third of American adults are still obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And half admit that healthy eating is a challenge, especially in the face of rising food costs.

Despite setbacks, however, the desire to achieve an improved quality of life is driving consumers to pursue specific health and wellness behaviors, such as consuming healthy foods or reading package labels. By identifying unmet consumer nutrient needs, finding foods that address consumers’ health concerns and understanding different consumer segments’ varied habits, retailers and manufacturers can help consumers overcome the obstacles they face when it comes to health and wellness and improve their lifestyles.

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Diabetes Prevention and Control: Combined Diet and Physical Activity Promotion Programs to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Among People at Increased Risk

September 9, 2014 Comments off

Diabetes Prevention and Control: Combined Diet and Physical Activity Promotion Programs to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Among People at Increased Risk
Source: Community Preventive Services Task Force

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends combined diet and physical activity promotion programs for people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes based on strong evidence of effectiveness in reducing new-onset diabetes. Combined diet and physical activity promotion programs also increase the likelihood of reverting to normoglycemia (normal blood sugar) and improve diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors, including overweight, high blood glucose, high blood pressure, and abnormal lipid profile.

Based on the evidence, combined diet and physical activity promotion programs are effective across a range of counseling intensities, settings, and implementers. Programs commonly include a weight loss goal, individual or group sessions (or both) about diet and exercise, meetings with a trained diet or exercise counselor (or both), and individually tailored diet or exercise plans (or both). Higher intensity programs lead to greater weight loss and reduction in new-onset diabetes.

Economic evidence indicates that combined diet and physical activity promotion programs to prevent type 2 diabetes among people at increased risk are cost-effective.

CDC — New state physical activity indicator report now available online

July 17, 2014 Comments off

New state physical activity indicator report now available online
Source: CDC

More than half of youth in the United States have access to parks or playground areas, recreation centers, boys’ and girls’ clubs, and walking paths or sidewalks in their neighborhoods, according to a new report, State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, 2014.
The report also finds that 27 states have adopted policies that formalize their intent to plan, design and maintain streets so they are safe for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, transit riders, and those in wheelchairs.
The report includes physical activity behavior, environment and policy information for each state and is available at www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/pa_state_indicator_report_2014.pdf

TV Watching and Computer Use in U.S. Youth Aged 12–15, 2012

July 15, 2014 Comments off

TV Watching and Computer Use in U.S. Youth Aged 12–15, 2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey, 2012

  • Nearly all (98.5%) youth aged 12–15 reported watching TV daily.
  • More than 9 in 10 (91.1%) youth aged 12–15 reported using the computer daily outside of school.
  • In 2012, 27.0% of youth aged 12–15 had 2 hours or less of TV plus computer use daily.
  • Among youth aged 12–15, girls (80.4%) were more likely to use the computer 2 hours or less daily when compared with boys (69.4%).
  • Fewer non-Hispanic black youth aged 12–15 (53.4%) reported watching 2 hours or less of TV daily than non-Hispanic white (65.8%) and Hispanic (68.7%) youth.

Excessive screen-time behaviors, such as using a computer and watching TV, for more than 2 hours daily have been linked with elevated blood pressure, elevated serum cholesterol, and being overweight or obese among youth (1–3). Additionally, screen-time behavior established in adolescence has been shown to track into adulthood (4). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-supported Expert Panel and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children limit leisure screen time to 2 hours or less daily (5,6). This report presents national estimates of TV watching and computer use outside of the school day.

Treadmill walking during vocabulary encoding improves verbal long-term memory

July 14, 2014 Comments off

Treadmill walking during vocabulary encoding improves verbal long-term memory
Source: Behavioral and Brain Functions

Moderate physical activity improves various cognitive functions, particularly when it is applied simultaneously to the cognitive task. In two psychoneuroendocrinological within-subject experiments, we investigated whether very low-intensity motor activity, i.e. walking, during foreign-language vocabulary encoding improves subsequent recall compared to encoding during physical rest. Furthermore, we examined the kinetics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum and salivary cortisol. Previous research has associated both substances with memory performance.In both experiments, subjects performed better when they were motorically active during encoding compared to being sedentary. BDNF in serum was unrelated to memory performance. In contrast we found a positive correlation between salivary cortisol concentration and the number of correctly recalled items. In summary, even very light physical activity during encoding is beneficial for subsequent recall.

Canada — Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada has partnered with Special Olympics Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation to increase opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity.

Special Olympics Canada currently runs two initiatives, called “Active Start” and “FUNdamentals,” that provide children with an intellectual disability the opportunity to improve physical, social and cognitive abilities, thereby establishing a foundation for being physically active and healthy. With funding from the Government of Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation, these programs will be expanded, reaching more children across Canada.

The goal of this partnership is to promote healthy living and healthy weights among children living with intellectual disability.

Obesity and Economic Environments

May 28, 2014 Comments off

Obesity and Economic Environments (PDF)
Source: CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

This review summarizes current understanding of economic factors during the obesity epidemic and dispels some widely held, but incorrect, beliefs. Rising obesity rates coincided with increases in leisure time (rather than increased work hours), increased fruit and vegetable availability (rather than a decline in healthier foods), and increased exercise uptake. As a share of disposable income, Americans now have the cheapest food available in history, which fueled the obesity epidemic. Weight gain was surprisingly similar across sociodemographic groups or geographic areas, rather than specific to some groups (at every point in time; however, there are clear disparities). It suggests that if one wants to understand the role of the environment in the obesity epidemic, one needs to understand changes over time affecting all groups, not differences between subgroups at a given time. Although economic and technological changes in the environment drove the obesity epidemic, the evidence for effective economic policies to prevent obesity remains limited. Taxes on foods with low nutritional value could nudge behavior toward healthier diets, as could subsidies/discounts for healthier foods. However, even a large price change for healthy foods could close only part of the gap between dietary guidelines and actual food consumption. Political support has been lacking for even moderate price interventions in the United States and this may continue until the role of environmental factors is accepted more widely. As opinion leaders, clinicians play an important role in shaping the understanding of the causes of obesity. CA Cancer J Clin 2014;000:000-000. VC 2014 American Cancer Society.

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