Stressipedia

The Source for Health and Stress News You Can Use

Feeling tired? You might want to check your iron levels

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Feeling tired?  You might want to check your iron levels. 

Iron is one of the key ingredients  of your next batch of red blood cells.  These cells last only about three months; the old ones are broken down in the liver, and new ones are generated in  the  bone marrow.  If our iron levels fall, then we can end up anemic, and, commonly, fatigued.

While most iron deficiencies have been seen in women of menstruating age, it can occur in men as well.

Here are some considerations if you have low iron in your blood test:

1. INTAKE:  Iron is found in foods that are green (like fresh vegetables, including Popeye's famous spinach), and also in foods that have red blood (meat, fish, chicken).  If you are vegan ,  eat green veggies,  beans and whole grains.   One easy trick for anyone low in dietary iron  is to use an uncoated iron frying pan, as it will add a lot of real iron to your foods.   If you are a junk food fan, remember they don’t call it “junk” for nothing: there is usually little iron (or anything else) in it.

2. ABSORPTION:  Certain kinds of stomache or intestinal conditions make it difficult to absorb iron, even if enough is presented in one's diet.  This can be seen in cases of malabsorption, including patients with surgically shortened intestines.

3. OUTFLOW: Two major sources of blood loss to consider;

    a)  Vaginal loss: heavy periods, or constant slow leaks throughout the menstrual cycle can lose more blood than the body can produce. If this is the case, it is not something to put up with, it should be investigated by your doctor.

     b) Rectal loss:

          -Visible loss of blood is an obvious cause of low serum iron for men or women. Remember that blood can be black if it comes from higher up in the stomache or upper intestines, or it could be bright red, if it comes from a hemorrhoid .  These are very important to investigate.

          -Invisible loss of blood:  A slow daily leaking of trace amounts of blood in the stool can indicate important problems inside the colon. One way to screen for this is with the home kits for Fecal Occult Blood, which comes with a stick, and a fold-over place to put the stool sample.  To read more about this test, click this link: FDA: home fob tests.  If any hidden blood is detected, then colonoscopy comes next.  This gives the doctor a clear view of any bleeding polyps, which are often fixable on the spot.  Through the colonoscope, it is also possible to biopsy and photograph any other pathology, such as inflammatory diseases like colitis or diverticulitis. 

Once the cause has been determined, then a solution becomes clear.  In cases where the problem lies in low intake, one needs more iron in the diet, or an iron supplement from your doctor.  In cases where there is an excessive loss, one must plug the leak, or at least have one's doctors solve this. In all cases, remember to recheck your blood after three months, to make sure your body is back on track.

In any case, this is just another reason to check the silent signals in your body, to make sure you stay as bulletproof as possible.  Its a stressful world out there, and we all need to be in our best shape!

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Acne

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

One of the more common myths we have grown up with is that acne (real name: acne vulgaris) is only a teenager’s problem.  Of course, this is not the least bit true. We see lots of acne affecting adults in their middle years, and even beyond their fifties. 

 

Systemic causes:

  1. Hormonal: acne certainly can flare around the teen years, or around the time of a woman’s menstruation.  Body-building steroids can also cause acne  in many athletes.
  2. Diet: This one is controversial, as there is not much science to prove direct connections between foods and skin complexion.  However a pencil and paper will be a good way to track any such links.  Just diarize your food intake at the end of each day, and note how your skin was.  If a pattern emerges, like acne worse after certain foods (chocolate, sugar, etc) then try to exclude these, and see if the trend improves.  If there is no connection, then you can eat what you like, but it obviously makes sense to avoid junk foods for a number of other reasons! 

Local causes:

  1. Sweating, eg under the shoulder pads of football and hockey players, or around the central face/nose area in those who tend to have oily, sweaty patches on the face.
  2. Clogging the pores with petroleum/oil based skin products and make-up.   Always look for the labels that say “non-comodonogenic.  If you need to cover up the damage, brush on  a light mineral based powder foundation. 
  3. Over-handling: acne skin is inflamed and already sensitive by nature.  So don’t scrub too vigorously, and resist the temptation to pick or even touch zits during the day.  Confine yourself to gentle cleansing twice a day, using warm compresses with a face cloth.

Treatments:

  1. OTC (over-the-counter) products: such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid.  There is a large selection of products to choose here, with a wide variation of responses.  Some patients get a positive response to vegetable oils, like olive oil or coconut oil, both worth a trial to see if they help overnight.  Not scientifically proven, but harmless to try, especially while you are waiting for your referral to the dermatologist.
  2. Prescriptions:  your doctor can select from several options here.  For women who also want to avoid pregnancy, certain birth control pills can help, such as Alesse, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yaz and Yasmin.   Topical gels of prescription strength, like Metro Gel (also available in a cream) can prove effective.    Systemic antibiotics such as tetracycline and minocycline are also good in LOW dose format.  Much like aspirin can be taken in tiny doses for purposes of clot prevention, antibiotics can be given in mini-doses daily for long periods without problems.   However, taking a probiotic would also make sense, please see our blog on stressipedia.com/probiotics
  3. Procedures:  Your doctor can review a menu of options, from ozone-based electronic stimulation of active lesions (“zit-zappers”) to laser resurfacing of old acne scars. 

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Beware the Plastics

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Plastics may be great for consumer.  But they are NOT meant to be consumed. 

With today’s busy lifestyle, more people are reaching for packaged foods, and most of these are introducing small amounts of chemicals into the foods they touch.   Whether it is the fast food burger in a foam box, raw meats on a Styrofoam (made from toxic styrene) tray in the supermarket, or drinks that now come in plastic instead of glass bottles, unwanted chemicals are entering our digestive tracts, and getting into our bloodstreams.  Now scientists and doctors are starting to take notice.  Higher rates (and earlier ages of victims) of cancers and neurological diseases are starting to be noticed in areas where packaged food is the norm.  While the big food companies may argue that this is untrue, there is certainly no chance that these chemicals like BPA (BisPhenol-A) are “health foods”.  As a consequence, it makes sense to take some simple measures to reduce our exposure.

Action Items to keep plastics out of your body:

  1. Buy fresh food, whenever you can.  Try your local farmer’s markets, or at least get to know the people behind the fish and meat counters at your grocery store.  Have them wrap it in wax paper. 
  2. Buy small quantities, so you won’t have a fridge full of left-overs. Remember the best way to keep food fresh is to leave it in the store!
  3. Learn to cook.  You will save money, and save your health.  You will also save time.  Watch Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute mealson YouTube; you will learn how to make something nutritious from scratch in less time than it takes to go out (or order in) for “fast” food.
  4. Don’t buy landfill along with your groceries.  Today’s foam trays, plastic containers, and packages all end up in next week’s garbage.  Far better to have foods wrapped in paper, foil, or cardboard boxes, and to buy liquids in glass containers. To complete the green concept, take your own cloth bags to the store, instead of using any plastic ones.  You will be amazed at the reduced output when you just buy the product and not the containers.
  5. Throw out your non-stick pans, plastic utensils, and storage containers.  Use stainless steel-lined pots and pans, and glass or steel storage containers. 
  6. Use water for your main drink.  It’s a lot cheaper than sodas and juices.  Besides, you don’t have to carry tap water home!  If your tap water tastes poorly, consider a reverse osmosis water filter. To make it look more appetising, fill old wine bottles with water, and leave them to chill in the fridge.   If you do enjoy fizzy water, seek out those that still come in glass containers. 
  7. Time counts.  If you do need to bring some foods home in plastic containers, transfer them to dishes immediately.    If some of it is to be saved for later, put it in a glass container.  Try not to eat from (or store food in) original plastic containers.
  8. When you absolutely need to use plastic at times, make sure it is the "hard" kind, not the soft opaque version; the opaque one is much easier to scratch with utensils, and much more likely to leech chemicals into its contents, especially when heated for cleaning.

While we can’t control all of the chemicals that touche our foods, we can certainly take these simple measures to fight back.   

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Fight Alcoholism? Get Rid Of The Sugar!

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

For long term success, an alcoholic must learn not only how to stop drinking, but also how to start eating.

Most alcoholics that are admitted into detoxification centers are massively malnourished, and seriously depleted of thiamin, vitamins A, B-12, and C, folic acid, and the essential minerals calcium, magnesiuum, potassium, and zinc.  These deficiencies are corrected at the outset with supplementation by mouth or by injection.  However once past the initial stages of treatment, recovering alcoholics often go back to poor dietary choices such as processed foods that contain little apart from sugar, fat, and calories. The sugar is particlarly bad because alcoholics already produce too much insulin, which means that during withdrawl they crave sugar. 

 

By eating refined sugars they only make the situation worse, because the pancreas pours out even more insulin, and the cravings for not only sugar but alcohol increase.  Inhaled tobacco smoke makes matters even worse, as it leaches a variety of nutrients from the body.   Dr. Joseph Beasley, the medical director of Brunswick House, Amityville, New York, studied a group of hardened alcoholics, forty percent of whom were cross-addicted to oher substances, such as cocaine.  Not the sort of group you would think should set any records in rehabilitation. 

With the standard program of detoxification, behavioral and family therapy, exercise, and follow-up with Alcholics anonymous, a twenty to thirty per cent recovery rate after one year is considered the norm. However, these patients were also given multivitamin and mineral supplements, and a balanced diet high in fiber and low in refined sugars.  At the end of a year, an astonishing 65% of the group were still sober.

To get the best results in treating alcoholism,  one must treat any other dietary and lifestyle indiscretions.  In fact, Bill W., one of the founders of Alcholics Anonymous admitted in his later years that one of his biggest mistakes was leaving sugar, nicotine, and caffeine in AA. 

So when you battle the bottle, shuck the sugar, and cut the butts, so you'll really have reason to say cheers.

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Insomnia - Common But Not An Epidemic

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Insomnia: it is common, but it's not as big an epidemic as you think.

Whenever I do a talk show or a speech, someone always asks me if I have any special tips for how to deal with insomnia, a condition that means chronically having insufficient sleep to function effectively.

We don't necessarily need eight hours of sleep all at once. Many people, even from the early years of childhood, need only a few hours of sleep to function well. An image of a very sleepy person Most adult need less sleep as they grow older. In these individuals adding more hours of rest to their schedule adds nothing to their energy levels, and indeed may make them feel worse.

Examples of true insomnia do exist, such as when one has a snoring spouse, a crying baby, or a medical disorder such as a prostate or thyroid problem. People with these conditions are totally exhausted during their day, can't function well at all, and do require medical attention. However, the vast majority of people who think they are insomniacs can, and should, be treated without any medications.

I have had countless elderly patients request sleeping pills, or take the non-prescription variety on their own, because they are fed up with lying in bed wide awake, staring at the ceiling. Especially if they can function well, or could catch up on sleep with a short nap, It is foolhardy for these people to risk the side effects of drugs to fight off a disease they don't even have. Rather than feeling hard done by, those who only need a few hours of sleep should be grateful for having the gift of extra years on their lives. If you don't feel sleepy until two or three in the morning, don't go to bed. If you wake up hours before the rest of the world, get out of bed, and get busy using those extra hours to make the rest of your day's schedule a little more productive.

Winston Churchill credited his legendary stamina to his ability to take brief naps, and exist on only a few hours sleep. So if you can't get all your sleep at once, then try to take brief naps when you can. Don't let a little thing like insomnia keep you awake nights.

Here's an action tip:

Before you reach for help in pill form, consider handling insomnia through simpler means, such as organizing your time management (to allow an uncluttered sleep), using hypnosis tapes, and avoiding heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine before bedtime. Get into the habit of bedtime relaxations, such as having a hot bath or drinking hot milk.

Taken from a recent post on how our modern life styles have created an environment where it's more difficult to relax and sleep, here are a few suggestions that may help:

  • Turn out the lights, turn off the distractions of television, music, Blackberry/iphone and the web.  If needed, turn off the main power bar, so all the little lights won't beckon from your equipment!
  • Try a hot bath, but do it in a low-tech way.  Aromatic bath salts like lilac are very relaxing, as are scented candles.  Use the darkness as a comforting backdrop, and let your body's natural rhythms take you into deep sleep.  Once you are out of the deep bath, naturally.
  • Invest in black-out curtains, or, if your windows are too big, then a good blindfold. 
  • Allow yourself to relax, and not think of sleep as the only goal here.  Even just keeping your eyes closed will offer some help, and, as long as you don't get impatient, sleep will eventually follow.
  • When you need to get up for your next day's work, turn on all the lights, turn up the sounds, and let all the stimulations jump-start your body into full action.

 

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Stress and Childhood Obesity

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

If you have a child between the ages of 7-13 that experiences rapid weight gain, the reason may well be stress.

I have always maintained that obesity is never a problem; it is only the result of a problem. Until that underlying problem is addressed, whether it is boredom, poor self image, or too much stress, all the diets in the world are not going to work in the long term.

An image depicting a child fighting childhood obesity with exercise

Now a new multi-center European study, headed by Drs. Melbin and Vuille and reported in the Scandinavian Pediatric Journal, has come to the same conclusion. They examined close to a thousand children, and followed them from birth to age 15 years. All children who gained more than fifteen percent in relative weight were analyzed according to age groups. Their psychosocial stress was evaluated according to scholastic health records and school nurses' information, and rated 0 (for no stress), 1, or 2. Between the ages of 7 to 13, the students with the highest stress scores turned out to be the ones most likely to be obese.

In addition, the high levels of stress were manifested in other ways. For example, among the seventy overweight children in the study, they were almost five times as likely to drop out of school beyond the nine year mandatory period. When the stress levels were low, almost half of these overweight children lost weight between the ages of 13 and 15, but when stress was high, only 15 % achieved normal body weights in later adolescence. So the authors concluded that rapid weight gain during the school years may be an indicator of psychosocial problems and the ramifications are obvious. Just signing such a child up for an expensive diet program, or subscribing to radical liquid diets will only work for a very short period of time, if at all. If the stresses are not addressed and dealt with, the obesity will soon return.

The American Heart Association has taken a position on this subject based on scientific evidence:  physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease. Inactivity also increases the risk of stroke and such other major cardiovascular risk factors as obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and diabetes.

The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

Here's an action tip:

If you have a child that has suddenly gained a lot of weight, make sure you don’t just shut down the food lines, but open up the lines of communication. Resolve these stresses by working together and, where appropriate, involve professional help. You will do a lot more to cure the obesity if you listen to the child.

How do I promote physical activity in my child?

  • Reduce the time your child watches TV, talks on the phone, plays computer games or any other activity that does not require vigorous physical activity.
  • Make sure that any physical activity is enjoyable and rewarding - it will help reinforce the idea that exercise is fun and something to be looked forward to, not avoided.
  • Be a role model! If you are active and encourage your child to also be active there's a good chance they'll make exercise a habit!

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Work Stress and Heart Disease

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Are you under a lot of stress at work? Well, if you are not handling it well, it could be making you more at risk for heart disease.

An image of someone stressed-out at work

First, let’s set the record straight. We are all under some stress, and most people at work are under a lot of it. But just because you have a stressful job, such as an air traffic controller, police officer, or computer worker, does not mean your health need suffer. Many such people thrive on their pressures, and indeed wither into death or senility within a few short years of idle retirement. But if you are not handling these job stresses well, then indeed there is cause for concern.

A recently published study in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at over two hundred men, aged 30 to 60 years. About one in five suffered job stress, such as impending mergers, trouble with a bad boss, and economic factors. These highly stressed individuals were three times as likely to have high blood pressure as their peers. Even more alarmingly, all men aged thirty to forty with high stress jobs had a clinically significant thickening of the heart's left ventricle. This means that there is something happening inside your body when you have chronic job stress, and rather than responding by passively adopting bad habits, it is critical for you to take control.

People with highly stressful jobs but little real control over decision making are running a 23% increased risk of a heart attack, according to authoritative research.

Many people in today's world, where the pace of life is fast and money is tight, may consider themselves stressed at work, but the definition used by authors of the study in the Lancet medical journal is precise. They considered job strain to involve high demands on the individual and little freedom to make his or her own decisions about how and when to do the work.

This sort of stress is to be found among all sorts of people, holding down all sorts of jobs on both high and low salaries, said one of the authors of the study, Professor Andrew Steptoe of the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

"It is the coupling [of high demand and low control] that is problematic," he said. "It is more common in low income jobs where people are doing the same thing again and again, such as assembly line work, but it is across the whole social spectrum.

When one has high job stress, the tendency is to pay less attention to good nutrition, learning skills of relaxation and exercise, and more inclination to talk shop all through one's spare time hours. It may very well be that it is these choices, and not the job itself, that account for most of the associated heart disease. If you are in a stressful job, you owe it to yourself to fight back with ‘active participation’. Eat good foods, exercise regularly, develop skills of relaxation, and focus on other interests in your spare time to get your mind off work.

Given that 1 in 3 Americans suffers from heart problems, managing work-related stress is key. Here are some recommendations from the American Heart Association:

  • Practice positive self-talk: Instead of telling yourself, “everything is going wrong,” think, “I can handle things if I take one step at a time.”
  • Identify emergency stress stoppers that work for you: For example, count to 10 before you speak or go for a walk.
  • Find pleasure in simple activities: Try to do at least one thing a day that you enjoy, like listening to music or meeting friends for lunch.
  • Take time to relax daily: Calm tension in your mind and body through yoga or meditation.

 

Most of all, ask yourself if you really like the job in the first place, or are just in a rut. If you no longer enjoy your work, be flexible enough to consider planning for a change, for the sake of your heart. The most stressful job in the world is after all the one for which you are not suited.


Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Have a Glass of Red Wine to Relieve Stress and Fight Heart Disease and Cancer

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Do you drink an occasional glass of red wine in the evening after a stressful day at work? Are you also a bit confused about which foods are good for you and which ones to avoid? Well, its getting even more interesting now.

An image of glass of red wine

We've long known that dietary factors are being found by researchers to play a role in the prevention or cause of cancers. Edible items from fats to chewing tobacco have been implicated as cancer causing agents, while others such as fiber and some vitamins can offer protection. Well, add to the list of good dietary products: red wine, garlic, onions, and soy sauce, although please, not all at once.

Dr. Terrance Leighton, professor of microbiology at the University of California in Berkley, identified a substance called quercetin which is found in these foods and, ironically, can also be a carcinogen. However, he says that its power as an anticancer agent simply overwhelms its danger as a mutagen, or cancer causing one. Found in a wide variety of foods, quercetin is active in the micromolar range, in directly blocking the proliferation of cancer cells. In case you are not familiar with the micromolar range, try looking for it just this side of the Rocky Mountain range. Dr Leighton noted that Chinese who are on diets high in allium vegetables, such as onions and garlic, which have incredible levels of quercetin, have twenty times less cancer risk than those without these vegetables.

Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Pariza, director of the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin reported that mice given a cancer-causing diet developed fewer tumors if they had soy sauce on their food. Mind you, what they don't tell you is that the salt in the soy sauce probably gave the mice swollen ankles, high blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney disease, but hey, this is only a cancer experiment.

Here's the news about red wine: in moderation, it has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have heart-healthy benefits and may help prevent heart disease by protecting against artery damage. Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. A polyphenol called resveratrol is one substance in red wine that's gotten attention. Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. 

The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of grapes used to make wine. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol. Simply eating grapes, or drinking grape juice, has been suggested as one way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Red and purple grape juices may have some of the same heart-healthy benefits of red wine.

Other foods that contain some resveratrol include peanuts, blueberries and cranberries. It's not yet known how beneficial eating grapes or other foods might be compared with drinking red wine when it comes to promoting heart health. The amount of resveratrol in food and red wine can vary widely.

While this update about red wine might sound great if you enjoy a glass of red wine with your evening meal, the medical community is wary of encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. That's because too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body.

 

Here's an action tip:
Medical research comes and goes, and foods that were the villains of yesterday can come back into favor. In the meantime, until we hear evidence to the contrary, it seems we can all sit back to a Chinese vegetable meal, have a glass of red wine, and take the medical news not with a grain of salt, but with a shake of soy.

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

GERD: There's a Fire Down Below!

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Is stress getting you right in the breadbasket? Here are some tips to put out that “fire in your belly”!

A generation ago, people would associate stress with stomach ulcers.  In cartoons and family sitcoms, the children would cause some stress of the week, the father would rise to the bait, and the mother would caution: “Henry, watch your ulcer”.  Often, this would be followed by the automatic response of a glass of milk.  Ulcers didn’t seem to be happening to women, and the male victims were always being told to “calm down”, or advised to sidetrack their careers to something less stressful.  If the ulcers persevered, most patients would end up with major surgery to cut the vagus nerve, leaving behind a huge scar on the abdomen.  My, how things have changed!

Now ulcers are diagnosed much more easily, and treated much more simply.  To diagnose one of the common causes, a blood test for helibacter pylori is a good start.  If this bacteria is present in the stomach (its antibodies show up on a regular blood test), then the doctor simply reaches for a prescription of antibiotics to kill the offending organisms for good.

If the ulcer needs images for diagnosis, these can be easily arranged, but often yield to the more definitive scoping down through the esophagus and into the stomach itself.  Here the ulcer can be spotted, photographed, and biopsied to rule out malignancy and check for infections. Once diagnosed, the treatment is done effectively with drugs, such as Nexium and others.  Surgeons have basically been written out of the equation, and, thankfully ulcers are not much of a real threat any more.

But with the routine of scopes inserted down into the stomach, doctors have become very familiar with a previously unheralded inflammation in the lower part of the esophagus.  This is popularly known as GERD, or Gastro-Esophageal-Reflux-Disorder, and it has replaced ulcers as the number one stomach complaint today.

In part, it is made worse by eating too much, eating too quickly, eating the wrong inflammatory foods (spices, sugars, junk foods), and by drinking too much (pop or alcohol). Just to make your sleep miserable, it is also made worse by eating too late.  Then the sufferer will be rolling in agony as dinner tries to repeat itself, with an acid backwash  into the throat, accompanied by nausea and sweats, and a racing heart.  This is even worse for the 60% of the population over age 60  who already have a hiatal hernia.   (http://www.emedicinehealth.com/hiatal_hernia/article_em.htm)

 A billion dollar industry has rushed into the breach.   And what a breach this is.  Currently one third of adult Americans suffer symptoms of GERD at least once a month.  That doesn’t get much better in many other western countries, including the UK and Europe.  It basically marches in step with obesity and fast food popularity. 

But note that not one case is caused by the lack of a brand name drug.  Almost all cases can be controlled by addressing the root causes:

1.       SLOW DOWN: Stop wolfing your food, and your GERD will thank you.  Swallowing fast will cause ingestion of air (aerophagia), in the same way that fizzy drinks, or drinks slurped through a straw will do.  For more on eating slower, visit our article here.

2.       SIT UP: This includes slouching at work, and certainly includes post prandial posture.  Obviously we would all expect GERD if we did a head-stand right after a thanksgiving dinner, but even lying flat right after a meal is tempting the stomach to spill its contents easily into the esophagus.  If you are having trouble sleeping, sit up on a “chair” of pillows at the head of your bed, or elevate the feet at the head of the bed on blocks or books to keep the stomach contents from washing back into the gullet.

3.       DON’T SMOKE: well, that is obvious for a dozen other reasons, but here is another good one to add to the litany! For more, read our stop smoking article here.

4.       DON’T OVERFILL:  Even gas stations admonish users to not overfill their tanks, as spillage will predictable follow.  How about trying that for your own stomach, or else it will also become a “gas” tank!

5.       DON’T EAT NAPALM: White sugars, as in that gooey dessert that topped off the meal, are hugely inflammatory.  Also spicy foods, or alcohol, and even good foods that contain gluten, if one is sensitive. If you can’t resist, make sure the portion is very small!

6.       SEE YOUR DOCTOR if the above doesn’t help.  You may indeed need investigations, and, ultimately, appropriate treatment.  But don’t go back to ignoring steps 1 through 5 above, or you will be right back to step 6!

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Fight Childhood Obesity More Effectively With Exercise

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Are you an overweight teenager, or do you have one in your family? Well, new research indicates that childhood obesity may be hurting a lot more than just their physical appearance.

An image of a high school volleyball matchObesity in teenagers is rare in most parts of the world, but it is remarkably common in the United States and Canada. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese.  Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but one of the most difficult to treat.  Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise.

What is obesity? 

Generally, a child is not considered obese until weighing in 10 percent or higher than what is recommended for their height and body type.  The ages between 5 and 6, as well as adolescence, are the most common ages for obesity begin.  Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult. While few extra pounds does not suggest obesity, it may indicate a tendency to gain weight easily and a need for changes in diet and/or exercise.

Certainly one reason for it is our absence of exercise. North American teens lead the world in hours of television watched after school, and it’s not much better when they are not watching TV.

What causes obesity? 

Obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up, but the underlying causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors.  Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems.  Chances are 50/50 that a child will be obese if one parent is obese. These odds rise to about 80% when both parents are obese.    

Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:

Our teenagers get virtually no exercise on their way to school, or once they get there. In many jurisdictions the paltry amount of time devoted to physical education is only an option, meaning that it appeals to those who are active anyway, but can be dodged by the slothful. Well, not only are our teenagers falling woefully behind the rest of the world in academic matters, they are as a group, also in dreadful shape. Because adult heart disease actually begins in childhood, it eventually puts their very lives in jeopardy. The obvious answer is to diet, but now it has been shown that overweight teens should also focus more on exercise.

Professor Victor Katch, of the University of Michigan, conducted a study involving thirty six adolescents whose body fat was more than five per cent above normal for their ages. For a period of twenty weeks, half were given a heart healthy diet, and the other half was given the diet plus an exercise routine of fifty minutes three times a week. In the teens that exercised as well as dieted, their blood levels of cholesterol and other blood fats dropped more than twice as much as those who only dieted, and their overall risk improvement for heart disease was three times as good.

Here's an action tip:

 If you have an overweight teenager in your family, or if you are one, please consult your doctor for a full physical exam and cholesterol tests, and an appropriate diet. But, just as importantly, try to incorporate activity into your routine, even if you turn off the TV or video games for an hour each afternoon, and go for a walk.

As a parent, other ways in which you can help your teenager steer clear of obesity are:

  • help them start a weight-management program
  • change eating habits (eat slowly, develop a routine)
  • plan meals and make better food selections (eat less fatty foods, avoid junk and fast foods)
  • control portions (consume fewer calories)
  • know what your child eats at school
  • eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
  • do not use food as a reward
  • limit snacking
  • attend a support group (for instance, Overeaters Anonymous)

Your career may depend on your mental exercises during high school, but your adult health depends on how well you exercise your body.

Share Stressipedia - Help us grow!

Subscribe to get Stressipedia updates by email