As an authority on fitness, I always get asked my opinion on what’s the “best” exercise to shed fat. I often bite my tongue when posed these kinds of questions as the answer is invariably, it depends. It depends on your current fitness level, past medical history, future goals, level of commitment, realistic energy/time allowance to the program…and the list goes on. I also get asked about what the ideal fat loss diet is, and once again my response is invariably…you guessed it…it depends.
It’s interesting, I always get asked about exercise and diet when it comes to weight management. But there’s one other key piece to the fat loss puzzle that is often left out of the equation. As this is often where I direct people who tell me, “I’m working out now and I’m eating better…why am I still not losing fat?”.
What is that puzzle piece?
That’s right, NEAT. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
No matter where you live, affordable healthcare has become an area of concern, discussion and debate.
Whenever healthcare costs come under scrutiny, there seems to be a coincident increase in the number of "concerns" expressed by the conventional medical community about natural or traditional (read "less expensive") forms of healthcare. I don't think that's a matter of happenstance.
Rob Ford has always been a larger than life figure, so to speak, but in the last week or so, his behaviour has made him and the city of Toronto the focus of international attention. If you don't know about Mayor Ford's circumstances, you can get caught up by viewing the short video clip below.
What's particularly interesting about this situation from a health perspective is how it highlights the dynamics of denial. Rumors and accusations have been swirling around Rob Ford in connection with suspected drug and alcohol abuse for a long time. He denies being an addict and an alcoholic in the face of mounting evidence that his consumption of intoxicating substances is having an impact on his ability to perform his duties as mayor.
There is a pattern to this. On every past occasion that Mr. Ford has been questioned about his use of an intoxicant, he has initially denied it, then, when confronted with irrefutable evidence, he has acknowledged it and apologized for his behaviour.
Members of his family are, publicly at least, also in denial. Mr. Ford's brother, Councillor Doug Ford, his mother and his sister have all been quoted as saying Mr. Ford needs a little time off, maybe a little counseling, to change his ways.
As a city, we, too, have been in denial about the health of our mayor. We've looked the other way, made excuses, ignored the rumors, hoped that he would somehow see that he needs help and privately seek it out. We contributed to the problem and our options for dealing with it now are limited.
There are two outcomes that I would like to see:
1) that Mr. Ford takes whatever actions are necessary for him to become healthy;
2) that governments of all levels develop laws, regulations and processes for dealing with leaders whose judgment may be impaired by health conditions such as addiction and alcoholism.
Substance-dependency issues are highly prevalent. Mr. Ford's unfortunate circumstances are at least helping us as a society to see that we can't ignore them any longer.
Remembering the sacrifices of those who fought, those who died and those who lost loved ones in war puts my troubles in perspective.
How about you?
It's Mo-vember, and guys are showing off their 'staches in support of prostate cancer awareness.
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It surrounds the urethra where it joins with the urinary bladder and secretes the fluid part of semen.
Sometimes the cells of the prostate gland begin to grow in an uncontrolled way. If these cells mutate, they are considered to be cancerous. "Prostate cancer" is an umbrella term that includes a number of different types of abnormal cell growths, each having a unique profile for progression and potential mortality. Your risk of developing prostate cancer is influenced by your age, race and family history.
Prostate cancer is quite common, with up to 70% of men 80 years or older showing some evidence of it, at least microscopically. The risk of death from prostate cancer is estimated to be about 3% on average, but this increases with age. Prostate cancer can occur in young men but is uncommon in those under the age of 50.
The condition is often asymptomatic in its early stages. Symptoms may include painful urination, difficulty urinating, urinary frequency or urgency, erectile dysfunction (rarely), blood in the urine or semen, aching pain in back, hips or pelvis. Because these symptoms are also associated with other conditions such as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and prostatits, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as the symptoms begin.
Guidelines for screening vary but all men should have a prostate exam as part of a regular physical. If you haven't had one yet, make this year THE year. Your health is worth it!
Healthcare costs are a big deal. We all want timely access to the best possible services; most of us object to how much that costs.
In a recent editorial on the various approaches taken in the United States and elsewhere to manage these costs, Arthur Caplan
notes that obesity has become the lightening rod for our collective concern about seemingly self-induced conditions that lead to potentially life-threatening illness and significant expense.
He makes reference to a chef who, wanting to extend his visa to live and work in New Zealand, was told he would have to leave because he was too fat and might become a drain on NZ's health system - the government eventually agreed to extend his stay but stipulated he would not be able to use publicly-funded healthcare services.
Caplan concludes that we shouldn't be targeting the obese more than other people with chronic illnesses, self-inflicted or otherwise. Nevertheless, healthcare costs are an issue that will not go away, so what should we be doing?
Flu shot programs have started for the 2013-2014 flu season. While I don't overtly advocate in favour of vaccination for influenza, I'm still very much in favour of disease prevention through other means.
The great thing about non-vaccine methods of protection is that they are natural and not-specific to the type of disease-causing organism. I will present the information here in the context of flu prevention but it can apply to other illnesses too.
Today's superbugs require super-vigilance. Take some time during this year's flu season to learn to be a new kind of superhero - the kind who protects his own health and others'.
George Noory's Coast To Coast show recently featured a segment on the topic of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Concern about GMOs has been highlighted in the news media more than usual this month. It turns out that October has been designated Non-GMO month
, in an effort to draw attention to the risks associated with their use.
A GMO is any plant, animal or microbe that has been altered through genetic engineering. Our efforts to genetically engineer began with the domestication of plants and animals, and subsequent cross-breeding and hybridization. In the early 1970s, Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen were successful in conducting the first direct transfer of DNA from one organism to another. The technology was rapidly adopted in the agriculture industry as a means of creating plants, animals and food crops that produced abundantly and were
resistant to diseases and herbicides.From the outset, modern genetic engineering has been the subject of controversy. With respect to its impact on food, the main concerns relate to the long term safety of consuming genetically modified foods.
Most people are aware of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the context of children, but these conditions can persist into adulthood too.
October is ADHD Awareness Month so, in the spirit of doing my part, I want to highlight how ADHD impacts adults.
A significant number (up to 67%) of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to experience symptoms throughout their lives. It's more common in males than females, by a factor of about 2:1.
The key symptoms seen in children, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, may express themselves more subtly in adult behaviour. Inattention can manifest as difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks, or dealing with deadlines/timelines. Hyperactivity shows up as restlessness. Impulsiveness can add to levels of distractibility and impair decision-making. Low tolerance for frustration is common, as are anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. The areas of life most commonly affected include academic, vocational and relationship situations.
Aetna is a large insurance company that provides benefits programs for many companies. Aetna's CEO Mark Bertolini has publicly endorsed naturopathic care as primary care at the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians’ annual conference.
In his article on Mark Bertolini's keynote speech, James Maskell, who is CEO of Revive Primary Care
"Currently, naturopaths can operate as primary care physicians in only 17 states, but Aetna sees the value of the cost savings for prevention of chronic disease."
Even though this information applies to the United States, with an endorsement like this, the effect will also be felt in Canada since Aetna has a Canadian subsidiary. I think this is a BIG deal, perhaps even the emergence of a tipping point that may result in broader access to integrated care and more primary care options on both sides of the border. Kudos to Aetna for taking this step.