The Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center (MAC) in Timonium has big plans for 2012. MAC has set its sights on helping 1,000 people drop weight, get healthy and reduce the current percentage of citizens who are overweight or obese. “As we celebrate our 15-year anniversary, we pause to remember our mission—to create a health club where everyone could come together to get healthy and fit,” said MAC owner Tim Rhode. “Fifteen years later, it saddens us to see the obesity epidemic continuing to escalate—now at an alarming 66% in the state of Maryland.
According to a recent study in Circulation (2011; 124, 2483–490), when it comes to reducing the risk of death, physical fitness plays a bigger role than weight. The study included 14,345 men with an average age of 44 years. Each participant’s BMI and estimated metabolic equivalent of task (MET) were measured at least twice over 6 years. Also included in the study was an 11-year follow-up. By the time of that follow-up, 914 all-cause and 300 cardiovascular deaths had occurred among the subjects.
It’s only February, and New Year’s resolutions are already waning. But it’s no wonder, according to an article by two Cornell University researchers. They found that even those with the best intentions can be derailed daily by environmental cues that subconsciously erode willpower. Such cues are significantly impacting the obesity epidemic in the U.S., the authors suggest.
The article concluded that the throw-down between willpower, on the one hand, and cheap food and big portions, on the other, is a mismatch.
Losing weight could save the United States a lot of money. Enrolling overweight adults aged 60–64 in a “proven weight loss program” if they are prediabetic or at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) could save billions of dollars in lifetime Medicare costs, according to a report published in the September issue of Health Affairs (2011; 30 , 1673–79). Depending on eligibility parameters and program participation, “Medicare savings could range from approximately $7 billion to $15 billion . . .
Great news! Here's yet more evidence that should help persuade deconditioned people to get active. New research shows that if you maintain or improve your fitness level—even if your body weight does not change or increase—you are more likely to live longer.
Researchers studied 14,345 adult men, mostly white and middle or upper class. Subjects averaged 44 years old and were part of the long-term, large-scale Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. They underwent at least two comprehensive medical exams.newsletter_teaser: Great news! Here's yet more evidence that should help persuade deconditioned people to get active. New research shows that if you maintain or improve your fitness level—even if your body weight
Fitness professionals have another reason to emphasize the importance of sleep to clients. Short sleep of less than 5 hours per night is significantly associated with weight gain in both men and women, according to a large study of more than 21,000 apparently healthy adults. Researchers from St. Luke’s International Hospital, in Tokyo, analyzed data from the annual health check-ups of 21,469 individuals between 2005 and 2008 and evaluated the relationship between average nightly sleep duration, body mass index greater than or equal to 25, and weight gain.
Many fitness professionals employ behavior change strategies to help clients drop fat. However, according to researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, lifestyle improvements are more effective when the focus is on upgrading neurobehavioral processes.
There is little doubt that men and women view the world differently. The same can be said for how they view their bodies, according to a press release from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Researchers studied 1,900 adults, average age 69, participating in a physical activity program, and the results suggest that older men and women perceive their bodies differently. For example, both groups noted that their focus shifted from appearance to functionality as they aged; however, men appeared to place greater importance on functionality than women did.
It’s been said that with even modest efforts we can reap substantial rewards. This applies to fitness as well as to our other endeavors. According to a study published in The Lancet (doi:10.1016/S0140-673660749–6), even minimally active people exhibit more positive health outcomes than do completely inactive ones. The study included 416,175 men and women in Taiwan who participated in a medical screening between 1996 and 2008. The individuals completed a questionnaire and were placed into categories based on self-reported physical activity levels.
Here’s another bit of news to help encourage overweight men to drop the extra pounds. A link has been found between excess weight in 18-year-old males and increased risk of cancer-related death later in life. The Harvard Alumni Health Study cohort involved 19,593 males who had had physical examinations when they were 18. The men then submitted follow-up questionnaires at age 45, with a final vital status follow-up at a maximum of 82 years. After analyzing the data, researchers learned that 2,395 of the men had died of some form of cancer.