Entries tagged with: obesity
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Is your dog more Rotund than Rover? Is Fluffy's poofy coat camouflaging a few extra pounds? If so, you may be killing your pet with kibble kindness: Overweight pets are affected by many of the health issues humans are.
According to a new study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), in collaboration with the veterinary clinic chain Banfield, approximately 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. The percentage of pets that are obese (at least 30 percent above normal body weight) has increased over the last four years.
You might look into your beloved pet's eyes, shrug your shoulders and think "I love you just the way you are." But believe me, you are not doing your pet any favors. As with humans, being overweight leads to a host of ills, including osteoarthritis, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease and many forms of cancer. This all translates into a decreased life expectancy.
How do pets become overweight? Just like humans, they eat more calories than they need. And since Fido can't take himself to the drive-thru window of the local fast food joint, the excess weight is the owner's doing. The good news: The solution also lies within the owner's power.
According to PetMD.com, there are four typical scenarios:
The Nibbler: He "hardly eats a thing" but in reality picks at all the choicest morsels all day long.
The Beggar: She "won't keep quiet unless she gets her treats."
The Good Dog: Her owners "don't want her to go hungry."
The Gourmet Dog: He "refuses to eat dog food" and feasts instead on fattening human delicacies.
How can you tell if your pet is overweight? Just as it's sometimes hard for a parent of a chubby child to see the truth, it's often hard for a pet owner to acknowledge a problem. After all, where exactly do you draw the line?
According to APOP, your pet is overweight if:
It's difficult to feel your pet's ribs.
Your pet's stomach sags.
Your pet has a broad back with no visible waist (when viewed from above).
APOP has a more precise listing of ideal weight ranges for different breeds of dogs and cats.
You can help your pet lose weight by taking the common sense approach: Reduce calories and increase exercise. PetMD.com and APOP both recommend that you talk strategy with your vet before embarking on a weight-loss regimen.
Also, your pet should be checked out first to make sure that a heart, thyroid or other metabolic disorder isn't causing or contributing to the weight problem. And get everyone in the family is on board with the game plan to avoid any unintended sabotage induced by those irresistible puppy-eyes or that convincing purrrrrr-leg wrap combo.Can pets help you with road rage? Our comedian investigates.
Can eating a late night meal or snack cause you to gain weight? Our Healthy Skeptic weighs in.
The Holy Grail for Diabetics--Sort of
If you have diabetes and an iPhone, life may get easier. Our friends at DiabetesMine.com reported this week that a European pharmaceutical company has produced a medical device that plugs into the iPhone and can check your blood sugar. The Sanof-Aventis iPhone iBGstar glucose meter still has to be approved by regulators, but you can look at photos and details now. It may not be an artificial pancreas, but it sure could make checking your blood sugar cool.
Give the Feds Your Old Meds
If you've ever wondered how to dispose of your old medications, the Drug Enforcement Agency has a new suggestion: Don't throw them out, give them to the DEA. Sept. 25 is the DEA's National Take-Back Day for expired prescription drugs, according to CNN.
Being Overweight Is Pricey
A new economic study has pegged the yearly cost of being overweight: $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men. The new study, detailed on MSNBC.com calculates the what it costs to be bigger from more sick days and lost productivity to higher fuel costs. What's with the big difference between costs for men and women? Heavier women earn less than their skinnier counterparts, while men make equal pay despite their weight, the study found.
Amputee Swims Channel
A lot of people have measured their swimming stamina by crossing the English Channel. But when quadruple amputee Philippe Croizon swam it this week in 13 hours, he proved he could come back from a harrowing injury and still knock off a major bucket list item. Read more about his swim from Time.com.
Thanks to processed food, most of us get too much sugar. Here’s how to spot added sugar on food labels.
Doing the occasional Sun Salutation doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay thin as you age. But researchers think yoga practitioners may have an extra weapon against fat. Here’s why.
Can you be overweight and still in good shape? Our Healthy Skeptic shows you how a few extra pounds don’t have to get in the way of good health.
Kids forced to clean their plates may pay a heavy price. Dr. Bruce Dan has advice for parents of picky eaters.
How do you get kids off the couch or computer for a daily dose of exercise? Fitness expert Joe Decker shares creative ways to get your kids to exercise. They'll get you moving, too!
How mindful are you? Unless you're a Buddhist, it may sound like a strange question. But being more mindful could be an answer to two health issues high on many people's top-10 list: stress and weight.
Simply put, mindfulness means being aware of what you think and do in response to what's around you. It's the idea behind a technique known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which was developed by best-selling author Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. Research has shown that MBSR can help alleviate anxiety, depression, and pain.
MBSR, which is now offered by medical centers around the world, teaches people to live in the moment and become more aware of how they respond to their surroundings. As a result, they can change how they view whatever causes stress, pain, or other negative feelings and thereby achieve greater peace of mind. Typically, training is intensive, requiring eight weekly 2.5-hour classes plus 45 to 60 minutes a day of meditation. For some busy, stressed-out people, the time commitment is, well, too stressful.
A recent study, published in the journal Health Education & Behavior, has found that a scaled-down version of MBSR can be used successfully at workplaces. People who attended weekly one-hour MBSR meetings at lunch and practiced 20 minutes of yoga a day at their desks reported feeling less stress and sleeping better than those in a comparison group who did not participate.
On the heels of that research comes another new study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, suggesting that mindfulness may also play a role in weight control. Participants (80% of them women) filled out questionnaires asking how often they had reactions such as:
• When a restaurant portion is too large, I stop eating when I'm full.
• I taste every bite of food that I eat.
• I recognize when I'm eating and not hungry.
• When I'm sad, I eat to feel better.
Those who were more mindful about food and eating tended to weigh less. They were also more likely to practice yoga, which the researchers hypothesize may have taught them greater self-awareness.
Food scientist Brian Wansink has written a terrific book, called Mindless Eating, about our lack of mindfulness regarding food and what we can do about it. I highly recommend it. And for more on how greater self-awareness can help control stress, sit back, relax, and watch this video segment.
Here's a quick quiz: Which McDonald's item has more calories - a Quarter Pounder or a grilled chicken sandwich?
The answer, which I'll get to in a minute, can be found right in the restaurant. But customers rarely, if ever, seek out such information, according to research published in this month's American Journal of Public Health.
In the study, observers recorded how often customers accessed nutritional data available at four chain restaurants: McDonald's, Burger King, Au Bon Pain, and Starbucks. Of the 4311 customers seen making purchases, only six - a measly one-tenth of one percent - bothered to look at wall posters, pamphlets, or computer screens in the restaurants that displayed calories, fat, and other facts about menu items.
For the authors, the take-home message is that the information needs to more visible - displayed, for example, on menu boards, as is now required in New York City.
Perhaps. But the study may also reveal something else: Customers at fast-food restaurants may not look because they're afraid of what they'll find. Some people assume that any place whose offerings include a Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino or Triple Whopper with Cheese can't be paragons of nutritional virtue. If you're going to eat fast food, the thinking goes, why fret about fat and calories?
In fact, there are plenty of relatively healthful items available. And some that appear to be better for you actually are not. To make good choices, you need to be armed with information, which you can find - if you look - at many fast food restaurants or on their Web sites.
You can also get calorie counts and other nutritional information for popular menu items through searchable databases such as those provided by the USDA , the American Cancer Society, and calorieking.com.
As registered dietitian Carolyn O'Neil reminds us in this video segment on navigating the mall food court , the more you know, the more you can eat.
OK, now the answer to the question: The grilled chicken sandwich actually has a few more calories (420) than the Quarter Pounder (410), though the QP has more saturated fat. For a lower-calorie option, go for the regular hamburger. It has 250.
Is high-fructose corn syrup really hazardous to your health? Our Healthy Skeptic separates the truth from the rumors.
How many times does the average person change position while sleeping? Can you train yourself to get by on less sleep? Test your sleep knowledge with our Everwell Challenge.