Jane Goodall Cites Dr. Fuhrman in New Book

Remember Jane Goodall? She is the naturalist who became famous for her work with chimpanzees. She has written tons of books. The newest one is on a topic that's very relevant to this blog: how the food we eat affects our health.

Jane Goodall's book Harvest for Hope discusses Dr. Fuhrman and his approach to eating. Dr. Fuhrman says he has never met her, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he was mentioned in a book.

DiseaseProof reader Frederick Conroy emailed the following review (which I have edited slightly for length):

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Tuesday Health Notes

The Health Care Blog Competition

The Health Care Blog (which was recently praised by the Wall Street Journal) is asking readers to come up with a solution to the American health care crisis in 250 words or less. Of course, I can't help thinking that nutrition is the key. Imagine if the majority of diabetics were treated like this. How much would that alone chop off the national medical bill? (Then factor in asthma, ear infections, cancer, heart disease... go down the left side of this page... all these expensive conditions.)

There are some specific rules you should read before you start writing. Anyone can enter and the winner gets to be a guest on a radio show to talk about their ideas.

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Search Dr. Fuhrman's Podcasts with Podzinger

DiseaseProof is one of the blogs whose podcasting is now searchable by a new tool called Podzinger. It's essentially an automatic service that transcribes the things Dr. Fuhrman says in the podcast, and then makes them searchable online.

That means that even though the information is recorded like a radio show (in MP3 format) you can still use Podzinger's little search engine to type in what you're looking for and see if that term comes up in the podcast. You can then start listening at the point where your term is said. It's handy for some stuff, although it must be said there are still some kinks to work out from the automatic, computer-based transcriptions. Here's a sample transcription from Dr. Fuhrman's first podcast Getting Children to Eat Well:

in my house has no food wars if you if corn and broccoli and an eggplant dish of chopped -- vegetable soup pork Coroner come out of a dinner you know that that's fine

"Vegetable soup pork Coroner?" Doesn't sound so fine to me...

I could still see it being useful though. For instance, do you want to find all the places in a podcast that Dr. Fuhrman mentions ear infections? Or cancer? This tool can help. It will be even more useful as we add more and more episodes of podcasts.

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Research: Repeated Antiobiotic Users at Greater Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The American Journal of Epidemiology just published research associating the repeated use of antiobiotics with an elevated risk for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL).

Use of antibiotics more than 10 times during adulthood was positively associated with risk of NHL and most major NHL subtypes; when users were compared with nonusers, the odds ratio for NHL was 1.8 (95% confidence interval: 1.4, 2.3); ptrend for total antibiotic use <0.001. In addition, high cumulative use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was marginally associated with elevated NHL risk. Other medications evaluated were not associated with risk of NHL or its most common subtypes. Findings suggest that inflammation, infections, susceptibility to infections, and/or use of antibiotics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat these conditions may increase the risk of NHL.

Ellen T. Chang, Karin Ekström Smedby, Henrik Hjalgrim, Claudia Schöllkopf, Anna Porwit-MacDonald, Christer Sundström, Edneia Tani, Francesco d'Amore, Mads Melbye, Hans-Olov Adami, and Bengt Glimelius wrote the article.

Intelihealth reports that NHL affects about 45,000 Americans, and adds that "for unknown reasons, this cancer has been becoming more common." Perhaps the work of Chang et al will move us a step closer to understanding that trend more clearly.

Library Journal Reviews Disease-Proof Your Child

Library Journal is a respected resource that helps librarians decide which books to buy without having to read them all. Elaine M. Bergman, of the State University of New York at Albany recently reviewed Dr. Fuhrman's new book, Disease-Proof Your Child, and this is what she has to say:

In his latest book (after Eat To Live), physician Fuhrman does not make a terribly radical point: kids need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to ward off disease. However, he also alleges that a child's diet before the age of ten may have a dramatic effect on the occurrence of diseases much later in life, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In addition, he maintains that "superior nutrition"-a healthy mix of "good" fats; ample fruits, vegetables, and beans; and whole foods-can ameliorate eczema, ADHD, allergies, ear infections, and other ailments. If children's food options are all healthy ones, he assures readers that kids will eat what they need; they will not starve if there are no chicken nuggets. Although Fuhrman is emphatic about fruits and vegetables, he does not go so far as to advocate eschewing all animal products. Rather, he provides the advantages and disadvantages to vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous diets, explaining how to choose the best foods within each model. He also bucks some of the traditional child nutrition experts, who previously advocated dairy products and carbohydrate-rich diets. Including many suggestions, tips, patient stories, and even some recipes, this nutrition guide is good for public libraries with an extensive consumer health section.

Intuitive Eating

In his books and in his practice, Dr. Fuhrman repeatedly describes the idea that we should learn to listen to our bodies and respond to "true hunger," as opposed to "toxic hunger." Toxic hunger, as he writes in Disease-Proof Your Child, is not the product of your body saying it needs nourishment, but rather "withdrawal symptoms from an unhealthful diet."

The notion that our bodies know, on some level, how to eat healthily, is supported somewhat by some new research. Dr. Steven R. Hawks of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah has been instructing people in what he calls "intuitive eating," and in a pilot study they have reportedly been losing weight and feeling good.

Reuters Health News desbribes the approach:

To become an intuitive eater, a person also needs to adopt two key behaviors. They must learn how not to eat for emotional, environmental or social reasons and they must listen to their body and eat only when hungry and stop when full. They must also learn how to interpret body signals, cravings, and hunger and respond in a healthy way.

Of course, the day before Thanksgiving--our national salute to overeating--could be just about the worst time to bring this up, right? Something to keep in mind, anyway.

A Remarkable Osteoarthritis Recovery

Mike lived many years of his life in pain. By the time he was age 36, his back was such a problem for him that he could not sit for very long. For weeks at a time, he had to hire a driver to take him to work each day, so he could lie down in the back seat. He saw a chiropractor three times a week, and went to a rheumatologist for prescriptions for pain medications and muscle relaxants. He traveled to New York City to see specialists -- osteopaths and orthopedic surgeons -- who he thought could help him with his pain. X-rays of his back showed degenerative back disease, and, in addition to his back pain, his knees and hips bothered him, too.

By the time Mike came to see me, he was age 46. He weighed 236 lbs., his cholesterol was 245 mg/dl, and he frequently complained of burning when he urinated, the cause of which no doctor could discern. As you might imagine, he was sick of suffering ill health and disability at such a young age and hoped I could help him.

His was certainly not an unusual case. Many Americans suffer with similar complaints. What makes Mike's case atypical is that he followed my nutritional recommendations and persevered until he achieved a complete recovery. His urinary problems ended after about six weeks. After one year, he weighed 178 lbs. and his cholesterol came down to 190 mg/dl. Unfortunately, his chronic back complaints and joint aches had not yet gone away.

To his credit, Mike did not let the continual back and joint problems dissuade him from his commitment to a healthy lifestyle. He enjoyed the high-nutrient diet and lifestyle I designed for him and was firmly committed to healthful eating for the rest of his life. After two years, he weighed 168, his cholesterol was 175, he no longer had knee and hip complaints, and he had noted a definite improvement with his back problem. Over the next year, his back aches simply faded away. Now, five years after first seeing me as a patient, Mike feels terrific. His total cholesterol is down to 160, he goes to the gym, does abdominal and back exercises, and can drive around in his car without any problems.

This story originally appeared in Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times newsletter.

A Fuhrman-Style Feast

Any of you who have read Eat to Live or Disease-Proof Your Child probably have some friends and relatives who think you survive on nothing but carrot sticks and flax seeds.

Have you met Robin Jeep? She's the respected professional chef who spends her days coming up with delicious new ways to prepare the healthy food Dr. Fuhrman recommends. She's on a mission to teach everyone that healthy food can be much more exciting and varied than carrot sticks and flax seeds. She proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt at the feast she oversaw a few weeks ago at a luncheon and lecture event Dr. Fuhrman put on in New Jersey.

By all accounts, the food was incredible. And now, just in time for Thanksgiving and the holidays, Robin has sent over the recipes she used that day:

  • Walnut Baked Lentils
  • Vibrant Veggies
  • Tossed Mixed Greens and Fruit with Blueberry Dressing
  • Pumpkin Citrus Soup
  • Beet Carrot Cake with Warm Butternut Lemon Sauce and Macadamia Whipped Cream
Here's my advice: print these recipes out and keep them on hand for the next few weeks. They could help you maintain a healthy diet through the holiday feasting season: 

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One Patient's Story: Battling Asthma, Allergies, Psoriasis, and Headaches

One of Dr. Fuhrman's patients sent in the following story a few years ago. It appeared previously in his Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times newsletter.:

As a graduate student in the mid-1980s, I suffered from asthma, headaches, and allergies. I took the oral medication theophylline, plus two inhaled medications for my asthma, Tylenol for my headaches, and Sudafed for my allergies. I developed bronchitis at least once each year, for which I took antibiotics and sometimes codeine. After a while, I developed recurring migraine headaches, for which I tried the standard medication.

My diet had always been fairly mainstream. I had experienced many food allergies throughout my life, and found that raw fruits and vegetables made my tongue, throat, and the inside of my mouth itchy and uncomfortable. As a result, I ate all of my vegetables cooked, except for lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I avoided fruit altogether, hoping to prevent allergic reactions. As years went by, I became more aware of the importance of healthful eating and improved my diet somewhat. But it wasn't until after my first child was born that I found out about a truly healthful approach to eating.

My son was born in 1994. By the time he was 18 months old, he was on antibiotics and suffering with his fourth ear infection. Fortunately, I was referred to Joel Fuhrman, M.D. After one consultation with Dr. Fuhrman, I changed my son's diet. He has never suffered another ear infection.

After reading a few articles and information sheets about nutrition by Dr. Fuhrman, and attending one of his lectures, I began to make small changes in my diet. For one thing, I began to eat a large salad with my lunch every day, without fail. I felt a little bit healthier, but I still wasn't committed to following all of Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional advice. The real turning point for me came when Dr. Fuhrman helped me through a severe sinus infection. Only then did I realize I had found an expert on whom I could confidently rely for tangible benefits.

I often got a cold early in the winter. My sinuses would clog up, and I would feel uncomfortable for months. Dr Fuhrman gave me a menu plan of nothing but raw fruits and vegetables, and stated that my sinuses likely would clear in three days. I pointed out that this condition had already lasted almost two months, to which he replied it might take as long as ten days. I followed his instructions exactly, and one week later my sinuses were clear. I was hooked; I use this method whenever I catch a cold and have not had bronchitis or sinusitis since. No more antibiotics for me!

There were more benefits to come. I had my second child in 1999, and during the pregnancy I developed psoriasis. I consulted with a dermatologist who put me on a strong steroidal ointment. When I told Dr. Fuhrman about it, he increased my intake of omega-3 by adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and a handful of walnuts each day, increased the amount of vegetables, and had me totally eliminate milk products. The outbreaks came less frequently, which was good, but they didn't go away completely. By the time 2002 rolled around, I was totally fed up with the psoriasis (and using steroid creams). So I went back to Dr. Fuhrman again and asked how I could really fix it. He put me on what I call my "green diet," which is essentially the same as the diet he recommends in his book Eat To Live.

These days, I eat a pound of raw veggies (mostly leafy greens) and a pound of cooked green veggies each day, with unlimited fruits and beans, and eat only a small amount of starchy vegetables and grains. I consume no extracted oils, about one half an avocado, and only a small amount of raw, unsalted nuts and seeds in addition to my flaxseed and walnuts. I include eggs and fish in my diet about once each week.

On this plan, my psoriasis has mostly disappeared, reoccurring only when I deviate from my diet and include too many starches. Even then, it is much milder. I can use the ointment for a few days and the psoriasis won't reappear for months. I feel good. Headaches, asthma, bronchitis, and severe allergies are in the past. I take no medications and breathe easily. Although I did not switch all at once to Dr. Fuhrman's recommended diet, each step I took was permanent. I have made steady improvements in my health over the course of sixteen years. This step-by-step approach has worked wonders for me.

Study: A Better Measure than Body Mass Index

Canadian researchers have just had an article published in The Lancet that suggests their may be a simple technique to determine your risk of heart disease that is more effective than the standard Body Mass Index. Nicholas Bakalar reports in The New York Times. Warning: you'll be wanting a tape measure and a calculator, so you might as well get those now...

A waist-to-hip ratio (waist measurement divided by hip measurement) below 0.85 in women or 0.9 in men is average. Anything above that is a risk for heart disease.

The researchers, led by Dr. Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University near Toronto, studied 12,461 people who had had a first heart attack and compared them to a matched group of 14,637 without heart disease.

A body mass index greater than 28.2 in women or 28.6 in men did indicate an increased risk of heart attack, but the relationship disappeared after adjusting for age, sex, geographic region and tobacco use.

Waist-to-hip ratio, on the other hand, showed a continuous relationship to heart attack risk even after adjusting for other risk factors. Those in the highest fifth were 2.52 times as likely to have a heart attack as those in the lowest fifth.

Dr. Fuhrman wrote about this in his book Eat to Live. In fact, Amazon.com will let their customers read that part of Eat to Live online for free.

You'll see he cites the work of Harvard's Dr. I-Min Lee--who studied nearly 20,000 men over nearly thirty years. She found that you practically can not be too thin: the lightest group of men had the lowest mortality. (Of course, he cautions, there is such a thing as being too thin, which is usually anorexia and is a topic for another time.)

And as you can read, Dr. Fuhrman describes various favored techniques for measuring body fat: like Dr. Yusuf, he finds that fat around the waist is a more useful measure than body mass index.

Two quickie rules of thumb from Eat to Live to assess whether or not you are at your ideal weight:

  • Men shouldn't be able to pinch more than a half-inch of skin near the belly button. Women should not be able to pinch more than an inch.
  • If you have gained as little as ten pounds since you were 18 or 20 years old, then you could have a significantly increased risk for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Dr. Fuhrman in Childhood Nutrition Article: Empower Kids

Dr. Fuhrman was quoted in an Associated Press article that ran in all sorts of newspapers last week. His message was simple: getting kids to eat healthy food begins with empowering children.

"The child has to be a part of the decision-making process. They have to feel empowered," said Dr. Joel Fuhrman, an author of family fitness books who helped the Wandlings get on track.

Instead, experts say adults often inflict more harm than good by setting rules that only provoke rebellion. Some parents become so restrictive that they forbid even small treats like birthday cake. Others deeply humiliate their children, making a fuss in public over what their kids are eating.

Another common pitfall is isolating a child with a special diet while the rest of the family indulges freely, Fuhrman said. That only creates a forbidden fruit syndrome that can make the child yearn for foods that are off-limits.


Dr. Fuhrman has lots of tactics parents can use to inspire children to eat healthy food. He explains them in more detail in this podcast.

Mary Lynn's Getting Hungry at Pizza Night

A Michigan blogger named Mary Lynn just started Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live diet, and she's writing about it in an amusing fashion. For example, here's her tale of pizza night at the church:

I was at church last night for the kids Harvest Party and they had pizza. I was so hungry, but pizza obviously breaks all of the Nazi food rules. There was a lone, shiny, beautiful apple sitting on the kitchen counter. I asked one of the guys, "Whose apple is that?" He said, "I don't know, eat it."

"I'm not going to eat somebody else's apple! That would be kind of like......oh I don't know...stealing??" I replied.

This chivilrous knight picked up the apple, took a big honking bite out of it and handed it to me. "There, now its yours." He says.

My hero. I ate it down to the core.

Disease-Proof Your Child Feautured on The World Around You

The website The World Around You has reviewed Dr. Fuhrman's new book Disease-Proof Your Child. Here's what an anonymous reviewer had to say:

This book does not disappoint in any way.He gives his own personal experiences in a commensense practical way that anyone can understand. Everything he states is well documented with footnotes to other studies,this makes his points less controversial. I strongly recommend this book to any parent.

If anyone knows who wrote this, I'd like to say hi. Great to have people out there saying nice things about this book.

Chinese Insurance Company Bets Against a Pandemic

MedPundit passes along news that one Chinese insurer is offering life insurance policies specifically for Avian Flu. MedPundit calls this "the first sign that people are beginning to realize the avian flu fears may be mostly hype."

Research: Diet as Children Affects Lifelong Cancer

Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease-Proof Your Child contains a huge new idea: that childhood diet plays an important role in many cancers and other chronic diseases that occur decades later.

Since the book came out, there has been even more research to support the theory. Alert DiseaseProof reader Rick Miller sent us an MSNBC article about new evidence that bad adolescent diets can inspire later breast cancer.

The article, by Karen Collins, R.D., focuses on a phytochemical found in soy, called genistein:

The University of Alabama researcher who presented the new studies at the conference said that genistein offered no protection from breast cancer when it was first given to animals in adulthood. But when the animals ate it before puberty, they had less breast cancer development.

The benefits were even greater when they continued to eat it into adulthood. The evidence suggests that the time around puberty offers a chance to imprint cells with a "blueprint" that creates cellular pathways for long-term protection.

Arielle Carpenter Wants Healthy School Food

You'd think the school would be teaching the kids how to eat fruits and vegetables. But instead, a high-school senior in Florida, Arielle Carpenter, is trying to teach the school.

As she chronicles on Stonyfield Farm's Creating Healthy Kids blog:

I started by writing to the school district's superintendent and he in turn referred me to the School Menu Planning Committee. From there I got involved in trying to make healthy changes, such as asking that prepared salads be brought out into the courtyard for sale (in South Florida that is where the majority of students eat). I pursued my quest by sponsoring Nutrition Awareness Days where I gave out literature and samples of healthy snacks that were donated by manufacturers.

I continue to promote making healthy choices, but it is not an easy battle, as evidenced by what many food manufacturers market to kids. I now focus on giving interactive Power Point presentations to lower and middle school classes and these have been very well received...

I stress that children must become educated consumers, learn to read labels, and make healthier choices when it comes to choosing what they want to eat. I have borrowed the phrase that youth under the age of 18 must learn to "Vote With Your Fork", meaning that although we cannot vote in an election, we can voice our opinion that we do not want junk food by purchasing healthier foods.


Stonyfield Farm says that any comments left here will be delivered to Ms. Carpenter.

Children, ADHD, and Nutrition

The diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has skyrocketed in recent years, with a tremendous increase in the percentage of our elementary school children who are taking amphetamines and stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Cyclert, and others. These medications, with their reported adverse effects and potential dangers, were simply unnecessary for so many children whom I have seen as patients. I have witnessed consistently positive results when these children followed a comprehensive program of nutritional excellence.

One such success story involves George Grant, age eleven, the nicest and most polite boy you would ever meet. Although his parents reported an improvement in his concentration and behavior since beginning Ritalin two years prior to his appointment with me, they were unsatisfied. George had frequent headaches and stomachaches from the medication, and he had tried the other stimulant medications and found that the same problems occurred.

I enjoyed meeting George and talking to him; he was surprisingly mature and interested in his school performance, and did not want his grades to suffer. I told them that it would take about three to six months to really evaluate whether nutritional intervention would work as effectively as the Ritalin, but there was one thing I could promise them: George would feel better, sleep better, have a better appetite, and his headaches and stomachaches would go away within a few weeks with high-nutrient eating.

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Asthma Can Often Be Controlled With Proper Nutrition

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the lungs that has skyrocketed in incidence and mortality worldwide in recent years, doubling within the last 30 years in children. Suffering and deaths continue to rise in spite of declines in air pollution. An amazing 16 percent of children develop asthma, according to a 2001 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I've written before about the dramatic effect a nutritional diet can have on a child's asthma. Jonathan, another patient of mine, serves as another example.

Jonathan is an eight-year-old third grader who had developed asthma when he started first grade two years earlier. He was seen by his pediatrician and given a nebulizer, and later inhaled steroids, to deal with recurrent episodes of wheezing and the inability to exercise without fatigue and breathing difficulties.

Jonathan was an excellent student and was keenly interested in learning how what he ate affected his health and his breathing problem. At the initial visit to my office, Jonathan was instructed on using a spacer with an inhaler and was taken off his three times a day nebulizer treatments. I told him his recovery hinged on the amount of green vegetables he was capable of eating. He was more than cooperative. This eight-year-old said to me, "I will eat dirt if you can fix my breathing." So I said, "How about if I give you great-tasting real food to fix your asthma. You can be a lot better within a year." Jonathan is now in fourth grade. It took about eight months until he no longer required any medication. He is now the picture of health and uses no inhalers or other asthma medications.

This anecdotal case is not the same thing as a double-blind study, but when you consider the overwhelming evidence in the scientific literature and then apply that knowledge to real kids with medical difficulties, you see lots of great kids who have made impressive recoveries from their allergies and asthma after a year or two of nutritional intervention.

The story of Jonathan (not his real name) is from Disease-Proof Your Child.

Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Strategies

Osteoporosis affects 8 million American women, and 2 million men, causing 1 1/2 million fractures each year. As many as 18 million more Americans may have low bone density (osteopenia), a precursor to osteoporosis. As women age, many develop collapse of their lumbar vertebrae resulting in pain and disability. Even after screening and diagnosis most women are offered drugs and calcium, without addressing all the additional causes of osteoporosis, which are discussed below.

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Dr. Fuhrman Speaking at N.J. Bookstore

Dr. Fuhrman will be speaking at Borders in Flemington, New Jersey (map and directions) on Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. He will be talking about his new book, Disease-Proof Your Child, so this is an event that would be especially helpful for parents.

To get a little sample of what the book is like, peruse these "Success Story" posts--many of which are excerpted from Disease-Proof Your Child.

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The Lancet: Cruciferous Vegetables Protect Against Lung Cancer

It's a great day: the big photo at the moment on the website of the medical journal The Lancet is of some of Dr. Fuhrman's favorite medicines: cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and all those cruciferous vegetables that are so good for you.

The caption explains the results of an important new study:

Eating vegetables from the cabbage family could help individuals with a certain genetic make-up reduce their risk of lung cancer. Weekly consumption of cruciferous vegetables had a 72% protective effect against lung cancer in people who had inactive forms of both the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes.

If you read the whole abstract, you will find this summation:

These data provide strong evidence for a substantial protective effect of cruciferous vegetable consumption on lung cancer.

Observational studies have provided consistent evidence for a protective role of vegetable consumption against lung cancer, with the evidence being most apparent for green cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. Such vegetables are rich in isothiocyanates, which have been shown in animals to have strong chemopreventative properties against lung cancer.


The article is by Paul Brennan, Charles C Hsu, Norman Moullan, Neonilia Szeszenia-Dabrowska , Jolanta Lissowska, David Zaridze, Peter Rudnai, Eleonora Fabianova, Dana Mates, Vladimir Bencko, Lenka Foretova, Vladimir Janout, Federica Gemignani, Amelie Chabrier, Janet Hall, Rayjean J Hung, Paolo Boffetta, and Federico Canzian.

NYTimes Tackles Cancer Prevention Through Exercise

A few weeks ago, Gina Kolata of The New York Times wrote the first in a series about diet's role in preventing cancer. Dr. Fuhrman wrote a lengthy response (one of his main points: by ignoring the influence of diet during childhood, she missed the major nutrition/cancer link).

Today marks the second article in Ms. Kolata's cancer prevention series, and it focuses on exercise. The article is well worth a read. While I'm sure there are those who would argue some of her conclusions, she touches on a lot of the same issues that Dr. Fuhrman often talks about--like the early onset of menstruation and its effect on breast cancer rates (one doctor she quotes, for instance, says girls only begin menstruating when they have excess calories).

But what struck me most was the clear presentation of a rather sad notion: we Americans seem to not want to learn from the best medical research, if it means doing "boring" things like eating right and exercising.

The article quotes several studies and doctors making clear that there is a strong correlation between exercise and colon cancer. But doctors who prescribe exercise have little luck:

"I'm pretty confident it will work," Dr. Sandler said of the exercise prescription. But, he adds, most patients dismiss that advice.

"They kind of blow me off," he said.

Dr. John Min, an internist in private practice in Burlington, N. C., loves exercise - he runs in marathons - and he believes it can improve health and possibly protect people from colon and breast cancer. But he does not even mention it to his patients as a way to protect against those cancers.

"Unfortunately, trying to get patients, even those who are very interested, to start exercising is very difficult," he says.

He said he has tried, and patients have left his office seeming excited about turning their life around. But they soon return to their sedentary ways.

"This is unfortunately what I have realized," Dr. Min said. "The ability for someone to significantly change their lifestyle, which they've lived with for years, is extremely difficult unless it is personally important to them. I can't make it personally important to them in the time of an office visit."


Hmm... that's seriously too bad. I'm interested in any ideas people might have about smart tactics to change that reality. Who knows how much healthier we would all be if we did simple, low-tech things like ate right and exercised?