Saturday, May 16, 2009

Get up!

If you spend too much of your day sitting down, you are likely to have a shorter life span than if you sit less. Thorough research from a long-term (12 year) study of 17,013 Canadians showed that mortality rates increase with higher level of daily sitting time, independent of leisure time physical activity. In other words, the bad effect you get from sitting down for most of the day is not eliminated by increased exercise in your spare time. So get up from that chair!

Read the original research paper from Katzmarzyk et al.
Illustration courtesy:

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

About McD food

Why am I generally against eating food from McDonalds or Burger King? Because their average meals contain more fat, more sugar, more salt and less dietary fibre than what I would prefer in a healthy varied diet. Why? Because saturated fats and high levels of cholesterol impacts the fatty acid balance in your blood, which again gives you an increased risk of thrombosis (blood clotting). And what about the sugar? Consuming a lot of sugar rises your insulin levels, telling your body to store energy, which again on a daily basis increases your risk of growing overweight and developing diabetes.

I am not implying that eating once in a while at McD will make you immediately fat and diabetic, but I advise against making any kind of habit of eating these types of foods. If you do go to McD, you might want to have a look at the dietary information of a BigMac, which can also be found on their wrappers (at least in the US). And if you feel guilty because you eat at McD anyway, you can at least make the best choice of their menu: always opt for the low calorie, low saturated fat.

McDonalds is not unaware of their image of fast-food-is-bad-for-you. For some time now they have tried to improve their image, especially since the Supersize me film came out. A very positive step was when they removed the transfat cooking oils from their restaurants. However, remember that making the best health choice for you is always up to you.

Photo courtesy: OTC medical group

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Salsa as a sport

As has also been the case in Denmark for some years now, the Dutch ministry of health has put a special focus on the health of children and young people, in an effort to work against the growing obesity being reported ever more often. In this project the ministry published a folder 'Time for sport' highlighting the health benefits of sporting, and the initiatives undertaken by the public sector to increase active participation in sports. The Dutch association of dance teachers were surprised that no dance was mentioned as a sport. As a result the ministry ordered a scientific investigation of the sport intensity of a number of popular dances. It turned out that many dances qualify as high intensity sports. Salsa, for instance, has a mean metabolic equivalent (MET) above that of a single player match of tennis. This means that salsa is now not only officially accepted as a sport, but also many dance schools and teachers are now entitled to apply for financial support for a number of activities.

Read the summary (in Dutch) on: Sport KnowHow XL

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