The problem of obesity

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported

  – Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
– In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
– 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
– Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
– 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
– Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
– Obesity is preventable.

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What are obesity and overweight

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Continue reading

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Small molecule plays big role in weaker bones as we age

With age, expression of a small molecule that can silence others goes way up while a key signaling molecule that helps stem cells make healthy bone goes down, scientists report.

They have the first evidence in both mouse and human mesenchymal stem cells that this unhealthy shift happens, and that correcting it can result in healthier bone formation.

The small molecule is microRNA-141-3p and the signaling molecule is stromal-cell derived factor, or SDF-1, they report in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.

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“If you are 20 years old and making great bone, you would still have microRNA-141-3p in your mesenchymal stem cells. But when you are 81 and making weaker bone, you have a lot more of it,” says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, bone biologist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

Restoring a more youthful balance could be a novel strategy for reducing age-associated problems likes osteoporosis and the impaired ability to heal bone breaks, says Fulzele, a corresponding author on the study. Continue reading

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Blueberries could help fight Alzheimer’s – ACS

The living longer phrase in my Diet, Exercise and Living Longer title assumes that one has his mental faculties intact. Having seen first hand the scourge of dementia, I don’t want any part of that if I can help it. Exercise is super for combating cognitive problems. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain – (and exercise benefits) to learn more.

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The blueberry, already labeled a ‘super fruit’ for its power to potentially lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, also could be another weapon in the war against Alzheimer’s disease. New research being presented today further bolsters this idea, which is being tested by many teams. The fruit is loaded with healthful antioxidants, and these substances could help prevent the devastating effects of this increasingly common form of dementia, scientists report.

The researchers presented their work at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS. It featured more than 12,500 presentations on a wide range of science topics. Continue reading

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Weekend Funnies

Herewith the latest results of my web wanderings. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did finding them.

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This bird makes me laugh every time I watch it …

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Have a great weekend!

Tony

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The Zen guide to bicycle commuting – Infographic

Regular readers know that I ride my bicycle regularly here in Chicago. You also know that I am 78 years old and have been retired for nearly two decades. So, why this on commiting? Well, it is about biking which I love. Also, I know that some of you are avid bike riders and thought there may be something worthwhile that you might learn here.

I actually tried bike commuting back when I had a job. It didn’t work out well. I lived about two miles from the office, but I found that riding for that short amount of time proved totally frustrating. I would just get warmed up and start really enjoying the ride and I would be at work. It was kind of like that old potato chip ad – “They’re so good you can’t eat just one.” That’s how I felt. I didn’t want to stop riding and start working. At any rate, I take my hat off to you guys and gals that do have the discipline to ride to work every day. It’s a great way to get your heart pumping. 

 

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Tony

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Exercise linked to improved mental health – The Lancet

More exercise was not always better, and the study found that exercising for 45 minutes three to five times a week was associated with the biggest benefits.

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Riding a bike scored really high in the study

The study included all types of physical activity, ranging from childcare, housework, lawn-mowing and fishing to cycling, going to the gym, running and skiing.

Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and mortality from all causes, but its association with mental health remains unclear.

Previous research into the effect of exercise on mental health has conflicting results. While some evidence suggests that exercise may improve mental health, the relationship could go both ways – for example inactivity could be a symptom of and contributor to poor mental health, and being active could be a sign of or contribute to resilience. The authors note that their study cannot confirm cause and effect.

 

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Protect your brain from stress – Harvard

While this blog started with a weight control focus, I soon realized that the answer was in living a healthy life, eating intelligently and exercising regularly. Right in harmony with those physical habits, I found that you can’t overlook the mental side of life and expect to succeed. As a result I have written numerous posts on dealing with stress. So, I was very pleased to run across this work on the subject from Harvard Medical School.

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Protect yourself from damaging stress

To better cope with stress, consider how you might minimize factors that make it worse. Here are some tips that can help you better manage stress and hopefully prevent some of the damaging effects it could have on your brain.

Establish some control over your situation. If stress isn’t predictable, focus on controlling the things that are. “Having a routine is good for development and health,” says Dr. Kerry Ressler, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Predictability combats stress.

Get a good night’s sleep. Stress can result in sleep difficulties, and the resulting lack of sleep can make stress worse. “Sleep deprivation makes parts of the brain that handle higher-order functions work less well,” says Dr. Ressler. Having healthy sleep habits can help. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, avoiding caffeine after noon, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.

Get organized. Using strategies to help manage your workload can also reduce stress. For example, each day, create a concrete list of tasks you need to accomplish. This way, your duties won’t seem overwhelming. Making a list also gives you a clear end point so you know when you are done. “Laying tasks out like this helps reduce the feeling that the brain is being bombarded,” he says. It can also help you predict when you are likely to be stressed.

Get help if you need it. Reaching out can help you become more resilient and better able to manage stress, which may ultimately protect your brain health. Earlier intervention may reduce disability caused by stress-related complications later on.

Change your attitude toward stress. “A life without stress is not only impossible, but also would likely be pretty uninteresting — in fact, a certain degree of stress is helpful for growth,” says Dr. Ressler. So, rather than striving for no stress, strive for healthier responses to stress.

Following is a link for my Page – How to deal with stress which will give you further tools.

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Lack of exercise damages us – WHO Report

Eat less; move more; live longer. The World Health Organization agrees. Following are the potential results of inadequate exercise for all age groups, according to the WHO.

– Insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide.
– Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
– Physical activity has significant health benefits and contributes to prevent NCDs.
– Globally, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough.
– More than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active.
– Policies to address insufficient physical activity are operational in 56% of WHO Member States.

WHO Member States have agreed to reduce insufficient physical activity by 10% by 2025.

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What is physical activity?

WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure – including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits.

The term “physical activity” should not be confused with “exercise”, which is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and aims to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness. Beyond exercise, any other physical activity that is done during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work, has a health benefit. Further, both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health.

How much of physical activity is recommended? Continue reading

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Smoking linked to higher dementia risk – Study

I feel very strongly about smoking. This is one of those Captain Obvious things to me. It astounds me that anyone who can read will continue to smoke.

The following is excerpted from my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you? Check it out for chapter and verse on the multi-faceted damage that smoking does to your body.

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Tobacco use is the single largest cause of preventable cause of death in the United States.

On average people who smoke die about 10 years sooner than non-smokers. The New England Journal of Medicine.

Smoking triples the risk for cataracts and is also a risk factor for macular degeneration and its response to treatment. Dr. Nicholas Volpe, Tarry Professor and Chairman Department of Opthalmology Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014 about 224,000 new cases of lung cancer and 159,260 cancer deaths caused by tobacco use. The overall survival rate for those with lung cancer, sadly, remains at around 15%. You have less than one chance in six of surviving. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain damage, dementia, impact of quitting smoking, smoking, Smoking dangers

Weekend Funnies …

Incredibly, I stumbled across all of these on Thursday. Enjoy! This is yet another of the joys of retirement. See how much you have to look forward to…

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Have a great weekend!

Tony

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10 Warning signs of dementia – Infographic

You don’t have to be a senior to suffer from cognitive impairment. Here are some hopefully helpful hints for self-assessment from the Alzheimer’s Association.

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The 5 best foods to fight aging

I hope you realize that, just as you need to start saving for retiring in your youth, you need to worry about eating well for aging well starts a lot earlier than when you are a senior.

Eat well; move more; live longer  – that’s a mantra that we’re all familiar with, but what are the best foods to help us achieve that goal?  Medical News Today (MNT) offered the following:

Official figures indicate that, currently, the top three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy are the Principality of Monaco, Japan, and Singapore. These are places where the inhabitants experience a high quality of life, and an important element of that is eating healthful meals.

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Often, we find praise for “superfoods” in the media – foods so high in nutritional value that they are seen as dietary superheroes.

Nutritionists reject the term “superfoods” as a buzzword that can influence people to place too high an expectation on a limited range of foods when, in reality, a balanced diet and healthful lifestyle require more effort than eating your five-a-day.

Still, there are certain foods that are more nutritious than others, and many that, as research has shown, have a protective effect against a range of diseases. Here, we give you an overview of some of the best foods that you may want to consider including in your diet in your quest for a happy, healthy life. Continue reading

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Self-care strategies – Infographic

I ran across this infographic in my web wanderings and thought you might enjoy it.

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Dietary supplements can affect lab tests – study

In my Page – How to lose weight and keep it off I wrote that one of the keys to living healthy and keeping my weight under control is the concept ‘everything I eat and drink becomes a part of me.’ This also applies to vitamins and dietary supplements, too. We need to pass this information on to our doctor as well, especially before undergoing tests and procedures.

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and dietary supplements are widely used and popular, with U.S. households spending an average of almost U.S. $350 annually on OTC products. In 2006 an average of EUR 67.50 was spent per person on OTC products in Germany.

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The use of various OTC drugs and dietary supplements is highly prevalent in Europe and patients are often not willing to disclose this information to laboratory staff and the ordering physician as a survey published in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, published by De Gruyter in association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM), shows.

The study reports on the results of a survey of patients in 18 European countries which shows that those taking OTC products and dietary supplements are not aware of the potential effects on laboratory test results they may have. In addition, patients do not believe that they need to disclose this use to medical and/or laboratory staff.

The study shows that dietary supplements and OTC drugs are more frequently used by middle-aged patients – especially women – with the most common being multivitamins, multiminerals, cranberry and aspirin. All of these compounds, if consumed shortly before blood sampling, may cause changes in lab test results, thus leading to interpretation difficulties and possibly incorrect diagnoses.

Although more data is needed about the frequency of the consumption of various dietary products, vitamins or OTC drugs, the authors believe that a multifaceted approach is necessary to draw attention to the issue using educational interventions which target both healthcare professionals and patients.

“We hope that our survey helps to raise awareness about this need to educate patients about the potential effect of OTC drugs and dietary supplements on lab test results, and we would encourage clinicians and lab staff to engage more with their patients and ask them direct questions about the use of various self-prescribed products,” said Professor Ana-Maria Simundic of the Sveti Duh Clinical Hospital in Zagreb, Croatia, and the corresponding author of the article.

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All the news that fits …

I think the mainstream media is making us all into journalists.

Ernest Hemingway famously said, “To be a good reporter you need a built-in shockproof crap detector.”

When I started covering the fast-paced futures markets for Reuters News Service back in the 1960’s that quote resounded in my head on a daily basis. I started my journalistic career on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange talking to traders about what was happening in the futures markets. In those days, the biggest markets were pork bellies, live cattle, live hogs and shell egg futures. The financial instruments futures hadn’t been created yet.

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My qualifications included a degree in finance and several years experience magazine writing and editing. 

Reporting markets, you had to remember that everyone you talked to had an agenda (and likely a position in the market). So, I always assumed that the person speaking to me had an axe to grind. When someone told me something bullish on the market, I would search around for a contact likely to tell me the ‘other side.’ That way, my market comments remained balanced and useful to traders.  Continue reading

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Weekend funnies …

It’s Friday! I remember how wonderful it felt when I was working to realize that. Here are some funnies from my last week’s web wanderings in my retirement.

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Certainly this is the branch manager.

Tony

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