|Diet and Exercise
|Yoga and Meditation
Yoga is an ancient discipline that seeks to promote the overall well being
of an individual by taking control of the moral, mental and physical aspects
of one's life. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita form the philosophical
and theoretical basis of Yoga. … A common misconception about meditation
is that it is a way of controlling thoughts. It is in a way true, but restricted
to circumstances that are aimed at cultivating certain specific qualities
such as loving kindness, equanimity and emotions such as joy and compassion.
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A Man's Waist and Diabetes
A man's waist size seems to be a stronger indicator of diabetes risk than
the body-mass index, according to a report in the March issue of the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It's a better predictor for the risk of Type
2 diabetes. Johns Hopkins scientists reviewed data from 27,270 men
tracked over 13 years and put them into five groups according to their waist
size; 884 of the men had diabetes. Compared to those in the group with
the smallest waists, 29-34 inches, men with larger waist sizes were at least
twice as likely to have diabetes. Those with the largest waist size,
40 inches and above, were up to 12 times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes,
the kind associated with obesity. Other studies have suggested about 37 1/2
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that men who have
diabetes before age 40 lose more than 11 years of their expected life span;
women lose more than 14 years.
The twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity in children and young adults
have created an international public health problem. Americans see progress
in terms of the quantity rather than the quality of the food. If there were
no obesity, type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, would
be rare. Instead, more than 18 million Americans have it. Another 41 million
are pre-diabetic, with blood sugar levels higher than normal. This
generation of children growing up may be the first to live shorter lives
than their parents, says pediatric endocrinologist Francine Kaufman at Children's
Hospital in Los Angeles. It's society's problem, too, she says. Diabetes
consumes one of every seven health care dollars; it cost $92 billion in 2002.
Add in lost wages and productivity, and the bill comes to $137.7 billion,
she says. Kaufman recommends specific actions, such as getting soft
drinks and unhealthful snacks out of school vending machines; limiting children
to two hours a day in front of a screen, whether computer or TV; increasing
outdoor play time; and reinstating gym classes in schools. But she
says turning a society away from sugar, salt and fat to whole grains and
lots of exercise will take education and a change of social norms: Make it
socially unacceptable to offer a dinner guest a fatty meal with high-calorie
dessert. Instead of lunching with the ladies, meet them for a hike.
Type 2 diabetes arises when the body becomes resistant to the effects of
insulin, causing blood sugar levels to soar. The disease is closely linked
to excess weight and obesity, and proper diet, exercise and weight loss
are cornerstones of managing the condition. Recent studies have shown
that exercise can improve diabetics' insulin sensitivity. A couple of workouts
with weights per week may help older men manage their diabetes, even if
they don't lose weight, a small study suggests. Past research has shown
that insulin sensitivity improves when fat is lost around the waistline.
Strength training may cut abdominal fat.
Diabetics at high risk for heart attacks can lower their odds of heart
trouble by eating the ultra-low-fat diet created by cardiologist Dean Ornish,
doing moderate exercise and reducing stress, suggests a study. Here's the
program they followed:
A vegetarian diet with 10% of calories
from fat that emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The average
American eats a diet that's 30% to 40% fat.
At least three hours of aerobic exercise
a week. Most walked briskly.
An hour a day of stress management. Participants
learned yoga, relaxation exercises and meditation.
Two-hour sessions twice a week in groups
offering health education and mutual support.
After 12 weeks, participants lost an average of 12 pounds. Their blood
sugar levels, blood pressure and LDL (bad cholesterol) fell significantly.
Also, 39% could reduce their diabetic medication or stop taking it. There's
evidence that several of these changes, such as lower LDL levels, reduce
the risk of future heart attacks, according to Ornish's center in Sausalito,
Europeans are Catching
up with Americans
The growing epidemic of obesity could cause the first drop in Americans'
life expectancy in modern times, according to a new study that suggests
weight problems could cancel out life-extending benefits from medical advances
in the coming decades. The study was published in the New England Journal
of Medicine. A national team of experts on aging and obesity compiled the
estimates. Today's children, who are becoming obese at unprecedented
rates, will suffer the greatest loss of longevity, according to the report.
Obesity already is taking away up to nine months of life, on average, from
life expectancies in the U.S., the study found. That figure could reach five
years or more if America cannot reverse the trend of rising obesity rates.
A drop in life expectancy would bring a halt to centuries of steady gains
in longevity and potentially shift debates over programs like Social Security.
Government projections for the program assume that Americans will continue
to live longer and draw more money from the system. Life expectancy in 2003
was 77.6 years--up from 77.3 in 2002, according to the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The time when obesity was thought to be a problem on the other side of
the Atlantic has gone by. At least seven European countries are now bigger
than the United States. In a group of nations from Greece to Germany,
the proportion of overweight or obese men is higher than in the United States,
experts said in a major analysis of expanding girth in Europe. In
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Malta and Slovakia,
a higher percentage of men are obese or overweight than the estimated 67
percent of men in the United States, according to a report from the International
Obesity Task Force, a coalition of researchers and institutions. The
analysis was released as the 25-nation European Union announced an initiative
to enlist the food and marketing industries in the fight against fat in
products. Obesity is especially acute in Mediterranean countries,
underscoring concerns that people in the southern region are turning away
from the traditional diet of fruits and vegetables to fast foods high in
fat and refined carbohydrates. Even in countries with low rates of obesity,
troubling trends are emerging. For example, in France, obesity in women
rose from 8 percent in 1997 to 11.3 percent in 2003 and from 8.4 percent
to 11.4 percent in men during those years. The change in diets, which
the obesity task force said has occurred over the past two decades, also
has hit children hard. The task force estimated that among the EU's 103
million youngsters, the number of those overweight rises by 400,000 each
year. More than 30 percent of children age 7 to 11 are overweight in
Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta, it said. That matches estimates for American
children. Among American adults, about two-thirds are overweight or obese;
nearly one-third qualify as obese. The International Obesity Task
Force, which is advising the EU, estimated in 2003 that about 200 million
of the 350 million adults living in what is now the European Union might
be overweight or obese. "Obesity is rising rapidly, and Europe's expanding
waistline brings with it devastating consequences for public health and huge
economic costs," EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou
said in a statement.
In many tribes, castes, nationalities and cultures in the Indian Continent,
yogurt or buttermilk (without added sugar) is a must in any meal.
In Andhra Pradesh, every meal ends with yogurt-rice or buttermilk-rice.
In the north, raitha is a very common and daily dish in any meal and dogh
is a Gandhar (Afghan) yogurt drink with cucumber. Ayurveda suggests regular
consumption of yogurt for good health. Buttermilk with a pinch of
salt is a lifesaver during summer in India. Scientific studies have also
pointed to the benefits of regular yogurt consumption. One report found
that women who ate yogurt at least three times a week were less likely to
have a urinary tract infection than women who ate such probiotic bacteria-containing
foods less than once a week. Other studies have found that yogurt
plays a role in the prevention and management of bowel disease and other
gastrointestinal conditions. Furthermore, another study showed that people
who eat yogurt regularly might have a lower risk of cavities.
According to a new Japanese study presented during the 83rd General Session
of the International Association for Dental Research held in Baltimore in
March, yogurt intake may improve oral hygiene, namely tongue-coating bacteria
and halitosis. The study found that study participants who consumed
90 grams of sugar-free yogurt twice a day for six weeks tended to have lower
levels of hydrogen sulfide and other volatile sulfide compounds that contribute
to bad breath. The study participants also had significantly less plaque
and gingivitis as a result of their eating yogurt.
Dairy not necessarily
boost strong bones
A report, published in the journal Pediatrics, said boosting consumption
of milk or other dairy products was not necessarily the best way to provide
the minimal calcium intake of at least 400 milligrams per day.
Other ways to obtain the absorbable calcium found in one cup of cow's milk
include a cup of fortified orange juice, a cup of cooked kale or turnip
greens, two packages of instant oats, two-thirds cup of tofu, or 1-2/3 cups
of broccoli, the report said. In a review of 37 studies examining
the impact of calcium consumption on bone strength in children older than
7, researchers at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington
found 27 did not support drinking more milk to boost calcium. Dairy products
provide 18 percent of the total energy and 25 percent of the total fat intake
in the diets of American children, who are developing increasing rates of
obesity. The easiest way to get that calcium is from low-fat dairy products,
which also contain valuable nutrients such as vitamin D, which is generally
not available from other dietary sources.
A panel of doctors and scientists developed recommendations that put an
emphasis on getting 30 minutes of exercise. But its 25 pages of recommendations
were scaled down to three when they were released as part of the government's
new dietary guidelines in January. Those guidelines gave equal billing to
the 60- and 90-minute exercise suggestions. The guidelines are being
used to update the government's food pyramid, which is due out this spring.
This is what they say about exercise:
People need 30 minutes of physical activity on most days to
ward off chronic disease.
To prevent unhealthy weight gain, people should spend 60 minutes
on physical activity on most days.
Previously overweight people who have lost weight may need
60 to 90 minutes of exercise to keep the weight off.
If you're like most people, you're busy taking care of work stuff, house
stuff, family stuff. Who has the time or energy to exercise? It was hard
enough to fit in 30 minutes... and now the government's recommending as much
as 90 minutes of exercise a day. Who has time for that? You do. Just sneak
it into your daily routine. http://www.humana.com/visitors/article3_1.asp
Fruits and Vegetable and Exercise
Now the government is recommending that you eat nine servings of fruits
and vegetables every day. To reduce your risk of cancer, heart problems, and
other diseases, load up on fruits and vegetables. Getting nine a day won't
give you nine lives, but it may help you get more from the one you have.
Fitting in fruits and veggies can do more than help you fit into your "skinny
jeans." They're also full of antioxidants — compounds that help prevent disease,
boost your brainpower, and even reduce the signs of aging. Hmmmm... those
blueberries are lookin' better already! http://www.humana.com/visitors/article1_1.asp
Why are the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables so important? They're
kind of like a "cleaning crew" that hauls away the junk your cells leave behind.
Researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain (UMU) and the John Innes
Center (JIC) in Norwich, England, report that EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate)
prevents cancer cells from growing by binding to a specific enzyme.
Green tea has about five times as much EGCG as regular tea, studies have
shown. It decreases rates of certain cancers, but scientists were not sure
what compounds were involved or how they worked. Nor had they determined
how much green tea a person would have to drink to have a beneficial effect.
The scientists noted that the structure of ECGC is similar to a cancer drug
The findings could also explain why women who drink large amounts of green
tea around the time they conceive and early in their pregnancy may have
an increased risk of having a child with spina bifida or other neural tube
disorders. Women are advised to take supplements of folic acid because
it protects against spina bifida. But large amounts of green tea could decrease
the effectiveness of folic acid.
It is estimated that half the people who lose their lives from colorectal
cancer could have been saved from screening alone. Even more cases and deaths
could be prevented if more people maintained a healthy level of physical
activity and a healthy body weight, and avoided smoking.
The American Cancer Society has recommendations to help people reduce their
cancer risk through lifestyle behaviors, such as nutrition and physical
activity. While up to a quarter of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people
with a family history of the disease or a predisposing illness, about three
out of four of cases happen in people with no risk factors, the news comes
from a special edition of the Society's Facts & Figures, the sixth annual
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, March 2005.
Female Infanticide in
the Indian Union
In India, where millions of couples still hanker for a male child, the
overall sex ratio is 927 females to 1,000 males, down from 945-to-1,000
more than a decade ago. It has one of the lowest female-to-male ratios in
"I consider it a shame that in our country we ascertain the sex of
the baby before it enters the world," the progressive Christian Chief Minister
Rajasekharareddy Y. said at a function on the empowerment of woman in the
state capital, Hyderabad. The southern state of Andhra Pradesh has
a sex ratio of 943 females to 1,000 males. Sex determination tests and female
foeticide are common in small towns and rural areas of the largely farming
state. The State government has offered to pay 100,000 rupees ($2,300)
cash to families who have just one daughter in a bid to counteract traditional
preferences for sons and balance the sex ratio. The cash incentive will
be paid to the daughters when they reach 20 years of age, provided their
parents have had only one child and have undertaken birth control operations
The Andhra Pradesh government has also appointed India's leading Muslim
woman tennis player Sania Mirza - who is from Andhra Pradesh - as "state ambassador
of the girl child" as part of its campaign to protect the female child.
Eighteen-year-old Mirza, the first Indian woman to get into the third round
of a Grand Slam, will feature on billboards with the caption: "Your daughter
may be the next champion".
Venkatakrishnareddy G. (GVK Reddy), a Hindu, sponsored Sania when
she was 13. Sania Mirza is by no means the sole Muslim to have risen
to prominence in India. A lot of Christians use native Indian names
to conceal their religious identity. Yet, many Muslims never masked
their Islamic identity and were adored by all Indians in the Bollywood, e.g.,
Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood, Shabana Azmi, Tabu, Saif Ali Khan, Feroze Khan,
Saeed Mirza, Zayed Khan, Javed Akhtar etc. However, some Muslims
used Indian names, such as Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan), Meena Kumari and Madhubala.
The Khans hold near-complete and unchallenged sway over Bollywood today.
Similarly, in the field of sports, the achievements of Mohammed Azharuddin,
Irfan Pathan, Mohammed Kaif, Zaheer Khan and Syed Kirmani are far too well
known to need recounting. In the industry Muslims are leading, e.g.,
Azim Premji- the richest Indian - chairman of Wipro Ltd, Yusuf Hamied
of Cipla, Some of the topmost advertising professionals are Muslims, including
Alyque Padamsee, Mohammed Khan, Muzaffar Ali and Rafeeq Ellias. In modern
art, it's impossible to ignore the pivotal importance of M F Husain, S H Raza,
Akbar Padamsee, Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh and Tyeb Mehta. In academics,
outstanding examples include Irfan Habib, Mushirul Hasan, Shahid Amin, Zoya
Hasan. In avant garde theatre, Habib Tanveer, Ebrahim Alkazi, Jabbar
Patel, and Zohra Sehgal. In literature Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ali Sardar Jafri and
Kaifi Azmi. In journalism M J Akbar, Zahid Ali Khan are famous. No need to
mention the name of the President, Dr. Kalam! This is just a glimpse of Muslim
prominence and contribution to the Indian society and Muslim advancement in
a democratic secular Bhaarat, while no Hindu names can be heard in
Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh.
An estimated 12 million people worldwide have from Alzheimer's disease,
the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. There is no cure for this condition
that robs people of their memory and mental ability, but drugs have been
approved to alleviate symptoms. Studies have shown that people with
high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity could have a greater risk
of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia than those with a more active, healthy
lifestyle. A recent Finnish study showed that middle-age people taking regular
exercise at least twice a week could reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer's
disease by 50 percent in old age. An active lifestyle, physical, mental and
social, is preventive. It's never too early to start to prevent Alzheimer's
Malanoma and Brits
Malignant melanoma accounts for roughly 10 percent of reported cases of
the illness. About 133,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed worldwide
each year. It usually develops in cells in the outer layer of the skin
but can spread to other parts of the body, forming secondary tumors.
Melanoma is the second most common cancer among people aged 15-34. Researchers
say sunburn in childhood can double the risk of melanoma in later life.
More than 7,300 cases of preventable malignant melanoma are diagnosed each
year in Britain and 1,700 people die of the disease. Rates of skin
cancer could triple in the next 30 years if Britons do not protect themselves
from the sun's harmful rays, scientists said. People are advised to stay
out of the midday sun, avoid sunburns and wear sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats
In Britain, the chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board
advised in January that parents should not give mobile phones to children
age 8 or younger as a precaution against the potential harm of radiation
from the devices. Parents should think twice before giving a
middle-schooler a cell phone, because potential long-term health risks remain
unclear. Researchers have speculated for more than 10 years that the
electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones may damage DNA and cause
benign brain tumors. Scientists say when you use a cell phone, 70 to 80 percent
of the energy emitted from the antenna is absorbed by the head. Several research
studies have pointed to the potential impacts of long-term absorption of
cell phone-emitted radiation but little of the research has focused on the
children. Brain tumors usually take 30-40 years to develop, children who
use cell phones from their teen years onward would have a longer period of
time to see a cumulative impact. A Swedish study published in October suggested
that people who use a cell phone for at least 10 years might increase their
risk of developing a rare benign tumor along a nerve on the side of the head
where they hold the phone.
A 1,200-page report drafted by scientists at the Office of Environmental
Health Hazard Assessment, an influential California state agency, draws
on more than 1,000 other studies of the effects of second-hand smoke and
details a range of health problems caused by exposure to it. The report
links second-hand smoke to breast cancer, a finding that could lead air
quality regulators to strengthen the state's indoor smoking laws. Breast
cancer kills about 40,000 women in the United States each year. It's
the first major report to draw that connection, and one of many findings
about the health effects of so-called environmental tobacco smoke, or ETS.
These included respiratory complications, heart disease and several cancers,
many of which have been extensively documented.
Heart disease is one of the world's top killers. Smoking, high blood pressure,
raised cholesterol levels, being overweight or obese and a family history
of the illness increase the odds of developing the disease. Research
by scientists in Greece shows that mountain dwelling is good for the heart
and longevity. People living at higher altitude have lower odds of dying
from heart disease than those closer to sea level, even if they have factors
that could increase their risk, according to a report in the Journal of Epidemiology
and Community Health.
Over 800 Vegetarian
Indian Vegetarian Recipes
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The primary sources cited above,
New York Times (NYT), Washington Post
(WP), Mercury News, Bayarea.com,
USA Today, Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle
(DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times
of India, AP, Reuters, AFP, womenfitness.net