Tag Archives: BMJ

Regulation of fast food chains may prevent rise in obesity

classic-hamburger-sandwich-and-fries-100188748A recent article published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization compared the number of fast food transactions in 25 high income countries with changes in the average body mass index of each country. Between 1999 to 2008, the average number of fast food transactions per capita increased from 26.61 to 32.76 and the average BMI increased from 25.8 to 26.4. In addition, researchers found a correlation between the country’s economic freedom and the number of fast food transactions. Countries that are more economically free have a greater increase in the average number of fast food transactions. Government regulation of fast food intake can potentially prevent the rise in obesity especially in developing countries. What are your thoughts about this article? How do you encourage your patients to limit food from fast food restaurants?

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Healthier food will only cost you $1.50 more!

In a multinational meta analysis that was published recently in BMJ, Harvard medical school researchers compared the cost of healthy vs. unhealthy diets in 27 studies from 10 countries. Price differences varied according to food groups from which meats/proteins had the largest price difference costing an average of $0.29 more per serving than less healthy options. Other categories such as grains, dairy, and snacks/sweets also cost more for healthier options, at $0.03, $0.004, and $0.12 respectively. On average, the study concluded that a day’s worth of healthiest diet cost about $1.50 more than the least healthiest. What do you think of this research? Are you surprised by the amount of difference?

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Fewer falls and injuries with exercising programs

A recent study published in British Medical Journal found that older adults who participated in structured exercise programs were less likely to experience falls or had at least fewer injuries than those who did not exercise. The investigators analyzed 17 previous studies in hopes to find a relationship between exercise and prevention of falls. Some of the exercises patients participated in included Tai Chi and gait, balance, and strength/resistance training. A 37% decrease of injuries whether it be bruises or broken bones was seen in the patients who exercised. These patients were also 61% less likely to have broken bones following falls, and were 42% less likely to be admitted to the hospital due to a fall/injury. Researchers suggest that exercising may be sharpening the mind and as well as improving balance. What types of exercise programs do you recommend to your older patients?

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Loud aircraft noise raise health concerns

In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers found that people exposed to loud aircraft noise were at an increased risk of experiencing fatal cardiovascular events. The residents who lived closer Heathrow Airport (London) where the aircraft noise was the loudest had higher rates of hospital admissions and/or death from cardiovascular events. Dr. Anna Hansell, one of the researchers, suggests that it may be the startling aspect of the noise that may be negatively affecting health by raising blood pressures and disturbing sleep. The authors reminded readers that the aircraft noise is definitely not a top offender for cardiovascular events compared with smoking, diet, and low exercise activity. How often do you discuss disease risk factors related to the living environment with your patients? How can we minimize these disturbances?

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Could Midlife Stress be Responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease Later?

According to a 38-year long longitudinal study published in the British Medical Journal,  stressed middle-aged women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Researchers surveyed 800 Swedish women who were at least 38 years old from 1967 until 2005 evaluating their mental health and wellbeing at least once every decade. The women would report stressful life events such as divorce, widowhood or illness and how distressed they felt by those events. Researchers found that for each additional stressor women reported, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increased by about 20 percent. What are your thoughts about the study? What do you normally recommend to patients who are stressed?

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Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.

43__fruit_in_crate_with_loose_apples_rtgA recent study published in the British Medical Journal looked at  the diets of more than 187,000 people in the US. People eating three servings of fruit per week, particularly blueberries, apples and grapes had a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes. The researchers believe this is because fruits contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have been shown to enhance glucose uptake in mice. However, when researchers looked at the effects of fruit juice consumption, they found a slightly increased risk of type-2 diabetes. The study recommended that replacing weekly fruit juice consumption with whole fruits could bring health benefit. What are your thoughts on this study? What do you recommend as part of a balanced and healthy diet?

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Are ready-made meals truly “healthier” than chefs’ fare?

CEF_8717A publication in the British Medical Journal is initiating an interesting discussion – are meals prepared by famous TV chefs healthier than those purchased in a supermarket?  The researchers looked at the amount of saturated fat, sugar and salt as they compared the recipes.  The article suggests that ready meals might contain lower amounts of these ingredients.  Do you feel that the findings are evaluating the full picture – discussing “healthy” foods (rather than simply ingredients), reminding patients of importance of cooking and eating better, looking at consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, evaluating the presence of additives/preservatives that go into ready made meals and much more?  What are your thoughts on this research findings?

To learn more about this publication, please see BBC News Health.  “Image courtesy of Suat Eman/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

High-Protein Diet Linked to Heart Risks

A recent Swedish study in more than 43,000 women age 30-49 published in the British Medical Journal evaluated the dietary intake of carbohydrates and proteins and their relationship to the risk of cardiovascular events.  Researchers concluded that women consuming low-carbohydrate high-protein diet were in higher risk for cardiovascular disease (stroke, heart attack and other.)  How do the results of this research support your current thoughts and dietary recommendations?