Heart Attack Differences in Women and Men

January 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Heart disease

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Despite advances in medicine and knowledge about the relationship between diet and disease, heart disease remains the number one killer of both American men and women.

In fact, heart attacks affect more women than men in the US, and the death rates from all types of heart disease are higher in women than in men.

But heart attack symptoms differ by gender and it’s wise to know what to look for. A new statement published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation:

  • Chest pain and discomfort are the most common symptoms of heart attack for both sexes
  • Women are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath and pain in their back or jaws
  • High blood pressure is more strongly associated with heart attacks in women and diabetes in young women increases risk for heart disease 4-5 times compared to young men in a similar situation

The American Heart Association states that heart disease affects 6.6 million American women each year and that helping females prevent and survive heart attacks through research and awareness is a public health priority.

The Global State of Childhood Obesity

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If you think childhood obesity is a problem relegated to rich countries, it may be time to think again.

A new report out from the World Health Organization (WHO) points to an “alarming” number of obese children.

Highlights from the report include:

  • At least 41 million children under age 5 are obese or overweight
  • There are now more overweight and obese children in low and middle-income countries than in high income countries
  • Overweight kids in the developing world more than doubled from 7.5 million in 1990 to 15.5 million in 2014

One of the largest concerns is the rate at which obesity and overweight is climbing in the developing world. The WHO report found that Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Botswana were the countries with the highest percentage of overweight children among African countries.

And what’s to blame for this rapid rise in pediatric weight? The report cites the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks in the developing world as a primary contributor.

But it’s not all bad news – the WHO report outlined 6 main, practical areas to help end childhood obesity:

  1. Promote intake of healthy foods
  2. Promote physical activity
  3. Preconception and pregnancy care
  4. Early childhood diet and physical activity
  5. Health, nutrition and physical activity for school-age children
  6. Weight management

For more information about the WHO report, click here.

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To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

January 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Holidays

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It’s the first week of January – so chances are, you’re still on board with your New Year’s resolutions. But did you know that approximately 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the 2nd week in February?

Many folks resolve to eat better, exercise more and lose weight in the New Year. And if this description fits you, you’ve probably got a goal weight in mind.

So when it comes to weighing yourself, the big question is – how often should one weigh in to stick to a weight loss plan so you don’t become a mid-February resolution failure statistic?

The old school of thought used to be don’t weigh yourself too often or you’ll become neurotic about the number on the scale. But other data indicates that regular weighing is important to stay on track towards your goal. Who’s right? Or does the scale really even matter?

Weigh Every Day

Registered Dietitian and nutrition communications consultant Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD suggests weighing yourself regularly, stating, “If you weigh yourself every morning, that can really nip in the bud any weight gain, or start to show you some weight loss.” Giancoli recommends weighing in at the same time every day, preferably first thing in the morning.

Throw the Scale Away

On the other side of the spectrum, Lindsay Stenovec, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Registered Dietitian and owner of NutritionInstincts.com recommends her clients leave weigh-ins for doctor’s visits and get rid of their personal scales. Stenovec notes, “Most weight loss goals are made with health in mind, so I suggest that individuals focus on actual behaviors that impact their health – rather than weight change. Focusing on weight can actually sabotage healthy changes.”

Consistency is Key

However you decide to go about self-weighing or tracking other health-related behaviors, consistency is key. The National Weight Control Registry, a cohort of “successful losers” (those who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for 1 year or more) keeps track of common behaviors shared by those with successful weight loss experiences. The NWCR has found that 75% of successful losers weigh themselves at least once a week.

Thinking Beyond the Scale

While the number on the scale may matter if you’re working towards a weight loss goal – don’t forget it’s not your only barometer to health-related success. If you pick up regular exercise after a period of inactivity, you may not initially lose much weight as you convert fat to muscle.

Pay attention to other markers of success besides dropping lbs, such as:

  • Reduced waist circumference – can you notch your belt a little tighter or go down a pants size? If so you’re losing belly fat and that is a major accomplishment even if your weight isn’t reducing as quickly as you’d like
  • Lowered blood pressure measurements – regular exercise and improved diet can help lower blood pressure in people prone to high blood pressure; improvements in this metric are vital to reducing cardiovascular risk, even without weight loss
  • Improved energy level – do you feel more energized and less sluggish with your recent improvements in diet and exercise? If so congratulate yourself on improved quality of life, which in the larger scheme of things is probably more important than the number on the scale!