Weight a Minute, How Heavy Am I? And other news

by DavalosMcCormack on December 23, 2008

There’s a quote from Albert Einstein that I love. It says “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Isn’t that cool. Anyway, a new study suggests that for some people their perception of reality is just as much an illusion, and it can lead to persistent health problems.

The study found that women who are overweight but don’t realize it, are much more likely to over-gain weight during pregnancy. It’s not too surprising really; if you are fat but don’t know it then how will you be able to judge if you are putting on too much extra weight when you are having a baby and expect to put on weight.
The researchers, at Temple University, say the problem may be that with so many overweight and obese people in America, these women may perceive themselves to be “normal” weight, because so many people around them look the same size.

The danger with that is that being overweight or even obese during pregnancy can lead to all sorts of complications from pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes to premature birth and neural tube defects, issues that can cause problems throughout the life of the mother and baby.

Exercise is – shock, horror – Good For You

You read it here first. Then you read it here second. And third. And by my counting this is the 457th time you’ve read it here. Exercise is really good for you.

This latest piece of evidence comes in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers found that regular exercise could prevent the onset of diabetes.

The researchers found that something as simple as taking a brisk walk several times a week can reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That was even without taking into consideration things like diet, age and income. Powerful medicine indeed.

Now the study was only done in African American women, who are at greater risk of diabetes than some other groups, but if it works for them there’s no real reason why it shouldn’t work for everyone else.

The women in the study walked, on average, around 40 minutes a day or less than five hours a week, something well within most of our reach.

And if you don’t know where to find the time, here’s another finding that might help. Stop watching so much television.

The also researchers found that women who watched five or more hours of television a day were 86 percent more likely to develop diabetes than women who watched for one hour or less.

And in that vein….

People in the Midwest might be putting on weight because – and you should probably be sitting down to read this next piece of stunning news – they are eating out at buffets a lot and not getting any exercise.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis win this week’s award for the most pointless piece of research for pointing out that people who eat a lot and don’t get much exercise are more likely to put on weight than people who eat a healthy, balanced diet and lead an active lifestyle.

They found that people in the Midwest who eat at a lot of buffet diners, smorgies, and cafeterias, and who think of their towns as not being safe for physical activity (because of poorly lit streets, or nowhere safe to ride a bike or go for a walk) are going to be fat.

The article is in the journal Preventive Medicine.

I’m thinking of starting a publication called The Journal of Really Obvious Studies. I think there’s a big market for it.

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