Barbara Brehm-Curtis is a professor of exercise and sport studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she teaches courses in stress management, nutrition and health. Aside from writing about health- and fitness-related topics for more than 25 years, she has worked as a fitness instructor, personal trainer, lifestyle coach and fitness program director. She has received the San Diego County Medical Society Media Award and was a Maggie Award finalist for regular columns in Fitness Management, where she served as a contributing editor.
Widespread media coverage on the dangers of salt, and recent public-health efforts to reduce it in foods, seem to make salt the bad guy of nutrition. Is salt harmful for people who have hypertension, and can they still consume it? What about those without high blood pressure? And can you get too little salt in your diet?
Breast cancer survivors may effectively improve muscle endurance with Pilates chair training, which may have advantages over traditional resistance training since the chair requires less space, can be less expensive and may be more enjoyable for some people.
Middle-aged and older women with osteopenia who practiced tai chi over a 9-month period experienced a reduction in bone density loss and an improvement in postural control that reduced the risk of falls, according to authors of a randomized pilot study conducted in the Boston area. Harvard Medical School researchers designed the study to assess the effectiveness of tai chi and usual care compared with usual care alone for slowing bone loss in postmenopausal osteopenic women.
People with fibromyalgia may want to try meditation to help them cope with challenging symptoms like pain and depression, suggests a study published in Current Pain and Headache Reports (2012; 16: 383–87; doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0285-8).
According to a recent study by researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Southern California, there is a correlation between frequent use of high-fructose corn syrup and higher rates of type 2 diabetes. The findings were published online in Global Public Health (doi:10.1080/17441692.2012.736257).
Analyzing data on HFCS availability in 42 countries, the researchers found an 8% rate of diabetes in countries where use of the sweetener is high versus a 6.7% rate in countries where it is not used.
More whole-grain good news, this time from Sweden. Over 5,500 Swedish residents tracked and measured their intake of whole and refined grains. Ten years later, those who ate more than 59 g (about 2 ounces) of whole grains per day were 27% less likely to becomeprediabetic than those who ate 30 g or less. \
I’ve worked with many clients with type 2 diabetes, ranging in age from 30 to 85 years old. Even though age and ability are different in each case, the challenge remains the same: Develop a safe and effective program that will be vigorous enough to improve muscle strength and provide cardiovascular benefit without inducing complications from the diabetes.
In last month’s issue, it was reported that only a small portion of the population walks for extended periods on a regular basis. According to researchers from Spain, women should take up the activity to reduce stroke potential.