Posts Tagged ‘Carole Carson

Fitness and obesity trends to watch for in 2012

- January 1st, 2012

(Note: The following post is courtesy Carole Carson of www.fromfat2fit.com.)

Fitness and Obesity Trends to Watch for in 2012

carolecarsonIt’s Not a Small World After All

By 2020, four out of five of your friends, coworkers, family members and neighbors will be overweight or obese, and half of them will be diabetic or pre-diabetic, according to researchers at Northwestern University.

Less than 5% of Americans enjoy ideal cardiovascular health and today’s teens will die younger of heart disease than people of prior generations. According to Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the current generation of teens — characterized by high blood sugar, surplus weight, poor eating habits, smoking and limited exercise — are the unhealthiest in our history. Dr. Jones bluntly predicts, “Their future is bleak.”

Public health officials joylessly report another first place: obesity has replaced smoking as the leading cause of preventable death, according to an article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

However, “Today’s reality does not dictate the future,” says Carole Carson — dubbed “An Apostle for Fitness” by the Wall Street Journal and author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction. Here are trends and predictions that can create a positive turning point in the battle of the bulge:

Exercise Trends

• Whole-life training, encompassing a comprehensive and holistic approach to changing one’s lifestyle to achieve optimum health, is expanding in fitness facilities, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). A multidisciplinary approach (involving nutritionists, psychologists, physical therapists and personal trainers) will continue to support health-conscious fitness club members.

• Seniors are rediscovering the athlete within. For example, in October 2011, Fauja Singh, a 100-year-old runner, completed a full-distance marathon in Canada. Kenneth Harris of the Consilience Group reports that since the early 1990s, participation for those over age 45 has grown in 21 sports and fitness activities (ranging from basketball to bowling, from mountain and rock climbing to ice hockey and from tackle football to in-line skating).

• At a time when concern about rising health-care costs is growing, exercise is becoming the go-to miracle treatment. For example, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that walking is more effective than stents or medication in the treatment of peripheral artery disease. EverydayHealth.com reports that regular exercise, which maintains the flow of blood to the brain, is thought to reduce the risk of dementia. Even patients with fibromyalgia, a difficult-to-treat disease, respond positively to exercise, according to WebMD. And MedicineNet.com says studies show that a brisk daily walk of at least 30 minutes lowers the risk for breast and colon cancers.

Food Trends

• According to a survey conducted by ACE, the majority of Americans (85%) still believe that following a restrictive or fad diet is the best way to lose weight. In response to this lingering misconception, ACE will continue its 25-year plan to reverse obesity by helping consumers understand there are no quick fixes.

• Protein, not sugar, is the best remedy for midafternoon slumps. Scientists at the University of Cambridge report that when compared to sugar, nutrients found in proteins improved alertness and energy expenditure.

• A more balanced dietary program is replacing the old approach in which a single food, beverage or ingredient is blamed for obesity. For example, 10 years ago, dieters avoided fat in any form. However, this big fat myth has been replaced with distinctions among fats (trans fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat). Other formerly demonized foods, such as eggs and butter, have been redeemed as nutritionally valuable when eaten in moderation.

• Recommendations for changes to food product labels have emerged from a study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Although testing of various symbols and icons still needs to occur, front-of-package labeling will likely include calorie count plus information on sugars, sodium and saturated and trans fats.

Institutional Shifts

• Studies that demonstrate the relationship between poor nutrition and lowered academic performance are fueling the scratch cooking movement. Boosted by the popularity of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution television series, school lunch makeover programs are invigorating local communities by creating opportunities for sustainable local agriculture and, as a byproduct, promoting a healthier environment.

• School lunch makeovers are part of a larger effort to cultivate food literacy. For example, Lynn Walters’s online program, Cooking with Kids, grew out of the efforts of a local student nutrition advisory council to improve school food. Today, over 4,000 pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students in ten schools participate in the program.

• Hard-pressed consumers are cutting back on expensive organic food, the New York Times reports, but according to registered dietitian Jasia Steinmetz, they are patronizing farmers markets and pick-your-own food farms. The appeal of these sellers: consumers can frequently find better-tasting produce at lower prices than at chain markets.

• Community collaboration is expanding access to fitness facilities and programs in gyms, parks and recreation centers for residents, according to ACE. Business, government, service organizations, employers and medical professionals are joining forces to reduce obesity. Local organized walking groups, such as the Just Walk: A Walk with a Doc program in Ohio, have expanded beyond city and state boundaries. Communities seeking to organize weight-loss competitions can use free websites, for example, www.weightlosswars.com, to jump-start their group program.

Research and Technology

• To shrink waistlines, consumers are increasing their use of online programs and applications. For example, they can track calories, record exercise, get nutrition counseling and gain emotional support from peers online. They can even compete for cash prizes for weight loss.

• Technological advances now allow scientists to study the function of cells and organisms at the molecular level. The emerging field of metabolomics (the study of chemical processes  involving metabolites) will provide the key to understanding the complex relationship between nutrition and metabolism that in turn can lead to treatments, particularly for type 2 diabetes.

• Lack of willpower as the primary cause of obesity is losing credibility. “We’re slaves to our environment,” says David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell, as he explains the rising level of obesity. Cheap food prices, ease of access to unhealthy food and seeing others eat are powerful stimulants that erode willpower. Even the size of the package from which food is taken influences the amount eaten. Dr. Levitsky’s insight makes managing one’s food environment critical to losing weight or to avoid gaining weight.

• Researchers continue to seek a safe, effective and sustainable way to help individuals lose weight. The Los Angeles Times reports that adipotide, a new drug initially developed for the treatment of cancer, triggered an 11% weight loss in a small sample of monkeys. Side effects included kidney complications.

Rising hunger and food insecurity in the midst of an epidemic of obesity seems counterintuitive, yet researchers at Brandeis University and the Center for American Progress found that about 48.8 million Americans face this situation daily. The number of families receiving food assistance increased by nearly a third last year.

Equally counterintuitive — given the high percentage of individuals who will suffer from the health complications resulting from obesity — is the prediction that Americans will continue to live longer. According to WebMD, life expectancy in 1915 was age 54. By 1967, the age increased to 70. Today’s average lifespan in the United States is 78, and experts predict that within 50 years, the age will rise to 100.

Without a doubt, our expanding knowledge of the underlying issues of fitness and obesity are being reshaped by research made possible by advances in technology. In responding to the fast-changing flow of information, one thing is certain: flexibility and balance in our lives will continue to be essential.

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Carole Carson lost 60 pounds at age 60.

Website: http://www.edmontonsun.com/author/cary-castagna

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keeping-Fit-with-Cary-Castagna/106367266730

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/CaryIsKeepingFit#g/u

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cary-castagna/

Let your fork do the heavy lifting

- November 28th, 2011

CarsonB&AChristmas 2011 is a mere 26 days away.

The accompanying caloric onslaught, however, is happening much sooner — if it hasn’t already begun. From family gatherings to office potlucks, tasty temptations are everywhere in the lead-up to Santa’s arrival.

But don’t fret.

Carole Carson, author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction, has one simple tip for those of you looking to survive this season’s heaps of festive feasts with your waistline intact:

Eat nothing except what you can put on a fork.

It’s that simple.

Allow Carson to explain.

“In other words, eat foods only where you sit down and use utensils, including your fork. The calories in bite-size nibbles and finger foods quickly add up. You can easily consume 600 to 800 calories solely from appetizers. Eating with a fork helps close the eye-mouth gap — the difference between what we think we are eating and what we actually eat. So enjoy your traditions — but without overindulging. And wouldn’t that get the New Year off to a wonderful start?”

Carole Carson is the coach for the AARP Fat 2 Fit online community. She was dubbed “An Apostle for Fitness” by the Wall Street Journal. For more info, visit www.fromfat2fit.com.

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Website: http://www.edmontonsun.com/author/cary-castagna

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keeping-Fit-with-Cary-Castagna/106367266730

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/CaryIsKeepingFit#g/u

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cary-castagna/

‘Fitness apostle’ reveals 2011 trends

- December 12th, 2010
Carole_portrait

Carson lost 60 pounds at age 60.

Carole Carson — dubbed an “Apostle for Fitness” by the Wall Street Journal — has peered into her crystal exercise ball.

And what the From Fat To Fit author sees for the fitness industry in 2011 may just inspire you to unprecedented health and fitness in the months ahead.

Here are the latest trends, research and products heading into the new year, according to Carson:

Generational Shifts

• Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. About one in three children or teens is overweight or at risk of being overweight. Because children’s bodies are still developing, damage to their organs can trigger medical problems extending throughout their lifetimes. A sense of urgency has led medical professionals, families, schools, legislators and leaders to intervene. Leading the charge is First Lady Michelle Obama, whose Task Force on Childhood Obesity issued a report titled “Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation.”

• Gaining weight is no longer viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging but as a predictable byproduct of a sedentary lifestyle. Fitness centers are experiencing an explosive growth in boomer memberships, and seniors-only fitness clubs are popping up across the country. In addition, participation in competitive events for seniors continues to expand.

Exercise Trends

• Functional fitness, defined as the strength, flexibility and endurance needed to perform day-to-day tasks safely and easily, is growing in popularity, particularly as the bubble of boomers approaches middle age.

• Piloxing, an unlikely combination of Pilates and boxing, offers an interdisciplinary workout for those seeking maximum intensity in their exercise routines.

• Wearing a weighted vest turns a simple walk into a strength training workout. Weight-bearing exercise has aerobic heart benefits and increases bone health, which is of particular benefit to women at risk for osteoporosis.

Technology and Innovation

• Exergaming, once the exclusive province of youth, has moved mainstream. Seniors surprised Nintendo with their adoption of the Wii Fit games, and rehabilitation specialists are using Wii Fit and other exergames to help patients recover from injuries. The new Kinect fitness games, played on the Xbox 360, have something for everyone: personal training, hundreds of activities, statistics and community challenges.

• Fitbit, one example of a growing number of inexpensive fitness trackers, records information on health, wellness and exercise activity. The trackers, used by individuals as well as groups of employees as part of corporate wellness programs, sustain motivation by providing feedback.

Institutional Shifts

• The new U.S. healthcare bill requires fast-food chains and restaurants with over 20 units to display the nutritional and caloric information of menu items. Consumers will find it easier to make informed choices when purchasing meals.

• In a remarkable shift of focus, companies have increased their adoption of upstream wellness programs, according to Frank Napolitano, CEO of Globalfit. The uptick was set in motion by the new healthcare bill. Unlike traditional downstream programs that are designed to contain treatment costs associated with those who are already sick or injured, upstream programs focus on prevention.

Food and Diet

• Consumption of local produce (purchased at farmer’s markets or grown at home) is rising along with the demand for organic and natural food.

• An estimated 30 to 40% of meat eaters are occasionally opting for vegetarian meals. Called flexitarians, these individuals value the health benefits of vegetarian eating.

• Students are participating in Meatless Monday campaigns at several universities and school districts (for example, in Oakland, California, and Baltimore, Maryland). Vegan meals have also been introduced within several branches of the military.

• Contradicting the notion that healthy food is more expensive, researchers found that purchasing nuts, whole grains, soy and beans while reducing the purchase of high-fat dairy products and red and processed meats lowered food costs and improved dietary health.

Research

• The health of both parents affects offspring. Researchers had previously documented the impact of a mother’s health (and weight) on offspring, but they were surprised to find that male rats who ate a high-fat diet produced offspring with glucose intolerance, a precursor to diabetes.

• Despite the controversial implications, some researchers believe that junk food is addictive. They have found that rats fed junk food developed compulsive eating behavior and stopped exercising. Obesity quickly followed.

• Skipping breakfast increases the risk of a potentially fatal heart attack, according to a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

• Sitting for long stretches (more than six hours) increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, according to Marc Hamilton, a physiologist at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Clearly the landscape of fitness is changing rapidly. As in our exercise routine, flexibility is essential in mapping a personal plan of action to achieve optimum well-being.

Click HERE for more on Carson.

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Fitness expert serves up inspiration

- December 7th, 2010
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Carole Carson lost 60 pounds at age 60.

Care for a hearty helping of pre-Christmas fitness inspiration?

Then click here for a motivational message from fitness expert and author Carole Carson. In the video, she also discusses what is known as a “community meltdown.”

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Shed pounds, win prizes with AARP

- July 1st, 2010
carolecarson

Carson lost 60 pounds at age 60.

Looking for more support and motivation in your weight-loss endeavours this summer?

Then sign up for the second annual Fat-to-Fit Weight Loss Challenge.

The online program, launched by the AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons), challenges Americans – and Canadians – “to make positive, permanent life changes to improve their health,” according to a press release.

Fitness expert and author Carole Carson, who lost more than 60 pounds at age 60, will offer her expertise through the Fat-to-Fit online community.

“I’m living proof that you’re never too old to get fit,” said Carson. “Unlike diets and other weight-loss programs, Fat-to-Fit is intended to help people make permanent, positive life changes – not just drop 10 pounds and then return to their former lifestyles. Our hope is to help people break the diet-relapse cycle for good.”

The 11-week challenge runs through Sept. 6, with plenty of fabulous prizes.

Official rules and details are available at www.aarp.org/fat2fit (don’t forget to check out the video in the middle of the page).