Slim Thighs Can Contribute to Early Demise
It turns out that having lean thighs is not as covetable a feature as many might think. Recent research revealed that individuals with thighs measuring <60 cm in circumference have an increased risk of developing heart disease or facing premature death.
The Danish study began in 1987, with 1436 men and 1380 women being measured for height and weight; thigh, hip, and waist circumference; and body composition by impedance. All participants were observed for a 10-year period to check for incidence of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. A follow-up period of 12.5 years checked for the number of deaths in the group.
Findings showed that a total of 366 men and 174 women developed cardiovascular or coronary heart disease and 257 men and 155 women died. Although the researchers stated no additional benefit was found in having larger thigh circumference, those with smaller circumference in their upper legs were the individuals developing heart disease. According to the researchers, those with a thigh circumference of <60 cm had a “greatly increased risk of premature death.”
The study was published September 3 on www.bmj.com.
More Rounds, Less Round: Drinkers Tend to Exercise More
Although drinking in excess is never beneficial to one’s health, new research shows that more alcohol intake often equates with more physical activity. According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (September/October), drinkers had a 10% higher likelihood of taking part in exercise than their teetotaling counterparts.
The cross-sectional analysis by University of Miami researchers studied a 230,856-person US sample from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Data revealed that light, moderate, and heavy drinkers exercise 5.7, 10.1, and 19.9 more minutes per week, respectively, than those who abstain from alcohol.
Mangosteen Juice Not Just Another Hokey Health Trend
Anyone familiar with the health and weight-loss industry has heard about the scores of exotic plants and hard-topronounce product names promising to bring big results. At least one of them— which falls into both categories— seems to live up to, and go beyond, its claims, according to study results. XanGo Juice, a proprietary blend of mainly mangosteen juice mixed with other fruit juices, has been shown to promote not only good health, but also weight management.
Published in Nutrition Journal (October 20, 2009), the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study sought to assess the effects of multiple doses of the mangosteen juice blend on inflammation and antioxidant levels in patients who were obese and had elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Of 40 participants who were divided into 4 groups to receive 1 of 3 dosages of XanGo or a placebo over an 8-week period, those taking the highest amount of XanGo (18 oz daily) saw significantly reduced CRP levels, compared with the placebo group. Aside from the downturn in inflammation, the researchers stated that the juice “may assist in weight loss as measured with the BMI [body mass index], and further testing is needed to confirm this suggestion.”
Companies and Organizations Band Together to Target Obesity
A recently formed coalition of more than 40 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, and nonprofit organizations is taking aim at the obesity epidemic in the places where people shop, work, and learn. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation formed early last month to reduce obesity— especially in children—throughout the country by 2015, committing $20 million to the task.
The Washington, DC–based group includes the Kellogg Company, Coca- Cola, General Mills, and a host of other well-known companies and organizations. Their plan is to promote a balance between calories consumed from healthy foods and those burned through physical activity. Though it might sound like a no-brainer at face value, the coalition is taking concrete action to help people take healthy actions of their own.
For consumers, some companies will make changes to products, including displaying nutrition information more prominently and reformulating their ingredients. In the workplace, participating companies will provide employees with healthier food options, as well as exercise and weight-loss tools. The foundation will bring the Healthy Schools Partnership—which promotes healthy lifestyles for kids—to schools in Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Washington, DC; Chicago, Illinois; and a tribal community in Iowa.
Each of the group’s 3 areas of focus will be evaluated by independent monitors. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will oversee marketplace activity, the National Business Group on Health will monitor the workplace segment, and the University of California, Berkeley Center for Weight and Health will keep an eye on the school programs.
For more information on the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, visit the group’s Web site at www. healthyweightcommit.org. ■