Kiddie Cardio News

A lot of people don’t realize it—I didn’t either—but heart diseases actually starts to develop at a young age. Hard to believe? Well, it won’t be after this. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. Take a look:
There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1 What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels…


… When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.2 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.3
And it seems diet isn’t the only thing upping kids’ risk of heart disease. Check this out. A new study claims too much television raises children’s blood pressure. The man, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The finding "illustrates the need for considerable physician and family involvement to decrease TV time among obese children," study author Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, associate professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Diego, said in a prepared statement.


His team's study included 546 participants, ages 4 to 17, who were evaluated for obesity at clinics in California and Ohio from 2003 to 2005.

Information was collected on the amount of time the children spent watching TV, along with their body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure.

The researchers found that both the severity of obesity and the amount of time spent watching TV each day were significant independent predictors of hypertension.
So, what’s the modern medical answer? Improve diet, more exercise, and less TV? No! Instead, why not just give big pharma more money—oops! I mean prescribe heart drugs to young kids. Linda Johnson of the Associated Press reports, More Young Adults on Cholesterol Drugs:
Experts point to higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol problems among young people. Also, doctors are getting more aggressive with preventive treatments.


"This is good news, that more people in this age range are taking these medicines," said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

Still, he said many more people should be on the drugs that lower cholesterol or blood pressure and which have been shown to reduce risks for heart attack and stroke.

The new data, from prescription benefit manager Medco Health Solutions Inc., indicate use of cholesterol-lowering drugs among people aged 20 to 44, while still low, jumped 68 percent over a six-year period.
Pretty amazing if you ask me! I’m not a parent, but if my kid’s pediatrician prescribed him or her heart drugs I’d take that as a monumental parenting failure. What do you think?
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Boxed Rice Blues

Convenience food is tempting. Think about it, after a hard-day’s work, the gym, chasing after kids, the rush-hour commute, or whatever else consumes your time. It’s tempting to succumb to the quick-and-easy allure of convenience foods. Instead, consider this quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
Food manufacturers remove the most valuable part of the food and then add bleach, preservatives, salt, sugar, and food coloring to make breads, breakfast cereals, and other convenience foods. Yet many Americans consider such food healthy merely because it is low in fat.
And the Standard American Diet is chock full of convenience foods; canned pasta, fast food, dried macaroni and cheese, and—relevant to this post—boxed rice dishes. Karen Collins, R.D. of MSNBC agrees they’re convenient, but at a cost. Here’s an excerpt:
Boxed rice may be convenient, but these products offer little more than refined grains and lots of excess sodium. Eating a one-cup portion of rice prepared according to package directions (including the prepackaged seasonings and added margarine) can provide up to 1350 milligrams of sodium. Compare that to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommended limit of 2300 mg per day and you’re well on your way to sodium overload.


Sodium recommendations are designed to prevent or control high blood pressure and reduce risk of stomach cancer. While the guidelines are set for the general public, people who are more sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium — namely black men and women, older adults and those already diagnosed with hypertension — are encouraged to limit sodium even further, to 1500 mg per day or less.
I used to eat a lot of this junk—packets of flavored rice and pilaf mixes—but no more! Why? Well, first let’s consider all that sodium Karen Collins brings up. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt. This quote should give you his lowdown on sodium. Take a look:
High salt intake, and resultant high blood pressure later in life, does not merely increase the risk and incidence of stroke. It also can lead to kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and heart attack. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.1 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food.
And those refined grains are no better! Even if manufacturers claim they are “enriched.” Dr. Fuhrman explains all this much better than I can—time for another quote! Check it out:
White pasta, white rice and white bread are just like sugar; because their fiber has been removed, these nutrient deficient foods are absorbed too rapidly. This, in turn, will raise glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels in your blood. Refined grains are undesirable and will sabotage your weight-loss and cholesterol-lowering efforts.
Makes me wonder how in the HECK I used to eat that stuff. My typical dinner used to be a rice-packet with a can of tuna fish thrown into the pot. I know—CRAZY! It’s hard to believe I would eat something like that, especially now that I’ve…to be continued. Continue Reading...

Stop Hiding, Go Veggie

Now, Dr. Fuhrman’s approach to diet is not necessarily vegan or vegetarian. Heck, just look at me. I’m an Eat to Liver and I eat fish and I know others who eat eggs and chicken. However there are certainly some advantages to going veggie. From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:
The China Project confirmed that there were virtually no heart attacks in populations that consume a lifelong vegetarian diet and almost no heart attacks in populations consuming a diet that is rich in natural plant foods and receives less than 10 percent of its calories from animal foods.


My observation of the worldwide data is supported by studies of American vegetarians and nonvegetarians.1 These studies show that the major risk factors associated with heart disease — smoking, physical inactivity, and animal-product consumption — are avoidable. Every heart attack death is even more of a tragedy because it likely could have been prevented.
Pretty cool—right? Well, the coolness train isn’t about to pull out of the station anytime soon. Get a load of this from AlterNet, “15 Reasons to Stop Hiding from Vegetarianism.” Personally, I could never go total vegetarian—I love sushi too much! But check it out anyway:
1. You'll ward off disease. Vegetarian diets are more healthful than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer. A low-fat vegetarian diet is the single most effective way to stop the progression of coronary artery disease or prevent it entirely. Cardiovascular disease kills 1 million Americans annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States. But the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease is lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians, says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. A vegetarian diet is inherently healthful because vegetarians consume no animal fat and less cholesterol and instead consume more fiber and more antioxidant-rich produce -- another great reason to listen to Mom and eat your veggies!


2. You'll keep your weight down. The standard American diet -- high in saturated fats and processed foods and low in plant-based foods and complex carbohydrates -- is making us fat and killing us slowly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a division of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of adults and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight and are at risk of weight-related ailments including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A study conducted from 1986 to 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later. They lost the weight without counting calories or carbs and without measuring portions or feeling hungry.
And yes, it’s always cool to find Dr. Fuhrman quoted somewhere.

(via SoulVeggie)
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Obesity and Kids' Hearts

Obesity research is a funny thing. Millions of dollars and lots of effort spent proving something that even the most lay of laymen already know is bad for us, is in fact, bad for us. Anyway, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports that obesity can harm children’s hearts. Check it out:
The study, by a team at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, included 168 children ages 10 to 18. All of the children had undergone cardiac ultrasound to check on symptoms such as heart murmur, chest pain, acid reflux or high blood cholesterol. Of the children, 33 were obese, 20 were at risk for obesity, and 115 were normal weight.


The researchers used a new tissue Doppler imaging technique called "vector velocity imaging" that can track the movement of the heart's muscular wall.

"In the patients who are obese, the rate of motion of heart muscle changed," Dr. Angela Sharkey, an associate professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine and a pediatric cardiologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital, said in a prepared statement. "As a child's BMIA (body mass index for age) increases, we see alterations in both the relaxation and contraction phase of the heartbeat. Many of these changes that have been seen in adults were assumed to be from long-standing obesity, but it may be that these changes start much earlier in life than we thought."
This study echoes Dr. Fuhrman’s sentiments. According him, it is kind of a no-brainer that heart disease starts young. He talks about it in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Here’s a quote:
There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1 What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels…


…When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.2 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.3
On a side note I was in the supermarket yesterday and I walked past a back-to-school display and in addition to the pens, notebooks, and folders, there were plenty of snack cakes, potato chips, and nachos—unreal!
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Health Points: Tuesday

The program, which targets childhood obesity, is in more than 100 New York City schools plus 20 schools in other states and 20 in Cape Town, South Africa, where a non-governmental organization became interested.

The children earn prizes like medals and certificates each time they notch 26 miles — a marathon — and they can track their progress on personal Web pages.

The running club is best known for putting on the New York City Marathon, which draws world-class runners and hobbyists alike on the annual race through the five boroughs. But foundation Executive Director Cliff Sperber said the purpose of the Mighty Milers isn't to raise a new generation of marathoners
Spurred by the growing crisis in child obesity, the nation’s schools have made “considerable improvements” in nutrition, fitness and health over the last six years, according to a new government survey that found that more schools require physical education and fewer sell French fries.


The survey, which is conducted every six years, shows that more schools than six years ago offer salads and vegetables and that fewer permit bake sales. More states and school districts insist that elementary schools schedule recess and that physical education teachers have at least undergraduate training. More states have enacted policies to prohibit smoking at school and to require courses on pregnancy prevention.

Perhaps most striking, 30 percent of school districts have banned junk food from school vending machines, up from 4 percent in 2000. Schools offering fried potatoes in their cafeterias declined, to 19 percent from 40 percent.
The November 29 meeting will consider a request from the Center for Science in the Public Interest to limit salt in processed food and to require additional health information on food labels about salt and sodium content of foods, among other changes.


In 2005, the group petitioned the FDA to reclassify salt as a food additive, rather than its longtime designation as a food "generally recognized as safe."

It has cited the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure. Cutting salt intake can reduce changes of developing and curtail the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
"Calcium deficiency, due either to low calcium in the diet or to vitamin D deficiency, is very common in older women, who are also the population at highest risk of breast cancer and breast cancer bone metastases," lead researcher Dr. Colin R. Dunstan pointed out to Reuters Health. Metastasis occurs as cancer progresses and the cells spread from the primary site to attack other areas of the body.


Dunstan of the ANZAC Research Institute in Concord and colleagues conducted dietary studies in a mouse model of breast cancer growth in bone. The results are published in the journal Cancer Research.

The researchers found that after breast cancer tumor was implanted into the animals, the mice that were feed a diet containing only 0.1 percent calcium showed signs of high bone turnover compared with the animals feed a diet with a normal 0.6-percent calcium content.
It's Halloween and you're watching your fat intake. However, you aren't willing to completely sacrifice the chocolately goodness of the holiday. Which of the following is the lowest fat treat to sneak from the kids loot pile?
  • Butterfinger bar
  • Milky Way bar
  • plain M & M's
  • Snickers Bar
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • Kit Kat bar
If you live in an area where shopping for organic food poses a challenge, don't throw in the all-natural kitchen towel! Many Americans in similar circumstances have found the perfect solution: community supported agriculture, or "CSA." First popular in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s, the CSA movement has -- pardon the pun -- taken root with a vengeance in the United States, where it is sometimes referred to as "subscription farming."


How, exactly, does a CSA work?

By definition, CSAs are composed of "a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The spraying is aimed at the light brown apple moth, an invasive species from Australia that has infested 12 California counties stretching from north of San Francisco to Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fears that if the moth, which consumes 250 varieties of plants, crosses into the San Joaquin Valley, the infestation could cause up to $2.6 billion in losses.


Hundreds of residents reported feeling short of breath and sharp stomach pains after spraying began. Environmentalists quickly sued, claiming the state never prepared an environmental impact report to ensure the airborne chemical droplets were safe for residents and aquatic life.

In lifting the ban, O'Farrell found the agriculture department's health-monitoring plan adequate to address concerns of residents. The government monitoring program will "accept and investigate" medical complaints after the pesticide is sprayed, the judge wrote.
British researchers found that among more than 10,000 adults who were followed for five years, women who routinely slept for six hours or less were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to develop high blood pressure.


Compared with women who said they typically got seven hours of sleep a night, those who logged in six hours were 42 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, while those who routinely slept no more than five hours had a 31 percent higher risk.

There was, however, no clear relationship between amount of sleep and blood pressure among men, the study authors report in the journal Hypertension.

Threats to America

Check this out from Adbusters magazine. It’s make you think…


(via We Like It Raw)

Chocolate Milk...is Good?

How do you feel about milk? Well, if you grew up in the US you probably think it’s a wholesome part of the good ole’ American meal. But, the truth is, milk really isn’t fit for human consumption. Dr. Fuhrman tells us why in his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Granted, Dr. Fuhrman’s my boss, but truth be told. I’ve never found anything appetizing about milk, and, I still think it’s gross when people drink a big frothy glass of milk with dinner—yuck! Speaking of gross, get a load of Mutant Milk:


But evidently some “experts” think not just milk, but chocolate milk is a “good-for-you” treat. Yeah, I know, I hit the ceiling too. EMaxHealth has more:
Chocolate milk is a healthy treat in disguise. This Official Drink of Halloween has the chocolaty taste that witches, ghosts and superheroes adore, but behind its tasty chocolaty costume, chocolate milk is packed with calcium and other essential nutrients that growing kids need at Halloween or any time of year.


"Lowfat chocolate milk is one of those rare treats that kids love and moms can feel good about," said registered dietitian and mother-of-two Liz Weiss, co-author of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers. "It's a nutrient-packed form of chocolate that always seems to satisfy. Plus, chocolate milk is such a better alternative than sugar-filled sodas and fruit drinks that contain little or no nutrients."

In fact, chocolate milk may be one answer to help curb the excessive consumption of nutrient-void soft drinks, which some experts say is a major contributor to childhood obesity in this country. Studies have shown that kids who drink flavored milk tend to drink fewer sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks, which are the No. 1 source of calories and added sugars in a child's diet.
Despite this blather, Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear. Milk and dairy consumption can set you up for a whole host of diseases. Take Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and ovarian cancer for example. Take a look:
Parkinson’s disease
Recent studies have shown that men who consume more dairy products and who are big milk drinkers have a higher occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.


Honglei Chen, M.D., of Harvard University reported his findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition (December 2004) and presented a few other studies, one of which was the Parkinson’s Disease Honolulu Study, that showed the same association. The interesting finding was that it was not the fat in milk and dairy that were implicated. Usually, the high saturated fat content of dairy is blamed for its disease risk. But in this case, according to Chen, fat was “out of the picture.” Calcium and added vitamin D also were unrelated. That means something else in dairy is the culprit. The relationship between Parkinson’s and milk consumption has been suspected for decades1 and was first reported by researchers a few years ago. Chen’s and other recent prospective studies have confirmed the earlier, less definitive findings.

Heart disease
A related recent finding is that deaths from heart disease also are strongly associated with milk drinking in adulthood. Of particular interest is that (as is the case with Parkinson’s) the association is with the non-fat portion of milk. Non-fat and skim milk consumption shows the same association as that of whole milk. Researchers found that heart disease death is strongly associated with circulating antibodies against milk. These antibodies are found to bind to human lymphocytes and platelets, thus increasing the likelihood of clot formation. The researchers also concluded that the non-fat aspects of milk have atherogenic effects (plaque-building) both biochemical and immunological, and the simultaneous attack from all these directions explains why milk was found to have such a strong effect on death rate.2

Ovarian cancer
A recent study of 61,000 women found that those who consumed more than 2 glasses of milk per day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who consumed fewer than two glasses. The risk of those who drank two glasses a day was double that of women who rarely drank milk.3 Lactose in milk seemed to be the primary culprit. Again this larger study confirms earlier studies with the same findings.
Heck, who needs dairy! According to Dr. Fuhrman vegetables pack all the calcium you’ll ever need. Here’s more from his book Eat to Live:
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine…


…Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk.4 Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium.
So instead of serving your kids chocolate milk, give this nutrient-dense chocolate smoothie a try. Enjoy:
Chocolate Smoothie
5 ounces organic baby spinach
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup soy milk
1 medium banana
3 medjool dates or 6 deglet noor dates
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Cocoa Powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Serves 2.
See, you don’t need milk to have a good time!
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Health Points: Tuesday

J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.
Scientists reported progress yesterday toward one of medicine’s long-sought goals: the development of a blood test that can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, and even do so years before truly debilitating memory loss.


A team of scientists, based mainly at Stanford University, developed a test that was about 90 percent accurate in distinguishing the blood of people with Alzheimer’s from the blood of those without the disease. The test was about 80 percent accurate in predicting which patients with mild memory loss would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease two to six years later.
A diverse group of low-income women participated in the study, Dr. Alyson B. Moadel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, noted in an interview with Reuters Health. "Our patients really enjoyed the yoga classes, it was very well received by them," she said. "It really fit in with their own cultural interests."


There is mounting evidence that yoga can improve quality of life in both healthy and chronically ill people, Moadel and her team point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, while quality of life may be particularly affected for cancer survivors who belong to ethnic minorities and other underserved minority populations.
The ban on phthalate makes California the first U.S. state to impose severe limits on a chemical that is widely used in baby bottles, soft baby books, teething rings, plastic bath ducks and other toys, said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, the bill's author.


"I think parents will be comforted that when they buy one of these chewy products it will be safe," Ma told The Associated Press on Sunday after the bill was signed into law.
New suspected cases of foot and mouth disease in sheep have been reported in Britain, the environment ministry said on Monday, in another county from the confirmed cases in this year's outbreak.


A three-kilometre (1.8-mile) temporary control zone has been imposed around premises close to the town of Rye, near the southern English coast, after sheep showed possible symptoms of the disease. Tests were being carried out.
Good news for us early birds who grit their teeth to get through the afternoon because our evolutionary bio-rhythms are at their lowest ebb.


Research by Liverpool’s John Moores University has shown that the mere thought of an afternoon siesta can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. The length of the nap is irrelevant as it is in the minutes just before we drop off when the beneficial changes to our body take place.
President Hu Jintao said Monday China would step up efforts to improve food safety and prevent the spread of animal diseases, in a speech opening the Communist Party's five-yearly Congress.


"We will intensify efforts to prevent animal and plant epidemic diseases and improve the quality and safety of agricultural products," Hu said.

Later in the speech, he said: "We must ensure food and drug safety."
A turning point came in 2002, scientists conclude Monday in the annual "Report to the Nation" on cancer. Between 2002 and 2004, death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year.


That may not sound like much, but between 1993 and 2001, deaths rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year.

The big change was a two-pronged gain against colorectal cancer.

Relations of the Heart

Here’s an interesting report. A new study claims bad relationships can actually cause heart attacks; reminds me of this post on stress cardiomyopathy. More from Reuters:
The study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found the stress and anxiety of hostile, angry relationships can boost the risk of developing heart disease. Chances of a heart attack or chest pain rose by 34 percent compared to people on good terms with a spouse or partner.


"A person's heart condition seems to be influenced by negative intimate relationships," researchers wrote. "We showed that the negative aspects of close relationships...are associated with coronary heart disease."

Other research has shown more social connections can mean a healthier life -- the "protective effect" -- but few studies have looked at how close friendships or marriages affect health, said Roberto De Vogli, an epidemiologist at University College London, who led the study.
If this is true—I should be dead by now!

Health's Hard Times

Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times shows us that economic hard times can actually be healthy times—or at least was the case for Cuba. Take a look:
Using national vital statistics and other sources, the researchers gathered data on energy intake, body weight and physical activity in Cuba from 1980 to 2005. In Cienfuegos, a large city on the southern coast, obesity rates decreased to less than 7 percent in 1995 from more than 14 percent in 1991. As more food became available, obesity increased to about 12 percent again by 2002.


Nationwide, coronary heart disease mortality declined 35 percent from 1997 to 2002. Diabetes mortality was down to less than 10 per 100,000 in 2003 from 19 per 100,000 in 1988. The death rate from all causes declined to 4.7 per thousand in 2002 from 5.9 per thousand in 1982.
I can see it now…The Poverty Diet!