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Potato Chips and Sugary Beverages are Culprits in Weight Gain

Eating one more serving of fruit, vegetables and nuts contributes to 1.25 pounds lost every 4 years.

What foods are most strongly associated with weight gain? Is it really any surprise that in a 20 year study of more 120,000 participants, potato chips and sugar-sweetened beverages contributed 1.28 pounds and 1.00 pound of weight gain every four years? Yogurt, nuts, fruits, whole grains and vegetables were associated with significant weight loss over the same period of time. All of these items are per serving added per day to the diet.

PositiveTip: Which direction is your scale going? Remember, consistently skipping the tempting bag of potato chips and or a cold sugar-sweetened beverage can tip the scale downward.

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Physical Activity and Weight Loss

30 minutes of daily physical activity greatly enhances weight loss.

The American College of Sports Medicine has updated its Position on physical activity and weight loss and weight regain after loss. Long-term weight loss is enhanced by engaging in more than 250 minutes (4 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity per week. Weight maintenance is enhanced by the continuation of the same amount on a consistent basis.

PositiveTip: Think about it! Just over half an hour of physical activity each day will significantly enhance weight-loss and weight-maintenance.

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Waistlines Expand in the USA

The USA is one of the heaviest countries in the world.

A new study reveals that among high-income countries, the USA has experienced the fastest growth in body mass index (BMI) between 1980 and 2008. It also had the highest average BMI in 2008: 28.5 for men and 28.3 for women. Only Nauru in Oceania exceeded this with BMIs of 33.9 and 35 respectively. 

PositiveTip: Let's move more and eat less to change these trends!

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Sleep Essential for Maintaining Healthy Weight

Teens who get 6-7 hours of sleep are 2.5x more likely to be overweight than those who get 8+.

There is growing evidence that short sleep duration is associated with future weight gain, especially for children. Susan Redline at Case Western has shown that teens getting 6-7 hours of sleep per day were 2.5 times more likely to be overweight than those getting eight or more hours of sleep. In another study, teens who slept less were 2.1 times more likely to consume 475 or more of their daily calories from snacks.

PositiveTip: Adequate sleep is vital to maintaining self-discipline over all choices, including calories.

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Kill Teen Headaches with a Healthy Lifestyle

Unhealthy lifestyle choices increase the risk of recurrent headaches in teens.

Almost 6000 teens in Norway experienced more recurrent headaches if they smoked, were overweight, and inactive. This cross-sectional study found, after controlling for confounders, that those who smoked had a 50% increased risk for headaches (migraine, tension and unclassified); overweight, a 40% increased risk, and lack of physical activity conferred a 20% increase in risk. The more unhealthy habits the teen had, the greater they were at risk for headaches.

PositiveTip: A healthy lifestyle in teens (and most likely adults, also) lowers the risk for recurrent headaches of all types.

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Bigger Bellies Yield Higher Death Rates

An increase in waist circumference of 4" in white women raised their death rate by 25%.

Waist circumference (WC) is a measure of central adiposity is associated with many diseases as well as a shorter lifespan. Data from a large longitudinal nutrition study of 105,000 adults over age 50 has found all-cause mortality strongly associated with WC. Mortality risk for men with WC greater than 47.5 inches was twice as high as those with waists less than 35.4 inches. Women who had WC greater than 43.3 inches had almost 2.4 times higher risk compared to those with waists 29.5 inches or less. For each 4" increase in WC in both men and women risk increased by at least 20%.

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Importance of Modeling Healthy Eating

Parental feeding practices significantly influence preschool children's eating patterns.

Researchers in Australia analyzed longitudinal questionnaire data completed by mothers of 2-4 year olds. After controlling for age, gender, maternal age, education and BMI, parental pressure to eat predicted decreased interest in new foods up to 12 months later. However, parental modeling of healthy eating predicted more interest in new foods and less picky eating. These eating practices did not predict body weight 12 months later, though.

PositiveTip: If you model healthy eating to your children, it will lead to better eating behaviors, even in preschoolers!

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Higher Fast Food Prices Are Good for You!

Price increases in junk foods lead to lower weight, energy intake and diabetes risk.

A 20 year study has revealed that when junk food prices rise, people eat less of it. A 10% increase in the price of soda or pizza was associated with a 7% drop in buying soda and 11.5% drop in eating pizza. A $1.00 increase in the price of both soda and pizza led to lowered energy intake, weight loss, and an improvement in insulin resistance.

PositiveTip: Maybe for our health we should support increased taxes on unhealthy, fattening foods.

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Women Lose Knee Cartilage Faster than Men

Rate of knee cartilage loss is found to be greater in women than in men.

Women were found to lose significantly more knee cartilage than men in an Australian study of subjects with no clinical evidence of knee osteoarthritis. When adjusted for age, height, weight, and baseline bone area, magnetic resonance imaging data indicated women lost four times more tibial, and three times more patellar cartilage.  All subjects in this small study were caucasian and results might vary according to ethnic and racial differences. Estrogen increases cartilage volume, but investigators did not control for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The women in this study averaged 149 pounds, which could account for part of these differences.