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Research published this week shows that British dogs are now among the fattest in the world, mirroring a trend among their “coach potato” owners. Four years ago 35% of dogs were overweight now the figure is 50%. Labradors are the most frequent patients at a specialist clinic, some of them are twice the weight they should be. Vets say being overweight can shorten the life of a dog by around 2 years or 20%.
Alex German from Liverpool University who runs a specialist clinic found that some owners over feed their pet with fatty treats such as fast food leftovers, crisps, biscuits, chocolate and chips.
Diesel, a boxer from Poole, is a regular at Pet Fit sessions. His family fed him so many sweet treats that his weight rose to 9st 2lb around double his recommended weight. His owner Suzanne Fox, 56, has now banned the custard cream biscuits that he was given because he can no longer squeeze through the dog flap.
Without long walks, obsessive compulsive behaviours such as spinning around in circles can also emerge. A walk where dogs stop and sniff other dog smells every 2 mins is our equivalent of catching up on Facebook. It can also be a sign of an under-exercises dog.
The obesity problem can be solved – German advocates a strict diet and exercise and says most of his patients lose 25% of their weight after owners are taught to measure out their food portions and increase levels of activity.
At Diets Don’t Work many if our outdoors sessions include dog exercise and rehabilitation, supervised by our mascots Wilson and Ryder.
by Debbie Earle
White meat is healthiest concludes new Harvard study. In a new BBC Horizon program to air this evening, DR Micheal Mosley investigates the health effects of eating meats, from white meats, to processed ones to red meat.
In the UK we eat an average of 70g of red meat per person, while 25% of men eat almost twice as much. Despite the bad press, red meat dies contain good things. It is a great source of iron, protein and vitamin B, all of which are vital for health. Red meat and in particular processed meats tend to be high in fat though.
In the new study, Harvard University followed tens of thousands of volunteers over many years. Professor Willet, who reported the findings, said: “We found that those who consumed higher amounts of red meat had a higher risk of total mortality, cardiovascular mortality and cancer mortality.”
Called “red meat consumption and mortality,” his study estimates that eating a small amount of red meat a day (around 85g) is associated with an increased mortality rate of 13%, while eating the same amount of processed meat led to a 20% increase. This means that if you eat that much processed meat a day, your chances of dying from disease are 20% higher than someone who does not.
White meats like chicken and turkey were found to pose no significant health dangers.
By Adam Atkinson
Last September Diets Don’t Work creator Adam Atkinson took part in the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada – an attempt to set a world record for the largest armada of kite surfers on the water at the same time. The parade was led out by keen kitesurfer Richard Branson, and succeeded in setting a record with 318 kite surfers passing through the one mile course at Hayling Island. The Virgin Kitesurfing Armada was featured in all the main UK media outlets, from the BBC to the Telegraph.
This year the event will be repeated and we hope to break our own record.
The actual kitesurfing is no walk in the park; each kite is attached to a bar with 24m lines. The beach is not huge, so it is quite an organisational task to get everyone lined up and ready to go with no tangles! After passing through the marked course the kiters then have to sail a downwinder some 15 miles to Pagham. Proper packing is a must as you need clothes to get the transit back to Hayling, so a waterproof bag and rucksack are also attached to each kitesurfer. More likely than not the event will once again be in challenging conditions. Last year Adam also had a dislocated mid-foot to reckon with!
How can you help? It’s easy! Just visit Adam’s virgin giving page and sponsor him. Every pound helps.
by Adam Atkinson
Forget a marathon or even a 10k. Just 10-15 minutes of running done on a regular basis can add years to your life, even if it is done at a comfortable pace, says a new study. And the benefits are huge – the study has found that runners were 30% less likely to die from age related diseased over a 15 year period in later life. This moderate exercise was found to be as beneficial to health as stopping smoking. The largest reduction in mortality was seen in those doing just a little bit of exercise compared to those who did none. More exercise did not necessarily bring more benefits.
As an example, those who ran for just 6 miles a week cut their risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by almost 60% (compared to non-runners), but the group who ran more, up to 20 miles a week, were only 20% less likely to die than the non-runners.
This new news flies in the face of government advice that people should do three hours of exercise a week. It shows that many of the health benefits (although not all the fitness and strength benefits) could be achieved exercising less than this.
The study, by the University of Iowa, followed 55,000 adults over 15 years. Professor Albert Ferro, of King’s College London, said “this is an important study because it establishes, for the first time, in a large population of subjects studied, that even very low level exercise is associated with increased survival…high level exercise was not associated with any greater benefits than low level exercise – and indeed low level exercise may have been more protective.
Dr Lee of the University of Iowa, said “since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in exercise, the study may motivate more people to start running, and to continue to run as an attainable health goal”.
Oliver Monfredi, lecturer in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Manchester said running, even at a slow pace is considered moderate intensity exercise and this study proves what physicians have long thought, that any exercise is better than none at all.
“The message is certainly encouraging” he said. I would urge people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who are taking up exercise to go to a gym and get an assessment and advice on how to exercise safely and slowly at first. Listen to your body, any chest pain, dizziness and palpitations are symptoms that should be taken notice of”.
Other studies have also shown that running can greatly improve bone density, connective tissue strength and co-ordination. It also has the advantage of being one of the most accessible forms of exercise available; there is no gym membership needed and no equipment, apart from some good trainers. Those that argue that running is bad for the knees may be right in only a very small minority of cases, but nothing is as bad for your knees as sitting on the sofa!
By Robert Adam Atkinson
As I recently celebrated my first decade at the coal face of fitness and nutrition, I have been reflecting on all those whose lives I/we have changed, mainly for the better!
But, as you would expect, it is not always smooth sailing. To work, personal training, and exercise in general, needs to by physically hard and challenging. Sometimes people just can’t face it. Sometimes they have done the exercise but perhaps have not been totally honest about calories. Or cakes. Or pizza. Here are some of the excuses that we have come across in the past 10 years. Straight from the horse’s mouth as it were.
This running is making me fat
There is a lot of swine flu about, I think we should cancel
I hardly eat anything
It’s raining I’m going to cancel
It’s too sunny I’m going to cancel
I think I have an under active thyroid
I think I have an overactive thyroid
I’m genetically programmed to be fat
Isn’t chocolate good for you? I read that in the Daily mail.
But it was an all inclusive
These squats are making me fat
I got bitten by a mosquito so can’t exercise today
My husband doesn’t like me losing weight
But this chocolate bar has “Nature” on the front
This yoghurt is low in fat
I have a vitamin D deficiency
I think I have big bones
But I’ve never had a flat tummy
Wine is good for you – I read it in the daily Mail
I have a really low metabolic rate
By Robert Adam Atkinson
Congratulations to long time suffering PT victim and stalwart Roger Huntingford. Here he is pictured with his trophy, very much in the spirit of Martin Johnson who, as you can see, approves.
Roger not only has a unique combination of meaty biceps and thin legs, but managed to punch out 60 push ups in the allocated 1 minute while still ranting about the state of the nation.
Big ups and congratulations form all the DDW team.
In the UK getting an appointment with a GP can be a struggle. Many adopt a seemingly “make them fight for it”policy including only being able to call and make an appointment on the same day. People are of course then more likely to look up their own issue online, both on Google and Wikipedia. Even doctors and medical students use it too, said a report in the Independent newspaper last week. Scientists have warned however that the online world contains many errors in its entries, and should be used with caution.
The researchers in the US analysed the online entries for 10 well known conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, back pain, and asthma on a single day last year. Despite Wikipedia being monitored by medical volunteers for accuracy, they found that in 9 of the conditions there was medical advice and entries that contradicted modern medical thinking and research.
So, try the doctor instead of panicking when the internet tells you that your cold is actually a flesh eating slug.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
British girls under the age of 20 are the fattest in Europe, says a new study by the medical journal The Lancet. Of the 22 countries that were covered in the study only Greece was on a par with the UK; in both countries 29% of girls were either obese or overweight. The study follows recent research that shows about a quarter of the UK’s adult population to also be obese.
The numbers make alarming reading: in adults over 20 years old, 66% of men and 57% of women were overweight, with 25% of both sexes being obese. Between 1980 and 2014 the number of overweight and obese globally has surged from 657 million to 2.1 billion. That’s 2,100,000,000 or 2.1 to the power of 9 for those mathematicians out there.
The news comes just as the National Institute for Health and Care (NICE) has come in for criticism after suggesting that the NHS could fund millions of overweight slimming classes at the expense of other patients, in particular through a reduction in funding for the treatment of the terminally ill.
In reaching its conclusions, Nice examined the effectiveness of several weight management classes run both by the private and voluntary organisations as well as the state sector, before endorsing classes run by Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Rosemary Conley – the latter company now in administration.
It found that those who were referred by GPs to attend a 12-week course of classes run by the three chains, lost an average of 3% of their body weight, and kept it off for at least one year.
However, Nice did not compare the approach with any other type of diet or weight loss programme, including methods which the public could try for free. That is eating less, exercise sing more and employing a little organisation and/or will power.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
It’s always been a comfort that some luxuries like dark chocolate (with its anti-oxidants) and red wine (with its anti-carcenogenics) are good for you. But unfortunately this may not be true. Researchers at Harvard University have studied the impact of resveratrol, the anti-oxidant in question, and have found it has no health benefits at all.
The study was based on analysis of 783 men and women all aged 65 or over and living in Italy. Although their diets were monitored, this method of study had been unreliable in the past. So they took urine samples of those taking part at regular intervals instead.
During the 9 year study just over a third of those taking part died. 27% of those who were healthy at the start of the study developed heart disease, 4.6% developed cancer. But the amount of reservatrol that they consumed had no bearing on longevity, death rates our overall health.
“This turns out to be just another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time” said head researcher Richard Sembra.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
A new study funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the peer journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that it’s not just olive oil that can give you a healthy heart. The study found that when combined with salads and other leafy green vegetables, olive oil creates a fatty acid that is proven to lower blood pressure. These healthy nitro fatty acids are created when nitrates and nitrites found in greens like spinach, salad leaves and broccoli combine with the healthy fats found in olives, avocado, coconut and other nuts. Nitro fatty acids appear to inhibit an enzyme known as soluble epoxide hydrolase, which regulates blood pressure.
While most dieticians and health professionals have been aware of the benefits of a healthy mediterranean diet, there has been little scientific evidence as to how or why. This study now shows the connection.
“The findings of our study help to explain why previous research has shown that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular problems like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks,” said Philip Eaton, professor of cardiovascular biochemistry at King’s College London.