Category Archives: Health Monitoring

Can a healthy lifestyle help prevent cancer?

SOURCE: The JAMA Network Journals

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A “healthy lifestyle pattern” was defined as never or past smoking; no or moderate drinking of alcohol (one or less drink a day for women, two or less drinks a day for men); BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5; and weekly aerobic physical activity of at least 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity. Individuals who met all four criteria were considered low risk and everyone else was high risk.

The study included 89,571 women and 46,399 men; 16,531 women and 11,731 had a healthy lifestyle pattern (low-risk group) and the remaining 73,040 women and 34,608 men were high risk.

The authors calculated population-attributable risk (PAR), which can be interpreted as the proportion of cases that would not occur if all the individuals adopted the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors suggest about 20 percent to 40 percent of cancer cases and about half of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors note that including only white individuals in their PAR estimates may not be generalizable to other ethnic groups but the factors they considered have been established as risk factors in diverse ethnic groups too.

“These findings reinforce the predominate importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk. Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control,” the authors conclude.

 

Journal References:

  1. Mingyang Song, MD, ScD, Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD. Preventable Incidence and Mortality of Carcinoma Associated With Lifestyle Factors Among White Adults in the United States. JAMA Oncol., May 2016 DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0843
  2. Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH; Siobhan Sutcliffe, PhD. The Preventability of Cancer: Stacking the Deck. JAMA Oncol, May 2016 DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0889
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How Exercise Keep Us Young

4/18/2017: New York Times, see article here.

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Active older people resemble much younger people physiologically, according to a new study of the effects of exercise on aging. The findings suggest that many of our expectations about the inevitability of physical decline with advancing years may be incorrect and that how we age is, to a large degree, up to us. Aging remains a surprisingly mysterious process. A wealth of past scientific research has shown that many bodily and cellular processes change in undesirable ways as we grow older. But science has not been able to establish definitively whether such changes result primarily from the passage of time — in which case they are inevitable for anyone with birthdays — or result at least in part from lifestyle, meaning that they are mutable. This conundrum is particularly true in terms of inactivity. Older people tend to be quite sedentary nowadays, and being sedentary affects health, making it difficult to separate the effects of not moving from those of getting older.

In the new study, which was published this week in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at King’s College London and the University of Birmingham in England decided to use a different approach. They removed inactivity as a factor in their study of aging by looking at the health of older people who move quite a bit.  “We wanted to understand what happens to the functioning of our bodies as we get older if we take the best­case scenario,” said Stephen Harridge, senior author of the study and director of the Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London. To accomplish that goal, the scientists recruited 85 men and 41 women aged between 55 and 79 who bicycle regularly. The volunteers were all serious recreational riders but not competitive athletes. The men had to be able to ride at least 62 miles in six and a half hours and the women 37 miles in five and a half hours, benchmarks typical of a high degree of fitness in older people. The scientists then ran each volunteer through a large array of physical and cognitive tests. The scientists determined each cyclist’s endurance capacity, muscular mass and strength, pedaling power, metabolic health, balance, memory function, bone density and reflexes. They also had the volunteers complete the so-called Timed Up and Go test, during which someone stands up from a chair without using his or her arms, briskly walks about 10 feet, turns, walks back and sits down again.

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The researchers compared the results of cyclists in the study against each other and also against standard benchmarks of supposedly normal aging. If a particular test’s numbers were similar among the cyclists of all ages, the researchers considered, then that measure would seem to be more dependent on activity than on age. As it turned out, the cyclists did not show their age. On almost all measures, their physical functioning remained fairly stable across the decades and was much closer to that of young adults than of people their age. As a group, even the oldest cyclists had younger people’s levels of balance, reflexes, metabolic health and memory ability. And their Timed Up and Go results were exemplary. Many older people require at least 7 seconds to complete the task, with those requiring 9 or 10 seconds considered to be on the cusp of frailty, Dr. Harridge said. But even the oldest cyclists in this study averaged barely 5 seconds for the walk, which is “well within the norm reported for healthy young adults,” the study authors write.

Some aspects of aging did, however, prove to be ineluctable. The oldest cyclists had less muscular power and mass than those in their 50s and early 60s and considerably lower overall aerobic capacities. Age does seem to reduce our endurance and strength to some extent, Dr. Harridge said, even if we exercise. But even so, both of those measures were higher among the oldest cyclists than would be considered average among people aged 70 or above. All in all, the numbers suggest that aging is simply different in the active. “If you gave this dataset to a clinician and asked him to predict the age” of one of the cyclists based on his or her test results, Dr. Harridge said, “it would be impossible.” On paper, they all look young. Of course, this study is based on a single snapshot of an unusual group of older adults, Dr. Harridge said. He and his colleagues plan to retest their volunteers in five and 10 years, which will provide better information about the ongoing effects of exercise on aging. But even in advance of those results, said Dr. Harridge, himself almost 50 and an avid cyclist, this study shows that “being physically active makes your body function on the inside more like a young person’s.”

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It’s good for every body!

 

A version of this article appears in print on 01/13/2015, on page D4 of the NewYork edition with the headline: A Prescription for Youth. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Can a healthy lifestyle help prevent cancer?

SOURCE: The JAMA Network Journals

pv_590.jpg

A “healthy lifestyle pattern” was defined as never or past smoking; no or moderate drinking of alcohol (one or less drink a day for women, two or less drinks a day for men); BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5; and weekly aerobic physical activity of at least 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity. Individuals who met all four criteria were considered low risk and everyone else was high risk.

The study included 89,571 women and 46,399 men; 16,531 women and 11,731 had a healthy lifestyle pattern (low-risk group) and the remaining 73,040 women and 34,608 men were high risk.

The authors calculated population-attributable risk (PAR), which can be interpreted as the proportion of cases that would not occur if all the individuals adopted the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors suggest about 20 percent to 40 percent of cancer cases and about half of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors note that including only white individuals in their PAR estimates may not be generalizable to other ethnic groups but the factors they considered have been established as risk factors in diverse ethnic groups too.

“These findings reinforce the predominate importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk. Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control,” the authors conclude.

 

Journal References:

  1. Mingyang Song, MD, ScD, Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD. Preventable Incidence and Mortality of Carcinoma Associated With Lifestyle Factors Among White Adults in the United States. JAMA Oncol., May 2016 DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0843
  2. Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH; Siobhan Sutcliffe, PhD. The Preventability of Cancer: Stacking the Deck. JAMA Oncol, May 2016 DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0889
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Fruits and Veggies, More Matters

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Pledge to add MORE fruits and veggies (it matters!)

Make a conscious choice to add more fruits and veggies in your life.

And one you do, encourage other VIPs in your life to do the same.pledge_card_FINAL.jpg

 

Download the PDF here:

Pledge card x 2

September is: “Fruits and Veggies, More Matters” Month

I will be posting a series of articles relating to this topic.  Eating more fruits and vegetables every meal, everyday is an easy way to help decrease our obesity epidemics (in kids AND adults!) and to decrease the chance of other long-term diseases like diabetes and many cancers.

Let’s start here:

Fighting Disease With Fruits & Veggies…Today and Everyday!

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People who eat more generous amount of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps heart disease and high blood pressure.

Colorful fruits and veggies are dietary sources of important nutrients many people don’t get enough of, such as fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium.

Fiber: diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects, including decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Some fruit and veggie sources of dietary fiber are: Apples, Blueberries, Brussels Sprouts, Figs, Lentils, Onions, Pears, Pinto Beans, Raspberries, Spinach

Folate: healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect. Some fruit and veggie sources of folate are:* Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Leaf Lettuce, Lima Beans, 100% Orange Juice, Papaya, Strawberries (*Folic acid from fortified foods or supplements is also recommended for women who may become pregnant.)

Potassium: diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Some fruit and veggie sources of potassium are: Bananas, Broccoli, Cherries, Kiwifruit, Lima Beans, Pinto Beans, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, White Beans.

Vitamin A: keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections. Some fruit and veggie sources of vitamin A are: Apricots, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Grapefruit, Leaf Lettuce, Mango, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Watermelon

Vitamin C: helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. Some fruit and veggie sources of vitamin C are: Bell Peppers, Blackberries, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Collard greens, Kiwifruit, Oranges, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Strawberries

Magnesium: supports normal muscle and nerve function, a steady heart rhythm, and a healthy immune system. Some fruit and veggie sources of magnesium are: Artichoke Hearts, Black Beans, Lima Beans, Navy Beans, Okra, Spinach, White Beans

For more ideas on how to include more fruits and vegetables in your family’s meals, visit www. FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org. Helping moms and their families to be at their very best, today and everyday!