HEALTH MATTERS: To stave off weight gain, eat your fruits and vegetablesQ. Although I’m not obese, my wife has noticed that as I’ve aged I’ve put on a good number of pounds. Some — but not all — of our friends have noted similar trends. Why do we seem to gain weight as we age?
By: Dr. Joshua Wynne , Grand Forks Herald
Q. Although I’m not obese, my wife has noticed that as I’ve aged I’ve put on a good number of pounds. Some — but not all — of our friends have noted similar trends. Why do we seem to gain weight as we age?
A. It turns out that many of us who are not obese still gain almost a pound a year as we age. We usually don’t notice the small degree of weight gain over a few years, but over several decades the pounds can add up. A large study of more than 120,000 people was just completed, and the findings confirm what mother told us years ago: “Eat your fruits and vegetables, stay away from junk food, don’t smoke or drink, exercise, and don’t watch too much TV.”
The study found that non-obese adults who gained the most weight over time tended to eat more potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, fewer vegetables, fruits and nuts, less yogurt, were physically less active, slept more and watched more television than those who gained less. People who recently stopped smoking also had substantial initial weight gain, but long-term quitters didn’t gain much weight.
While the strategy to “eat less and exercise more” would undoubtedly help you lose those extra pounds, the specific diet suggestions I’d make would include reducing your consumption of potato chips, sugar-enriched beverages, and meats, while eating more vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts and yogurt.
Another problem is portion size. Try using a smaller plate and don’t go back for seconds. Watch your consumption of alcohol, and be reassured that if you’ve put on pounds after recently stopping smoking, the weight gain will slow substantially with time. The benefits of ceasing cigarette smoking far outweigh the potential hazards of the weight gain. Getting off the couch and being more active, even walking for 30 to 60 minutes a day, will help limit weight gain and help you sleep better. Good luck with your program.
Q. What is the current understanding of the outbreak of serious gastroenteritis in Germany?
A. This outbreak of gastroenteritis started in early May and, fortunately, the epidemic is now winding down. More than 3,000 people in Germany were diagnosed with the infection, and people visiting Germany from elsewhere have carried the bug to at least 15 countries, including the United States. A little more than 1 percent of patients died from the disease.
The condition was caused when people consumed an unusual type of bacterium found in contaminated food or drink, and about a quarter of the cases had a very serious complication (called the hemolytic-uremic syndrome) that is caused by a toxin that is released by the bacteria. In this condition, the red blood cells break apart, the platelets (which are needed for normal clotting of the blood) decrease, and kidney failure occurs. What was particularly unusual about this outbreak was that the hemolytic-uremic syndrome occurred more frequently in adults rather than, as is more common, children, and two out of three of the victims, for unclear reasons, were women.
Impressive also was the speed with which the outbreak was identified, studied, characterized, and reported to the medical community. It took only about six weeks, a remarkably short tim, from the first outbreak of the disease until publication of the scientific article reviewing the outbreak appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine,. Congratulations to all the involved scientists and caseworkers.
Wynne is vice president for health affairs at UND, dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and a professor of medicine. He is a cardiologist by training.
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