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Acute Effects of Brisk Walking on Sugary Snack Cravings in Overweight People, Affect and Responses to a Manipulated Stress Situation and to a Sugary Snack Cue: A Crossover Study

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Acute Effects of Brisk Walking on Sugary Snack Cravings in Overweight People, Affect and Responses to a Manipulated Stress Situation and to a Sugary Snack Cue: A Crossover Study
Source: PLoS ONE

Research has shown that acute exercise reduces urges for chocolate in normal weight people. This study aimed to examine the effects of an acute exercise bout on urges to consume sugary snacks, affect as well as ‘psychological and physiological responses’ to stress and a ‘sugary snack cue’, in overweight individuals. Following 3 days of chocolate-abstinence, 47 overweight, sugary snack consumers were assessed, in 2 randomly ordered conditions, in a within-subject design: 15-min brisk walk or passive control. Following each, participants completed 2 tasks: Stroop color–word interference task, and handling sugary snacks. Urges for sugary snacks, affective activation and valence were assessed. ANOVAs revealed significant condition x time interaction effects for: urges to consume sugary snacks, affective valence and activation. Obtained data show that exercise reduces urges for sugary snacks and attenuates urges in response to the stress situation and the cue in overweight people.

2015 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report

March 30, 2015 Comments off

2015 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The County Health Rankings are an easy-to-use snapshot of the health of nearly every county in the nation. The Rankings make it clear that good health includes many factors beyond medical care, including education, jobs, smoking, access to healthy foods and parks, and more. Now in its sixth year, the Rankings use factors that communities have the ability to do something about.

Key Findings

  • For 60 percent of the nation’s counties, rates of premature death (death before age 75) have declined, some dramatically; for 40 percent no progress has been made.
  • One out of four children in the United States lives in poverty; rates of poverty are more than twice as high in the unhealthiest counties in each state compared to the healthiest ones.
  • Unemployment rates are 1.5 times higher in the least healthy counties in each state compared to the healthiest ones.
  • The healthiest counties have higher college attendance rates, fewer preventable hospital stays, and better access to exercise opportunities. The least healthy counties have more smokers, more teen births, and more alcohol-related car accidents.

Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health: Introducing SOPARC

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health: Introducing SOPARC
Source: RAND Corporation

As important venues for physical activity, public parks contribute to the health and well-being of the communities that surround them. It is therefore in the best interests of park administrators to have a method to measure this contribution. This paper introduces the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), a reliable, valid, and easy-to-use tool for quantifying park use and park-based physical activity. Park administrators should understand how to use SOPARC to collect data that justify expenditures in parks and recreation departments. To that end, this paper lays out in some detail what SOPARC is and how it is used, as well as provides background information on the importance of physical activity to health.

Prevalence of Reduced Muscle Strength in Older U.S. Adults: United States, 2011–2012

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Prevalence of Reduced Muscle Strength in Older U.S. Adults: United States, 2011–2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011–2012

  • Five percent of adults aged 60 and over had weak muscle strength. Thirteen percent had intermediate muscle strength, while 82% had normal muscle strength.
  • The prevalence of reduced (weak and intermediate) muscle strength increased with age, while the prevalence of normal strength decreased with age.
  • Muscle strength status did not differ by sex, except among persons aged 80 and over, where women had a higher prevalence of weak muscle strength than men.
  • Non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic persons had a higher prevalence of reduced muscle strength than non-Hispanic white persons.
  • Difficulty with rising from a chair increased as strength status decreased.

Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2
Source: Institute of Medicine

Determinants of health—like physical activity levels and living conditions—have traditionally been the concern of public health and have not been linked closely to clinical practice. However, if standardized social and behavioral data can be incorporated into patient electronic health records (EHRs), those data can provide crucial information about factors that influence health and the effectiveness of treatment.Such information is useful for diagnosis, treatment choices, policy, health care system design, and innovations to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.

With this goal in mind, a committee was convened to conduct a two-phase study, first to identify social and behavioral domains that most strongly determine health, and then to evaluate the measures of those domains that can be used in EHRs.

In Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains in Electronic Health Records: Phase 1, the committee identified 17 domains that they considered to be good candidates for inclusion in EHRs. The second report, Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2, pinpoints 12 measures related to 11 of the initial domains and considers the implications of incorporating them into all EHRs.

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Yoga for Health

November 5, 2014 Comments off

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Yoga for Health
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

This issue of the digest summarizes current scientific evidence about yoga for health conditions, including chronic low-back pain, asthma, and arthritis.

The scientific evidence to date suggests that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function in people with chronic low-back pain. Studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might confer other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may also help alleviate anxiety and depression. Other research suggests yoga’s deep breathing is not helpful for asthma, and studies looking at yoga and arthritis have had mixed results.

UK — Benefits of Investing in Cycling

October 31, 2014 Comments off

Benefits of Investing in Cycling (PDF)
Source: British Cycling

Investing in cycling will generate benefits for the whole country, not just those using a bike to get around. Eleven benefits are summarised here which can help solve a series of health, social and economic problems. This report shows how investing in cycling is good for our transport systems as a whole, for local economies, for social inclusion, and for public health.

Creating a cycling revolution in the UK requires sustained investment. In European countries with high cycling levels, levels of investment are also substantially higher than in the UK. The All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Inquiry has recommended a minimum of £10 annually per person, rising to £20, which would begin to approach the spending levels seen in high-cycling countries.

Investing in cycling will enable transport authorities to start putting in place the infrastructure we need to ensure people of all ages and abilities can choose to cycle for short everyday trips. As well as making cycle journeys more pleasant, safer and faster, it sends the signal that cycling is a normal way to travel. This is important because the perception of cycling as a marginal and minority mode is off-putting to many people.

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