Our quest for knowledge regarding body composition and how it affects our propensity for disease and overall health has intensified in recent years, driven in large part by the desire to better understand health concerns and risk of disability associated with obesity (Goodpaster 2002). Indeed, research has focused not only on absolute measures of fat and fat-free mass but also on how the distribution of these affects our risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer, to name a few.
Thirty college coeds who participated in a biweekly tai chi program for 3 months at Georgia State University in Atlanta had an improved perception of both physical and mental health, according to
results published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine (2004; 32 , 453–9).
Cholesterol Peaks in Winter
People may benefit from having their cholesterol screened during both the summer and winter months. According to a study in the April issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine (2004; 164 , 863–70), cholesterol levels fluctuate over the course of the year and are highest during the winter months.
Exercise Decreases Risk of Depression in Kids
Middle-school students who increase their physical activity have fewer symptoms of depression, according to a study published in the May–June issue of Psychosomatic Medicine (2004; 66, 336–42).
Using visualization techniques helps older adults remember to take their medications and follow medical advice. Older adults who spent a few minutes imagining how they would test their blood sugar were 50% more likely to perform the tests as directed than people who used other memory techniques, according to a study published in Psychology and Aging (2004; 19 , 318–25).
Researchers may have uncovered a seemingly small behavior that could make a big difference in childhood weight gain: starting the day with a simple, ready-to-eat cereal. According to a study in the Journal
Frail older adults who practiced tai chi reduced their risk of falling,
according to a study conducted at Emory University Medical School
Researchers noted that adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s—some of whom could not walk without assistance—who participated in weekly tai chi for 48 weeks had fewer falls than subjects who participated in wellness education, according to results published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2003; 51 , 1804–5).