Jan 13 2012

The “You’re Fat” Tax Is Coming!

Okay my friends, I don’t want to be the “I told you” type but I did! The “you’re fat” tax is coming soon. So you ask, what in the world is a “fat tax”? I am glad you asked. As we all are aware, obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Most of us are already overweight and some of us are way overweight-yes face it we are obese. Come on, take a look at your waist line. Look down there now. You can see it as plain as day. Yes, say it with me, I am overweight. Good-that’s a start. You have tried dieting, exercising and nothing seems to work.  Well, our government seems to think that it is now up to our elected public officials to help correct an epidemic. How, you may ask? How does the government respond to issues that threaten public safety-by making new laws and regulations and yes, you know it, it’s on the tip of your tongue-yes, taxes! Of course, taxes-a penalty for this indiscretion. Only this time, the indiscretion is being overweight. As many friends of mine point out, when injuries and fatal accidents as a result of car crashes became major issues, wearing seatbelts was advised. However this advisory didn’t help. So the next step was a law and regulation that made it mandatory for everyone to buckle-up. And it’s working. ...

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Nov 16 2011

Women and Sugary Beverages, Screening Children For Cholesterol and Nuts, Nuts, Nuts… Health Topics You Should Know About!

Women Who Drink Sugary Drinks Have Higher Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes Presented at the American Heart Association meetings in Orlando, Florida this week, researcher Christina Shay, Ph.D., M.A., Assistant Professor  at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and her group, reported that women who drink two or more sugar-sweetened drinks (e.g. soda, sweet tea, flavored waters, etc.) a day, will have a super high level of the blood fat-triglycerides, more belly fat and abdominal obesity,  and are at an increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, even if they didn’t gain weight! What do you do: my opinion is-women and everyone need to cut way back on any sugary beverage or foods they are consuming. Here is scientific evidence that all of those sugary sodas and coffees may be “stress relieving”, but are really hazardous to your health! Have You Checked Your Child’s Cholesterol Level? New screening guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicate that all children ages 9 to 11 and 17 to 21 should be screened for cholesterol. Previous guidelines only recommended obtaining a cholesterol level in children that have a strong family history of heart disease or a cholesterol abnormality.  These new guidelines stem from that fact that researchers have determined that the atherosclerotic process begins very early in life, even at the age of 9. If cholesterol levels are found to be elevated ...

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Nov 07 2011

Facebook Depression: Is It Affecting You?

I was speaking to a group of friends this past weekend at a small get together. It was an interesting round of discussions. From politics to the economy, we seemed to touch on everything. Then, one of my friends brought up a new topic which I was unaware of: Facebook Depression. It seemed like other friends were more aware of this term. Maybe because they are on the social networking sites much more than I am. Anyway, after a bit of research, it is apparent that there is a definite depressive disorder that is associated with Facebook and this may extend to all of the social networking web sites. Actually all of these social networking sites are a kind of bulletin board for your life-if you want them to be. People post pictures of everything they are doing the moment they do it. Family events, play dates, dates, special events, non special events and just about everything in between. There are pictures of people just waking up in the morning. How is that interesting? And not only pictures, but a blow by blow description of exactly what they are doing. “Having cornflakes and coffee for breakfast.” "Going to the bathroom." Okay-so why do we need to know these facts? I am not sure-but it’s posted for the world to see. And not only do you know what everyone is doing, ...

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Oct 16 2011

Listeria Outbreak Deadliest In Ten Years

This year’s Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has been labeled as the “deadliest in ten years,” according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials. As of October 11, 2011, a total of 116 people from 25 states have been infected. Twenty three people have died. Rocky Ford Cantaloupes shipped  from July 29 through September 10, 2011, from Jensen Farms (www.jensenfarms.com; Colorado), to over 25 states have been recalled. Romaine lettuce from California has also been implicated. Illness from Listeria may take up to two months to show up and cause symptoms. A recap of information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC about Listeria: What are the Symptoms of Listeriosis? Listeriosis is a rare and serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria. Persons who think they might have become ill should consult their doctor. A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches(but also may present with neck stiffness, confusion and vomiting).  Who is at Risk? Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include older adults, people with compromised immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as cancer), and unborn babies and newborns. In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and serious illness or death in newborn babies, though the mother herself rarely becomes seriously ill.  What Do Consumers Need To Do? Consumers should not eat Rocky Ford Cantaloupe shipped by Jensen ...

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Oct 02 2011

Cheerleader Collapses and Dies At A Football Game

As you may know, my predecessor, Graehm Gray,  was a champion for the prevention of sudden cardiac death in our young athletes by advocating routine cardiac testing of ALL of our young athletes as part of their pre-participation physicals. So many young kids make headlines, not by their talents on the court or field, but by their obituary.  And now another young student, Angela Gettis, a 16 year old cheerleader from Los Angeles, California collapsed this past Friday at a football game. Her autopsy is pending. How many times have we read, “…..was such a good student,” or “….we never knew anything was wrong.” Sudden cardiac death according to most sources is a rare event.  Usually there are no significant symptoms experienced before the catastrophic event. Studies from Italy and in the United States have shown that the use of cardiac ultrasound screening can identify serious heart conditions (e.g hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) that would put our children at increased risk for physical activity. And not only would cardiac ultrasound screening help identify heart conditions in kids that would place them at high risk for sports,  but also in college and professional athletes too (e.g. Hank Gathers-basketball player from Loyola Marymount University and Reggie Lewis-basketballplayer from the Boston Celtics)! It’s a reoccurring theme. Thousands of child athletes get screened each year, most by simple history and physicals. Some are lucky enough to get an electrocardiogram.  A ...

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Mar 22 2011

National Nutrition Month – March 2011: Graehm Gray

Hello my fans. I am interrupting my Best Diet in the Universe series, which I hope you all are reading and following, and want to mention National Nutrition Month.  Sponsored by the,  American Dietetic Association*, March 2011-Eat Right With Color,has been designated as the month to promote eating healthy and exercise. As you all know, The Nerdel Company’s prime health directives besides its motto   “everything good for kids,” includes making healthy choices in what you eat and to get plenty of physical activity. So what exactly does all this mean for you and me? Well, it has to do with following the newly released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans** and  the physical activity guidelines as well. Let’s break it down into easy facts you can use: Here are the highlights: Manage your weight by: 1.  trying to prevent and reduce being overweight, 2. Improve your eating behavior and increase your physical activity Control the amount of food you eat daily. That means for those of you overweight, REDUCING your calorie intake. Portion Control. Increase your exercise and physical activity time DAILY! Cut back on the amount of time your are sitting!!! Closely watch your weight in each stage of your life and balance the calories in with the calories out! Cut back on salt-reduce the amount of salt in your diet to 2300mg daily. If you are age 51 and older,  African American,  have diabetes, hypertension ...

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Oct 12 2010

Fat, Obese, Overweight, Chunky or Husky-What’s In A Name? Graehm Gray

I am back, my friends after a brief respite. Since my last column, I have had many long hours to read the papers, journals and listen to the chatter. So I guess that means I am ready to resume my ranting. Are you ready? Well, this week’s column pertains to those derogatory and disparaging names that we hear all the time: terms like fat, obese, and overweight. That’s right, I am taking this time to discuss the categories that most of us feel we fit into. Many research studies point out that we don’t appropriately categorize our own body type. And in fact we don’t do it for our children either. Many overweight people consider themselves in the normal weight range. Individuals that are obese and even morbidly obese consider themselves a “bit overweight.” So is being fat the new “normal”? What really is in a name? When was the last time you looked at your child and felt he or she was “obese,” or even “overweight?” And certainly we never would call our kids fat! Or have anyone call them fat for that matter! Do we as parents look at ourselves or our children based on the BMI scale? I don't think so. I can recall my mom calling me “chunky.” That didn’t make me feel any better, ...

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Sep 20 2010

Medical Clearance for Student Athletes-Add an ECG and Echo!:Graehm Gray

I usually write about childhood obesity issues, nutrition or fitness but I want to make a slight departure and discuss an issue that I feel very passionate about: Medical clearance of student athletes. Maybe the timing of this article is due to news of several student athletes in various sports, from running to football, collapsing and dying on the field, either from seizures or heart problems. It’s not a new story. Children in school sponsored sports programs have been dying every year, all over this country.  Sometimes it’s a headline in the “Local” section of your daily newspaper or on your local market television news show. Sometimes it makes it to the network morning shows as a segment. It’s even discussed and debated on a national level by heart specialists and sport medicine specialists. The American Heart Association has even gone on record by saying that the current clearance guidelines are inadequate. But what has been done?Nothing. There is no consensus on the proper way to screen a child that will enter a sports program. Where are we now? Up to this point, most public and private schools require students that want to enter a sports program to have a medical exam or a Pre-participation Physical Examination. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the pre-participation physical exam (PPE) is an important step toward safe participation ...

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Sep 17 2010

The Case of the Unhealthy Salad: Graehm Gray

Dateline September 2010, probably between breakfast and dinnertime and somewhere in the United States, someone sitting at home or possibly in his or her car, or even at a restaurant, maybe even a fast food restaurant, is eating a salad. Yes, that’s right a salad, with lots of those colorful shades of greens, yellows, reds and oranges. Comfortably sitting there looking down into the bowl of leafy and crunchy plant foods, those healthy types are almost a bit arrogant thinking of the great choice they made and how healthy they are by eating this group of foods. It’s a likely story that takes place thousands of times a day, all over the world.  Are they wrong? Could this be one of the biggest hoaxes played on the masses? Could a salad actually be worse than a hamburger sandwich? I have heard the terms “sneaky salad,” “killer salad,” and “diet killer” all applied to these supposedly natural, plant based menu items. They are on television, radio and the internet. They are in the newspaper. Get used to hearing these names. They are like celebrities-with their images plastered on huge posters. These salads have gone viral! Every health food conscious person will consider a salad either for lunch or dinner as a main course or supporting side dish. So what’s wrong with this? First, let’s not be so quick to blame these defenseless veggies. ...

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Sep 06 2010

Graehm Gray: How To Solve Childhood Obesity-Part One

I read an article recently that indicated the incidence of childhood obesity in the kindergarten population of most cities is still high. How can this be? There has been a dramatic change in the constituents of the diets-notably the elimination of transfats, the switch to low fat dairy products, the elimination of sweetened drinks and candies from school vending machines, the increased postings of nutritional information and the restriction on salt. So how can the majority of our kids still be obese and overweight? Okay-let’s break this down. In some school systems, besides the dietary changes, there is a push for more exercise time. As noted previously in this column, there is even a push to change recess into a structured exercise program.  That’s important since a healthy child is one that has a balance of good nutrition and physical fitness. Adding more nutrition and fitness education into the curriculum from pre-school through middle school is also showing positive effects (Dr. Gary D. Foster-Director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, Philadelphia-June 27th, The New England Journal of Medicine). So why are our kids still over weight? Well, as we all know, our kids spend only a portion of their day at school-between six to eight hours. The rest of the afternoon and evening is devoted ...

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