August 17, 2007
Table of Contents
Whole-Person Wellness for Vital Living: Part Three
New subscribers who missed the initial installments of this five-part series on wellness by SFA author Jan Montague, MGS, can read them by clicking on "Whole-Person Wellness for Vital Living." Below, Ms. Montague defines and discusses the six dimensions of personal wellness.
Effective whole-person wellness programs incorporate the wellness dimensions with personal wellness concepts that include self-responsibility, optimism, self-directed approach, self-efficacy (the belief in one's ability to successfully perform a desired task), and personal choice. These concepts change the focus from what people can't do to what they can. The result is fully integrated wellness.
(See the next issue of Experience! for Part Four of Whole-Person Wellness for Vital Living, which will describe research indicating that whole-person wellness can slow the aging process in many individuals.)
Coffee, Exercise, and Your Skin
Rutgers University researchers, reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have found that a combination of caffeine and physical exercise may increase one's resistance to skin cancer.
To understand how such an apparently odd coupling might produce a seemingly unrelated protective effect for the skin, we need to revisit our old physiology classes for a moment. Exposure to ultraviolet-B sunlight can harm skin cells, causing some to become precancerous. But cells with damaged DNA are programmed to self-destruct through a natural process called apoptosis. Some of the compromised skin cells, however, fail to self-destruct and may go on to become cancerous.
In studying mice at risk for skin cancer, scientists have observed a protective effect from caffeine and a separate protective effect from exercise. The Rutgers team united the two interventions and achieved remarkable results -- when both were combined, the protective effect added up to way more than the sum of the two.
The mice were divided into four groups:
"We think it likely that this will extrapolate to humans, but that has to be tested," said researcher Dr. Allen Conney, according to the Associated Press.
Why this duo promotes the destruction of cells made precancerous by the sun's ultraviolet-B radiation is sending researchers back to the laboratory. "We need to dig deeper into how the combination of caffeine and exercise is exerting its influence at the cellular and molecular levels, identifying the underlying mechanisms," Conney told the AP.
What a Dish!
A Canadian study newly published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests a simple and practical way to better stick with one's weight-loss diet, according to the Pulse wire report.
Sue Pedersen, an endocrinologist at the University of Calgary, had 65 participants eat from a specially designed plate and bowl to curtail their calorie intake for a part of each day during the six-month trial. Sixty-five others did not use the "portion control plates."
Subjects in both groups had Type 2 diabetes (sometimes called adult onset diabetes) and were clinically obese. The study was relatively flexible, focusing more on preventing excessive food intake than on dictating which foods the dieters were allowed to eat.
Results: Dieters using the plates lost an average of 1.8 percent of their body weight, compared to a 0.1 percent loss in the control group. A sub-group of insulin users fared even better, losing an average of 2.5 percent of their weight. These outcomes are promising since insulin treatment may make weight loss more challenging and since weight loss is critical for many individuals with diabetes.
Quoted for the wire report, Pedersen said she expects smaller plates will control portions better than common strategies like the advice to "eat meat no bigger than your fist."
Following is an edited abstract from "Correlates of Physical Activity in a Community Sample of Older Adults in Appalachia" by Sam Zizzi and colleagues, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 14(4), 423:
Although much has been learned about the global determinants of physical activity in adults, there has been a lack of specific focus on gender, age, and urban versus rural differences. In this church-based community sample of 1,239 Appalachian adults, the primary correlates of physical activity included age, gender, obesity, and self-efficacy.
The subjects of this study were recruited from 16 churches in the Ohio Valley region of West Virginia. Overall, 42 percent of all participants and 31 percent of adults age 65 years or older met recommended guidelines for physical activity, which suggests that most participants do not engage in adequate levels of physical activity.
Of the participants who did meet physical activity guidelines, the most common modes of moderate and vigorous activity were:
Some Things Never Change
It seems that certain intergenerational issues are timeless! The Scottish author Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937) put it this way:
"I'm not young enough to know everything."
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