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Chronic Diseases

Yo-Yo Dieting Tied to Heart Problems

Obesity and consistently elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels have long been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. But what happens when these metabolic risk factors fluctuate over time, as can happen when people flip-flop between diets? The answer may hail from a study in the journal Circulation involving a massive 6.7 million people.

More Long-Term Aerobic Fitness Benefits

New research adds to growing evidence that current cardiovascular fitness levels affect heart disease risks as far ahead as 9 years in the future. “Even among people who seem to be healthy, the top 25% of the most fit individuals actually have only half as high a risk [of heart disease] as the least fit 25%,” said principal investigator Bjarne Nes, PhD, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

Blood Pressure, Diet and Aging

It’s official: The typical Western diet is a major driver of rising blood pressure as we age, not age itself as previously thought, according to research from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health published in JAMA Cardiology. The study revealed that members of the isolated South American Yanomami tribe, with virtually no Western dietary influences, typically have no rise in their blood pressure numbers from age 1 to age 60.

Weight Training and Diabetes

At the medical clinic where I work as an exercise physiologist, a patient came to see me; let’s call him John. He was healthy, but his fasting blood glucose levels were high. He was in his mid-40s and had low muscle mass. John was not on medication and wanted to avoid it. He asked my advice.

The State of Metabolic Health

Public health may be compromised unless people shift their lifestyle choices from bad to better, according to new research. A recent study found that only 12% of American adults are “metabolically healthy,” and current trends raise a red flag on efforts to lower associated risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other complications.

Inspiring Functionality

CLIENT: Erika Miller

PERSONAL TRAINER: Michele DeJesus, MS (movement therapy), PhD (nutrition)

LOCATION: Lexington Athletic Club, Lexington, Kentucky

5 Ways to Eat to Beat Diabetes

The numbers are startling: More than 100 million American adults have diabetes or prediabetes, meaning they have poor blood sugar control, which, if untreated, often leads to type 2 diabetes within a few years. It’s therefore not surprising that a great deal of research is trying to suss out how eating habits affect diabetes risk. Here’s what the white coats have uncovered of late:

Muscle Mass as a New Vital Sign

Fitness professionals understand the importance of building and maintaining lean body mass for functional mobility and health. New research shows that medical professionals should also be promoting this message to their patients. “Muscle mass should be looked at as a new vital sign,” said principal investigator Carla Prado, PhD, RD, associate professor at the University of Alberta, Canada. “If healthcare professionals identify and treat low muscle mass, they can significantly improve their patients’ health outcomes.

Highly Fit Women and Dementia

Middle-aged women with high cardiovascular fitness levels were almost 90% less likely to develop dementia in older age than women with moderate aerobic fitness, according to a recent study in the journal Neurology (2018; doi:

To Fight Diabetes, Jump on the Whole-Grain Train

The numbers are startling: About 30 million Americans—more than 9% of the population—have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 84 million have prediabetes, a condition of poor blood sugar control that often leads to type 2 diabetes. But it looks like adding whole grains to our diets could reduce the disease’s collective burden.

Heart disease

The Optimal Amount of Exercise for Heart Health

Arterial stiffness, which increases with sedentary living, is associated with higher risk of heart disease. It’s well known that exercise can help, but how much—or how little—is enough?
“While near-daily, vigorous lifelong (>25 years) endurance exercise training prevents arterial stiffening with ageing, this rigorous routine of exercise training over a lifetime is impractical for most individuals,” noted the authors of a new study, which aimed to determine the least amount of exercise necessary to reduce arterial stiffness.

Exercise Doesn’t Slow Dementia, Say Researchers

Research has supported exercise as having the potential to keep dementia at bay or at least to impede its progression. A recent study suggests that physical activity may not be as effective at warding off cognitive decline as previously thought.
In this study, published in BMJ (2018; 361, k1675), 329 individuals were assigned to an exercise intervention, while 165 subjects received “usual care.” Average age was 77, and each participant had a clinically confirmed dementia diagnosis.

Weight Training’s Surprising Effects on Depression

Could a cure for depression be found in the weight room? Data from a study published in JAMA Psychiatry (2018; 75 [6], 566–76) points to that conclusion. The meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials, featuring 1,877 participants, found a link between resistance training (RET) and a reduction in depressive symptoms.

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