Health and Fitness

Overweight Pregnant Women May Be Putting Their Infants At Risk

In recent years, there has been a large increase in the prevalence of overweight and obese women of childbearing age, with approximately 51% of non-pregnant women ages 20 to 39 being classified as overweight or obese. A new article published in the journal Nursing for Women's Health finds that obesity in pregnant women is associated with pregnancy complications, birth defects, as well as a greater risk of childhood and adult obesity in infants born to obese mothers. Merrie Rebecca Walters, RN, and Julie Smith Taylor, PhD, RNC, WHNP-BC, reviewed the potential consequences of maternal obesity. Results show that obese women are more likely to have an infant with a neural tube defect, heart defects, or multiple anomalies than women with a normal BMI. Obese pregnant women also put themselves at a higher risk of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, induction of labor, cesarean delivery, and postpartum hemorrhage, compared with women with normal pregnancy body mass indexes.

Socio-Demographic Factors Put Rural Women At Higher Risk Of Obesity

Living in rural areas does not of itself put socio-economically disadvantaged rural women and children at higher risk of overweight and obesity, according to the authors of a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Rather, higher levels of obesity among women in rural areas may be attributed to individual-level socio-demographic characteristics more common in this group, such as higher age, lower levels of education, being Australian-born, being married and having more children, the study suggests. Dr Verity Cleland, from the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University, Melbourne, and her co-authors compared the weight status of women of childbearing age and their children living in socio-economically disadvantaged rural and urban areas of Victoria. In preliminary analyses, their study found that women living in rural areas had significantly lower odds of being underweight and higher odds of being obese Class I (body mass index [BMI] 30.

GE Capital Kicks Off Region's First 'BEE Healthy' Initiative To Address Childhood Obesity

Today, U.S. Congressman Jim Himes, Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia and the GE Hispanic Forum will host the region's first BEE Healthy* Kids Fitness Buzz at Jefferson Science Magnet Elementary School in Norwalk, Connecticut. The program, part of a national health awareness program from General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), is a corporate-wide initiative that provides fun, interactive activities and education related to childhood obesity. "Healthy kids usually grow into healthy adults, and I appreciate the work GE Capital is doing in local communities to promote wellness for our children, '' said Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4). "Teaching kids to develop healthy habits early on helps them lead happier, healthier lives and reduces costs and strains in our already struggling health care system." The "BEE" portion of BEE Healthy* represents the goals to: Balance for stretching and flexibility; Exercise, and Eat healthy. The event is the fourth of 10 national events. An estimated 270 boys and girls will compete on the obstacle course challenge at Jefferson Science Magnet Elementary School's gymnasium with GE Volunteers mentoring and helping the students with the fitness event.

Bariatric Surgery Can Be Safer Than Living With Obesity

Bariatric weight-loss surgery may sound dangerous and complicated, but a Geisinger physician warns that the real danger may be a life of obesity. "There are risks associated with bariatric surgery, as there are with any surgical procedure, but the risks associated with the procedure may pale in comparison to the health complications that can be caused by obesity, " said Christopher Still, D.O., director of the Geisinger Center for Nutrition and Weight Management. Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss procedure that can help obese individuals significantly reduce their body weight and can improve a patient's overall health. Obesity can lead to a variety of complications including sleep apnea, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease, all of which require medical attention, Dr. Still said, and patients who may be considering bariatric surgery are often burdened by one or more of these conditions. "Some obesity-related conditions can be fatal, and others require chronic medication and treatment, " Dr.

Count On Your Waistline To Increase Your Health Care Costs

Health complications and costs associated with obesity are well known; abdominal obesity, which is characterized by an increased waist has been shown to worsen metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and now, a study has demonstrated that a higher waist circumference is also an independent factor for increasing health care costs. A recent study published in Value in Health evaluated health care costs not only by body weight but also by differences in waist circumference in over 10, 800 people in the US and Germany. Annual health care costs of people with a greater waist circumference were 16 to 18% higher in Germany and 20 to 30% higher in the US compared to people with a relatively lower waist circumference in the same overweight and obesity classification. Annual health care costs (related to inpatient, outpatient care and prescription drugs) due to waist circumference were estimated after controlling for body mass index (BMI), demographic and lifestyle factors. The internet-based approach to recruit subjects and collect data was evaluated in a pilot phase the findings of which are published in Wolf AM et al, Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 2008.

Overweight In 20s Could Lead To Serious Problems In 40s

People who are obese and have type 2 diabetes in their 20s will be at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke in their 40s if they do not change their lifestyle. ""If your blood pressure is 136/88 and you're a man with a waist over 40 or a woman with a waist over 35 it spells trouble, " said Dr. Dale J. Hamilton, diabetes clinical services chief at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. "These are two of the five symptoms of metabolic syndrome, a problem that can lead to type 2 diabetes. All you need is three to begin seeing increased atherosclerosis." High triglyceride levels over 150, insulin resistance and a low LDL (good cholesterol ) are factors of metabolic syndrome, along with high blood pressure and central obesity. According to the American Heart Association more than 47 million Americans have it. Many of these patients will end up suffering with type 2 diabetes, which can eventually lead to coronary artery disease and stroke. "Small changes every day can help curb big problems later on, " Hamilton said.

Surgeon General's Report Lays Out Recommendations To Address Childhood Obesity

The Atlanta Journal Constitution : "As many as one in three children are overweight or obese, according to a new report" released yesterday by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. The report included various recommendations including: "Requiring students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 to take physical education, ... child care providers to offer at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day ... [and] schools to develop comprehensive wellness plans that include policies to offer kids more nutritious lunches." First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at an event marking the report's release, saying that "many schools have reduced PE classes, recess and other activities because of budget cuts. At the same time, the recession has caused many cash-strapped families to forgo healthier foods in favor of cheaper, less nutritious meals." Additionally, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted the United States "spends nearly $150 billion on obesity-related health issues -- more than it spends on treating cancer " (Keefe, 1/28).

Women In Prime Reproductive Years Succumb To Diabetes Epidemic In First Nations Adults

A diabetes epidemic is affecting First Nations people, especially women in their prime reproductive years, according to a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/embargo/cmaj090846.pdf. The incidence of diabetes was more than 4 times higher in First Nations women compared to non-First Nations women and more than 2.5 times higher in First Nations compared to non-First Nations men. The study looked at 8275 First Nations and 82 306 non-First Nations cases in Canada's province of Saskatchewan from 1980 to 2005. Rising rates of diabetes have accompanied an epidemic of obesity that may be associated with the loss of traditional lifestyles. In 1937, diabetes was not detected in a tuberculosis survey of 1500 First Nations people but by 1990, almost 10% of the province's native people had diabetes, a rate that had doubled by 2006 to 20%. New diabetes cases peaked in First Nations people between ages 40-49 compared with a non-First Nations peak of age 70 plus.

Sweating Out The Cravings

It's been 18 excruciating hours since you last had one. You're irritable, stressed out, and the cravings are intense. There is only one thing you can think about firing up - and it isn't your treadmill. But that's exactly what University of Western Ontario researchers have been hard at work trying to convince smokers to do. Dr. Harry Prapavessis, Director of Western's new Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory, and his team (Dr. Anita Cramp, Dr. Mary Jung and Therese Harper) are getting smokers to make the switch from lighting up to lacing up in an effort to help beat their cravings and kick their smoking habit - for good. Dr. Harry Prapavessis and his team have shown that supervised exercise in addition to pharmacological agents like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) helps smoking cessation, improves physical fitness, and delays weight gain in women smokers. "However, as with all smoking cessation intervention, relapse effects after stopping the program are common problems.

HHS Secretary And Surgeon General Join First Lady To Announce Plans To Combat Overweight And Obesity And Support Healthy Choices

First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin announced plans today to help Americans lead healthier lives through better nutrition, regular physical activity, and by encouraging communities to support healthy choices. At a YMCA in Alexandria, VA, they talked directly with national and local leaders, parents and health professionals about reducing overweight and obesity in adults and children. The First Lady recently announced that she will launch a major initiative on childhood obesity in the next few weeks and has asked HHS to play a key role. Today, HHS released The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. In her first release to the nation, Dr. Benjamin highlights the alarming trend of overweight and obese Americans, and asks them to join her in a grassroots effort to commit to changes that promote the health and wellness of our families and communities. "The surge in obesity in this country is nothing short of a public health crisis that is threatening our children, our families, and our future, " said First Lady Michelle Obama.

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