Mothers may be able to help lower their child’s risk for obesity – before they’re even born.
A new study found that high pregnancy weight gain increases the risk of obesity in those children though age 12. The study, published in the PLoS Medicine by Princeton University, suggests that pregnancy may be a critical time to prevent obesity in the next generation, according to a news release from Princeton University.
“Excessive weight gain during pregnancy could have a significant effect on future obesity among children,” said study author Janet Currie, director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
“Pregnancy is a good time to target obesity prevention programs, because women may be especially motivated to change their health behaviors,” Currie said.
Researchers have previously observed a familial tendency toward obesity. Children with mothers who are obese or gain too much weight during pregnancy are more likely to be obese themselves. However, this relationship may be due to confounding factors such as shared genes, common environmental influences and socioeconomic and demographic considerations, rather than any direct biological effects of maternal diet, the news release states.
Currie and other colleagues used a novel study design to examine other causes of childhood obesity. They linked the birth records of mothers with two or more children to school records that included the child’s body mass index at an average age of 11.9 years and then made statistical comparisons between siblings.
The current study extends results of an earlier study by Currie and Ludwig, which showed that excessive weight gain in pregnancy increased the birth weight of the infant. The effect of maternal weight gain apparently continues through childhood and accounts for about two to three pounds, between children of women with the least to the most pregnancy weight gain.
“Excessive weight gain during pregnancy could be contributing to the obesity epidemic,” Currie said. “Children whose mothers gained too much weight during pregnancy—that is 40 pounds or more, had an 8 percent increased risk of obesity.”
Source: news release from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
+ Are you eating a balanced diet? Learn how to meet your body’s nutritional needs with Nutritional Analysis.
+ Lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle through our Fitness and Weight Loss Program.
Proper form is an important part of any exercise program. But for baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, it’s even more critical because they are at a higher risk for exercise-related injuries.
In fact, nearly 241,000 baby boomers last year sustained an injury that was related to exercise, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, baby boomers face a higher risk for the following exercise-related injuries:
- Arthritis – deterioration of the joint cushions.
- Back pain
- Bursitis – inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, tendons and muscles in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and heel.
- Tendonitis, tendonopathy and tendon tears – inflamed, damaged or torn tendons, which attach muscles to bone.
“Exercise is essential to ensuring an active, independent and healthy lifestyle, especially as we age,” said Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the AAOS. “However, as we age our bodies change and become more vulnerable to injuries. More than ever, proper equipment and clothing, regular warm up exercises, and slowly increasing the intensity or duration of exercise, are critical. In addition, certain orthopaedic conditions require exercise modification, such as incorporating some of the exercises learned in rehabilitation into our daily exercise regimens.”
To help people prevent injuring themselves, the AAOS offers the following exercise safety tips for anyone older than age 50:
Warm up and Stretching
A warm up is different than just stretching, and usually requires “breaking a sweat” before you begin a more vigorous work out. Walking, bending, jumping jacks and running in place before exercise gets and keeps the circulatory system moving, and prevents injury. Stretching can be done before or after a work out.
Don’t succumb to the “weekend warrior” syndrome. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Remember that moderate physical activity can include walking the dog, working in the garden, playing with the kids or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Focus on Form
Consider taking lessons for the sport you love. Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time enthusiast, proper form and instruction reduces the chance of developing an overuse injury like tendonitis or stress fractures.
Wear the Right Gear
Select the proper gear and shoes for your sport. For example, if you inline skate wear a helmet, knee pads and wrist and elbow pads. If you ski, snowboard or ride a bike, always wear a helmet.
Listen to Your Body
As you age, you may find that you are not as flexible as you once were, or that you cannot tolerate the same types of activities. If so, modify your exercise routine to accommodate your body’s needs. For example, if you’ve been a daily runner for many years, consider replacing a day or two of that activity with swimming, biking or another sport that puts less impact on your joints.
Use the 10 Percent Rule
When changing your activity level, increase it in increments of no more than 10 percent per week. Slowly build up to more miles each week until you reach your higher goal. This will prevent overuse injuries that may keep you from exercising or enjoying your favorite sport for some time. For strength training, also use the 10 percent rule and gradually increase your weights.
Maintain a Balanced Fitness Program
Develop a balanced fitness program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility. A balanced exercise program will provide a total body workout, keep you from getting bored and lessen your chances for injury.
Take a Break
Remember to take a break, if necessary. Hard workouts can take a toll on your body, and thus require strategies aimed at recovery. Learn to take a day off or cut back your training to allow the body to adapt and recover. Gentle stretching, light aerobic exercises and proper nutrition and hydration are all helpful to the recovery process.
Consult a Doctor
If you develop or have had a sports or orthopaedic injury like tendonitis, arthritis, stress fracture or low back pain, consult an orthopaedic surgeon who can help design or modify your fitness routine to promote wellness and minimize the chance of injury.
Source: AAOS news release
+ Thousands turn to Bon Secours In Motion in Hampton Roads each year for exceptional physical therapy, including speech therapy and occupational therapy, sports rehab and sports performance. Learn more about our fitness, nutrition and weight loss programs.
The pain, swelling and stiffness that comes with osteoarthritis in the knee makes many people want to give up the very thing that could make them feel better: exercise.
In fact, many people with arthritis could enjoy their lives a bit more and reduce their health care expenses if they met the national guideline for exercise: 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week, according to a news release from the American College of Rheumatology.
“Regular physical activity improves health and reduces mortality in the general population,” said study author Dr. Kai Sun in the news release. “Furthermore, physical activity promotes arthritis-specific health benefits including improving symptoms, function and psychosocial outcomes, as well as reduced disability.”
Despite the many health benefits of exercise, the majority of adults in the U.S. do not attain the recommended amounts of physical activity, Sun noted.
“The costs associated with the treatment of inactivity-related diseases and injuries, lost productivity and diminished quality of life poses an economic burden,” Sun said. “Therefore, promoting physical activity is an important component in promoting overall health, addressing the epidemic of obesity and other chronic illnesses, and reducing health care costs in the long term.”
Osteoarthritis leads to progressive damage to cartilage, causing pain, swelling and limited mobility around the joint. Factors that increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis include being overweight, age, injury or stress to the joints, and family history, according to the news release.
The preliminary findings, scheduled to be presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, are based on the physical activity levels and the quality of life years of 4,700 adults who have arthritis of the knee or are at-risk for the condition. The researchers wanted to determine if increased physical activity in osteoarthritis patients would correlate to better Quality-Adjusted Life Years, or QALYs. QALYs are a measure of health outcomes based on both quality of life and survival duration a particular medical intervention would add to the patient’s life. Cost effectiveness for any treatment can then be determined by the cost needed to improve QALYs by one, the release states.
“Because physical activity conveys many health benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services published physical activity guidelines in 2008 for all Americans including those with osteoarthritis,” Sun said. “The guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week performed in bouts lasting at least 10 minutes. The objective of our study was to investigate if meeting the 2008 DHHS physical activity guidelines translated into better QALYs among adults with or at risk for knee OA, and to postulate whether interventions to increase physical activity could be cost effective.”
The researchers found a significant graded relationship between higher levels of physical activity and QALYs. Over the course of two years, those who met physical activity guidelines had QALYs that were 0.11 higher than those who were inactive, and even those who were insufficiently active had QALYs that were 0.058 higher than those who were inactive after adjusting for socioeconomic and health factors, according to the news release.
These numbers represent about 10 to 20 additional days of perfect health over a year. Interventions to encourage adults to increase their physical activity level even if guidelines are not fully met could potentially translate to better quality of life, added years of healthy life, and thereby lower overall health care costs, the study’s authors concluded.
+ Source: American College of Rheumatology
+ Find out how to improve your mobility and strength with the Arthritis Rehabilitation physical therapy program at Bon Secours In Motion.
Go outside and play!
That’s what a lot of parents may want to tell their children – especially if they spend several hours playing organized sports. A new study found that athletes between the ages of 8 and 18 are more likely to be injured if they spend twice as many hours per week in organized sports compared to the amount of time they spend just playing on their own.
The study, presented at a national conference for the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that children who play more hours than their age of one particular sport face a higher injury risk. In fact, “athletes who spend more than twice as much time in organized sports than in free play, whatever their age or sport, are more likely to be injured and have serious overuse injuries,” a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics states.
The study included more than 1,200 child and adolescent athletes who came to one of two Chicago hospitals and affiliated clinics for either a sports-related injury or a sports physical. Researchers noted each child’s intensity and length of training, degree of sports specialization, Tanner stage (a measure of physical development), and height and weight. The same information was collected at six-month intervals for up to three years.
“The young athletes who more intensely specialized in a single sport were more likely to have an injury and a serious overuse injury,” which typically keeps athletes out of play for a longer period of time, said lead study author Dr. Neeru Jayanthi in the news release.
There were 837 injured participants with 859 unique injuries, and 360 uninjured participants. Injured athletes were typically older than uninjured athletes. They also reported a higher average number of hours per week playing organized sports and higher average hours per week in total sports activity including gym, free play and organized sports activities, the release states.
“We found that kids on average play organized sports nearly twice as much as free play,” Jayanthi said. “Those kids who exceed that two-to-one ratio are more likely to be injured.”
Co-investigator Dr. Cynthia R. LaBella said the next goal is to determine whether educating parents and children will reduce overuse injuries in youth sports.
+ Learn about the youth fitness program at Bon Secours In Motion.
+ Improve your sports performance through our program for athletes.
When you head home from work, do you stop at the gym first? How about on your days off? Do you find yourself working up a good sweat in your free time?
If you spend more than four hours per week exercising during your “leisure time,” chances are you’re lowering your risk of high blood pressure as much as 19 percent compared to people who don’t work out much.
In fact, physical activity in your leisure time could help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
Researchers pooled results from 13 studies on the effects of physical activity on blood pressure. The studies involved 136,846 people in the United States, Europe or East Asia who initially had healthy blood pressure. More than 15,600 later developed high blood pressure during follow-up periods ranging from two to 45 years.
People who exercised more than four hours per week in their leisure time had a 19 percent lower risk of high blood pressure than those who exercised less than one hour per week. People who had one to three hours per week of leisure exercise had an 11 percent lower risk than those with under an hour of activity.
The findings suggest that the more recreational exercise you enjoy, the more you could be protected from developing high blood pressure.
Almost 78 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, defined by the American Heart Association as blood pressure readings at or above 140 millimeters of mercury for the upper number or 90 or higher for the bottom number. The condition typically has no symptoms, so it goes undetected or untreated in many people.
“Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease — thus, it is important to prevent and control hypertension,” said Dr. Wei Ma, study co-author and associate professor at the Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan, China. “To try to lower your risk of high blood pressure, you should exercise more in your leisure time.”
Researchers were not able to establish a link between physical exertion at work and risk of high blood pressure. Health guidelines urging people to get more exercise don’t distinguish between activity at work and for leisure, said Dr. Bo Xi, lecturer at the Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan, China, and a co-author with Ma. But, “given the new findings, perhaps they should.”
Physical activity on the job, such as farm or industrial work, can involve exertion like heavy lifting, prolonged standing and repetitive tasks.
Recreational exercise may affect several factors tied to high blood pressure — helping people keep off extra pounds, improving poor insulin sensitivity or reducing the blood vessels’ resistance to blood flow, Ma said.
Although the new research linked recreational exercise and lower blood pressure, it didn’t prove that the exercise prevents the condition. People who exercise for fun may just have healthier lifestyles, Xi said.
Source: American Heart Association
+ Find an exercise and weight loss program to achieve your health goals.
+ Discover healthy eating with Nutritional Analysis
Like millions of Americans nationwide, actor Tom Hanks may be taking a hard look at his diet this month. The 57-year-old actor, renowned for his role in movies such as Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan, has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The actor has long struggled with having high blood sugar levels, according to a recent interview he gave on Late Show with David Letterman. Thankfully, his condition can be managed through diet, he said.
It’s a challenge that more than 25 million children and adults are facing, according to the American Diabetes Association. In fact, diabetes affects more than 8 percent of the people living in the United States. Many more – roughly 79 million people – are living with the condition ‘prediabetes,’ which leads to type 2 diabetes.
Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can be deadly. High blood sugars damage tissues and organs, leading to serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness.
To help people living with diabetes achieve better health, the American Diabetes Association recently recommended that all people living with diabetes make nutrition therapy a part of their diabetes treatment plan. And the organization emphasized that there is no single eating pattern that is best for everyone, according to a position statement published online Oct. 9 in Diabetes Care.
This position statement replaces the nutrition therapy recommendations for the management of adults with diabetes published in 2008, according to a news release from the ADA. The 2013 statement provides a set of recommendations based on review of recent scientific evidence. It calls for all adults diagnosed with diabetes to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes as part of an eating plan that takes into account individual preferences, culture, religious beliefs, traditions and metabolic goals.
However, since people eat food and not single nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fat, the report includes a new section on eating patterns.
“Just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes does not mean you can no longer enjoy the foods you love or your cultural traditions,” said Alison Evert, a Registered Dietitian and Coordinator of Diabetes Education Programs – University of Washington Medical Center, Diabetes Care Center in the news release. “Ideally the person with diabetes should be referred to a registered dietitian or participate in a diabetes self-management education program, soon after diagnosis. An important goal of nutrition therapy for adults with diabetes includes the collaborative development of an individualized eating plan with ongoing support to promote health behavior change.”
Jackie Boucher, vice president for education at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, noted that the scientific evidence is still limited related to various eating patterns and their impact on health outcomes in individuals with diabetes. Current evidence does not strongly support one eating pattern over another, the news release states.
“Whether you prefer a Mediterranean, vegetarian or lower-carbohydrate eating plan is less important than finding an eating pattern that fits your food preferences and lifestyle, can be consistently followed and that provides you with the nutrition you need for good health,” Boucher said in the news release.
In choosing an appropriate eating plan, people with diabetes should be sure to consider individual metabolic goals, such as their glucose and lipid levels and blood pressure, according to the American Diabetes Association statement.
The new guidelines also note that there is no conclusive evidence of an ideal amount of carbohydrate intake for people with diabetes. However, the authors suggest that whatever carbohydrates are eaten should come from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes and dairy products, over other sources that contain added fats, sugar or sodium. Likewise the evidence remains inconclusive for an ideal amount of total fat intake. Fat quality (eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and avoiding trans fats and saturated fats) appears to be more important than quantity, the authors note. Although individuals working to manage their weight should still eat even good fats in moderation.
The new recommendations also include the following information:
• People with diabetes should limit or avoid intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (from any caloric sweetener including high fructose corn syrup and sucrose) to reduce risk for weight gain and worsening of cardiovascular risk profile.
• The recommendation for the general population to reduce sodium to less than 2300 mg per day is also appropriate for people with diabetes, with additional reductions individualized for those who have high blood pressure. Studies show most Americans eat far more sodium than they should.
• People with diabetes do not benefit from use of omega-3 (EPA/DHA) supplements for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular disease. The recommendation for the general public, to eat fatty fish at least two times (two servings) per week is also appropriate for people with diabetes.
• There is no clear evidence of benefit from vitamin or mineral supplements for people with diabetes who do not have underlying vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Nor is there evidence to support the use of cinnamon or other herbs or supplements for the treatment of diabetes.
Source: American Diabetes Association news release
+ Learn about Group and Individual Diabetes Counseling at Bon Secours In Motion
+ Read about the benefits of Nutritional Analysis
Ah, fall. Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and a long afternoon spent raking in the yard.
Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, it can also mean a trip to the doctor or physical therapist.
Indeed, more than 38,000 Americans were injured while raking in 2012, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
It’s not hard to fathom how many people end up with achy, pulled and torn muscles with all the bending, twisting, pulling and reaching motions that are required to rake the yard.
“If done properly, leaf raking provides a great opportunity for outdoor exercise during a beautiful time of year,” said Dr. Raymond B. Raven, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “However, if you have not exercised your shoulder, arm and neck muscles for some time, you can be seriously injured. Raking is vigorous exercise.”
Raven said everyone should warm up their muscles for at least 10 minutes with stretching before even picking up a rake. “In addition, be sure to wear gloves while working in the yard and in the garden,” he said. “Serious injuries and infections can easily be prevented.”
In addition, the AAOS recommends the following safety guidelines while raking:
- Avoid twisting your back. Keep it straight and turn your whole body while raking. Use your legs to shift your weight instead of your back, and avoid throwing a bag of leaves over the shoulder or to the side as this twisting motion also can strain the back.
- Use short strokes to reduce the risk of over extension injuries.
- Vary your movements. Avoid excessive stress on one muscle group.
- Bend at the knees and squat rather than at the waist when you pick up heavy piles of leaves or lift garbage bags or bins.
- Make sure your rake is the proper height and weight. If it’s too short, you could strain your back. If it’s too heavy, it will put added strain on your neck and shoulders.
- Wear gloves. Opt for a rake with padded handles to prevent blisters.
- Don’t obstruct your vision. Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles.
- Start slowly and pace yourself. You don’t want to overexert yourself, especially if you have a lot more leaves to rake!
Source: AAOS news release
+ Learn about the health benefits of massage. Whether you’re an athlete, an expectant mother, or a post-operative patient, massage can help relieve stress, decrease muscle tension and stimulates the release of endorphins that work as your body’s natural pain killer.
+ Read about myofascial release - a therapeutic massage that gently manipulates the fascia, the tough, connective tissue that covers the body like a web stretching from head to toe.
By the time most of us leave work every day, nobody feels like running to the store and making a meal from scratch. Don’t even mention stopping along the way to sweat out some calories at the gym first.
Sadly, relaxing usually means sitting in front of the TV – not unrolling a yoga mat.
And that’s exactly why it’s important to take note of compelling research that, if taken to heart, can positively affect our health and wellness.
Consider the latest study that comes from scientists at UC San Francisco and the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. A small pilot study shows – for the first time – that changing what you eat, how much you exercise and controlling your stress can actually lengthen your telomeres. That’s pretty significant when you understand that telomeres are the parts of our chromosomes that affect aging.
“Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate,” said Dr. Dean Ornish, lead author and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in a news release. “So often people think ‘Oh, I have bad genes, there’s nothing I can do about it.’ But these findings indicate that telomeres may lengthen to the degree that people change how they live. Research indicates that longer telomeres are associated with fewer illnesses and longer life.”
Telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, affect how quickly cells age, according to the news release. And when they shorten, the cells age and die faster.
Most importantly, shorter telomeres are associated with several diseases including: obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease and vascular dementia.
“Telomere shortening increases the risk of a wide variety of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Peter R. Carroll, co-author. “We believe that increases in telomere length may help to prevent these conditions and perhaps even lengthen lifespan.”
+ Decrease your stress with massage therapy at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performace. Whether you’re an athlete, an expectant mother, or a post-operative patient, massage can help relieve stress, decrease muscle tension and stimulates the release of endorphins that work as your body’s natural pain killer.
+ Do you struggle with type 2 diabetes. Try group or individual counseling to learn strategies for coping with this chronic disease.
Eating a healthy diet and drinking no more than moderate amounts of alcohol may help people with type 2 diabetes avoid chronic kidney disease, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease are major public health problems, according to a news release from the JAMA Network Journals. “However, little is known about the long-term effect of diet on the incidence and progression of early-stage diabetic CKD,” the release states.
After following 6,213 patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found that patients who ate more than three servings of fruit every week had a lower risk of CKD compared to those who ate fruit less frequently.
“A healthy diet and moderate intake of alcohol may decrease the incidence or progression of CKD among individuals with type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote. “Sodium intake, within a wide range, and normal protein intake are not associated with CKD.”
In a related commentary, Dr. Holly Kramer of Loyola University Chicago and Dr. Alex Chang of Johns Hopkins University wrote that patients who have type 2 diabetes and kidney disease may be frustrated by numerous dietary restrictions:
“…Perhaps the best dietary advice we can give to patients with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease is the same advice for those who want to avoid chronic kidney disease, and the same advice for preventing and treating hypertension, and the same dietary advice for everyone: eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains while minimizing saturated and total fat.”
Source: news release The JAMA Network Journals
+ Nutritional therapy is the cornerstone of diabetes management – especially when combined with a supervised physical fitness regimen. Learn how the Registered Dietitians at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance work with patients to provide personal care and education.
+ Read about Diabetes Counseling for people with type 2 diabetes.
Health care providers should be cautious about allowing athletes to return to play based solely on self-reported symptoms.
In fact, testing an athlete’s memory and thinking skills with a tool such as the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing system can help detect whether an athlete is ready to head back into the game, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University found that athletes can report their symptoms inaccurately, overestimate their recovery and be unaware of their decreased neurocognitive performance, a news release states.
“It is common knowledge that athletes may at times minimize or deny symptoms after injury to avoid being removed from competition,” said study co-author Dr. Gary Solomon.
For the study, researchers focused on cheerleaders. Some studies report that as many as 6 percent of total injuries among cheerleaders are concussions, the news release states.
During the study, 138 junior and senior high school cheerleaders with concussions were tested before their injuries and at least once within seven days of their injury using ImPACT™. All of the concussions were diagnosed by a physician, athletic trainer or school health officer who was present when each cheerleader was injured.
“We hypothesized that the use of ImPACT™ would result in an increased capacity to detect and measure post-concussive abnormalities in cheerleaders compared with symptom assessment alone. While 62 percent of the cheerleaders reported having symptoms of a concussion such as headache, nausea or dizziness – many cheerleaders mistakenly thought they were fine. Of those who reported no concussion symptoms, one-third had evidence of concussion based on their ImPACT™ scores.
“The results show that the addition of neurocognitive assessment could be a useful took to evaluate when cheerleaders with concussion have to returned to normalized baseline measures,” the release states. “They also support the idea that self-reported symptoms and decreased neurocognitive test scores after concussion may differ.”
+ Learn about ImPACT™ Neurocognitive Testing at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance. ImPACT™ is a computer-based program that tests multiple aspects of brain function. Athletes, especially those involved in contact sports who are susceptible to concussions, should have a test before the season begins, to establish a baseline. If they sustain a head injury, they should be retested. This gives athletic trainers, physicians and other health care professionals a comparison to determine if it is safe for the athlete to return to play.