Heart Healthy Archives

Obesity

So What Got America This Fat?????

More than one third of all Americans are considered obese.  More over, this already large population has been increasing each year (up by 23% since 1990) and is projected to continue increasing unless we do something about it.  Education and awareness of the problems are necessary in an effort to curve the current trend.  This is projected to have a devastating effect to the cost of healthcare as obesity related illnesses begin to emerge.  Some of these related illness are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some types of cancers, to name a few.  At this time, the costs of these illness have already reached $147 Billion/year and are project to increase as the obese population ages.  Moreover, the future does not look promising if we fail to reverse the current trends.  In fact, current studies predict that 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030.  That translates to 100 million obese Americans!  A 6% increase from the current already high 36% considered obese today.  The projected increase in medical costs associated with this increase alone is approximately $550 Billion over the current expenses.  Although the numbers are staggering, the more tragic reality is that these numbers are directly related to preventable illnesses and higher mortality.

So what got America this fat?  The answer is three fold, according to Scott LaFee from the University of California, San Diego.
Not only do we eat too much.  What we consume has way more calories than our body needs to maintain its proper function.  Part of the problem goes with current portion sizes.  CDC statistics show that the average restaurant serving is 4 times larger now than it was 50 years ago.  When we eat too many calories, the body uses what it needs and “deposits” the rest (usually around our waist, thighs, etc).

We do not exercise as often as we should.  According to a Gallup poll approximately one third of Americans get no daily exercise.  The result goes to joins that become stiffer as they age.  The stiffer the less active we become and set a viscious cycle.  The less active the more we deposit the calories we eat. 

We do eat, unhealthy foods very often. We then tend to develop high cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, all of which increase our risk for heart disease and other illness.

In short, we are not taking care of our bodies the way we should and our bodies are reacting to our lack of care.  The reaction is proportional to the action.  For those of us who do not like to exercise and eat right, there is a very simple equation…”we pay now or we pay later!”  That is, we sacrifice our bad habits and do things right, or we will pay with our health and will limited by the consequences.

Our children share in our bad habits.  They are eating unhealthy foods.  They are going to the same restaurants that serve the large portion sizes.  To make matters worse, some are even “supersizing” their already large servings.  Most are not getting enough exercise because they are spending too long in front of a TV or computer screen.  The outcomes are predictable and tragic.  Many children are already overweight in America.  Time is of the essence to get them in the right tract before they develop the inevitable health issues that go with being overweight.

Journey against Metabolic Syndrome – Week Four

This week my journey against Metabolic Syndrome has taken me off track!  But for a very good reason.  My granddaughter Elise Marie was born.  My daughter went into labor a week early and we had a storm in the golf.  All at the same time.  My daughter and I were in the hospital during a lock-down due to the storm while her husband went home to secure the house.  As a result, there were not too many eating choices and my trusty juicer was far far away! I was back to my old eating habits, sandwiches, french fries and even a few sweats, not to mention a coke or two.

So at the end of the ordeal when I finally got home, I had gained 2 pounds and felt very bloated.  I have to admit I felt discouraged.  After all the reading and discipline it only took a little sidetracking for me to gain 2 pounds.  That thought was not helping me stay the course.  But my friend, who is doing this with me and had no family emergency kept me on track.  She was quick to remind me that we had decided on a lifestyle change period.  It did not matter if I gained as long as I go right back to my new lifestyle.

So this week’s report is a negative 2 pounds.  We will see what happens next.

Chocolate a health food!

Europe’s Food Safety Authority will allow the worlds largest chocolate producer to add language in the food label letting consumers know their dark chocolate can beneficial to blood circulation. Although not expected to be approved until next year by the European Commision, this announcement is enough confirmation. For me to feel less guilty about eating chocolate!

However, is important to know that it is not just any chocolate that is healthy. Is the chocolate that is processed using a specific method that preserves the antioxidants and flavanols naturaly present in dark chocolate.  It’s worth knowing that many chocolates available to us now are over-processed like many of the foods we eat these days.  Processed foods loose much of their nutritional qualities and chocolate is no different.

Barry Callebaut is the company that has earned the distinction from the European Food Safety Authority to label their chocolate as potentially good for circulation.  Callebaut has been conducting clinical studies on the health benefits of coca flavanols.  These compounds have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce the risk for heart disease?

 

Heart Health Expo

The Heart Health Expo is tomorrow!  Sunday June 3rd from 3-6pm.  See you all there!

 

2nd Annual “Healthy Heart Expo”

The following weekend will be held the 2nd Annual Healthy Heart Expo. I missed the first one but I plan to be there this weekend. I wrote about “The Heart of Gustavo Casanova Foundation” on a article for Examiner.com called “American Heart Month – Do you know your risk for heart disease?”

The event will be held Sunday June 3rd from 3-6pm in Sunset Park Elementary in Kendall. I plan to cover the event for Examiner and will share my comments here too of course. They will have health screening, raffle, prizes and some fun activities for the kids. Most importantly, they will be out there distributing heart health information. For more details check out their website at The Heart of Gustavo Casanova.

Seven Simple Steps

I am keeping up with the American Heart campaign by getting involved in public awareness.  Today I wrote an article for Examiner.com.  This article includes the Seven Simple Step awareness from the AMA and provides a bit of a focus on physical activity.  Check it out “Help Your Heart – Get Active“.