Nutrition and Lifestyle

The importance of aerobic health

Right now it's a recommendation, but what a very smart one it is.

Hats off to the American Heart Association for raising the visibility and importance of aerobic fitness, and declaring that the metric be considered a vital sign which should be monitored and measured in physical checkups administered by physicians.

The scientific statement makes it clear that exercising the heart and lungs is essential to an individual's overall health, and that those prone to inactivity are at greater risk for life-threatening conditions.

"Mounting evidence has firmly established that low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) are associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, and mortality rates attributable to various cancers,"...

Hold on tight — the nutrition pendulum is still swinging — there is yet another report about the dangers of diet. You thought dietary fat had acquired a clean (OK, cleaner) bill of health compared to dietary sugars, but we seem to still have some anti-fat folks out there. Should we worry? Probably not, and here's why.

The report, recently published in the BMJ, is another compilation of observations from the Nurses' Health Study (73,147 women) and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study (42,635 men). These, as we've explained before, are longitudinal, observational studies that are based on self-reported food intakes. As such, they're subject to any and all errors in food recall, which would certainly lead to errors...

Federal regulators are urging railroads nationwide to test train operators for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) following the recent deadly New Jersey commuter train crash, in which the engineer was later found to have the sleep disorder. The incident — including others in the past — has also prompted the Federal Railroad Administration to work on issuing a safety advisory on the importance of screening and treatment for employees who suffer from OSA. Currently, federal regulators are working on drafting rules that would require railroads to screen for sleep apnea, but government...

Food choice should be left as a choice for consumers, but that is not how Michael Pollan, contributing writer at The New York Times, sees it.

Farming and stewardship of the land have always been a part of my life. Growing up in rural Oregon, we lamented that people in cities knew little about agriculture or where their food came from. Despite that, many city dwellers view farmers as enemies of the environment without bothering to drive a few miles to see the careful stewardship of the land that farmers practice every day. 

So, in some ways I am glad the "foodie" movement encouraged people to learn more about agriculture and how farmers provide the food we enjoy.

Anti-Farming Foodies

Unfortunately, that movement, which began as an...

What is going on at Columbia University? The prestigious school, located in the Upper West Side of New York City, has employed a growing list of quacks that is thoroughly undermining its great reputation.

As our own Dr. Julianna LeMieux wrote recently, the university just asked Mark Bittman, a controversial food writer, to join the faculty of its School of Public Health. Investigative journalist Jon Entine once described Mr Bittman as a "scourge on science." Why? 

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For years now, activists such as CSPI  have been agitating for a tax on sodas and other sugary soft drinks. They have been making headway under the rubric of aiming to improve public health. Thus far, sweetened soft drink taxes have been approved by voters in Berkeley CA, Philadelphia PA, Boulder CO, San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, CA. Can others be far behind?

Supposedly, these taxes are enacted to reduce consumption of such beverages, but by the way, they will obviously also increase government revenue. And will those funds really be used for public health initiatives, or more to fix potholes and fulfill other governmental responsibilities? More to the point, will these taxes really benefit public health —  by supporting measures to educate consumers, for example? Will we...

For all of you who are too refined to be rabid fans of 24, please go to PBS, where you can immerse yourself in such delights as "Farm to Table Family" or "Wai Lana Yoga."

While these shows are unquestionably enlightening to those with a more refined palate, the rest of us less-evolved types, who dwell in a different sociocultural universe, tend to have more pedestrian tastes. Rather than art museums and opera, we lean toward simpler pleasures, like professional wrestling and The Walking Dead. (Both are real, by the way.)

Just because I'm low class doesn't mean that I'm dumb, though. For example, the scientist in me has long wondered why, for eight seasons, encompassing a total of 192 hours (1), Jack Bauer never once had to use the men's room. I finally...

By Stephanie Bucklin, Live Science Contributor

Men still aren't living as long as women — and that holds true for humans' primate cousins as well, a new study shows.

In the study, researchers looked at data from six populations of humans from both modern and historical times, in different countries. The investigators found that, "in spite of the huge gains in human longevity over the past century, the male-female difference has not shrunk," said Susan Alberts, a professor of biology at Duke University and a co-author of the new study.

The researchers did find that the the amount by which women outlived men varied across populations. For instance, the largest male-female difference in life span...

Many years ago, my large family would traditionally gather in Connecticut to enjoy each other's company on Thanksgiving. By today's standards, it was a risky trip getting there. Few of us wore seat belts. People smoked in cars that were run by leaded gasoline. No one had even heard of a breathalyzer; drunken driving was considered to be a hobby. And if you got into trouble on the road, you were hosed, because there was no such thing as 911 or a cell phone to call it.

Somehow, we always made the trip in one piece. But the real danger didn't start until dinnertime: Aunt Wilma's turkey.

Photo: Heavy.com

Lovely woman, but unfortunately, the era during which women finally got out of the kitchen didn't...

Tossing and turning in bed all night long, it can feel as if you're the only person in the world unable to sleep. It may be a small comfort to learn, however, that you aren't the only one. Millions of other Americans also struggle to sleep.

In the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC reports data on the prevalence of sleep trouble by age group and sex. (See chart below.)

As shown, about 20% of young adults (aged 20-39) have trouble sleeping. The problem appears to get worse with age. Roughly one-third of people aged 40 and over report difficulty sleeping. In general, women have more trouble than men.

The article does not attempt to explain...