The Checkup
Health in the News and in Your Life

By Adapted from
Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What It Takes to Keep Weight Off

New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that women who want to sustain substantial weight loss need 55 minutes of dedicated physical activity five days a week on top of their normal daily activities to keep weight from creeping back.

An accompanying editorial notes that the study shows it's hard to maintain a program of 55 minutes' activity a day, even when someone gives you a treadmill and calls you every so often to remind you to use it. The editorial further observes that the study's requisite amount of physical activity "can be achieved through a combination of strategies, including increased formal exercise, a modified work and school environment that allows for movement while working and learning, and a modified home environment with less television and more movement. Further research in sustainability of activity is urgently needed if we are to solve the obesity epidemic."

-- Jennifer Huget

mdem wrote:

I lost 15 lbs this year, combining running and eating well. A foot injury kept me sidelined for two months, and I got back on the scale this week and was stunned to see all the weight back on.

wanda wrote:

At work, I take the stairs in my high rise religiously along with 30 minutes in the gym during lunch time 3X a week. I swim/do water aerobics every day for at least 1 hour. I get off the metro bus 2 stops early to walk a mile home, except when the weather is bad. On the weekends, I ride my Trek. At 55, I feel better than I did at 45!

anon wrote:

Lost about 35 lbs over three years or so. Was not overweight based on BMI to begin with, but wanted to get back to college weight. To keep it off? About 1300 calories/day plus 4 days/week of 35 minutes strenuous exercise. (Plus regular walking to Metro, 1.5 miles daily round trip, plus Pilates once a week). It ain't easy, people!

Is Soy Safe, or Is It Scary?

Soy and the isoflavones it contains have been touted for their cancer-fighting capacity and cardiovascular benefits. Isoflavones are thought to behave in the body in much the way that estrogen does, but scientists haven't quite figured out whether they work for good or for ill -- or both.

-- Jennifer Huget

David wrote:

We have never approached this issue scientifically, but my wife and I (76 and 75) have eaten a soy product almost every day for the past half-century and are convinced that soy is a gift of the gods.

Paul B. wrote:

I've been on both sides of the soy debate over the past several years. At one point I was making my own soy milk. But I stopped when I became aware of the downside of soy, and began to be alarmed at its pervasive use in so much of what we eat.

There is no question that soy has certain benefits, but there are some very convincing detriments as well. Each side trots out its narrowly focused studies to prove its point. Until we have better perspective, my policy is moderation.

Worriers, Rejoice!

Ramit Ravona-Springer of Sheba Medical College in Israel and her colleagues studied 1,715 Israeli male civil servants who participated in a long-term study probing risk factors for heart disease. Those who reported a tendency to "ruminate" about problems at work or at home when they were in their 40s and 50s were significantly less likely to develop dementia by the time they were in their 80s, Ravona-Springer reported at a recent Alzheimer's conference in Chicago. "Rumination" was defined as the tendency to repetitively mull over problems.

-- By Rob Stein

Anonymous wrote:

Would you rather carry the burden of worrying about everything for 80 long years, or live a happy and carefree life? If obsessively worrying is the cost of not getting dementia, then that's the worse of 2 evils in my opinion.

Rose G wrote:

I'm not taking this very seriously.

I've had two relatives develop dementia and they were worriers. As they became demented they worried even more.

I don't think worrying is necessarily the same as mental fitness.

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