Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bryant McKinnie turning to Venus Williams for help slimming down

By Sean Leahy, USA TODAY

Minnesota Vikings OT Bryant McKinnie is intent on getting slimmer this offseason. And he's turning to tennis' Williams sisters for help.

McKinnie has been working with both Venus Williams and Serena Williams in the Miami area as he endeavors to slim down from 360 pounds to 340.

By Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

He's currently at about 355, he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. (Via PFT)

In the video below, McKinnie shows off some of his tennis experience with Venus.

"One thing I learned with Venus, you have to be ready to work for a long lesson," McKinnie told the Pioneer Press. "She tires you out."

Whom does he enjoy working with more, Venus or Serena?

It's Venus, McKinnie joked: "She's a better teacher."


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Proposed Arizona “Obesity Fine” Focuses on Overweight Medicaid Recipients

The Fat, as They Say, is in the Fire

Arizona is rapidly overtaking Florida and Texas in the race to generate news items that make late-night talk show gag writers dance with joy. Latest example: Governor Janet Brewer, who has firmly established the fact that illegal immigrants are not on her Good People list, is apparently looking to add the very overweight to the tally.

In specific, she has proposed levying a surcharge of $50 on obese Arizonans who are enrolled in Medicaid unless they adopt a supervised weight-loss program prescribed by their doctor. A similar fee would apply to enrollees who are smokers. As Jay Leno might (and perhaps will) observe, “Evidently if you’re a hopeless alcoholic or a heroin addict, you’re not a health problem.”

This is a story tailor-made for America’s chat rooms. Among the aspects of interest:

  • Most of Brewer’s political moves thus far have brought cheers of support from the Tea Party folk, but how will they react to the notion of state government fining people for unhealthy behavior? According to a spokesperson for Arizona’s Medicaid program, that was one express goal of the surcharge, along with driving home the point that obesity is a drain on health care resources. How will Brewer respond to charges that she’s engaging in that anathema to conservatives, “social engineering”?
  • This is would be the first such “irresponsibility” fee (or fine, or surcharge) in Medicaid history, and more than a few state governments, absolutely desperate for revenues, will seriously consider following Arizona’s lead, if it becomes law. Given that over 25 percent of Arizonans were obese as of 2009, and roughly 45 percent of the state’s Medicaid enrollees are smokers, at $50 a head, we’re talking some serious change. Imagine how much revenue a “fat fee” could generate in Mississippi, Alabama or Arkansas.
  • On the one hand, as liberal opponents of the proposal point out, the fee could unfairly penalize those whose weight is, for whatever reasons, genuinely beyond their control. On the other hand, obesity carries with it very definite and significant health care costs above the norm, and in most cases is due to lifestyle behavior, not genetics or biochemistry.
  • Ultimately, the proposed fee will wind up in court, first because such tinkering with Medicaid rules generally requires permission from Washington, which is already unhappy with Governor Brewer’s infringing on the federal government’s immigration turf, and second because such details as the definition of “obesity,” and who decides whether a weight-loss program is being adequately followed, have yet to be hashed out.

Our advice to the Governor and her Medicaid administrators: Don’t start counting the fee revenues just yet.

(By Robert S. Wieder for CalorieLab Calorie Counter News):


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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weight Loss Improves Memory, Research Reveals

April 15, 2011

Subjects Who Underwent Gastric Bypass Surgery Saw Significant Memory Improvement

Losing weight may be more than just good for your heart. New research indicates it also can improve your memory.

According to a study led by John Gunstad, assistant professor of psychology at Kent State University, weight loss may improve concentration and overall cognitive ability.

"We've known for a long time that obesity is a risk factor for things like Alzheimer's disease and stroke, and more recent work really shows that obesity is a link to memory problems and concentration problems before that even begins," said Gunstad. "If excess weight causes these problems, can losing weight help reverse them? That's what we wanted to research."

Gunstad tested the memory and attention of 150 overweight people. Then, some of the participants underwent gastric bypass surgery while others did not.

"What we found is that by individuals who went through the weight loss surgery showed improvements in memory about 12 weeks after surgery," said Gunstad. "They were able to show improvements moving from the kind of mildly impaired range into the normal range, which clinically is a pretty good, is a pretty meaningful change."

Prior to surgery, 23.9 percent of all the participants showed impaired learning and 22.9 percent had poor recognition memory.

Twelve weeks after surgery, the average performance for those that went under the knife was within average range or above average on all cognitive tests, improvements that were not seen in the group of people that decided to not have gastric bypass surgery.

3 Unanswered Questions

There still are three major questions that need to be answered, Gunstad said:

1. What from obesity is causing the brain damage?
2. What causes the brain to improve after surgery?
3. Can behavioral weight loss produce the same changes in the brain as surgery?

"If we're able to identify what causes these memory problems in the first place and then changes after surgery to make the memory better, that's the key," said Gunstad. "Once we can find that, that might be an answer to what better understands how obesity's linked to Alzheimer's disease, stroke or even just memory decline that happens in older adults."

Weight-Loss Benefits Without Surgery?

Gunstad is cautiously optimistic that if somebody were to lose 20 or 25 pounds, they might see some of the same benefits without the surgery.

"I think one of the important take-home messages for this study," he said, "is really just, kind of, a reminder for individuals that if you take care of your body, you're also taking care of your brain."


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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The iPhone Diet? Digital Health Finds Its Legs With Mobile Platforms

By Edward F. Moltzen, CRN

Want to dial up a weight loss plan?

Consult your physician. Then, once you get the green light, pull out your Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) iPhone, download a new breed of digital health apps, and start slimming down with the iPhone diet.

iphone diet
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Weight loss, physical fitness, blood pressure monitoring and even sleep management are now an increasingly embraced part of the Apple iPhone ecosystem -- with new products over the past several months gaining significant acceptance.

Leading IT companies such as Intel (NSDQ:INTC) began launching major digital health initiatives a decade ago, outlining the advances for both health-care consumers and providers in deploying PC-based solutions for medical intervention and wellness. But it wasn’t until the past 18 months that digital health solutions began showing momentum, spurred by “apps” that fit in with new platforms like iPhone, iPad and Android.

In research published by consulting firm Parks Associates, data shows some attention-getting numbers:

• Almost 20 percent of consumers have begun to use the Web to track the progress of their health, and as many as 7 percent have used the Web to communicate with their physicians;

• As of last December, there were more than 8,600 mobile apps for medical use or health and fitness just through Apple’s iTunes App Store alone;

• More than 9 out of 10 households in the U.S. have a mobile phone and one out of three in “broadband” households own a smartphone;

• Almost 80 percent of 200,000 physician practices in the U.S. have three or fewer doctors – exactly the type of practice that may benefit greatly from prescribing digital health solutions for patients.

Overall, according to Parks, the entire U.S. digital health-care industry will grow to more than $5.7 billion by 2015, with consumers of digital health solutions jumping from 3.8 million last year to 26 million over five years.

For anyone who has used digital health apps and found how easy and effective they can be, that number seems quite conservative. They work, they are flexible and -- because they fit in with mobile devices -- are at your side on just about a 24-7 basis.

We’ve examined a number of them, and found the best way to test several was simply to use them. Dieting and exercise aren’t fun, but the best-in-breed iPhone apps for weight-loss tasks are effective and can have impact. Here’s what we experienced:

Read more from source

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