Monday, January 27, 2014

Harmful effects of obesity

Who is obese? 

A person’s weight can be calculated using many types of tests. According to studies the recommended weight of a person will depend on their height and age. A person’s weight is considered normal when their BMI is ideal i.e., their weight to their height and age correlates. A person is considered overweight if their BMI is 10%-20% higher than normal. A person is deemed to be obese if their BMI is more than 20% above normal.

Tests to check obesity 

There are several tests by which obesity can be diagnosed.
1.    Hydrostatic body fat test.
2.    Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).
3.    Calipers test
4.    Bioelectrical Impedance, or BIA.
5.    Height/weight charts.
6.      Body mass index.

What Causes Obesity? 

People look at a person who is obese and wonder why they don’t do anything about it. They assume that an obese person eats too much and doesn’t exercise. That may be true in some cases, but quite often there are other reasons that could lead to a person being obese. Some of the reasons for obesity are:


Some people are unfortunate, because obesity runs in their family and they are already prone to it. They will have to work twice as hard as other people to keep the weight off. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t.

Medical reasons 

There is some medical reason why a person is obese. Some of them area:
·         Thyroid problems
·         Insulin resistance
·         Water retention
·         Gastric problems
Most of these can be helped with the right medication. But this doesn’t mean that the medication will make the problem go away. Along with the medication a good exercise and diet program is essential


It is a well known fact that people who are depressed have eating disorders. Some may not eat at all, giving rise to other problems. Some binge and become obese. The only way to treat obesity in this case is to fix the underlying cause which is depression.

Risks of obesity 

People who are obese face a lot of health problem. Some of them are:
·         High blood pressure
·         Diabetes
·         Heart disease
·         Joint problems
·         Sleep apnea
·         Osteoarthritis
·         Respiratory problems
·         Cancer
·         Metabolic syndrome
·         Psychosocial problems
Some of these are physical problems and some are mental problems but they all stem from being obese. People who are obese are prone to health problems as it takes extra effort for the heart to pump blood. The joints of an obese person has to take many times the weight that it is constructed to take. This leads to pain and sometimes in severe cases, can even lead to fractures.
The sad part is that after a point, an obese person finds it difficult to exercise as their body is too big to handle. A person who has reached that point of obesity needs a full crew of experts to help them lose weight. This would include a trainer to make an exercise program that the obese person can handle, a dietician to make sure that they eat right, a doctor to monitor the health of the person, a counselor or psychiatrist to motivate the person and advice them. The family of the obese person should also be a part of this program as the support and encouragement of family is necessary. There are many medicines and supplements that help, but they should be taken with supervision.
It is important to recognize that obesity is an illness and should be treated as such. With the right help, it can be reversed.


What are Lamaze classes?

The Lamaze method was created by Ferdinand Lamaze, a French obstetrician. It was introduced to our country in the late 40s, early 50s and has become a must do for parents who are about to have a baby. It was originally developed to help women get through the pain of labor easily, but now it has branched out into other areas like helping parents understand the change a baby will bring in their lives, to good parenting techniques.

According to Lamaze International, the goal of Lamaze classes is to "increase women's confidence in their ability to give birth."

Benefits of attending a Lamaze class 

There are several benefits to attending a Lamaze class.

  1. You learn to cope with the rigors of giving birth by learning to control your breathing and learning to manage the pain 
  1. Your partner could attend the class with you or a parent or friend and they can be there to help you through your delivery. If they have attended the classes with you, they will be well versed in what needs to be done and their encouragement will be helpful. 
  1. Meeting other parents to be helps in relieving the stress of pregnancy. Talking about what each one is going through helps you understand the next stage in your pregnancy and what to expect. Giving advice to those who have not yet reached your stage in pregnancy also helps. 
  1. These classes prepare you for the initial days, soon after childbirth, which can get quite stressful for some. They give you tips on how to cope with the various problems that you may face like evening blues, inverted nipples, sore nipples etc. 
  1. Quite a few women go through post partum depression. The faster this is recognized and help given, the better for the mother and baby. It not only helps women understand and recognize their own symptoms of post partum depression but it also enlightens the partner on what signs to look for. This is very helpful and can go a long way in helping the mother and baby. 

Tips to finding a good Lamaze class 

It is important to find a good instructor. The instructor should be well informed in the different areas of pregnancy, birthing and post delivery.

They should be a friend, confidante counselor and pregnancy expert rolled into one.

If your instructor is certified by Lamaze International, then you know they have passed a rigorous examination and have met the standards of the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies). Lamaze International is the only certification program offered for childbirth educators.

Ask friends or family who have taken Lamaze classes to recommend someone. There is nothing like the recommendation of someone who has attended a class and has found the instructor good and the classes beneficial.

The instructor should be up to date with the latest information on pregnancy, birthing techniques and parenting tips.

Other factors to consider 

Pick a place close to home for your classes. As you near your due date, you will find it difficult to travel long distances.

The size of the class is important. There should not be too many people. You should find a class where there are enough people to form a group, but where you also get individual attention.

Make sure that you join a program that works for your schedule. If you have a job, you may want to find a class that suits you and your partners’ working hours.

This is a beautiful time in your life. Enjoy it and make it a wonderful experience.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Steps for Creating a Healthy Food Environment

by Gina Schlocker, RD, IHC Staff Wellness Coordinator 1/6/2014

One of the most important ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle is to create an environment that supports healthy living.  This is true for our physical, mental and social well being.
Although some aspects of our environment can feel at times out of our control, one aspect, our food choices, is within our power. This includes at home, work, school and with our family, friends, and co-workers.
The following steps will help you get started on the road to a healthier lifestyle by surrounding yourself with a healthy food environment.

Toss the Junk
                Go through your refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets and throw out the junk foods. Chips, cookies, ice cream, regular sodas, candies and any other processed foods you know aren’t good for you and your family.  Throwing away these foods is not wasting since these are harming your health and are not real food anyway. 
Take Time to Meal Plan
                When you plan ahead, you are in control, you are more likely to stick to your healthy eating and avoid instant gratification junk foods.  Use whole foods as ingredients in your meals and snacks and make extra so you can take homemade foods for lunch during workdays. Limit eating restaurant foods to once a month.
Make a List
 Make a list of foods you need for your meals before going to the grocery store.  If you are mindful of the barrage of marketing tactics you face during your trip through the market aisles, you can outsmart the temptations and stick to purchasing the foods only on your healthy food list. And make sure not to shop when you are hungry.
Turn it Off
Turn off the TV, smart phone notifications, silence your phones, and turn off work computers.  Eat at the table with your family. At work, avoid eating at your desk.  If it’s a nice day, go outside to the park with friends.
Keep it Simply
                The more simple and basic your food choices, the easier it will be to control.  Choose with your family basic meals that incorporate healthy whole foods that everyone can enjoy and are easy to prepare.
Social Events
                Pressure from family, friends and co-workers can sabotage your efforts to follow a healthy lifestyle.  Be aware if your social events are always surrounding by unhealthy foods or always going out to eat. Plan events that do not center around unhealthy foods.  Real support comes from people who will always respect you and will not constantly tempt you to eat out or eat junk foods.
Get Support
                If you need a jump start on healthy food planning, healthy food choices or ways to purge your home of processed foods, contact an IHC Registered Dietitian to help start your new healthy life!

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