Effective Meal Planning may help prevent Obesity and Chronic Illness in the Young

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The issue of excessive weight gain is not only a growing problem of adults.  In today’s world, sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly common even in the young.  Instead of being in playgrounds or other activity areas, children mostly stay at home with their computers and tablets.  The influx of Western and instant cuisine also play a role in the diet of children.  Families are more likely seen eating in fast foods during weekends and holidays rather than enjoying home cooked meals.

With the changing lifestyle patterns also comes the increasing incidence of chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Now, it is not uncommon to see many young people suffering from these illnesses as well.

The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that interventions be made as early as the pre-school and school age so as to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.  This may be achieved with awareness of healthy eating practices and maintaining healthy weights for kids.

MyPlate is a visual guide originally made by the US Department of Agriculture to remind families on how much of which should be present in the feeding plates of children.  A similar device has been adapted for Filipinos to make it applicable in the local setting and is named “Pinggang Pinoy“.

In the plate graphic, half of the plate should comprise vegetables and fruits during meals.  Vegetables comprises a majority of this portion.  Children are encouraged to eat more dark-green, red and orange vegetables.  The greater in the variation and contrast in colors can also aid in attracting kids in eating vegetables.

Fruits make up the other portion of the first half in MyPlate.  Pears, oranges, berries, watermelon, peaches and raisins are some examples that can be served on to the plates of kids.  Fruit juices may also substitute during occasions but only if 100% juice is served (and not juice concentrate which contains mostly table sugar).

A quarter of the plate should comprise healthy proteins.  Recommended are healthier sources such as fish, beans and peas.

The last quarter of the plate should be filled up with grains – preferably whole grains.  As such, kids are encouraged to eat oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, tortillas or brown rice more often.

To supplement their meals, children are also encouraged to take dairy in their meals.  This may come in the form of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt for stronger teeth and bones.

Exercise should come in the form of play or any suitable physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.

The way for people to adapt to healthy lifestyles that persist is to imbibe them early.  Encouraging healthy eating using MyPlate or Pinggang Pinoy is one strategy that may help ensure this.

 

References:

Ogata, B. N and Hayes D.  Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Guidance for Health Children Ages 2 to 11 Years.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014-08-01, Volume 114, Issue 8, Pages 1257-1276

Circuit Training among Elderly People

The body changes as one ages. Some changes that are noticed would be that of elasticity of the skin leading to perceptible wrinkling. Muscles also shrink because of decrease in the size of individual muscle cells. Quality of vision, hearing and balance also start to become affected.

In terms of functioning, there are some limitations that become felt with the effects of aging.  The quality of exercise and physical activity training may help counteract these impending problems in the elderly.

Circuit exercise may be a suitable routine for certain populations of elderly people to combat the changes in their body. This exercise routine involves a series of around 10 exercises usually working different muscle groups or body parts, performed in succession, with adequate rest intervals (around 15-30 seconds) in between. The set may be repeated for one to three times.

Examples of circuit training routines may be obtained from the following: [Senior Fit Training]

An evaluation of several studies show that this type of workout routine leads to significant increases in both upper and lower body strength. Indirectly this signifies that this type of workout greatly improves the ability of elderly people in performing activities of daily life (ADLs). Lean body fat values appear to decrease but the effect was not significant. This was also true with regards to oxygen capacity which is responsible for the length of time a person is able to withstand cardiovascular activity without getting tired or exhausted.

The study also suggests that gains may be more visible if a person engages in the programs for long periods of time rather than short ones.

Live life to the fullest.  Engage in circuit training activities the soonest possible time.

References:

Buch, AB, et al. Circuit Resistance Training is an Effective Means to Enhance Muscle Strength in Older and Middle-Aged Adults. Ageing Research Reviews, 2017-08-01, Volume 37, Pages 16-27.

http://www.trainonline.com

What happens to the body in obesity?

The body may bear the brunt when one’s weight increases over time.  This is the reason that obesity is often associated with many illnesses.

Blood pressure may often become elevated among people with weight issues. Blood sugar levels start to shoot up.  A person may also experience symptoms of diabetes such as increased urination and/or thirstiness, blurring of vision, pins and needles sensation in the toes and feet, darkening of the skin, etc.)

Persistent increase in weight may also affect heart functioning leading to an increase in size of the heart muscle and disturbance in the diastolic pressure.

Pain and swelling in the joints particularly in the hips and kneed are common in individuals who are obese.  This is because the lower parts of the body suffer the undue heaviness.

Start engaging in weight loss measures the soonest if you feel these symptoms alongside an increasing body weight.

 

Reference:

Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2018, 906-909.e8

How Fat is Fat?

 

Back in the days, people who were “hefty” or “plump” are said to have been blessed by graces and blessings from above.  They were widely accepted in society as those who are more than able to provide for their means.

Nowadays, being “heavy” carries an uncertainty with the way one’s health goes.  As more and more research is done, this has been associated with a number of medical illnesses.  A handful of experts even include this state as a medical illness itself.  Organizations like the World Health Organization have even labeled obesity as an epidemic.

The term obesity is referred to when one’s body mass index (BMI) is equal to or more than 30kg/m2.  Special considerations are given to elite resistance athletes and body builders.  In order to know one’s BMI, you just have to take your height in meters and  weight in kilograms.  Dividing the weight by the square of the height gives the BMI.  The normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25.

Some experts believe that the real measure of obesity lies in the amount of visceral fat mainly deposited in the abdomen.  Precise measurements of this would need specialized imaging such as computed tomography or magnetic imaging resonance scans which may be impractical in some parts of the world.  A practical way of estimating this is by measuring the abdominal circumference.  Abdominal obesity is present if the waist measurement is more than 102 cm (40 inches) in men, and 88 cm (35 inches) in women.  This is important because an increasing abdominal girth predisposes a person more to certain chronic illnesses and even mortality, despite a normal BMI.

Take charge of your health beginning today.  Take your body mass index and waist circumference regularly to monitor your progress to healthy living.

 

References:

Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation. World Health Organ Tech Rep Ser 2000; 894: pp. i-xii

National Institutes of Health : Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults—the evidence report. Obes Res 1998; 6: pp. 51S-209S

Massage and Health

The art of massage is often associated with relaxation.  Most often, people who would come for massages as those with sore muscles, those who suffer from tiredness or exhaustion from physical activity, or those who are stressed out from the daily grind.

Massage is defined as the systematic manipulation of soft tissues in the body for therapeutic effect.  The techniques vary as to the origin but the most popular, the Swedish technique, mainly consists of stroking and gliding, kneading and percussion movements.

The relaxing effect of massage may be traced to its ability to decrease the hormone, cortisol (or the stress hormone) in the body, and upsurge neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for increased state of well-being in the brain.  However, some studies refute this mechanism as their results show that the changes in cortisol level is somewhat small to explain the benefits that are observed.

The frequency of how often massage is performed in order to appreciate clinical benefits is yet to be fully discussed by experts.  Some studies say that at least 20 minutes of massage at bedtime given by parents to their asthmatic children has led to appreciable benefits.  In another study, 30-minute therapies given twice weekly to breast cancer patients has shown appreciable decrease in cortisol levels.

No matter what the case maybe, massage offers a soothing alternative to one’s busy lifestyle and healthy respite to the chaos of everyday life.

Have your massage today!

 

Reference:

Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, and Kuhn C: Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci 2005; 115: pp. 1397-1413

Listing M, Krohn M, Liezmann C, et al: The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer. Arch Womens Ment Health 2010; 13: pp. 165-173

Crane JD, Ogborn DI, Cupido C, et al: Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Sci Transl Med 2012; 4: pp. 119ra13

Asthma 101: What might have triggered an attack?

Having asthma might be a burden for some because of its episodic nature.  Exposure to certain elements may exacerbate the condition.

Common triggers may include: the presence of cigarette smoke, too much anxiety and stress, an ongoing viral or bacterial infection, strong scents like perfumes and colognes, air pollution, changes in the weather or quality of air.

There may be other factors called as allergic triggers like: the presence of dust mites or pollen, hair from pets or vermin, and molds.

Asthma may be triggered in more ways than one and appears to be different from person-to-person.  Knowing what triggers your asthma may enable you to plan ahead to avoid it and keeping the symptoms from getting worse.

 

REFERENCE:

Armsby, C et. al. (2017). Patient Education: Avoiding Asthma Triggers. In K. Crowley (ed.) UptoDate Patient Education. Retrieved 16 July 2017, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/avoiding-asthma-triggers-the-basics?source=see_link

Recognizing Asthma in Childhood

Asthma is a respiratory condition that makes people hard to breathe air.  This happens because the airways become inflamed in response to an allergen — something that the body perceives as foreign.  And so, the body tries its best from preventing  that particular  foreign body from entering the system.

Around 350 million people have asthma world wide and is said to be the 14% most important disorder in the world in terms of extent and duration of disability.  The problem of asthma is most serious among children aged 10-14 and the elderly aged 75-79.

Around 14% of children experience the symptoms of asthma.  This can be recognized with the following signs: wheezing or noisy breathing, coughing more common at night or early in the morning; a feeling of tightness in the chest; and trouble breathing.

If you are not sure if your child has asthma, there is an available test breathing test which children aged 6 years old and above can do.  A child with asthma may test positive for the examination compared to the normal population.

For more information about asthma and its signs and symptoms, contact your family doctor.

 

References:

Crowley, K et. al. (2017). Asthma in Children: The Basics. UptoDate. Retrieved 23 July 2017, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/asthma-in-children-the-basics?source=see_link