Focused On Fitness - May 17, 2007

   I wrote a blog yesterday that included a short piece by Mark Victor Hansen, coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series. It was entitled, "Visualize Your Perfect Day" and urged all of us to visualize our perfect day so that we could achieve a perfect life. Among other things, my perfect life would be long and appropriately, longevity is the theme of this week's newsletter.
   My biggest concern right now is to be around for as long as I can for my children, which presents its unique problems when you are 56 and have a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old. I'm sure that together, we could come up with lots of great reasons to live a long life - including how much we can accomplish, how much we can experience, how much we can know and so forth.
   If, like the tortoises in the Comcast commercial who don't like high speed Internet because they want everything slow, you don't want to live a long time, then please don't read this week's featured articles. But if you are really concerned about longevity, then it is never too late to start adding a few days, months or years to your life and experiencing the precious moments in time they will bring

Featured Articles 
   Should You Be On This "Longevity" Diet? - Last fall, an article appeared in The New York Times about a prescription that could extend life. The article featured two monkeys that seemed to be aging at different rates. The key to the one aging more gracefully, it stated, was something called calorie restriction (CR). In this case, CR involved feeding one monkey approximately 30 percent fewer calories than what researchers considered normal, but ensuring the diet had plenty of nutrients. According to some scientists, it's the only proven means for extending life in a variety of species. Continued...
   10 Anti-Aging Foods You Should Consume - That's right, food can help you live longer. And not just because without it you'd starve to death in just a few weeks. It turns out that eating the right foods does more than keep you going—it keeps you going better and can add years to your life. The truth is there are few surprises here; we've been telling you to eat these things all along. A diet rich in these foods won't just keep you living longer because of their special properties, but also because eating them as part of a healthy diet will help you lose weight and avoid obesity-related health problems. Continued...
   Test Your Dessert Calorie IQ! - Learn the caloric consequences of your decision to have dessert the next time you go out to eat or grab a bite with your coffee. Continued...

Health News Headlines 
    Diabetes drug costs could soar 70 percent by 2009 - A growing diabetes epidemic and more aggressive treatment with combination drug therapies could result in a rise of nearly 70 percent in drug spending on the disease through 2009, according to a report released on Thursday by Medco Health Solutions Inc. Medco's 2007 Drug Trend Report found diabetes treatments trailing only cholesterol medications in total prescription drug spending growth in 2006.
    FDA food safety plan got cold reception - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration came up with a plan earlier this year for tough regulations on handling fresh produce but its parent agency gave the proposal a cold reception, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site on Wednesday. Officials of the Department of Health and Human Services rejected the FDA plan presented at a meeting in February after a series of health scares, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The FDA said at the meeting its current approach was failing to stop an increase in food-borne illnesses and that its plan could help cut produce-related outbreaks in half, the paper said.
    Nutrition group sues Burger King over trans fats - A nutrition advocacy group sued Burger King Holdings Inc. on Wednesday over the hamburger chain's use of frying oil that contains artery-clogging trans fats. In court papers filed in Washington, D.C. superior court, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said Burger King is the only leading restaurant chain that has not yet committed to eliminating trans fats from its menu. "Burger King not only sells food cooked with this harmful ingredient, it does so without warning its customers about life-threatening consequences," the suit said. "Consumers have no way to guard against the risk of consumer trans fats."
    Too much of a good thing? Vitamin link with cancer - Men who pop too many vitamins in the hope of improving their health may in fact be raising their risk of the deadliest forms of prostate cancer, especially men with a family history of the disease, researchers said on Tuesday. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that men who exceeded the recommended dose -- taking more than seven multivitamins a week -- increased the risk of advanced cancer by about 30 percent.
    Internet could help encourage exercise - People who spend their days in front of a computer may want to check out some fitness-related Web sites, according to a study published Monday. Researchers found that Internet-based exercise programs worked as well as printed advice in getting sedentary adults to take up regular physical activity.
    U.S. healthcare expensive, inefficient - Americans get the poorest health care and yet pay the most compared to five other rich countries, according to a report released on Tuesday. Germany, Britain, Australia and Canada all provide better care for less money, the Commonwealth Fund report found. "The U.S. health care system ranks last compared with five other nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes," the non-profit group which studies health care issues said in a statement.
    Healthy eating program helps slim school kids - The kids voted for their favorite vegetables, school cafeteria staff more accustomed to warming up frozen dishes learned how to slice fresh fruit and restaurants changed their menus. And the experiment worked. A program that pulled a whole town into helping its children eat better and exercise more helped stop the kids from gaining too much weight, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

On the Homefront 
   Next week is Christy's last week of school before she starts her new career. It means for me, five glorious days with the girls, but might present a challenge getting the newsletter out on time. The challenges, though, will unfortunately lessen as they get older and who knows, with all of the help that Grace is with the business now, maybe she will be doing a fitness column for kids in this very newsletter in years to come!

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Live a long and perfect life,
    Richard Dafter