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Archive for the ‘Wellness’ Category

I’m a slave to my pedometer.  News flash – moving around helps.
Begin wellness lecture:
Found a public transit study from 2010 – people who opted to ditch their vehicle and commute on light rail transit to work were 81% less likely to become obese. Another study looking at the same stats calculated the average public transit taker walks 8.3 minutes more per day than non- transit users.
I offer as evidence my dad.  He’s over 80, and kicking.  He has a better BMI than I do, and is frequent user of public transportation.  Also, eats healthy and reasonable portions.
End of wellness lecture.
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Drink

So, stress and depression are in the running for most expensive health problems based on behavior, right there with heart conditions.

May I offer a simple answer?  A balanced beverage recipe.  A kale/spinach/apple/citrus smoothie over ice, with a vodka chaser.

I call it the “Detox/Retox.

Mix.  Drink.  Repeat.  The waiter just walked away, shaking his head.

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So, at a recent conference the Breakfast sandwiches were placed on the buffet, and the hordes descended.  Eating habits were clearly set, as measured by what people chose…

Clearly, the locals are carnivores.

Clearly, the locals are carnivores.

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I’m always on the lookout for tools or websites that can give me an advantage in life. Here is a new one that appeared in my inbox today.

www.sickweather.com is a self-reported site of illness and infections yuck that appears like a weather map. Using it, you can see what diseases are floating around your home town, and prepare yourself for a business trip to, say, New York or wherever. A good reminder to wash your hands in airports.

I noted that it had some interesting categories beyond the usual cold and flu. Whooping cough? Chicken Pox? Fine. But Stess? Depression? Interesting. To test the accuracy, I selected Stress. The only city in the Midwest that popped up was Chicago. Fair enough. Then, I selected Depression. The results are below:

Looks accurate to me…

So, Cleveland and Detroit came back positive for Depression.

Seems accurate. I’ll keep an eye on this one.

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Wow.  Denmark is becoming the most progressive Food Nation.

On Saturday, the Danes (remember Hamlet?) introduced a “fat tax” on foods like butter and oil, with the goal of a healthier nation with higher life expectancy.  With the significant issues facing American health plans, we should watch how this succeeds or fails. 

The Nordic country introduced the tax Saturday, of 16 kroner ($3.00) per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of saturated fat in a product.  The tax is relatively small – a spokesman for Denmark’s Confederation of Industries says the tax will increase the price of a burger by around $0.15 and raise the price of a small package of butter by around $0.40.  It is probably the world’s first fat tax.

"But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill." - William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1.1

They are taking this step to fight off obesity.  Their obesity rate is less than 10%, which is below the European average of 15%.  We Americans are 33.8%.  Hoosiers are slightly larger than that.

I am reminded of the effort in a state legislature a few years back that would have made it illegal to sell any “high fat junk food” from a “quick service restaurant” to anyone with a Body Mass Index over 30 – the threshold for obesity.  It didn’t pass the full legislature and died in committee…

Full article here: http://tinyurl.com/43pt46w


 

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Fixing health care comes back to personal accountability, and changing behavior requires marketing. Marketing expert Ford Saeks (not a typo- that is his last name) made a good point this morning that applies perfectly to our world.

We often focus on the “how”. How to lose weight. How to walk more. Ford reminds us to combine the message (why) with the market (who) with the how. Then, when you have the three legs of the marketing stool in balance, you will get traction.

That will make all the difference – you will then change behaviors and help others live a healthier life.

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Clever? Yes. Wrong? On several levels…

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Now, it starts to get interesting.  As defined in the PPACA, the rules for building and running an insurance exchange are emerging.  The Feds (aka the Department of Health and Human Services)  have released the first major guidance document.  Want a peek under the hood?  Here is their web page… http://tinyurl.com/5uayxyq or click here if your link isn’t working.

There are 2 states with Exchanges up and running – Massachusets and Utah.  I’m going to do some research into the Utah experiment and report back…

The dawn of the Exchanges

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Just had a lunch of carrot sticks and hummus.  Good.  I’m motivated to get to a healthy weight and stay there, and it’s the season to make resolutions. 

My key motivator?  The impression I will leave with a certain 2 ½ year old.  My oldest grandbaby is halfway through his 2’s and on his way to 3, and I realized that he will have long-term memories through his life, starting about now.  My first memories were from about that time, and I realize that he is now gathering the first impressions that he will carry through life.

I want him to remember a healthy Grandpa.  I want him to have me as a health role model, not a cautionary tale.  Why?  Because I have been too heavy lately, and I see a lot of big people around me.  I want to be a good example to Christopher.  Also, if I’m doing a lot of work in organizational wellness, I need to walk the talk.  Pun intended – I wear a pedometer.

Also, I am angry that nearly 1 in 5 of our children ages 6 to 19 is obese. That’s up from approximately 1 in 20 in 1980. The hospital costs associated with childhood obesity are in the mega-millions.  That scares me, enough to change my own behavior.

And now, a brief rant.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says “the causes of childhood obesity are multi-factorial.” No, they’re not. Our children are obese because they consume too much bad stuff and move too little. Their diets are high in bad carbohydrates (i.e., junk food) like french fries, sodas and sweets, and low in fresh vegetables, fruits and healthy sources of protein. They spend entirely too much time in front of televisions, video games and computers and not enough time in physical activity.

The best physical activity for a child is free play. A child enrolled in a micromanaged sport is not getting half the exercise I got playing sandlot games in the 1950s and ’60s. I recently did 2 hours in hand-to-hand care of Christopher in a park, and I liked what I saw.  He is certainly aerobic.

The solution?  Parents must  make their children’s weight a high priority. Yes, schools need to eliminate carbo-load lunches along with soda and snack machines, but in the final analysis, childhood obesity is going to be prevented and solved at home.   This is not tough.   Eat at least 90 percent of your meals at home, around the table instead of in front of a television set.  Prepare meals that are heart-healthy. When your children are hungry between meals, offer apples, cheese and raw vegetables. When they’re thirsty, direct them to the faucet.   Christopher’s mom is doing a fine job of this.

Exercise with them. Take daily walks and bicycle rides with your kids. Play catch. Throw Frisbees. When they say they’re bored, point to the back door.   

Okay, I’m off the soapbox for now.  But, learn from this.  Find out what you should weigh, get there and stay there. Having an overweight parent (and grandparent) greatly increases a child’s chances of being overweight.  As my friend Suzanne Metzger says – “The greatest gift you can give another is the example of your own life working, and working well.

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It had to happen.  As the “wellness” bandwagon is getting rolling, lots of people are jumping on.  I have had three sales calls from vitamin sales people who started the call with a wellness pitch, and chiropractors are becoming “wellness” consultants.  Now, it looks like the workout/fitness world will be rebranding itself.

Read this article for a look inside a recent industry trade show about the subject.  Looks like a marketing blitz is about to start, just in time for new year’s weight loss program…

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