The Youth Obesity and Fitness Foundation
News Letter 


As we enter spring, and shed off the hibernation of winter, it is time to dust off the outdoor equipment and get moving again. Because of Covid-19 shut-ins, it is important for parents and their kids to get active again. Activities, especially outside, are so important to your health and immune system, which gives strong resistance to viruses, bacteria, infections, and other complications that attack your body. We were not meant to be inside so much, and the natural elements such as sunlight and fresh air are key to the over all health of our body. So dust yourself off, both youths and adults, and get active outdoors for a healthier you.   

Prevention is key 

This research shows us that prevention is key. It's especially important for our youth. 
A recently produced HBO documentary, The Weight of the Nation, focused on obesity in the United States. The documentary suggested that we may currently have, "the first generation of children that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents." 
The documentary went on to say that obesity is the biggest threat to the health, welfare and future of the United States. Obesity is a predisposing factor for developing type 2 diabetes. And 18 percent of youth and 30 percent of adults in the US are obese, increasing the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This is disconcerting news, but there's still time to turn this trend around. 
Examples of steps being taken to reduce obesity in the United States include: 

A Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) from the Minnesota Department of Health. This program works to improve health through better nutrition, increased physical activity and decreased tobacco use and exposure. In the Dover-Eyota, Minn., public school district, a farm-to-school program buys produce from local suppliers, such as butcher shops, turkey farmers, bison ranchers, apple orchards and vegetable farmers, to serve healthy meals in this area's lunch programs. The program is a win-win, encouraging healthy eating in schools and benefiting the local economy. 

SPARK program. Not all states have physical education (PE) requirements in their schools. A team of researchers and educators were funded to create, implement and evaluate new and innovative approaches to this education content and instruction in the "real world." The SPARK PE program was designed and proven to make activity fun and can be used by both physical education specialists and classroom teachers. 
The SPARK PE program increases moderate to vigorous physical activity in students, improves fitness, increases enjoyment of PE, improves teacher instruction and has the potential for sustainable effects. 

•  Efforts to get junk food out of schools. These efforts are happening in a variety of ways and aim to get junk food out of schools and start healthy eating programs at the early elementary level. 
And it's not just limited to elementary schools. A Pennsylvania State University study of 228 school food-service directors in that state showed that high school students are surrounded by high-fat, high-sugar foods, and not just in vending machines. by the MAYO-CLINIC


It is true that prevention is the key. fat weight can be best managed from home with the parents as the teachers for good health. Obesity (a classification, not a disease) can be best deterred with eating in moderation and being active.Of course everyone is different and should be treated so. The biggest problem of the last 20 years is the laziness (video games, big tv's, laptops and tablets)Our youth are sitting much more and for longer periods of time and that is the main reason for so many excessively overweight boys and girls. I had the fun foods when I was young in the late 70's and early 80's and I nor my siblings or friends were overweight with fat. because we were active in play and sports. focus on the laziness more!
JJ Falcon


Do you want to build muscle? 

You run, walk, and ride your bike to keep your heart and lungs in excellent condition. You stretch your muscles and do yoga to stay limber and flexible. But are you also doing regular strengthening exercises?
Strengthening or resistance exercises are vital to keep the muscles that support your back, abdomen, knees, chest, shoulders, neck, and wrist strong and less susceptible to injuries. Strong muscles mean greater endurance and energy, a faster metabolism (which burns more calories), and better posture.

What Are Strengthening Exercises?

Strengthening exercises work muscles as they move against resistance. This resistance can come from workout machines, free weights or barbells, elastic bands, water, stairs, hills, cans of vegetables from the pantry -- even your own body weight as you do a pushup.
For example, walking on a treadmill (which is aerobic exercise) becomes strengthening as you increase the incline of the treadmill.

Benefits of Strengthening Exercises

Just as aerobic exercise keeps your heart in peak condition, regular strengthening exercises help keep your other muscles strong and healthy.
For example, your lower back and abdominal muscles stabilize the spine, allow proper spinal movement, and help with posture. Strengthening hip and leg muscles is also important, so you can safely lift objects from the floor using your leg muscles rather than those in your back (if you're lifting using your back muscles, be prepared for back pain in young adulthood).
Strengthening exercises also increase muscle mass. Muscle mass is the metabolically active tissue or tissue that burns calories. So the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn all day.

Resistance exercises also burn calories during the actual workout. One study found that resistance training could burn as much as 200-300 calories an hour -- about the number of calories in a piece of thick-crust cheese pizza.

Further, strengthening exercises help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. This is important in preventing heart disease as an adult. These exercises also decrease the chance of osteoporosis and bone fractures by encouraging the deposit of calcium in the long bones and spine.

Should I Use Weight Machines or Free Weights?

Weight machines and free weights each have advantages and disadvantages. Machines at a fitness center may be good for beginners. Machines help ensure that you perform the movement with proper form. At a gym, you also have the advantage of an instructor to help you use the machine correctly.

Machines also isolate specific muscle groups, allowing you to strengthen your biceps, triceps, leg muscles, abdominal muscles, the chest, shoulders, back, or other area. Further, free weights carry a higher risk for injury. It's not likely, for example, that machine weights will fall on you.
On the other hand, free weights can be more convenient. You can use them in your home, outside, or at the school gym. Although free weights require strong hands and wrists, they allow you to do more types of exercises and give you a greater range of motion than machines do.

Because the risk of injury is higher with free weights, however, it's best to exercise with someone when using heavy weights. This way, you can "spot" for each other and keep the weight bar from dropping and injuring you. Also, free weights require that you be properly trained in lifting techniques to prevent injuries, particularly to your back and shoulders.
The big advantage to free weights, especially dumbells, is it will isolate specific muscles. With dumbells, it will isolate even more, especially when you are working chest, shoulders and arms. Dumbells should only be used by a person who is familiar with the proper uses of dumbells and understand the proper range of motion with each muscle workout.

How Do I Start Strengthening Exercises?

Start strengthening exercise with light resistance or weights at first. Increase the weight very gradually as your strength increases. Start slowly and allow your body time to adjust.

What About Breathing During Exercise?
Breathe properly when exercising with weights. Never hold your breath during the exercise, and always follow this rhythm:
Exhale when pushing against the weight or resistance (positive motion).
Inhale when there is little or no resistance (negetive motion).

How Quickly Do Resistance Exercises Work?

Allow about two weeks for your muscles to get used to resistance exercise. During this time, allow for a day or two off for rest after training. It's during the "rest period" that your muscles strengthen. If you work out daily, you will end up exhausted and sore, increasing the risk of injury, strains, and sprains.
If you stick with your strengthening program, within a few weeks, you'll start to feel stronger, have better posture, and have noticeable muscle definition.
Listen to Your Body

Only you know how much weight or resistance you can handle during exercise. Some teens are extremely strong. Others have muscles that are not used to strengthening exercises.
A teenaged boy may weigh 200 pounds and easily lift heavy weights. A girl the same age might weigh 100 pounds and be able to handle only light weights. Obviously, they each need to choose weights and exercises that "fit" their size and ability.

Talk to your PE coach, your health care provider, or a fitness trainer to find out how to start a strengthening program. Get expert instruction on how to use weight machines or free weights properly.
Most important, listen to your body. If the weight or movement feels like it's too much, then it's too much. Stop, and let your body rest. The next time you work out, start with a lower weight (or no weight). You should feel like you're challenging yourself without causing too much stress to your muscles, heart, and joints. Now, go for it!

SOURCES: Mazur, LJ, Sports Medicine, 1993; 16:57. web site: "Strengthening Exercises: What You Need to Get Started." MedicineNet: "Exercise Strength and Endurance Levels." American College of Sports Medicineweb web site. Mayo Clinic web site. 
J.J. Falcon



By: J.J. Falcon

It’s that time of year folks, and everyone is in panic mode to get things done for the first day of school. Slow down and catch your breath, there is plenty of time to complete those long lists of yours.

Now let’s take a moment to focus on something as important as school and that is the health and fitness of your kids. More and more schools are opting out of Physical Education (P.E.) all together (I know, I don’t understand it either!) But for the most part I can agree on one thing and that is school is not where they are going to burn off the calories. P.E. class can only achieve minimal when it comes to exercise and burning those calories. In fact, most of their calories have not been put into their bodies yet when they go to school or during school. It is after school when they pour in the food, and that is when the majority of their activity time should be. 

P.E. can only do minimal. By the time they dress; do roll call and allow time to get back and change for the next class, there is only around 20 minutes of a 50 minute class to do anything. That is not near enough to do much of anything, especially when in those 20 minutes; most of them will not get their heart rate up enough to burn much of the calories they have taken in the past 12 hours. 

Physical Education is best used in the class room setting by learning physiology, and basic health and fitness information as well as nutrition. Learning how their body moves and how their Metabolism works. This will inform the student of their ability to monitor their own health along with their parents. There is a difference between medical care and health care. Health care can be overseen by the individual. It does not take much to do this and is relatively inexpensive. Medical care is more complex and requires a physician, hospital or clinic and prescribed medication. Most of the time spent should be in health care not medical care, and the individual is quite capable of that as long as they have the proper information that is designated for them (retrieving this information is the responsibility of the individual). 
This is what P.E. can do for students and it is cost effective both for them and their parents. 

So let’s get out the word and push for schools to get better use out of Physical Education and to stop making excuses by allowing our schools and government to dictate what we are going to eat and how we are going to live our lives. School is not where your health care should be focused, but at home. Parents are the counselors and educators of their kids and teens when it comes to their health; not the schools or government. 

Workout Routines and New Ideas for Fitness
By Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD

Explore your fitness options and nurture a love of movement.

Fitness isn't just a plan you embark on, along with a diet, to lose weight. It's a lifelong love of movement that will help you maintain good health and the physique you want. We’ve compiled some workout routines and ideas to help you along your way.

These recommendations will help you evolve your workout routine and activity plan. The theme is picking something you love doing, and nurturing your feelings every step of the way.

After you read through these workout options, consider journaling to explore your fitness habits, desires, and goals.

Level One: Workout Ideas and Recommendations

Begin by expanding your definition of exercise: You don't need to run, sweat, or grunt -- any opportunity to partake in activity counts as exercise!

If you feel uncomfortable going to a gym, a 10-minute walk, twice weekly, is an excellent first step toward better fitness. If you enjoy and can afford it, get a regular massage as well. Consider buying a good beginner's exercise tape, too. 

consider karate, a dance class, or bowling. Enjoy the activities you pick, but don't make yourself continue with them any longer than you want to; for instance, don't force yourself to bowl three games if you feel like bowling only one. Remember that your goal is to get healthier and fitter.

Level Two: Workout Ideas and Recommendations

Think about bowling, softball, or any other type of entry-level team activity. Many people who aren't natural-born athletes love team sports because of the combination of exercise and social interaction. 
If group activities aren't for you, start a walking routine, two or three times a week, for 15 to 20 minutes. If you feel like it, jog for a few minutes during each walk. Do a few jumping jacks, sit-ups, or push-ups -- along with stretches -- in the morning before work. Jump rope or buy yourself a Hula Hoop. Take an in-line skating class.

Dance, tai chi, and yoga classes are enjoyable, low-stress fitness activities. Also, consider buying several exercise tapes and try out fun activities including biking, swimming, horseback riding, or even a regular game of Frisbee with your dog.

Focus, above all, on giving yourself permission to enjoy your physicality. If you can. If you belong to a gym, don't feel you must do a strenuous workout every time you're there. 

Level Three: Workout Ideas and Recommendations

By choosing the right exercise program, you can make your natural athleticism work for you. Avoid heavy-duty exercise programs that trim off inches for a little while but may not work in the long run because they can cause burnout.

For long-term results, find activities that you enjoy, instead of merely choosing those that burn calories. You probably already know some of the activities you do and don't like, so select those you prefer and drop the ones that bore or stress you.

For instance, are you starting to dread your usual five-mile run? If so, give yourself permission to take a leisurely bike ride or swim. Too tired for a 30-minute workout? Exercise for 15 minutes, and see if you feel like continuing. And if you find yourself setting harder and harder goals ("I need to run an eight-minute mile"), reconsider your priorities. Remember that getting regular, moderate exercise is smarter and more effective than forcing yourself to do grueling workouts that can lead to injury or burnout.

You might enjoy the challenge of participating in a run or bike race for charity -- a great way to get exercise while meeting new people and helping your community. You might even want to train for a half-marathon, if running is your favorite activity. Just be sure to make fun and stress reduction -- not calorie-burning -- your top priorities!

Level Four: Workout Ideas and Recommendations

Keep up the good work! Your goal is to establish a healthy, pleasant exercise routine, intermingling challenging activities with peaceful and relaxing mind/body experiences. If you find yourself getting bored, vary your exercise routine with creative new activities. For instance, if you're tired of jogging every morning, try taking up kickboxing, spin cycling, in-line skating, even a jazz dance class. Spicing up your exercise routine will motivate you to stick with it.

No matter what level of activity is right for you, concentrate on nurturing yourself through exercise. When you do, you'll feel good -- and when you feel good, you'll stick with your fitness plan.

Some days, that plan might lead you to be the first person at the gym or to sign up for a challenging fitness run. Other days, you'll be found at the spa, getting a massage or stretching for a few minutes before you take a leisurely walk. It may seem hard to believe, but all of these activities are active ways of achieving true and lasting fitness.

So forget "no pain, no gain," and focus on the joy of swimming, walking, skating, your way to better health and a trimmer body. Expand your definition of exercise to include any activities that help you relieve stress and "connect" your mind and body -- and make a commitment, based on self-love and self-affirmation, to make exercise a priority in your life. When you do, you'll see your excess pounds and inches come off more quickly and effortlessly

Most of all, remember that combining a variety of workout routines and ideas can help keep your exercise program interesting so that you’ll be more likely to stay on the road to lifelong better health and fitness.


Ah spring; it is time to dust off the exercise equipment, bikes and running shoes; finding out what fits and what doesn't. Of course even more trying is the fact that an entire healthy gain from last year has been wiped out by the dreaded holidays and football season.

How many times have we repeated this cycle? Too many to want to remember. Fortunately you are not alone. What I recommend to everyone is to start off slow because this is no time for panic. One of the first panics is of course stepping on the scale which I recommend only be done once in the beginning. Once you record your weight, try and get your fat percentage (there are programs on the Internet or aps for your phone that give this)If you want exact numbers then you will need to see a trainer or your doctor. Knowing your fat weight is very important since that is the problem you are starting to work off. Once you have your starting point you can then set your goal and create your workout program to meet that goal.

I know it is not popular, but when you gain fat weight, you must make some sacrifices to get it off. That means removing your favorite foods from the menu while you are training to meet your goal. I have lost 20 pounds since I started my after holidays workouts a month ago and this is due to cutting out my favorites as well, such as pizza on weekends or cheeseburgers and fries, ect. Once I have reached my target weight, then I can go back to enjoying my favorites in moderation along with my continued activities.

It is understandable that with kids and teens this can be difficult for any parent to sell, but as parents you must take the responsibility and strongly encourage them if not gently push them to do this. Setting by example is the best way. Get out there and be active with them on a regular basis. teach them the proper methods of exercise and eating. It is okay to enjoy the fun foods that we have available to us because I stand by my position that foods do not make people fat, but the over eating along with the laziness is what causes one to gain excessive fat weight. 


Fitness may be among the latest buzzwords in gyms these days, but for good reason. It's about training your body to handle real-life situations.
By Gina Shaw

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

Yesterday you had a great workout at the gym. You're bench-pressing more weight than ever before, and pulling enough weight on the seated rowing machine to try out for the Olympic sculling team.

Making Muscles Work Together

"Conventional weight training isolates muscle groups, but it doesn't teach the muscle groups you're isolating to work with others," says Greg Roskopf, MS, a biomechanics consultant with a company called Muscle Activation Techniques who has worked with athletes from the Denver Broncos, the Denver Nuggets, and the Utah Jazz. 
"The key to functional exercise is integration. It's about teaching all the muscles to work together rather than isolating them to work independently." 

So what's an example of a functional exercise? Think of a bent-over row; not the kind of row you do on a seated machine, but the kind you do leaning over a bench, holding the weight in one hand with your arm hanging straight down, and then pulling the weight up as your elbow points to the ceiling, finishing with your upper arm parallel to the ground.
"That's an exercise that will build the muscles of the back, the shoulders, the arms, and because of its nature will really work your whole body," says exercise kinesiologist Paul Chek, MSS, founder of the Corrective High-performance Exercise Kinesiology Institute in California who has advised the Chicago Bulls and the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

"Compare that motion to a carpenter bending over a piece of wood, a nurse bending over a bed to transfer a patient, or an auto mechanic bending over to adjust your carburetor. Anyone doing a bent-over row will find a carryover in things you do in normal life." 
Contrast that with the seated row: You're sitting in a chair with your chest pressed against pads, and you pull two levers back. "You may be strengthening certain muscles, but your body's not learning anything, because you don't have to activate your core stabilizer muscles or the stabilizers of your arms and shoulders. The machine's doing it for you," says Chek. 

"In functional fitness, most of the time, you should be standing on your own two feet and supporting your own weight when you lift anything." 
In fact, to get started with functional fitness, you might want to forget about the weights entirely at first. "Most people can't even control their own body weight," says Roskopf. "They can't do a one-legged squat without falling over." Try it now; can you? 
"They could lie down on a leg-press machine and press 500 pounds, but they don't have the muscular control for a one-legged squat because they don't have the stability or the muscles working together." That's why, when we walk downstairs or reach up to get something out of a high cabinet, a lot of us have pain. 

Your first step, Roskopf says, should be to teach your body to control and balance its own weight. "Start with simple movements, like the one-legged squat, and other balance exercises. Then try standing on one leg on a step-stool that's perhaps eight inches high, and then lower the heel of your other foot to the ground, while controlling your body weight as you go down and back up." Switch sides during each maneuver to promote balance and muscle integration on either side of your body. 

Once you can control and balance your own body weight, then you can start working with added weights. "Put a five-pound dumbbell on a level chair, and then do the same one-legged squat, but this time pick up the dumbbell as you come up," suggests Roskopf. "Next, pick up the same weight from the ground while doing the squat. That's challenging your total body integration, and teaching the upper body to work with the lower body." 

Other popular tools that promote functional exercise are things like stability balls and the "wobble board," both of which force you to work your core to keep your body balanced while you're lifting a weight. 

Function Follows Form

So should you abandon the weight machines at the gym for a program that's all about free weights and balance? Not necessarily. 
"If there are isolated weaknesses, they'll cause a detriment in functional movement," says Roskopf. "If you don't address integration, strong muscles get stronger and the weak ones stay weak, and you create a pattern of compensation. If you blend the two together, functional exercises teach isolated muscles how to work together." 

Jumping into functional exercise may startle some people used to working on machines alone: It's a lot harder! "Functional exercise is much more neurologically demanding than machine exercises," says Chek. 
"You can't do functional exercise with the same levels of intensity and short rest periods as machine exercise. And unlike traditional weightlifting on machines, with functional exercise, if you 'train to failure' [until muscle fatigue], you train to fail. Instead, your set ends when you can no longer perform the exercise with perfect form." 

Finding a trainer with a background in functional exercise shouldn't be hard -- most gyms now have them, says Roskopf. And he advises caution. "Don't try to go too fast," Chek cautions. "The longer you've been away from exercise, the more time it takes to build your body back up." 

By J.J. Falcon
October, 2011

Ah, Thanksgiving. What a wonderful time of year as we begin the start of the traditional holiday season. Some folks start when football season begins, but that is a whole other matter. 

Many people like me have taken the necessary steps to get a head start and lose the pounds before the holidays so we can enjoy and indulge while staying within our target weight.  The goal is still the same, and that is calories in and calories out. 

Being from the south, I am able to go outside and do some of my cardio workouts during the winter, but for those in the north and west, it’s a different story. Hibernation sets in and before you know it your glued to the couch with a bag of Doritos glued to your hand. It is probably worse with the kids; playing their video games while eating and drinking sodas will catch up with them quickly, and before you know it, spring has come and your kid can barely move because he or she has gained several pounds of fat.

I know as well as anybody else that the holiday season can be a stressful one with all the family and shopping, you hardly have time to yourself much less the time to exercise. But as hard as it can get, you must discipline yourself to stick to your routine, even if only to take 20 or 30 minutes to do a cardio workout in the middle of the living room or functional workouts using your body weight (sit ups, push ups, ect.).
If you are married, then do what I have suggested to other parents and that is to split the time so one spouse can workout while the other tends to the kids. 

The worst problem with the holidays is the laziness that is embedded in the kids and teens; with the video games, smart phones and the internet, they will spend 90% of their time sitting in front of the screen and the rest of the time sleeping. As a parent, you must set the grounds for time spent sitting in front of a screen and time spent exercising. I know it’s especially hard where the winters can be long and brutal, but you have to make the best of it. 

With monitoring and moderation, I promote and support the new Wii and Xbox interactive gaming system. These systems actually have you moving around and now there is software specific for doing exercises. Go to your nearest Best Buy store and check them out. They are not just healthy but fun and you can play with your kid or teen which makes for great family bonding.


As kids and teens return for another school year, we want to remind them and their parents not to fall into the trap of laziness as the holidays creep closer. We hope the youth are active in sports, but most important that they are just active!
This is the time many people, young and adults, increase their eating habits due to fall parties, football games, and especially the holidays like Thanksgiving, and follow it with lying around and doing nothing. 
Get a head start and make sure that you burn off what you take in and that way you will maintain your current weight. Remember, you have control over what you do, so don’t let anyone tell you that it is okay or normal to gain weight during this time of the year because it’s a lie and a trap for you.
Adults and youth should know their metabolic rate, so take that and your exercise routine, along with your eating schedule you have been doing this summer, and just continue it through the fall and winter season, and you will be ahead of the game come next spring. Remember that the more calories you take in, the more you will have to exercise to burn it off. So after leaving Grandma's Thanksgiving feast, be ready to add more distance to your run or add a set or two to your resistance training.
Also, it is not too late to start a routine. If you do not know your metabolic rate or your fat percentage and weight, then you should come in and get a physical assessment and consultation. Contact us for an appointment.
Well, this author just wanted to wish all kids and teens as well as their parents a healthy and successful school year.

JULY, 2011

Taking back your parental rights from your kids.

In the 23 years I was a high school coach, I was always observant of the way parents dealt with their sons and daughters. What I noticed more than anything in those 23 years was a shift in the order of authority in the family. As a kid, my siblings and I knew who was boss in the family; we knew who the parents were and who the kids were. When our parents wanted us to do something like chores or homework, it wasn’t a request as if a friend was asking it of us, but a requirement. If we didn’t like something, we were free to bring the complaint up, but they had the final say. Our parents were not our buddies.  

I remember not wanting to eat Spinach, which I hated with a passion. My mom told me as I sulked that if I wanted dinner, then I had to eat the spinach too; and she was smart because she had me eat the spinach first. Many times though, I didn’t and needless to say I went to bed with no dinner. My mom knew the importants of spinach in a kids diet and that is why she is the parent and I was the kid. In contrast, I had a wrestler's mom who talked to me after a team parents meeting. She wanted to know what he should be eating more of so he could train. I told her to increase his carb intake and also to eat more fruits and vegetables. She told me that her son, who was a freshman and weighed 104 pounds, didnt like to eat vegetables and that was that.Isn't that crazy? She is the mother and it is she who determines the teens diet, not the teen.

Today the parents are more interested in being their kid’s best friend and pass the parenting off on other entities such as schools. We are in a world now where the kids make the decisions for themselves and the parents go along; a world where the kids know more than the parents and the parents are aloof; just watch the Disney channel or Nickelodeon.

This is true even in the health department. Like the parent who lets their kids dictate their menu. “I want this or I like that” and the parent folds and gets them what they want; the parents who let their kids sit all day and play video games; on the computer and internet; or worse, cell phones. I witnessed a mom getting what seemed to be her pre-teen son an iphone 4; crazy isn’t it?Parents must be accountable for their kid’s health and activities. When I take on an excessively obese kid, the first person I am confronting is the parent.

So the message is simple: BE THE PARENT! You are the stewards of your children, not the school and not the government, but YOU. Do what you are obligated to do and if your children grow up and take a different path, then that is on their heads, not yours. Many parents feel that the government along with the schools have taken the power away from them and given them to the kids. Not true, the authority is yours, so take back your rights as a parent and use them to guide your kids and pray they follow your advise and example into their adult life.

JUNE, 2011

Obese Teens at Risk for Severe Adult Obesity
Study Shows 37% of Obese Boys and 51% of Obese Girls Become Severely Obese Adults
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Obese teens are at risk of becoming severely obese as adults, according to a new study.

"What's unique about this study is, we are following them over 13 years," says researcher Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
She expected to see an increased risk of severe obesity during young adulthood in those teens who were obese, but the percentages were higher than she anticipated, she tells WebMD.

"Half of the obese female teens developed severe obesity by their 30s, and 37% of the obese male teens developed severe obesity," she says.
Severe obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater. "When we are talking about severe obesity, we are talking about 80 to 100 pounds over normal body weight," Gordon-Larsen says.
The excess weight carries with it an increased risk of health complications, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and arthritis.
The study is published in TheJournal of the American Medical Association.

Tracking Obese Teens

While much research has shown that obesity and severe obesity have risen in recent years, there has been less research that looks at those who are obese early in life to see what happens as they enter young adulthood, Gordon-Larsen says.
She tracked 8,834 participants in the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, ages 12 to 21 when they entered the study in 1996. She followed them into adulthood, when they were ages 24 to 33 in 2007-2009.
Weight and height were measured during in-home surveys and body mass index was calculated. Participants came from 80 high schools and 52 middle schools and are representative of the U.S. population.
At the study's start in 1996, just 1% of the teens, or 79, were severely obese. Sixty of those, or 70.5%, remained severely obese in adulthood.
By 2009, 703 new cases of severe obesity -- or 7.9% of all the participants -- were found in those young adults who weren't severely obese as teens. Those 703 were more likely to have a higher BMI as a teen than those who didn't become severely obese as young adults.
Gordon-Larsen found gender and racial differences, with severe obesity rates highest among black women, with 52.4% of those who were obese as teens becoming severely obese at the study end.
Put in other terms, overall, the obese teens were 16 times more likely to develop severe obesity as young adults compared to normal-weight or overweight (but not yet obese) teens, she found.
Less than 5% of those who were at a normal weight as teens became severely obese as young adults, she found.
Those who developed severe obesity gained about 80 pounds over the 13-year follow-up, Gordon-Larsen says. "I think these numbers are pretty staggering, in terms of the amount of weight gained and the risk," she says.
The study findings are no surprise to Jessica Rieder, MD, founder and director of the Bronx Nutrition and Fitness Initiative for Teens program, or B'N'Fit, for overweight and obese teens at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. She reviewed the study findings for WebMD.
While programs to prevent childhood obesity have become more common, those to help youth already obese are less common, she says.
Gordon-Larsen tells parents of all children to "keep an eye on the weight gain."
She suggests parents have a goal of ''keeping a healthy household." That means focusing on healthy food options and building physical activity into the day, encouraging kids to walk more and move more.
Rieder agrees, suggesting that healthy changes need to be adopted by all family members, not just children who are trying to maintain or lose weight. "As a family, you adopt a healthier lifestyle for everyone," she says. "The whole family does it together."
Beyond those changes, Rieder says, ''the obese child needs a lot of support." She suggests parents of obese children and obese teens talk to their child's pediatrician and ask for screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol, and other potential problems. Ask what resources are available in the community to help your child lose weight.

APRIL 20, 2011

By: J.J. Falcon

I am always amazed at how much the government seems to want to correct our bad habits, but yet never seem to correct its own. What is even more amazing is that Michelle Obama, who was elected to do nothing, is now legislating to have the government regulate how much food you consume at a restaurant.
This is no joke…she really believes that the government, and for that matter she, knows more about what you need for energy each day than yourself. To take it further, the government is already regulating your kids on how much they eat through school. Soon they will monitor your grocery list and what you have in your home.
When will we stand up and stop this madness! 
As a sports and fitness trainer, I am very aware of the need to regulate how much is taken in by an individual each meal, and each day. But that is left to the individual since we are not all equal or the same when it comes to our bodily needs. To each his own I say. The truth is that many people today, especially young people, are eating far more than what they need each day, and to make it worse, more and more are doing nothing to burn it off. From sitting behind a desk all day to playing video games and watching tv, the main cause of the fat weight gain is not as much the food, but the lack of activity. To put it bluntly, we have become very lazy people.
What one eats and how much is determined first by what their body burns each day, not including extra burning like exercise. For example, my resting metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns calories while doing everyday things like office work or school) is 1,800 calories. That means that my body will burn around 1,800 calories during the day based on my age and size, especially muscle mass (which burns calories faster) 
Since I know what I will burn each day, I can arrange my meal plan according to my body needs, not the wants of the government. The problem is that people are putting food first with support from exercise and that is wrong. The activity of your body is first; then support the activity with the right amount of calories (since your body works 24/7, it will burn calories 24/7). 
The model is simple: CALORIES IN-CALORIES OUT. It doesn’t get any simpler that that. If you take in more than what you burn off, then you will gain fat weight, and if you burn off more than what you take in, then you will lose fat weight.
All you need to do is to find out what your resting metabolic rate is, then you can make decisions on how many calories you need to take in each day. If you exercise regularly, figure out how much more you need to add so your body can have the energy it needs and will recover properly after workouts. Simply get a consultation from your local trainer at a health club to guide you. As far as kids and teens are concerned, that is the responsibility of the parents to instruct them about nutrition and exercise, not the government or the schools.
Let’s tell Michelle Obama to tend to her own kids and leave the others to their own parents and please stay out of our restaurants and homes.

MARCH 20, 2011

Managing Your Condition With Exercise
Get Motivated to Exercise
By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Need a reason to work out? Here are 7 to start 
What if someone told you that a thinner, healthier, and longer life was within your grasp? Sound too good to be true? According to a wealth of research, exercise is the silver bullet for a better quality of life.

Not only does regular exercise aid in weight loss, it reduces your risk for several chronic diseases and conditions. Finding activities that you enjoy and that become part of your daily routine is the key to a long and healthy life.

Recommended Related to Fitness & ExerciseFitness Basics: Swimming Is for Everyone 

Angela Lane has great memories of swimming during her childhood, spending endless summer days at the pool to find refuge from the Arkansas heat. She became a lifeguard as a teen, and she swam for fitness during high school and college. Two years ago, things were different. At age 31, Lane weighed 200 pounds. She hadn't been in a pool for more than 10 years. She began a weight loss program, and started to think about exercising again. "People would tell me, 'You need to run or walk,' but when...

 The list of health benefits is impressive, and the requirements are relatively simple -- just do it.

Ward Off Disease
Research has confirmed that any amount of exercise, at any age, is beneficial. And, in general, the more you do, the greater the benefits. The National Academy of Sciences has recommended that everyone strive for a total of an hour per day of physical activity. Sounds like a lot, but the hour can be made up of several shorter bursts of activity (it can be walking, gardening, even heavy housecleaning) done throughout the day.

Physical activity is an essential part of any weight-loss program, to maximize your fat loss while keeping valuable muscle mass. But exercise has many other health and longevity benefits. It can help prevent or improve these conditions:

1. Heart Disease. Regular activity strengthens your heart muscle; lowers blood pressure; increases "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins or HDLs) and lowers "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDLs); enhances blood flow; and helps your heart function more efficiently. All of these benefits reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Researchers at Duke University suggest that the amount of physical activity, rather than its intensity, has the biggest impact on improving blood lipids (cholesterol). According to The New England Journal of Medicine, these researchers also found that any exercise is better than none -- although more is better.

2. Stroke. In an analysis of 23 studies, researchers found that being active reduces your risk of having and dying from a stroke. According to a study published in the journal Stroke, moderately active study participants had 20% less risk of stroke than less active participants.

3. Type II Diabetes. This disease is increasing at alarming rates -- by 62% since 1990 -- and 17 million Americans now have it. Physical activity can enhance weight loss and help prevent and/or control this condition. Losing weight can increase insulin sensitivity, improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and reduce blood pressure -- all of which are very important to the health of people with diabetes.

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Frank Hu, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health found that a brisk walk for one hour daily could reduce the risk of type II diabetes by 34%.

4. Obesity. Overweight and obese conditions can be prevented or treated with exercise along with a healthy diet. Activity helps to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, thus improving your body's ability to burn calories. The combination of reduced calories and daily exercise is the ticket to weight loss. And controlling obesity is critical, as it is a major risk factor for many diseases. Lowering your body mass index (BMI) is a sure way to reduce your risk of dying early and to live a healthier life.

5. Back Pain. Back pain can be managed or prevented with a fitness program that includes muscle strengthening and flexibility. Having good posture and a strong abdomen is the body's best defense against back pain.

6. Osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights) strengthens bone formation and helps prevent the osteoporosis or bone loss often seen in women after menopause. Combine a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D with regular weight-bearing exercise for maximum results.

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, data from the Nurses' Health Study showed that women who walked four or more hours per week had 41% fewer hip fractures than those who walked less than an hour a week.

7. Psychological Benefits. Improved self-esteem is one of the top benefits of regular physical activity. While exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. The feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric" and is accompanied by an energizing outlook. Exercise can help you cope with stress and ward off depression and anxiety.

And these are just a few of the ways exercise improves your health. Studies have suggested it can also help with certain types of cancer, improve immune function, and more.

Putting It All Together: Exercise and a Healthy Diet
Exercise alone produces modest weight loss; when combined with a reduced-calorie diet, the effects are much more impressive.

In a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, University of Pittsburgh researchers found that people who exercised regularly and ate a healthy, modest-calorie diet lost weight and improved cardiorespiratory fitness regardless of the length or intensity of their workouts.

Another study published in JAMA showed that it is never too late to reap the benefits of physical activity. Sedentary women 65 years and older who began walking a mile a day cut their rates of death from all causes by 50%.

Resistance, Resistance
If exercise is so good for us, why aren't people doing it?

Some 64% of men and 72% of women fail to fit in activity on a daily basis, according to data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey. Americans today are no more active than they were a decade ago.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a combination of aerobic exercise (the type that makes you breathe harder, like walking or jogging) for cardiovascular conditioning; strength training (like lifting weights or calisthenics) for muscle toning, and stretching to improve your range of motion.

Strive for doing all three types, but remember that any exercise is better than nothing. Here are some easy ways to work physical activity into your life:

Adopt a dog and take it for walks every day.
Do things the old-fashioned way -- get up and change the television channel; open the garage door manually; use a push lawnmower.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Walk briskly whenever you can.
Minimize use of your car; walk to destinations within a mile.
Take up tennis or any other game or sport you enjoy.
Join a gym or health club.
Next time you are tempted to skip exercising, keep these wonderful health benefits in mind and remember, every little bit helps. You may not feel up to a rigorous workout, but how about a walk in the neighborhood?

Don't pass up a chance of a lifetime -- that is, a longer and healthier one.

FEBRUARY 17, 2011


There are fats that you want to limit, fats you want to avoid altogether, 
and healthier fats to look for to include in your diet in small amounts. 
Fats to Limit: 

Saturated fats come from animal products and you want to limit these. 
Animal sources offer some of the highest quality protein and even the 
leanest varieties will have some fat. 

Stick with extra lean varieties of meat, low- or non-fat dairy, and just one 
egg yolk a day, for example, so that you get high-quality protein, but not 
too much saturated fat and too many calories. 
Fats to totally avoid: 

Hydrogenated, also called "trans fats," have been in the news a lot. These are fats that have been chemically altered in such a way that your body cannot use them properly, so they're terrible for you.  They are found in solid margarines and many commercially baked goods, including cookies, crackers, doughnuts and pastries, chips and other snack foods, and many deep-fried foods. Since these are mostly all processed carbs as well, and contain the unhealthiest kinds of fat with no benefit, we 
recommend avoiding such foods as much as possible. 

The fats to look for (in moderation): 

So for the fat your body needs, look for unsaturated fats, which contain 
essential fatty acids (EFAs). Seeds, nuts, nut butters, olives, olive and 
flaxseed oil as well as avocados all work well. Some kinds of cold water 
fish, like salmon and anchovies, also contain unsaturated fats. In 
moderation, they're a great choice too. 

Remember, it's good to have small portions of these types of foods each 
day, but because they're so high in calories - 9 calories per gram - make 
sure that you eat only small amounts. 

For example, a quarter cup of nuts and some fruit or raw veggies make 
a good snack. Protein Freeze ( is made 
with a little peanut butter, so you get lots of high-quality protein and a little healthy fat as well. Or try some sunflower seeds or a few olives or a couple of avocado slices on your salad as a tasty way to add healthy fat to your 

Key points to remember:

Limit saturated fats by choosing extra lean and lowfat animal products.
Try to totally avoid hydrogenated fats (also called "trans fats"), those 
that have been chemically altered in commercially baked goods, margarine, and other processed foods. 
Choose unsaturated fats in small amounts, such as seeds, nuts, nut butters, olives, olive and flaxseed oil, and avocados. 
Alright, I hope this clears up any confusion on what types of fats to limit 
and avoid and which types to look for. Next topic will be alcohol and why 
if you don't choose wisely, it'll be very difficult to lose

JANUARY 20, 2011

Expert Q&A: Losing a Lot of Weight
An interview with Michael Dansinger, MD.
By R. Morgan Griffin
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

If you’re very overweight or obese right now, you might feel like the odds of ever achieving a healthy weight are pretty remote. But you can do it. And the benefits will be tremendous.

So how do you begin? WebMD asked Michael Dansinger, MD, an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He’s a leading authority on diet and weight loss, and he’s had plenty of experience helping obese people slim down – he’s the nutrition doctor for the TV show The Biggest Loser. Here’s what he had to say.

How do I know if I'm really ready to lose weight this time?

If you're ready to record your reasons on paper and ready to pick a start date, then you're ready to try again. I think the battle is halfway won once you commit, once you decide that you’re never going to give up trying to control your weight.

Don’t let past failures discourage you from trying again. Almost everyone who loses weight has tried unsuccessfully many times before. Finding the right path to weight loss is like finding the person you eventually marry. You probably have to kiss a few frogs on the way. So don’t look at past weight loss attempts as dead ends. They’re just stages on the path to ultimate success.

There are some practical things to consider. You need to commit to the rules you’re going to follow and figure out some logistics. How will you find time to follow your plan? Do you have a support system that includes your health care professionals, your family, and your 

Do I need to see a doctor before starting a weight loss program?

Unless you have a chronic illness or take regular medications, you don’t really need medical supervision when you’re starting a weight loss program, even if you’re obese. There are hundreds of diet books at your local bookstore, and I doubt that following any of them would cause any harm. While a really extreme low-calorie diet – 500 calories or so – could be risky, nobody can really stick to that anyway.

However, I do think you should include your doctor as part of your support system and ideally as a lifestyle coach. Your doctor can help you monitor your progress as well as provide external accountability.

Do you feel that there are many different paths to successful weight loss?

The idea that there's one best plan for successful weight loss is incorrect. It’s like saying there's one best color, or one best type of music. For each individual there very well may be one best dietary approach. But there is a broad spectrum of eating strategies -- dozens of unique approaches -- that all work well for weight loss and overall health improvement. The most important thing is to find an approach you can stick to, because adherence, rather than diet type, is the key to success. 

I do think that good plans tend to have some common features. They often include a daily food journal with calorie counting, 90% adherence to a strict eating plan, and about seven hours a week of exercise – cardio and strength training.

What are some safe, painless ways I can exercise?

Almost all people are physically capable of walking. So if you’re in poor physical shape, start with that. Aim for seven hours a week, regardless of your current health status. You start with seven hours a week of slow walking and gradually increase it to seven hours a week of moderate walking. Eventually, you can work up to running.

If you have problems with your hips or feet, upper body exercises can be useful. Almost anybody can use 1- to 3-pound dumbbells to achieve beneficial levels of exercise.
Some obese people find exercise painful, and they get stuck in a bind: You can’t exercise because you’re too heavy, but you’re too heavy because you can’t exercise. Try to push through. In many cases, exercise becomes less uncomfortable as you shed the weight.

How quickly can I expect to lose?

If you’re really sticking to it, a good plan will produce 10% weight loss in three to four months and up to 20% weight loss at one year. A less ambitious effort will typically produce 5% weight loss in three to four months and 10% weight loss at a year.
People often say that losing 1 to 2 pounds a week should be your goal. But I typically see more than that in the short term and less than that in the long term. It doesn’t really worry me if someone’s losing 3 to 4 pounds a week at the outset.

How can I keep up my motivation over the long term?

Maintaining motivation is crucial for long-term success. Initially, you might be rewarded all the time, as you see the scale moving daily or weekly, start fitting into smaller-sized clothes, and get compliments on how you look. But the rate of weight loss inevitably slows, so then the motivation must come from within.

You must keep reminding yourself of your reasons for taking care of your body and putting in the effort. Keep a written list of reasons and refer to them often. A photo of yourself at your start weight can be a helpful reminder of how far you’ve come.
It also helps to rely on others who will help you stick to your plan. This could be a personal trainer, or your health care provider, or a support group. The more authority you give them and the more accountable you feel to them, the more likely you are to maintain your weight loss. You may want to find someone who isn’t so polite -- often, the drill sergeant approach is the most effective.

How do I know if weight loss surgery is right for me?

I’m a big advocate of weight loss surgery for people who qualify – they either have a BMI over 40 or a BMI over 35 with a related medical problem. It’s a last resort, but it’s very effective. Still, I think most people would rather try a strategy focused on healthier eating and increased exercise first.

How can I overcome emotional eating?

Almost all of us eat for comfort sometimes, but some people have a severe problem with emotional eating. Ideally, resolving the underlying causes or stressors is the best idea. Many psychologists specialize in this area. Overeaters Anonymous and similar groups can also be very helpful. For many, finding simple logistical solutions -- like getting the junk food or other trigger foods out of the house -- can work really well. 
It feels like my friends and family want me to stay heavy. 

How can I prevent weight loss sabotage?

Almost everybody -- your friends, your family and your doctor -- want you to succeed. But your losing weight can trigger unhelpful responses in some people. 
Unhealthy eating is fun – at least at the time – and we don’t like to chow down alone. We do it with friends or family. So if you’ve changed your eating habits, it may be hard for the people around you to accept that you’re not taking part. They may miss how things used to be. They may also get annoyed at all the time you spend at the gym or feel jealous of your success.

So expect some weight loss sabotage. Sometimes, you may need to put some distance between yourself and people who are counterproductive to your efforts. But before you do that, just be firm. They may be testing your limits, just to see how serious you are. It’s like little kids pushing boundaries with their parents to find out which ones can’t be crossed. So if you just stay firm, you may find that a lot of people back off and stop undermining you.
In the end, people may have mixed feelings about what you’re doing. You just have to accept that as a normal downside to achieving weight loss success.

How has your research – or your work with the contestants on The Biggest Loser – 
changed your own dietary and exercise habits?

Before I became a nutrition doctor and researcher, I paid much less attention to healthy lifestyle habits. Once I learned about nutrition, I started to find ways to eat less starch and animal fat.

As a busy doctor, husband, and father, it’s been a challenge to figure out how to squeeze enough exercise into my life. Nevertheless, I manage to practice what I preach, which not only allows me to look my patients in the eyes when I advise them -- it also allows me to give specific suggestions in response to each individual patient's unique challenges.

DECEMBER 20, 2010


By J.J. Falcon

The more speed and intense your workout, the more calories you will burn and is that not what the whole goal of a workout is for? This is accomplished with a consistent max heart rate during workouts. So what should your max heart rate zone be? Well that depends on you and your training goal.

There are those who say eat less calories if you want to lose weight, but that does not always fit for everyone. Those who train harder, especially sports, must take in high amounts of calories so they will have the energy to train hard. The more intense the training, the more calories they will burn off. Their goal is to get into peak condition for competition. You don’t need to worry about how many calories, or how many grams of carbs there are, because you will burn them off. Yes, it is true that you can lose weight without doing exercise by reducing your calories, but that is not recommended by me. Exercise is important, not just for weight, but for the overall health of your body; both mentally and physically.

Getting your heart rate up comes with an intense cardio training like long distance running, sprinting, bike riding, ect. Resistance training will not get your heart rate up as high as cardio workouts, but it is still giving your heart a workout. I recommend getting your heart consistent between 65% to 85%. This will be determined by your resting heart rate, and age. Here is the method you should use to determine your max target heart rate:
This method is the HEART RATE RESERVE. The HRR will give you a higher training zone. Here is an example:

1)220-Age = Max HR
2)Subtract resting heart rate from Max HR = HRR
3)Multiply HRR times percent you want to train.
4)Add back resting heart rate.

Assuming a resting heart rate of 70bpm, 29 years old, and 85% training range:
220 – 29 = 191
191 – 70 = 121
121 x 85% = 103
103 + 70 = 173

173 is your 85% zone.

The HRR reserve method figures in the resting heart rate, which is more accurate than a strait percentage because a strait percentage estimates your training zone in a range from 0 to max. Your heart rate doesn’t go down to zero, so the estimate of maximum comes out lower.

NOVEMBER 23, 2010

The BMI system is flawed!

In our last newsletter, we discussed the importance of the real meaning of the term "obesity".
This session we will discuss the importance of BMI (Body Mass Index), or the lack of importance.
As we have brought up before, your first step to reducing fat on your body is to first determine how much of it you have. It seems the government and many health institutions have settled with using the BMI for their obese data on all persons. Their is just one problem with this system and it is flawed. The BMI only takes into account your weight-height-and age, but what it leaves out is the breakdown of your body make up which determines how much fat you have compared to your muscle mass. You see, I focus on the fat weight, not the overall weight. 

A 20 year old man called in and informed me of his body data to prove my point: His weight was 200 lb; his height was 5'7" with his fat% at 10. according to our system of measurement, he is at lean body mass, and based on his height, he is very likely bulky with muscle with a waist size of 32-33. But according to the BMI, he is classified as obese. The number he would register under BMI is 31.3, which is classified as obese. The problem with the BMI is that it does not break down the body composition into its four masses which are muscle, bone, water, and fat. Only taking the weight and height is not sufficient to get the real results of a persons fat weight especially when muscle weighs more than fat.

The worst part of all this is now the government is using BMI on young students in the form of a health report card. It is problematic enough using it on boys, but with girls it is twice as bad because of what we athletes call athletic thighs and hips. Most girls who play sports will develop their hips, butts and thighs more than the rest of their body which will increase their weight since muscle weighs more than fat, so when they step on the scale, they will read a higher number than most girls who are not athletic. According to the BMI, these athletic girls will register as obese when they are really just muscular in the lower body area.

This is why the government does not belong in the health care and maintenance business. It believes in the one size fits all system and that just will not work in a world of individual personalities. Healthcare belongs to the individual, and the parents are the health watchers of their children, not the government or the schools, which are run by the government. Healthcare reform starts at home, and any and all matters concerning a persons health is absolutely between the patient and the doctor, not some far off government official!

OCTOBER 20, 2010

We have repeatedly responded to the labeling of obesity as a disease as a false claim. Obesity is not a disease; it is a classification that one falls into once they have reached a certain percentage of fat on their body. The other response has been to the use of the BMI (body mass index) to determine a person’s classification of obesity. It is unreliable in determining a persons body make up, which includes the amount of fat and muscle mass a person’s weight contains. (covered in the next news letter)

Obesity is NOT a disease!

Imagine a person, I will call Roy, walking up to you after you have just received chemo-therapy for advanced cancer. Roy is excessively obese and reaches out his hand to you, but you are too weak to lift your hand. Roy then goes on to give words of encouragement to fight on and defeat the cancer which helps lift your spirit, when out of the blue, he looks to receive his own sympathy by making a confusing statement to you. “I know just what you’re going through; I too have a disease that has been crippling me for the past 20 years,” Roy says. You respond with, “Oh, you have cancer too?” “No, but I do have obesity, so you and I are kind of in the same boat because we both have a disease we are fighting.”

What would your response be? I know what mine would be and it would go like this… “Your disease is the same as mine? How about we trade places; you go through the chemo, the operations, and the pain of cancer and I will gladly take on your obesity, which I will promptly get rid of on my own in a relatively short period of time. Mine is not a choice, but yours is, so stop feeling sorry for yourself; get off your butt and start loosing the fat!”

The point of this is to make it clear that obesity is not a disease, but a classification and more importantly it is something that is avoidable by the actions of the individual. How is it that at Massachusetts General, doctors claim that 99% of babies now born in the U.S. are born healthy, yet nearly 60% of people in the U.S. are classified as obese? You were not born obese, yet now you are obese . How do you think this came to be? It just appeared on your body one day? You had no say in the matter?

It is easy to point the blame at others like food manufactures, restaurants, soda companies, but the truth is the blame is to be pointed strait into the mirror. You need not look any further than yourself, and even if you are born with a gland disorder or metabolic disorder, does not mean that you are doomed to be obese, it just means you have to make adjustments to your lifestyle to maintain your health. That is 100% your responsibility. Sure you can get professionals like trainers or dieticians to help guide you along, but you still have to do most of the work. As far as the foods are concerned, you only need to eat in moderation with regular exercise and or be active to maintain your healthy weight. (FYI, a persons healthy weight is determined individually. We are not all the same.)

I have never known anyone who was active, or played a sport, become obese by drinking soda, and I am one of those people. I drank Dr. Pepper like water when I was in school in the late 70’s and early 80’s. In fact we had all the same foods kids and teens have today and yet none of my brothers or friends was overweight with fat because of the foods we ate or the sodas we drank. Many times my teammates and I had two plates for lunch at school so we could have the energy to train for our sports after school. Yet none of us were overweight with fat or obese! (By the way, I had a moderate metabolism, so I had to work to keep the excess fat off)

The truth is that the lack of activities by youths and adults, have resulted in the increase in obese cases. This editor of this news letter believes that health care, health education, sports training, being active, nutrition education starts and belongs at home. Parents must take responsibility for their children’s health, which includes setting an example for them to follow.

J.J. Falcon News Letter Editor and founder of The Youth Obesity and Fitness Foundations

SEPTEMBER 27, 2010


Children are more sedentary every year, watching television or playing video games instead of biking around the neighborhood or playing baseball with their friends.  Even some schools have stopped emphasizing fitness in their curriculum.  In some school districts, physical education has vanished completely because of the lack of funding.

Kids need regular exercise to build strong bones and muscles.  Exercise also helps children sleep better during the night and stay focus throughout the day.  Such habits established in childhood help adolescents maintain healthy weight despite the hormonal changes, rapid growth and social influences that often lead to overeating and lack of physical activity.  And active children are more likely to become fit adults.

As childhood become more sedentary for many, children have put on weight.  In the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of children with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

The key is to value the importance of physical activity and help children develop healthy habits and behavior patterns that persist into adulthood.  Here are some recommendations:

Take the initiative as the parent.  If you want an active child, you must be active yourself.  You owe it to your child’s future and their health.  Take the stairs instead of the elevators and park the car a little further from the stores.  Never make exercise seem like a punishment or chore to kids.  Find fun activities that the whole family can enjoy together, such as:
-Walks with the family dog
-Walking around the mall 
-Bicycle riding
-Nature hikes or walks
In addition to getting you the parent active, exercising together gives you great family time.  The key is to get kids moving.  Free-play activities such as playing tag, hide and seek, hopscotch or jump rope can be great for burning calories and improving health and fitness.

Watching too much television is directly related to childhood obesity.  Children who watch more than five hours of television a day are eight times more likely to be obese that are children who watch less than two hours of television a day.

A perfect way to increase your children’s activity levels is to limit the number of hours they are allowed to watch television or play video games each day.  Other sedentary activities such as playing on the computer or talking on the phone should also be limited.  Do not limit television and video games totally but instead minimize the number.

Children do not have to be in sports or take dance classes to be active.  We all have certain strengths and characters that make us different and enjoy many things.

Many noncompetitive or team oriented activities are available for a child who isn’t interested in organized sports.  The key is to find things that your child likes to do.  For instance, if your child is artistic and loves the outdoors, go on a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks that your child can use to make a collage.  If your child likes to climb, head for the neighborhood jungle gym or climbing wall.  If your child likes to read, then walk with them to the neighborhood library for a book.

For a youngster interested in sports, however, involvement can be the basis for a variety of activities, including training for better performance and developing skills to play several sports.  Before your child begins an organized sport or activity, learn as much as you can about the sport:
-How much time will you and your child will have to commit to practices and games
-How much will participation and equipment cost
-The characteristic of the sport – for example, the emphasis on agility, speed, coordination, endurance and strength
-Your child’s physical maturity
-What benefits your child hopes to derive from it, and how you hope it will benefit him or her

Personal trainers who support and enjoy physical activity can have a powerful influence on a child’s health and activity habits.  Well-organized personal training sessions that give boys and girls the opportunity to experience the mere enjoyment of physical activity can have a long-lasting effect on their health and well being.

Since habits are gained during childhood, you as the parent should teach your child how to enjoy and participate in physical activity.  It will improve every aspect of their future and enhance the quality of their life.

Michael Y. Seril, MS, ACE-CPT, NSCA-CPT


(↓) body fat, especially in obese
(↑)Fat free mass
(Favorable ↑) Body fat distribution

(↑) Insulin sensitivity
(↑) Glucose metabolism
(↑) Thermo effect of food
(↑) Basal and postprandial insulin needs

(↑) Self-concept/self-esteem
(↑) Depression
(↑) Stress response to psychological stimuli

(↑) Aerobic capacity or fitness level
(↓) Resting heart rate
(↓) Blood pressure in mild-moderate hypertensives
(↓) Work of the heart at submaximal loads

(↑) HDL
(↓/↔) LDL
(↓) VLDL/Triglycerides
(↔) Total cholesterol
(↓) Risk ratio (Total cholesterol/HDL) 

(↑) blood circulation especially in the lower extremities
Be able to walk for longer distances without fatigue, pain and discomfort
Be more active throughout the day
Enjoy leisure activities such as playing with your kids or participating in a softball team
Be more outgoing
Daily duties (gardening, grocery shopping, cleaning) become easier and less painful
Life becomes more joyful and productive



What is the problem? 
The 2009 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicates that among U.S. high school students: 
• 12% were obese (students who were > 95th percentile for body mass index, by age and sex, based on reference data). 
Unhealthy Dietary Behaviors 
• 78% ate fruits and vegetables less than five times per day during the 7 days before the survey. (1) • 66% ate fruit or drank 100% fruit juices less than two times per day during the 7 days before the survey. • 86% ate vegetables less than three times per day during the 7 days before the survey. (2) • 29% drank a can, bottle, or glass of soda or pop at least one time per day during the 7 days before the survey. (3) 
Physical Inactivity 
• 23% did not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on any day during the 7 days before the survey. (4) • 82% were physically active at least 60 minutes per day on less than 7 days during the 7 days before the survey. (4) • 44% did not attend physical education (PE) classes in an average week when they were in school. • 67% did not attend PE classes daily when they were in school. • 33% watched television 3 or more hours per day on an average school day. • 25% used computers 3 or more hours per day on an average school day. (5) 

What are the solutions? 
Better health education • More PE and physical activity programs Healthier school environments • Better nutrition services 

What is the status? 
The School Health Policies and Programs Study 2006 indicates that among U.S. high schools
Health Education 
• 69% required students to receive instruction on health topics as part of a specific course. • 53% taught 14 nutrition and dietary behavior topics in a required health education course. • 38% taught 13 physical activity topics in a required health education course. 
PE and Physical Activity 
• 95% required students to take PE; among these schools 59% did not allow students to be exempted from taking a required PE course for certain reasons. (6) • 2% required daily PE or its equivalent for students in all grades in the school for the entire year. •45% offered opportunities for students to participate in intramural activities or physical activity clubs. 
School Environment 
• In 18%, students could purchase fruits or vegetables. (7) • In 77%, students could purchase soda pop or fruit drinks that are not 100% juice. (7) • In 50%, students could purchase chocolate candy. (7) • 52% did not allow students to purchase foods or beverages high in fat, sodium, or added sugars during school lunch periods. 
Nutrition Services 
• 77% offered a choice between 2 or more different fruits or types of 100% fruit juice each day for lunch. • 49% did not sell any fried foods as part of school lunch. • 81% offe

AUGUST 8, 2010
Metabolic Syndrome - Topic Overview

What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems that include too much fat around the waist , elevated blood pressure, high triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and low HDL cholesterol. Together, this group of health problems increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. 

What causes metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle that includes eating too many calories, being inactive, and gaining weight, particularly around your waist . This lifestyle can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body is unable to respond normally to insulin. If you have insulin resistance, your body cannot use insulin properly, and your blood sugar will begin to rise. Over time, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.

What are the symptoms?
If you have metabolic syndrome, you have several disorders of the metabolism at the same time, including obesity (usually around your waist), high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and resistance to insulin. 

Why is metabolic syndrome important?
Research has shown that having this syndrome increases your risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), even beyond that caused by high LDL cholesterol alone.1

What increases your chance of developing metabolic syndrome?
The things that make you more likely to develop metabolic syndrome include:2

Insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that your body cannot use insulin properly.

Abdominal obesity. Having too much fat around your waist is another major risk factor. 
Your chances of developing metabolic syndrome increase as you get older.
Lack of exercise. If you do not exercise, you are more likely to be obese and develop metabolic syndrome. Hormone imbalance. A hormone disorder such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which the female body produces too much of certain hormones, is associated with metabolic syndrome. 
Family history of type 2 diabetes. Having parents or close relatives with diabetes is associated with metabolic syndrome. Weight gain, especially around your waist.

A history of diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).
Race and ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk than whites for type 2 diabetes.3
How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose metabolic syndrome with a physical exam, your medical history, and some simple blood tests. 

You may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the risk factors listed in the table below. Note: These criteria were developed by the American Heart Association. Other organizations may have different criteria for diagnosis.

Criteria for metabolic syndrome 2  Risk factor Defining level:

Abdominal obesity (waist measurement)
Men: Greater than 40in

Asian men: Greater than 36in

Women: Greater than 35in

Asian women: Greater than 32in

150 mg/dL or higher, or taking medicine for high triglycerides

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
Men: Less than 40 mg/dL

Women: Less than 50 mg/dL

Or taking medicine for low HDL cholesterol

Blood pressure
130/85 mm Hg or higher, or taking medicine for high blood pressure

Fasting blood sugar
100 mg/dL or higher, or taking medicine for high blood sugar 

How is metabolic syndrome treated?
The main goal of treatment for metabolic syndrome is to reduce your risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and diabetes. The first approaches in treating metabolic syndrome are:

Weight control. Being overweight is a major risk factor for CAD. Weight loss lowers LDL cholesterol and reduces all of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
Physical activity. Lack of exercise is a major risk factor for CAD. Regular physical activity reduces very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) levels, raises HDL cholesterol and, in some people, lowers LDL levels. It can also lower blood pressure, reduce insulin resistance, lower blood sugar levels, and improve heart function.

Assessing risk category for CAD. After your risk is determined, treatment to lower LDL to appropriate levels can begin along with treatment of other metabolic risk factors, including high blood pressure and insulin resistance.1

JULY 30, 2010
Genomic Mapping Finds Cholesterol Genes

Nearly 100 Gene Variants Have Been Identified That Contribute to the Genetic Risk for High LDL Cholesterol, Including 59 New Ones
By Salynn Boyles

by Laura J. Martin, MDAug. 4, 2010 -- Researchers have identified nearly 100 gene variants linked to blood lipids, which they say could explain a quarter to a third of hereditary factors influencing cholesterol -- a major risk factor for heart disease.

In one of the largest gene mapping studies ever conducted, a global team of investigators scanned the genomes of more than 100,000 people from 17 countries in an effort to locate the genetic hotspots associated with high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Their efforts led to the identification of 59 new genetic variants, or mutations, which contribute to high LDL, or bad, cholesterol within families.

Focusing on one of these variants, a subgroup of researchers also identified a novel regulator of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad, cholesterol, which could potentially lead to new treatments for high cholesterol and heart disease.

A researcher who led that study says the findings demonstrate the value of large-scale gene mapping studies.

Both studies appear in the Aug. 5 issue of the journal Nature.

“There has been some disappointment, especially in the lay press, that genome-wide association studies haven’t led to new therapies,” University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine professor of medicine Daniel J. Rader, MD, tells WebMD. “That is a little naive since we are really very early in the process.”

Mapping Identifies LDL ‘Hotspots’
The first gene mapping studies were conducted just five years ago, and as recently as three years ago only a few gene variants associated with blood lipids had been identified, says Christopher O’Donnell, MD, of the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Framingham Heart Study.

The NHLBI funded the larger cholesterol gene mapping study, along with other NIH agencies.

The goal of large, diverse genome-wide association studies (GWAS), as they are known in research circles, is to identify previously unknown common genetic factors that influence health and disease.

The more than 100,000 genomes scanned in the latest research included people of European, Eastern Asian, Southern Asian, and African-American descent participating in 46 separate heart studies across the globe.

In all, O’Connell and colleagues identified 95 gene variants associated with LDL and triglyceride levels, including 59 new ones. These variants were seen in men and women and in different ethnic groups.

Two of the identified regions are already targets of existing cholesterol drugs, but many others had not previously been associated with cholesterol.

O’Connell tells WebMD that as many as several hundred more gene variants that help regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be identified in the near future.

“We are beginning to understand the biology of lipids in a way that we never did before,” he says. “And new approaches for sequencing genes should help us find less common, but potentially more powerful, hot spots.”

Study Identifies LDL Protein
The investigation by Rader and colleagues focused on a region of chromosome 1p13 identified in the larger study.

For the first time a gene known as Sort1, which encodes a protein known as sortilin, was linked to the regulation of LDL cholesterol.

In studies in mice, the researchers were able to lower blood levels of LDL by dramatically lowering sortilin levels in the liver.

Rader says the Sort1 pathway may prove to be a new regulatory system for regulating cholesterol levels in humans.

“It makes sense that if we can figure out a way to tweak sortilin expression in a way that would reduce LDL in people, this would have a beneficial impact on heart disease risk,” Rader says.

The tricky part, he says, will be finding a way to lower LDL through this pathway without dramatically increasing sortilin in the liver.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I do think this is a new pathway that has therapeutic potential.”

The study was partially funded through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant.

O’Connell agrees the study by Rader and colleagues helps to validate the usefulness of large, ethnically diverse genomic mapping research.

“This type of research confirms the importance of large-scale, international collaborations in our attempt to discover the genetic underpinnings of disease,” he says.

JUNE 8, 2010

The Truth About Sugar
Can you get addicted to sugar? Do you need to quit it cold turkey? Here are expert answers.
By Katherine Kam

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Recently, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres declared that she was going on a sugar cleanse, purging her diet of all refined sugars to boost her well-being. While naturally occurring sugars, such as the kind found in sugar snap peas, were still OK to eat, no one was going to catch Ellen letting a Bundt cake cross her lips.
Her sugar cleanse diet inspired many viewers to embark on their own sugar smackdowns. Is this the latest food fad, or are the sugar naysayers on to something? 
We don't need to go cold turkey on sugar, health experts tell WebMD. But most of us would do well to lighten up on the sweet stuff.

Is sugar addictive?

A coworker with an unshakable candy bar habit might sigh that she's utterly addicted to sweets. Can someone truly become physically dependent on sugar?
Sugar taps into a powerful human preference for sweet taste, says Marcia Pelchat, PhD, a scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a basic research institute in Philadelphia.  "We're born to like sugar," she says.

"Sugar does seem to be special in some ways," Pelchat says, even in the womb. Doctors used to treat the problem of excessive amniotic fluid by injecting a sweet substance into the liquid, she says. The appealing taste would prompt the fetus to swallow more fluid, which was then flushed out through the umbilical cord and the mother's kidneys.
Not only do infants prefer sweet tastes, but when babies drink a sweet solution, it can ease pain through a natural analgesic effect in the body, Pelchat says.
Way back, the preference for sugar may have conferred an evolutionary advantage by leading people to seek out ripe fruits, which are sweet and serve as a good source of calories, she says.
But nowadays, is the coworker's constant hankering for sugar merely a strong liking, or is it a true addiction, with physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms?
"The jury's still out," Pelchat says. Scientists aren't sure if people can become physically dependent on sugar, although some animal studies suggest that such a thing is possible, she says. "There are the same kinds of changes in brain dopamine, in these animals given intermittent access to sugar, as in drug addicts."  

Unlike with substance abuse, people don't get the shakes when they stop eating sugar. But people with constant sugar cravings do exhibit one symptom of dependence, Pelchat says: "continued use despite knowledge of bad consequences or having to give up certain activities." For instance, people who crave sugary, fatty foods will keep eating them even if obesity makes it uncomfortable to walk or to sit in an economy seat on the plane.  

Can sugar worsen cholesterol?
Researchers have found a link between sugar and unhealthy levels of blood fats. “There’s an association between added sugar intake and what we call dyslipidemia -- higher triglycerides and lower HDL ("good") cholesterol, says Rachel K. Johnson, RD, MPH, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association (AHA).

Can sugar worsen cholesterol? continued...
In a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), people who ate the largest amounts of added sugar had the highest blood triglyceride levels and the lowest HDL (good) cholesterol levels. That study also showed that eating lots of sugar more than tripled the odds of having low HDL cholesterol levels, a strong risk factor for heart disease.
In contrast, people who ate the least sugar had the lowest triglyceride levels and highest HDL levels, a protective factor against heart disease.
But "the study doesn’t prove that added sugars cause dyslipidemia,” says Johnson, who wasn't involved in the JAMA study.

Johnson says that to prove that sugar causes problems with blood fats, scientists would have to 
conduct a clinical trial in which some people ate a diet high in added sugar and others ate a diet low in added sugar. Then researchers would track their triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Such a study would be expensive and hard to carry out, she says.
However, Johnson points out that weight did not explain the JAMA findings. “Obesity is obviously related to dyslipidemia, but based on the JAMA paper, the added sugars had an independent effect, separate and distinct from the added sugars’ impact on weight," she says.

Does sugar cause diabetes?
"Eating sugar per se does not cause diabetes," Johnson says. But large, epidemiological research has shown an association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes, she says.
The real culprit may be obesity. "It may be because the sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BMIs or associated with overweight and obesity, which we know is a risk factor for diabetes," Johnson says.

Is sugar affecting children's health?

Pediatricians are concerned that too much sugar is in their young patients' diets, Kavey says. But again, sugar by itself is not the problem, she says, but rather the excess pounds.
"The reason that we think of it as a problem is because of the big rise in obesity in childhood, and that rise has occurred over the same time period that there's been a major increase in the amount of simple sugar that children consume," Kavey says. Juices, sodas, sweetened cereals, cookies, and candy are common sources of sugar in children's diets.  
But other factors -- like spending a lot of sedentary time with computers rather than running around and playing -- may also contribute to childhood obesity.
What about the notion that sugar makes some children hyperactive?
"In my own experience, I know there are some children who are very sensitive to sugar. They really are quite wild after they have sugar," Kavey says. "But that's not proof. The literature on it is not conclusive at all."

Are some types of sugar better than others?
Celebrities and high-profile chefs have touted the benefits of replacing refined white sugar with purportedly more natural, healthier sugars, such as honey, maple syrup, or molasses.
But there's no truth to these common misconceptions, Johnson says. "In terms of something being inherently better about those sweeteners as opposed to table sugar or sucrose -- no." The bottom line: All are simple sugars.
"A calorie of sugar is a calorie of sugar, so whether you're getting it from white sugar or some other type of sweetener, you're still adding empty calories to your diet," Johnson says.  
However, there may be one redeeming quality, she says. "Some of those sweeteners -- like maple syrup, molasses, honey -- may have a stronger taste, so you might be able to get the sweetness that you want with less of it, using less calories."  
What about substituting artificial sweeteners? Despite public worries that they might cause cancer, "They've been approved as safe by the FDA and I think that they can be a good tool to lower the calories in your diet," Johnson says. "But you need to be careful that it's about the total calories. You always hear about the person who puts the non-nutritive sweetener in their coffee and then has a piece of cheesecake."

How much sugar does the average American eat?
Sugar shows up naturally in lots of foods, but those aren't the types of sugars in the spotlight. Instead, it's the sugar in the doughnuts and sodas or even in the maple syrup that we drizzle onto our pancakes. 
"We do know that Americans are consuming way too much added sugars," Johnson says. "These are the sugars that are added to foods in processing or preparation. They're not the naturally occurring sugars, like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk or dairy products."
Johnson led the team of experts that wrote the AHA's 2009 scientific statement on added sugars and cardiovascular health. The report pointed to sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks as the main source of added sugars in Americans' diets.
From 2001 to 2004, the report noted, Americans consumed lots of sugar: an average of 22 teaspoons a day, the equivalent of 355 calories. 
Eating too much sugar can create two main problems, Johnson says. "It either adds calories to your diet or it displaces other nutritious foods. Most Americans could benefit from reducing the amount of added sugars in their diet."
However, none of the experts who spoke to WebMD advocated that people try to purge all added sugars from their diets. By itself, sugar is not a risky food, says Rae-Ellen W. Kavey, MD, MPH, a pediatrics professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. "The focus should be on a healthful approach," she says, "not people rushing to one side or the other."

How much sugar does the average American eat? continued...
Moderation is key, experts say. For example, the AHA statement recommends that women limit themselves to about 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, or about 100 calories.  Men should aim for about 9 teaspoons a day, or 150 calories. Just how much sugar is that? A 12-oz. can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or about 130 calories.