Topic of the Month July 2014: Pass (On) The Sugar

by on July 23rd, 2014

Doctor Paul Kennedy

Topic of the Month July 2014: Pass (On) The Sugar
It’s been nearly two years since I commented on sugar consumption in the USA. New research evidence has surfaced that indicates a continued overconsumption of sugar and “sweeteners” by many even though the sugar content of many processed and prepared foods has slowly (finally?) been reduced. It should be no surprise that the age groups most associated with sugar overconsumption are comparatively younger Americans. This does not mean that dietary levels of sugar in older populations have decreased significantly but it does indicate that younger people are still drinking highly sweetened beverages at an unhealthy pace. Parental control in this matter is, many times, non-existent and, therefore, young children and teenagers continue to consume sugar sweetened beverages at an unhealthy rate.

Although it is difficult to determine how much is too much when it comes to sweetened beverages and these sweeteners include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has become ubiquitous in our total food supply and can be found in almost every “prepared” food. What are the health issues related to sugar and HFCS consumption? Well, aside from the high caloric intake which causes overweight and obesity, the nutritional value is nearly zero. As a result of high levels of dietary sugar and HFCS, circulatory issues tend to arise along with fat weight gain and obesity.

In fact, there have been over a dozen studies (involving over 400,000 subjects) showing a correlation between sugar and/or HFCS intake to hypertension (high blood pressure)—even in teenagers. This condition seems to occur slowly and innocuously over time but research has shown that hypertension becomes a real possibility after about 18 months of regular consumption of sweetened beverages and foods.

How does this hypertension happen?

It has to do with how our arterial function and how dietary sugar and HFCS make our arteries struggle to maintain proper blood flow.

Our arteries are amazing in that they carry oxygen and glucose (energy from the food we eat) to the cells to help us produce energy for our daily lives and activities. When we exercise, the inner membrane cell walls of our arteries give off a chemical called nitric oxide which allows our arteries to open even wider (known as vasodilation) to allow greater blood flow when we need it. This nitric oxide is essential for arterial health and performance and allows our heart to work more efficiently. Sadly, sugar-sweetened beverages can–and will–lower nitric oxide levels in the blood. This means that the arteries become narrower and more constricted which, in turn, causes blood pressure to rise. Similarly, another essential nutrient that helps normalize and/or control blood pressure that is negatively affected by sugar intake is magnesium. The more sugar in the system, the more tense the smooth muscles of the blood vessels become and the higher the blood pressure due to lower levels of magnesium. This is why high blood pressure in teens as well as adults appears to be strongly related to the consumption of sweeteners like sugar and HFCS.

How much is too much?

Research seems to indicate that more than one serving PER DAY may be associated with a higher risk hypertension and high blood pressure. And don’t forget that higher sugar intake is also related to the risk for Type II diabetes—particularly in the absence of regular and vigorous exercise. Kidney stones have also been linked to sugar/sweetener consumption. As usual, moderation of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverage intake is major key to better health.  Remember that every 12 ounce can of sweetened “soda” and many iced teas contain the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar!! And don’t forget to look for and avoid the hidden sugar in many prepared foods when you shop. In other words, read and compare labels when you shop. The closer that one gets to fresh or frozen food without the added sugar or sweeteners, the lower the risk of many of the conditions and diseases discussed above. It all adds up!

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for July, 2014. Good luck with YOUR program! I KNOW you can do it!

Topic of the Month June 2014: Lifestyle and Mortality Rates

by on June 19th, 2014

Doctor Paul KennedyNearly four years ago I wrote a “Topic of the Month” called “Don’t Just Sit There and Die” (September, 2010). As morbid as the title may have seemed, I received some very positive feedback concerning the importance of the message and the realization by many that being physically active can not only be fun but life saving and “life extending”. This information seems to have been verified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a recent weekly report released on May 1, 2014. Although the information contained in the report was not necessarily a surprise, it was most certainly an eye opener in terms of the presentation.

According to health officials that designed the report:

  • Nearly two-thirds of all annual deaths were found to be caused by five conditions—all modifiable!!
  • Moreover, it was reported that 40% of those deaths were, for the most part, caused as a result of habits sadly engrained in our culture.

In other words, they were preventable!

What were those modifiable health risk factors? I’m sure that they are easy for one to guess. In no particular order, they were;

  • tobacco use (nearly 20% of Americans STILL smoke)
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • lack of physical activity (no surprise there!)
  • poor nutrition (including high fat, high sugar and processed foods)
  • exposure to second-hand smoke
  • drug and alcohol use
  • and even lack of adherence to the use of seat belts and motorcycle helmets.

In the study, it was found that that heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and accidents (the top five causes) were responsible for 63% of all deaths. As one can see, nearly all of the above list includes preventable conditions. The data were collected over three years (2008 to 2010) from the National Vital Statistics System and included all deaths for people under 80. Four of the first five diseases or condition, as regular readers of this column are sure to realize, are directly related to “lifestyle”.

In other words, poor eating habits and lack of regular exercise were likely the underlying causative factor.

The top four conditions/diseases were: heart disease (91,000 deaths), cancer (85,000 deaths), respiratory diseases (29,000 deaths) and stroke (17,000 deaths). Another 39,000 deaths were caused by injury (the fifth major cause).

Therefore, approximately 222,000 people died in a three year period of diseases and/or conditions that were preventable with simple lifestyle changes.

The risk factors are modifiable with improvements in eating plans and involvement in a regular routine of movement and exercise.

Can anyone at any age benefit from better eating habits and regular exercise?
Of course! And we’re not talking about a “program” of celery sticks and triathlons.
Here are some very reasonable changes which can improve your life:

  • A small reduction in daily caloric intake and a simple walking program can make a huge difference over time in our body’s ability to fend off a whole list of diseases.
  • A 30 minute walk each day along with a reduction of just 200 calories per day can result in a reduction in body fat of about 20 pounds per year and a healthier circulatory system!
  • Add a strength training program to regain calorie burning muscle tissue and even more body fat can be lost.

Of course, there are no guarantees, but over time a healthier and more energetic body will emerge. Be patient in your expectations of improved health and fitness but rest assured that with compliance, you WILL succeed! Of course, always check with your doctor before starting any new fitness or wellness program. Don’t be a statistic.

And know that a healthier and fit life IS possible!

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for June 2014. Good luck with YOUR program. I KNOW you can do it!

Topic of the Month May 2014: Body Mass Index (BMI) Useful or Inaccurate?

by on May 16th, 2014

Doctor Paul Kennedy

The term “BMI”, ostensibly a simple measure of body weight as it relates to health, is not familiar to everyone outside of the fitness profession. And for those who ARE familiar with it, it is, or should be, seen as a scale of overweight or “fatness” and not fitness. It is a scale that is meant to determine if one possesses a healthy combination of weight versus height. Developed nearly 200 years ago as a simple growth and size measurement and embraced a hundred years later by the American life and health insurance industry as a simple method to determine health and obesity levels, its efficacy was never questioned and the formula has never changed. Basically, the non-metric formula for BMI is body weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared x 703.

Example: Weight =170, Height =66 inches
170 divided by 66 squared X 703
170 divided by 4356 X 703
.039 X 703= 27.41
BMI=27.41

That resultant number is compared to a chart that determines ones level of overweight and/or obesity.
(See formula chart synopsis below).

Underweight: below 18.5
Normal: 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight: 25 to 29.9

Grade One Obese: 30 to 34.9 (note: until 1998, the obese range was once considered to begin at a score
of 28.0)
Grade Two Obese: 35 to 39.9
Grade Three: 40 and higher

Quite obviously, insurers that use BMI would be a bit more reticent about providing insurance to an individual that is in the overweight or obese category. But there’s a fly in the ointment! The formula that has been used for decades is, in many cases, inaccurate and possibly discriminatory. Although it would make sense that someone who is overweight or obese might be charged more for health and/or life insurance, other mitigating factors ( such as blood pressure, resting heart rate and blood glucose levels) must and, hopefully, ARE used to determine insurance premium rates as well as general health. For example, as a male over fifty, I have a BMI totaling just fewer than 28 (in fact, the numbers in the BMI sample equation above are MINE!). That puts me in the overweight category and close to the obese category BUT I have a body fat level that is under 12 % ( which is considered rather lean), a resting heart rate of 66 and a resting blood pressure reading of 115/67. Why the difference? The answer is solid bone structure and higher levels of lean body mass as a result of a lifetime of regular exercise and sufficient strength training. Skeletal muscle and bone are part of one’s body weight and, since the formula for BMI includes only total bodyweight as a variable, my somewhat additional muscle mass and stronger bone structure skews the result.

Clearly then, the BMI formula is simple to use but flawed since it does NOT include measurement of one’s fat weight AND lean body tissue (such as muscle and bone). As simple as the BMI formula is, it leaves out some very critical information. In other words, with sufficient lean body tissue in the form of muscle via strength training and with additional bone structure as a result of regular weight bearing exercise (even something as simple as walking), it IS possible to be overweight and still be fit. One must also remember that there are genetic predispositions toward fat weight retention that must be dealt with as we age and the way they are dealt with is through a reasonable eating plan, regular exercise and strength training—for women as well as men! I have met MANY individuals who are high on the BMI scale (over 25 or even 30) who are (or can be?) very physically fit due to a healthier lifestyle. As long as one’s physical exam includes a heart health component (resting heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) and a body composition analysis that indicates percent body fat ,the amount of fat weight may actually be a non-factor if—and ONLY if—it goes hand in hand with the healthy lifestyle practices described above. So no matter what your weight (or age), it is possible for you to lose fat weight and gain lean body mass
through a comprehensive program of exercise and strength training.

The result will be a healthier body and a longer life. Remember that the oldest person on record that ever gained lean body tissue (muscle) as a result of regular strength training was 103!

You can do this!

Topic of the Month April 2014 – How Much is Too Little?

by on April 10th, 2014

Topic of the Month - April 2014 - How Much is Too Little?

Dr. Paul Kennedy’s Topic of the Month for April 2014 is ‘How Much is Too Little?’ concerning the amount of vigorous exercise by obese individuals. Dr. Paul explains some shocking new data and explains his fears about the findings. Dr. Paul provides two quick ways you can help yourself stay healthy and avoid obesity.

Topic of the Month Article – How Much is Too Little!?

Cancer Prevention—Lifestyle Behavior Examined

by on March 25th, 2014

Doctor Paul KennedyOur health and fitness article archive has many articles concerning lack of exercise and the incidence of cancer in those that choose not to lead a more active lifestyle. For example, I have written previously in this space about the relationship between smoking and cancer. The effects of lack of exercise on the increased incidence of cancer have also been previously discussed. But a new article in “Medscape Medical News” by Zosia Chustecka (www.medscape.com) on February 6, 2014 explained that the relationship between lifestyle and the incidence of cancer is growing ever stronger. As one might imagine, lifestyle factors revolve around dietary choices, obesity, high levels of alcohol consumption and, of course, lack of physical activity.

It should be stated at the outset that about one-third of all cancers are preventable as a result of a few simple alterations in dietary habits and improvements in the inclusion of regular moderate levels of exercise. For example, even something as simple as slight reductions in calorie consumption (perhaps as a result of a reduction in the levels of foods containing saturated fats and, of course, sugar), can, over time, have a preventative effect with respect to certain forms of cancer. Moreover, a simple daily walking program can be a great way to begin a personal fitness program that can evolve to include other activities such as strength training. Together, these activities should be viewed as preventive medicine. Indeed, as I have stated many times in this space “Exercise IS Medicine”.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has investigated the preventative health “connections” mentioned above with respect to cancer prevention and came to some conclusions that many have suggested but that now have a more robust data base. In other words, the data is simply showing that better eating habits and regular exercise have a very strong position with respect to cancer prevention. Simply stated, there appears to be a “dose” response with regard to exercise and the lowered incidence of many forms of cancer. Of course, some of this “connection” has to do with the control of weight management and obesity. Dr. Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health has stated that “although the (individual) risks of cancer for a person who is overweight or obese are not as great as they are for a tobacco smoker, in the United States and some other countries, the much higher prevalence of overweight and obesity than smoking means that the numbers of cancer deaths caused by these two factors are now similar”. In other words, the death rate in the United States related to overweight and obesity is now equal to the earlier death rate of smokers! This is a chilling statistic particularly because it involves a PREVENTABLE cause related to lifestyle. And that cause is a shocking lack of movement of any kind since many Americans go through the day with little or NO physical activity. We have become a nation of sitters with respect to our work AND our leisure time.

It should also be noted that of the many causative factors regarding obesity, the role of sugar sweetened beverages in the typical American diet continues to be an area of concern. There is no question that one of the major causes of overweight and obesity—and, hence, its relation to the incidence of cancer– in the American culture is “soda” and its derivatives. Although the level of consumption of sugar sweetened beverages has leveled off to a small degree, it remains a major issue in weight control and related disease prevention. And, as discussed above, the corollary to the battle against cancer (aside from dietary issues) is the other lifestyle “choice” involving a lack of exercise! With a small amount of effort, a more nutrient dense eating plan, less dietary “sugar” (which includes “high fructose corn syrup”) and a simple exercise program, anyone (regardless of their current level of fitness and wellness) can significantly reduce their chances of acquiring this insidious disease. The choice is yours and the solution is simple. Make the right choice and lead a healthier and more disease free life.

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for March 2014. Good luck with YOUR program. I KNOW you can do it!

Another Fairy Tale About Diabetes Debunked

by on February 6th, 2014

Doctor Paul KennedyIt is no surprise that many people validate their unhealthy habits through rationalization. As a result, inaccurate information concerning prevention techniques usually result. One of the more long-lasting conditions or diseases for which a rationalization has been involved for many years is the idea that extra weight will help PREVENT Type II (acquired) diabetes.

In other words, some people believe that individuals with a “normal” weight are MORE prone to acquiring Type II diabetes (also known as “acquire” or “adult onset diabetes) than people who are overweight. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.
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Strength Training – What Are You Waiting For, Kick Off in 2014

by on January 1st, 2014

Dr. Paul KennedyThe topic of strength training is never easy because so many people define it in so many different ways. In many cases, it is referred to as “weight lifting’ which carries a competitive connotation for some and is a turn-off for many others. It is looked at as an activity that is only for people with large muscles and, perhaps, even larger egos.

For many, it is skipped altogether for three major reasons.

These reasons that I have encountered over the years as a fitness specialist are:

  1. Lack of knowledge as to what to do,
  2. Not enough time
  3. Too dangerous or too hard.

The first reason is understandable since much of the information provided to those seeking it is contorted, misapplied and even dangerous. What must be understood, however, is that the proper label for a program that involves gaining muscular strength, flexibility and added muscle tissue is “strength training.

Sadly, however, it appears that many (most) individuals that are involved in a fitness “program” do not include strength training on a regular basis and, for many, the strength training exercises that are being used are extremely unchallenging in terms of “workload”—the amount of weight being used, “intensity”—generally defined as getting as close as possible to momentary fatigue, and “comprehensiveness”—training only a few muscle groups (usually the chest and arms) to the exclusion of many others. It also appears that only a small percentage of individuals engaged in a regular fitness program do not include strength training as a regular part of their routine. For example, a recent study of over 16,000 adults involved in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) it was found that only about 13% had participated in some form of strength training and even fewer participated in some form of strength training twice or more per week. Considering the fact that at least two to three times per week is recommended to increase or at least MAINTAIN lean muscle tissue, it indicates a huge gap in “comprehensive strength training activities” in the general population.

So why the gap?
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Fit and Fat, Part 2 – Topic of the Month – December 2013

by on December 5th, 2013

Doctor Paul KennedyIn May 0f 2011, I wrote about the concept of being fit when one is also overweight or fat. The general assessment of “fatness” is based on a procedure called Body Mass Index (or BMI) that compares scale weight to height. The information is “charted” and produces a number that estimates adiposity (“fatness”). Although the estimate is just that—an estimate—it gives a general idea of an individual’s level of body fat versus lean body tissue (muscle mass, bone, internal organs, etc.). The focus of the measurement, of course, is the amount of body fat one possesses. In general, a BMI “number” of less than 18.5 indicates too LITTLE body fat, 18.5 to 24.9 is considered “normal” or “healthy”, 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, 30 to 34.9 is considered Obese-Level I, 35 to 39.9 is considered Obese-Level II and a BMI greater than 40 is known as “Extreme” Obesity. Your BMI is an important number for you to know to assist in maintaining a healthy weight. For an easy measurement, go to cdc.gov/healthyweight and plug in YOUR numbers to determine your BMI.
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Stress and Illness – Topic of the Month – November 2013

by on November 1st, 2013

Doctor Paul KennedyMost people understand that being stressed or under stress is not a “healthy “ state—especially over time. But what is the physiological link to stress and an unhealthy state (i.e. illness)? Indeed, what is known as “short-term” stress (as opposed to “chronic”stress) can actually boost the immune system rather than compromise it. So, what are the fitness and health factors that help to keep stress related illness from happening? A look at stress related illness causation, then, is appropriate. The list of causes, as one might guess, is varied.

One of the most common areas of stress causation deals with nutrition. When the body’s nutrients are depleted, as happens often with chronic and/or long-term stress situations, critical nutrients in the body acquired from the diet are used up at a faster rate than normal—especially minerals. This depletion has a direct link to a slower metabolism—the rate at which one burns calories—and the result can be unwanted weight gain. Additionally, stress can encourage poor eating habits that produce a higher intake of junk food and more processed foods. In other words, meals higher in calories and lower in nutritional value can compromise the immune system over time. In a related way, there is research that indicates that stress can increase the risk for diabetes since stress can actually alter the insulin response from cells. Moreover, a stress-related suppressed immune system can even increase the incidence of some forms of cancer due to the suppression of what are known as naturally occurring killer cells which help prevent the growth of small cancerous tumors.
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Regaining Lost Fat Weight

by on October 1st, 2013

Doctor Paul Kennedyby Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – October 2013 Topic of the Month

We’ve all heard the term “yo-yo” dieting and many of us have probably had an experience in re-gaining weight (specifically fat weight) as a result of additional unwanted pounds gained soon after a “diet” is abandoned. I have written before about the reason that “diets” don’t work and the main reason, of course, is that they are generally too severe in terms of calorie restriction and poorly balanced in terms of nutrient content. In other words, they are UNsustainable. It is my view that the calorie restriction component of most “diets” is the major reason that failed attempts at losing weight are common and lead to futility—not to mention that future attempts will be less likely to happen once severely restricted eating plans are experienced.

I have written before about the fact that no weight loss eating plan should restrict calorie intake by more than 10-15% unless the current calorie count of the dieter is vastly greater than the normal range.

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How Do We Approach Fit and Fat?

by on September 6th, 2013

Doctor Paul Kennedyby Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – September 2013 Topic of the Month

Over 46 years ago, the first “Fat In” demonstration was launched at the Sheep Meadow in New York’s Central Park in an effort to “protest discrimination against the fat”. The leader of the demonstration weighed 210 pounds and stood 5 feet 11 inches tall. In today’s world, he would be literally unnoticed and possibly considered as being just a bit overweight. But it was perhaps at that event where “fatness”, rightly of wrongly, became part of the national nomenclature. The message to the public at that time was that fat people-and this was the term they preferred-were not necessarily gluttonous or purposely inactive (lazy?). In the intervening 46 years, the level of “fatness” in our nation (now known as obesity) has gone to a whole different and UN-healthy level. As a corollary, it should be understood that many (most?)“fat rights” advocates still prefer the term “fatness” to the term obesity. In one sense, obesity has become the term for a medical condition rather than a description of “fatness”.

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The Sitting Dilemma – “Sitting is the new Smoking”

by on August 9th, 2013

Dr. Paul Kennedyby Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – August 2013 Topic of the Month

Nearly two years ago in this space I wrote an article called “Don’t Just Sit There And Die!” As morbid as the title may have seemed, I followed it up in December of 2012 with an article called “Too Much Sitting” as a result of the continuing research into this area of inactivity.

Some recent research has uncovered even more information about our penchant for sitting which now averages between 55 and 75% of the time that we are awake.

In other words, if we are awake for 16 hours (and sleep for eight hours) we spend about 9 to 12 HOURS sitting! Moreover, the course of study known as Exercise Science now has a corollary area known as “Inactivity Science” which may be euphemistically described as the science of “why we sit and do nothing for so long every day”. I don’t mean to make light of this new scientific pursuit but it’s worth knowing that most of the new information regarding our activity levels is not good. In fact, it’s a little frightening.

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A New Definition of Interval Training

by on March 1st, 2013

Dr. Paul Kennedy
by Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – March 2013 Topic of the Month

I have written in this space on many occasions about the effectiveness and time saving aspects of interval training when establishing an individual exercise program. Generally, the method is to intersperse short periods of more intense exercise (higher heart rate and increased “workload”) with longer periods of sustained exercise (lower heart rate at a workload that is “sustainable” for an extended period of time—like a brisk walk). It appears now that a new definition of interval training with respect to its relationship to mental health is upon us. A new fitness study completed at the University of Pittsburg Graduate School of Public Health and published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research (Feb., 2013) has shown a remarkable relationship involving slightly increased levels of activity and improved mental health. The other good news is that the time frame involved in the increased exercise intensity—described, as “moderate to vigorous” was relatively short.
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Resolution Roadmap

by on February 4th, 2013

Doctor Paul Kennedy
by Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – January 2013 Topic of the Month

So here we are in February and our New Year’s resolution to lose weight is becoming too much of a chore or, even worse, already a distant memory. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to review the “Resolution Roadmap” that I spoke about and described on our radio show “Be Fit, Stay Fit America” during late December of 2012. You can listen to an archived copy of the show(s) on our website by “clicking” on “Radio Show”. In any case, below is a brief review of some of the many pitfalls of the dreaded “Resolution” and some information and strategies to help you make fitness AND weight management a regular part of your life. So in no particular order, consider the following:

1) Remember that a little weight loss can mean a lot. Just a 7 or 8 percent loss of fat weight can result, over time, in up to a 57 percent reduction in many acquired diseases such as heart attack, stroke and even some forms of cancer.
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Menopausal Weight Gain

by on January 7th, 2013

Doctor Paul Kennedy
by Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – January 2013 Topic of the Month

Many women believe that menopausal weight gain is an inevitable part of aging, and in some ways, that is true. Indeed, the average weight gain during the transition years through menopause is about 1.5 pounds per year. This weight gain is fairly typical regardless of the initial age of onset, body type, and even ethnicity. Some experts believe that some of this weight gain (mostly fat weight) is not all bad due to the fact that fat cells produce estrogen and may help to replace the estrogen lost through the reduction in ovarian estrogen production. In any case, what can be

done to control or reduce the amount of fat weight gain during this critical transitional time in a woman’s life?

Recent studies have suggested that some, or most, of this weight gain is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. The reason for this is that in many cases the same is for men as it is for women, with the exception that women have less testosterone than men. Since testosterone is essential for the development and maintenance of muscle tissue, even a small reduction in this hormone in women can make a difference in subsequent fat weight gain. In other words, women must be even more careful during menopause with respect to four major health habits that can trigger additional unwanted fat weight gain. A five-year randomized study published in the “Annals of Behavioral Medicine” found that “lifestyle intervention” prevented expected fat weight increases when compared to women that did not participate in the “lifestyle intervention”. What was involved in the “lifestyle intervention” program? Well, the suggestions included in the study are probably no surprise—to men OR women.
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Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

by on November 20th, 2012

Doctor Paul Kennedy
by Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – November 2012 Topic of the Month

It’s difficult at times to consider an acquired (but preventable) and possibly life-threatening condition as a “disease” but that is what Peripheral Artery Disease (or PAD) has become. Like the acquired disease known as Type II diabetes, which is generally caused by a diet high in refined sugar, high in calories and exacerbated by lack of exercise, PAD has a similar list of causes. I have also written before about the value of regular exercise and its positive impact on increasing the flexibility of our arteries. In a sense, then, PAD has a similar cause and, indeed, many people that suffer from diabetes may also acquire PAD. PAD is basically caused by a build-up of fat in the arteries that, over time, will cause the artery to narrow as a result of the blockage. Known medically as “claudication”, this can be a very painful disease (condition) resulting from a lack of blood flow to the extremities—particularly the feet and lower legs. It is also referred to as peripheral vascular disease due to its negative effect on the circulatory system. In some advanced cases, the result can actually be the loss of the affected extremity—especially the feet. It should also be noted that the incidence of PAD is higher in individuals with chronic kidney disease and is a STRONG risk factor for future cardiovascular disease.

And the similarities between PAD and diabetes do not end with the symptoms and possible outcomes. Therefore, the purchase cialis prevention and treatment for this disease should not be a surprise. Of course, some drug therapy will need to be part of the intervention so the individual must see their medical professional for this phase. But the other options include dietary intervention in the form of a lower fat and lower calorie eating plan to reduce hyperlipidemia (fat in the blood). In addition, a gradual and supervised intervention involving “graded” exercise is crucial in assisting the circulatory system (heart, arteries and veins) to function more efficiently due to an improved level of elasticity as a result of increased use. “Graded” exercise is a methodology that should be handled by professionals that can measure and accurately prescribe, apply and supervise exercise levels that will provide improvement to the circulatory system in a safe and progressive manner.

As can be seen, the prevention and treatment of PAD is quite similar to that casino online of diabetes. Although medication can and usually will play a role in remediation of the disease once it is acquired, it is the increase in the exercise component, along with crucial dietary refinements, that can and will become the primary driver of symptom relief and ultimate improvement. To be sure, some cases may require a surgical intervention known as revascularization but, as with any surgery, the outcomes can vary widely. The best course of action is, then, the prevention and/or gradual remediation of symptoms through the application of the exercise therapies suggested above. Of course, no level of physical activity is completely or totally preventative in nature with respect to the role played by genetics BUT there is no question that regular exercise is a powerful and necessary tool in the prevention or improvement of this progressive and largely ACQUIRED disease. Simply put, the more one exercises, the more flexible the arteries become (or remain) and the greater the level of blood flow to the “periphery” such as the arms and, particularly, the legs. And a stronger heart can also help keep the blood moving rather than “pooling” at the extremities.

If you have some of the symptoms described above, see your doctor as soon as possible so that early intervention can keep the symptoms from worsening and the ability to improve or even eliminate the

condition is far more likely. And even if you don’t have the symptoms and have been or currently are sedentary, see your fitness professional and get started (or re-started) on an exercise program that will keep your circulatory system in tip-top shape and allow you to live a more active, energetic and healthful life.

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for November 2012. Good luck with YOUR program. I KNOW you can do it!

Do Our Arteries "Think"?

by on September 28th, 2012

Do Arteries Think? by Dr. Paul Kennedyby Dr. Paul Kennedy, Wellness Outreach Doctor – September 2012 Topic of the Month

Well, sort of. But they do positively respond to exercise by producing a substance known as Endothelium-Derived Relaxing Factor or EDRF. This substance is produced by a thin layer of cells that line our blood vessels (and even the chambers of our hearts) that is known as the endothelium. In turn, this thin endothelial layer (it is only one cell thick) has the job of helping to keep our arteries open and more flexible so that oxygen laden blood can get to the cells, when needed, for the delivery of oxygen and other vital nutrients. The process of arterial “relaxation” as a result of EDRF is critical to our general health and especially to the health of our heart.
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How Healthy (Fit?) Are Americans?

by on July 2nd, 2012

by Dr. Paul Kennedy – Leisure Fitness, Wellness Doctor

Every year the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (commonly known as the CDC) gives America an indication of our general health and wellness. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics report for 2011 is now available. The report is a result of the 2011 National Health Survey and the results are a bit of a mixed bag. It appears that there are, indeed, areas where American health habits and general health has improved and other areas that continue to be challenging for our nation. As always, it seems, the news is both good and bad. And it also seems, at least to me, that many Americans are having difficulty facing the truth about their own behaviors when it comes to health. For example, the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes (the “acquired form”) continues to rise yet only 2.4 % of the population considers their personal level of health as “poor”!

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Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease

by on April 13th, 2012

written by Dr. Paul Kennedy, Leisure Fitness – Wellness Director

Recent research in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has indicated that insulin resistance such as that found in diabetes may be a factor in what is known as “cognitive decline”, dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Although the research is comparatively recent and includes both human and animal brain cell investigation, preliminary results indicate that the link may exist. Of course, further research will be necessary to determine if a direct link exists or to what degree the link between the two conditions may represent.

Since diabetes is a condition that involves a reduction in glucose uptake to the working cells, it is reasonable to assume that brain cells—the most active cells in the body that require the most oxygen and blood flow—could represent an area where energy production in the form of glucose uptake could be sensitive to a reduction in uptake.

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Soda Consumption and Heart Disease

by on March 26th, 2012

Doctor Paul Kennedywritten by Dr. Paul Kennedy, Leisure Fitness – Wellness Director

A recent study appearing in the professional medical journal “Circulation” has found that consumption of just one “soda” or sugar sweetened soft drink per day can increase the risk of heart disease by a whopping 20%. And this is after “adjusting” for other personal risk factors such as exercise participation and other dietary issues involving fatty foods.

Most people don’t realize that a typical soft drink or “soda” typically contains 10 teaspoons of sugar or, more likely, an equivalent amount of high fructose corn syrup or casino online “HFCS” (check the “Topic

of the Week” archive on HFCS for more information on this common sugar substitute). And don’t be fooled by “fruit drinks” that may have the same amount of refined sugar as a typical 12 ounce soda.

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