Only 3% of the Country Has Healthy Lifestyle Habits – Do You?

by Robard Corporation Staff March 31, 2016

How many of these four things do you do?

• Maintain a good diet
• Engage in moderate exercise*
• Stay within your recommended body fat percentage
• Be a non-smoker

If you can’t say you do all four then you are among the majority. In fact, about 97 percent of the U.S. population can’t make that claim according to a recent study performed by Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi.

Why is that important? Well, the more of these habits you embrace, the more it decreases the potential health risk you may have. What the researchers found is although many of the people in the study did engage in some of these lifestyle habits, only a meager 2.7 percent of the people engaged in all four.

It’s nice to put a number on it, but it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that an overwhelming majority of our population is not engaged in a healthy lifestyle. Increasing obesity rates alone add perspective to research like this. The question is: What can we do to lead a healthier lifestyle to lead a healthier life?

Probably the most important part is a good diet — something that just 38 percent of the study’s participants had. A good diet will do things such as help with body fat, as well as give you energy throughout the day to do various things, including physical activity. Mental health, although not mentioned in the study, is something that should be included in a healthy lifestyle. Things such as stress, anxiety, and self-esteem can be factors in how you feel, what you weigh, and how healthy you are. Synergy with all these aspects is a good formula for a healthy lifestyle. The next step is to actually do them.

What healthy change can you make today?

Source: Oregon State University

*“Moderate exercise” was defined as 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week and a “good diet” simply included eating foods recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Eating Habits | For Dieters | For Providers | Habits | Healthy Eating | Healthy Lifestyle

Want Some Coffee With That Sugar?

by Robard Corporation Staff March 17, 2016

Many of us start our day with a fresh cup of coffee. Some make theirs at home, others go to places like Starbucks and order their favorite morning soda — oops, sorry: “beverage.” That slip up may have been innocent enough, but there is a startling similarity that a can of soda has with your favorite hot morning beverage.

Action on Sugar, a charity that consists of specialists concerned with sugar and its effects on health, recently analyzed 131 hot drinks. What they found was a third of the beverages contained at least nine teaspoons of sugar. That’s equivalent to a can of Pepsi or Coca-Cola, with some of the most egregious offenders being Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and surprisingly, KFC.
To add some perspective to how much sugar that is, the National Health Service (NHS) in England says that no more than 30 grams of added sugar should be a part of your daily diet. According to this study a Venti–sized Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon from Starbucks has in excess of 99 grams of sugar — more than three times what the NHS considers the maximum allowed amount.

Not everyone drinks Starbucks, but the ones that do, love Starbucks. So this isn’t a once a week indulgence people have before going to work or during the day. It’s more of an everyday piece of morning bliss before they head into the office. All that sugar adds up in a day when you include the rest of a person’s daily diet, but it also has a cumulative effect onto itself.

Ask Kawther Hashem, one of Action on Sugar’s researchers. Her drink of choice was a large white café mocha with caramel and vanilla syrup, cream on top and chocolate drizzle at Starbucks. These orders never seem simple.  Hashem drank these three times a day, seven days a week. Needless to say it eventually took its toll.

“I drastically cut back on these sugary drinks after I was diagnosed with a very high cholesterol level and liver problems three years ago,” Hashem says. “I still have high cholesterol now and was recently diagnosed with a fatty liver — which means it is not working properly — not from alcohol but from sugar.”

Some coffee shops such as Starbucks and Costa have responded to the study by stating that they plan to have reduced sugar in their beverages implemented no later than 2020 — a seemingly far cry from March of 2016. They say this while also somewhat deflecting responsibility. By stating that their nutritional information can be found both in store and on their website, they’re basically telling consumers that we should know what you are getting yourself into when you drink their beverages.

Analysis like this underlines a couple issues many believe have direct connections to the obesity epidemic: Sugar consumption and portion control. Both have increased throughout the years along with the obesity rate. Many would state that this not a coincidence. Some places, like New York City, tried to implement a “Soda Ban” which put restrictions on available sizes of sugary drinks, but it was met swiftly by opposition and eventually rejected. So what’s the answer? What do you think?

Source: BBC

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Eating Habits | For Dieters | For Providers | Healthy Eating | Obesity

Robard Offers Healthcare Providers the Best Diets for Weight Loss

by Robard Corporation Staff March 7, 2016

Obesity statistics in the United States are staggering. When you see that more than 35 percent of men and women are obese, you have to ask yourself what can be done about it. As a healthcare provider, you want to make sure your patients lead a long, healthy life — and obesity may be prohibiting them from doing that.

If you’re a healthcare provider or professional that’s ever considered offering obesity treatment as a fee-for-service addition to your practice, now is the time. Not only is obesity the country’s biggest health issue, it’s also one of the more lucrative businesses to undertake. When it comes to considering treating obesity, keep this in mind: Lack of experience, cost and other trepidations can be lessened or eliminated by practical hands-on training and resources to support a new program, your staff and your business. That’s what we do, and we can help.

It is imperative to recognize that as the obesity epidemic grows, so will its related comorbidities. Eighty percent of people with diabetes are overweight. That’s more than a mere coincidence. Robard providers can attest that when their patients go on one of our weight loss programs, comorbidities such as diabetes subside and even dissipate. Our obesity treatment models were created specifically for busy medical and healthcare professionals so a new obesity treatment program can be implemented — utilizing your existing staff — while you maintain focus on your expertise. Resolution or reduction of chronic medical conditions can be achieved by treating the common root source:  Obesity.  It starts with you. Click here to learn more.

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: About Robard | For Dieters | For Providers | Obesity | Products | Treating Obesity | Weight Loss Business | Weight Loss Programs

The Media’s Role in Obesity

by Robard Corporation Staff February 16, 2016

In many ways the media drives the thought process of the general public. What is reported and, more importantly, how it’s reported plays a key role in how we can look at a certain subject such as politics or social issues. In many cases, it can lead to division amongst the masses. It’s no different when talking about the media’s role in how obesity is viewed.

Yes, just like many other issues, the media has an influence on how obesity is viewed in the United States. Researchers from Chapman University, UCLA, and Stanford, sought to examine the effect media has on the general population’s view on obesity-related policies as well as their bias towards obese people. They did this by conducting experiments where people read news articles with rhetoric that put obesity in a certain frames. The context of the articles touched on the following subjects:

• “Fat Rights,” which emphasizes the idea that obesity is a positive form of body size diversity and that discrimination and prejudice is unacceptable
• “Health at Every Size,” which emphasizes the fact that body fat level is only weakly associated with health once a person’s exercise and dietary choices are taken into account (i.e. a person can be both “fit and fat”). This viewpoint encourages people to focus less on what the scale says and more on exercising and eating healthy
• “Public Health Crisis,” which presents obesity as a public health crisis warranting government intervention
• “Personal Responsibility,” which suggests bad food and exercise choices — as opposed to genetics or social factors — make people fat.

What they found was people that read the “fat rights” or “health at every size” articles said women could be healthier at a bigger weight at a far higher rate (65 and 71 percent) than those who read the “public health crisis” and “personal responsibility” articles.

“This is worrisome because there is extensive evidence that weight-based stigma negatively affects health, equal access to employment, earnings, education, and medical care,” says David Frederick, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Chapman University and lead author of the study.

A spotlight is shining on overweight people as of late and America’s obesity epidemic has been at the forefront of a lot of conversation. Outside of the potential health risks obesity may bring, being overweight could also affect other parts of a person’s life from their earning potential to insurance rates. And with the emergence of “fat-shaming,” which is criticizing and ridiculing someone simply because they are overweight, being overweight appears to be more than a health issue; it can be viewed instead as a taboo and something that should be looked down upon. Some will say the media has done nothing to dissuade such feelings, but rather reinforce them.

It’s a lot easier for decision makers to make the choices they want to make when they have the backing of the people it could possibly affect. One way to get that backing is to have people view the issue from a certain lens — something the media is well equipped to do. From employers to politicians, if the people are with you, that’s most of the battle to navigate things to your point of view. The media can play a key role in whether something can happen or not. The media has that power. Whether they use it for good or evil is subject to interpretation.

Source: Chapman University

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Exercise | For Dieters | For Providers | Healthy Eating | Obesity | Treating Obesity

Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Could Have Cigarette-Like Warning Labels

by Robard Corporation Staff February 3, 2016

People that smoke cigarettes know the risk they are taking when doing it. Aside from the commercials they may see on television or their friends telling them about smoking’s pitfalls, they also see the warnings every time they buy a pack with the Surgeon General Warning on the side.

It looks like some want to have similar labels on sugar-sweetened drinks. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine feel that such labels will have a positive effect on deterring parents from purchasing these drinks for their children. Sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas and sugary juices have been found to have as much as seven teaspoons of sugar per 6.5 ounces. With the newest eating guidelines proclaiming that added sugar shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of a person’s daily calorie intake, that amount is almost double the dietary recommendation, making it a factor in the children obesity rate.

The main reason researchers are advocating for such a label is to better inform parents of the health risks that are included in the over-consumption of such beverages. Obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay are only a few things that children can be exposed to if they are to drink too many of these sugary drinks, dangers that the parent may not necessarily know about or consider when purchasing for their child.

Researchers put this theory to the test by surveying over 2,300 parents that have children between the ages of 6 and 11. They divided the parents into several groups, including: parents that saw no labels on beverages, parents that only saw how many calories were in the beverages, and several groups that saw different alterations of warning labels on the beverages.

When the parents were asked if they would buy sugar-sweetened drinks for their child, 40 percent of the parents that saw the warning labels said they would buy the drink for their child, compared to 60 percent who saw no labels on the beverages, and 53 percent who had calorie labels.

The labels did prove to have positive effects on parents, but there are other questions that arise. Such as will the parents choose healthy alternatives to these sugary drinks? Will they do it on a consistent basis? Will they make sure there isn’t over-consumption regardless of the beverage? But maybe warning labels is a step in the right direction particularly with reversing the increasing trend of childhood obesity. What effect do you think such labels will have on the purchase of sugary drinks? 

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Childhood Obesity | Diabetes | For Dieters | For Providers | Obesity

Can a 'Fat Tax' Lead to Better Food Choices?

by Robard Corporation Staff January 20, 2016

When we have to make a choice between two or more foods certain things may determine our decision: Which one do we think tastes better? Which one fits our diet? More times than not, the choice comes down to which items cost less — whether subconsciously or intentionally.

Low income consumers in particular are looking for the best priced products. They also tend to be the most susceptible to obesity. However, even the smallest of price differences can sway the consumer to purchase the product. What does this have to do with weight management and obesity? In two words: “Fat Tax.”

Fat Tax is a theory that adding additional charges on unhealthy food and drinks may help slow the rising rates of obesity. To test the validity of the tax’s effects, researchers conducted a study consisting of data spanning over six years and 1,700 nationwide supermarkets.

The focal point of the research was milk and its varying prices. At some stores there was no price differentiation of milk across all fat content; however, at some stores, the milk was priced higher based on contents of fat. Therefore, whole milk was the most expensive and skim milk was the cheapest.

How did the price range effect milk sales? The slightest difference of 14 cents showed substantial deviation from the higher fat options to the lower-fat options, particularly in lower income areas. Even though the results were significant, it still may not indicate how effective a Fat Tax would fare. More measured assurances about how the tax would perform are needed before it is implemented.

“The general perception is that these taxes need to be substantial, at least 20 percent and often as high as 50 percent, to have meaningful impact,” says Vishal Singh of New York University. “Here, we have compelling field-based evidence that such taxes don’t need to be high to be effective.”

He may have a point. The price shift of the items was minimal (as much as 10 percent), and yet the difference in what was sold considerable, and performed best in low income areas where obesity is at its highest risk.

What do you think about a Fat Tax? Do you think it’s something that should be implemented in America?

Source: Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: For Dieters | For Providers | Health and Money | Obesity

Politics over Dietary Guidelines?

by Robard Corporation Staff January 13, 2016

In this day and age it seems no matter how noble the cause, it is soon taken overtaken by politics. And even if politics aren’t necessarily involved, someone usually finds a way to introduce politics into the situation, including our dietary guidelines.

A piece was put out from public health and sustainability experts from George Washington and Tufts Universities stating that sustainability considerations must be included when forming the new Dietary Guidelines for Americas (DGA). The request was met with scrutiny, particularly by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and their Chairman, K. Michael Conaway, who believed that the recommendations commented on “wider policy issues” and exceed the group’s scope. The group denied the Conaway’s statement and also remarked that the previous DGA stated nothing about sustainability — something they felt should be included.

What do the experts mean when they say sustainability? The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ definition is:

Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.

So where does politics come into the issue of sustainability in the DGA?
• Industry leaders feel under attack and believe sustainability evaluations may lead to future regulation
• Sustainability has the potential to change the current food-groups guidance to one that focuses on specific foods in food groups
• New political coalitions may form that further tip the balance in favor of sustainability, particularly when drafting future dietary guidelines
• Sustainability considerations may sanction and elevate the importance of sustainable diets, opening the government up to greater demands for sustainability investments and telling consumers that such foods are preferred

These factors don’t necessarily scream politics. However, when you consider that they will impact members of the military, 8.6 million Women, Infants and Children program participants, and 31 million children served through the National School Lunch Program, the effects of these recommendations can become rather extensive.

What do you think about the recommendations? Are they justified or is it overreaching?

Source: George Washington University

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Eating Habits | For Dieters | For Providers | Habits | Healthy Eating

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