No big surprise, Rick Santorum’s stance on Health care with a profit motive is a bit off base, in my opinion.
Believe me folks I am no socialist/communist etc…I believe in free enterprise. However, the health care system (I am not a proponent of Obamacare either! Quite the opposite) as we know it today is broken and we must look at all potential components of this disaster.
In my opinion, the take over of our health care system by Wall Street is a huge factor is why it isn’t working. You can call that profit driven…in my opinion profits are not the culprit, AVARICE IS!
Wall Street doesn’t care about the citizens, only profits. Capitalism with Compassion is a good thing in this case folks…to drive our health care system based solely on the ability to make a ton of dough seems wrong to me as it reflects on who can get health care and the quality of same.
Change is required, period.
Santorum defends drug companies in health care speech
CNN’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy
Woodland Park, Colorado (CNN) – In what his campaign billed as a “major speech on health care,” Rick Santorum found himself Wednesday defending a profit-driven health care system to a woman who said her son requires expensive medication to stay alive.
The former Pennsylvania senator also detailed the deficiencies he sees in his rivals’ health insurance records.
Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
One of the feistiest exchanges came in response to a young child’s question on the cost of medical care in America. Urged on by his mother, a boy asked what Santorum would do to lower medical costs, but before he could finish his question, the candidate said such things should be left up to the market.
“We can make medicine cheaper by using markets,” Santorum said. “That’s how you make medicine cheaper is that you have free people going out there and competing against each other and competition drives up quality and drives down costs.”
As Santorum was outlining his small-government, free-market approach to rising health care costs, another woman chimed in that she can no longer afford medication she desperately needs because the cost has become so exorbitant.
“The only reason new drugs are developed is because Americans actually do pay for the cost of that research,” Santorum said. “And so when you say oh, I’ll go and get my drugs in Canada, that’s great. Go get your drugs in Canada and if everybody did that, you’d have no new drugs. You have that drug and maybe you’re alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug.”
Using a somewhat confusing metaphor, Santorum tried to explain the need for a profit motive by comparing health care consumption to technology consumption.
“People have no problem going out and buying an iPad for $900,” he said. “But paying $900 for a drug, they have a problem with it. It keeps you alive. Why? Because you have been conditioned to thinking that health care is something that you should get and not have to pay for. Drug companies, health care companies need to have a profit motive, because if they don’t, then how are we going to regulate costs? We are gonna ration care.”
The mother of the original questioner tried once more to plead her case, explaining that she’s paid $1.3 million a year to keep her son alive, and while she’s willing to go bankrupt for her child, it pains her to see his friends die in the hospital because their parents cannot afford the treatment.
Finding himself in the unenviable position of defending oft-derided drug companies, Santorum stuck to his guns.
“He’s alive today because drug companies thought that they would make money in providing that care and if the drug company didn’t think they could make any money by providing that care, I hate to put it in these terms, but that drug wouldn’t be here,” he said, adding that he sympathized with the mother, “we either believe in markets or we don’t.”
Asked by a reporter after the event about what alternatives people in such tough circumstances have, Santorum suggested that charity was a better option than government intervention.
“Even in the tough cases, even at the ones that pull at your heart strings, we’ve got to believe in people and markets and churches and families and charity instead of government, and that’s what I believe” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, while highlighting the similarities between the health care plan Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts and the controversial plan passed by President Obama, Santorum came out against the widely-popular provision that requires insurance companies to offer plans regardless of preexisting conditions.
“I have family members who have preexisting conditions, and I’m not for preexisting condition clauses,” Santorum said.
To justify his position, he described a hypothetical situation wherein healthy Massachusetts residents opt not to buy insurance, instead paying a fine. Then when they get sick, they purchase insurance, immediately dropping it again once they get better.
“What happens to the cost of health insurance,” Santorum asked the crowd, many of whom answered that costs would rise. “There’s a reason for preexisting conditions clauses. You want people to get insurance, and if they don’t, then they shouldn’t be free riding on everybody else. That’s exactly what’s going to happen with Obamacare.”
Santorum said this similarity between “Obamacare” and “Romneycare” would mean that “Barack Obama, in a debate or in this election, is going to destroy Mitt Romney on the issue of health care.” Both plans are wrong, he argued, because both represent top-down management of an issue that should be left up to families.
I don’t have insurance and haven’t had for many years now and thank God I haven’t really required any for my kids or wife or myself. We try to live a healthier lifestyle from that promoted on TV…junk food, visual garbage and mindless chatter. Organic food, herbal supplements and exercise is a common theme around here.
I don’t deny that there are others that have had the misfortune of falling ill and requiring intensive western medical treatments and they are probably financially ruined, even with insurance. This is just one of the reasons we have to see a rational change in the system, our minds and hearts.
In this interesting article below by Mike Barrett featured on Infowars, we see some things you may not have thought of that will promote weight gain and even obesity. We know that diet and exercise play a major role but many who take care of these factors are still challenged when it comes to keeping their weight in line. Here is the article which offers some good food for thought. Of course the role of detoxing the body with greens and cleanses and giving it optimal nutrition must never come in to question. These things are and will always be essential components of a healthy life.
There is no doubt that the Western diet holds most of the weight regarding the escalating obesity epidemic we are facing today.
While these obesity contributors are widely known, there are actually some other very surprising factors to consider when analyzing the reason for the nation’s continued growth.
Antibiotics Could be to Blame for Excess Weight
As surprising as it may seem, antibiotics have actually be pinpointed as being a promoter for obesity as well as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. While antibiotics succeed in destroying bad bacteria, which is their intended use, they also destroy good bacteria in the gut known as friendly flora.
This lack of bacterial discrimination leads to a shortage in friendly gut bacteria which are responsible for regulating overall health, including weight management.
Pollution has been Connected with Weight Gain
Not many people would point their finger at pollution when searching for a cause for obesity. And while poor air quality certainly isn’t a primary reason for extra weight, it does indeed have a link to extra weight. Research has shown that ingesting toxic chemicals found in both food and the air leads to increased fat storage in babies. A defense mechanism is triggered in unborn babies when mother’s take in these toxic chemicals which is supposed to protect the baby. It just so happens that this defense mechanism is the formation of fat.
Shampoo, Plastic, and Pesticides
There is growing concern regarding various chemicals used in products today and their impact on our health. Chemicals like bisphenol-A, phthalates, PCB’s, POP’s, and pesticides, which are all endocrine disruptors, have been tied to many health ailments such as infertility, asthma, diabetes, and obesity. Paula Baillie-Hamilton, an expert on metabolism and environmental toxins at Stirling University in Scotland, was one of the first to point out the connection between environmental toxins and obesity. She noted that:
Overlooked in the obesity debate is that the earth’s environment has changed significantly during the last few decades because of the exponential production and usage of synthetic organic and inorganic chemicals
Environmental toxins are lesser known evils when it comes to health complications, but it may be time people started seriously considering these toxins when evaluating their health.
The new info out is of a dramatic increase in strokes in young people under 45, especially those under 34. No reason given in the media.
I have a few opinions about this and it is mostly common sense: GMO products, JUNK FOOD DIET, little exercise-too much computer, lots of debt-no jobs,polluted air & water are among those reasons I would list as primary causes of this issue.
What do you think?
Strokes up among younger US population: study
Feb 9 03:51 PM US/Eastern
Stroke hospitalizations among Americans under 45, particularly teenage boys and men under 34, rose dramatically between 1994 and 2007 but fell among older people, said a study on Wednesday.
Researchers said they could not speculate on the cause, since the study only examined the number of hospitalizations across age and gender, but that the results merit further investigation of obesity and high blood pressure.
“I believe this is the first large study to report these findings, stratified by age and gender,” said Xin Tong, a health statistician with the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.
“We cannot link anything in particular to the trend in younger patients, but I believe the role of obesity and hypertension will prompt a big discussion. Unfortunately, right now we can’t speculate on the causes.”
CDC analysts found that stroke numbers had declined by 25 percent in men and by 29 percent in women over age 45.
But the good news ended there. The number of hospitalizations for ischemic stroke — a stroke caused by a vessel blockage that interferes with blood flow to the brain — rose 51 percent in boys and men age 15 to 34.
The rate among girls and women age 15 to 34 rose 17 percent in the same period.
When it came to men age 35-44, they saw a 47 percent increase in stroke hospitalizations and a 36 percent increase among women of the same age group.
Tong said medical professionals should take note of the shift when treating stroke patients, keeping in mind that younger people could benefit from a clot-busting tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within hours after a stroke.
“Acute ischemic stroke is currently considered something that mostly happens to older people, but awareness of rising rates in the young is important or else tPA and other important stroke treatment may be unnecessarily delayed in younger patients,” she said.
The research was presented in Los Angeles at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011.
If you have young people at home, urge them to eat better…get out and play and/or exercise and limit TV and video games AND texting.
There are other methods to deal with type 2 diabetes. You don’t have to rely exclusively on drugs. Diet, exercise and alternative therapies can reduce the impact of this deadly illness.
Online PR News – 24-May-2010 – Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic problem where the body can’t deal appropriately with blood sugar. Specifically, the body’s insulin—which is produced in the pancreas—is not able to get into the body’s cells because the cells become resistant to it. That causes elevated levels of blood sugar which then get into different parts of the body and wreak havoc.
“I eliminate processed foods from a patient’s diet and incorporate more organic food. Exercise is essential for their overall progress. The goal of the exercise is to decrease the body fat and increase muscle mass, because muscle mass dictates metabolism.”
Dr. Rojo says, “I eliminate processed foods from a patient’s diet and incorporate more organic food. Exercise is essential for their overall progress. The goal of the exercise is to decrease the body fat and increase muscle mass, because muscle mass dictates metabolism.” “I include nutritional support in the form of vitamin and mineral supplements. I use herbs such as bilberry to help support blood vessels, antioxidants to decrease the damage to the tissue and pycnogenol to decrease inflammation and help to lower blood sugar overall.” “While there’s a genetic component to diabetes, it’s definitely a disease of lifestyle. For those patients who follow my recommendations about diet and exercise, they definitely see improvement within twelve to sixteen months.”
Naturopathic Medicine is a natural medicine model that emphasizes the identification and treatment of the root cause of the disease or health condition in order to restore health. Conventional and alternative diagnostic testing is used to evaluate the root cause of disease symptoms and then diet and lifestyle modifications are prescribed along with appropriate nutrients, botanical medicine, homeopathic remedies and other natural therapies to enable healing of the affected areas of the body.
Mr. Cook says, “Natural living works because the body will heal itself when given the right conditions. When people take full responsibility for their food choices and lifestyle choices that affect overall health and also decide to work with a qualified natural medicine professional such as a Naturopathic Doctor, symptoms of Diabetes can disappear.” To watch the video of Dr. Rojo share how she successfully diagnoses and treats Diabetes, visit http://www.thenaturalguide.com/nd/lr-diabetes.html. To learn more about natural living, visit http://www.thenaturalguide.com.
Larry Cook, Author
The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Living
So improve your diet and get some exercise. Consider more alternative and less chemicals in your regimen.
This in from the ‘experts’, that women need at least an hour a day of exercise to stay lean. I would add that they also need great nutrition and keep a close eye on their hormone levels.
These days the common lifestyle and diet can wreak havoc on the hormone levels, for both men and women. It is a good thing to try herbs and nutritious supplements and then perhaps consult a local natural hormone replacement therapy doc or practitioner.
Women Must Exercise an Hour Each Day to Stay Lean, Study Says
By Nicole Ostrow
March 23 (Bloomberg) — Women need an hour of exercise each day, double that recommended by some federal guidelines, to minimize weight gain as they get older, a Harvard University study found.
The only middle-aged women to keep their weight increase within five pounds over 13 years were those who started with a healthy weight and then did an hour of moderate physical activity each day, according to data from 34,079 women. Those heavier at the start, regardless of how active they became, gained more pounds.
Today’s finding, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is one of the first to show how much exercise may be necessary for healthy-weight women to prevent weight gain as they age, according to lead author I-Min Lee. Obesity now affects one-third of U.S. men and women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Wouldn’t it be better to prevent the weight gain in the first place so you don’t have to subsequently lose weight and maintain that weight loss?” said Lee, an associate professor at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, in a March 19 telephone interview. “If you’re a healthy weight and you want to prevent weight gain over time, you need to be physically active at least 60 minutes a day.”
The results of today’s study apply only to older women and research is needed to see if the same pattern applies to younger women and men, Lee said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults exercise at least 30 minutes a day five times a week, or 2.5 hours, to prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. For greater health benefits, the government says adults should be active at least 300 minutes or five hours each week.
Lee said health workers and the public should be aware that 2.5 hours a week of exercise, while sufficient for preventing chronic disease, isn’t enough for maintaining a healthy weight over time for U.S. women who eat a normal diet.
Obesity increases the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Those considered obese have a body mass index of at least 30, equivalent to 180 pounds for an adult 5 feet 5 inches tall, according to the National Institutes of Health’s BMI calculator.
Healthy weight is defined as a BMI of less than 25, which means an adult who is 5 feet 5 inches tall must weigh less than 150 pounds, Lee said.
Previous research focused on how heavier people can lose weight, Lee said. Because most people who shed pounds don’t keep them from returning, developing ways to prevent weight gain at the start may avoid that, she wrote in the journal article.
Working with colleagues at Harvard, Lee analyzed data beginning in 1992 from 34,079 U.S. women with an average age was 54 who were part of the Women’s Health Study. The women reported their level of exercise every two to three years.
Each time their level of physical activity was assessed, the women were put into one of three groups: those exercising at least one hour a day, those who were physically active from 2.5 hours to 7 hours a week, and those who worked out fewer than 2.5 hours a week. At the start of the study, 49.5 percent of the women were in the lowest exercise group.
Over 13 years, the average weight gain for all groups was almost 6 pounds, comparable to women of the same age in the general population, the researchers reported.
Lower Exercise Groups
Those in the lowest and middle exercise groups gained an average of about one-quarter pound every three years compared with those exercising the most, the researchers reported.
Among all participants, 17,465 women started the trial at a healthy weight. Of those, only 4,540 women, or 26 percent, ended the study at a healthy weight. About 41 percent of women who were normal weight at the start were overweight by the end of the study, while 4 percent became obese, Lee said.
All the women who maintained a normal weight throughout the study engaged in moderate exercise like brisk walking or ballroom dancing for at least 60 minutes each day.
Women who are unable to exercise for at least 60 minutes a day may maintain their weight or lose pounds by cutting calories, Lee said. To lose one pound, a person would have to drop 3,500 calories from their diet over time, Lee said.
Lee called the findings “sobering.”
“Our regular life has become so sedentary,” she said. “We don’t move much in our daily activities yet we pretty much consume the same amount of food.
“If you eat more than you expend, you will gain weight,” she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Ostrow in New York at email@example.com.
Pay attention to your body and diet and how your body responds to same.
Alzheimer’s disease continues to rise to epidemic proportions largely due to High blood pressure and diabetes, both increase risk of getting the disease. Both of these illnesses are preventable in the majority of the population by just changing your diet and lifestyle, i.e. exercise.
Do you want to get Alzheimer’s? I don’t and I am getting more active and watching my diet even closer! If you are a minority then you need to really ‘get’ this article. Get healthy and stay that way!
Alzheimer’s ‘Epidemic’ Hitting Minorities Hardest
Blacks, Hispanics at much higher risk for the illness, which carries huge price tag, report finds
By Steven Reinberg
TUESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) — Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and blacks and Hispanics are at highest risk of developing the disease, a new report finds.
The report, 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, from the Alzheimer’s Association, finds that black Americans are about two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than whites, and Hispanics face about 1.5 times the risk.
“Alzheimer’s is continuing to be on the rise,” said Maria Carrillo, the association’s senior director of medical and scientific relations. “So many people are affected by it across the country, but we are rallying to highlight the disparities that exist in populations,” she said.
Much of the increase in Alzheimer’s is because of increasing high blood pressure and diabetes, which increase the odds of developing Alzheimer’s in all populations.
“African-Americans and Hispanics are particularly vulnerable, because the proportion of these two risk factors is higher even still,” Carrillo said. “We can actually do something about this increased risk with better management of the conditions.”
This year, 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s will be diagnosed, with a greater number of new cases expected in the years to come, the report found. By 2050, the report estimates that almost a million new cases of Alzheimer’s will be diagnosed annually.
In 2006, Alzheimer’s was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death among those 65 and older.
From 2000 to 2006, death rates declined for most major diseases, including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, stroke and HIV/AIDS. However, deaths from Alzheimer’s rose more than 46 percent during that time period, according to the report.
Not only are there more cases of Alzheimer’s, but more families are shouldering the burden of the disease, Carrillo said. This is particularly true for minority families who may have less access to outside care.
“There are 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer’s,” noted Robert J. Egge, vice president of public policy and advocacy. “And for each of those people there are many others whose lives are consumed with caring for those Alzheimer’s patients,” he said.
That totals some 11 million Americans, Egge said.
In 2009, these unpaid caregivers provided 12.5 billion hours of care “valued at $144 billion, more than the federal government spends on Medicare and Medicaid combined for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” according to the report.
Part of the problem is that Alzheimer’s isn’t recognized until it is in a late stage, Egge said. “So there isn’t adequate care planning and other kind of support structures, especially in communities with socioeconomic disadvantages,” he said.
Another reason behind Alzheimer’s grim rise is that people are living longer — escaping illnesses such as heart disease and cancer that might have killed them before Alzheimer’s arose.
“We are managing many diseases that do allow us to live longer,” Carrillo said. “With age being the greatest risk factor, we are just skewing our population towards the Alzheimer’s arena.”
Another expert agreed.
“We have some pretty effective solutions for a lifetime of cardiovascular disease risk, but your bypass and stent may just give you time to dement,” said Greg M. Cole, a neuroscientist at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
Often, it all adds up to many years of needed care. And since it often takes a long time to die from Alzheimer’s, “you may have lost touch with your loved ones for 10 years, sometimes even 20,” Carrillo said.
Research dollars remain key to turning the numbers around, she said. “We really need to focus on Alzheimer’s,” she said. “We need more of an investment in Alzheimer’s disease.”
The report found that payments for health and long-term care services for people with Alzheimer’s will total $172 billion this year.
In addition, Medicare costs for Alzheimer’s patients are almost three times higher than for other older people, and Medicaid costs are almost nine times higher, the report found.
Many people with Alzheimer’s also have one or more other medical conditions, such as diabetes or coronary heart disease, making their care even more expensive.
Yet far less is spent on Alzheimer’s research than on other diseases.
In fact, “for every $25,000 the government spends on care for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, it spends only $100 for Alzheimer research,” the report said.
According to Cole, “this new report details how the long predicted ‘epidemic’ rise in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia is already upon us.”
The report also sounds the alarm that the situation may get worse before it gets better.
“We hope to have better treatments, but cures are unlikely,” Cole said. “The only cost-effective answer we can realistically try to achieve is an effective prevention program,” he said.
Eat organic, avoid GMOs, get more exercise, perhaps take a yoga class to reduce stress and increase flexibility. All of these suggestions will get you on a better health track to insure your optimum health over the long term!
Darren and I keep harping on the diet and dietary habits. If your eating habits are taking you down a road to a place that makes you feel bad and bad about yourself, it is time to implement change behavior. Start small, including just a few changes in your eating habits and keep up the small changes until you have a healthy regime that you stick to and see great results!
America’s Most Obese Areas Have A Few Things In Common
Although California is often admired for its healthy living, three of it’s cities made it to the 10 Most Obese Metro Areas list. Stockton, CA — which was also recently crowned Most Miserable US City by Forbes — has the highest obesity rate, with 34.6 percent of residents being overweight. This compares to a national average of 26.5 percent obesity, up from 25.5 percent in 2008.
Results from the Gallup poll show that regions ranking high on obesity generally rank low on healthy behavior indicators. Specifically, all of the 10 most obese metro areas (shown above) fall within the bottom two-thirds of all areas surveyed for frequent exercise. Furthermore, when they asked if people had a safe place to exercise, six of the areas came in below the national average.
In terms of eating habits, “of the 10 most obese places, seven are in the bottom two-thirds among all metro areas for reporting eating healthy “yesterday” and for fruit and vegetable consumption.” We know that eating habits develop based on food access and affordability, as well as nutrition education.
“Everyone has a role to play in this fight: the private sector, the public sector and parents must unite to combat the challenge,” said Lisa Gable, Executive Director of the The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation . In fact, the group just launched a $20 million anti-obesity campaign to encourage some of the world’s largest food makers (including Pepsi, General Mills, and Nestle) to reconsider the way they sell their products. This includes encouraging food companies to make packaging and labeling easier for consumers to manage their calorie intake while preserving or enhancing overall nutrition quality.
Interestingly enough, The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation is a partnership between these very organizations they seek to influence. More than 60 of the nation’s largest retailers, non-profit organizations, food and beverage manufacturers and trade associations are behind this effort to reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity, by 2015.
Because obesity is linked to chronic health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attack, it becomes an economic problem, too. Lack of access to health insurance only exacerbates the problem, leaving people sick and public services stretched. (A few months ago, the New York Times shared two graphs showing national obesity rates and Medicare expenditures).
Gable describes their program to target the fitness and nutrition aspects of the problem: “We are supporting physical and nutrition education in schools, promoting workplace wellness within our organizations, and making more healthy foods and beverages available to consumers in the marketplace.”
She continues, “Obesity is a serious health and economic issue for our country, one we all must work together to solve.”
So start where you are. Don’t beat yourself up just begin to change where you can easily at first then implement the harder changes. I think that once you see and feel the benefits from the easy changes, the hard ones will not be ‘hard’ any longer!
What we have been telling you for years is now hitting lame stream media, too much sitting is not good for your health. Common sense should tell us this. I hope that everyone will opt to become healthier this year, why not? Well there is a ton of bad stuff happening and we need The People aware (necessitates good nutrition) and healthy enough to provide the ‘energy’ necessary for change.
Sitting Is a Silent Killer, Swedish Medics Warn Couch Potatoes
By Michelle Fay Cortez
Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) — Desk jockeys and couch potatoes beware: Too much sitting, and not just a lack of exercise, may cause heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses, according to doctors from the Karolinska Institute and the Swedish School of Sport and Health.
The more time people spend in a completely sedentary state, independent of the exercise they get at other times, the higher their risk of becoming obese, and developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer, the doctors wrote in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The dangers are greater still for people who do little exercise as it is, the authors wrote.
Public health officials have designed elaborate programs to encourage people to exercise, recommending a minimum of 2.5 hours of physical activity each week to stay fit and healthy. Individuals should also be encouraged to climb stairs rather than take the elevator, walk to the store, and take regular 5- minute breaks during a working day spent behind a desk, said doctors led by Elin Ekblom-Bak, from Karolinska and the Astrand Laboratory of Work Physiology.
“In the demanding and stressful society of the present, to prescribe these low and minimally time-consuming efforts may encourage many people with problems in maintaining a sufficient level of exercise,” the doctors wrote. “Encouragingly, research has shown that simple forms of prescribing individualized physical activity in clinical practice has had a beneficial impact on exercise level as well as sedentary time.”
While many people think of being sedentary as lacking in exercise, this is more accurately described as the time when the body’s muscles get no activity, the doctors said. They cited an Australian study showing that each extra hour women spent watching television boosted their risk of developing a group of heart complications known as metabolic syndrome by 26 percent, regardless of what exercise they took.
“The present amount of research supporting the independent importance of sedentary behavior is small but consistent,” they said. “People already insufficiently physically active will increase their risk even further by prolonged sitting time.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: January 18, 2010 19:01 EST
Start eating and exercising today!
Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art is an absolutely wonderful form of exercise. It is great for people of all ages and can help with a variety of physical problems, help with mental focus and generally create a sense of well being!
The traditional Chinese exercise of Tai Chi can relieve the pain of arthritis of the knee, according to a new study. After a 12-week course of Tai Chi, people also had less difficulty with everyday tasks such as using the stairs.
What do we know already?
Osteoarthritis of the knee is very common in older adults. Among those over the age of 55, an estimated 10 percent have frequent knee pain caused by this joint disease, which can also lead to stiffness, limited movement, and a decreased quality of life.
Many people rely on painkillers to cope with the pain of osteoarthritis. Although exercise and physiotherapy can help, the improvements are often modest. However, specialists think Tai Chi is one type of exercise that might be particularly helpful.
Tai Chi features slow, rhythmic movements designed to bring about mental relaxation and enhance balance, strength, and flexibility. For people with osteoarthritis of the knee, this mind-body focus might improve their physical symptoms as well as helping them cope better mentally. Researchers have done a long-term study to learn more.
What does the new study say?
The study compared two groups of people aged 55 or older. One group met twice weekly for Tai Chi classes. The other group met twice weekly for general wellness instruction and stretching exercises. Both groups were asked to practise their exercises at home for at least 20 minutes a day.
At the end of 12 weeks, people in the Tai Chi group had a 75 percent drop in their pain, on average, and a 72 percent improvement in their ability to do everyday tasks (such as using stairs). People in the wellness and stretching group also reported improvements, but these were much lower than in the Tai Chi group.
The researchers used questionnaires to score people’s symptoms, as well as their mental state, quality of life, and other indicators of wellbeing. Besides doing better on pain and physical function, the Tai Chi group also had greater improvements in depression and overall health.
The researchers followed up with participants 24 and 48 weeks after the start of the study. Less than half of the people in each group still did their exercises at 48 weeks, and much of the differences between the groups had diminished by this time. However, the Tai Chi group continued to have significantly better depression scores, suggesting these improvements might be longer lasting.
How reliable are the findings?
This study was good quality but it was very small, with only 20 people in each group. So, although it suggests that Tai Chi can help people with knee osteoarthritis, we need larger studies to know for certain.
Where does the study come from?
The study was done by researchers with Tufts University in Boston, and was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the US. It was published in Arthritis Care and Research, a journal owned by the American College of Rheumatology.
What does this mean for me?
If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, this study’s findings are quite promising. But bear in mind that the research is still at an early stage.
What should I do now?
If you’d like to try Tai Chi, be sure to tell your instructor about your osteoarthritis. An experienced instructor will help you avoid any positions that might put your knee under too much stress. In the study, for example, none of the Tai Chi positions required bending the knee more than 90 degrees.
Wang C, Schmid CH, Hibberd PL, et al. Tai Chi is effective in treating knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Care and Research. Published online 29 October 2009.
© BMJ Publishing Group Limited (“BMJ Group”) 2009
If you can find a class in your area give it a try it may be just the thing for you!