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Weighing Too Much Can Deny Patients Emergency Airlift Service

Weighing Too Much Can Cost You Your Life

Not just weighing too much, but size as well can negate emergency transportation via helicopter.  Many municipalities have not yet upgraded to the heftier aircraft that can accommodate larger patients. The cost for two new EC-145 helicopters ran up a tab between $8 and $10 million for the Duke University Health System.  Their Life Flight program is now able to airlift patients weighing up to 650 lbs.

weighing too much

America’s annual air emergency needs are up to about 500,000 people per year.  Of these, an estimated 5,000 – or about 1 percent of these patients are denied air transport because they are either weighing too much for the aircraft to lift them or they are too large to fit through the aircraft doors.  Either way, it can delay the care so desperately needed.  Occasionally, when a patient is grounded, the highly trained helicopter crew members will travel with the patient in the ambulance to ensure that the critical care required is not delayed during the drive.

The fact that at least two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, is forcing emergency medical providers to buy these larger aircraft so everyone can receive the care needed in these life and death situations.  Statistically, patients transported by medical helicopter are a third less likely to die than those who go by ground.

The pilots of these craft have a number of factors to take into consideration when a patient is of a size that’s borderline.  Balancing the risks of a victim’s weight with the forces needed to lift the craft can vary greatly with the condition of the weather.  Air density is a major player.  Denser air produces greater lift just as thinner air decreases lift.  Higher temperatures thin the air making hot, humid days a much greater challenge than one that is crisp and cold.

The possible denial of airlift emergency care for those suffering from obesity points out that the risks of this disease reach much farther than increasing the chances of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Craig Yale, the 57-year-old executive at Air Methods, underwent gastric sleeve weight loss surgery when, at the previous weight of 335 pounds, he realized he may not fit on his own firm’s aircraft.  Craig now weighs in at 225 pounds.  His advice, quite simply is; “I would encourage anybody to do what they can to be healthy.”

If you’re weighing too much, it’s never too late to get started toward a healthier, happier life.  Let Smart for Life products get you going in the right direction…today!

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Obesity recognized as a disease by American Medical Association

Obesity Classified As A Disease

In just this past month, a majority of delegates (I’m surprised it wasn’t unanimous) in the A.M.A. voted to tag obesity as a disease. “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of the association’s board, said in a statement.  She believes this new determination will help in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are clearly linked to obesity.

Not all who voted were in agreement, however; and the A.M.A. has no legal authority.  Additionally, the waters are further muddied by the absence of a universally agreed upon definition of what actually constitutes a disease.  Regardless of these controversies, there are doctors and obesity advocates who believe having the nation’s largest physician group come forth with this declaration will bring a greater focus to the growing problem of obesity.  If it helps from an insurance standpoint to improve reimbursement for drugs, surgery and counseling this decision could have a positive impact.

obesity

Obesity A.M.A. Conclusion

As the controversies continued, the A.M.A.’s Council on Science and Public Health concluded that obesity should not be considered a disease.  Among their reasons is the opinion that a B.M.I., the measure most commonly used to define obesity, is believed to be simplistic and flawed and because there are no specific symptoms associated with obesity.  It’s more of a risk factor that leads to other conditions, rather than a disease in its own right.

After all was said and done, the delegates rejected the Council’s conclusion and the resolution was voted in, arguing that obesity is a “multimetabolic and hormonal state” that leads to negative outcomes such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  “The suggestion that obesity is not a disease but rather a consequence of a chosen lifestyle exemplified by overeating and/or inactivity is equivalent to suggesting that lung cancer is not a disease because it was brought about by individual choice to smoke cigarettes,” the resolution said.

Opinions will always differ on such global subjects, but those of us who are true advocates can take heart that any discussion which keeps the topic of obesity in the forefront, will help in the long run.  Hearing contrasting opinions and causing us all to think about the solutions are key players in moving our social consciousness forward.  As a practicing bariatric doctor, I knew obesity was a disease a long time ago.  It’s about time!

To eliminating obesity, your great health and happiness, -Dr. Sass

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WHO calls for healthier marketing to curb childhood obesity

Healthier Marketing Is Critically Needed

WHO-healthier marketingWe need healthier marketing on TV! Just over a week ago, in London, Kate Kelland published an article in Reuters stating that the World Health Organization (WHO) is claiming the marketing techniques geared toward children to push unhealthy foods has proven to be “disastrously effective”.

Television is the largest contributor, but certainly not the only medium being used to target our children.  Inexpensive new marketing channels such as Social media and smart phone apps are flooding our kids with advertising for products high in saturated and trans-fats, sugar and salt.  Even in environments where we would expect to find protection, such as schools and sports facilities, these dangerous foods are readily available. Healthier marketing is needed badly to help children.

Leading culprits include, but are not limited to: soft drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, cookies, sweets, snacks, prepared foods and fast food outlets.

Healthier Marketing On TV

Most children watch at least two hours of television; daily.   If you combine the passive time spent with the unhealthy influence of these advertisements, the negative impact multiplies exponentially.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of the WHO’s regional unit for Europe is quoted as saying; “Overweight is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century: all countries are affected to varying extents, particularly in the lower socioeconomic groups.”

Although some countries (Denmark, France, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) have taken action to curb this by means of legislation, self-regulation or co-regulation, most rely on general regulations which offer no real protection.

As with most things, we really need to rely on ourselves for regulating what matters in our lives.  Those who are influenced by our words and actions will tend to follow our lead, so we must be self-aware and practice what we know to be healthy choices.  We all have a very important role in this on-going health conscious revolution.  Let Smart for Life®make it a bit easier.  Keep some Smart for Life protein bars and cookies on hand for the kids when they want a snack.  They’re so delicious, affordable, healthy and easy.  What’s not smart about that?

To more healthier marketing, your health and happiness, -Dr. Sass

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Obesity Rivals Smoking as Major Health Risk

Obesity – Major Health Risk

obesity - major health riskRecently, I came across a report published in the American Journal of Medicine. It reports that obesity is becoming a major health risk and global epidemic that is comparable to cigarette smoking in its level of hazardous effect.  He notes that obesity is the leading avoidable cause of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. which is on the rise, globally, as well.  Hennekens has published these findings with co-author Felicia Andreotti, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Catholic University in Rome, Italy.

“I am deeply concerned that the United States is the fattest society in the world and likely to be the fattest in the history of the world.” said Hennekens.  “Unfortunately, most people prefer prescription of pills to proscription of harmful lifestyles.  I am, however, optimistic that weight loss of 5 percent or more combined with a brisk walk for 20 or more minutes daily will significantly reduce cardiovascular and total deaths.”

Hennekens continues to explain that this generation of adolescents are more obese and less physically active than their parents and are already showing higher rates of type 2 diabetes thus under a major health risk.  The current generation of children and adolescents in the U.S. are likely to be the first since 1960 to have higher mortality rates than their parents.

As this type of report hits home with all of us; now, more than ever before, we need to be teaching our children (and re-training ourselves) to be our own best advocates of a healthy diet and more active lifestyle.  It may seem like a huge task, but every positive change you embrace is an investment in your future, and theirs. -Dr. Sass

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Government Now Stepping In and Urging Doctors To Screen For Obesity

The Need To Screen For Obesity

screen for obesity

A few weeks ago, a government health task force has urged doctors to screen for obesity, renewing the call.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force called for every adult to be screened for obesity duringcheckups, including calculating body-mass index (BMI) for each patient.  Obese patients should be referred to intensive nutrition and fitness help, says the panel, instead of just being directed to go on a diet.

Two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese. About 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese and on track for diabetes, heart disease or other health problems.

Few doctors are trained to treat obesity, they’re discouraged by yo-yo dieting but they don’t know what to advise, says Dr. Glen Stream, President of the Physicians’ Group.  His Spokane, Wash., practice uses electronic medical records that automatically calculate BMI when a patient’s height and weight is entered.

“Our American culture is always looking for an easy fix, a pill for every problem,” Stream says. “The updated recommendation is important because it makes clear exactly what doctors should do to help.”

The task force concluded high-intensity behavioral interventions are the best non-surgical advice for the obese, citing insufficient evidence about lasting effects from weight-loss medications.

The task force says a good program:

-Includes 12 to 26 face-to-face meetings over a year, most in the first few months.
-Makes patients set realistic weight-loss goals. Losing just 5 percent of your initial weight — 10 pounds for a 200-pound person — can significantly improve health.
-Analyzes what blocks each patient from reaching those goals. Do they eat high-calorie comfort foods to deal with depression? Spend too much time at a desk job?
-Tailors ways to help people integrate physical activity into their daily routine.
-Requires self-monitoring, such as a food diary or a pedometer to track activity.

Medicare Now Pays For A Screen For Obesity

Last year, Medicare started paying primary care doctors for a screen for obesity and weight-loss counseling for seniors for a year, including weekly meetings for the first month.

By the numbers: A normal BMI is less than 25. Obesity begins at 30.  In between is considered overweight. To calculate yours: http://smartforlife.wpengine.com/bmicalculator.aspx.

The Smart for Life® Cookie Diet makes losing weight and keeping it off a lifestyle you can live with.  A healthy and nutritious success you can enjoy! -Dr. Sass

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New Sugar Recommendations For Adults

Sugar Recommendations 325WI recently read a report stating the new sugar recommendations for adults and wanted to share this information with all of you.

The American Heart Association has come up with the first-ever recommended sugar intake levels for adults, in hopes of spurring healthy eating habits.  This report suggests avoiding all processed foods as much as you can.

Rodale News, Emmaus, PA suggests that while a teaspoon of sugar may make your medicine go down, exceeding your recommended sugar intake could lead to obesity, heart disease, and not so healthy eating habits.  So, how much sugar is sweet, and how much turns your health sour? For the first time ever, the American Heart Association (AHA) has released guidelines giving people an idea of what a healthy daily sugar intake really is.

The Details: The AHA statement, pushed online in the journal circulation, makes the point that added sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup or ordinary table sugar added to sodas, breads, and other processed foods, are likely responsible for the increase in calorie consumption and the subsequent rise in obesity of the past few decades. Furthermore, people who have unhealthy sugar intake levels also consume lower levels of vital nutrients, such as zinc, iron, calcium, and vitamin A.  One study even suggested that too much sugar can raise blood pressure levels.  I would like to point out that the report also notes that over the past 30 years, we’ve consumed an average of 150 to 300 more calories per day than we used to.   50% of these consumed calories come from beverages.  Keep in mind also that our physical activity levels remain unchanged, so the extra calories do not get burned off.

Do SmartforLife® Products Follow The Sugar Recommendations?

I’d like to bring to your attention that all of our Smart for Life products are not only low in sugar, but are suitable for most diabetics.  Smart for Life cookies are made with just 2-5 grams of sugar per serving, as well as our cupcakes.  Even our delicious cereals contain just 8 grams of sugar per serving. I created Smart for Life products to keep your body in a low glycemic index, which in turn keeps your sugar and insulin low, in a fat burning no- hunger zone. This unique blend of protein then suppresses your hunger while the fiber expands like a sponge to fill you up.

To make a comparison, surveys have also found that the average American consumes around 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar each day. According to the new guidelines, we should really be eating a fraction of that amount. The Smartforlife® sugar recommendations for adult women is 5 teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day, while for men it is 9 teaspoons (36 grams) daily.  For children, it is just 3 teaspoons (12 grams) per day.

Start losing weight with us and feel the best you’ve ever felt!

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Dr. Sass

Too few docs tell patients they’re overweight

overweightMany people who are overweight and obese either don’t realize it or are in denial — and too few doctors are setting them straight, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers analyzed data on roughly 5,500 people who took part in government health surveys between 2005 and 2008. One-third of the obese participants and 55% of overweight participants had never been told by a doctor that they were overweight, the study found. This is like going to see your doctor with an obvious cancer and that doctor is too shy or busy to tell you the truth.

If a doctor did comment on a patient’s weight, it seemed to make an impression. Nearly 20% of obese people whose doctors hadn’t brought up their weight described themselves as “not overweight,” compared with just 3% of those whose doctors had addressed their weight. Obese and overweight patients who discussed the issue with doctors were also more than twice as likely to have tried to lose weight in the previous year. This is what I tell my patients straight out “Your diet is a direct result of the definition of obesity”.

“If people are told by their doctor that they are overweight, it corrects their perception,” says the lead author of the study, Robert Post, M.D., research director of the Virtua Family Medicine Residency in Voorhees, New Jersey

What Is Considered Overweight?

Overweight is defined as having a body mass index between 25 and 29, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 and up. (BMI is a rough estimate of body fat based on the ratio of a person’s height and weight.)

Doctors may be reluctant to broach the subject of weight for a number of reasons. For instance, busy physicians might not want to fall behind schedule by adding another topic to their list of things to discuss during an appointment and many doctors have negative attitudes toward their heavier patients, whom they see as unlikely to stick to a diet and exercise program, he adds.

Even though almost two-thirds of U.S. adults are now overweight or obese, Dr. Moulavi believes that as Americans have grown heavier, most of the population has a skewed perception that this is “norm” of what constitutes an ordinary weight now.

In fact, most of the overweight study participants accurately estimated their BMI. But many didn’t see their weight as unhealthy or recognize the need to shed some pounds.

In addition, studies have shown that smokers whose doctors remind them of how unhealthy smoking is are encouraged to quit and are more likely to do so successfully than those whose doctors stay mum. Simple reminders and encouragement to lose weight could have a similar effect on overweight and obese patients, Dr. Moulavi says.

Know your BMI and act on it if it’s above 25. Get started today with SmartforLife® healthy nutrition products to help you achieve your goals.

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Sugary Drinks Linked to Diabetes

Consumption of at least 1 sugary drinks per day is significantly associated with the development of diabetes, according to a report by Vasanti S. Malik, ScD and his colleagues with the Harvard School of Public Heath, as reported in Diabetes Care.

Sugar-sweetened beverages were defined as soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy and vitamin water, sweetened iced tea, punch, cordials, squashes and lemonade.  Not included were 100% fruit juices without added sweeteners.

Dr. Malik notes that although consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks has been associated with weight gain, their role in the development of diabetes has not been reviewed.  According to Dr. Malik and the researchers, the high content of rapidly absorbable carbohydrates in sugar-sweetened drinks may increase risk of diabetes not only through obesity, but also by increasing glycemic load, leading to insulin resistance and inflammation.

How About One Sugary Drink?

One single extra sugary drink has about 200 calories.  That is equivalent to a 20 pound weight gain per year.

This study further supports my reasons to stay away from sugar-sweetened beverages and switch to healthy alternatives, such as water. Get started with SmartforLife® today and lose weight fast.

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Poll Shows Obesity Top Threat to Children’s Health

obesityA new poll shows that adults consider obesity the number one threat to children’s health in the United States and many believe the problem is getting worse.

Almost 40% of the adults polled cited obesity as the biggest threat to youngsters and teenagers, followed by drug abuse, smoking, Internet safety and stress.

Dr. Matthews M. David, director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll says, “If we’d done this poll four years ago, obesity would not have been at the top of the list.”

Obesity rates among children and teens in the U.S. have skyrocketed in the last 30 years.  A 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control showed nearly 1 in 5 children aged 6 to 11 and 18% of 12 to 19 years olds were obese.

Obesity is #1 Concern

The top 10 overall health concerns for U.S. children in 2010 and the percentage of adults who rate each as a “big problem” include:

1.  Childhood obesity – 38%
2.  Drug abuse – 30%
3.  Smoking – 29%
4.  Internet safety – 25%
5.  Stress – 24%
6.  Bullying – 23%
7.  Teen pregnancy – 23%
8.  Child abuse and neglect – 21%
9.  Alcohol abuse – 20%
10. Not enough opportunities for physical activity – 20%

Fifty-seven percent of adults that rate childhood obesity as a big problem for kids say it is “getting worse.”

Let SmartforLife® help you and your children lose weight fast with the healthy nutrition you need.

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