Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fitness News You Can Use

The latest fitness research compiled by FitBits.

FitBits, June 15, 2008
Exercise ETC's Review of Exercise Related Research

Compiled by Chris Marino, MS, CSCS
Director of Education, Exercise ETC

Parents Likely to Pressure Overweight Teens to Diet

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, parental pressure for dieting among overweight teens leads to greater incidence of overweight five years later. The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics incorporated data collected during Project EAT, for Eating Among Teens. Researchers assessed 314 adolescents and interviewed their parents by phone. 170 of the adolescent-parent dyads were followed for 5 years.

Although not all parents correctly classified their teenagers as overweight, those who did tended to encourage dieting instead of more healthful behaviors. The researchers classified healthful behaviors as recommending more fruits and vegetables, decreasing soft drink consumption, eliminating salty snacks, candy and fast food, increasing family meal-time, decreasing television viewing during meals, encouraging healthy food selection and physical activity.

Most interestingly, those parents who encouraged their teenagers to diet increased the likelihood that their teen would be overweight 5 years later. This disturbing trend was more prevalent for teenage girls participating in the study.

Unfortunately, the impulse for adults to "diet" in reaction to weight gain is apparently being passed down to today’s youth. In light of these findings, education should be considered for parents of overweight teens to promote healthful habits with greater potential for long-term weight management.

Neumark-Sztainer, D. et al (2008) Accurate Parental Classification of Overweight Adolescents' Weight Status: Does It Matter? Pediatrics. June

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Can Vitamin D Prevent Heart Attacks?

In the past year, the scientific literature has been flooded with studies that link Vitamin D deficiency to a variety of diseases and disabilities. Most recently, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that heart attacks are 2.5 times more prevalent in men with low levels of Vitamin D. Moreover, in the population studied, fatal heart attacks were higher among men with vitamin D deficiency.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health measured Vitamin D in 18,225 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The men ranged from 40-75 years of age at the start and were followed for 10 years. During that period, 454 developed fatal coronary heart disease or suffered a non-fatal heart attack.

Both Vitamin D deficiency (< 15 ng/mL) and intermediate levels of Vitamin D (15.0-22.5/22.6-29.9 ng/mL) were linked to higher incidence of heart attacks. Researchers controlled for family history, body mass index, alcohol use, physical activity level, diabetes, hypertension, ethnicity, region, omega-3 fatty acid consumption, LDL and HDL levels, triglycerides and smoking status.

In an interview with Reuters Health, the author speculates that vitamin D might protect men from heart disease by lowering blood pressure, controlling inflammation, preventing calcification of the arteries, strengthening heart muscle or by protecting against respiratory infections. Additionally, previous studies have suggested that vitamin D may certain cancers, peripheral artery disease and tuberculosis.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the body from exposure to sunlight, and is obtained through food and supplements. For more information on Vitamin D visit the following link to the Office of Dietary Supplements, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Giovannucci, E. et al (2008) 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Men. Archives of Internal Medicine 168(11):1174-1180.

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Want to Improve Your Golf Game? Use a Cart

Golf is a unique sport in that physical fitness is not a strong a predictor of performance. The use of a golf cart along with technological advancements in golf club design has evened the playing field. Many golfers, however, choose to walk for exercise in effort to increase their fitness. Unfortunately, the extra exercise may result in a higher score.

A recent study presented at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine examined the relationship of walking the course and carrying a bag to performance. Researchers reported that walking the course progressively decreases the golfers swing mechanics and potentially increases scores. Seven recreational golfers with average scores of 80 to 95 participated in a simulated golf game. The golfers walked in 1-mile increments while carrying a weighted golf bag for a total of 6 miles. Between walking the participants hit 20 tee shots for a total of 140 swings.

Progressive fatigue led to increasingly common swing faults such as inability to transfer weight to the front leg, decreasing club head speed. A reduction in club head speed is thought to reduce the total distance the ball travels. They also found that golfers progressively altered knee and ankle angles in the back swing. These faults may affect the accuracy of the ball flight.

What's the solution? Be fit to play golf. Work on aspects of conditioning off the course so that you can experience greater enjoyment from playing a round of golf the natural way.

Kevin McKeever. Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance. HealthDay News Friday, June 6, 2008

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Do Supportive Insoles Decrease Pain?

You can’t buy a pair of shoes or sneakers today without a recommendation to reinforce or replace the insoles. Marketers claim that insoles offer the wearer more support, comfort, shock absorption and less joint pain. But . . . do insoles, which cost from $20 to $50 a pair actually perform as they claim? A recent study presented at the national convention of the American College of Sports Medicine revealed that they may not be effective at reducing physical stress.

Researchers at Winston-Salem State University in NC evaluated the effectiveness of Over-the-Counter shock-absorbing insoles ($20 value) in 60 older adults with knee pain from arthritis. Gait analysis and kinetic variables such as ground reaction forces were assessed as participants performed three trials each with and without the insoles; regular paced walking, fast-paced walking and walking as fast as possible for 6 minutes.

In the end, there was no difference in any measured variables, revealing that the insoles did not actually affect how the body absorbed shock while walking. Forces at the knee were similar under both conditions in all three tests.

Interestingly, the participants reported less pain during the 6-minute walk test while wearing insoles. Although scientific proof is helpful in determining the value of a product, in this case if wearing insoles is going to lead to more activity it might be worth $20.

Megan Rauscher (2008) Shock absorbing insoles may ease knee pain. Reuters Health. June 5.

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