Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Incredible Eating Reminder Gizmo

One of the most basic tenets of successful weight loss and weight maintenance is that if your life includes hunger, success is going to be a huge challenge.

Hunger is one of the most basic human drives. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution have taught us to eat when we're hungry, and guess what, it's also taught us what foods have calories. We don't crave green leafy salads when we're hungry.

One of the best and easiest ways to minimize hunger in your life is to ensure that you practice pre-emptive eating. Eat before you get hunger and you'll have a much easier time controlling portions and choices.

Problem is, there's no internal cue to tell you to eat before you get hungry.

I've often recommended to patients that they buy watches that beep at them when it's snack time (I recommend no more than 3 hours between meals and snacks). Only thing is, those watches are kinda ugly.

In comes a patient with a brilliant solution. She bought a vibrating alarm pillbox. It's got five alarms and it's easy to set. She keeps hers in her pocket and when it vibrates, she eats.

I found one on Amazon.com for $14.95 and it's linked here:



Great idea!

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Big Food Quobesity

Here's a doozy. In fact, it's such a doozy, it'll take up two quotes.

They're from the Director of Public Affairs for Refreshments Canada and they took place this past September in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia during a meeting of the Select Standing Committee on Health. The meeting of course was to discuss the issue of the growing rate of childhood obesity in Canada.

The Director was painting a rosy picture of the refreshments offered to school children. There's water, juice, milk, sports drinks, diet beverages, juice drinks (read sugar drinks), and was also bragging that the serving sizes were capped at 355ml....one serving of which of course would exceed the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on juice consumption by 27%.

Anyhow, here's why it's a good idea to have larger servings and non-nutritional beverages in our schools,

We believe that offering students a variety of beverages, while encouraging the shift toward nutritious and low-calorie options, will help them develop positive attitudes toward healthy eating.
AND

Dietitians we consulted supported the expanded choices in the high schools, saying that high school students need the opportunity to use more sophisticated critical-thinking skills. They also told us that high school students need to develop an awareness of how their food and other health choices may impact health later in life.
So come on everyone, they're just trying to help our children with their critical thinking!

They're good people.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Telegrams for Beyond the Grave

So I was all excited to have launched a new feature - Funny Fridays and had a great clip up of Steve Carrell from the Daily Show getting his daily vegetables from "all-vegetable" Crisco.

Unfortunately last night Comedy Central decided to lawyer up and all of their clips on youtube are gone.

So I had to find something else.

In honour of Halloween, here's Afterlife Telegrams.

For just $5, a "terminally ill volunteer" will memorize your telegram and deliver it when he dies.

I'm not making this stuff up.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Team Hoyt

Maybe you've seen these folks before on the blogosphere. I hadn't. I came across them at one of our web developer's blogs

Reading about them on his blog, I thought it must be a hoax.

It's not.

I'm going to do what virtually everyone who's blogged about the Hoyts have done - paste an article in its entirety into my blog. For good measure, I'm also going to throw in two remarkable videos.

To call them inspirational would be an understatement.

Never say, "I can't" again.

(Article from Rick Reilly, Sport Illustrated)

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars — all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much — except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution."

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain."

"Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 — only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century."

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago."

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

"The thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once."

Way to go Hoyts!






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Monday, October 23, 2006

Legal Seafoods' Food Porn

Here I go stealing again. This time from the Center for Science in the Public Interest - perhaps my favourite group of non-profit nutritional advocates.

They've coined a term in their fantastic newsletter Nutrition Action. The term is Food Porn. It refers to foods that may well be enjoyable and tasty delicious, but either from a nutritional or a calorie perspective...not so hot.

It's going to be a new periodic feature on the blog.

Today's is example was on the menu last night at Legal Seafoods.

It was a special. Surf & Turf for two. Wanna know what was in it?

A 32 ounce steak, a 2.5lb lobster and 2 side dishes of our choice.

My estimated number of calories - 8000, not including drinks or dessert.

Yum?

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It's Nice to Meet one of your Heroes

It's even nicer when they're nice.

When I was first considering changing my professional direction to obesity medicine I did a lot of reading.

One of the first books I came across was Dr. Walter Willett's Eat, Drink and Be Healthy. It's an evidence-based approach to examining what was healthy to eat and why.

I adored the book (it's of course linked on the side).

I read a lot, and continue to read a great deal.

It amuses me how much I look up to these men and women. The ones who do remarkable research, write elegant and intelligent journal articles. The ones who further our understanding of science and medicine.

When I see them in conferences I'm thrilled to be around them. I've even played with the idea of bringing their books and articles to be signed...but then I thought that would be too creepy.

A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Willett and you might say I had the pleasure of stalking him first.

He had a cloud of groupies like me hovering around him after a lecture. I waited and waited to speak with him, but the cloud didn't dissipate. Finally the cloud disappeared but he walked back into the lecture hall.

Following him and trying to look non-threatening, I sat down behind him. At the end of the lecture I asked him if I could have a moment of his time.

You see, Canada's Food Guide is about to be re-released and to my eyes, it is not even remotely reflective of our current best understandings of the role of diet on the prevention of chronic disease.

I've said as much in the House of Commons, but I'm not sure how loud my voice is.

I asked Dr. Willett if he would be kind enough to review the draft guide and offer his expert opinion. After all, in the world of voices on nutrition, there are not many, if any, louder than Dr. Willett's.

He agreed to do so and within 24hrs. had provided a thoughtful review of the Guide.

His conclusions I'll share with you another time (he didn't like it so much), I don't want to spoil this post with data.

This is just a thank you post.

Thanks Dr. Willett.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Penn & Teller's Bullsh!t does NAASO!

So what would you do?

One of your favourite "expose" shows wants to interview you, but the reason you love the show is because it's so entertaining due to how great the hosts are at skewering those dumb enough to be interviewed by them?

Guess I'm pretty dumb.

I love Penn and Teller's Bullsh!t show and when some guys with a camera asked me for an interview and told me they were freelancing for Bullsh!t...well surprisingly it wasn't a dilemma so we'll have to watch in March or April when they do their obesity expose and see if I got on.

As some of you may know, the NAASO - the Obesity Society's annual meeting is probably the largest obesity conference of the year. 5 consecutive streams of presentations with over 2,000 attendees from all over the globe.

Small wonder Bullsh!t came here, because with that many people some of them are bound to put their feet in their mouths.

Thing is I didn't mind being interviewed because I believe in what I'm doing with every fibre of my medical being.

Hopefully they won't make me look any stupider than I actually am.

Hey wait a sec...

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Friday, October 20, 2006

My First Million Dollar Idea

Again I'm stealing from bookofjoe. I can't help it. He's a great blogger. He often offers up his million dollar ideas for free to the first person willing to build them.

Well, here, up for grabs, is my first million dollar idea.

Sitting in an obesity conference all day long, you get to thinking about obesity.

Certainly one of the problems with regards to the development of obesity is the fact that if it sets in before the end of childhood, the likelihood is, it's going to stick.

One of the problem with childhood obesity is that the children are themselves consumers. And while you and I hopefully make health a priority in our lives, kids are dramatically swayed by marketing, with corporations preying on our children's unholy attachments to folks like Dora and using her simply to sell the pre-requisite Dora cereal and in general encourage children to consume highly refined, less nutritious foods.

I believe it was Dateline (or maybe 60 minutes...it was one of those shows) that showed children were in fact more likely to choose a rock with stickers of Sponge Bob on it for a snack, than a poor old banana.

Seeing that picture of the laser etched fruit got me thinking....

Why can't we laser etch Sponge Bobs and Doras and all sorts of cartoon characters onto our fruit and vegetables?

Now I know that this isn't going to in and of itself do a heck of a lot to stem the tide of obesity, but hey, if it'll help promote nutrition in our children, and at the same time generate profits for fruit and vegetable growers (both from increased purchase and from folks like Nickoledeon) it certainly can't hurt.

Probably a lot more than a million bucks for the person who can present Disney, Nickoledeon and others a means to market their cartoons on actually healthy products.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's easier to die than to win at McDonald's!

Hat tip to Fast Food News for their expose on just how unlikely you'll win anything good playing the returning McDonald's Monopoly promotion.

To win even the smallest prize (a small McFlurry, a medium fries or a breakfast sandwich) your odds are 1 in 7.2 (that's seven nutritious trips to McD's!)

It gets more fun when we forget about the food and move on to the bigger ticket items.

Your odds of winning a Sony home theatre and flat panel HDTV are 1 in 91,697,000!

Your odds of winning a trip to Vegas are 1 in 114,621,250!

Your odds of winning a $50,000 prize are 1 in 3,500,000,000!

Your odds of winning the $5,000,000 grand prize are 1 in 41,497,391,309!

To put this in perspective for you I turned to the National Safety Council.

Buckle your seatbelts; you are 4,994 times more likely to die in a car accident this year than win the TV.

Hold onto that bannister; you are 625 times more likely to die falling down stairs this year than win the trip to Vegas.

Maybe drinking's not so fun; you are 4,729 times more likely to die from accidentally choking on your own vomit this year than win the $50,000.

and lastly....

Maybe move to Slovenia; you are a staggering 2,529,865 times more likely to get murdered this year than win the $5,000,000 grand prize.

Ain't stats grand?

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Calories from your toolbar!

Readers of this blog will know that I'm a strong believer in knowing about calories.

I don't believe in good calories or bad calories, I just think they're a good thing to be aware of.

The fact is, the currency of weight is calories. While certainly every single body is different and there are genetic differences in the ways people gain and lose weight, there's no doubt that in order to lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than you burn and that in order to gain weight you have to eat more calories than you burn.

For those reasons, I think it's a good idea to know calories. The analogy I like to draw upon is money.

Before I slap down my credit card, I like to look at the price tag of whatever it is I want to buy. Doesn't mean that price is the only thing that affects whether or not I'll buy something, but it definitely will factor into my decision making process.

Same thing for me with calories.

Knowing the calories in a food before I consume it factors into my decision as to whether or not I think it's worth it.

Calorie king, a brand and a website is a great place to look up calories, and I recently discovered that they've got a toolbar that installs with both Firefox and Internet Explorer where you can look up calories right off your toolbar.

Thanks Calorie King!

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Hurray for Disney!

Wow, never thought I'd utter those words!

Today Disney issued a press release stating that by 2008 it will have placed voluntary limits on trans fats, added sugars and remarkably calories in not only its theme parks but also its licensed and promotional products.

This is fairly remarkable stuff considering Disney has a very lengthy history of helping sell fast foods, sugared cereals and more and they have capitalized for literally decades on the inherent trust with their brand name.

Kelly Brownell, in his excellent book Food Fight (linked on the sidebar), recounts a story one of his colleagues told him about their four-year-old daughter at the supermarket seeing Betty Crocker's Disney Princess Fruit Snacks with Cinderalla, Snow White and the Little Mermaid on the box.

Daughter: "I Want that."
Mother: "What is it?"
Daughter: "I don't know."
Bottom line, Disney's got a lot of clout in the Supermarket.

Good on ya Disney.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Don't Drink the Cough Syrup!

A patient asked me yesterday how many calories were in cough syrup. She'd been sick for a week and figured that she's been going through close to 8 teaspoons a day.

You know, I'm not usually surprised by calories.

This time I was floored. 15 calories per teaspoon!

Doesn't sound like much to you?

Drop per drop cough syrup has ELEVEN times the calories of Coca Cola!

To put that in perspective, my patient, by having the recommended maximum of 8 teaspoons a day, was drinking the equivalent number of calories of 1.2 cans of Coke.

There is some good news. There are sugar free cough syrups out there. I found one from Robitussin. I love their description of the product, it's almost a Quobesity,

"Robitussin® Cough Sugar-Free DM is specially formulated for diabetics, and health conscious consumers"
I can't completely disagree with them.

What they're inferring of course is that if you're not health conscious, feel free to choose their other cloyingly sweet, ridiculously high in calorie, products.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quobesity

Last week was my wife's birthday and as per our family's tradition, she picked her dinner of choice.

Just because I practice obesity medicine certainly doesn't mean I'm a perfectly healthy eater, nor do I preach to my patients that they need to be. It's about living the healthiest life a person can enjoy, not living the healthiest life there is.

I believe that one of the worst things someone trying to lose weight can do is to irrationally restrict dangerous foods. Doing so creates what I call "forbidden foods" which in turn have been shown by Christopher Fairburn to be very common triggers for binge eating (His book, Overcoming Binge Eating is linked on the sidebar and is certainly the best self-help book for binge eating disorder ever written).

What can happen to folks with forbidden foods is that when they do finally decide to have some, not knowing when they'll get some next, they tend to binge on it. Often post-binge guilt is tremendously demoralizing and may lead a person to in fact binge more due to the now severe emotions, and those binges can sometimes lead a person to abandon their weight loss effort altogether.

In my practice I've literally written prescriptions for chips, chocolate, ice cream, pizza, chinese foods and more so as to get rid of the notion of danger foods.

There's a simple question to ask yourself about any high-calorie food, "What's the least amount of ______ I need in my life to like my life".

We ordered from a local place that truly makes great Chinese takeout.

Today's Quobesity comes from the front of the menu.

I highlighted it to help you read it.

It reads,

Healthy, low fat foods, cooked in 100% vegetable oil


Let me tell you, that food was dripping with health!

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Should you Weigh Yourself Daily?

Yesterday's New England Journal of Medicine reports a study conducted by one of the biggest names in weight maintenance research - Rena Wing.

Rena heads up the National Weight Control Registry along with another fella named Jim Hill. The Registry was established in the 90s to help flesh out the factors involved in successful weight loss maintenance. To get into the registry you must have lost 30lbs and kept it off for 1 or more years.

The article in NEJM looks at the application of a maintenance program delivered either via telephone, the internet or face to face.

Not surprisingly, those with more face time were better at maintaining their weight loss.

The media however has picked up on another statistic from the article - those that weighed themselves more frequently seemed to keep the weight off better.

Having heard Rena present her findings at last year's American Heart Association Obesity Lifestyle and Cardiovascular Disease Symposium (which by the way was one of the best basic overviews of obesity I've ever been to and it's available online here for free!) I asked her what I thought was an important question.

What I wonder is whether or not success leads to daily weighing or whether daily weighing leads to success?

What I mean of course is I would imagine that those folks doing well with their lifestyles, would be more likely to use the scale to reinforce their successes, while those doing poorly may in fact be reticent to step on a scale for fear of what it might tell them.

Where there's no doubt is the fact that nipping weight regains in the bud is integral in successful weight maintenance.

What I would also like to point out is that while you're losing weight, I'm not a fan of daily weigh-ins. The fact is that weight fluctuates quite dramatically due to water retention, constipation and clothing and therefore daily weighing can at times be incredibly demoralizing as you might feel you're doing everything right and the scale shows you're up in weight.

I usually recommend that during weight loss, weigh once weekly, stark naked, Wednesday mornings (so as to provide a buffer from the weekend), and while I still don't know who's the chicken and who's the egg with daily weights during maintenance, I do recommend to my patients that once they've stopped losing weight, stepping on the scale daily and watching the trend can be very helpful.

I think it just keeps a person's head in the game, the fact is if you've got a body that has the genetic gift of being able to store calories for the future, it's not a terrible idea to track where you're at.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Put your Health Check where your Mouth is!

I don't know if the Heart and Stroke Foundation folks read my blog, but if they do, this post won't be news to them.

Over one year ago now, I first met with some of the great folks over at the HSF to discuss their obesity platform.

The HSF has done a bang-up job of getting involved in educating the public about the risks of obesity, and likely has steered some to seek help with weight loss.

The good news stops there.

Problem is that without any guidance on where to go for help with weight loss, and with so many unethical, non-evidence based, commission paying, product pushing, weight loss scams and snake-oil salesman, likely the HSF is helping to market consumer fraud.

Even worse, because most patients tend to blame themselves for their failures at weight maintenance (even if the blame lies with the program), the HSF may actually make it less likely for people to effectively treat their weight as they may see their most recent failed attempt as their last.

It's been a year since I presented my arguments to the HSF. At the time they seemed very genuinely interested in discussing the potential use of the pre-existing Health Check program (currently being used to identify "healthy" foods in groceries and restaurants) to weight loss programs - that way consumers could look to see if the weight loss program they were considering was ethically and scientifically sound.

They invited me to come and speak at one of their policy planning meetings, but then a month prior told me that I got bumped to the next meeting, I then got bumped again and I haven't hear back from them.

Next I took this idea to the Canadian Obesity Network and again received a great deal of interest and in fact they ran a straw poll where over 75% of respondents thought it was a good idea for them to provide weight loss program ratings.

Unfortunately nothing has happened since then.

I find it very confusing that public health agencies and nutritional advocates make such strong (and often scary) statements about the risks of obesity and then do nothing to help guide patients to responsible weight loss programs.

Someone has to step up.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

"Not Your Father's PE"

That's the title from a great article from John Cawley and colleagues out of the Hoover Institution and Education Next.

Not that anyone's going to listen to what they have to say.

You see they're saying things that most people don't want to hear.

They're saying that PE in schools is not going to be the magic bullet to our childhood obesity problem.

According to the article, adding an additional 200 minutes of PE time into a week led high school boys to report being active only an additional 7.6 minutes more per week!.

Perhaps the failure here has to do more with genetics and less with motivation.

A fascinating piece was published recently in the International Journal of Obesity. In it Dr. TJ Wilkin and colleagues proposed the existence of an "activitystat" in children whereby by means not yet elucidated (they propose neuro-hormonal regulation) somehow children are programmed to trend towards a specific amount of activity, and then not do more.

The study used uniaxial accelerometers (for objectifying the children's levels of activity) and then compared total daily activities in children with widely varied access to PE.

They included children from a school where they were receiving 9 hours of PE per week (of course a private prep school) to one where they were receiving 2.2 hours per week (a public school with an "Activemark Gold" award for their devotion to PE) to one where they were receiving 1.8 hours per week (an inner city school with no special provisions or facilities for exercise).

What was remarkable was that after all was said and done, all the kids were equally active (or equally inactive depending on how you choose to spin the article).

The kids who exercised more at school, exercised less at home and vice-versa.

To put this all into a different perspective. To burn off one Slammer, a kid would need to be vigourously active for over 30 minutes.

According to Dr. Cawley, assuming a kid only drinks one of these weekly, we'll have to add 10 hours of PE just to burn it off.

Too bad about those vending machines....you think maybe if we got rid of them altogether, or stocked them solely with water, zero-calorie beverages and skim milk (plain old skim milk), that we'd have more success than trying to make kids move?

Such a shame that politically, that'll be more of a challenge.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

We live in a very strange world

Not only because this event actually took place, not only because someone televised it, but mainly because of the use of the term, "athlete", by the commentators and the fact that one can make a living as a "professional eater".



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Friday, October 06, 2006

Like-a-Bike

It's not a bike, but it's like-a-bike.

My wife wouldn't let me buy one, she said it was too expensive.

Basically picture a small, toddler friendly bicycle with no pedals. By using their feet, children are able to propel themselves forward and by lifting their feet up, they're able to start to learn how to balance.

Apparently kids who use these basically graduate to two-wheelers and skip the training wheels.

On the website there's a great video of a kid tooling around on one.

I may have to buy one without my wife's permission.

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Quobesity

Went down to the House of Commons again yesterday to watch the Standing Committee on Health's continued focus on Childhood Obesity.

What was striking was how little some of the "experts" knew about the subject at hand.

A number of the experts were economists and indeed, when it came to their opinions on the effects of "fat taxes", I would not question their knowledge bases. It's when they strayed from their subject at hand when the quobesity flowed thick.

One gentleman concluded that the reason for childhood obesity had nothing to do with eating and everything to do with a lack of exercise.

He surmised that he already knows what's healthy, that he can "just ask his butcher just to cut some of the fat off of his steaks", but that it's lack of exercise that has led the World to gain weight.

He continued to wax philosophic on this culminating with today's quobesity installment.

"Why can't they just make a healthier chip? You know, I bet there already are healthy chips, I bet they sell them in health food stores."


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Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Wee-Ride

As the newspapers will tell you virtually daily, childhood obesity rates are growing rapidly. Parents will often call me to ask me what they should do about their overweight kids and generally my answer's always the same - treat your lifestyles.

Kids are not going to live lives different from their parents. Live the life you want your child to live, and that includes healthy regular eating with no meal skipping or snack skipping, calorie awareness and exercise.

Perhaps the easiest way to exercise is to focus on what I often call "Functional Exercise" rather than gyms, and perhaps one of the best functional exercises is going out for family walks or bike rides.

The Wee-Ride looks like a great option in place of one of those rear baby carriage thing. With the Wee-Ride you can talk easily with your child while riding and not have to worry about what's going on behind you. You can also buy an additional mounting bar so the Wee-Ride can be swapped between parental bikes.

Remember of course, once your child is old enough to ride, a better option would be their own bike.

Tomorrow I'll post on a great bike related product for toddlers.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Quobesity

A new periodic feature on Weighty Matters will be Quobesity - quotes that in one way or another embody what's wrong and hopefully, occasionally, what's right with relation to our attitudes and knowledge about weight and weight related matters.

This quote comes from this past Sunday's Run for the Cure (for breast cancer research) where I'm proud to say that BMI won the Corporate Spirit Award by raising more money than any other team in Ottawa (not bad for a "corporation" with 5 full time employees) - we raised over $30,000!

As we were leaving the event some young teenagers working for McCain's were distributing their latest product - Smooth-EEZ, basically a just add milk and stir smoothie.

We asked them how many calories were in the servings and their response is today's Quobesity

"Oh not many! There's no sugar added - it's sweetened with honey!"
For the record, more calories drop per drop than Coca Cola.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Geek-a-Cycle

Hot on the heels of bookofjoe's treadmill desk comes the self-proclaimed "Geek-a-Cycle".

Touted as a means to pedal your way to a healthier you.

May not cause dramatic weight loss, but certainly ala Dr. Levine's NEAT hypothesis of weight management, it certainly can't hurt.

Yours for just $349.95, computer equipment not included.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Slammers - Coming soon to a school near you

Horrifying. Here's an example of Big Food gone bad.

The press release touts their 99% fat-free-ness and their smaller 8oz serving sizes. It also brags how they meet the newer American Beverage Associate guidelines.

Here's their quote, "We saw an opportunity to create 'kid friendly', 99% reduced fat milk that is not only delicious to students, but also makes parents happy from a health and nutrition standpoint. We moved quickly to design a new package, and are proud to be the first company to provide vendable milk that meets the guidelines."

Wanna know what's in 'em?

According to the nutritional information (that took way too many clicks to get to) drinking just one of these will give your child 340 calories, more than DOUBLE the calories in a can of Coca Cola and almost 10 teaspoons of sugar.

I think that the parents that are being made "happy from a health and nutrition standpoint" better learn how to read nutrition facts labels. Might be good for them to know too that if their child's a 6 year old girl, that one drink likely accounts for 25% of the total number of calories she needs in a daytime!

Shame on Coca Cola for trying to market something so unreasonably unhealthy as a nutritious choice for children.

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