Shape Up America! Newsletter
Shape Up America!
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 Shape Up America! Newsletter . Real Help for Real People 
June 2004 
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Greetings!

If you are part of a group, organization, or community participating in an effort to promote increased activity please share the news with us so that we can share it with the world!

In this issue
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  • Healthy and Fun Lunches
  • Attitudes Toward Childhood Obesity
  • On The Pill?
  • The Atkins-Type Diets and Low Carb Mania
  • Drugs That Cause Weight Gain.

  • Attitudes Toward Childhood Obesity
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    The California Endowment funded a study that measured the level of concern held by Californians about the childhood obesity epidemic. According the study: 92% of Californians consider childhood obesity a serious problem 80% believe the problem has worsened over the last five years 96% favor enforcing current school requirements to teach students about nutrition and physical activity in the classroom 92% support requiring physical education K-12. 68% support prohibiting the sale of soda and junk food in school 87% support posting of nutritional information on menus in fast food restaurants 83% suggest creating a public advertising campaign to raise awareness of the influence that food and beverage advertising has on children's food choices. The full report is available online at www.calendow.org

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    On The Pill?
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    If you are worried that birth control pills are causing you to gain weight - chances are that your worries are groundless. A study of combination estrogen-progestin contraceptives and weight gain by Maria Gallo and her colleagues was published in the February 2004 issue (Vol. 103 no. 2) of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Using a number of computerized databases, these workers searched the published medical literature and they also contacted known researchers and manufacturers for information on unpublished clinical trials not covered in the database search. They focused on randomized controlled trials in which weight was measured over "at least 3 treatment cycles" in duration. "Most comparisons from the 40 trials that compared 2 or more combination contraceptives showed no substantial difference in weight." They also examined 3 placebo- controlled, randomized trials (these are usually considered the highest standard of evidence) and concluded there was no evidence of a causal association between either combination oral contraceptives or a combination skin patch contraceptive and weight gain. Bottom Line: If your goal is to avoid pregnancy, the use of combination estrogen-progestin contraceptives is unlikely to be a significant cause of weight gain. But careful food choices and 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity is still a good idea for successful weight management.
    The Atkins-Type Diets and Low Carb Mania
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    We are often asked about Low carb/No carb diets and weight loss. We know that many people find them attractive, believing that greater weight loss will be the reward for following such an unbalanced diet. The fact is that foods fall into one of three categories: protein, fat or carbohydrate. If you eliminate the carbohydrate, you are left with a diet of protein and fat. The first problem is that such a diet is, by definition, unbalanced and robs you of the cancer protective fruits, vegetables that you need to eat each day. The Low carb/No carb diets often contain as much as 60% fat - with loads of saturated fats which are not good for your heart over the long term. Another problem is that a very high protein intake promotes calcium loss - which is not good for your bones. We know that the popularity of these diets rests on their promise of greater weight loss, but here is something to think about. The greater weight loss is not fat loss. In other words, these diets are "dehydrating" diets because they deplete your body of all glycogen stores (which is why you feel lethargic).

    The glycogen is stored with water, so as your glycogen is depleted, you lose water weight. The bottom line is that the weight loss contains a much higher proportion of water than a diet of identical calories that includes normal amounts of carbohydrate. You won't lose any more fat on the Low carb/No carb diets as you will on a mixed diet of the same number of calories. Apart from causing halitosis (bad breath) due to the ketones you produce, Low carb/No carb diets are also associated with fatigue and headaches as your body goes through severe metabolic changes as it struggles to cope with the carbohydrate deprivation you have imposed. If you are tired of looking for weight loss in all the wrong places, get healthy and get smart. Visit the "members only" section of our website and start using the Shape Up America! Shape Up & Drop 10 program for a total lifestyle overhaul. A balanced and comprehensive approach will start you on the path to healthy eating and lasting weight management at the same time!

    Drugs That Cause Weight Gain.
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    Consumer Reports "onhealth" [www.consumerreport.org] has issued a June 2004 online report on a variety of drugs that can cause weight gain. The categories of drugs listed in their report are antidepressants, antidiabetic drugs, anticonvulsant drugs, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs, asthma drugs, osteoporosis drugs, and psychiatric drugs. The chance of weight gain on each drug is summarized in a handy table that shows the degree of risk of weight gain on each drug. The three drug categories associated with significant weight gain are the tricyclic antidepressants, most antidiabetic medications and most corticosteroids. All the others in the report are associated with a lower (but still significant) chance of weight gain. If you are taking a drug and experiencing weight gain, we suggest you discuss this issue with your physician on your next visit.

    Diet Power Software »

    Healthy and Fun Lunches
    A small cold pack will keep foods cold and allow greater variety in lunches. Here are some ideas: ***Baby carrots and celery with light ranch dip (Don't serve raw carrots to children three or younger--choking hazard). I like to use the small tupperware containers -- they're great for holding a tablespoon or so of dip and they don't leak!*** Ants on a log: Celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins.*** Cheese cut in shapes with crackers.***

    Yogurt (if your child likes to mix things into yogurt, you can pack some low fat granola).*** Fresh fruit (strawberries, pineapple, peeled and sectioned orange, apple or pear cut in wedges, watermelon). Dont' serve whole grapes to children three and younger--choking hazard).*** Soft breadsticks with tomato dipping sauce and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.

    I also used to send in a thermos for any hot foods. For example, my daughter loved tortellini, so I used to have it for dinner the evening before and then send a portion in a thermos for her to preschool the next day. Hope these ideas are helpful. Ida Laquatra, PhD, RD

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