Roz Thompson “Knocks the Ball Out of the Park” As 2015 DMC Health Challenge Comes to a Close

        Have you heard that old saying, “Time really flies when you’re having fun?”

        In the case of the 2015 DMC 61 Day Health Challenge, that ancient maxim seems especially true. Has it really been more than eight weeks since we launched our exciting journey together through the world of “Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit”?

Indeed it has.

But before we declare the DMC’s 2015 holiday health-education campaign to be a ringing success and start wishing each other a Happy New Year, I want to take a moment to salute yet another Challenge participant for her outstanding diet-and-exercise accomplishments during the past two months.

Her name is Rosalind (“Roz”) Thompson – and she recently told me (with totally understandable pride) how she managed to lose about 20 pounds during the Health Challenge, while also improving her score on a blood-sugar test designed to help measure her risks for developing adult-onset diabetes.

For Ms. Thompson – a veteran nurse (RN, MSN) who also owns an MBA and has enjoyed a fabulous, 37-year career as a care provider at the DMC – the Challenge began in earnest after she received an alarmingly high blood-sugar score during a similar test back in October.

Troubled by that score and by the fact that she was also significantly overweight, the hard-working Ms. Thompson (who currently serves as Clinical Coordinator of Inpatient Psychiatry at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit) decided eight weeks ago that she was going to take the Challenge “Pledge” – and would therefore refrain from consuming the “empty calories” contained in candy, soda pop, doughnuts and other “junk” foods . . . while also engaging in moderate exercise frequently and including more fruit in her daily diet.

And she did!

“I gave up my Ruby Red Squirt [soda pop],” a proud Roz Thompson told me the other day, “along with my fried chicken and other sweets. And I want to thank you – and the DMC Challenge – for providing me with the motivation I needed to better manage my blood sugar and lose weight!”

Like the triumphant Roz Thompson, hundreds and hundreds of Detroit-area residents in recent weeks have benefited from the lowered health risks and the sense of empowerment that can flow from making the decision to cut out the nutrition-less sugar in their lives and begin exercising more often in order to improve their overall health.

Among the beneficiaries of this year’s challenge, we can also include many of the 1,600 officers and staffers at the Detroit Police Department.  Led by their health-savvy Chief James Craig, hundreds of DPD members worked enthusiastically to meet the goals of this year’s challenge – and will now go on to continue meeting them in a year-long health-and-fitness partnership with the Detroit Medical Center.

As the third annual version of the DMC Challenge winds down and the New Year looms, it’s good to know that so many Detroit-area residents have “gotten the message” – and that many of them will continue to work hard in the coming year at “eating healthier” and “exercising more often” in order to enjoy better health.

Here’s wishing all of us a healthy and happy New Year . . . and I’ll see you again in October for the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge of 2016!

[To learn more about the DMC Challenge and how you can continue to benefit by eating better and exercising more during 2016, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.]

DMC 61 Day Health Challenge Welcomes A New Partner: 1,600 of Detroit’s Finest

Welcome aboard, Detroit Police Department!

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If you’ve been keeping tabs on this year’s DMC 61 Day Health Challenge, you probably know that we just reached the halfway mark.

As of December first, I’m happy to say, the 2015 version of the annual DMC campaign to cut back on sugar and other unhealthy foods – while also exercising more and eating more fruit – is 50 percent of the way to its ultimate destination, New Year’s Day, 2016.

That’s exciting news, for sure.

But what you may not know yet about the ongoing Challenge is that we recently added a terrific new partner – the entire City of Detroit police force.

Some background, first: as you may recall, one of the most dynamic speakers at the huge “Kickoff Event” that launched this year’s DMC 61 Day Challenge (back on Oct. 30) was the hard-charging Detroit Police Chief, James Craig . . .  who told a cheering audience at the Detroit Medical Center that he was determined to help the approximately 1,600 police officers under his command to become more physically fit.

As the chief enthusiastically pointed out, maintaining a high level of physical fitness is essential for police officers who want to serve the public well.

And the two keys to accomplishing that important goal are avoiding the fat-triggering “empty calories” that can be found in such dietary villains as soda pop, candy, snack cookies and fried foods . . . while also getting plenty of healthy exercise

Well, I’m happy to report to you that Chief Craig meant what he said about trying to assist his police officers with the important task of becoming more fit.

No sooner had he returned to downtown Detroit Police Headquarters, in fact, than he began organizing a massive new effort to help DPD officers and support staff alike start eating healthier foods and increasing the amount of exercise they get each day.

The chief’s new fitness plan is exciting to contemplate – and it’s now about to start bearing fruit.

As of next Tuesday (December 8), the DPD will be partnering with the DMC in a year-long program designed to improve the physical fitness of the hard-working police officers and staff who protect us each day.

To that end, the new DPD-DMC health partnership will launch a special “90 Day Fit Challenge” Kickoff Event on the afternoon of December 8 (from 2-6 p.m.) in the Michigan Room of the Detroit Police Headquarters at 1031 3rd Street.

During that event, DMC staff will screen hundreds of police officers and support staff for weight, cholesterol, diabetes, BMI, vision and other health risk factors.

And here’s some more good news: as the new partnership gears up during the next few weeks, DPD staff will form teams that will compete with each other all year long to see which precinct can become the healthiest.

Sounds quite promising and hopeful, don’t you think?

You can bet that I’ll be in attendance at Police HQ for the Kickoff . . . and that I’ll be eager to “spread the gospel” of this this year’s DMC 61 Day Health Challenge: “Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit!”

For more information about the DPD “Fit Challenge” Kickoff Event (which will be open to news media reporters and photographers) contact Arielle Berlin at ABerlin@dmc.org.

And please watch this space next week . . . when I’ll be back to give you a full update on the DPD Fit Challenge Kickoff and what took place!

A Major New Health Study Finds That Sugar Is a Toxic Substance

You can imagine how I felt, just the other day, when I picked up a copy of Time magazine and read that junk-food sugar is now being described by some health experts as a toxic substance!

It’s true.

The news broke in the Oct. 27 issue of Time, which reported that a California-based researcher – Dr. Robert H. Lustig in the Pediatrics Department at the University of California, San Francisco – had published a major study (in the journal Obesity) in which he found that the kind of sugar we find in soda pop actually works as a kind of nutritional poison when we consume too much of it.

During the Lustig study (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21371/abstract), 43 children from ages 8 to 18 were fed a special diet for nine straight days in which most of the sugar they normally ate each day was replaced by starch (from foods such as noodles, bagels, cereals, etc.).

The bottom line: at the end of the nine-day test, the kids involved scored much better on several key health indicators that measure the negative effects of too much sugar on the human body.

Example: The overall average blood-sugar level (which can be a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, diabetes and even heart disease when too high) declined by more than 50 percent.

Example No. 2:  Some of the kids on the low-sugar diet went from being “insulin resistant” (a precursor of diabetes) to “insulin sensitive” – a clear indicator that the body is efficiently and effectively managing the daily intake of sugar.

Thank you, Dr. Lustig!

As many of you know, I’ve spent a lot of time during the past few years campaigning emphatically in favor of reducing our daily intake of unhealthy sugar from soda pop, candy and other junk foods.

As a matter of fact, cutting back on empty sugar calories (while also exercising more and eating more fruit) is the main goal of this year’s “61-Day Health Challenge” – the annual DMC-sponsored health-education program in which participants are asked to abstain from soda pop, fried foods and other junk foods during the months of November and December.

The Challenge got off to a rousing start on Oct. 30 (only three days after the publication of the Time story) . . . when dozens of Detroit-area community activists joined a mob of enthusiastic high school students and DMC employees in a crowded auditorium at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Now well into its third week, the 2015 Challenge is already going great guns.  With hundreds of Michiganders having sworn to obey the Challenge motto (“Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit!”), the campaign to cut back on junk-eating during the holiday season is up and running at full throttle.

As a medical doctor and a hospital president who’s determined to help educate Detroit-area residents on the importance of good nutrition and the benefits to be had from frequent moderate exercise, I’m fired up as never before about the Challenge and its message for all of southeast Michigan.

Which is why I was so excited to open my copy of Time the other day and read a headline that said: “Sugar Is Definitely Toxic, a New Study Says.”

According to Time, that groundbreaking new study has now confirmed what we knew all along – which is that healthy living starts with healthy eating (and exercising)!

If you want to read the story for yourself and learn more about the crucial links between good nutrition and good health, you can go online at:  http://time.com/4087775/sugar-is-definitely-toxic-a-new-study-says/.

 

To learn more about the DMC 2015 61 Day Health Challenge and how you can take part, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.

 

Try To Stay Healthy This Sugar Season

I recently came across this article in the New York Times, and I urge everyone to read it. In this OP-ED, entitled “Sugar Season.It’s Everywhere, And Addictive,” the authors list the myriad health issues that can stem from sugar. They write,

“In a recent study, we showed that sugar, perhaps more than salt, contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease. Evidence is growing, too, that eating too much sugar can lead to fatty liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and kidney disease.”

The OP-ED continues, stressing the addictive nature of sugar, how sugar is everywhere in our lives, and how promoting “the consumption of whole, natural foods” can help us avoid the sweet stuff this sugar season.

You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

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

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.

The NEW Heart of Detroit

This summer the new heart of Detroit will be unveiled: DMC Heart Hospital. I was at the Belle Isle Grand Prix this weekend to talk to WXYZ Channel 7 about our new Heart Hospital, how it will be the first and only heart hospital in the state, and the first new hospital in the city of Detroit for a generation. These are truly exciting times to be at the DMC.

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