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A Very Weighty Matter

The biggest gains in obesity worldwide occured between 1992 and 2002.

From 1980 through 2013 the prevalence of overweight and obesity rose by 28% for adults. For children it is even more frightening--a rise of 47%. This scary picture of the global obesity pandemic is found in research done for The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013There are now 2.1 billion people who are overweight or obese on this globe.

PositiveTip: Use your personal example and action to provide leadership in your community for effective intervention against this trend.

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Sugar’s Links with Mortality

New research associates high sugar intake with heart disease

Processed sugars are associated with (but don’t necessarily cause) increased rates of heart disease. New research on 12,000 people over 15 years found that there was a 29% increased risk of death by cardiovascular disease for people who drank at least seven servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per week compared to those who drank no more than one serving per week. Excess sugar can contribute to obesity and other determinants of cardiovascular disease.

PositiveTip: Minimize your intake of soda pop, sugar-sweetened teas, energy drinks and fruit juices.

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Carbs and Prostate Cancer

Diets rich in complex carbohydrates reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Individuals with the highest carbohydrate intake experienced a 70% lower risk of prostate cancer (PC) compared with those who ate the least of these foods. This preliminary report analyzed veterans' medical records and strongly supports the benefits of a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (unrefined) and dietary fiber. This was true in both black and white men and equally applied to the risk of low-grade and high-grade PC.

PositiveTip: Eating whole grains, vegetables and fruit may significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

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Light Physical Activity Lowers Risk for Disability

Small increases in light activities may yield significant benefits.

Current exercise guidelines recommend 150 minutes of weekly moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity. However, light physical activity (casual walking, pushing a grocery cart, light housework, etc.) of at least 229 minutes/week may reduce new disability by up to 49%. This was found in a group of 1680 adults 49 and older who had knee osteoarthritis or risk factors for it. These findings were independent of more vigorous activity levels.

PositiveTip: Keep up the light and vigorous activities. The benefits are very real!

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Too Much of a Good Thing?

Five hours of intense exercise weekly increased risk of later atrial fibrillation.

Swedish research in almost 45,000 men found those who exercised intensely more than 5 hours per week at age 30 had a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared to less than an hour per week. This risk was even higher if they quit exercising later in life. Walking/bicycling at older ages was associated with a lower risk.

PositiveTip: Daily, moderate, regular exercise yields the best benefits for a lifetime of healthy living.

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Avoid Diabetes Through Exercise

A mix of strength, aerobic and stretching exercises may reduce diabetes risk

Walking and running are common aerobic exercises that can reduce diabetes risk. However researchers also found that strength training (weight lifting) or muscle conditioning (stretching, etc) helps too. From a national sample of 99,000 women aged 36-81, they found that at least one hour of strength training and conditioning plus at least 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week led to a 67% reduced risk of diabetes.

PositiveTip: Choose a variety of aerobic, strength and conditioning options to your exercise regime.

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Sodium and Your Arteries

Less salt may keep your arteries more flexible

Arteries tend to stiffen after age 30 and can increase risk of heart attack, stroke and memory loss because they can’t dilate (widen) when increased blood volume is necessary. Australian researchers studied 25 overweight or obese subjects with normal blood pressure and found those on a diet with lower sodium levels (2600 mg/day) had arteries that could dilate more than those on a diet with normal sodium levels (3600 mg/day).

PositiveTip: Choose to pass over the salt at mealtime and select low-sodium foods.

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The Myth of Resveratrol

Think again before you spend on resveratrol!

Resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant found in the skin of grapes, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, peanuts, and some berries has been hailed as the possible agent responsible for the benefits of red wine. However, research found it did not correlate with longevity or lower risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. In fact, adjusted hazard ratios favored those with the lowest intakes, and there were no significant findings for all measured biomarkers.

PositiveTip: Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of physical activity, and live a positive lifestyle for the best health.

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Inactivity Tops Women's Cardiovascular Risk

Exercising 150 minutes per week could save thousands of lives!

A study of 32,154 women found physical inactivity had the greatest impact on lifetime risk of heart disease after age 30 when compared to excess weight, high blood pressure, and smoking. For those under the age of 30, smoking was the biggest contributor to heart disease. The authors estimated 2000 lives could be saved every year in Australia alone if every woman exercised moderately 150 minutes each week.

PositiveTip: Ladies, keep moving everyday--and invite your husbands and kids to join you!

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Doctor's Modeling Healthy Behaviors!

Doctor's effect positive change by modeling healthy habits to patients.

Here is a great idea! At a primary care clinic in Wisconsin patients and their families are invited to join the clinic staff to cook meals and exercise together to stimulate lifestyle change. Spouses and children get excited about supporting changes for the whole family. Doctors and staff follow up on the phone with families, asking questions like "what's working, what's not, and how can we help you?"

PositiveTip: Encourage your physician to model good behavior for their patients! You could do the same for your friends.