Weight-Loss: Placing a Fatbet.net



If you’re a betting man or woman and you’ve got some pounds to lose, Fatbet.net might be an option. Megan Sheppard of The Seattle Times investigates this gambling versus gluttony website. Take a look:
By laying stakes on their weight-loss goals, John Dirks and Adam Orkand have stumbled upon a method — and a healthy hobby — that keeps them in shape.

After confronting their own corpulence on a February 2007 Maui vacation with their families, the friends vowed to get down to 200 pounds. In gentlemanly fashion, they decided that friendly wager would make things interesting: The loser — or "nonloser" — would pay the winner $200…

… After three months of careful eating, exercise, daily weigh-ins and good-natured jibes, both men had met their goal. And they've kept the weight off for more than a year. So in December, the two decided to share their experience and success by creating www.fatbet.net, a largely noncommercial Web site that allows the public to place their own fatbets.

"We originally created the site for guys, since they didn't seem to have a place to go for support," says Dirks.

"And men are often in denial," Orkand adds, "thinking they're still in shape for football when they're actually carrying 20 or 30 extra pounds."

Nonetheless, Fatbet is a gender-neutral, free tool. An on-screen graph plots weight entries in relation to a gradually descending blue line. The guys found immediate feedback particularly motivational.
Well, I’m not a gambling man, and, I’m not sure how I feel about Fatbet, but, I guess you could get SOME social support from it and social support is a very important part of good health. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Despite medical advances, 85 percent of Americans will still die from heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. The real key to longevity is not better treatment; it is prevention. By comparison with our sickly nation, people who survive past 100 years are remarkably disease-free. They are generally physically active, independent, and socially connected. They are not the feeble stereotypes that we often associate with getting old. This is not merely about living longer; it is also about staying younger and healthier into your later years, so life can be enjoyed to its fullest.
It’s radical and I’m not one to openly condone gambling, but if betting can help get you slim and healthy—what the heck!

Health Points: Wednesday

The Institute of Medicine report found there are only about 7,100 doctors certified in geriatrics in the United States, 1 for every 2,500 older Americans.

The report urged that all health care workers be trained in basic geriatric care and that schools increase training in the treatment of older patients.

And it said pay for geriatric specialists, doctors, nurses and care workers needs to be increased.

A doctor specializing in elderly care earned $163,000 on average in 2005 compared with $175,000 for a general internist, even though the geriatric specialist required more training.
If approved, vaccination will take place before the end of the fiscal year in March 2009, and mark the first case in the world in which the vaccines -- based on strains of the H5N1 virus from China and Indonesia -- have been given to such a large group of people prior to a possible pandemic.


Japan has stockpiled vaccines for 10 million people using strains of the H5N1 virus from China, Indonesia and Vietnam. So far the government's stance has been to use them only after a breakout.
Complete cloud cover halves the energy of ultraviolet rays, and shade reduces it by 60 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health…


…To strike a balance between useful exposure and protection, the N.I.H. recommends an initial exposure of 10 to 15 minutes, followed by application of a sunscreen with an S.P.F. of at least 15. The institutes say this much exposure, at least two times a week, is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D, though some researchers suggest it may not be enough. At the earth’s northern latitudes for much of the year, and at the midlatitudes in winter, the sun does not stay far enough above the horizon (45 degrees) for the angle of the sun’s rays to guarantee an efficient ultraviolet-B bath. Northerners may have to rely on the vitamin D synthesized in the summer or on foods and supplements.
Dental practices may be a source of a dangerous form of mercury contamination in the water supply, a small study suggests.


In tests of wastewater from two dental practices, researchers at the University of Illinois found high levels of methylated mercury -- a chemically altered form of the metal that is toxic to the brain and nervous system.

Mercury is part of the silver dental fillings that have long been used to treat cavities; in this form, mercury is believed to be safe.
  1. Seattle, Washington: An abundance of fresh local foods, walker-friendly streets, and inclusive attitudes helps make Seattle America's best city for healthy living.
  2. Portland, Oregon: Life is good in our second-ranked city, thanks to its seemingly endless supply of outdoor activities, cutting-edge restaurants, and vibrant environmental consciousness.
  3. Washington, D.C.: Our capital city sets an accommodating agenda with farm-fresh dining, diverse cultures, and ample opportunity for exploration on foot.
  4. Minneapolis, Minnesota: In our fourth-ranked best city, lush parks and shimmering lakes provide a natural backdrop to a rich cultural landscape.
  5. San Francisco, California: Our fifth-ranked city steps up with one of the world's most unforgettable settings–along with great cuisine and an energetic spirit.
So why is belly fat so bad for your brain? Although it makes up less than 5% of total body fat, belly or visceral fat is nestled around the heart, pancreas, and other organs, according to Tongjian You, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of exercise and nutrition sciences at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.


And it's different from other types of fat because it produces all kinds of inflammatory compounds that can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and now, potentially, dementia.

"Visceral fat releases higher amounts of those cytokines, especially interleukin 6, that cause cardiovascular disease and diabetes," says Dr. You, who was not involved in the dementia study. But what's the brain connection? "Inflammation is a contributing factor to dementia, so that's a reasonable link," he says.
  • Cravings can be beaten, just by sitting them out. Force yourself to wait 20 minutes before getting that snack, and nine times out of ten, you'll no longer want it.
  • Find something to do - ideally, an activity that makes it hard to eat at the same time.
  • Find a hobby or interest to occupy you, if you've got too much time on your hands
Roche Holding AG <ROG.VX> will aim to reassure that big-selling drugs can keep driving profit when it kicks off the European earnings season, as big pharma's blockbusters face growing threats.


Weakness in sales of top products will be a theme for European drugmakers, reflecting ageing portfolios, safety issues with certain products and tough conditions for promoting new drugs.

Roche's local rival Novartis AG <NOVN.VX> -- digesting a $39-billion move for eye care company Alcon <ACL.N> to broaden its business as it faces loss of exclusivity on top-seller Diovan for blood pressure -- will likely highlight some of those problems when it reports next week.

Weight Discrimination



You hate to read news like this, but, apparently weight discrimination is a major issue in the United States. Amy Norton of Reuters is on it:
Discrimination against the overweight may be about as prevalent as racial discrimination, the results of a survey of U.S. adults suggest.

Using data from a survey of nearly 2,300 Americans, researchers at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut found that 5 percent of men and 10 percent of women said they had faced discrimination because of their weight -- ranging from job refusals to rude treatment in everyday life.

Among respondents who were severely obese -- having a body mass index

(BMI) of 35 or higher -- 40 percent reported instances of weight discrimination. A body mass index is the ratio between height and weight commonly used to classify individuals as over- or underweight.

Weight bias also rivaled the prevalence of other, long-recognized forms of discrimination, the researchers report in the International Journal of Obesity.
The good news is you can do something about it. Start eating a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet and the pounds will just melt away. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Eating more high-nutrient food is the only way to lose weight permanently, and eating more nutrients leads to permanent improvements in your health. Knowing these important facts and PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE is your key to health and longevity. Fortunately, eating more high-nutrient foods helps control food cravings and overeating behaviors, making it easier to reach your ideal weight. This knowledge can guide you for the rest of your life. It is not a fad, and it will never go out of style. High-nutrient eating is the way of the future, but you can enjoy it now. It can be your fountain of youth.
But in the meantime you can support those who are struggling with their weight.

Start a Blog, Lose the Weight...

Ali Hale of Diet Blog wants to know, Could Writing a Blog Help You Lose Weight? Here’re five reasons why it could:
  1. Community support from other dieters: The "dieting blogosphere" contains some of the most supportive and friendly people you'll meet online.
  2. Making yourself accountable to others: Have you noticed how much harder you work at the gym if an instructor or personal trainer is watching?
  3. Seeing how far you've come: Once you've been blogging for a couple of months, look back at your earliest entries.
  4. Helping your readers to lose weight: The challenge that you've successfully managed to overcome is almost certainly something that others are still struggling with.
  5. Fame and fortune: If you write well and consistently, and have a great story to tell, you just might get lucky and join the elite group bloggers who've won book deals.
I’m not sure about the fame. You won’t find my butt on Oprah anytime soon, but blogging might help you drop the pounds. Check out Full of Veggies:








Keep it up Nicole!

Health Points: Tuesday

The number of children who got fat during the two-year experiment was half the number of kids who got fat in schools that didn't make those efforts.

"It's a really dramatic effect from a public health point of view. That's the good news," said Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University and lead author of the Philadelphia schools study being published today in the April issue of Pediatrics.

The bad news: There were still plenty of new overweight kids in the five schools - over 7 percent of them became overweight compared with the 15 percent in the schools that didn't make changes.
The study, done with mice, found that lower doses of estrogen were safer, while moderate and high doses increased the risk of kidney and heart problems.


And although the findings were in rodents, they may provide a glimmer of insight for humans as well.

"It brings to our attention the fact that HRT [hormone replacement therapy] is not something we totally have to dismiss," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "There might be a way to give this more safely to women."
Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Thursday that its private-label Great Value milk is now being sourced only from cows that have not been treated with artificial growth hormones, such as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST).


The retailer said its Sam's Club chain also is offering milk selections from suppliers that have pledged not to treat cows with rbST.
People suffering from the addiction—usually those righteous raw foodists, vegetarians and vegans—obsessively check labels, avoid junk food, plan menus and often eat a healthy diet so they can feel "pure." Some even make fun of McDonald's customers.


It gets worse. While an anorexic tries to severely limit calories, an orthorexic might shun foods with artificial ingredients, trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup. Orthorexics also are generally unconcerned about their weight and do not feel fat. Their diet may make them feel virtuous.
Exercise during pregnancy has cardiovascular benefits not just for the mother but for the developing fetus as well, according to research presented Monday at the 121st annual meeting of the American Physiological Society, part of the Experimental Biology 2008 scientific conference.


The results of this pilot study "imply an exciting potential benefit of maternal exercise on fetal cardiac autonomic nervous system regulation," Dr. Linda E. May from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri told Reuters Health.

The autonomic nervous system controls the body's involuntary activities, such as the beating of the heart, blood pressure, breathing rate, and functions in the internal organs.
Not surprisingly, those with a bedroom TV were more apt to watch it a lot, clocking four to five more hours in front of a television per week, the researchers said. Twice as many of the teens with a bedroom TV were classified as heavy TV watchers -- at least five hours a day -- compared to those without one.


Girls with a bedroom television reported getting less vigorous exercise -- 1.8 hours per week compared to 2.5 hours for girls without a TV. They also ate fewer vegetables, drank more sweetened beverages and ate meals with their family less often, the researchers said.

Boys with a bedroom TV reported having a lower grade point average than boys without one, as well as eating less fruit and having fewer family meals, the researchers said.
Oteha Valley primary school, north of Auckland, has banned birthday cakes as part of a larger fat crack-down by the area's Ministry of Education.


Here's why cakes are a problem: Oteha Valley has a large number of pupils born in September and October. As a result, there's the potential for up to four cakes to arrive per week in some classes. Parents were starting to believe they were required to provide a cake for their child's birthday. Since this was both untrue and unhealthy, the school has advised parents in a newsletter to stop sending cakes to school.
During the study, the type 1 diabetics gained weight gained an average of 10.3 pounds and type 2 diabetics gained an average of 4.0. The weight gain could not be explained by a slowing of the body's metabolism, decrease in physical activity, or increase in sugar in the urine, leaving the authors to conclude that it was primarily due to overeating.


They also report that accurate assessment of calorie intake was "severely hampered by the underreporting of food intake, with (reported calorie) intakes being insufficient to meet even (the body's lowest) energy requirements."

Heart Health: Bad News, Good News, Stupid News...

Quick, panic! A new study claims that people with diabetes have the same heart attack risk as individuals who have already had a heart attack. Reuters reports:
The finding, which appears in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, comes from a study of 3.3 million residents of Denmark who were at least 30 years of age. Overall, 2.2 percent of subjects had diabetes and 2.4 percent had a prior heart attack.


Dr. Tina Ken Schramm and colleagues found that, compared with men without diabetes or a prior heart attack, those with diabetes were 2.32-times more likely to experience a stroke, heart attack or death from cardiovascular causes, and those with a prior heart attack were 2.48-times more likely.

For women, the corresponding risks were raised 2.48- and 2.71-times.
You’ve got to do something! How about exercise? New research suggests that modest exercise can fight heart disease. More from the AFP:
French doctors on Tuesday said that an overview of the latest research into sport and good health proved that moderate, frequent exercise combated the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, respiratory disease and depression.


The report by the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) sets a benchmark, for adults, of at least 30 minutes of modest exercise, such as fast walking, at least five times a week, or 20 minutes of harder exercise, such as jogging, three times a week.

Young people are advised to do twice this regime to maintain fitness.
Good, but if you like bike riding. You might want to stay away from The Stupidest Bike Lane in America. Well passes it along:


Now, just in case you haven’t had enough stupid yet. Check out these Weight Loss Sunglasses. No, I’m not joking. Diet Blog is all over it:

This snazzy creation is designed to give food a blue tinge - theoretically rendering food dull and unpalatable. Kind of the opposite phenomenon of "beer goggles"?


While your first instinct may be to snicker (as it should be), there is actual physiological and psychological rationale to this theory: Certain colours tend to stimulate appetite, while others tend to deter it. Apparently, blue is considered to be the least appetizing color of the spectrum, with red and yellow being at the opposite end as a hunger stimulant.
Well George Carlin said it best, in life, there’re a few winners, and a whole-lot of losers. Short bike lanes and magic sunglasses—LOSERS!

Health Points: Tuesday

The Mayo team examined the cardiovascular health of 233 retired NFL players, aged 35 to 65. They did this by measuring the internal diameter of the carotid (neck) artery and by assessing levels of plaque deposits that can block blood flow.

The researchers found that 82 percent of the retired players under age 50 had abnormal narrowing and blockages in their arteries greater than the 75th percentile of the general population. That means these retired players may be at increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.
The superintendent, Jody P. Weis, a former F.B.I. agent, came in last month as a reformer vowing to clean up the nation’s second-largest police force, and has already diversified the ranks and bolstered community relations. Now Mr. Weis, an exercise enthusiast, has shocked more than a few people with talk of mandatory fitness tests and maximum body-fat allowances (only after a year’s physical education and with exceptions, of course)…


“…I hope it’s not his opinion that this force is in bad shape as compared to others,” said Mark P. Donahue, president of the Chicago local of the Fraternal Order of Police. (Police departments across the country have long struggled with the problem of overweight officers; a chief in Florida lost his job in 2006 after sending a memo to his officers titled “Are You a Jelly Belly?”)
The requirement was supposed to take effect Monday, but a restaurant trade group has challenged it in court. The city Health Department said Thursday it was postponing the regulation's start date until April 15 because the court ruling is expected soon.


Health officials say the measure will combat obesity by forcing diners to face the caloric consequences of their orders. But the New York State Restaurant Association says the rule violates the First Amendment by forcing businesses to put what amounts to a message on their menus.
State health and agriculture officials said today that two recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees. The implicated product is Milford Valley Farms Chicken Cordon Bleu with a stamped code of C8021. This product is sold at many different grocery store chains.


This the fifth outbreak of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products since 1998. The findings prompted the officials to urge consumers to make sure that all raw poultry products are handled carefully and cooked thoroughly, and to avoid cooking raw chicken products in the microwave because of the risk of undercooking.
People who are 35 or younger who keep smoking are far more prone to die from a heart-related event, have a repeat heart attack or need future treatments to clear blocked arteries compared to those who stopped smoking.


The study makes clear that smoking not only promotes a first heart attack, but poses heart risks in younger patients who have survived one, researchers said. The report was presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.
Patients with heart failure are especially vulnerable to influenza and most doctors recommend they get flu shots, but a study suggests these annual jabs may not offer them full protection, U.S. researchers said on Saturday.


They found heart failure patients in a study had lower immune responses to the vaccine compared with healthy people of similar ages, leaving them more vulnerable to infection.
Officials in southern China sealed more than 4,000 boxes of possibly contaminated milk and the manufacturer recalled another 2,700 boxes after children became sick on drinking the product, Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.


A total of 119 children, some in day care centers, fell ill on drinking the milk and 75 of them were hospitalized for two days, China's official news agency said.
Buy Local Groceries
It takes less fuel to transport locally grown or produced fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and dairy products than it does to transport foods over long distances. As such, less pollution is produced and less fuel is used to transport local food products.


Make Smart Fish Choices
Fish populations and the health of aquatic ecosystems are at risk from overfishing, bycatch (organisms that are inadvertently killed as a result of fishing practices), and the wastes produced by fish farms. Programs such as Vancouver B.C.’s Ocean Wise Program helps locals choose sustainable fish options. This Program was launched in 2005 by the Vancouver Aquarium to work with restaurants and markets to help them buy ocean-friendly fish. The program is also intended to help consumers purchase sustainably-harvested fish and to avoid fish on the endangered list.