The Health-Alcohol Conundrum

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There’s been a lot of stories this week about a new study linking moderate alcohol intake with lower risk of weight gain. The study makes for some grabby headlines, but alcohol intake and health is a complex issue that scientists agree needs more research. For heart health — and now, possibly to avoid weight gain — moderate drinking (2 drinks for men and 1 for women a day) may have benefits. But when it comes to certain cancers: there’s no amount of alcohol that’s healthy.

The basics of the latest study: Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the study included about 19,000 women age 39 or older who began the study at a healthy weight. At the start of the study, the women reported how many alcoholic beverages they typically drank per day. Over an average of 13 years follow-up, the women on average gained weight. But normal-weight women who drank a light to moderate amount of alcohol appeared to gain less weight than  the women who did not drink at all.

For people who don’t drink alcohol, this is not a reason to start, the study authors note. More research is needed to identify the many factors than can play a role in how alcohol effects certain individuals. Read more… “The Health-Alcohol Conundrum”

Can Salads Sabotage Healthy Efforts?

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You’re trying to cut calories – how bad could a Chicken Caesar salad be?

Potentially disastrous if you’re eating at the Cheesecake Factory.   The 1510 calories in their Caesar chicken salad is almost a full day’s supply for some people.

Read our review of fast food and restaurant salads to see how they stack up as low-calorie, veggie rich choices.  You can find low-calorie choices, but you’ll also find salads that will break your calorie bank.

The Bottom line:

  • Keep it simple.  More veggies, fewer add-ons.
  • Go lean.  Main course salads should include chicken, fish or beans – high protein, low fat.
  • Always dress with less.   Go light with two tablespoons of low-fat dressing.

Do you have a favorite lean and mean salad recipe?

“Let’s Move” Initiative Will Lower Cancer Rates

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Family Eating An Al Fresco MealMichelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to eliminate childhood obesity in a generation could have a major impact on cancer rates when today’s children become adults.

AICR estimates that approximately 100,000 cancers occurring in the US every year are caused by excess body fat.  Add physical activity and a healthy diet to weight management, and we could prevent about one-third of the most common cancers.  And what better prevention strategy than helping children adopt healthier behaviors?

The campaign focuses on four factors: Healthy Choices, Healthier Schools, Physical Activity and Accessible and Affordable Healthy Food.  This combination of policy changes, health professional action and family involvement envisioned by the First Lady is an important step toward helping children live healthier lifestyles.  And healthier lives will lead to fewer children becoming obese and remaining obese as adults.

AICR’s major report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention addresses many of these same issues  as to how policy changes can influence the behaviors that affect cancer risk and other chronic disease.

What do you see happening in your community to help children lead healthier lifestyles?