December 15, 2005
Table of Contents
Get Out the Measuring Tape
United Press International recently reported on an interesting new survey named "Shape of the Nations." The survey found that most Americans -- 60 percent -- are not aware that excess abdominal fat is a leading cause of heart disease. More surprisingly, it also found that most U.S. physicians -- 62 percent -- don't make a regular practice of measuring their patients' waist circumferences as an indicator of cardiovascular risk. Men with waist circumferences of 40 inches and women with waist circumferences of 35 inches are generally considered to be at increased risk. Abdominal obesity is an important contributor to heart disease, especially when combined with other risk factors such as hypertension, high triglyceride levels, low HDL (the protective form of cholesterol), high blood glucose levels, and smoking.
Don't Light My Fire
Wellness includes many components: good nutrition, physical fitness, disease prevention, and stress management, just to name a few. But one component that is all too often neglected is safety. We can undo the good of all the rest if we let ourselves or others get hurt due to a careless safety slip-up. "Wear your seat belt" and "Lock that gun cabinet" are two examples that easily come to mind.
And here's another safety cliche: "Keep matches away from children." Yet it bears repeating. After our children grow up and move out on their own, we may not think much about childproofing our homes anymore. Still, there may be visits by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and young neighborhood friends. Fire safety is an important issue for people of all ages. Below are some useful tips on the subject from The Wellness Way, a Canopy Press publication:
Comparing the Physical Ability of Men and Women
Following is an edited abstract from "Gender-Related Differences in Physical Performance Among Seniors" by Kristin Musselman and Brenda Brouwer, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 13(3), 239:
This study examined gender differences in balance, gait, and muscle performance in seniors and identified gender-specific factors contributing to physical performance. Forty (20 men, 20 women) healthy, community-dwelling seniors ages 65 and older participated. Limits of stability, gait speed, lower limb flexor and extensor strength, self-reported activity level, and balance confidence were measured. No gender differences were detected in gait speed, limits of stability when normalized to height, activity level, or balance confidence. Women were weaker than men, even after controlling for weight and body-mass index, suggesting that other gender-related factors contribute to strength. Gender accounted for 18 to 46 percent of the variance in strength and served as a modifier of the relationship between activity level and strength in some muscle groups. The primary factors relating to gender-specific strength was activity level in men and body weight in women.
Words to Live By
Every now and then at SFA, we come across a special quote that keeps us smiling throughout the entire day! And that's the case with these words from Martin Buxbaum:
"Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty -- they merely move it from their faces into their hearts."
What's That You Said?
Presbycusis is the term for hearing loss associated with aging. The Good Health Fact Book, a Reader's Digest publication, advises that a hearing aid may be in order if an older adult experiences one or more of the following problems:
A Treat for Me, Myself and I
Make yourself a little Walsdorf salad. For an individual serving, combine a chopped red apple, a few raisins, some thinly sliced celery, a walnut that has been broken into small pieces, and plain non-fat yogurt to moisten.
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