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We all know about the giant portions served in the restaurants and fast food chains in
the United States. And with all the media attention on the obesity epidemic amongst the
American population, you would think something drastic would be done. Well, they got
as far as Skinny Latte! Venti please.
Portions in fast-food joints and restaurants are now bigger than ever according to a new
study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Food portions in restaurants have
doubled or tripled over the last 20 years, a key factor that is contributing to a potentially
devastating increase in obesity among children and adults.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat
accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly
used to classify overweight and obesity in adults.
To save yourself from doing calculation (and getting it wrong), log on to and input your
height and weight (be honest!) to find out your BMI. If it’s between 25 and 30, you’re overweight. And if it’s greater than
30, you’re obese.
But obesity is not just a big problem in America. Here at home, a 2008 survey by the National Statistics Coordination
Board (NSCB) showed that 26.6% of Filipino adults are overweight, higher than 16.6% in 1993. Of the number, 5.2% are
Among children aged 5 to 10 years old, 6.6% are overweight against only 5.8% during the last survey in 2003. Candido
Astrologo Jr. of the NSCB said “Majority of households now eat outside. And what do they eat? Fast food.”
In this special anniversary issue, we give you some very interesting facts and insights on what’s making our children
fat in Obesity Crisis.
I’m very happy to welcome Amanda Griffin-Jacob of Lifestyle Network as our first “guest contributor” in this month’s
issue. Now she’s certainly not in the least overweight!
Amanda Griffin-Jacob (a former VJ-host-model turned super mom) has a locally produced show on Lifestyle Network
that’s purely dedicated to young urban mothers. Titled “Amanda, Loving Life” that airs Sundays at 7:30 p.m., it speaks
to the growing need for today’s mother to be aware that she can do it all and have it all too. Turn to page 10 and catch
up with her.
Best of health,
[email protected]
We digest it for you... The Healthy Options Lifestyle News Digest tracks all the
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we summarize what is essential for you to know to get better and stay healthy.
The Healthy Options Lifestyle News Digest is in no way intended to replace
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with your physician whenever a health problem rises requiring expert care.
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To empower people to take control of their health.
September / October 2012
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obesity crisis
Obesity in Childhood
Causes and Complications
Lack of exercise --- Children who don’t exercise much are more
likely to gain weight because they don’t burn calories through
physical activity. Inactive leisure activities such as watching television
or playing video games, contribute to the problem.
Family history --- If your child comes from a family of overweight
people, he or she may be more likely to put on excess weight,
especially in an environment where high-calorie food is always
available and physical activity isn’t encouraged.
Psychological factors --- Some children overeat to cope with
problems or to deal with emotions such as stress, or to fight boredom.
Their parents may have similar tendencies.
Family factors --- If many of the groceries you buy are convenience
foods such as cookies, chips and other high-calorie items, this can
contribute to your child’s weight gain. If you can control your child’s
access to high-calorie foods, you may be able to help your child lose
Socioeconomic factors --- Foods that won’t spoil quickly such as
frozen meals, crackers and cookies often contain a lot of salt and fats.
These foods are often less expensive or an easier option than fresher,
healthier foods.
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects
children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the
normal weight for his or her age and height.
Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra
pounds often start children on the path to health problems that
were once confined to adults such as diabetes, high blood pressure
and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor selfesteem and depression.
One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to
improve the diet and exercise habits of your entire family. Treating
and preventing childhood obesity helps protect the health of your
child now and in the future.
Risk Factors
Many factors --- usually working in combination --- increase your
child’s risk of becoming overweight:
Diet --- Regularly eating high-calorie foods such as fast foods,
baked goods and vending machine snacks, can easily cause your
child to gain weight. Loading up on soft drinks containing sugar,
candy and desserts also can cause weight gain. Foods and beverages
like these are high in sugar, fat and calories.
Childhood obesity can have complications for the physical, social
and emotional well-being of your child.
Physical complications
Type 2 diabetes in children is a chronic condition that affects the
way your child’s body metabolizes sugar glucose. Type 2 diabetes is
caused in part by a poor diet, and can often be reversed by eating
healthier foods and exercising.
Your child can develop high blood pressure or high cholesterol if
he or she eats a poor diet.These factors can contribute to the buildup
of plaques in the arteries. These plaques can cause arteries to narrow
and harden, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
The extra weight on your child’s body can cause problems with
the development and health of your child’s lungs, leading to asthma
or other breathing problems.
Sleep apnea, a condition in which your child may snore or have
abnormal breathing when he or she sleeps, can be a complication of
childhood obesity. Pay attention to breathing problems your child
may have while sleeping.
Being obese can create hormone imbalances for your child.These
imbalances can cause puberty or menstruation to start earlier than
Continued on page 5...
September / October 2012
...continued from page 2
obesity crisis
Physical activity
Social and emotional complications
Low self-esteem and bullying --- Children often tease or bully
their overweight peers, who suffer a loss of self-esteem and an
increased risk of depression as a result.
Behavior and learning problems --- Overweight children tend to
have more anxiety and poorer social skills than normal-weight children
have. At one extreme, these problems may lead overweight children
to act out and disrupt their classrooms. At the other, they may cause
overweight children to socially withdraw. Stress and anxiety also
interfere with learning. School-related anxiety can create a vicious
cycle in which ever-growing worry fuels ever-declining academic
Depression --- Low self-esteem can create overwhelming feelings
of hopelessness in some overweight children. When children lose
hope that their lives will improve, they may become depressed. A
depressed child may lose interest in normal activities, sleep more
than usual or cry a lot. Some depressed children hide their sadness
and appear emotionally flat instead. Either way, depression is as
serious in children as in adults. If you think your child is depressed, talk
with him or her and share your concerns with his or her doctor.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Because medications and surgeries aren’t recommended for
children, lifestyle changes are usually the best childhood obesity
treatment. Your child’s best chance to get to a healthy weight is to
start eating a healthy diet and exercising more.
Healthy eating
A critical part of weight loss, especially for children, is physical
activity. It not only burns calories but also builds strong bones and
muscles. It also helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during
the day. Such habits established in childhood help adolescents
maintain healthy weight despite the hormonal changes, rapid growth
and social influences that often lead to overeating. Active children
are more likely to become fit adults.
To increase your child’s activity level:
Parents are the ones who buy the food, cook the food and decide
where the food is eaten. Even small changes can make a big difference
in your child’s health.
When buying groceries, choose fruits and vegetables --Convenience foods such as cookies, crackers and prepared meals, are
high in sugar and fat. Always have healthy snacks available. Never
use food as a reward or punishment.
Limit sweetened beverages, including those containing fruit
juice --- These drinks provide little nutritional value in exchange for
their high calories. They also can make your child feel too full to eat
healthier foods.
Sit down together for family meals --- Make it an event, a time
to share news and tell stories. Discourage eating in front of a screen
such as a television, computer or video game. This leads to fast eating
and lowered awareness of how much you’re eating.
Limit the number of times you eat out, especially at fast-food
restaurants --- Many of the menu options are high in fat and calories.
Limit recreational computer and TV time to no more than 2
hours a day – A sure-fire way to increase your child’s activity levels is
to limit the number of hours he or she is allowed to watch television
each day. Other sedentary activities — playing video and computer
games or talking on the phone should also be limited.
Emphasize activity, not exercise --- Your child’s activity doesn’t
have to be a structured exercise program --- the object is just to get
him or her moving. Free-play activities such as playing hide-and-seek,
tag or jump-rope, can be great for burning calories and improving
Find activities your child likes to do --- For instance, if your child
is artistically inclined, go on a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks
that your child can use to make a collage. If your child likes to climb,
head for the nearest neighborhood jungle gym or climbing wall. If
your child likes to read, then walk or bike to the neighborhood library
for a book.
If you want an active child, be active yourself --- Find fun activities
that the whole family can do together. Never make exercise seem a
punishment or a chore.
September / October 2012
obesity epidemic
How to Have Healthy Bowel Movements
By Dr. Ben Kim
To have healthy bowel movements, it’s essential that you support
colon and rectal health with all of your daily choices. Keeping these
areas clean and healthy provides the following benefits:
your lower right ribs (just below your liver), it turns to travel across
your abdomen to just below your lower left ribs. Here, it’s called your
transverse colon.
1. A lowered risk of developing colorectal cancer, one of the most
common types of cancer in industrialized countries.
Just below your lower left ribs, it makes another turn and travels
down the left side of your abdomen–this portion is called your
descending colon.
2. A lowered risk of experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, chronic
constipation, and chronic diarrhea.
3. A lowered risk of developing hemorrhoids.
Your colon then makes one last turn toward the middle of your
lower abdomen, forming an “S” shaped segment that’s called your
sigmoid colon.
5. More efficient absorption of water and minerals.
Your sigmoid colon empties waste materials into your rectum,
which is like a storage pouch that retains your feces until contractions
in your large intestine stimulate a bowel movement.
6. A feeling of lightness, comfort, and well-being in your abdominal
Diarrhea and Constipation Explained
A Journey Through Your Large Intestine
When waste material travels through your digestive tract too quickly
for sufficient water absorption to occur, your stools will be runny and
more frequent than normal.
After food passes through your stomach and small intestine, the
remaining material–mostly waste products in liquid form, move on
to your colon, which is the first part of your large intestine.
Three main causes of diarrhea are:
4. Less gas production.
1. Undesirable microorganisms
Your colon is approximately six feet long and serves primarily to
dehydrate liquid waste material.
Your colon begins at the lower right hand corner of your abdomen,
where it’s called your cecum. Attached to your cecum is a twisted,
worm-shaped tube called your appendix.
From your cecum, your colon travels up the right side of your
abdomen, where it’s called your ascending colon. When it reaches
2. Food intolerances (like lactose intolerance)
3. Stress
In the first two cases listed above, it makes sense that your body
would want things to move quickly through your system. Your body
doesn’t want to spend time digesting food that it can’t properly extract
nutrients from or that are laced with disease-causing microbes.
obesity crisis
Stress can cause transit time to shorten by messing with your
enteric nervous system. Your enteric nervous system controls the
reflex contractions that mark“haustral churning.” Your enteric nervous
system is part of your autonomic nervous system which regulates
your physiological responses to emotional and physical stress.
Eat fiber-rich foods regularly.
When waste material travels through your colon more slowly than
it should, enough water is extracted from your waste material to cause
your stools to become uncomfortably hard.
A diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains
ensures high fiber intake.
Fiber adds bulk to the boluses of waste material that travel through
your large intestine, and this bulk is essential to your colon’s ability to
turn waste materials into well formed stools.
Ensure optimal Vitamin D status.
Five main causes of constipation are:
1. Eating sporadically, or eating meals that are too small to elicit mass
Optimal Vitamin D status significantly lowers your risk of developing
all types of cancer, including colorectal cancer.
2. Not going when you feel an urge to go.
Ensure adequate Vitamin A status.
3. Lack of a healthy intestinal lining that is capable of producing
enough mucous to properly lubricate your stools (Vitamin A
deficiency is a potential cause of this situation).
As mentioned earlier, glands that line the mucosal lining of your
colon are responsible for releasing mucous that is needed to lubricate
your feces; Vitamin A is needed to maintain the health of these
specialized cells that release mucous.
4. Insufficient intake of water, water-rich foods, and/or fiber-rich
Steps You Can Take To Have Healthy Bowel Movements
Eat substantial meals; don’t nibble on small amounts throughout
the day.
Each time you eat a substantial meal, you stimulate stretch receptors
in your stomach that are responsible for triggering normal and mass
peristaltic waves throughout your small and large intestines. These
natural contractile waves promote regular movement of waste
material through your colon and rectum.
Also, eating substantial meals allows significant boluses (roundish
masses) of waste materials to travel together through your colon,
turn into well formed stools, and get eliminated from your body in
an efficient manner.
It’s best to ensure adequate Vitamin A status by eating healthy
foods that contain Vitamin A.
Ensure adequate intake of healthy fats.
All of your cells, including those of your large intestine and nervous
system, require a constant influx of undamaged fatty acids and
cholesterol to remain fully functional. If you don’t ensure adequate
intake of healthy fats, your nervous system and the smooth muscles
that surround your digestive passageway --- both of which are
responsible for creating peristaltic waves throughout your digestive
tract --- may deteriorate in function.
Build and maintain a population of friendly bacteria in your
digestive tract.
Large populations of friendly bacteria can keep your digestive tract
clean and healthy by:
Don’t suppress the desire to go.
Promoting optimal digestion, thereby preventing build-up of toxic
waste materials.
If you regularly suppress the urge to have a bowel movement, waste
materials spend more time than is optimal in your colon, causing
excessive dehydration of these materials and formation of hard stools.
Taking up space and resources, thereby helping to prevent infection
by harmful bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
Water helps to move waste materials along, and is absorbed
throughout the entire length of your colon. Insufficient water intake
can cause stools to form far before waste materials reach your rectal
pouch, which can cause constipation.
Remember that healthy bowel movements are generated by good
overall health. Chronic constipation is the single greatest cause of
having an unclean and unhealthy colorectal region because over
time, constipation causes your bowel walls to face excessive pressure.
This pressure is created by you straining to go and by your colon walls
creating stronger contractions to help eliminate hard stools.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to drink several glasses
of water per day. If you eat plenty of water-rich plant foods, then you
can rely on your sense of thirst to dictate how much water to drink.
If you focus on making food and lifestyle choices that produce
comfortable bowel movements, you can have peace of mind in
knowing that your colon and rectum are in likely in good health.
Ensure adequate intake of water and/or water-rich foods.
September / October 2012
obesity crisis
Sweet Drinks and Obesity
By health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
The consumption of sweetened drinks such as soda, juice, and
sports drinks has been on the rise in past decades. At the same time,
the prevalence of obesity in children has also risen. These drinks
— even 100% fruit juice — contain a lot of calories with little or no
nutritional benefit.
A 12 oz glass of orange juice contains 180 calories, which is the
same as eating three chocolate chip cookies.
Drinking just one 12 oz can of soda every day for a year is equal to
55,000 calories, or 15 pounds a year.
The Truth About Juice
Many people think of juice as an essential part of a child’s diet.
However, juice isn’t as healthy as people think.
Drinking a lot of juice makes younger children feel full quickly.
Feeling full from juice will decrease the amount of food a child eats.
For older children, drinking a lot of juice doesn’t usually cause fullness,
but the excess calories from juice can cause weight gain.
It’s much healthier to eat the fruit rather than drink the juice. For
example, a 12 oz glass of orange juice, which is the juice of two to three
oranges has about 180 calories, while one orange contains only 80 or
90 calories (and for older children, it does more to make them feel full).
For children who are overweight, the basic recommendation is
no juice.
The Truth About Soda
Sodas and other sweetened drinks are full of sugar such as highfructose corn syrup. Many also contain caffeine, which is a diuretic
that can cause dehydration.
Another problem with sweetened beverages is that the body
doesn’t register it’s full after drinking hundreds of calories. This may
have to do with ghrelin, the hormone in your stomach that lets you
know when you’re hungry. When the hormone increases, you feel
hungry. When you eat, the hormone goes down. However, it only
works with food, not liquid. Drinking soda, juice, sports drinks and
other sugar-sweetened liquids does nothing for your hunger, even
if you consume hundreds of calories. As a result, sugar-sweetened
beverages are often wasted calories.
In other words, the human digestive system is not designed for
drinking calories. Soda is a relatively recent addition to the human
diet. It was introduced in the second half of the 19th century and
there was not an obesity problem until the 20th century. When
looking at obesity in the United States alongside fructose and soft
drink consumption, they are on a parallel line.
How Sweet Drinks Add Up
To fully understand the impact of sugary beverages, consider how
the extra calories from these drinks add up and translate into pounds.
If a child drinks one soda and two glasses of sweetened juice each
day, the child is consuming roughly:
2 glasses of sweetened juice : 240 calories
1 glass of soda : 150 calories
TOTAL : 390 calories a day
Over the course of one year, the child will consume an extra 142,000
calories from these drinks.
142,000 calories ÷ 3,500 calories per pound = 40 pounds a year
What seems like a harmless glass of soda and two glasses of
sweetened juice a day is equal to roughly 40 pounds of weight gain
over a year. Children rarely burn all of these extra calories through
exercise and activity. Even if a child only has one soda a day, it leads
to 15.6 pounds of weight a year.
What Kids Should Drink Instead
It’s best for children and their parents to limit or eliminate juice,
soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, your child
should drink:
Water --- Water has zero calories and no added sodium to make
your child thirstier.
Non–fat milk --- Kids should consume two to four servings of
calcium-rich food, such as nonfat milk each day.
Other beverages with little or no sodium or calories --- Look for
5 calories or less per serving. Some possibilities sparkling water
without sugar added, or occasionally as a treat, diet soda or a lowcalorie beverage.
September / October 2012
Coping With Work-Induced Stress While Pregnant
Amanda Griffin–Jacob
Having been pregnant once before, I assumed that my second pregnancy would be a stroll in the park. What I didn’t take into consideration was how different my life is now compared to my first pregnancy. When I fell pregnant with Kieran (my now two year old son) I was completely enthralled with pregnancy and embracing all the magical, mysterious and sometimes downright scary changes that it brought about. I was pretty much a “lady of leisure” at the time and was able to devote 100% of my time to just reveling in the miracle of being with child. My pregnancy became my greatest passion project and I threw myself into countless hours of reading books on everything from pregnancy health to diet to dos and don’ts. I would pore over websites and grill my mommy friends for insight and advice. I started intensively researching on the baby’s first year at home and breastfeeding. I lived and breathed everything baby and enjoyed every minute of it. Of course there were moments that weren’t as enchanting (the weight gain, body issues, morning sickness and sore aches and pains) but I was so swept up in the joys that I instantly forgot about all the tough stuff the minute I held Kieran in my arms.
Currently in the third trimester of my second pregnancy with another boy and this time around has been a thoroughly different experience. I am now a full time working mummy with not just one but 3-4 consuming jobs. I am the host and producer of Amanda, Loving Life (my new parenting TV show which airs on the Lifestyle Network at 7:30pm on Sundays). I’m also the publisher/content creator/CEO of Glam-O-Mamas (my resource website for mothers: www., not to mention being a wife and handling a loving but rowdy toddler. 10
With my first pregnancy I had a gloriously empty plate, which I was free to add to slowly and at my own tempo. Now I feel like I’m juggling starter, main and dessert plates with one hand. I went from one end of the spectrum to the other in two short years. It’s been quite fulfilling being back at work, in the thick of things but it is a double-edged sword. I’ve been thrust directly into the challenges and stress of a career while trying to balance family life. Ahhhh, there’s that magic word that is on every mother’s lips ( the “unicorn”), too elusive to pin down…balance. It’s a question I get asked almost everyday, “How do you balance your family life with your busy workload?” Now it is more pertinent than ever since I am very pregnant and trying my best not to let the pressure get to me too much. Unfortunately stress is an inevitable part of life especially when you’re working and have an inordinate amount of commitments and responsibilities to your husband, children, colleagues, friends and yourself! It really comes down to how you cope with stress and seeking balance more than anything else. Trust me, I’m no authority on this subject. I’m still searching for the answer! But there are some things that I do that seem to help me when the going gets tough.
I also love just zoning out with a good book or watching
some mindless TV. Whatever it takes for me to disconnect and
shut down my mind for 60 minutes so that I can recharge the
internal batteries and feel prepared to rejoin the world and
my responsibilities.
Perfect for “me time” is having a relaxing cup of Organic Easy
Now tea. It is caffeine-free and helps eases stress and tension.
Schedule Appointments With Family & Friends:
It may seem strange that you have to arrange a certain day or
time to bond with your family or friends but that’s the reality
of life as a working person (how much more when everyone
works). It is important to remember to have fun in life as that’s
what makes it all worth it. And it has been proven that laughing
helps you manage and lessen feelings of anxiety and stress.
One of my favorite parts of my day is when my husband
comes home from work and we sit on the couch or in bed
and he will give me a lovely foot and hand rub using Jason’s
calming lavender pure and natural and body lotion. We just sit
and chat about our days and it is a great bonding time for us.
What I do to reduce stress and seek
balance while pregnant:
Prenatal Yoga:
Yoga is a wonderful stress buster whether you are pregnant
or not. “The benefits of yoga include decreased stress and tension, increased strength and balance, increased flexibility, lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels,” says
Beth Shaw, Founder/President of Yogafit Training Systems, Worldwide, Inc., in Torrance, California.
I also make sure to take my Solgar Prenatal Nutrients
everyday to ensure I get my required amount of vitamins. It
gives me a sense of reassurance since I’m always on the go
and perhaps don’t always have the opportunity to eat well
all the time.
After yoga I eat the Alpine trail mix by Health Best. I find that if I don’t snack often my energy levels tend to take a dip
so I be sure to always have a nutritious snack on hand.
Me Time (aim for at least 1 hour per day):
This is a fairly new and trendy term but the notion is simple.
You need to reconnect to and ground yourself everyday.
Nothing is better for your psyche than taking a moment out of
your busy day to unwind, decompress and not have everyone
demanding something from you. I love getting a relaxing
prenatal massage and using Aura Cacia lavender harvest
calming aromatherapy bath and body massage oil. Lavender
is known to alleviate tension.
Designate Work Spaces & Hours In Your Home
(draw up a schedule):
In this day and age of constant and immediate access,
Blackberry, social media, instant messaging, Skype
conferencing, etc. It is almost impossible to stop working.
Many times my husband has brought his “mistress” aka his
Blackberry to bed. I complain of course, but am also guilty of
working all hours on my laptop in bed. I have a hard time with
this one but if you can do it, designate the bedroom as a nowork zone. Also, it is helpful to draw up a timetable of when
work needs to stop and family time can begin.
When it all gets too much I find there is nothing better than taking a few deep belly breaths or practicing pranayama
breathing (which I learned in yoga class). It brings instant
relief and you can do it anywhere at anytime. Breathing for
stress management is one of the best things you can do for
yourself (there’s even an app for so you can practice wonderful
breathing anywhere: Health through Breath – Pranayama By
It is rare that stress and work are not married together but it’s
important to strive for a relatively calm 40 weeks of pregnancy
for both your baby and yourself. Try to practice some of these
techniques and suggestions I have given and I guarantee your
anxiety level will decrease.
Catch Amanda on Amanda, Loving Life on the
Lifestyle Network every Sunday at 7.30pm
September / October 2012
Photos by: Stanley Ong Photography
obesity crisis
Junk Food Facts: Not Always Easy to Swallow
The average American child sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk
Teenagers drink an average of 760 can of soda per year (with boys
drinking about 25% more than girls).
The average person of any age drinks over 500 cans of soft drinks per
Nearly 20% of children under 2 years of age are given soft drinks
every day in America.
The average person today consumes more sugar in two weeks than
a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year. That’s a junk
food fact!
Harmful Effects of Junk Food
The regular consumption of junk food is the leading factor in obesity
and excess weight.
Digesting junk food facts can take a strong stomach. Here are a few
facts to chew on before your crack open another can of soda:
Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death in America.
What’s in some of that junk food?
46% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese, with obesity
in children increasing three-fold over the past two decades.
One teaspoon of sugar is extracted from a stalk of sugarcane one
meter in length.
Consumption of soft drinks containing sugar has been linked to
weight gain and an increased risk for development of Type 2 diabetes.
A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.
The metal in the can of soda costs more than the ingredients (mainly
water with additives, refined sugar and caffeine).
A king-sized order of fries packs 590 calories and 30 grams of fat.
A super-sized order of fries contains 610 calories and 29 grams of
A king-sized meal (burger with cheese, large fries and large drink),
contains 1,800 calories (mostly derived from fat and refined sugar). To
‘burn’ these calories would take nearly 6 hours of cycling (at 20 miles
per hour).
Artificial ingredients can contain an alarming variety of chemicals.
For instance, ‘artificial strawberry flavour’ can contain about 50
chemicals… and no strawberries at all!
Junk Food Advertising
The food industry spends over $33 billion per year in the US alone
to advertise food products that could be classified as junk food.
The majority of food advertising during children’s television
programming is for sweetened cereals, soft drinks, candy, processed
snacks and fast foods.
Studies have revealed that obese people have twice the rate of
chronic health problems as people of normal weight. This includes
100% greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, 50% increased
likelihood of developing heart disease. Obese men are nearly 90% more
likely to get colon cancer.
Junk food diet is a major cause of heart diseases.
High cholesterol resulting from junk food puts undue strain on the
liver, causing long-term damage to this essential organ.
Research has suggested that diets high in fat may also impair essential
brain functions, like concentration and memory.
The junk food facts about soft drinks alone are alarming. There is
compelling evidence that regular consumption of soft drinks leads to:
1. Increased rates of bone fracture.
2. Increased risk for osteoporosis.
3. Increased risk of weight gain and obesity.
4. Increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
5. Increased risk for kidney stones.
6. Increased rate of tooth decay and other dental problems.
Junk food facts are numerous, and the negative effect of junk food
on health and wellbeing is undeniable.
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Inflammation-Fighting Vitamins
Inside your body, inflammation can be your friend or wreak
havoc with your health. On the friendly side, inflammation helps
your immune system defend your body against disease-causing
bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders that would otherwise
make you sick.
The not-so-friendly part is when inflammation occurs without
cause --- in other words, when your body isn’t under attack from
foreign invaders. When an overactive inflammatory response
happens, it can become damaging. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer,
and Alzheimer’s disease have all been linked to long-term (chronic)
A lack of enough Vitamin A has been linked to inflammation in
the intestines, lungs, and skin.
For some people, taking Vitamin A supplements could reduce the
inflammation that contributes to conditions like inflammatory bowel
disease, acne, and lung disease.
Vitamin B6
So what can you do about inflammation? Eat a healthy diet, for
one thing. Research is finding that diet can play an important part
in reducing inflammation. Certain vitamins in particular may help
control inflammatory processes in the body.
This member of the B vitamin family is plentiful in foods like beef,
turkey, vegetables, and fish. Because Vitamin B6 is water-soluble,
your body is constantly ridding itself of it, so you need to restock it
daily through diet.
Which vitamins have the most anti-inflammatory potential? Here’s
what the research has to say.
The evidence:
Vitamin A
Vitamin A is commonly found in whole milk, liver and some
fortified foods. Beta-carotene is a pro-vitamin found in carrots and
many colorful vegetables that can be converted to Vitamin A in
the body.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant. That means it protects against harmful
substances in your body called free radicals, which can damage
DNA and lead to cancer and other diseases. Vitamin A also has antiinflammatory effects.
The evidence:
Not getting enough Vitamin B6 may increase your risk for heart
disease. Studies have found that people who lack enough of this
vitamin have high levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a marker of
inflammation that has been linked to heart disease.
A lack of Vitamin B6 can increase inflammation associated with
rheumatoid arthritis, leading to more joint damage. Yet in a vicious
cycle, inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis can deplete the body’s
Vitamin B6 stores. Taking Vitamin B6 supplements daily can correct
the deficiency, yet researchers say there’s no conclusive evidence it
will reduce inflammation too.
obesity crisis
Vitamin C
Vitamin D supplements can actually lower cancer risk.
Your body uses this vitamin, found in oranges and other citrus
fruits, for a number of different purposes. Vitamin C helps to produce
collagen -- the building block of skin, cartilage, ligaments, and blood
vessels, and it protects against harmful substances that contribute
to disease. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant and studies suggest
that it has some anti-inflammatory benefits.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant with anti-inflammatory
properties. Common food sources include nuts, seeds, and green
leafy vegetables.
The evidence:
Taking Vitamin C supplements may significantly lower CRP levels,
research finds. Whether having lower levels of this inflammatory
marker might translate into a lower risk for heart disease remains
to be seen, however.
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
The evidence:
Vitamin E comes in several different forms. The alpha-Tocopherol
type may help prevent heart disease by slowing the release of
inflammatory substances that damage the heart.
Alpha-Tocopherol also might be effective for easing lung
inflammation related to allergies. However, because studies were
conducted on animals, it’s not yet clear whether the results will
translate to humans.
Vitamin K
Vitamin K -- found in green vegetables like asparagus, broccoli,
kale, and spinach -- is best known for its role in helping blood clot,
but research is finding that it may have other benefits, too.
The evidence:
Getting more Vitamin K can reduce levels of inflammatory markers
throughout the body.
None of the research done so far provides enough justification to
take numerous vitamin supplements daily. It’s still not clear whether
taking any of these vitamins will reduce your risk for diseases linked
to inflammation. However, getting enough of these vitamins each
day in your diet could help you stay healthier in general.
The same vitamin that works with calcium to strengthen bones
can also protect against inflammation. Vitamin D can be found in
fish, liver, beef, egg yolks, and some fortified foods. Vitamin D is also
produced in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
The evidence:
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of inflammatory
diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel
disease, and Type 1 diabetes. Taking Vitamin D supplements may
help reduce inflammation in people with these conditions, although
this hasn’t been proven. Vitamin D deficiency may even increase
levels of inflammatory markers in healthy people.
Vitamin D supplements may also reduce the inflammation
associated with age-related diseases.
➢ One study found that people with the highest Vitamin D levels
have a 40% lower risk of colon cancer than those who have the
lowest level of this vitamin. However, it’s not yet clear whether taking
September / October 2012
obesity crisis
ADHD in Adults
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
ADHD affects males at higher rate than females in childhood, but
this ratio seems to even out by adulthood.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most
well-recognized childhood developmental problems. This condition
is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Common Behaviors and Problems of Adult ADHD
It is now known that these symptoms continue into adulthood for
about 60% of children with ADHD. That translates into 8 million adults
in the US. However, few adults are identified or treated for adult ADHD.
ADHD in Adults
Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions,
remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks or
completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed
appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social,
vocational and academic problems.
Adult ADHD Statistics
ADHD afflicts approximately 3% to 10% of school-aged children and
an estimated 60% of those will maintain the disorder into adulthood.
Prevalence rates for ADHD in adults are not as well determined as
rates for children, but fall in the 4% to 5% range.
The following behaviors and problems may stem directly from ADHD
or may be the result of related adjustment difficulties:
Chronic lateness and
Low self-esteem and depression
Employment and/or
relationship problems
Difficulty controlling anger
Impulsiveness and mood swings
Substance abuse or addiction
Poor organization skills
Low frustration tolerance
Chronic boredom
Difficulty concentrating
when reading
These behaviors may be mild to severe and can vary with the situation
or be present all of the time. Some adults with ADHD may be able to
concentrate if they are interested in or excited about what they are
doing. Others may have difficulty focusing under any circumstances.
Some adults look for stimulation, but others avoid it. In addition,
adults with ADHD can be withdrawn and antisocial, or they can be
overly social and unable to be alone.
continued on page 19...
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...continued from page 16
Work-Related Impairments Linked to Adult ADHD
Change employers frequently and perform poorly.
Have had fewer occupational achievements, independent of
psychiatric status.
Social-Related Impairments Linked to Adult ADHD
Have a lower socioeconomic status.
Have recurring driving violations.
Use illegal substances more frequently.
Smoke cigarettes.
Self-report psychological maladjustment more often.
Relationship-Related Impairments Linked to Adult ADHD
Have more marital problems and multiple marriages.
Have higher incidence of separation and divorce.
Much of this functional impairment diminishes with remission of the
disorder and can be mitigated by appropriate treatment.
How Is Adult ADHD Diagnosed?
While researchers may disagree about age of childhood onset in
diagnosing adult ADHD, all agree that ADHD is not an adult-onset
disorder and must be verified from childhood. An assessment of ADHD
symptoms and behavior from childhood may include any or all of the
A questionnaire to determine if the adult had ADHD in childhood.
School report cards, if available, to look for comments about behavior
problems, poor focus, lack of effort or underachievement relative to the
student’s potential.
Discussion with the parents to determine any symptoms during
A complete history from the adult with the symptoms. He or she
may self report symptoms in childhood.
The developmental history would be consistent with ADHD,
including evidence of problems with peers, other delays such as bed
wetting, school failure, suspensions, or special interventions such as
sitting in front of the class, etc.
A strong family history of ADHD may also be informative, given the
strong genetic component of the disorder.
Psychosocial Behavior Management Strategies
Take medications as directed. If you are taking any medications
for ADHD or any other condition, be sure and take them exactly as
prescribed. Missing a dose or taking two doses at once to catch up on
missed doses can have negative consequences for you and others. If
you are noticing side effects or other problems, speak to your health
care provider as soon as possible.
Organize yourself. Train yourself to become more organized. Make
lists of daily tasks (be reasonable!) and strive to complete them. Use a
daily planner, leave notes for yourself and set your alarm clock when
you need to remember an appointment or other activity.
Control impulsive behavior. If you have a tendency to do things
you later regret, such as interrupting or getting angry at others, manage
the impulse by counting to 10 while breathing slowly instead of acting
out. Usually the impulse will pass as quickly as it appeared.
Minimize distractions. Find ways to reduce the distractions
throughout the day. If you find yourself being distracted by loud music
or the television, turn it off or use earplugs. Move yourself to a quieter
location or ask others to help reduce distractions.
Find constructive outlets for excess energy. People with ADHD
sometimes seem to have more nervous energy than others, and this
hyperactivity needs to have an outlet of some sort. A hobby or other
pastime can be helpful.
Ask for help. We all need help from time to time and it is important
to not be afraid to ask for it when you need it. If you are having disruptive
thoughts or behaviors, ask a counselor if they have any techniques that
might help control them.
Living with Adult ADHD
Adults with ADHD can also benefit from some basic organizational
concepts and behavior management strategies to help manage the
condition. Here are ways to train yourself to overcome these problems
or make them more manageable:
Although most people don’t outgrow ADHD, they do learn to adapt.
If the difficulties associated with ADHD are managed appropriately
throughout their lives, adults with ADHD can learn to develop personal
strengths and be productive and successful.
September / October 2012
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Common Causes for Anger Management Issues
Anger is an emotion that
children learn to feel within a
few months of being born. The
emotion itself is a healthy and
natural expression of certain
experiences. Anger becomes
a problem when it becomes
out of control and when it
hurts people emotionally or
even physically.
People mistakenly believe
that anger can be managed
by trying harder to control
yourself. However, anger
management problems are
usually a sign that there is a
larger issue at hand.
Identifying the underlying cause of anger management problems
and treating it appropriately is the best chance at properly managing
the problem.
Here are some common causes for developing anger management
1. Lack of Sleep
Not sleeping enough can result in feeling edgy and easily irritable.
Chronic insomnia, sleep apnea or other sleep disorders can be linked
to recurrent bouts of anger.
2. Medications
Anger or emotional liability can be side effects of certain
medications. In addition, being over-medicated or taking the wrong
medication for physical ailments can result in episodes of excessive
3. Witnessing poor anger management
The old adage “Do as I say and not as I do,” does not translate easily
to real life. Children learn how to behave and regulate their emotions
by watching their parents. If a child grows up with one or both parents
with anger management problems, he/she will grow up believing that
losing their temper is an acceptable and normal reaction to anger.
4. Experiencing abuse
Witnessing or experiencing any kind of abuse as a child or an adult
is a risk factor for developing anger management issues. For some,
anger feels like the safest emotion to experience, believing that if they
are angry they can be safe from further abuse. For others, depending
on the extent of the abuse, changes in brain chemistry can result in
difficulty regulating anger and other emotions. Anger outbursts are
commonly present amongst people who experience post traumatic
stress disorder.
5. Mismanaged stress
Stress due to a job, an unhappy relationship or even the death of
a loved one lowers our threshold for feeling overwhelmed. When
stress surpasses the lowered thresholds, anger is a natural response.
If the stress becomes chronic or is not managed properly, anger issues
become more frequent and may turn into a habit for dealing with
feelings of being overwhelmed.
6. Being taught that expressing emotions is unacceptable
Some families have low tolerance for expressing certain emotions
in front of anyone. This teaches children that they should not feel or
show these emotions, which is equivalent to teaching a child that
blinking in public is not acceptable. Emotions are a necessary and
natural part of life, and suppressing these emotions does not allow
the child to learn healthy emotion management techniques. This
creates a pressure cooker environment and once in a while it blows.
7. Low self-esteem
People with low self-esteem tend to misinterpret events as being
threatening to themselves, their goals or their needs. Since anger
is a natural emotional response to threat, many people with low
self-esteem will react to this misinterpreted threat with anger. For
example, a reasonable complaint by a spouse may feel like a character
assassination and result in an anger outburst.
8. Low frustration tolerance
Everyone has experienced lowered frustration tolerance at some
point in their lives. For some, this tolerance level is not temporary and
they generally cannot tolerate moderate levels of frustration. The
reaction to feeling extra frustrated is to lash out.
9. Hiding other emotions
Sometimes other emotions are too hurtful or overwhelming to
express and thus they become overshadowed by expressions of anger.
Most of the time, underneath the anger are emotions such as hurt,
sadness, loneliness or grief.
While these are the most common causes of anger problems, each
individual’s experience is unique. The best way to manage anger
issues is to attend anger management classes or to see a psychiatrist
specializing in anger management. Identifying the causes of your
anger issues will serve as the best chance to learn how to control your
anger better and live a healthier life.
September / October 2012