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Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor Air Pollution

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…about Indoor Air Pollution

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, is indoor air pollution a real heath problem?

A: Indoor air pollution can be a health problem, particularly in wintertime.  The Consumer Reports on Health (cr.org/health) shared these ideas about how to stay healthier:

  • VENT YOUR COOKING RANGE – “…The process of cooking food can also pollute your air.  But using your range hood, as long as it vents to the outdoors, can significantly reduce the amounts of pollutants you’re exposed to indoors, according to a 2014 study.”

  • KEEP FILTERS CLEAN – “If you use a forced-air cooling and heating system, using the right filter and changing it regularly (based in manufacturers’ recommendations) are key to keeping the air in your home clean.”

  • CONSIDER AN AIR PURIFIER – “Don’t have central heating and air?  A portable air purifier can also pull dust and smoke from the air.  Be sure to buy one designed for the size of the room in which you’ll be placing it.”
  • LEAVE THE FIREPLACE UNIT UNLIT – Ask Mr Pedometer and Friends about indoor air pollution - pic of an unused fireplaceA crackling fire might feel festive, but its smoke can pollute home air.  It’s best to use your in-home heating to keep warm”

  • BAN SMOKING – “Keep cigarette smoke out of your house – it’s a major polluter of indoor air.  Even the emissions from e-cigarettes may expose bystanders to heavy metals and other harmful substances, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

  • USE THE RIGHT VACUUM – “Vacuuming regularly can help with certain allergies, like those to dust mites.  But some vacuums can worsen indoor air, stirring up dust that can contain allergens and harmful particles.  A vacuum with a HEPA filter can help you avoid this pitfall.”

I hope these suggestions can help you combat indoor air pollution and help you stay healthy this winter.  And don’t forget that you can enjoy rain-rinsed winter air by going outdoors to take a walk.

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND STAY WELL

Walking-The Real Benefits

Walking-The Real Benefits

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Walking

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, its winter. It’s cold outside, and frequently gray.  Tell me again why I should get out of bed on a Saturday morning to walk with you?

A: You’ll feel better if you do.  Don’t just take my word for it:  Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., the author of a new book entitled The Joy of Movement, offered these good reasons in the January edition of Spry (Parade.com):

  • IT’S A STRESS-BUSTER – “… A 25-year-old study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found physical activity (walking) to be the most effective way to improve your mood. It beat eating, sleeping, and talking with friends.  ‘While it doesn’t eliminate stress, it does help us handle it with greater hope and calm. Plus, it tends to shift our mood toward a more positive outlook.’”

  • IT HELPS US CONNECT – “When exercising, World Walk To Wellness the brain releases chemicals, such as endorphins and endocannabinoids, which increase the pleasure we take from connecting with others,’ McGonigal says. ‘If you want to strengthen a relationship, take a walk  If you want to form new friendships, find a place where you can move with others.  If you struggle with social anxiety, regular exercise can make it easier and more enjoyable to spend time with others.’”

  • IT BOOSTS YOUR BRAIN – “

    Physical activity is already linked to better brain health, and McGonigal says that regular exercise (walking) can not only protect against Alzheimer’s disease but also strengthen the brain’s reward system. ‘This can relieve depression and make you better able to experience everyday pleasures,’ she says.

  • IT CAN MAKE YOU HAPPIER –

    Being active with a group boosts the “feel-good” effect of movement more than exercising alone. “After being physically active with a group, people feel more optimistic, more hopeful, and more connected to others.”

So, less stress and/or depression, improved relationships, and increased happiness…isn’t that worth getting up and out for a walk?

 

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, “Walk ‘n’ Talk” to CONNECT, AND STAY WELL

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

 

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…about Losing Weight and Obesity

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who repeats the same resolution for each New Year — namely, to lose weight?

A: Nope!  That very well may be the most common item on people’s lists of New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight seems Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends about weight loss and obesity - scale and measuring tapelike a more elusive goal as we age.  However, it is an important one.  A recent newspaper article by Sandee LaMotte of CNN gave a dire prediction. It stated that half of Americans will be obese within a decade unless major changes are made.

The prediction is based on an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study analyzed 26 years if Body Mass Index (BMI) data from over 6 million American adults.  The researchers concluded that by 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will have “a body mass index over 35. This means they will be more than 100 pounds overweight.”  That implies huge health and economic repercussions.

“In all 50 states, at least 35% of the population will be obese, the study found.” Hardest hit are 29 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, where the prediction is that 50% of their residents will be considered obese. Sub-populations most at risk for severe obesity include “women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults who make less than $50,000 per year.”  For adults “with less than $20,000 annual household income, severe obesity will be the most common BMI category in 44 states,” according to lead author Zachary Ward.

How has this happened?  Following are some of the factors:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages and ultra-processed foods are more widely available
  • Food prices – “including unhealthy fast-food choices” – have fallen (when adjusted for inflation)
  • Many people have limited options for physical activity

What can be done to avoid the predictions for obesity?  Here are some ideas shared in the article:

  • Improving local public transportation systems to encourage walking instead of driving
  • Keeping public schools open on weekends and summers to provide access to gymnasiums and swimming pools
  • Increasing support for farmers’ markets to provide more access to low-cost fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminating tax deductions to businesses for advertising unhealthy foods to children

An earlier Harvard study found that “the most cost-effective solution was the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The study found the tax saved $30 in health care costs for every dollar spent on the program.”

As you can see from these studies, all Americans need to be aware of the problem of accelerating rates of obesity in our nation.  Perhaps a more reasonable New Year’s Resolution for you would be to avoid gaining any more weight in the coming year.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.  And the best ways to do that and to lose weight are….

 

EAT RIGHT,  MOVE MORE,  AND STAY WELL

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

Losing weight…the elusive goal

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Weight Loss and Obesity

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who repeats the same resolution for each New Year — namely, to lose weight?

A: Nope!  That very well may be the most common item on people’s lists of New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight seems Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends about weight loss and obesity - scale and measuring tapelike a more elusive goal as we age.  However, it is an important one.  A recent newspaper article by Sandee LaMotte of CNN gave the dire prediction that half of Americans will be obese within a decade unless major changes are made.

The prediction is based on an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study analyzed 26 years if Body Mass Index (BMI) data from over 6 million American adults.  The researchers concluded that by 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will have “a body mass index over 35, which means they will be more than 100 pounds overweight.”  That implies huge health and economic repercussions.

“In all 50 states, at least 35% of the population will be obese, the study found.” Hardest hit are 29 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, where the prediction is that 50% of their residents will be considered obese. Sub-populations most at risk for severe obesity include “women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults who make less than $50,000 per year.”  For adults “with less than $20,000 annual household income, severe obesity will be the most common BMI category in 44 states,” according to lead author Zachary Ward.

How has this happened?  Here are some of the factors:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages and ultra-processed foods are more widely available
  • Food prices – “including unhealthy fast-food choices” – have fallen (when adjusted for inflation)
  • Many people have limited options for physical activity

What can be done to avoid the predictions for obesity?  Here are some ideas shared in the article:

  • Improving local public transportation systems to encourage walking instead of driving
  • Keeping public schools open on weekends and summers to provide access to gymnasiums and swimming pools
  • Increasing support for farmers’ markets to provide more access to low-cost fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminating tax deductions to businesses for advertising unhealthy foods to children

An earlier Harvard study found that “the most cost-effective solution was the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The study found the tax saved $30 in health care costs for every dollar spent on the program.”

As you can see from these studies, all Americans need to be aware of the problem of accelerating rates of obesity in our nation.  Perhaps a more reasonable New Year’s Resolution for you would be to avoid gaining any more weight in the coming year.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.  And the best ways to do that are….

EAT RIGHT,  MOVE MORE,  AND STAY WELL

Healthier Feasting during the Holidays

Healthier Feasting during the Holidays

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…About Healthier Feasting

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, with winter holidays this month and next, are there any ways to make the feasting healthier?

A: You might anticipate some food indulgence between now and New Year’s Day, particularly because many families create special dishes that are enjoyed just once a year.  Pedometer.com Healthier FeastingGo ahead and sample them – with small portions.  If you are hosting a holiday feast, here are some suggestions for “lightening up holiday dishes without sacrificing tradition or taste” from Consumer Reports on Health:

  • FOR APPETIZERS, THINK FRESH – “Shrimp cocktail is festive and a better pick than fried hors d’oeuvres. Other healthy starters include spiced nuts or roasted chickpeas, pear or apple slices topped with a dollop of soft goat cheese (chevre) – which is lower in calories and fat than hard cheeses – and crudités with hummus or guacamole. If you prefer spinach or artichoke dip, use low-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.”

  • CHOOSE A HEALTHIER MEAT – “Roast turkey is the healthiest option, but if family tradition calls for pork or beef, the solution is to opt for healthier cuts.” (Beef tenderloin or top sirloin roast instead of prime rib; fresh ham instead of cured ham.)

  • SPICE IT UP – “If you use garlic, onion, and herbs (such as rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme) in a dish, you might not need to add salt. Acidic flavors, such as lemon or lime juice, can also perk up a recipe. (Lemon and garlic go with practically any vegetable.)”
  • BE SAVVY ABOUT SIDES – “Add fiber to stuffing by replacing half the bread with whole-wheat bread – or, better yet, quinoa or another whole grain –and add nuts and extra vegetables, such as celery, carrots, and onion. Cut back on the butter and use low-sodium stock to moisten.  For mashed potatoes, use Yukon Golds, which have a buttery flavor, and try swapping mashed cauliflower for one-quarter to half of the potatoes.  Make them creamy with evaporated skim milk in place of cream or butter….Instead of salty green beans or marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, try roasting carrots and parsnips or Brussel sprouts and red grapes.  Drizzle with olive oil, season, and cook until tender.   This brings out the vegetables’ sweetness and cuts prep time.”
  • LIGHTEN DESSERT – “You can often reduce the amount of sugar called for in recipes for cookies, cakes, and other baked goods by 10 to 25 percent with little difference in the outcome. (To cut 10percent, subtract 5 teaspoons for every cup of sugar in the recipe.) And to add some fiber, replace 25 percent of all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour, or half the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat white flour.  Like regular whole wheat, it contains all three parts of the grain, but it’s lighter in color, texture, and flavor.”

Even if you try only one of these suggestions, you will be making your holiday feast healthier for family, friends, and yourself.  Happy holidays!

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND STAY WELL

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…About Diabetes Symptoms

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, how is it possible that a person could have Type 2 diabetes and not be aware of it?

A: Good question, particularly since November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Here’s what Everyday Health has to say about how Type 2 diabetes symptoms may be hard to recognize:

“Signs of diabetes include frequent urination, fatigue, and sudden weight loss….  It’s not always easy to recognize signs of Type 2 Diabetes, especially because symptoms can develop slowly — or be mistaken for something else.

“For example, increased thirst may be chalked up to a hot summer, or fatigue may be interpreted as a sign of aging or stress. This is unfortunate, as even short-term high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) diminishes your quality of life.

“’High blood sugar means that there is an accumulation of glucose in Diabetes blood Glucose testthe blood that is not reaching its given destination in the body,’ says Monet Bland, CDE, at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. ‘Untreated hyperglycemia can lead to skin problems, gynecological problems, impotence, fatigue, and blurred vision.’

“And if high blood sugar stemming from diabetes persists for a long time, you may eventually develop complications, such as vision problems (diabetic retinopathy), nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), or kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy) that cannot be completely reversed with improved blood sugar control.

“’It is important to note that often times the complications of diabetes can be worse than the diabetes itself,” Bland says.  To help prevent high blood sugar, Bland says, you can monitor your food intake by:

 

Keeping portion sizes in mind – Limit food portions and track your caloric intake to make sure you are not consuming too many calories for your energy needs.

  • Considering your diet choices – Carbohydrates have the largest effect on blood glucose, so you should track your intake and reach for complex carbs that are lower on the glycemic index, Bland says.
  • Incorporating exercise – Exercise is known to lower blood glucose.

 “Type 2 diabetes can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue even when you’ve slept well
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Cloudy thinking
  • Irritability
  • Wounds that won’t heal
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Blurry vision
  • Sleeping troubles
  • Excessive urination
  • Sexual problems
  • Sudden and unexpected weight loss

(Source: www.everydathealth.com )

 

These are good reasons why Mr. Pedometer always signs off by saying…

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND STAY WELL