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Category Archives: Weight Loss
Going on a diet doesn’t necessarily require having a specific, regimented eating plan that’s devised by a health professional – but it can help. Every year, thousands of Americans enter into programs like Weight Watchers in order to take out some of the planning and guesswork involved in losing weight. Many people also try plans often described as “fad” diets such as the Atkins and South Beach diets. Unfortunately, not all of these diet plans are equally effective for everybody. How can you know which diet will work best for you? Back in January, U.S. News & World Report ranked many different diet plans in terms of effectiveness for weight loss, heart health, diabetes prevention, and several other factors. Now, another study dealing with commercial diet plans has been published in an attempt to help dieters decide.
When it comes to the health of children in America, it seems as though there hasn’t been much good news lately. According to the CDC, around 12.7 million children aged 2 to 19 were obese in 2012. Research from last year indicates that overweight children as young as preschool age may already exhibit risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar. As recently as this week, it was reported that the vast majority of parents don’t recognize when their child is overweight or obese. Although that study occurred in the UK, it’s likely that similar trends could be occuring in America. It’s common knowledge that low-quality food, especially pizza, plays a role in childhood obesity. Luckily, a new study provides a break from the bad news: kids are eating less fast food.
The popularity of cooking shows in the U.S. cannot be denied. According to a 2010 survey from Harris Interactive, 50 percent of Americans watch cooking shows on television either very often or at least occasionally. Also, 57 percent of those surveyed stated that they’ve purchased specific foods as a direct result of something seen on a cooking program. Newer research says the number of viewers could actually be much higher. While some TV recipes can indeed be considered healthy, many famous chefs probably wouldn’t describe themselves as “health food specialists.” For example, Paula Deen, one of the most well-known TV chefs, is infamous for the high butter content in recipes like Paula’s Fried Butter Balls. At the same time, cooking from home instead of eating out has generally proven to be healthier overall. So are cooking shows good or bad for our waistlines?
Abdominal obesity has reached near-epidemic levels in America. Just over 54 percent of the U.S. population now has abdominal obesity, which is up from 46.4 percent around the turn of the millennium. The average American’s waist size now measures 38.8 inches. Besides simple cosmetic issues, though, too much belly fat comes with the risk of more serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and early death. Factors that contribute to an expanding waistline often include stress, poor sleep habits, hormonal imbalances and certain medications. Of course, the biggest factors usually involve poor diet and lack of exercise. Unfortunately, diet soda, intended to be a healthier alternative to a very unhealthy product, may actually be contributing to the epidemic of belly fat in older adults.
Simply put, sugar is one of the least healthy food items you can possibly consume, and it’s taking it’s toll on the health of thousands of Americans. While it’s not the only contributing factor, sugar intake is partly responsible for 29.1 million diagnosed and undiagnosed cases of diabetes in the U.S. That’s 9.3 percent of the entire population. Also, sugar intake can be partly blamed for the whopping 78.6 million people who are considered obese in America. It’s commonly accepted that sugar intake can be somewhat responsible for oral problems as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 50 percent of children aged 12 to 15 have experienced tooth decay. These stats make the U.S. look bad, but similar health trends are occurring all around the world. Now, the World Health Organization has called on governments worldwide to do whatever they can to reduce sugar intake levels.
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