Facts with Hope
FACT: When we are short-changed on sleep, we make up for it—in calories. Columbia University researchers found that people actually eat more when they are sleep-deprived vs. well-rested. Normalweight men and women consumed 296 calories more on average when they slept for four hours versus when they got a full night's sleep. Overall, most of the extra calories came from high-fat foods such as ice cream and fast foods.
HOPE: If you are trying to lose weight, take an inventory of your sleep habits. Address chronic sleep deprivation as part of your overall weight loss strategy. Cutting 300 calories a day from your diet may be as easy as getting to bed earlier.
FACT: Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes – are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending. Although sometimes related to economic, social, and physical factors, more often it is behaviors such as tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse that lead to poor health and contribute to chronic disease.
HOPE: A focus on prevention in our families, churches, schools and communities will not only improve the health of Americans, but also save a lot of money. A report from Trust for America’s Health entitled Prevention for a Healthier America concluded that investing $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs that increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within 5 years.
FACT: It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of factors— blood sugar, blood fats, blood pressure, waist size, and body mass—that when elevated puts them at a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or heart disease in the future.
HOPE: You can lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or heart disease by moving towards a plant-based diet. New data from the Adventist Health Study 2, a long term study of Seventh-day Adventists, found that metabolic risk factors were significantly lower in association with a vegetarian diet compared with a nonvegetarian diet. The risk of having metabolic syndrome was also lower for vegetarians, even after adjustment for lifestyle and demographic factors. The results stated that out of 100 vegetarians, only 23 showed signs of metabolic syndrome compared with 39 out of 100 in non-vegetarians and 37 out of 100 semivegetarians.
FACT: Overweight kids are more prone to do poorly in school, have more school absences, and increased social-behavioral problems, reports a study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
HOPE: You can help your child improve their grades and their weight by turning off the TV and encouraging them to move. Overweight children ages 7 to 11 who participated in a program that included 20 to 40 minutes of vigorous exercise had increased activities in brain regions involved in self-control, planning, complex thinking and proper social behavior compared with those who didn't exercise, researchers reported in the Health Psychology journal. The study also found that higher amounts of exercise corresponded to higher scores in measures of intelligence.