3rd Most Time Consuming Activity


watching-tv_0By: Nikki Nies

**Disclaimer: While this is a generalization that every one watches an abundant amount of TV, I myself included, while you may not spend an excessive amount of time watching TV, it’s still good to understand the ramifications of excessive TV watching.**

Besides work–which is predominantly behind a computer screen more than ever, and sleep, TV viewing is the 3rd most time consuming activity in which Americans engage in on a regular basis.  With such a statistic, it’s no surprise that large amounts  of TV viewing may contribute to obesity via the promotion of sedentary behavior and exposure to food related commercials.

While TV is convenient, enjoyable and relatively inexpensive, many families watch more TV than the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends.  AAP recommends no TV for those younger than 2 years old and no more than 2 hours for those 2 years and older.

tv_and_sedentary_pastimes

Excessive TV watching can lead to:

  • Higher rates of attention problems in children
  • Children may become upset and/or aggressive by excessive violence seen on TV
  • TV watching may be unhealthily be used as a means to void social interaction with others
  • TV watching is a means of entertainment and leads to physical inactivity/physical development impairments
  • Increased food consumption–studies have found children consume 45% when sitting in front of the tube
  • Increased exposure to branded foods, drinks and restaurants and product placement of unhealthy products
  • Food marketing inherently influence food preferences and grocery shopping requests!

If you’re thinking to yourself, 2 hours of TV is an unrealistic request, small gradual changes can make a world of difference!  For example, making bedrooms Internet and TV free can cut the number of hours of screen in no time!

Check out this list of 174,203 things you can do besides watching TV: http://whole9life.com/2011/05/instead-of-tv/

After going through the above list, what new and/or old things are you going to try? After looking at the list, you can’t help, but NOT want to watch TV, right?

Sources: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002329.htm

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/television-and-sedentary-behavior-and-obesity/

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2012/08/16/more-tv-adverts-being-viewed-ever-linear-tv-viewing-hours-stabilise-uk

Easier Than Ever To Stop Bingeing!


netflix-binge4-578-80By: Nikki Nies

Normally the concept of bingeing is associated with either eating or drinking.  Recently,  there’s a new type of bingeing in town, that’s equally worrisome. Binge watching.  Yes, you heard me right.  Netflix has offered instant gratification by providing viewers the ability to watch episode after episode of Breaking Bad (and other great shows!) with the next episode already queued up to play via auto play.  While a convenient built in Netflix setting, it’s hard to break the cycle of continuous binge watching.

Have no fear, if you find yourself like many, spending their weekends binge watching, after many pleas, Netflix has finally changed the settings.   After you’ve signed into your Netflix account, if multiple profiles are on one account, choose the account you want to change the features for and

  1. Click on profile icon on the the upper right corner of the page
  2. Click on Your Account 
  3. Click Playback settings
  4. UnderPreferences, uncheck the box that says Play next episode automatically.
  5. Save preferences
  6. Voila!

While life sans binge watching will definitely take some getting used to, becoming more physically active will be great for you in the long run.  Check out this list of things to do besides watch TV.  There’s a whole world out there waiting for you, really!  http://whole9life.com/2011/05/instead-of-tv/

Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/how-to-turn-off-the-automatic-play-setting-in-netflix-74832588150.html

http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/the-netflix-effect-how-binge-watching-is-changing-television-1215808

http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/10-insights-from-studies-of-binge-watchers-1200004807/

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS)


Original Image by U.S. Army via Flickr
Original Image by U.S. Army via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Metabolic syndrome is not an actual syndrome, but a cluster of risk factors that can raise one’s chances of heart disease, diabetes and/or stroke.  While, the name may be misleading, it’s called metabolic syndrome due to the impact the risk factors have on one’s biochemical processes and the ability for one’s body to function normally.  Other common names for MetS include Syndrome X, Obesity syndrome, insulin resistance syndrome, hypertriglyceridimic waist and/or dysmetabolic syndrome.

While one can have only one of the following risk factors, it’s common for someone to encounter multiple risk factors simultaneously.  One’s considered to have metabolic syndrome if at least 3/5 risk factors pertain to them:

  1. Large waistline:  Also known as “apple shape”; with abdominal obesity, excess fat in the abdominal area increases chances of heart disease, then on hips; for men: 40 inches or larger; for women: 35 inches or larger
  2. High triglyceride levels:  Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood; or if you’re already on triglyceride medications; 150 mg/dL or higher
  3. Low HDL cholesterol level:  When low HDL levels are low, it means the cholesterol from arteries isn’t being removed at ideal rate;for men: 40 mg/dL or lower; for women: 50 mg/dL or lower
  4. High blood pressure: With high blood pressure over time, it can damage the heart and lead to plaque buildup; blood pressure of 135/85 mm Hg or higher
  5. High fasting blood sugar:  Can signify early diabetes; 100 mg/dL or higher

For those living with MetS, it can lead to diabetes, yet the follow recommendations for those with MetS may help:

Original Image by Department of Foreign Affairs via Flickr
Original Image by Department of Foreign Affairs via Flickr
  • Increase  physical activity: while it may be hard at first, start by walking 5 minutes a day and increase time gradually; it’s doctor recommended to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily
  • Losing 5-10% of your body weight can make a world of difference! It can decrease blood pressure, insulin resistance and one’s risk for diabetes
  • Adopting the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or Mediterranean diet can help one eat healthier: limits intake of unhealthy fats, while highlighting whole grains, high intake of fruits and vegetables and low sodium foods
  • Stop smoking!: Smoking increases one’s insulin resistance and
  • If prescribed, don’t forget to necessary medications to help control blood pressure and cholesterol levels

The more risk factors one has, for example, 4/5 risk factors, the more likely one will develop heart disease and or develop diabetes than someone who doesn’t have metabolic syndrome.  While the above risk factors are often looked at as indicators of heart disease, they’re not the sole risk factors, physical inactivity, smoking, insulin resistance, age and gender can also play a role in one’s heart health.  With 35% of the American adults with MetS, be proactive and talk to your physician.

Sources:http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MetabolicSyndrome/Metabolic-Syndrome_UCM_002080_SubHomePage.jsp

http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it

http://www.healthnowmedical.com/blog/2012/06/22/are-you-apple-shape-or-pear-shape-learning-your-risk-of-metabolic-syndrome/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20027243