Memphis is getting more dog parks; San Antonio has slightly lowered its death rate from diabetes, and in Orlando, the percent of residents walking or biking to work has nudged upwards, according to a new trends report released today. These cities — all ranked among the least fit cities in the United States — are among the 50 largest US metropolitan areas that the report highlights key health and fitness changes over the past five years.
The report by the The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) analyzes health behaviors and community environment, many both directly — and indirectly – relate to cancer prevention.
Health behavior indicators included looking at how many vegetables and fruits residents ate, how active they were in the previous month, and if they were smokers. Then the authors gathered data on chronic health problems of the residents, such as the percent of residents that were obese, and/or diagnosed with diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Environmental indicators of good health included the numbers of recreational centers, parks, tennis courts and farmer’s markets were in the city. Continue reading
Running is a process – and a powerful one, says Scott Spitz, a cancer survivor who is currently featured on the cover of this month’s Runner’s World. A competitive runner, Scott continues to run through treatment for a rare form of abdominal cancer. We talked with Scott about why he runs and how running has helped him grapple with the physical and mental challenges of treatment.
Congratulations on winning the Runner’s World Cover Contest. Why did you decide to enter?
I was a little reluctant to enter because I didn’t want to assume my story was better than others, but I’ve heard from a lot of people who said they gained something from hearing about my experience. I’ve never won anything like this before, and I was humbled and flattered that they recognized the power of my story.
What drew you to running and why have you stuck with it?
I discovered really young that I enjoyed running and had a talent for it. I ran competitively in middle and high school, but then I didn’t run for 13 years after that. I was living in a small town and wanted a physical outlet, so I went for a run and all the experiences came rushing back. I started running regularly again and never stopped. I can cite all the health benefits of running, but ultimately I run because it gives me a sense of accomplishment that has added immeasurable value to my life. Continue reading
In today’s CRU, we highlighted a new study looking at whether using a phone app helped overweight people lose weight. In this study, overall the phone app did not make a difference for most people, but the few participants who actually used it did lose weight. Finding ways to help people lose weight successfully is important because excess body fatness now links to 9 cancers, including post-menopausal breast, endometrial and advanced prostate.
For me there are 3 important takeaways from this study – the questions is not whether apps work for weight loss – but what does it really take for successful and sustained weight loss.
1. Be ready to commit.
Wanting to lose weight is an important first step, but not enough. Start by developing your specific goal, identify the barriers, and understand that you will be working hard to make changes that will last. If you decide you aren’t ready for full commitment, you might choose one small change to improve health – like adding 5-10 minutes of walking to your day. That, by itself, won’t lead to weight loss, but that may help you be confident in your ability to begin to make changes. Continue reading