Good News and Bad News on the Health Front

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The good news is in a recent study published March 26 in the Archives of Internal Medicine frequent chocolate consumption correlates with a lower BMI (body mass index). This was not large amounts of chocolate (around 1 oz.)that was eaten 2 times per week by those questioned .Those studied also exercised 3.6 times per week. While the study wasn’t able to say why; it is good to know that chocolate isn’t necessarily off the table for those who exercise and otherwise live a healthy life.

The bad news is in a study published March 12 in Circulation, a soda per day raised your risk of coronary heart disease by 20%. The researchers did not find a similar risk with artificially sweetened beverages.  The researches recommended switching to water, coffee or tea.

The good news about exercise is according the ACSM 2009 guidelines effective exercise can be accumulated in 10 minutes bouts of moderate to somewhat hard intensity and still be effective. To prevent weight gain you should get 150-250 minutes per week or to lose weight 200-420 minutes per week of 4exercise. If you do 10 minutes in the morning then another 10 minutes at lunch plus 10 minutes when you get home from work you can accumulate 150 minutes in 5 days. These 10 minutes of exercise don’t include your warm up or cool down.  Who doesn’t have a spare 10 minutes here or there?

The bad news is there are an unavoidable loss of lean mass; a gain in fat mass; and a loss of energy-burning capacity with aging. This holds true even for people who maintain a vigorous level of physical activity. Studies show an increase in abdominal fat and decreased energy expenditure for women during the menopausal transition. Animal studies indicate weight gain may be due to increased appetite; decreased spontaneous movement and/or decreased metabolism associated with loss of ovarian function. These changes are prevented or reversed with estrogen replacement. And programmed exercise prevents the increase in abdominal fat as effectively as estrogen replacement. That’s the good news!

The bad news in a study published in 2008 the percent of 16-19 year olds meeting physical activity recommendations in this country was 5.5%;those aged 20-59 meeting it was 3%; those aged 60+ 2.5%. As a country we are barely moving out of our chairs. The really bad news is evidence suggests a clear association between sitting time and chronic disease risk as well as mortality from all causes independent of leisure-time physical activity. Sitting all day will kill you faster even if you hike 10 miles on the weekends.

Life is full of these good news/bad news scenarios. It is up to you to decide which you want. Do you want your life to be a good news story? You can make the decision today to have a better life. Get up and get moving. Enjoy a bite of chocolate now and then. Let the sun shine on your face. Smile for no reason. Stop sitting when you can stand and live longer and healthier.

Dr. Kenneth Luckay DO is the Medical Director at the Center for Medical Weight Loss located at 4515 Brambleton Ave in Roanoke. He can be reached at 398-1547 or Email: [email protected]