One-day diabetes awareness festival attracts hundreds

AURANGABAD: Hundreds of people visited the ‘Madhumeha Anandnagari’ at the St Francis School ground here on Sunday. The event was aimed at creating awareness about diabetes and its complications and also to commemorate the World Diabetes Day on November 14.

Customized diet plans, diabetes management, sugar-free and oil-free cooking and a focus on effective detection of the disease in the early stages remained the crowd pullers at the fair, hosted by Udaan, a voluntary organisation working for the well-being of diabetic children.

The Anandnagari was inaugurated by television actor Anup Soni, along with deputy commissioner of police (zone-II) Arvind Chawria. The duo appealed to the people to take preventive measures before the lifestyle disease starts taking a toll on the health.

Noted chef Archana Atre from Mumbai gave a demo of over 10 oil-free and sugar-free nutritional dishes that could be easily cooked. The recipe books of the same were distributed by Udaan.

Chawria said, “I am a diabetic for about eight years. Initially I was reluctant in accepting it but gradually I brought the required discipline in my lifestyle and diet. Now, having a disciplined schedule makes me feel fitter than any of my non-diabetic colleagues.”

“The aim of the festival is to erase the fear of diabetes from the minds of people and create awareness in a joyful way to lead a healthy life. The focus of the fair is on detection of diabetes as early as possible and proper management for patients. There are stalls providing guidance on every aspect associated with it like a heart kiosk, exercise kiosk, etc,” said diabetologist Archana Sarda.

Sarda added that it was an attempt to spread awareness about the disease, which is fast spreading among the younger population and appealed to both the diabetics as well as non-diabetics to maintain a healthy lifestyle as cases of diabetes has been reported even in six-month-old babies.

Services such as measurement of blood glucose, blood pressure and body fat percentage, estimation of heart attack and stroke risk for diabetics, ECG, eye examination to detect diabetic retinopathy, were kept open at the fair. Street plays, games, tattoo making, bioscope watching, etc, were also arranged for visitors.

To bring awareness about the lifestyle disease, Udaan has conducted essay writing competitions on ‘Role of children and youth to control diabetes’ and ‘My dream – Diabetes-free India’ in about 140 schools, and around 300 students participated in the contest. Actor Soni judged the street plays for college students and awarded the best five winners.

“Often, people don’t realise the severity of diabetes and leave treatment after two or three months of the diagnosis, exposing themselves to various life threatening diseases. Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder, and stressful life together with unhealthy living is a major factor behind the huge diabetic population we have in our country,” Sarda said.

Diabetic eye disease: How regular eye exams could save vision

Individuals with diabetes are likely accustomed to regular insulin injections or a strict diet. But are they as familiar with regular eye examinations? According to the results of a new survey coinciding with National Diabetes Month, the majority of diabetic patients would say no, even though diabetes is a leading cause of vision loss in the US.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), around 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults aged between 20 and 74.

Figures from the CDC show that between 2005 and 2008, 4.2 million diabetes patients in the US had diabetic retinopathy – the most common form of diabetic eye disease. Of these, 655,000 suffered from advanced diabetic retinopathy, which can potentially lead to severe vision loss.

However, a new survey from Diabetic Connect – the largest social networking site for diabetes sufferers and their families – reveals that 25% of people with diabetes do not have the recommended annual dilated (retina) eye exam, which experts say could significantly reduce the risk of vision loss or blindness associated with diabetes.

Diabetic eye disease explained

Diabetic eye disease is defined as a group of eye-related health issues that are particularly common among diabetes sufferers.

Lady undergoing an eye exam
The NEI says the risk of severe vision loss from diabetic retinopathy could be reduced by 95% with early detection, timely treatment and appropriate follow-up.

According to the NEI, the most common forms of diabetic eye disease are diabetic retinopathy, cataract and glaucoma.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in diabetics – caused by a change in the blood vessels situated in the retina.

Some people with this disease experience swelling and fluid leaking from the blood vessels into the macula of the eye – the part of the retina that is responsible for sharp vision. This process is known as diabetic macular edema (DME).

Other people with diabetic retinopathy will have new blood vessels form on the surface of the retina. Both of these changes can lead to partial vision loss or complete blindness.

One major problem for patients with diabetic eye disease is that there are often no symptoms until the disease reaches an advanced stage. However, it can be detected early through a dilated eye exam.

“The best way to prevent unnecessary vision loss is through annual retina eye exams,” Dr. Carl C. Awh, retina specialist at Tennessee Retina, a group of nationally recognized specialists, told Medical News Today.

“Very often diabetic eye disease lacks any symptoms – meaning people may not know that their vision has been damaged until it’s too late.”

According to the NEI, with early detection through a dilated eye exam, timely treatment and appropriate follow-up, the risk of severe vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be reduced by 95%.

Through early detection of diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases, several treatment options can be offered to a patient.

These include laser eye surgery and injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications. These block the actions of a protein that is the cause of abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage in the eye.

Below is a video from the NEI that explains the risk and treatment of diabetic eye disease:

Majority of diabetics ‘unaware of risk’ to eye health

Although people with diabetes are encouraged to have a dilated retina eye exam once every year, it seems many diabetes sufferers do not undergo these regular eye check-ups.

Diabetic Connect conducted an online survey of 1,674 patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The survey revealed that 1 in 4 people do not receive their annual eye exam, and the reasons for this are largely down to lack of awareness.

In detail, only 36% of people with diabetes said they had spoken with their doctor regarding their risk of vision loss when they were diagnosed, and 22% had never spoken to their doctor about this topic.

Of those who have never had a retina eye exam, 13% said it was because they believed they had not had diabetes long enough for it to affect their vision.

Over 50% of respondents were unaware that diabetic macular edema was a leading cause of vision loss or blindness for diabetes sufferers, and 32% did not know they needed a dilated eye exam.

Needless to say, the results of this survey are worrying, especially considering the millions of diabetes sufferers who are at risk of eye disease.

Dr. Awh said there is no doubt that there needs to be more awareness among diabetic patients regarding potential vision loss and the need for regular testing.

“In part it comes from the primary care doctors and nurses. Broader public awareness and education is also needed,” he added.

One diabetes sufferer told Medical News Today that if it was not for her awareness of the risk of diabetic eye disease, the quick actions of her endocrinologist and regular eye tests, she may have lost all vision.

‘If it wasn’t for regular eye exams, I would have gone blind’

Suzanne Gardner was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 7.

In 1999, Suzanne began experiencing problems with her vision, such as seeing blurred colors and the inability to see details. She said she was previously made aware of the risk of vision loss due to her diabetes.

“In fact, vision loss was something that was of great concern to people who had diabetes,” she added.

“However, 41 years ago, the technology for diabetes was not as advanced as it is today. We had no means of testing blood glucose at home. So diabetes couldn’t be as well controlled as it is today with home glucose monitoring machines and insulin pumps.”

Suzanne visited an ophthalmologist who diagnosed her with diabetic retinopathy. Within 2 years of diagnosis, Suzanne was deemed legally blind.

“Despite a series of operations, my doctors could only save partial vision in one of my eyes,” she said.

However, despite this devastating outcome, Suzanne says that if it was not for regular eye examinations, she may have lost all vision:

“As soon as my endocrinologist saw signs of diabetic eye disease, we all took it very seriously.

She sent me to see a specialist who deals specifically with the retina. If it had not been for the constant visits and immediate attention of my retina specialist, I would have gone completely blind.”

‘It’s important for people to know about vision loss risk’

In spite of her vision loss, Suzanne has made a successful career for herself in the form of art.

“I was devastated by my vision loss. I couldn’t work and couldn’t drive. All of a sudden, everything about how I defined myself had changed,” she told Medical News Today.

“When a friend suggested I start painting, it was the last thing on my mind. But when I picked up the brush, it helped me through a very dark time in my life after my diagnosis, and I decided that I wanted to begin creating artwork for a living.”

Soon after the discovery of her love of art, she became a professional artist and was selling her artwork online and at shows.

“My limited eyesight gave me a new appreciation for vivid colors and focused my work on what I could accomplish, despite vision loss,” she said.

“I have learned to rely on my memory and use strong magnifying glasses since it is difficult for me to see details. I also use bright contrasting colors, which are easier for me to distinguish.”

Not only is Suzanne’s success as an artist a personal achievement, but she also hopes her work inspires other diabetes sufferers to look after their vision.

“It’s important for people to know about the risk of vision loss from diabetes. It’s my mission to use art as a way to remind people that their sight is worth protecting.

Because of my experience, it’s important to me that my paintings make a statement. I hope people see my art, hear my story and are inspired to prioritize their vision.”

Reducing the risk of diabetic eye disease

There is no doubt that by having annual retina eye exams, the risk of vision loss as a result of diabetes could be significantly reduced. But what does a dilated examination involve?

During the test, eye drops are put into a patient’s eye. These drops cause the pupils to open, allowing the doctor to clearly assess all structures of the eye, including the retina, to determine whether there is any damage or early signs of disease.

“Ophthalmologists, optometrists and retina specialists are able to conduct these exams and can direct patients to the appropriate specialists if there are findings,” explained Dr. Awh.

As well as regular dilated eye exams, the NEI says that diabetes sufferers can also reduce their risk of diabetic eye disease though good control of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

To find information about how diabetes can cause vision loss, the retina eye exam and to find a retina specialist in your area, you can visit Diabetes Eye Check, a part of the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS).

Written by Honor Whiteman

Taxing fizzy drinks 'could cut obesity and disease among Britons …

Taxing fizzy drinks could cut obesity and disease
Fizzy drinks ‘should be taxed at 20 per cent’ (Picture: PA)

Fizzy drinks should be taxed at 20 per cent to cut the number of overweight Britons, a report has suggested.

Imposing such a levy on sugary beverages would reduce the level of obesity by 185,000 and of those considered overweight by 285,000, the study published on bmj.com stated.

While young adults, the largest consumers of fizzy drinks, would benefit most from the tax, the NHS would also save £276million a year, the report’s authors said.

‘Guzzling fizzy drinks is now the daily norm for around 40 per cent of 13-year-olds,’ said Simon Gillespie, of the British Heart Foundation, which helped fund the study.

‘The effects on young people’s health are a major concern. We know that drinks loaded with sugar can affect our weight, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

‘This research suggests that a health-related food duty, alongside other measures such as the new front-of-pack food labelling scheme, could be an effective way – particularly in young people – to help reduce obesity.’

The report by the universities of Oxford and Reading has been backed by Prof Jason Block, of the Harvard Medical School. He said the 20 per cent levy ‘would be a good start’ as he called on more countries to ‘implement high taxes and measure the results’.

However, Terry Jones, of the Food and Drink Federation, called the proposals ‘over simplistic’ with some ‘obvious limitations’.

‘Many food and drink products are already subject to VAT of 20 per cent in the UK and making them more expensive for people at a time when household budgets are already squeezed is not the answer,’ he said.

Is DDT a time-bomb behind the obesity epidemic? | Grist

ddt_adMichael Skinner didn’t start the experiment with the hypothesis that he’d find a connection between the insecticide DDT and obesity.

“We didn’t expect to find that,” he said. “In fact, the frequency of obesity really came as a surprise.”

Skinner, a scientist at Washington State University, wanted to take a close look at the way DDT affected inheritance. So his team injected DDT into pregnant rats and watched first their children, and then their grandchildren (or is it grandrats?). It was only in the third generation, the great-grand-rat, that they saw it: Fully half of these rats were obese. The implication is that the same thing could be happening with humans.

Michael Skinner
Michael Skinner.

“Is there a correlation between the fact that we were all exposed to DDT in the 1950s for 10 years, and the fact that we are now seeing high levels of obesity?” Skinner asked. His work suggests that there could be.

Of course, the more immediate cause of obesity is too many calories. But there may be more going on here than too much food. Humans are getting fat, so are our pets, so are wild animals. There’s a trend toward obesity in nearly every species scientists have studied.

Of course it’s too early to lay the blame on DDT. This study simply raised the possibility. But the findings are plausible.

“I do believe that the observed obesity is real,” emailed Andrea Gore, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Texas Austin. Other experiments have already shown that endocrine-disrupting chemicals can cause obesity generations after exposure, Gore said.

Skinner had already seen that he could trigger the inheritance of disease with various chemicals. There’s a narrow window during the gestation, where an exposure to lots of things can cause heritable epigenetic changes.

“The majority of things we’ve tested came up positive,” he said.

So the obvious question: Is this a problem specific to DDT, or would we have seen similar results if Skinner’s team had decided to inject the rats with vitamin C? In other words, is this about the chemical, or just the timing of the exposure?

If the DDT had caused kidney disease, Skinner said, he would have been reassured. A lot of things seem to have epigenetic effects that lead to kidney disease. But obesity is unusual — that suggests a problem with DDT itself, Skinner said.

Skinner started this experiment after the World Health Organization lifted the ban on DDT to help fight malaria. That was a good decision based on the available information, Skinner said, but no one had looked to see if DDT had an effect on subsequent generations. “On the one hand, there are 2 million deaths per year in Africa from malaria. On the other hand, we’re looking at the possibility of metabolic disease in every generation to come,” Skinner said.

The word “possibility” there is key. This wasn’t a risk assessment study, and we don’t know if we’d see something similar in humans from environmental exposure to DDT, as opposed to direct injection. But this study should give pause to the people arguing to reintroduce DDT to places even without a malaria problem, Skinner said. It’s now being used in France, among other places. And once you spray DDT, it’s out there for a long time.

“If you go to any river in the U.S., and push your finger down into the mud one or two inches, the primary contaminant you will find there is DDT,” Skinner said. The stuff just takes a really long time to break down, and Skinner’s research suggests that its effects could last much longer.


Yoga can cure early stage heart disease, diabetes: Study

NEW DELHI: Can yoga be a cure for early stage diabetes and heart disease? The results of a year-long study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy suggests so.

In this study, conducted at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 100 patients at risk for coronary heart disease and type-II diabetes were divided into two groups – one of them was prescribed conventional lifestyle modification such as exercise, diet and smoking cessation while the other was prescribed yogic exercises in addition.

“There was a significant reduction in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and total cholesterol among others in both the groups. But when compared with the conventional lifestyle group, the yoga group had a significantly greater decrease in BMI, low density lipoprotein cholestrol (LDL) and increase in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL),” said D S C Manchanda, the lead author of the study, and head of the cardiology department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Manchanda said that mechanisms underlying regression of early arthrosclerosis – thickening of the artery wall – in metabolic syndrome was not clear though. “Control of several risk factors like hypertension, type-II diabetes mellitus lipids, reversal or preventive effects of both psychological and oxidative stress and reducing inflammation may be contributing factors,” he added.

On the basis of the study results, cardiologists say, yoga may be a cost effective technique to target multiple risk factors for heart disease and type-II diabetes prevention. “Though larger trials are required, it is suggested that yoga may be incorporated in the therapeutic lifestyle modifications for metabolic syndrome as well as coronary heart disease and type-II diabetes,” Dr Manchanda said.

Yogic exercises that have been shown to have positive impact include breathing exercises such as pranayamas and anulom-vilom – alternate nose breathing. Asanas like surya namaskar, tadasna and vajrasana have also been shown to have positive impact on patients.

Non-communicable diseases, chiefly cardiovascular diseases , diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, are the major cause of adult mortality and morbidity worldwide. “Most of the non-communicable diseases, for example diabetes or heart disease, affect the person in the productive years. It causes reduced productivity and early retirement. Also, it puts immense pressure on the public health expenditure as in most cases the treatment costs are higher compared to the communicable diseases. Preventive strategies such as yoga must be propagated for better health,” said a senior doctor.

Obesity in children: What is the responsibility of doctors?

Lying in a hospital bed, my seriously obese patient could barely see her swollen and odorous right foot over her abdominal fat. The foot was soon to be amputated, the result of an untreatable infection exacerbated by diabetes and kidney failure, which developed in part because of obesity.Her two children, ages 6 and 12, hovered from the hospital bed to the couch. In between, the bedside table was strewn with empty fast-food bags, pastry crumbs and large soda cups.

Like their mother, the children were exceedingly overweight.The mother was in her 30s; I had all but given up hope for her long-term survival. And as I watched her children, I feared for their health.

Childhood obesity is a recent disease. During medical school in the late 1980s, I do not recall a single lecture or patient case presentation on the subject. But much has changed; in just the past two decades, obesity among children has more than doubled, from 7 percent to 18 percent, and among adolescents it has more than tripled, from 5 percent to 18 percent. These children are more likely to have pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Certainly parents have responsibility here. But I often wonder: What is the responsibility of the medical establishment?

Three months ago, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease. We doctors are now struggling to figure out our role in treating this newly declared illness — and how to approach children and their parents about healthy eating and exercise habits that will last a lifetime.

When I spoke about this with a pediatrician in my community near Memphis, she sounded discouraged. In a typical case of an overweight teenager, she said, “I show the mother the growth curve and point out that the child is way off the charts. Then I ask, ‘Have you thought about controlling the weight?’

“First there is denial,” she said. “And often there is the blame game — it’s the grandma or the dad” who overindulges the child. This isn’t a problem that is easily solved in a doctor’s office, she said.

One tool in her limited kit is something called “5210 Every Day.” Adapted from a program that originated in Maine and is spreading nationwide, 5210 promotes four “numbers to live by”: Kids should eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day; spend 2 hours or less on recreational screen time; get 1 hour or more of physical activity; and consume 0 sugary drinks.

She explains the program to her patients and sends them home with a 5210 brochure.

brochure? “How much can I do in 15 minutes?” the pediatrician said. That’s how long she has to tend to the problem that prompted the visit, plus provide other counseling: vaccinations, drinking, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, bicycle helmets, and yes, diet and exercise. And it may be another year before she sees the youngster again.

I understand the pediatrician’s quandary. For one thing, how do you tell a mother to send her children outside to play if their street has boarded-up windows and drug dealers on the corner? How hard is it for her to buy and prepare fresh foods? In other situations, where families are fortunate enough to live in a safe neighborhood and have plenty of fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator, we see some parents who are too worried about their children’s self-esteem to talk to them about their weight.

The medical community is taking some concrete steps: For example, childhood-obesity clinics are popping up at academic centers nationwide. The head of pediatrics at one such center tells me a team approach is used to help young patients manage diabetes and hypertension — a nutritionist, a physical therapist, a social worker, a psychologist and pediatric specialists. But he acknowledges that few private pediatrics offices have all these resources. A broader problem is getting Medicaid and private insurers to reimburse doctors for obesity counseling.I fear that we will not come close to solving this problem anytime soon.

Here in Memphis — named the fattest big city in the United States in a 2011 Gallup study – I see a root cause of childhood obesity every time I make the drive to one of my hospitals: Take a left turn at the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and the Burger King, just after the McDonald’s and before the Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut — which are all on the same road as a famous local fried chicken place with a billboard advertising a $5 meal. Our children are growing up among land mines disguised as play areas.

These are some ironies of our society and health system: We allow our children to be poisoned by excessive high-sugar, high-fat foods and then we treat them for the diseases that are caused in part by such foods. We spare no expense to save a baby’s life, yet we’re not willing to reimburse doctors for nutritional and social counseling if that baby grows into an obese child.The U.S. health-care system is designed to function best when doctors are treating acute illnesses, such as a heart attack or pneumonia. Slowly it is being pushed to provide better treatment for chronic illnesses such as diabetes. But it still misses the mark on prioritizing and promoting preventive and lifestyle changes.

For a moment I imagine a health-care system in which reimbursement is not based entirely on the sickness of the patient but is partly based on what experts call “population health.” Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and home health agencies would be paid not only for treating individuals’ illnesses but for demonstrating that they had advanced and maintained the health and wellness of the community.

It would be a gigantic shift. Still, I am hopeful: Much is happening to turn the tide. First lady Michelle Obama is leading the “Let’s Move” campaign, which is placing awareness of childhood obesity on the public agenda. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) is trying to limit the size of sugary drinks. And the 5210 campaign and similar programs are spreading to more and more cities.

Here in Tennessee, a community campaign supported by Healthy Memphis Common Table – a regional health collaborative that I helped found a decade ago — appears to have had some encouraging results. The campaign works with local farmers markets, schools and beverage companies; one of its efforts led to junk food being banned from the vending machines in elementary schools, and another turns vacant lots into thriving gardens. The preliminary results of a study by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine indicate that the rate of obesity among adults here has dropped below the state average, whereas more thank a decade ago the rate was 5 percent above the state average.

We doctors must look upstream to the causes of obesity and get creative about our role.

As I stood in my patient’s room, where the odor of rotting flesh mixed with the aroma of leftover French fries, I considered her life-threatening infection, preceded by kidney failure and diabetes, which were preceded in turn by a massive weight gain that did not have to happen. I realized she would not live as long as her mother had, and I recalled studies that have predicted that for the first time in U.S. history, children have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, largely because of obesity-related conditions.

The woman I cared for in that hospital died a year later from complications of diabetes, renal failure, hypertension and obesity. It’s her children who need help now.

Manoj Jain is an infectious disease physician and contributor to the Washington Post, where this article originally appeared, and The Commercial Appeal.  He can be reached at his self-titled site, Dr. Manoj Jain.

Indigenous diabetes testing kit to cost 90% less

NEW DELHI: India is set to introduce indigenous testing products for diabetes by the year-end, bringing down costs by 90 per cent. The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is in the final stages of testing products including strips and readers for diabetes.

Speaking on the need for India to have affordable indigenous technologies, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday, “I have given ICMR a deadline of the end of the year to bring indigenously developed testing strips for diabetes.”

ICMR director general Dr VM Katoch said the cost of a diabetes testing strip was between Rs 15-30 since the products were all patented. ICMR aims to bring down the cost to Rs 3-5.

Dr Katoch added, “A dozen projects have been initiated while four are in a very advanced stage. We are hopeful that we will be able to come out with some products by December.”

India is home to 62 million diabetics, second only to China which has 92.3 million diabetics. By 2030, India’s diabetes numbers are expected to cross the 100 million mark according to a 2012 report by International Diabetes Federation. More worryingly, WHO projects that in the next 10 years, deaths by diabetes will increase by 35%.

The economic burden due to diabetes in India is among the highest in the world. As per WHO estimates, mortality from diabetes, heart disease and stroke cost about $210 billion in India in 2005. Much of the heart disease and stroke in these estimates were linked to diabetes. Diabetes, heart disease and stroke together will cost about $333.6 billion over the next 10 years in India alone, estimates WHO.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. The disease exposes a person to heart attack, stroke, amputations, nerve damage, blindness and kidney disease.

Work on diagnostic tests for TB, dengue, kalazar, leptospirosis and other infections that are indigenously produced is also underway.

Exercise As Effective As Drugs For Treating Heart Disease, Diabetes

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Zia Soleil

Forget the pills — there’s new evidence that exercise may be as effective as medications in treating heart disease and diabetes.

Doctors now advise everyone, from young children to older adults, to become more physically active. It’s the best way to maintain a healthy weight, keep the heart muscle strong, and improve your mental outlook. But can exercise be as good as drugs in actually preventing disease and treating serious chronic illnesses?

That’s what researchers from the London School of Economics, Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine wanted to find out. They compared the effect of exercise to that of drug therapy on four different health outcomes: heart disease, recovery from stroke, heart failure treatment and preventing diabetes.

The scientists pooled the results of 305 trials involving 339,274 people who were randomly assigned to either an exercise program or a drug-based therapy and found that there were no detectable differences between the two groups when it came to preventing diabetes and keeping additional events at bay for heart patients. And the physical activity was most powerful for participants who experienced a stroke. The only group that didn’t benefit from the exercise over drugs were patients with heart failure, likely because the strain of the physical activity wasn’t recommended for their condition.

(MORE: Exercise Alone Can Melt Away Dangerous Belly Fat in Diabetics)

The findings involving diabetes patients confirmed previous trials that documented how effective physical activity can be in bringing blood sugar levels down.

So why do most doctors prescribe drugs over exercise? There are more rigorous studies testing the effectiveness of drug therapies to treat common diseases, say the study authors, than there are studies that test the power of exercise. With these results, however, the researchers hope to see more work on how exercise can be a significant part of a treatment program for diseases ranging from heart problems to diabetes.

Those studies will need to analyze physical activity in the same way that drugs are studied, to determine how much exercise is needed to trigger beneficial changes in the body that can treat or prevent disease.

Currently, to maintain optimum health, federal experts recommend that people exercise at a moderate intensity for about 2.5 hours a week. But fewer than half of Americans meet that recommendation, and a third of Americans don’t get any exercise at all. The latest findings should encourage even those who aren’t active, however, since research shows even just talking a brisk walk can help lower the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, and be as powerful as medications in keeping the body healthy.

Harvard Researchers Address Obesity and Toxic Food

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By Dr. Mercola

A staggering two-thirds of Americans are now overweight, and according to the American Heart Association,1 five percent of American children can now be considered “severely obese,” which puts their health at grave risk.

One in four Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic, and an estimated 110,000 Americans die as a result of obesity-related ailments each year. This includes cancer, about one-third of which are directly related to obesity.

Carb-rich processed foods, along with rarely ever fasting, are primary drivers of these statistics, and while many blame Americans’ overindulgence of processed junk foods on lack of self control, scientists are now starting to reveal the truly addictive nature of such foods.

The video above features Huffington Post’s Editorial Director Meredith Melnick and a panel of experts in nutrition, public health, and obesity. In it, they discuss the effects that our toxic food environment have on weight. The video also includes clips from the four-part HBO documentary series,2 Weight of the Nation.

As reported in the featured article:3

“Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. People who are obese may also face social and professional discrimination, limited mobility and elevated rates of depression.

In June of this year, the American Medical Association (AMA) classified obesity as a disease for the first time — and what a complicated disease it is. At the time of the resolution, the organization wrote:

“The suggestion that obesity is not a disease but rather a consequence of a chosen lifestyle exemplified by overeating and/or inactivity is equivalent to suggesting that lung cancer is not a disease because it was brought about by individual choice to smoke cigarettes.”

 It is this gray area — “the suggestion of the chosen lifestyle” — that we joined together to discuss.

Obesity—A Disease, or the Outcome of Poor Lifestyle Choices?

As the article mentions, the conventional view has been that obesity is either the result of “bad genetics” or poor lifestyle choices combined with a certain amount of laziness or lack of willpower.

But as panelist Walter Willett (who chairs the department of nutrition at the Harvard school of public health) points out, the fact that obesity rates 50-60 years ago were only one-third of what they are today is a potent clue that genetics are not to blame.

Also, a number of other affluent nations do not have the same obesity problems as the US. For example, the obesity rate among Swedish and Japanese women is between five and six percent, compared to almost 40 percent for American women. Furthermore, when people from such countries move to the US, they end up gaining significant amounts of weight…

This tells us there’s something in the American diet that is different from other nations, in which people do not have the same level of difficulty with their weight.

Unfortunately, branding obesity as a disease is not going to do anything to change matters for the better. If anything, it will only deepen the problem, as drugs, surgery and even “anti-obesity vaccines”4 will quickly become the advertised answer for this new “disease.”

For example, just one month before the AMA’s reveal of obesity as a disease, a new diet drug sold under the name Belviq became available by prescription to patients with a body mass index (BMI) above 30, or a BMI of 27 with at least one weight-related condition, such as hypertension or Type 2 diabetes.

The drug works by activating serotonin receptors in your brain, which is thought to reduce feelings of hunger—although it sounds awfully similar to the action of certain antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which boost serotonin levels and are fraught with dangerous side effects, including suicide. CNN Health5 also reported that some patients taking the drug have reported heart valve problems.

The drug’s website6 admits that it’s still not known whether Belviq might increase your risk of heart problems or stroke. A sound health care system simply would not encourage the use of a weight loss drug that might lead to increased heart attack or stroke risk when the appropriate dietary- and lifestyle changes would REDUCE those risks right along with the lost weight…

The fact is, well-educated nutritional experts already KNOW what’s causing obesity and how to fix the problem. But this involves massive changes to the processed food industry, updating agricultural subsidies to promote healthier non-processed foods, and telling the public the truth about nutrition—without any regard for industry profitability. We also need to stop the dangerous marketing of junk food to children.

Food Addiction and Obesity Is a Profit-Driven Enterprise

At the heart of the problem is the issue of toxic food—foods that are heavily processed and purposely designed for maximum “craveability.”  None of this happened by chance. Companies spend untold amounts concocting just the right flavor formulas to keep you coming back for more. To illustrate my point, consider this: Researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital recently demonstrated that highly processed carbohydrates stimulate brain regions involved in reward and cravings, promoting excess hunger.7 As reported by Science Daily:8

“These findings suggest that limiting these “high-glycemic index” foods could help obese individuals avoid overeating.”

While I don’t agree with the concept of high glycemic foods, the featured research shows just how foolhardy the AMA’s decision to reclassify obesity as a disease really is, because drugs and vaccines are clearly not going to do anything to address the underlying problem of addictive junk food!

“Sensory-specific satiety” is a fundamental guiding principle in the processed food industry, and this applies to everything from junky snacks to staples like pasta sauce—that’s part of the problem! Processed fructose, salt and fat are the top three substances making processed foods so addictive. Novel biotech flavor companies like Senomyx also play an important role in the development of foods that trick you into thinking it’s healthier than it really is.

Senomyx, for example, specializes in helping companies find new flavors that allow them to use less salt and sugar in their foods. But does that really make the food healthier? This is a questionable assertion at best, as these “flavor enhancers” are being created using carefully guarded patented processes. They also do not need to be listed on the food label, which leaves you completely in the dark—all you see is that the food contains far less of the dietary culprits you’re told to avoid.

Following USDA Diet Recommendations is a Recipe for Obesity

Some of you may be old enough to recall the 1992 Food Pyramid, which had grains as the largest bottom block of the pyramid, encouraging you to eat 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta each day. This excess of carbohydrates, most of them refined, is precisely the opposite of what most people need to stay healthy. At the very top of the pyramid was fats and sugar, and while sugar clearly belongs there, healthy fats do not. In fact, most people would benefit from getting anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of their total calories from healthy fats!

The food pyramid was replaced with “MyPlate9 in 2011, which slightly downplayed grains as the most important dietary ingredient, making vegetables the largest “slice,” but it still has a long way to go before it will offer a meal plan that will truly support your optimal health.

One of its most glaring faults is that MyPlate virtually removed all fats from the equation! In fact, except for a small portion of dairy, which is advised to be fat-free or low-fat, fats are missing entirely… There is no mention of the importance of dietary fats, even the “politically correct” ones like the monounsaturated fats in olive oil and nuts, such as pecans (canola oil is also in this category, but I advise avoiding it and using coconut oil instead).

The US government refuses to accept the ever mounting data showing that saturated fat is actually an incredibly healthy, nourishing, and all-natural fat that humans have been thriving on for generations. It provides the necessary building blocks for your cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone like substances that are critical to your health. Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as coconut oil, avocado, non-CAFO meat and dairy,  also provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet.

When you eat fats as part of your meal, they also slow down absorption so that you can feel satiated longer, which helps curb overeating. Additionally, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and are needed for mineral absorption and a host of other biological processes. To get these healthy saturated fats in your diet, you need to eat animal foods like butter and other full-fat raw dairy products and eggs, yet these foods are still demonized by the establishment.

Take Control of Your Health and Embrace REAL Food

With a food system and dietary guidelines that promote obesity and actively prevents optimal health by restricting critical nutrients, is it any wonder Americans are struggling? If you’re at all concerned about your health, nutrition is paramount, and you’re simply not going to get what you need from a boxed concoction of processed ingredients.

So, first and foremost, you have to realize that a healthy diet equates to fresh whole, preferably organic foods, and foods that have been minimally processed. I advise spending 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent (or less) on processed foods. If the food meets the following criteria, it would fall under the designation of “real food,” which is the very foundation of good health:

  1. It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
  2. It’s not genetically engineered 
  3. It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  4. It does not contain any artificial ingredients, including chemical preservatives
  5. It is fresh (keep in mind that if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may be the better option)
  6. It did not come from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO)
  7. It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  8. It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

How to Combat Food Addiction and Regain Your Health

The sad fact is, if you eat a standard American diet (SAD), which primarily consists of processed foods, you’re virtually guaranteed to inadvertently pack on extra pounds, even if you think you’re eating healthy.  For the majority of people, limiting carbs to non-starchy vegetables and severely restricting or eliminating carbohydrates such as sugars, fructose, and grains in your diet will be the key to sustained weight loss.

It’s important to realize that refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.

As you cut these dietary villains from your meals, you need to replace them with healthy fats, such as the following. (Avoid the common Paleo mistake of replacing carbs with protein as that could actually convert to sugar in your diet and could be more problematic than excess carbs.)

 

I’ve detailed a step-by-step guide to this type of healthy eating program in my free comprehensive nutrition plan.

Additionally, a growing body of evidence shows that intermittent fasting is particularly effective for losing weight. One of the mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so effective for weight loss is the fact that it provokes the natural secretion of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a fat-burning hormone. Fasting also increases catecholamines, which increases resting energy expenditure, while decreasing insulin levels, which allows stored fat to be burned for fuel. Together, these and other factors will turn you into an effective fat-burning machine. Hence, if like many tens of millions of people, your goal is to shed excess fat, fasting can be both effective and beneficial for improving many disease markers.

Best of all, once you transition to fat burning mode your cravings for sugar and carbs will virtually disappear—it’s really as close to a “magic pill”-effect as you’ll ever get. While you’re making the adjustment, you could try an energy psychology technique called Turbo Tapping, which has helped many sugar addicts kick their sweet habit.

Last but certainly not least, to boost weight loss, make sure to incorporate high-intensity, short-burst-type exercises, such as my Peak Fitness Program, two to three times per week. Several studies have confirmed that exercising in shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising continuously for an entire session. High intensity exercise can also combat food cravings. It always amazes me how my appetite, especially for sweets, dramatically decreases after a good workout. I believe the mechanism is related to the dramatic reduction in insulin levels that occurs after exercise.

Obesity is a Disease? | Care2 Healthy Living

Yes, obesity is now classified as a disease by the American Medical Association (AMA). Do you agree with this?

Obesity is killing three times as many people as malnutrition.  The “disease” claims more than three million lives a year worldwide, according to a landmark study.

Even young children and seniors are becoming obese in most developed countries.

What is Obesity?

  • Mildly obese – a person’s weight is 20 to 40 percent over ideal weight.
  • Moderately obese – 40 to 100 percent over ideal weight.
  • Morbidly obese – 100 percent over ideal weight.
  • Overweight – 10 to 20 percent over ideal weight.

This video shows the 10 Most Overweight Countries in the world with their customary foods. In this case, overweight would be considered anyone over 10 percent of ideal weight.

Is it really a disease?

Obesity itself is not a sickness but it certainly does create disease.  According to the AMA, a person in the obese category who is otherwise completely healthy and happy is now classified as sick. Critics are concerned that, by classifying obesity as a disease, it allows people to not take personal responsibility for how they got there. This could be damage recovery.

Drug companies are fans of the AMA’s decision. The move gives them the opportunity to sell even more prescriptions, putting more money into their big pockets.

“Calling obesity a disease could allow for obese people who require medical interventions to get the help they need.  We need to be able to use this disease label to the extent that it makes people take obesity seriously, and not keep blaming people for being irresponsible,” says Marlene Schwartz, the acting director of the Rudd Center for Obesity and Food Policy at Yale University.

Eating too much is a much more serious health risk to the health of populations than eating poorly, except for the sub-Saharan Africa according to the Global Burden of Disease study.

We’ve gone from a world 20 years ago where people weren’t getting enough to eat, to a world now where too much food and unhealthy food “even in developing countries” is making us sick. Said Dr Majid Ezzati, chair of global environmental health at Imperial College London.

World Obesity Rates On The Rise: 480 million by 2022

Nine major countries (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, Brazil and Canada) will increase from 167 million in 2012 to 213 million in 2022. According to healthcare.globaldata.com

America is no longer the most obese country among more populated nations. America is number 2 in the ranks, right behind Mexico, with 31.8 percent of its population classified as obese, and followed by New Zealand (26.5 percent), Chile (25.1 percent) and Australia (24.6 percent).

Nearly 70 percent of Mexicans are overweight and close to one-third are obese.  Mexican teenagers are also obese; they have tripled in the last decade. In Mexico 70,000 people die each year from diabetes.

The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese,� said physician Abelardo Avila with Mexicos National Nutrition Institute. In poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It’s a very serious epidemic.�

See how many people become obese every second: World Meters Info Obesity

Why is Obesity on The Rise?

1. Fast food is excessively available. Filled with calories and harmful fats, it’s the main reason for the increase in obesity rates and being overweight. According to a survey by whichcountry.co,  fast food and home deliveries have replaced home cooking. Thank you America for exporting the love of fast food around the world!  As a result, it is exporting the increase of obesity around the world.

Mexico, being the closest to America, has the greatest increase in obesity in the world. Mexicans drink the most soda, at 43 gallons per capita annually.  U.S. agricultural policies are a big factor in fueling that addiction, says John Norris atForeign Policy.

2. Our new sedentary lifestyle is another big reason. We sit at desks with computers, watch television and take the car or bus to work. No walking anywhere.

3. Stress is a big factor. Eat to avoid and medicate. Eating for comfort or as a reward. Using food to feel better. Food is used to fill the void.  People are lonely and disconnected from something deeper.

My Response to This Scary Trend

I see obesity or being overweight as a symptom of poor health. When people get healthier, weight drops off.  What needs to happen is for people to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy.

This is why I constantly write about things like Acid/Alkaline Balance, Sugar Cravings, Smart Carbs, Food Combining and Powerfoods. I want to help people become healthy and then it naturally follows that they achieve their optimum weight.

Recently, I started teaching my own healthy version of the trendy 2 – 5 Diet. I emphasize getting healthy while losing weight.

Eat more salads with healthy salad dressings:

Tomato Dressing Some fast food salads have more calories than a hamburger meal. They should be using a healthy light dressing like this.

Light Lemon Olive Oil Salad Dressing A classic!

Crunchy Salad A combination of crunchy and tasty makes you chew your salad. Good for digestion and weight management!

Alkalizing Mixed Green Salad You can’t lose weight if your body is acidic!

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