Weight Management

Blueberries Good for Your Blood Pressure and Brain

With the domestic blueberry season about to begin, theres no better time to celebrate the bountiful health benefits of Americans second-favorite berry (after strawberries). New research has linked blueberry consumption to better blood pressure, and Tufts scientists continue to explore how blueberries protect the brain. More than three-dozen current clinical trials are testing blueberries possible benefits for vision, gout protection, arterial function, blood sugar and more.

Take Charge!

Engaging in enough daily physical activity to burn about 100 calories can be the difference between a high-risk sedentary lifestyle and being moderately inactive. Of course, youll want to aim for a greater level of activity over time, but just getting going can pay big dividends. Here are examples of activities that burn about 100 calories, depending on your weight, in about 20 minutes:

Activity Benefits Go Beyond Weight Loss

If youre looking for motivation to get up off the couch, the results of a large new European study may be just what you need to lace up those walking shoes. Even a moderate amount of exercise-the equivalent of a daily brisk 20-minute walk-was associated with significant reductions in mortality risk. Physical activity contributed to longevity independently of weight loss, and the biggest potential benefits were seen simply by going from completely sedentary to moderately inactive.

The Pros and Cons of Frozen Foods

In the dead of winter, grocery shoppers often turn to the freezer aisle for out-of-season produce as well as easy-to-prepare entres. But with sales of frozen foods in decline-down an estimated 5% since 2009-the industry is launching a campaign, Frozen: How Fresh Stays Fresh, to boost awareness and promote frozen foods nutritional benefits. How do frozen foods really stack up?

Americans Belly Fat Booming

The obesity epidemic may be leveling off, but more Americans are carrying fat around the middle-the most dangerous kind of obesity. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, published in JAMA, says the rate of adult abdominal obesity has shot up from 46% in 1999-2000 to 54%. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist size of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches or more for men. During the 12-year span of the study, womens average waist size expanded two inches to 38 inches and men added an inch, to 40 inches.

Can You Train Your Brain to Crave Healthier Food?

A small pilot study at Tufts Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) raises the intriguing possibility that following a new behavioral weight-loss program for six months can in turn reprogram your brains food cravings. The first-of-its-kind study used MRI scans of the brains addiction center to see changes in the response to healthy and unhealthy food. The scans showed that it is possible to train the brain to reverse cravings and temptation for unhealthy food, replacing former cravings with temptation for healthy food.

Dieting Going DIY

Despite recent CDC reports that nearly half of US states have obesity rates exceeding 30%, Americans are losing interest in diet plans and weight-loss products. A new survey by the Packaged Facts market-research firm says 28% of American adults are trying to lose weight and another 14% are trying to avoid extra pounds. But weight-conscious consumers are looking to foods like Greek yogurt and oatmeal to feel full, instead of buying diet foods. The report cites the increasing tendency of consumers to turn away from formal diet plans imposed by outside authority and to conflate dieting with healthy eating.… DIY dieters increasingly embrace their own private healthy eating and exercise regimens as the path to weight-loss success.Women continue to outnumber men among dieters, according to Packaged Facts, with the core of weight-loss dieters being non-Hispanic white women ages 55-plus. With the exception of significantly overweight people, however, weight-watchers are now more likely to be satisfied with not gaining pounds, rather than actually losing weight.

Do You Need to Drink Extra Nutrition?

Nutrition shakes, originally developed for hospital patients at risk of malnourishment because of difficulty eating conventional food, are now being marketed to healthy people of all ages as a convenient form of nutritional insurance-sort of like a multivitamin in a bottle. But the American Geriatrics Society recently advised against using the popular liquid supplements even for most older adults suffering unintentional weight loss. There is no evidence that they affect other important clinical outcomes, such as quality of life, mood, functional status or survival, according to the societys latest Choosing Wisely guidance for physicians and patients.

Its No Longer a Small World

More than 2 billion people around the world are now overweight or obese, according to a new University of Washington study in The Lancet. Since 1980, the global proportion of women who are overweight or obese has gone from 30% to 38%; men have gone from 29% to 40%, overtaking women in percentage overweight or obese.

Rethinking BMI for Older Adults

If youre over 65 or approaching that age and still watching your weight, new findings suggest you may be worrying about the wrong thing. Its true that the obesity epidemic has exacted a serious toll on Americas health. But for older adults, maintaining muscle mass to ward off frailty-a condition called sarcopenia-is more important both to the length and quality of life than counting pounds. The popular Body Mass Index (BMI-see box), a calculation that combines weight and height, turns out not to be a very good predictor of health for older adults-for whom the rules about overweight may simply be different than for younger people.