Diet Don't Do It On Its Own – and other news

by DavalosMcCormack on September 18, 2008

When most people think about trying to lose weight – and sooner or later that means pretty much most of us – they tend to think first about changing their diet, eating less fat, fewer calories, or just less food altogether.

But a new study in the Journal of Applied Physiology  says that may not be the best approach.

The researchers found that a group of sedentary and overweight older people who were put on a four month exercise program became fitter and burned off more fat, compared to a similar group who changed their diet but didn’t exercise.

What’s equally important is that the non-exercise group lost more lean muscle compared to the exercise group. That’s not good. Losing lean muscles makes you more vulnerable to a whole range of health problems such as increased risk of falling and breaking a bone.

So, if you are trying to lose weight by all means change your diet and what you eat. But also mix in exercise or physical activity. It will not only increase the odds you will lose weight, but it will increase the odds you lose the right kind of weight.

Beauty is not the only thing in the eye of the beholder, fat is too!

The way you see yourself is shaped by all the people around you. And when it comes to your shape, that’s particularly true.

A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that overweight children and teenagers who are surrounded by people who are also overweight are much more likely to consider themselves ‘normal’ weight than overweight kids surrounded by thin peers.

The researchers say if everyone around you is packing on a few extra pounds it helps distort your own view of yourself, making you overlook the extra weight you are carrying.

The problem is that with more and more children and adults becoming overweight or even obese, it will be increasingly hard for children to get an accurate sense of what they should look like. Without that, it will be even harder to persuade them they need to lose weight for their health.

And if that applies to kids, you can be sure it’s also true for parents.

Your Colon on TV
Now Katie Couric may not have any problems showing her colonoscopy on TV, but most of us don’t even want to see our own colons, let alone hers, and certainly not on TV. The big question though is how often should you get a colonoscopy? The good news is, less than you might think.

A study by researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine found that if you have had one colonoscopy and it’s clear, then you probably don’t need to get another one for at least five more years. And it could be a lot longer.

Colonoscopies are the best way to find cancer in the colon, even in very early stages. Currently the American Cancer Society recommends screening every ten years, but those recommendations are based on indirect data.

This new study is the first to systematically re-screen average-risk individuals whose initial colonoscopy was clear. By following up five years later the researchers were able to show that they remained cancer-free.

Clearly the next step is to follow them for another five years and see if there are any changes then.

My hope is to live long enough so that they can tell me just how long I need to wait before getting another colonoscopy.

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