Category Archives: Nutrition and Fitness

Weight Loss

Many of our patients who don’t usually partake in the practice of medicine other than their regularly required annual physician visits, would be appalled to learn the truth about the lack of nutrition training in medical school.

Our A4M fellows and faculty assure us every day that most traditional physicians practicing medicine in our country today are not given ample time or training on nutrition during their many years as students.

Globally, studies indicate that more than two billion adults and children across the globe are overweight or obese, and suffer from related health problems. This number equates to one-third of the world’s population.

The saddest part about this topic is that our own country is suffering from an obesity epidemic where more than one in three U.S. adults and one in six children (ages 2-19) are obese; this data includes that one in 11 young children (ages 2-5) are obese.1

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death and as physicians, we would be lying if we did not say these numbers do not reflect in our practices.

How many obese patients do you see? How many of your patients are overweight?

Do you feel fully equipped to discuss eating, diets, and exercise with them?

We know from experience that this is not an easy topic. Harvard Medical School published an article on habits to encourage weight loss that we have shared with our community. It brings to light the fact that “eating healthier” is not so much the mystery here; it is more the changing of a person’s everyday habits that make them able to combat being overweight.

Eating slower, consuming more even-sized meals and making the time to prepare healthier meals while at home were among the likely habit-changing suggestions in this article2. A daily weigh-in on a digital scale was suggested as more effective than calorie tracking since evidence of weight loss on an actual scale proved to remove weight and keep it off. But the most surprising habit listed was regarding sleep.

Sleep, another topic we have covered in our education at A4M was classified as a habit tied to weight loss. Studies show that the shorter time someone sleeps, the more at risk they are to becoming obese or overweight. Recent articles suggest that these people are up eating…and those same people who are up and eating, are not eating kale and nuts. They are eating the things that hurt like ice cream, chips, and cookies.

If you want to learn more about fighting weight and helping your overweight patients with their related health issues, we can help. We will provide you with proven clinical strategies that can be used to optimize your patients’ health and provide diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic interventions. Visit us this December at our 25th Annual World Congress and get actively involved in fighting this epidemic and ultimately changing your patients’ lives.

1National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Fact Sheet: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/factsheets/factsheet_nhanes.pdf. January 2016. Accessed October 4, 2017.
2Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. 5 Habits that Foster Weight Loss. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/5-habits-that-foster-weight-loss? February 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017.
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Looking to Improve Sleep? Solution: Exercise

Statistics indicate that almost one third of all Americans, approximately 108 million people, suffer from insomnia and poor sleep hygiene. While many turn to pharmaceuticals and sleeping pills, science offers a safer and more effective solution: exercise.

Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron states that an increasing amount of research demonstrates that exercise can reduce insomnia; moreover, those who engage in physical activity have increased energy levels, and are less depressed. Further studies assessed people with clinically diagnosed insomnia disorder, as opposed to self-described ‘poor sleepers.’ The results likewise showed enhanced sleep quality.

While Arizona State University sleep researcher Shawn Youngstedt admits that while exercise is not quite as effective as sleeping pills, the considerable potential downsides of drugs and pharmaceuticals include increased infection, dementia, and other hazards.

18 million Americans also suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing temporarily stops during the night. Exercise can also assist with this; one study showed a 25% reduction of sleep apnea symptoms over a 12-week period. Youngstedt also points to the efficacy of exercise in helping with restless-leg symptoms.

A large amount of literature shows that people who exercise inevitably have better sleep, reporting an increase in deep sleep and a decrease in the number of awakenings. Moreover, most people feel less depressed, and moods are enhanced.

Attend our upcoming Sleep Workshop in West Palm Beach on July 29th, and learn more about innovative options and various techniques that can assist in healthy sleep hygiene.

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Obesity: The Public Health Epidemic Sweeping America

The prevalence of obesity and overweight in the United States has skyrocketed in the past few decades, leading to jarring statistics that indicate a global public health problem. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey states that more than 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight or obese; more disconcerting is the fact that approximately one-third of children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight or obese.

The causes of overweight and obesity vary, but include genetics, nutrition habits, life habits, geographic location, and income. Obesity is one of the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a host of other health problems.

A recent study based at and conducted by UT Southwestern Medical Center reveals a strong genetic-environmental interaction: obesity significantly exacerbates the effects of gene variants that increase the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by various metabolic pathways. If untreated and unmonitored, NAFLD can ultimately lead to cirrhosis—chronic liver disease—and liver cancer. Scientists found that the PNPLA3 gene variant spurred the strongest genetic-environmental interaction: “the first genetic cause of NAFLD ever identified.” One of the lead researchers in the study explains that people with lower BMI indexes are unlikely to have excess fat in the liver, despite having the PNPLA3 risk alleles. A longitudinal study further revealed that the risk of having cirrhosis among those with the risk allele increased 5.8 times, compared to those who were obese but lacked the risk allele.

The findings demonstrate an interaction between obesity and genetics, confirming the importance of both genetic screenings and early interventions. While there is no single approach to prevent or treat overweight and obesity, the importance of diet and exercise cannot be overstated—particularly with younger children and adolescents, as childhood obesity almost inevitably leads to adulthood obesity. While some studies suggest that the epidemic will worsen and hit new highs, others advocate for different treatment approaches, including collaboration with the food and restaurant industries regarding calories and portion sizes.

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