The simple act of walking offers myriad health benefits—reductions in stress, blood pressure and mortality, to name a few. Despite these benefits and the accessibility of walking, the majority of U.S. citizens do not walk continuously for more than 10 minutes in an average week.
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.
Hall, K.D., et al. 2012. Energy balance and its components: Implications for body weight regulation. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95 (4), 989–94. Energy balance represents the complex interplay between the fuel we consume and the energy we exert, which makes this balance integral to the process of losing weight.
It may sound counterintuitive, yet new research from the University of Missouri, Columbia, suggests that eating fewer, larger meals may prove healthier for obese women than eating smaller meals more often. More specifically, consuming three substantial meals per day instead of six small meals may decrease obese women’s risk of developing heart disease.
When viewing food logos, obese children show less activity in regions of the brain associated with self-control than do their healthy-weight counterparts, reports The Journal of Pediatrics.
Researchers from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the University of Kansas Medical Center tested youth aged 10–14, using both self-reported measures of self-control and functional magnetic resonance imaging, which tracks blood flow as a measure of brain activity.
If you were asked to visualize a model of longevity, would you picture someone overweight? Probably not. However, new research suggests that people who carry extra pounds could have a lower all-cause mortality risk than normal-weight people.
When they don’t get enough sleep, women feel less full and men have a bigger appetite, according to a recent issue of the journal SLEEP. Twenty-seven normal-weight men and women (aged 30–45) were studied under short-sleep (4 hours) and habitual-sleep (9 hours) conditions. After a short night’s sleep, fasting blood samples indicated that fasting and morning ghrelin levels rose in men, while afternoon GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) levels fell in women. Sleep duration had no effect on insulin, glucose and leptin profiles.
If you want to improve your energy metabolism and reduce body fat levels by up to 4%, try a daily dose of probiotic yogurt. According to the Journal of Functional Foods, 28 healthy, overweight people who ate yogurt that contained the probiotic strain Lactobacillus amylovorus or the strain Lactobacillus fermentum for 6 weeks experienced an increase in energy metabolism and a decrease in weight.