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Physical Inactivity Leads to Higher Cancer Risk

Aim for 30+ minutes of physical activity a day--in any way!

More than a quarter of adults in America age 50+ reported no physical activity outside of work during the past month--that is about 31 million people at higher risk for obesity, heart disease, and cancer. The largest demographic of inactive people was in the South. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports too much body fat increases the risk of 11 cancers.

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The Real Toll of Holiday Feasting

Weight gained over the holidays takes months to lose!

Researchers found it takes much longer to lose added holiday weight than to gain it! Studies done in three prosperous countries found Americans gained an average of 0.4% over the Christmas holidays, Germans 0.6%, and the Japanese 0.5%. Over Thanksgiving, Americans put on an additional 0.2%. Actually, Americans continue to gain weight until May, then get slimmer until late October--then start gaining again.

PositiveTip: The less you gain during the holidays the less you have to lose later!

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Do Your Genes Make You Fat?

There are no poor candidates for lifestyle change!

Many people who are overweight or obese often blame it on their genes. In a meta-analysis of nearly 10,000 subjects, researchers from England found even those with genetic risk factors for obesity respond as well as anyone else to diet and exercise. This data strongly suggests that obesity-linked genes do not affect the ability to lose weight.

PositiveTip: Don't blame your genes. While your genes may increase your risk of being fat, your choices of healthful lifestyle change make is possible to lose weight!

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Small Steps to Big Changes

Live better with Life's Simple 7 from the AHA.

Confused over sugar vs. fat or exercise vs. diet? You are not alone! You might benefit from the American Heart Association's "Life's Simple 7" small steps to big change. Here it is:

  1. Manage Blood Pressure
  2. Control Cholesterol
  3. Reduce Blood Sugar
  4. Get Active
  5. Eat Better
  6. Lose Weight
  7. Stop Smoking

Any one can follow these. They are not expensive or difficult. Start today with one or two. You will be surprised at the difference they make.

PositiveTip: Modest improvements can make a big difference in your health.

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Be a Savvy Science Reader

Headline certainty is often far from the truth.

Most scientific discoveries around the globe are not easily sensationalized into earth-shattering headlines--yet this is often what is expected. Wired published an analysis of headlines surrounding the news about a study done on Japan's Sakurajima volcano and the various headlines it generated. The authors were simply presenting their data and hypothesis without exclamation points. Yet news organizations generated some pretty wild headlines!

PositiveTip: Don't be fooled by sensational press releases designed to make big headlines and stimulate many page clicks!

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Syringes Better than Cups for Kid's Med Dosing

Eighty-four percent of parents made at least one dosing error out of 9 tries--mostly overdoses.

In a large randomized trial of over 2000 parents, researchers found dosing errors were 4.6 times more common when using dosing cups than when using syringes. When the dose was listed in teaspoons on the medication label more errors were made. More than 20% measured out twice the dose on the label! 

PositiveTip: Ask your healthcare provider to show you how to measure the correct liquid dosage using a syringe for your child.

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Non-pharmacologic Options to Reduce Kid's Pain

Hugs may help reduce kid's pain!

What can be done when a child is in pain--and medications are not the best solution? Presenters at the Pain Week conference suggested that physical  interventions, distraction, and relaxation may be very useful techniques. For an infant, a pacifier dipped in sucrose, or a warm blanket, or ice for injuries may help. Distraction may reduce pain up to 25%. For the older child, stories, games, and interacting with an electronic device maybe helpful.

PositiveTip: Being patient, loving, and creative may help kids in pain deal with the trauma without medications.

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The Sour Side of the Sugar Industry

Excessive sugar intake should not have been downplayed.

In an analysis of archived correspondence between the Sugar Research Foundation (today the Sugar Association) and several prominent Harvard nutrition researchers in the mid-1960s, it has been revealed that secret support was given in an attempt to shift the blame from sugar to fat as the culprit behind coronary heart disease. Not all the dots have been connected, but this gives insight into the food industry's attempts to influence food guidelines.

PositiveTip: Don't look for just one dietary demon! Choose a balanced diet based mostly on whole plant foods for good health.

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A 'Fantastic' Diet Plan? Really?

Not every smart person gives smart dietary advice!

Maybe he knows something about business, but Donald Trump in his 2004 book Think Like A Billionaire, misses the mark on how to avoid weight gain: "To summarize the Mar-a-Lago Diet:

  1. It has to be served in a fantastic setting.
  2. It has to look fantastic.
  3. It has to taste incredible.
  4. It cannot make you gain weight.

If you eat the best foods and watch your waistline, you’ll begin to look and feel great in no time."

PositiveTip: Beware of magical thinking! 

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Fruits and Vegetables Benefit Your Waist!

Eat more fruits and non-starchy vegetables to help maintain ideal weight.

A meta-analysis of data from three large population studies involving 133, 468 men and women followed for up to 24 years found that eating more fruits and non-starchy vegetables is linked to modest weight loss. These benefits were strongest for berries, apples and pears, citrus fruits, tofu and soy, cauliflower and other calciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and leafy vegetables. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, and peas did not convey these same benefits.

PositiveTip: Focus on eating more fruits and non-starchy vegetables every day.