Is marriage making men gain weight?

Tying the knot can come with a slew of benefitsbut settling down might have one big downside: Being married could make you gain weight, according to a new study from the University of Baths School of Management in the U.K.

Using more than a decade of data from nearly 9,000 men in the United States, study author Joanna Syrda, Ph.D. discovered that married men had a significantly higher average body mass index (BMI) than men who were not married. And when looking at men who became dads, their most significant weight gain occurred right after the birth of their kids. (This new workout will completely change your definition of dad bod.)

But for guys whose marriages tanked? Their BMIs actually got lower following the divorce, potentially due to the effects of stress.

Related: This Is The Biggest Strain On Relationships, Survey Finds

So why does shacking up bump up your pants size? Syrda believes her findings might support past theories about relationships and weight gain. For instance, you might start eating your meals more regularly after you get married. Or, being married could expose you to more social situations that involve richer (AKA more caloric) foods.

Plus, people who are single, but looking for a long-term partner, might have more of a reason to put in the extra effort to stay fit, Syrda suggests. 

But letting yourself go can quickly become a problem. Being overweight puts you at greater risk for a number of serious diseases and health conditions, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related: Why Staying Up Late Makes You Gain Weight

Thats why understanding how different parts of your life influence your weight gain is important. It allows you to make better, more informed decisions about your health and eating habits, Syrda explains in a press release.

Just keep in mind that being a husband and father might not be the only thing contributing to the number on the scalethese 10 everyday traps can make you gain weight, too.

This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/06/23/is-marriage-making-men-gain-weight.html


What The Senate Health Care Bill Could Mean For People With Mental Illness

The draft of the Senate health care reform bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, released Thursday prompted new anxiety over what the eventual bill could mean for those living with mental illness.

The short answer: Less coverage for more money.

Thebill is largely similar to the one passed by House Republicans in May. Nearly23 million Americanswere estimated to lose health coverage under the House bill, known as the American Health Care Act, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Lawmakers hope to have the CBOs analysis for the Senates version by early next week.

The Senates bill most striking measure would slashMedicaid by almost a trillion dollars through cutting back on federal funding over a decade. That will affect all aspects of health coverage(for example, Medicaid covers 40 percent of all childrens basic health care). But it will also have a major impact on mental health: Medicaid is the single largest payer of mental health services in the country.

Tom Mihalek / Reuters
Demonstrators hold signs in support of Obamacare near a Philadelphia hotel where Republican lawmakers were attending a retreat in January. 

This could potentially leave millions of Americans without coverage that could help them get the care they need, like therapy, for mental health issues.

The Senate bill does protectthose with pre-existing conditions, including mental illness, more thanthe House version. It does this by keeping a provision, known as the community rating,that prevents health insurers from charging those with pre-existing conditions more.

However, the Senates plan may still propose giving states the power to waive whats known as essential health benefits. This would allow insurance companies in those areas to exclude certain benefits from their coverage, like mental health or substance use disorder services.

An analysis published Tuesday, before the draft was released, by the Center for American Progress saidprices could go up for mental health and substance use disorder treatment because of these waivers.

Less comprehensive insurance plans could drive up costs of treatments for conditions like mental illness by essentially forcing people to buy added coverage for treatment for their behavioral health condition. Or, it may push them to select a more expensive plan with broader coverage in the first place. As CAP points out, expenses people could incur by the year 2026are not small:

In states that waived requirements for substance use disorder and mental health benefits, coverage for drug dependence treatment would cost an extra $20,450, and coverage for depression would cost an extra $8,490.

The Senates draft legislation could be changed before theres a vote on it. Still, the chambers GOP leaders are pushing to bring it to the floor as early as next week.

What all of this means

The proposed plan by the Senate Republicans threatens the coverage that now exists for those with mental illness, including childrenand veterans.

Mental health protection is something the country supports:A recent poll found that the majority of Americans regardless of political party think mental health care should be covered by insurance.

Mental health organizations have been expressing concern about how the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare could affect people living with mental illness. American Psychiatric Association officials noted that they were not consulted on the House versionor the Senates draft legislation.

Dr. Saul Levin, the associations CEO and medical director, on Thursday blasted the Senate proposal as represents a significant move in the wrong direction, resulting in fewer people having access to insurance, fewer patient protections, and less coverage for essential behavioral health care.

He urged the Senate to reject this harmful legislation and start again on a health care bill that puts patients first.

About one in five American adults will be affected by a mental illness annually. Not having access to proper treatment for those disorders can be catastrophic: Data shows untreated mental health issues is one of the most frequent causes of suicide major public health problem thats been steadily on the rise over the last 15 years.

Research shows medical care, through therapy, medication or both, is effective in helping to curb mental health issues, but that access to such care is slowly dwindling. Thats thanks in part to issues with insurance.A study published in April by NYUs Langone Medical Center found that 10.5 percent of people in 2014 experienced delays in getting treatment due to insufficient mental health coverage, a small rise from the last time data was gathered in 2006.

Mental health advocates have vowed to fight against any legislation that threatens those living with mental illness. This includes pushing for other laws that help those individuals and promoting programs that help them get treated,said Linda Rosenberg,president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Mental illness is an illness like any other, Rosenberg previously told HuffPost.People recover and they can live full and productive lives with effective treatment. We just have to be sure that treatment is still available in every community, just like we do for cancer and heart disease.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senate-health-bill-mental-health_us_594aad2ae4b01cdedeffc694


Don’t lose sleep over apnea, but treatment is crucial

(CNN)Last week, actress Carrie Fisher’s autopsy report contained a surprising detail: The Los Angeles medical examiner listed sleep apnea as a factor in the “Star Wars” actress’ death.

Fisher also had cocaine, methadone, ethanol and opiates in her system.
Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing while sleeping, for 10 seconds to a minute or longer. This can happen repeatedly during the night, causing blood-oxygen levels to dip and putting a strain on the heart.
    Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, is caused by the upper throat muscles relaxing, which makes the airway narrow and close. Another type is central sleep apnea, where the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing. Complex sleep apnea, the third type, is when a person has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
    Fisher’s autopsy report said she had a history of sleep apnea. According to the coroner, she had episodes while sleeping on a plane ride from London to Los Angeles in December and then went into cardiac arrest. Four days later, she died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center at the age of 60.
    Fisher’s cause of death was listed as “sleep apnea and other undetermined factors,” with “atherosclerotic heart disease, drug use” as other conditions. However, the office ultimately declared her “manner of death undetermined.”
    The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office declined to comment further on Fisher’s case.
    More than 18 million Americans are affected by obstructive sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The condition is very common, and levels of severity vary by individual.
    “Everybody has these events where they may stop breathing for a brief period of time while sleeping,” said Dr. Ilene Rosen, president of the American Academy for Sleep Medicine and associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “But when the events start happening more than five times an hour, that’s when we start to diagnose the person as having sleep apnea.”
    Alcohol or drugs such as sedatives, narcotics or opioids can worsen sleep apnea. Those substances further relax the upper airway muscles, causing the airway to become even more narrow.
    Rosen said alcohol and drugs can also make you less likely to partly wake and breathe in air, which she calls “brain arousal.”
    “The individual may not remember they had an arousal during sleep, but that’s what opened up their airway,” she said. “So those same drugs that make the airway likely to collapse also change the brain arousal threshold, such that an individual is less likely to wake up when they’re having an event.”
    Sleep apnea is closely associated with heart problems including high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms or arrhythmias, and strokes. That’s in part due to what happens when we experience brain arousal and resume breathing, said Dr. Lee Surkin, a cardiologist and sleep medicine physician in Greenville, North Carolina.
    “We basically go through a reflex maneuver to force open the airway. That maneuver causes the chest and abdomen muscles to move in opposite directions of each other, and that reopens the airway,” said Surkin, who is also founder of the American Academy of Cardiovascular Sleep Medicine. “When the chest and abdomen contracts, the increased pressure is transmitted directly to the heart muscle. So when you couple that with a repetitive drop in oxygen level, that is a tremendous strain on the heart.”
    Studies have shown that people who have sleep apnea are more likely to die during sleep at night and early morning and from sudden cardiac arrest.
    Even with this increased risk, another expert says, the chance of a person dying from sleep apnea is very low.
    “There’s data on increased mortality, but again, it’s about 15 years after you are diagnosed with sleep apnea. And you usually die from the consequences because you develop hypertension, coronary heart disease or congestive heart failure,” said Dr. Richard Schwab, an expert in obstructive sleep apnea also at the University of Pennsylvania. “But of all the years that I’ve taken care of patients, it’s very uncommon. Most patients don’t get in trouble with their sleep apnea unless it’s very severe.”
    Rosen believes the risk is not clear. “Does sleep apnea kill you? We don’t know,” she said.
    Anyone who has certain symptoms — such as loud snoring, sudden awakening and being short of breath, waking with a dry mouth or throat, waking with a headache, not being able to stay asleep or being very sleepy during the day — may have sleep apnea and should see their primary care doctor.
    The doctor may refer the patient to a sleep specialist, who will probably advise an overnight sleeping test, called a polysomnography, at a sleep disorder center or a take-home sleep test.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    The most effective type of treatment for sleep apnea is use of a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine. These deliver air directly through the airway, ensuring that it remains open. Other treatment options include oral appliances or, in very severe cases, tissue removal or jaw surgery.
    Rosen, Schwab and Surkin all emphasized that diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea is crucial to ensuring heart health.
    “Patients with sleep apnea may have this disease for many, many years, and no one event, or no one night, puts them at risk,” Rosen said. “It is the accumulation of sleep disorder breathing, and the consequences that go with it, night after night, after a long period of time, that puts people at risk. That’s why treatment is so important.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/health/sleep-apnea-explainer/index.html


    Legionnaire’s cases among newborns raise questions about water births

    (CNN)Cases of Legionnaire’s disease have been documented at hotels, gyms and even health care facilities, but a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that even newborns are being infected — after water births.

    In two cases in Arizona last year, babies born in home tubs contracted the disease.
    Legionnaire’s disease is a bacterial form of pneumonia. Symptoms can include fever, chills, cough and headaches. Named after an outbreak at a 1976 convention of the American Legion, it is spread through contaminated water but not person to person.
      In the first Arizona case, the infant was delivered by a midwife in a new birthing tub that had been cleaned with vinegar and filled with tap water just before delivery. The baby was born within an hour of the mother getting into the tub and seemed fine initially.
      But the next day, the infant was taken to an emergency room with difficulty breathing. The baby tested positive for Legionella bacteria and was found to have congenital heart disease. The newborn was hospitalized for more than two months, primarily for the heart disease but also to treat the infection.
      In the second case, the infant was again delivered at home. The mother had rented a Jacuzzi tub and filled it with tap water, which she kept at 98 degrees for a week before delivering.
      Three days after birth, the infant developed a 101-degree fever that persisted through the following day. The baby was taken to an emergency room, where its temperature spiked to 102.6 degrees. Test results were positive for Legionella, and the baby was hospitalized for a week.
      In both cases, the Arizona Department of Health found “numerous gaps in infection prevention for water births,” noting that tap water itself is not sterile and that Legionella bacteria can grow in plumbing systems. Allowing the water to sit at 98 degrees contributed to bacterial growth in the first case, the agency said.

      Expert recommendations

      The incidences are rare but not surprising, said Dr. Joseph Wax, chairman of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice.
      “Waterborne infections with serious, even fatal, infant outcomes are a recognized complication associated with birth underwater,” he said. “Appropriate measures, as suggested by the CDC report,will hopefully reduce such risks in women choosing to deliver underwater. Nonetheless, avoiding birth underwater is the best prevention.”
      The OB/GYN group recommends, however, that women begin labor in water. “Immersion during the first stage labor has been associated with somewhat shorter labors and less frequent use of spinal and epidural analgesia during labor,” Wax explained.
      But when it comes to actual delivery, the group says no, citing risks such as drowning, infections and snapping of the umbilical cord.
      “The frequency with which these occurs is unknown and likely low. However, when they do occur, they can be severe or even fatal in rare instances,” Wax said.

      Little data to determine safety

      In its position statement, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there simply aren’t enough data to determine the safety of water births: “Until such data are available, it is the recommendation of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that birth occur on land, not in water.”
      The group also says that the little data available don’t show any real benefit to mother or child.
      In fact, the number of water births in the United States isn’t even recorded.
      But Michelle Collins, director of Vanderbilt University’s nurse-midwifery specialty, says the numbers are there — but much of them are observational data, not the double-blind scientific gold standard.
      “Despite limitations, the best available research indicates that water birth is associated with perinatal outcomes similar to those expected in a low-risk population,” said Collins, who is also a fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
      Collins points to data from the American Association of Birth Centers, which tracks delivery data from birth centers across the country. According to the CDC, hospitals still account for 98% of all deliveries, but the data from the AABC show that rates of transfers from birth centers to hospitals after water births are just 1.5%, compared to a 2% transfer rate for those not born in the water.
      Out of the 15,574 deliveries followed by the AABC between 2007 and 2010 there were 3998 water births. Of those births, there were “no incidences of pneumonia, sepsis or other respiratory infection following water birth and there were no reports of ruptured umbilical cords or newborns breathing water into their lungs associated with birth underwater,”the association says.
      In addition, a 2009 Cochrane review of available literature evaluated 3,243 births among 12 trials that found “no evidence of increased adverse effects to the fetus/neonate or woman from labouring in water or waterbirth.” Cochrane reviews are internationally recognized scientific literature reviews considered to be of some of the highest scientific standards.

      Benefits vs. dangers

      “There is a difference between saying ‘there is no confirmed associated benefit that we have yet found’ versus ‘it’s dangerous,’ ” Collins said.
      But the Cochrane study also pointed out that further research was needed.
      Wax says these observational studies that find a benefit from water births probably overestimate the benefits and underestimate the risks because of confounding factors.
      “For example, in cases of planned underwater delivery that go on to deliver out of water, adverse outcomes may be counted as occurring in the out-of-water group. This is not appropriate and can make water birth appear safer than birth out of water,” he explained.
      Collins believes that much of the hesitation behind water births is not grounded in science at all but is cultural. She points to practices such as continuous fetal monitoring (of the baby), suctioning and a woman giving birth on her back as practices that don’t have many studies behind them but are considered normal delivery practices.
      But what happens in cases like those in Arizona?
      “What we see in the case reports are practitioners not doing a safe job,” she said. What’s key is that people and institutions follow strict protocols.
      In fact, after those two cases, the Arizona Department of Health developed resources and guidelines about how to have safer water births and reduce the risks of Legionella infections.
      Mothers should always use a disposable birthing tub rather than a hot tub, it said. In addition, while the risk for Legionella infection cannot be eliminated completely, it can be reduced by running hot tap water through the hose for 3 minutes to clear the hose and pipes of stagnant water and sediment.

      What to ask about water births

      So what’s a mother to do when considering whether to deliver in the water?

      See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

      Wax says women need to be educated about the risks, “understanding that these risks cannot currently be quantified but are likely infrequent,” he said.
      Collins advises checking with the center or hospital workers or the midwife you are working with: What are the protocols in place to ensure a safe water birth? What are the policies? What type of experience do they have in handling water birth? What are the established policies about cleaning tubs?
      But ultimately, she says, it’s a mother’s choice.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/health/water-birth-legionnaires-disease/index.html


      A Vaccine That Lowers Cholesterol Could Help Stave Off Heart Disease

      Scientists have successfully tested a vaccine-like therapy in mice thatprotects against high-levels of cholesterol build-up in their arteries. The researchershave now started a Phase I trial in humans to see if the same effects are seen in us as well.

      The whole idea might appear a bit weird. Vaccinations areusually against pathogens (not fat), but researchers have worked out how to use the immune system to stop bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). In a paper published in the European Heart Journal, researchers have shown how the vaccine taught the immune system to fight off anenzyme that stops the natural clearing of LDL from the blood.

      The enzyme in question is PCSK9 (Proprotein convertase subtilisin/Kexin type 9), and the vaccine directly linked to its reduction is known as AT04A. There are already approved therapies that target PCSK9 with antibodies, but those are usually put into the patients rather than having the human body produce them.

      In this experiment, mice were genetically modified and fed a western-style food to induce high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. AT04A reduced the total amount of cholesterol in these mice by 53 percent, atherosclerosis damage went down by 64 percent, and the biological markers of blood vessel inflammation were reduced by21-28 percent compared to unvaccinated mice.

      The reduction in total cholesterol levels was significantly correlated with induced antibody concentration, proving that induced antibodies caused the reduction in cholesterol and also are ultimately responsible for the reduction of atherosclerosis development, co-author Dr Gnther Staffler, chief technology officer at AFFiRis (who developed the vaccine), said in a statement.As antibody concentrations remained high at the end of the study, it can be assumed they would continue to reduce cholesterol levels for some time afterwards, resulting in a long-lasting effect, as has been shown in previous studies.

      If the vaccine is able to replicate the same beneficial effects in humans, it could lead to long-lasting effective therapies thatonly need annual boosters to remain at full potency.

      “The way that AT04A is administered is comparable to a vaccine,” added Dr Staffler. “However, the difference between a conventional vaccine and our approach is that a vaccine induces antibodies that are specific to bacterial or viral proteins that are foreign to the body pathogens whereas AT04A induces antibodies against a target protein that is produced by the body endogenous proteins. This is really an immunotherapeutic approach rather than a vaccine approach.”

      Human tests are currently investigating the safety of AT04A in 72 people. This phase I trial is expected to be concluded by the end of theyear.

      Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/a-vaccine-that-lowers-cholesterol-could-help-stave-off-heart-disease/


      Coroner releases findings in Carrie Fisher’s death

      (CNN)The Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office has released a summary of its findings into the death of “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher.

      The actress and writer died in December at the age of 60. Her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, died one day later.
      In a news release, the coroner listed the results of a body examination performed three days after Fisher’s death.
        The agency said Fisher’s manner of death is undetermined. Medical examiners concluded that “sleep apnea and other undetermined factors” contributed to her death.
        There were signs of “multiple drug intake” but the coroner said its significance on Fisher’s death was not determined.
        She also suffered from “drug use” and atherosclerotic heart disease, a condition in which fats, cholesterol and other substances build up on the artery walls, the statement said.
        Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, said after the medical examiner’s report was released that her mother “battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life” stating that “she ultimately died of it.”
        “She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases,” Lourd said in a statement.
        “I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you Momby,” she added.
        Fisher’s death came four days after she suffered a cardiac event on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/17/entertainment/carrie-fisher-cause-of-death/index.html


        Algae Injected Into Damaged Heart Tissue Could Save Your Life One Day

        About 610,000 people die of a heart attack every single year in the US roughly one in four deaths. They are often caused when a blood clot stops the blood flowing into the heart, but in some cases, hypoxia a lack of oxygen can also induce one. When this happens, the heart tissue gets damaged, which triggers the attack.

        Blood-thinning drugs and treatments can be used in the case of a blood clot-based attack, but hypoxia, which can also occur long after an initial attack, is sometimes a more troublesome beast to vanquish. A new study published in the journal Science Advances, however, may have come up with a rather novel way of doing just that, and rather bizarrely, it involves algae.

        A team at Stanford Universitys School of Medicine took their inspiration from the abundance of plant life around them. Photosynthesis, as any high school student knows, uses light, carbon dioxide, and water to manufacture glucose and oxygen. From vegetation to algae, its happening all over the planet and without it, our world would be very different indeed.

        These scientists suspected that if they injected some photosynthetic vegetation into the damaged heart tissue of a patient suffering from hypoxia, then providing it still got some light it would pump out oxygen directly into the cells and revive them.

        First off, they had to find the right plants to use. Taking spinach and kale, they ground them into a fine powder and introduced them to living tissue being cultured within a Petri dish. Exposing them to sunlight, they were disappointed to find that photosynthesis refused to happen.

        Cardiac myocytes, when derpived of oxygen, begin to wither and die. Jose Luis Calvo/Shutterstock

        Suspecting the grinding process broke them, in a manner of speaking, the team decided to use blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria the most primitive type of photosynthetic organism known to science.

        Around 2.5 billion years ago, their ancestors were floating atop the worlds long-lost seas, slowly gulping up the volcanic carbon dioxide and pumping out oxygen. These little critters were ultimately responsible for the Great Oxygenation Event, the point in which oxygen was no longer being absorbed by the environment and could float freely in the atmosphere.

        Theyre actually responsible for turning our sky blue and, having survived multiple mass extinctions over billions of years, it appears that injecting them straight into damaged heart tissue didnt stop them doing their remarkable thing either.

        Leaving the damaged hearts of rats open during the procedure, the sunlight-exposed algae happily infused these cells with precious oxygen, boosting their overall levels by a factor of 25. Overall, half of the damage due to hypoxia was ultimately prevented compared to the rats that didnt have treatment.

        Incredibly, there werent even any side effects to the procedure. There was no secondary infection, and the rats immune systems didnt go haywire and try to destroy the cyanobacteria. Within just 24 hours post-injection, the algae had all but disappeared without a trace.

        By using light rather than blood flow as a source of energy, photosynthetic therapy increases tissue oxygenation, maintains myocardial [heart] metabolism, and yields durable improvements in cardiac function during and after induction of ischemia [lack of blood supply], the team conclude in their study.

        This system has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the way ischemic heart disease is treated.

        Human trials are quite a way off at the moment. Samrith Na Lumpoon/Shutterstock

        So will algae be saving human lives in the future? At this point, its hard to say the method is only at the proof-of-concept stage.

        Leaving someones chest open will be very risky indeed, but the team are already working on supercharging their algae so they only require a little bit of light to get started. Even if they arent used in heart failure surgery, theres a chance that they could be used to boost the longevity of organs being transported ready for transplantation.

        [H/T: LA Times]

        Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/algae-injected-damaged-heart-tissue-save-life/


        The truth about low-fat foods

        Youre shopping at the grocery store and faced with the option of buying regular or reduced-fat peanut butter. Seems like reaching for the latter variety would be doing your health (and your waistline) a favor, right? Not exactly.

        The low-fat craze started in the 90s after a few observational studies linked fat intake to heart disease, Kerry Clifford, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian for Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets, told Fox News. Thats all it took for Americans to consider fat evil, and low-fat, fat-free and reduced-fat versions of nearly ever food imaginable followed suit.

        The problem is they dont simply take fat out. The fat is typically replaced with sugar, sodium, additives, preservatives or thickeners to create a similar taste, texture and consistency, Tracy Lesht, MS, RD, told Fox News. This process turns the once full-fat food into a heavily processed low-fat item with a slew of added ingredients.


        A January 2016 study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes found sugar content is higher in foods marked as low-fat versus the full-fat versions. The researchers concluded that even slightly higher sugar counts can lead to weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

        Theres also proof that people tend to eat more of foods labeled low-fat, thinking theyre healthier. Researchers from Cornell University found people end up eating as much as 50 percent more from a snack labeled low-fat than those who dont see the claim. Lesht said thats problematic because many low-fat foods have just as many calories as their regular counterparts.

        Finally, experts agree it was wrong to obsess over low-fat foods, as saturated fats arent as bad as people once thought, Lesht said. Good-for-you fats, such as those found in nuts, olive oil and avocados, help control blood sugar and tell the brain when youre feeling full, Clifford said.


        Clifford and Lesht recommended loading up on foods that are naturally low in fat, such as fruit, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, and staying away from packaged foods labelled low-fat, including:

        • Anything thats healthy because of its fat, including peanut butter and almond butter, Clifford said.
        • Salad dressings. Low-fat salad dressings are notorious for being loaded with artificial ingredients and preservatives, Lesht said. Go for full-fat versions, which usually have healthy olive oil as a key ingredient. Or make a simple dressing of olive oil and fresh lemon juice at home, she suggested.
        • Yogurt especially flavored yogurt, which is usually packed with sugar (looking at you, fruit-on-the-bottom varieties). Choose full-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat plain yogurt instead, Lesht said.
        • Packaged cookies, cakes, chips and crackers. By eating a full-fat option, youll likely feel satisfied after a smaller portion, Clifford said. Plus, youll avoid the processed ingredients that go into these diet foods, Lesht said.
        • Milk. Fat-free versions lack the vitamin D content that makes milk healthy, Clifford said. A June 2013 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care also found men who ate low-fat dairy had a higher risk of becoming obese than those who went for the full-fat options.


        Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/06/14/truth-about-low-fat-foods.html


        One third of world now overweight, with US leading the way

        (CNN)More than two billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of their weight, a new study reports.

        This equates to one-third of the world’s population carrying excess weight, fueled by urbanization, poor diets and reduced physical activity.
        The United States has the greatest percentage of obese children and young adultcs, at 13%, while Egypt led in terms of adult obesity, with almost 35%, among the 195 countries and territories included in the study.
          While 2.2 billion people were obese or overweight in 2015, more than 710 million of them were classed as obese, with 5% of all children and 12% of adults fitting into this category.
          An increasing number globally are dying from health problems linked to being overweight, such as cardiovascular disease, said the study, which published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
          Almost 40% of the 4 million dying as a result of their higher body mass index were not yet obese, highlighting that deaths are occurring almost as often in those considered overweight as those considered obese.
          Body mass index is the ratio between a person’s weight and height; a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while anything over 30 is obese.
          “People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk — risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who worked on the study.
          “Those half-serious New Year’s resolutions to lose weight should become year-round commitments to lose weight and prevent future weight gain,” he said in a statement.

          The global obesity picture

          The IHME researchers analyzed data from 68.5 million people between 1980 and 2015 to explore trends as well as figures regarding overweight and obesity rates.
          Data was obtained from the most recent Global Burden of Disease study, which explores all major diseases, conditions and injuries globally by age, sex and population.
          The data revealed that the number of people affected by obesity has doubled since 1980 in 73 countries, and continued to rise across most other countries included in the analysis.
          Obesity levels were higher among women than men across all age groups, which correlates with previous findings on obesity.
          Percentages of children who were obese were lower than adults, but the rate at which their numbers have increased was greater, signifying more risk in the future if nothing is done to curb the problem.
          In terms of numbers, the large population sizes of China and India meant they had the highest numbers of obese children, with 15.3 million and 14.4 million, respectively.
          Despite a smaller population, the United States had the greatest number of obese adults, with 79.4 million (35% of the population), followed by China with 57.3 million.
          The lowest obesity rates were seen in Bangladesh and Vietnam, at 1%.
          “This re-emphasizes what we already know about the obesity epidemic,” said Goodarz Danaei, assistant professor or global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “But it raises the alarm that we may be facing a wave of obesity in the coming years across high and low income countries.”
          Danaei believes that while the epidemic may have plateaued in terms of growth among certain adult populations, such as the US population, the greater rate of change among children means there will be a future cohort of people who have been exposed to a high BMI for a longer period of time, which researchers will not have faced before.
          “We don’t really know what the long-term effects will be if exposed to high BMI over 20, 30, 40 years,” said Danaei, who was not involved in the study. “It may be larger than we have already seen.”

          A rise and fall in numbers affected by disease

          In addition to highlighting the scale of the global obesity epidemic, the researchers hope to raise awareness of the diseases linked to being overweight that can prove fatal.
          Almost 70% of deaths related to an elevated BMI in the analysis were due to cardiovascular disease, killing 2.7 million people in 2015, with diabetes being the second leading cause of death.
          However, in more recent years, while rates of cardiovascular disease have risen, the number of deaths have fallen. The researchers believe this may in large part be due to better clinical interventions becoming available, such as measures to control high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which all fuel heart disease.
          This is the case in countries like the United States, argues Danaei, adding that prevention services leading up to the onset of cardiovascular disease, such as blood sugar monitoring, or care after a heartattack, or stroke, have improved in developed countries.
          But these service are expensive and are not currently the norm in most low- and middle-income countries. “After a heart attack, the chance of dying is much higher in developing countries,” he said.

          Why is this happening?

          Obesity levels have risen in all countries, irrespective of their income level, meaning the issue is not simply down to wealth, the authors say in the paper.
          “Changes in the food environment and food systems are probably major drivers,” they write. “Increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of energy dense foods, along with intense marketing of such foods, could explain excess energy intake and weight gain among different populations.”
          They add that reduced levels and opportunities for physical activity that came with increased urbanization are also potential causes, but add that these are “unlikely to be major contributors.”

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          “Over the past decade, numerous interventions have been evaluated, but very little evidence exists about their long-term effectiveness,” said Dr. Ashkan Afshin, assistant professor of global health at IHME, who led the research.
          “Over the next 10 years, we will work closely with the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in monitoring and evaluating the progress of countries in controlling overweight and obesity,” he said, adding his team will share data and findings with scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders seeking evidence-based strategies to address this problem.
          “We need to control the consequences of obesity much better globally … and help people who are obese to lose weight,” said Danaei. “That’s where we need research and public health interventions.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/12/health/global-obesity-study/index.html


          Dead butt syndrome: How to get your rear in gear

          It’s no secret that sitting for long stretches isn’t great for your body. Research has linked it to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, even cancer.

          But there’s another health risk from sitting all day that most people don’t know about: gluteal amnesia, or dead butt syndrome.
          It almost sounds like a joke, but it’s not uncommon, says Andrew Bang, a chiropractor at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute: “I see the injury all the time in varying degrees.”
            Dead butt syndrome develops when the gluteus medius — one of the three main muscles in the booty — stops firing correctly. That can happen if you spend too much time parked in a chair, explains Kristen Schuyten, a physical therapist at Michigan Medicine.
            “But it can also occur in very active individuals who just don’t engage the glute muscles enough,” she adds.
            Since the gluteus medius normally helps stabilize the pelvis, gluteal amnesia can lead to lower back pain and hip pain, as well as knee and ankle issues, as the body tries to compensate for the imbalance.
            Dead butt syndrome has to do with reciprocal inhibition — the process that describes the give-and-take relationship between muscles on either side of a joint. “In general, when one muscle contracts, a nerve signal is sent to its opposing muscle to relax,” says Bang.
            When you spend hours on end in a seated position, your hip flexors are contracting while your glutes rest. “Over time, we’re basically training our glutes to be weak,” Bang says.
            The same type of muscle imbalance can happen in highly active people who have very strong quads or hamstrings. Bang has even seen marathon runners develop dead butt syndrome

            How do you know if you have gluteal amnesia?

            One way practitioners pronounce a butt dead is with the Trendelenburg test, a physical exam in which a person lifts one leg in front of them while standing. “If the pelvis dips down on the side of the body where the leg is lifted, that indicates weakness in the gluteus medius on the opposite side,” says Bang.
            The curve in a person’s back can also suggest gluteal amnesia. While the lumbar spine (or lower back) should naturally form an S shape, more extreme curvature may signal that the hip flexors are so tight they’re pulling the spine forward, says Bang.

            What can you do to avoid dead butt syndrome?

            Try to take frequent breaks from your chair throughout the day. Get up and walk around, or do some stretches at your desk. Schuyten recommends setting hourly reminders on your phone, to prompt you to squeeze your butt muscles at regular intervals.

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            And when you work out, don’t forget to target that booty. Along with squats and bridges, lying-down leg lifts are a good move to add to your routine, says Bang. “Start on your left side with your right leg lifted and the big toe pointing toward the floor as you lift,” he says.
            “This angle isolates the gluteus medius and minimus muscles the most, so you’ll feel it within 10 to 15 lifts of the leg.” Add a band or ankle weight for extra resistance.
            Above all, the best way to avoid gluteal amnesia is to mix up your daily routine, says Bang. Sit on an exercise ball for part of the day. Spend some time standing up, working at a high countertop. “Whatever you do, just don’t allow your body to get into a repetitive cycle,” he says.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/09/health/dead-butt-syndrome-partner/index.html