Obesity and Inactivity Rates Still Rising

In the annual “America’s Health Rankings”, a list calculated by the United Health Foundation (UHF), the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention, both obesity and inactivity rates were still on the rise. The list assess each state’s performance on 27 core health measures, but perhaps the most important information that came to light was the following:

According to the report, U.S. residents are more sedentary than ever before, despite encouraging findings in last year’s report, and it is leading to greater prevalence of chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes.

Specifically, the report found that:
•29.4% of adults are obese, a 7% increase from 2013;
•23.5% of all residents are considered sedentary, up 3% from 2013; and
•9.6% of adults live with diabetes, more than double the number living from 20 years ago.

You can read the full article here. This again highlights the importance of healthy diet and exercise, and is another reminder of how the #61DayChallenge can help you with your fitness and health goals.

Join the 61 Day Challenge!

To learn more about the DMC 2014 61 Day Health Challenge and how it can help all of us to cut back on sugar and exercise more during the holiday season, just click on:   www.61daychallenge.com

61 Day Challenge Daily Workouts

It is truly wonderful to see the 61 Day Challenge, and all it entails, so eagerly embraced by members of the DMC team. Michael, the Laboratory Supervisor
at the Harper STAT Lab, recently emailed me the following video, which you can view by clicking HERE.
Michael writes,
“Here is a video of my lab assistants doing one of their daily workouts that began as part of their 61 day challenge – they have been doing 3 or 4 for a 1 minute impromptu during their shift whenever the mood strikes them.”
Keep up the good work everyone!
Join the 61 Day Challenge! Visit www.61DayChallenge.com

61 Day Challenge Participant Sees Improvement

Halima Crutchfield, Care Coordination Specialist at Harper-Hutzel, took the 61 Day Challenge Pledge to make healthier choices in her life including exercising 5 days a week, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and consuming less sugar. By making these changes, Halima has not only lost 8 pounds since the start of the challenge, but she feels better. In addition, she’s encouraged her sister to join her in this challenge.

“The lesson I am re-learning is that this is a lifestyle change,” said Halima. “This is a slow process for me but I’m worth it. I look forward to the day when making healthy food choices will come as second nature to me.”

Halima is enjoying this journey and views this as an opportunity to make an investment in her health. Congratulations and keep up the great work Halima!

Join the 61 Day Challenge! Visit www.61DayChallenge.com

Here’s How to Avoid the “Fat Attacks” That Too Often Mar the Holiday Season

Let the holidays begin!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time once again to launch the season of marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes . . . cornbread drenched in melted butter . . . and the sugar-loaded soft drinks and cocktails that all too often inflame our appetites and lead to massive over-eating.

Let’s face it, my friends: for many of us, the holiday season has long been a license to gorge on huge helpings of calorie-loaded mashed potatoes and grease-laden turkey stuffing (along with the 20-ounce cola drinks and the snack-time goodies) which can trigger a runaway fat attack.

But let’s hang on a minute.  Before we dive into that second piece of gooey pecan pie, let’s ask ourselves: do we really have to consume all those thousands of fat-building calories in order to celebrate the holidays with good fellowship and good will to all?

Surprisingly enough, the answer is a resounding “no”!

For all of us who’ve taken the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge Pledge to abstain from sugary drinks, fried foods and “junk foods” until the end of the year, the good news is that there’s a better way to enjoy the holidays than stuffing ourselves with needless calories.

So what’s the first step on the road to making sure this holiday season doesn’t leave you feeling like a leftover stuffed sausage at the end of a Roman banquet?

The answer can be found in a single word: moderation.

To understand why that word is so important, consider this single fact: the typical Thanksgiving feast at grandma’s place (turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato, mashed potato, cornbread, greens, pumpkin or pecan pie with whipped cream and beer, wine or spirits for the adults) often adds up to a whopping 3,500 calories . . . which turns out to be the same number of calories contained in a pound of fat.

A disturbing thought?

You bet it is.  Now add in the “extras” that so often accompany the holidays (those chocolate doughnuts for breakfast at grandma’s, and the pizza-blowout at lunchtime, with plenty of peppermint sticks and cheesy-flapdoodles in between) . . . and you can see why this time of year is such a calorie-trap for all of us.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

To avoid the dangers of overeating and overdrinking during the holidays, a really helpful strategy is: eat and drink more slowly than usual . . . while also eating less of each item on the menu.

And while we’re at it, here are a few other holiday “tips” designed to help us achieve moderation and cut down on the holiday calorie-count.

  • Eat a small, low-fat and high-fiber meal (fruit salad and a cereal bar?) before that giant feast at grandma’s, so you’ll feel less temptation to gorge on the mashed potatoes.
  • Drink less alcohol before the feast . . . since alcohol is notorious for its ability to inspire the human appetite.
  • A half-hour before the Big Dining Event, fill up on water or a sugar-free beverage.
  • As the holiday meal begins in earnest, follow the “Three-Quarters Rule” by loading 75 percent of your plate with non-fatty, low-sugar foods such as vegetables, fruit salad and lean meat.

 

My friends, there’s no doubt that the holidays represent a special challenge for all of us who’ve taken the “DMC Pledge” to improve our health by cutting back on sugar and exercising more between now and the end of the calendar year.

But there’s also no doubt that we can meet that challenge . . . by using our heads and thinking about every forkful and spoonful we put into our mouths at this festive time of the year.

Here’s wishing all of us a joyful, happy and healthy holiday season, as we gather to say thanks for all our blessings in 2014!

[To learn more about the DMC 2014 61 Day Health Challenge and how it can help all of us to cut back on sugar and exercise more during the holiday season, just click on:   www.61daychallenge.com]

Improving Your Overall Health Starts With Taking Better Care of Your Heart . . .

Improving Your Overall Health Starts With Taking Better Care of Your Heart . . . and the “Life Check Tool” Can Help!

Are you ready for a few truly astonishing facts about the human heart?

Fact:  the average heart will beat 2.5 billion times during its owner’s lifetime.

Fact: while pounding away without letup, that same heart will over a lifetime pump more than 1.5 million gallons of blood through the body’s 60,000 miles of veins, arteries and capillaries.

Fact: the energy generated by the typical human heart during a lifetime would be enough to power a medium-sized truck to the moon and back.

Those are some awesome numbers, don’t you think?

Looking at them, it’s easy to see why medical science has long believed that achieving good heart health is the key to enjoying a long and healthy life.  And those of us who work day in and day out to help patients at the Detroit Medical Center couldn’t agree more.

Which is why we recently launched our yearly “DMC 61 Day Health Challenge,” during a high-spirited Kick Off event that brought doctors, nurses, teachers, community leaders and a mob of fired-up high school students together to take the “Less Sugar, More Steps!” Pledge at DMC Harper University Hospital.

The Pledge is our way of saying: “We can all do a better job of protecting our hearts – by paying closer attention to the food we eat and the amount of exercise we get each day.”

The Challenge is a public education program – enthusiastically endorsed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who attended the recent Kick Off extravaganza at Harper Hospital – in which the participants agree to abstain from sugary drinks (no more “Whiz Cola” for a while!), fried foods and “junk” foods until the end of the year.

The exciting Challenge program also asks participants to exercise moderately for 30 minutes, several times a week . . . while helping to educate at least one family member or friend about the important relationship between what we eat and how healthy we are.

Sounds like a win-win program, right?

And the best part is that you can get started immediately . . . by taking advantage of a simple, easy-to-use (and cost-free) “Life Check” tool that will help you assess your cardiovascular health right now and then measure your progress during the Challenge.

Designed by the American Heart Association, Life Check can assist you in outlining your personal health goals and then working to meet them throughout the coming days of the Challenge’s “Less Sugar, More Steps!” health-improvement program.

To get started, all you have to do is go to the Challenge website (www.61daychallenge.com) and then click on the icon marked Before You Start, and you’ll be off and running.

You can have a lot of fun designing and implementing your own day-by-day strategy for improving your cardiovascular health during the Challenge.

Even better, you can also lower your risk of being affected by one other important health Fact:

The Fact that heart disease is by far the leading cause of death in the U.S., with more than 2,600 people (nearly two per minute) dying from heart ailments every single day.

That unfortunate Fact speaks for itself, my friends . . . which is why we’re all Challenging ourselves, right now, to learn how to take better care of our hearts!

Step No. 1 on Road to Better Health Is Saying “No” to “Liquid Candy”!

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At the 61 Day Challenge Kick Off (l to r): Dr. Reginald Eadie, Mayor Mike Duggan, Fox 2’s Roop Raj, and Pastor Solomon Kinloch, Jr. of Triumph Church

If you’ve been following the latest news about the “fat epidemic” in America, you probably know that two out of three adults in this country are now classified as “obese” or “overweight” . . . according to the latest data from the public health experts at the federal government.

But do you also know about the huge role that sugary drinks (aka “liquid candy”) now play in help in helping to make the good old USA the fattest place on Planet Earth?

According to the researchers, the average American adult now consumes an astonishing 150 pounds of sugar per year . . . compared to only about five pounds a century or so ago.

Pretty scary, don’t you think?

And there’s more.  In recent years, a team of nutrition experts at the Harvard University School of Public Health has been conducting a long-term study of sugar consumption in the U.S.  According to the Harvard experts, a sizable portion of the staggering sugar intake comes from soda pop and other sugary drinks guzzled by millions of us each day.

Of course, the worried nutritionists at Harvard also point out that the tidal wave of sugar is contributing heavily to soaring rates of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease each year.  Treating such sugar-linked ailments now costs a stunning $190 billion annually – and that scary price-tag now looms as a significant factor in driving up healthcare costs for all of us.

Let’s face it: today there’s simply no doubt that our national soda pop addiction is taking a huge toll on public health every day in America.

So what can we do to turn back the tsunami of “liquid candy” that now threatens the good health of all of us?

One very encouraging answer to that question emerged last Friday – on Halloween afternoon – at DMC Harper University Hospital . . . where more than 200 physicians, nurses, Detroit community leaders and gung-ho high school students from all across the Motor City got together to kick off the DMC 2014 61 Day Health Challenge.

Along with several of my colleagues, I helped to launch the first Health Challenge a few years ago, as a badly needed public health education program in which hundreds of thousands of Detroit-area residents are asked to abstain (until midnight on Dec. 31) from fat-triggering soda pop, fried foods, candy and other sugar-laden foods . . . while also getting plenty of health-promoting exercise.  (To learn more about the Challenge: http://healthforlife.dmc.org/61days.)

Last Friday’s exciting event at Harper brought together community leaders and dozens of excited youngsters for a high-octane “pledge ceremony” in which all of us vowed to make “good food choices” during the holiday period that runs from now through New Year’s Eve.

Why did we take the pledge to say no to “liquid candy” and other “junk” foods this holiday season?

It’s a no-brainer, my friends.  After hearing about the increased average risk for diabetes (26 percent) among those who drink at least one 20-ounce soda pop every day (along with their 20-percent average increased risk for heart attack) . . . we are determined to protect our good health by eating and drinking more wisely during the next couple of months.

And if you aren’t part of the DMC 2014 61 Day Health Challenge yet, just climb aboard and grab a seat – because it’s never too late for all of us to start improving our health by paying more attention to what we eat!