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!

Grammy Award Winning Producer Accepts the 61 Day Challenge!

Famed Grammy award winning producer and Stellar award winning gospel artist J Moss accepts the 61 Day Challenge.
Want to take the 61 Day Challenge of Less Sugar and More Steps? You can learn more about the 61 Day Challenge here: http://www.61DayChallenge.com

(If you can’t play this video you can view it on YouTube HERE.)

Burning Junk Food Calories with Exercise Is a Whole Lot Harder Than It Looks!

TRUE OR FALSE: Guzzling a 20-ounce soda pop won’t increase your chances of getting fat . . . provided that you exercise for a few minutes soon after downing that sugar-laden bottle of bubbly.
The correct answer, of course, is FALSE.

Although many people don’t realize it, the amount of exercise required to “burn off” the calories from junk foods such as soda pop, cupcakes, cheesy puffs and milkshakes is actually huge. Example: Let’s say you decide to slurp up that 20-ounce container of fizz-pop and then eliminate the 250 extra sugar-calories you just took in by walking briskly for a while. Not a bad idea . . . until you discover that you’ll have to walk at least five miles just to burn your way through the jumbo-sized dose of fat-building sugar contained in those 20 ounces of cola.

Pretty shocking, right?

Ready for another startling example of how exercise can’t be counted on to save us from the health-threatening consequences of making poor food choices?

This time, let’s say you decide to wolf down a typical bakery cupcake covered with gooey, mouthwatering chocolate frosting—then “run off” the calories on the nearest treadmill or outdoor track.
Okay, fine. Before you start wolfing, however, you might want to look at some recent health data from the U.S. Government. According to the experts, you’ll have to run more than four miles without stopping just to neutralize the 400-450 calories in that scrumptious cupcake. The point here is a simple one that can help all of us: Most of the time, it’s impossible to overcome the negative effects of eating junk foods with exercise!

As a physician and hospital administrator, I’m absolutely convinced that educating ourselves about our food and exercise choices is a key step on the road to better health. That’s why I helped to create the upcoming 2014 DMC 61 Day Health Challenge in which hundreds of thousands of Detroit and Southeast Michigan residents will be challenged to abstain from soda pop, fried foods and junk foods during the approaching holiday season, while also exercising more often. (To learn more about the Challenge and the gala “Kickoff Event” set for Oct. 31 at the DMC, just click on www.61DayChallenge.com).

I hope you’ll join us during the exciting and health promoting challenge that’s about to begin. And I also hope you’ll join me in thinking about one other very interesting food fact the researchers recently unearthed. If you decide to enjoy a juicy apple for your next snack, you’ll only have to stroll along for a mere 19 minutes in order to burn those 42 calories off!

Link Between Sugary Soda and Accelerated Aging

61daysPyramidA recent article which talks about the link between drinking sugary soda and accelerated aging, offers another prescient reminder of the health benefits of giving up soda pop. The Washington Post piece, which refers to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, says that as well as diabetes and obesity, soda pop drinkers may also suffer from the effects of accelerated aging.

“We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight, but this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight,” said psychiatry professor Elissa Epel, a senior author of the study mentioned in the article.

To read the full Washington Post article, entitled “Study: Sugary sodas linked to accelerated aging” please click HERE and share with those trying to give up soda pop.

You can also read more about the 61 Day Challenge that kicks off next week HERE.

Are You Ready for the Annual DMC 61 Day Health Challenge?

61daysPyramidThis Year’s Theme: “Less Sugar, More Steps!” 

Here’s a quick question for all of us who are interested in promoting good health for ourselves and for our children.

Q.What do you think would happen if you sat down every afternoon and gobbled up 18 teaspoons of sugar in a row?

(If you answered, “You’d get fat!” please go immediately to the head of the class . . . where you might be surprised to learn that the typical 20-ounce soda contains every one of those 18 teaspoons of sugar – along with several other ingredients that can be detrimental to your good health!)

Pretty shocking, right?

It sure is – especially when you consider the additional fact (recently announced by the federal government) that two out of three adults and one out of three children are either obese or overweight in the America of 2014.

Put all of those facts together, and you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand that cutting back on our daily consumption of sugary drinks can be a key strategy in avoiding many of the problems (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, you name it) that now pose major threats to our good health.

All of which takes me to an important announcement I want to share with you today:

The annual DMC 61 Day Health Challenge is about to begin!

This year’s Health Challenge – during which hundreds of thousands of Detroit-area residents will be encouraged to cut back on sugary drinks and calorie-rich fried foods while increasing their daily exercise – is set to kick off at 2 p.m. on Friday, October. 31 in the Kresge Auditorium at DMC Harper University Hospital.

Once again this year, the Health Challenge will focus our attention on the crucial links between nutrition and exercise and good health . . . while also encouraging all of us to act on these important insights.

As a physician and a hospital administrator who’s passionate about education and helped launch the Health Challenge several years ago, I’m very excited about the message we’re going to be sending throughout the 61 days of this approaching holiday season (Nov. 1-Dec. 31).

Together, we’re going to meet the challenge of living a healthier lifestyle by living with “Less Sugar and More Steps!” – and the action is all set to begin on October 31.

See you there!