It’s Proven – High Activity Levels Keep Us Healthy and Slim

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association clearly pointed out that those individuals who maintain a high activity level over a twenty year period gain less weight than individuals with a low activity level.  The Association followed 3,554 men and women in Chicago Illinois, Birmingham Alabama, Minneapolis Minnesota and Oakland California over twenty years.  They found that men with a high activity level gained about 12 pounds less than inactive men. The weight difference in women was more profound at 25 pounds.

This study clearly pointed out that the reduction in weight gained was extremely significant as adults entered middle age. The duration of daily exercise required to obtain this benefit was only about thirty minutes. Walking twenty minute miles provided the benefit.

If staying thin and trim isn’t a strong enough incentive to stay active, then avoiding colds and flu is an additional incentive. A recent study cited that individuals who exercised regularly for thirty minutes a day five days a week had fewer colds than sedentary individuals. When they were unlucky enough to catch a cold, the illness was shorter and less intense. The researchers hypothesized that exercise moved the blood and cells responsible for immunity through the system more frequently and this contributed to the protective effect.

There is currently an epidemic of obesity in the United States.  According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, as published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site, 73.7% of American adults are either overweight or obese.

  • 34.2% are overweight
  • 33.8% are obese
  • 5.7% are extremely obese

Staying active, making good choices concerning portion size and food groups is all part of the strategy to keep Americans healthier. It is all part of a formula to stay healthy that you should talk to your doctor about annually.

An Alzheimers Epidemic is Inevitable

Alzheimers Disease is a fatal progressive neurological disorder with no known cause and no known cure. This year the first wave of the Baby Boomer generation will begin turning 65 years old. This means that an additional ten million individuals are now susceptible for developing this illness.

Alzheimers Disease is the most common form of dementia or loss of cognitive function.  Patients develop short term memory problems, withdraw from social situations and eventually reach a point where caring for themselves and survival is no longer important. Contrary to common belief, medications generally do not slow down or retard the progression of the disease.  The most common medications available to treat the disease only work in 50% of the people who take them with the effect lasting no more than 6 – 12 months in most. The medications are accompanied by numerous unpleasant side affect’s making patient compliance a problem.

Research into the cause and potential treatment and cure is proceeding rapidly but tangible benefits to the public are still a few years off.  This is a disease that not only affects and destroys individuals but does the same to families. There are 5.3 million people living with the disease at the moment. Those with the disease unknowingly put a major strain on their partners and family responsible for providing supervision and compassionate care while carrying on with their own lives.

The Alzheimer’s Association is leading the charge to make Americans aware of the coming crisis and is trying to find solutions for the prevention, treatment and cure of this devastating disease. At the same time it is trying to provide resources for the millions of uncompensated caregivers providing compassionate care and supervision of loved ones who are unable to care for themselves.

As time goes on, and more data becomes available, it is imperative that individuals see their personal physicians to discuss ways to prevent becoming a victim of this disease. It is also important to inform our elected officials of the need to continue funding for research in this area.  The Alzheimer’s Association website at www.alz.org is a comprehensive resource for information about the illness and related disorders.