It is long past time for us to think differently about guns. The problems is not the tool as much as it is the user. If we can’t admit that hard truth to ourselves, there is no way to address the issue.
It’s not huge news, but it’s a new way of expressing an essential truth: major chronic problems, such as heart disease (in particular, acute events, such as a first heart attack) are not inevitable in middle aged and even late middle aged and elderly adults. These things are avoidable. Exercise, eating well, not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, and drinking judiciously, are the key factors.
Eleven-year long study follows twins to learn whether protein intake affects blood pressure. Contrary to popular wisdom, a high protein diet is associated with a far lower risk of developing high blood pressure than people who ate a low-protein diet.
Importantly, it did not matter whether the protein (up to 100 grams daily, which is about what I eat), came from animal or plant sources. Because high blood pressure, if left untreated for many years, can lead to heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease, it is worth monitoring throughout adulthood. I like that the researchers specifically noted that protein source was irrelevant. This flies in the face of the incredibly stupid study produced by USC researchers, including one who is leader of a firm promoting plant protein products, supposedly showing that plant proteins contribute to longevity, but animal proteins don’t. Alan Cassels and I dismantle their claims here and here.
Eat good quality protein (lean meats, skinless poultry, seafood, lentils, legumes, beans, whole-milk dairy, and intact whole grains) prepared simply and you will be doing yourself a double-barrelled favor. Not only, according to this study, will you have a lower risk of high blood pressure, you will also be helping to preserve muscle mass as you age (of course, you do have to work out).
Great essay by Baltimore personal trainer, Shannon Khoury. It does really all start with you!
Originally posted on Your Personal Affordable Care Act:
A simply terrific, engaging essay by personal trainer Shannon Khoury of Baltimore, about something we don’t like to admit: fitness starts with you. If you will not remake yourself, because it’s the right thing to do, then you are hopelessly lost waiting for the government and the healthcare industry to fix you. Good work, Shannon.
Employers love workplace wellness programs, but they generally don’t work | The Incidental Economist
The Incidental Economist is late (two years late, to be exact) to the wellness-doesn’t-work party, but we are happy to admit them without a cover charge.
Excellent video tutorial by The Wall Street Journal on the most important epidemic in the US…the overdiagnosis of cancer. Why do we overdiagnose cancer? Because we think that finding disease, even in people who don’t have it, is somehow helpful. It is helpful, I guess, if you work in the wellness or cancer industries, or the hospital industry, which needs to pitch bogus screenings in order to keep overbuilt capacity humming. You would think that, at some point, people in the healthcare industry would say to themselves, “hey, maybe before we go fishing for more disease in people who don’t actually have it, we should become really great at taking care of the people who do.” Nah, that’s way too sensible. (Watching the video may require registration and/or membership.)
The lessons in this essay are all true. I know because I’ve lived each and every one of them.
Entrepreneur: Like Running a Business, Getting in Shape Takes Lots of Small Steps to Succeed. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIw-Y7g0Bo
Excellent article about running form and the controversy over heel strike. Breaking Muscle: What Forefoot Running Actually Means. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwuamU0Bo
The Ebola outbreak in Africa, and the highly publicized treatment in the US of infected healthcare workers, is a deservedly hot topic. If you have concerns and questions, I strongly suggest you take advantage of the opportunity to raise them with the chief of the CDC, who is adddressing readers this weekend, via the comment thread following his Ebola essay at The Health Care Blog. Click on the link to ask a question. I have already done so. It is not often that high ranking federal officials make themselves available in this way. Take advantage of the opportunity to engage him.
Nilofer Merchant is a business woman of some accomplishment who wrote an essay for the Harvard Business Review Blog in which she parrots the convention that sitting too much is killing us, going so far as to equate sitting with smoking. Runner’s World has also trod this path. Neither Ms. Merchant, nor less excusably the Runner’s World editors, appear to have much claim on knowledge of physiology, logic, or even common sense.
I took the position in a post a couple of years ago that sitting was not the problem. Fitness is the problem. I also said that when we get studies that actually measure fitness, we will find that it attenuates the purported risks of sitting. It is ludicrous to believe that someone who endeavors to achieve and maintain fitness (cardiorespiratory capacity of at least 10 METs) is going to somehow lose all the advantages they gain through their exercise discipline just because they sit a lot.
Our societal messaging on physical activity and exercise is all wrong. The government’s lame philosophy, joined by groups like the American College of Sports Medicine, is that telling Americans to “exercise” is too emphatic. It will scare people. We should just tell them to be physically active, to go take a walk. Not only do Americans get too little physical activity, they get shockingly little exercise. As a result, we are a manifestly UNFIT population and that is what sentences us to preventable, premature sickness and early death.
Highly fit people live longer and have a lower rate of both heart disease and cancer, our two leading killers (both of which are strongly age-related, so being fit at some point in life is not the same as achieving and maintaining fitness throughout life, even though it declines gradually with aging).
This brings us to two studies recently published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, both of which were completely ignored by the mainstream media’s so-called health reporters, who, no doubt, realized that if they reported the results, they’d have to walk back all their bluster about the evils of sitting. Fitness is what matters, as I predicted. In the first paper, unfortunately behind a pay wall, concludes that health risks related to being sedentary have a great deal to do with fitness. In the second paper, which is not behind a pay wall, the researchers conclude that, unlike conventional wisdom, sedentary time does not increase risk for metabolic syndrome. Further, the authors conclude that, “…when taking fitness into account, prolonged sedentary time had a markedly less pronounced effect on cardiometabolic risk and adiposity.” Both papers used objective measures of fitness, from graded treadmill stress tests. The first paper estimated sedentary time from accelerometers. The second paper used self-reported sedentary and physical activity time, which has recall problems, but its cohort was prospective and followed people over a period of 30 years.
One place that the don’t-sit-too-much crowd has been incredibly wrong is its gross misunderstanding of human development over the last 200 years. As we have gone from an agrarian economy to an industrial, post-industrial, service, and now, information economy, each successive generation has been engaged more in intellectual work and less physical work. Yet, lifespan grew with each cohort. If sedentary time is so deadly, why didn’t lifespan stagnate or regress when farmers became factory workers and factory workers became office and store clerks who became software developers? Where’s the spike in death rates? The reduction in lifespan that we may see with the baby boomers and Gen Xers isn’t about their sedentary time. It’s about their fitness levels.
If you have not yet pulled together your exercise strategy, it is pretty much never too late to start. Almost all your risk reduction benefit comes by getting your aerobic capacity up to the ability to do 10 METs of work. This is roughly equal to jogging at 10 min/mile (6 mph), cycling at about 15 mph, doing dance aerobics with a 10″ to 12″ step, doing martial arts, jumping rope, playing competitive racquetball, etc. See here for a full list of exercises and their METs.