WWhy the ultrasonic diffusers are the most popular?

Nobody can deny how useful of an essential oil diffuser. It is a small tool that uses either the mixture of the essential oil and the water or 100% pure oil to break down into thousands of particles and then diffuse them into the air. There are various kinds of diffuser on the market, but basically, there are only 4 which are:

  • Heating diffusers
  • Evaporative
  • Nebulizers
  • Ultrasonic diffusers

Read more: BABIES HOOKED ON JUNK FOOD; Children as young as 12 months fed diet of biscuits and sweets

Among them, ultrasonic ones are the most popular. Do you wonder why they are? This article will give you the answer.

diffuser1

How they work:

After pouring the water up to a determining extent, drop a few small drops of essential oil to create the mixture between the oil and the water. By using the ultrasonic waves, the essential oil is broken down into many tiny molecules and released from the diffuser. The soft mist which is created by the machine makes the atmosphere quickly fragrant and clean.

The reasons why this kind of diffuser becomes popular:

1.The quietness

diffuser2

While running, some kinds of dif users are rather noisy, which makes a nuisance. However, this machine is very quiet and makes no noise. You can use it for many purposes such as relaxation and sleep. For those families whose babies are rather difficult to fall asleep, this diffuser is the best choice. You can choose the essential oil that is able to promote the deep sleeps for more effects.

2. The amount of essential oil drops

This is the most important factor that makes the ultrasonic diffuser become popular and favorable. A contrast to the nebulizer diffusers, this kind mix the water and the oil together instead of using 100% pure oil to diffuse, which  helps you to save much money. You do not use as much essential oil as the other kinds; just a few small drops can make your house fragrant with a gentle scent.

3. The multi-functions

diffuser3

The ultrasonic diffuser in reality is not just a diffuser, but also a humidifier. By creating a soft mist and blowing them into the air, on the one hand, this machine is able to balance or increase the moisture of the air and on the other it brings into play all the effects of the essential oil. This tool is the best choice for babies or the newborn babies who have the highly discerning skin and are rather easy to dry. It is also used in cold and flu treatment as well.

In comparison, this machine has both factors which are high quality and cheap price. Besides, the ultrasonic essential oil diffuser is very easy to handle as well as easy to maintain.

Here are some best ultrasonic diffusers:

  • BriteLeaf 2-in-1 Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser-Humidifier
  • Now Foods (NOW™) Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser
  • TruDew Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser – Humidifier
  • Essential Oil Diffuser for Aromatherapy by Healing Solutions
  • Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser with 7 Color Changing LED Lamps and Mist Mode Adjustment – Waterless Auto Shut-off
  • QUOOZ Lull Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser
  • Riverock Essential Oil Diffuser by Deneve – Sublime Whisper Quiet Electric Ultrasonic Vaporizer and Humidifier
  • Signstek 1500ML 1.5L LED Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser Humidifier Aromatherapy Air Purifier Mist

 

How to take care of a down comforter

When you have already chosen a best down comforter for yourself, the next step you need to consider is how to take care of it. Nobody can deny how much importance of this part because if you do not look after your down carefully, sooner and sooner it will be damaged and not able to last long. That means you have wasted money! Let’s learn how to care for your down comforter with this article.

1. Look after your down comforter usually

1

Whether your down is in high quality or not, you should not ignore to keep an eye on it in case of recognizing its matters such as tears, stains, rips or even molds as soon as possible to heal them on time. If you find out some down feathers drop on the floor, it means that your down has one or more tears.

As almost down comforters are made from the duck and goose feathers or their undercoating, so when there are any tears whether they are huge or not, your down will be loose immediately. To solve this matter, it is rather easy with a needle and a thread.

If there is a stain on the fabric, you must clean it right after you find it because if you leave it for a long time, it will be hard to erase. Especially with white down comforter, you should use bleach to clean.

If your down has mold, you should take off it and dry in the sun to let the heat kill all these harmful molds. It does not only help you to prevent from many diseases, but also keep the down last longer.

2. Clean the down periodically

3

The best time cycle to clean the down comforter is about one or two years. It is not necessary to wash the down more often than this because doing the washing up so many times is not good for it. The detergents such as bleach, washing – powder will reduce the quality of the feathers inside a down and affect much on its warmth. By the way, washing too much cause the frayed fabric and deformation in some cases.

Every time you intend to do the washing up, you should take the down off the bed and bring it to a clean and dry place such as bathroom, laundry room, or a patio. If you want to do it yourself, you need to check if the size and the capacity of your washing machine fit with the size and weight of the down or not.

3. Using a duvet cover as a coat for your down

2For more protection, you can buy a duvet cover for your down comforter to prevent it from many stains and frayed fabric. Like a coat, the duvet you keep it always in clean condition. If there are any stains, you just need to take off the cover and clean by washer without worrying about the down. Before purchasing, you need to consider to the size of your down to choose a suitable cover.

How to dry a down comforter?

After doing the washing up for the down comforter, the final part is drying. Many people usually ignore this because they think that just the washing cycle is only the best important part during the process. If you get enough knowledge about drying the down in right way, it will be caused less harm and last longer. Here are some useful tips for you.

downcomforterBasically, when cleaning the down at home, after the spin cycle step has already finished, you should extract the down comforter from the washing machine. It will look flatter, softer and tidier than usual. In case that your down is white, does not worry if you find that it have the different color than the origin because it is just temporary. The reason is that when the feathers inside the down get wet, it will naturally change color. After they have been dried already, they will turn into the initial color.

There are many ways to dry a down comforter, depending on your affordability as well as your preference that you will choose the most suitable one for your down:

  • Air – drying
  • Electrical drying machine
  • Dry in the sunny places

1. Air dryer:

This machine helps to reduce as much harm as possible to the fabric and material. However, this method is only suitable for those who have plenty of time to spend as it will take much time and the down comforter is rather slow to dry.

2. Electrical drying machine:

2This way is much quicker than the above because it uses heat to dry the fabric, which also makes the material and the form of the down comforter damaged soon. The heat will do harm in the down, make it deform and cannot last long any longer.

Therefore, if you do not have much time and need to use this way, you can set it on low heat to reduce damage. If your down is white, you can set the high heat as it can stand the hotter temperature than the colorful ones.

Here is a tip for you: To avoid the risks of shrinking, you can use a tennis ball or a tennis shoe to dry the fabric by putting it close to the dryer for a while and roll it along the down comforters. After a spin cycle, the feathers inside the down have the tendency of being curdled and these items will help to break up that state and make the material smoother and speed up the drying process.

3. Dry in the sunny places:

3This way helps to economize the cost as it uses the natural heat to dry the down comforter. You ought to choose the suitable sunlight during the day to put the down out to dry in the sun. If there is too much sunlight, the down will be caused harm. If there is no sunlight and it is windy instead of, your down will be taken the risk of mildew. Also, do not forget to choose a clean place to put the down on.

To allow a down comforter to be able to last long, alongside getting enough knowledge of how to clean and dry it, you should choose a good one at first, visit homepage of Down Comforter Expert to check out the best down comforter.

Downside of diet trends: if a weight-loss scheme sounds too good to be true, it is

What do blogs, the Atkins diet, and Napoleon Dynamite have in common? They’re all seemingly harmless fads. But one of them can lead to serious health consequences.

“We have a real fascination with quick-fix approaches to weight loss,” says Bonnie Jortberg, a dietitian at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “Fad diets make huge promises–take some pill or potion or eat some strange combination of foods and the weight melts off. But they don’t work in the long term.”

Behind the Fad

dietThe diet industry takes in $40 billion each year, according to U.S. News & World Report, and some of that money comes from fad diets. What makes them different from healthful eating? Trendy diets ignore a basic nutritional premise: To lose weight, a person must take in fewer calories than he or she uses.

Fad diets promise quick results with minimal effort, and most rely on fluid loss to produce rapid weight loss. When the dieter resumes former eating habits, the body rehydrates and the weight returns. Dieters believe that the plan worked and think the weight returned because they went off the diet. So they keep going back.

Fad diets also rely on the sheer desperation of people who believe they’ve “tried everything” to lose weight. Those people can easily fall prey to claims of “miracle” weight loss plans. This is especially true of teens, who typically struggle with body-image issues and who may think they’re overweight even if they are not.

Dieter, Beware

Not all fad diets are easy to spot. The National Institutes of Health recommends looking out for these red flags:

  • 1. Is there an overemphasis on a specific food group or groups?
  • 2. Are food choices limited?
  • 3. Does the plan claim calories don’t count?
  • 4. Does the plan require the user to purchase specific products?
  • 5. Does it sound too good to be true?

Fad diets are generally unhealthful not only because they lack vitamins and minerals, essential fats, and healthful carbohydrates but also because they can cause serious damage. When the body is forced to function on a drastically imbalanced diet, it begins to metabolize muscle rather than food or stored fat. This leads to muscle breakdown, nausea, dehydration, and headaches, not to mention general irritability.

Healthful Alternatives

lose-weight

Former fad dieter Courtney Challies puts it best: Fad diets get your hopes up and are worse for you emotionally than being heavy is. She lost 50 pounds last summer by attending a New York weight-loss program for teens, Camp Shane; many teens successfully practice lifestyle changes taught at reputable weight-loss camps. “Fad diets … never worked, and they never will,” says Nancy Lenhart, founder of Camp La Jolla in California. Other proven programs, such as Weight Watchers, are available to teens with parents’ permission and a doctor’s recommendation. Anyone who wants to lose weight should discuss options with his or her doctor first to determine a healthful plan.

The chart below details the pitfalls of three diets popular with teens. Read the facts behind the plans, and get the lowdown from teens who learned about fad dieting the hard way.

Discuss

* What is a fad diet? (one that promises quick results with minimal effort, usually through rapid fluid loss)

* How are the diets in the chart examples of fad diets? (Instead of teaching dieters to permanently alter eating habits in a healthful way, they rely on gimmicks.)

* What makes teenagers susceptible to fad diets? (Teens typically struggle with body-image issues and may, think they are overweight when they’re not.)

* What do you think is the best way to pursue weight loss? (Answers will vary.)

Do

Ask students to critically evaluate a diet they see described in a magazine or a book. Factors to consider include how much weight loss is promised (anything more than 2 to 3 pounds per week is considered unsafe), how the diet works, which foods are included/excluded and what their nutritional value is, what claims are made about the diet’s superiority, and whether the diet includes a maintenance phase.

Resources

At mypyramid.gov, students can get a tailored version of the U.S. government’s nutritional guidelines.

The Diet for Teenagers Only, by Carrie Wiatt and Barbara Schroeder (Regan Books, 2005), is a teen-friendly guide to eating healthfully, avoiding pitfalls, and feeling good.

Sometimes a fad diet leads to something worse; Something Fishy is a supportive online community for people struggling with eating disorders: www.somethingfishy.org.

Atkins Diet

Plan The program allows unlimited protein basics and severely limits carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, and fruit.

Pros: The diet is relatively easy to follow  and doesn’t require the purchase of any special products.

Cons:

* Dieter has increased risk of heart disease due to too much fat and cholesterol intake.

* The lack of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can lead to constipation due to lack of dietary fiber.

* High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets may make a dieter feel tired, weak, and nauseous. (1)

Teens “I lost 5 pounds but gained it back who in a week. … I was really tired, tried and I felt deprived:” it –Judy, 15, Easton, Conn. say:

Beverly Hills Diet

Plan The plan begins with a 35-day program basics in which specific items are eaten at each meal. In the first 10 days, only fruit is permitted; on day 11, carbohy-drates are added; on day 19, protein is added.

Pros: Users report rapid initial weight loss.

Cons:

* Essential nutrients are lost in the first half of the program.

* The plan encourages consuming a single food for an entire day.

* The unrealistic eating plan leaves dieters craving “forbidden” foods.

Teens “I choked down papaya and had horrible who stomach pains during prune day. Finally, tried I gave up because I was bored eating it the same thing, and I was really tired.” say:
–Scott, 17, Daly City, Calif.

Slim-Fast Diet

Plan The program includes two meal-basics replacement shakes, three snacks, and one “sensible” meal each day.

Pros: The program encourages an intake of 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, daily exercise of 30 to 60 minutes, and healthful lifestyle changes.

Cons:

* The average shake is between 170 and 280 calories and has between 7 and 20 grams of protein, far less than a typical meal.
That can lead to binge eating or snacking shortly after drinking a shake. (2)

* Slim-Fast products must be purchased.

Teens “I was always hungry, and my energy who was at the low end of the scale tried because I wasn’t getting enough
it protein.”
say: say: –Lyss, 17, Wheeling, Ill.

(1.) National Institutes of Health (2.) American Dietetic Association

Wired for health: you can find plenty of health advice online. But is any of it trustworthy?

Let’s say you have a “friend” with an embarrassing health problem. And let’s say that friend doesn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about it. But the person wants to know what’s going on with his or her body–and fast. Hypothetically speaking, whom might your friend ask?

embarrassing-problemIf you guessed “Google,” you’re not alone. There’s a good reason the situation above sounds familiar. Approximately half of all American teens now use the Internet to get the scoop on health topics ranging from sexually transmitted diseases to diet and exercise. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand why. The Web is a quick way to find information on just about any subject. But even more important, it’s confidential. Questions about eating disorders, abuse, and other personal topics can be difficult to discuss face-to-face. The Internet offers an easy way for teens to explore awkward questions without embarrassment.

But Web answers are worthwhile only if you know where to get the best information. Many teens don’t. “Although students may be experts at finding online music or movie reviews, research shows that these skills will not necessarily help them find high-quality health information online,” says Derek Hansen, a researcher from the University of Michigan School of Information. In 2004, Hansen and his colleagues designed an experiment to see how middle and high school students went about using the Web to find answers to specific health questions, such as “What foods are healthy for a diabetic to eat?” The results? “The teens were unable to find the answer to about one-third of the questions,” Hansen says.

Are Net-savvy youths really in the dark about how to find reliable health information? Current Health put Hansen’s theory to the test, pitting teen volunteers against the Wild, Wild Web in a search for medical knowledge.

The Web Search Begins

Like 60 percent of American teenagers, Eric, Madison, and Patrick–three high schoolers from Highland, N.Y.–are regular commuters on the information superhighway. “I go online every day to IM friends and download songs,” Eric says, and Patrick and Madison use the Internet for homework, clothes shopping, and games. CH asked these Net know-it-alls to do an online search to find the causes of, and treatments for, a common teen problem: acne.

CH looked on as the search team went to work. The three started by entering the word acne into the search engine Google. The first 10 of a whopping 3.2 million results popped up. The first site on the list touted the virtues of a certain pimple cream, showing zit-free photos of Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. “I’ve seen a commercial on TV for this [product],” says Eric. Madison chimes in with his own assessment. “I’d trust this site,” he says. “If celebrities say it’s good, maybe I’d use it.”

Other sites near the top of the list had little to say about acne causes or prevention. After a half hour of searching, the trio finally found a site near the bottom of the page, www.acne.org, that had a diagram illustrating how acne breakouts occur, a list of acne myths, and a page of FAQs. “Wow, I thought chocolate did cause zits,” comments Eric. “This site is a lot better than the other stuff we’ve been looking at.”

Important Online Clues

health-issuesHow can you tell if the sites you find are any good? To evaluate medical Web sites, use these important clues.

* Whose Site Is It? When you click on a site, look to see who is responsible for its content. Sites sponsored by reliable health organizations usually have a logo or banner clearly visible on the home page.

Knowing a site’s URL can be helpful too. Addresses ending in .com most often indicate a commercial site, which means that the owner is a business. Be aware that those sites exist to sell you something. Actors and singers are sometimes paid to endorse the products or services mentioned on the sites; unlike Madison, you shouldn’t trust a site’s info just because a celebrity says you should. Know that there are noncommercial alternatives for online information. University and educational organization sites usually end in .edu, nonprofit groups use .org, and government agencies use .gov.

Also check the site’s “About Us” page. “The purpose of a Web site is related to who runs and pays for it,” says Deborah Pearson, a public health nurse with the National Cancer Institute.

* Sponsored Searches. Remember that popular search engines are businesses too. “Some Internet search engines ‘sell’ top space to advertisers who pay them to do so,” reports Elizabeth Kirk, author of the Johns Hopkins University’s Sheridan Libraries site on Web information. Those companies realize that most people automatically click on the first site that pops up–just as Eric and his friends did. Simply because a site is listed first does not mean it is the best resource.

* Author or Authority? Is the author of the site’s content listed on the page? If so, the page “should give biographical information, including the author’s position, institutional affiliation, and address,” according to Kirk. Having trouble deciding if a site is legit? The online directory MedlinePlus checks out medical sites and lists only those deemed reliable, explains Dr. Nell Izenberg, a professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

* The Latest Info. Advances in health and medicine happen every day. Look to see if a site indicates when it was last updated. If the page hasn’t been revised since 1998, you are surely not getting the latest news. Another giveaway to an outdated site can be its external links; click on a few and see if they take you to active pages. “More than a few ‘dead’ links could mean that the site is not well maintained,” according to the University of Connecticut Health Center.

Search Skills

Still having trouble finding what you need? That’s not unusual. Students in Hansen’s experiment made several basic mistakes. “Search terms were frequently misspelled, and some students would quickly scroll up and down a page, missing the answer even when it was available,” Hansen says.

To avoid those pitfalls, refine your search technique. “Use the spell correction feature,” he advises, “and provide additional search terms if the results are too general.” For example, had our teen searchers entered the term acne causes instead of just acne, they would have found relevant sites sooner.

Another tip: Slow down. “Several times, students who were unable to answer a question had actually visited a site where the answer was available–but they gave up on the site too early,” Hansen says.

Diagnosis: See Your M.D.

At last you’ve navigated your way to a site that provides reliable, up-to-date information. You’ve found out all there is to know about that hangnail on your pinkie. End of story? Not quite. Online info isn’t meant to help you diagnose yourself. If you’re concerned that you might have a medical condition, talk to your parents or family doctor. “Any Web site that tries to diagnose you online can’t be trusted,” says Izenberg.

Four sites for sore eyes.

Looking for a medical-information site that won’t make your eyes glaze over? If so, join the club. “Many sites assume more medical knowledge than adolescents typically possess, or [they] present the information in such a sterile manner that teens are typically turned off by it,” says Derek Hansen of the University of Michigan.

CH did some surfing and came up with four trustworthy, user-friendly health sites.

1. www.teenshealth.org. This site is full of solid information on countless issues. Fun facts and quizzes, as well as stimulating graphics, keep it lively. The site is operated by the Nemours Foundation, an educational health organization.

2. www.pamf.org/teen. Maintained by California’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation, this site has sections on drugs and alcohol, dealing with emotions, and sexual health. In addition to an “ask the expert” link, the site also lists help lines and hotlines and has a prescription drug database.

3. www.iwannaknow.org. This site by the American Social Health Association addresses sexual health and STDs in a no-nonsense way. The site has a live forum for online chat, a glossary of terms, and an “ask the expert” link.

4. www.ipl.org/div/teen. The University of Michigan School of Information’s Teenspace site has sections on health topics, including hygiene, sex, and eating disorders, as well as links to info on careers, dating, and conflict resolution.

Web Stats

What health subjects are 15-to 25-year-olds researching online?

Specific diseases 50%
Sexual health 44%
Weight 25%
Drugs or alcohol 23%
Mental illness 23%
Violence 23%
Smoking 19%

Source: Generation
Rx.com: How Young
People Use the Internet
for Health Information,
Kaiser Family Foundation
Sparling, Polly

The family that lost 250 pounds: when Mary Grove and her sons joined weight watchers, they had no idea what to expect. One year later, they’re big-time losers–and proud of it! (kids’ health)

fat-familuMary Grove still remembers the moment she realized that her family’s weight–and life–had to change. One afternoon two and a half years ago, her son Ben, then nine, pulled his new yearbook out of his backpack. There among the smiling faces of his fourth-grade class was a fat kid. A very fat kid. Her son. “I couldn’t believe it,” Mary says. “I was like, Who is that kid? I didn’t realize he was so heavy until I looked at that picture.”

Ben, with 140 pounds on his slight four-foot ten-inch frame, wasn’t the only one in the family with a problem. His brother, Alex, then eight, was four feet seven and 150 pounds. And Mary herself, at 41 and five eight, weighed 279. “I never thought I’d be fat and 40,” she says. But in her 30s–after she got divorced, obtained sole custody of her two boys, and returned to school to earn a master’s degree in education–the pounds started piling on. No wonder: Her hectic schedule spelled diet doomsday. “I was running the kids back and forth to babysitters, running to class, spending a lot of time in the car, and not thinking about what I was putting in my mouth,” she recalls.

The same laissez-faire attitude prevailed at the Jacksonville, Florida, home the family shares with Mary’s sister, Mickie, 51. “It was a food free-for-all,” Mary explains. “Nobody really watched what they ate. The four of us could polish off nearly two large pizzas.” After the yearbook epiphany, Mary decided to gradually broach the topic of losing weight to her sons. When Alex came home from school in tears after being teased about being overweight, she gently told him, “Well, Alex, you are. We all are.” Over the next year, the family gradually “worked up the motivation” to slim down. Then, when Mickie–five nine and 245 pounds at the time–was diagnosed with type II diabetes, everyone agreed it was time to really do something.

A friend from church mid Mary that he, his wife, and his daughter had all joined Weight Watchers and were making progress. Inspired, the Groves attended their first meeting on April 30, 2001, and met the 40-some people who would form their weekly support group.

“The hardest thing was getting started,” says Ben, a well-spoken 12-year-old. Among other challenges, the family had to get used to keeping a food journal and learning the program’s well-known Points system, which assigns a numerical value to every type of food imaginable.

Armed with nutrition information from Weight Watcher the Groves cleaned out the cupboard. Candy bars were replace with oat bars. Potato chips (for points per ounce) were swapped for pretzels (two points per ounce). Mustard (no points) trumped mayonnaise (three points for three teaspoons And high-calorie sodas went down the drain. While many substitutions were subtle, the Grove boys’ new eating habits did not go unnoticed school. Ben, for one, had to defend his decision to pass up eating brownies with the guys. But “mostly, kids understood,” Ben says. “I told Alex that it’s better to be picked on for losing than for gaining.”

Weekly weigh-ins showed that the family’s junk food boycott was working. With every star they earned for losing five pounds, the boys wet quick to thank their mom, says June Day-Negron, leader of the family Weight Watchers group. “And the were so proud of her.” For Mary, a major part of the weight-loss equation was daily exercise. Fitting it in meant leaving her teaching job at 3:15 sharp so she could pick up the boys from school and get to the YMCA by 4:00. Thirty minutes on the treadmill and 25 minutes of weights later, she would head home to start supper (no longer to be eaten in front of the TV). “I wasn’t as hungry after working out,” says Mary, “and I had a lot more energy in the evening to make dinner and the next day’s lunches.”

Ben quickly noticed the benefits of trimming down during his twice-weekly flag football games. “When I was fat, things didn’t go so well,” he says. “But when I lost just ten pounds I was able to do way more.” Alex, too got a boost on the field; as he slimmed down, he was picked to play receiver and even quarterback, instead of the more stationary center position.

One year after they attended their first Weight Watchers meeting, the Groves reported an amazing group loss. Alex had dropped 30 pounds, and Ben had lost 41. Their aunt Mickie had shaved off 66 pounds, and their mom, a staggering 126 pounds! So far, the scale has held steady for Mary and Ben. In fact, Mary says her older son is still strict with himself, planning days in advance to sacrifice enough calories so he can enjoy pizza or fried chicken at church get-togethers. As a result, she has encouraged him to loosen the reins a little.

Alex, meanwhile, has struggled. Like his aunt, he gained back about ten pounds–probably, Mary says, because he got nervous during the state’s standardized-testing period this past spring and cheated on his diet. “I try not to get on him too much, but it’s hard not to,” she adds. Mary gets frustrated when she finds candy wrappers around the house or when Alex claims he can figure out a food’s points just by looking at it. His big brother, on the other hand, takes a gentler approach, remembering vividly how crushing it was to look in the mirror and dislike what he saw. “It’s been harder on Alex,” Ben explains. “He’s just a kid. So sometimes I’ll just say, `Don’t worry, Alex. We’re all doing this together.'”

healthy-eating

Then Wonder why our children are bulking up? Just compare what kids
eat today with what they ate 20 years ago. And look at how active they
are–and were. The changes are pretty dramatic, except in one
surprising area: TV. Kids today are glued to the tube about
23 hours per week–one hour less than their 1980s
counterparts!

–Delia Hammock, M.S., R.D.

                                            THEN

Amount of sugar, honey, and other
  sweeteners (per day)                       26 teaspoons
Number of snacks (per day)                   1.1
Number of meals eaten away from home         17 percent
Number of meals eaten at a fast-food
  restaurant                                 1 in 10
Typical soda size (boys)                     7 ounces
Typical soda size (girls)                    6 ounces
Largest soda at a 7-Eleven                   32-oz. Big Gulp
Average size of a bagel or muffin            2 to 3 ounces
Largest serving of McDonald's fries          4 ounces
Time spent playing computer or video games   None
High school kids taking a daily gym class    42 percent

                                             NOW

Amount of sugar, honey, and other
  sweeteners (per day)                       34 teaspoons
Number of snacks (per day)                   1.8
Number of meals eaten away from home         30 percent
Number of meals eaten at a fast-food
  restaurant                                 1 in 3
Typical soda size (boys)                     19 ounces
Typical soda size (girls)                    12 ounces
Largest soda at a 7-Eleven                   64-oz. Double Gulp
Average size of a bagel or muffin            4 to 7 ounces
Largest serving of McDonald's fries          7 ounces
Time spent playing computer or video games   7 hours per week
High school kids taking a daily gym class    27 percent

Fresh Air Is Important When Playing Outdoor Activities

Nowadays, the gym is increasingly flourishing everywhere, from affordable small room to different luxurious centers around the city. Instead of wandering among different spin bike reviews about devices such as recumbent or stationary bike to pick one machine at home, people can go to these places to work out in their free time.

outdoor-sport

On the other hand, outdoor activities bring lots of benefits to individuals. For example, it strengthens both your health and mind. However, if you are practicing exercises in the wrong places, you are likely to become sick after that.

Practicing around the dirty atmosphere

These days, people are surrounded by the siege of noise, air pollution in large cities; this is the most worrying problem. In some places, gases cause air pollution in densely populated areas is largely due to vehicles caused, especially motorcycles. Air Quality Index (AQI) for roadside areas and nearby residential areas, including luxurious apartments, also not high enough to create a healthy environment for society.

In fact, the amount of atmosphere you inhale everyday depends on your level of physical activities and breathing when you are doing outdoor exercises. Increasing physical activity will level up the breathing rate so that it is better to find some fresh places.

Find some fresh places for children

Kids will inhale more atmosphere than adults when playing outside the house. To illustrate, their breath is increasing more than 5 times when playing high-intensity activities. When running, the frequency inhale higher compared to walking, so the volume of pollutants will also higher for 2 times.

In addition, unhealthy people or older people are tend to breathe more often than healthy people. Therefore, if people are doing outdoor sports at polluted places, they are more likely to inhale dirty things which can damage badly to the body.

Bad results when working out in dirty places

illnessesAir pollution affects badly to the health of both adults and children. There are several illnesses include:

  • Reduce lung function
  • Cause chronic bronchitis and acute asthma
  • Increase risk of lung cancer and heart attack
  • Cause stroke and hypertension

In addition, when exposure for long periods with the dirty pollution, individuals are accelerating the aging process which can cause impaired lung function and reduced life expectancy. Moreover, air pollution also adversely affect pregnant women, the elderly and children who are living with the disease.

Important things when choosing your workout places

basketballIt is obvious if you want to practice outdoor exercises when your surrounding environment is dirty. These are some things to keep in mind that individuals can consider to pick up one fresh place for themselves.

  • Avoid practicing sports in the high-rated polluted places such as along the busiest roads during peak times. And remember that you should pay attention to the AQI level in the area of ​​doing outdoor activities.
  • You should practice in places with many trees, rivers. On the other hand, places like water parks or a quiet residential area will bring a clean environment for your process.
  • The best time for doing outdoor exercise is from 7am to 8pm. This is the time when the concentration of pollutants is at the lowest and the ambient temperature decreases. If individuals are unable to practice during the “ideal” time, avoid rush hour traffic.
  • Check your body when there are warning symptoms such as cough, chest tightness, pain during deep breathing. When being in this situation, just stop practicing and go to see your doctor. On the other hand, reduce the duration and intensity exercise, drink adequate water when working out in hot and humid environment.
  • If you live in areas of high pollution without outdoor exercise conditions, you can practice in the indoor environment. However, the atmosphere in the house can also be contaminated. Therefore, homeowners need to clean machines regularly such as air conditioners, vacuum carpets and avoid tobacco smoke.
  • For people who have cardiovascular disease and they are sensitive to air pollution, they need to consult with doctor to pick up the most suitable outdoor exercise regime.

Doing exercises outside the house is very good for the health. Individuals have more chance to engage with the natural atmosphere. However, pay attention to the air and surrounding places to maintain healthy life for both you and your family.

A big problem: weight is on the rise in the U.S., especially among children and teens. Find out why obesity is being called the epidemic of our time

Rocky’s Struggle with OBESITY

obesity2It’s 1:40 a.m. Rocky is talking softly to himself and his tape recorder. He’s thinking about his life and what a big difference it would make if he could lose weight.

“That would make everybody happy. Why can’t I just say ‘no, no’? See, right now I want to eat. Wow, I just thought about ice cream in the refrigerator that I saved yesterday. See, now I bet you five dollars I’m going to eat that ice cream eventually tonight. I’m going to try not to. I don’t want to eat. I’m not going to eat. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not going to eat.”

Samr “Rocky” Tayeh hit the airwaves late last year when a piece he produced for the award-winning “Radio Rookies” program was broadcast by public radio station WNYC in New York. In “My Struggle with Obesity,” the then 15-year-old Palestinian-American from Brooklyn described what it’s like to be 6 foot 1 and weigh 393 pounds.

He recorded his thoughts and conversations with his family for months. Then he distilled the results into a 12-minute story that was also broadcast nationally on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” program.

Rocky, a tenth grader at Edward R. Morrow High School in Brooklyn, doesn’t skirt the issue. “I’m the fattest kid in my house. I’m the fattest person on my block. I’m the fattest teenager I know.”

He wants to do something about his obesity.

imagesHis family tries to help. His dad says he loves him, heavy or not heavy. “I just worry about you because I’m not here forever. You have to lose all that heavy weight and love yourself. You’re a very handsome fella, very smart … and this is my only problem. I worry about you every day.”

His twin sister Samih (5 foot 9, skinny) teases him: “A turtle could chase you.” He duct-tapes a sheet of motivational thoughts to his shelf, but Samih thinks it’s a joke, and soon he does too. He puts on a tai-bo tape–but soon switches back to watching TV.

Rocky, a friendly guy with a great radio voice, had an overwhelming response to his piece from all around the country. The positive feedback increased his resolve. “Mentally,” he says, “I’m totally questioning everything now, like why do I eat, why don’t I. My family’s questioning. My twin sister is saying, ‘Come on. You did a story about it. Now let’s try to do something with it. Stop talking. Let’s get moving.'”

He doesn’t like what he calls “sad sympathy” about his obesity. He has some thoughts for anyone who, like him, is struggling with a weight problem. “Always strive for the best, and basically, you are what you are. Yeah, you have to lose weight. I’m not going to lie and say, ‘Oh, weight is good. Keep it on and be happy with it.’ You have to come to terms. You have to accept it. You have to start losing weight for you, not for anybody else, but for your health.”

Rocky’s problem with weight is similar to that of many Americans. It is a major health problem for U.S. kids, teens, and adults. In the last 40 years, health experts have clearly made the point that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the country. Today, the same experts are targeting another important health risk: obesity, or being extremely overweight.

It’s no coincidence that health pros sometimes compare the dangers of smoking and the dangers of being obese. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks behaviors that put people at high risk for premature death, disability, or chronic (long-lasting) diseases. Risk number one is smoking and other forms of tobacco use. In second place is eating high-fat and low-fiber foods. Number three is not engaging in enough physical activity. Both second and third place factors have a lot to do with overweight and obesity.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says that nearly one-third of all adults in the United States are obese. The figure nearly doubled between 1980 and 2000. This fact gives obesity its status as an epidemic, which is defined as a quick and large increase in a disease or health condition within a population.

Much of the attention on obesity is focused on young Americans. The most recent national health statistics show that an estimated 15 percent of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are overweight. This amounts to almost 9 million young people. The percentage is three times higher than it was in 1980.

The figures have health experts concerned because they say that overweight adolescents are at increased risk of becoming overweight or obese adults. It has been estimated that one-half of overweight school-age children remain overweight as adults.

Health Risks Are Huge

Obesity increases a person’s risk for a number of serious diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

For example, people who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure. They are also more likely to have high levels of triglycerides (blood fats) and LDL cholesterol (a fat-like substance called the “bad” cholesterol). These are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Also people with more body fat can have higher levels of substances in the bloodstream that cause tissue inflammation. Inflammation in blood vessels and throughout the body may raise heart disease risk. Inflammation can also be a risk factor for other problems. One is sleep apnea, a condition in which a person stops breathing for short periods during the night. Another is osteoarthritis, a painful joint disorder.

Being overweight may increase the risk of developing several types of cancer, including cancers of the colon, esophagus, and kidney. In fact, some scientists believe that fat cells may make hormones that affect cell growth and lead to cancer.

All of these are diseases that normally affect adults. Health professionals, however, report that growing numbers of overweight children and teens who are overweight have risk factors for these diseases. New research shows that an increased number of children are already developing type 2 diabetes, which generally begins in adulthood.

Being overweight at any age puts increased stress on weight-bearing joints and can create respiratory (breathing) problems. In addition, being overweight often comes with a stigma that causes social and emotional problems. It takes a toll on self-esteem.

Body Image

Tailor Series - Measuring

Body image and self-esteem are major concerns for most teens. Many think they are overweight when, in fact, their weight is normal. This is especially true in adolescence, when body shape changes as boys and girls grow.

“Teens are already very concerned about body size,” says Joanne Ikeda, a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on childhood obesity. “Many are in fact preoccupied and very dissatisfied with their bodies no matter what size they are–whether they happen to be thin or ‘medium.'”

Another factor to consider is heredity. The genes you inherit from your parents account for about 75 to 80 percent of your body fat. The remaining 20 to 25 percent comes from what scientists call “environmental influences.” These influences relate to your personal eating habits, fitness, and physical activity.

Lifestyle Makes a Difference

“Teens should be concerned about obesity if, in fact, the cause of their being overweight is an unhealthy lifestyle,” says Ikeda. She feels lifestyle is the key to good health, not a person’s size or shape. The risks associated with overweight and obesity are not so much a matter of body size but the degree of physical fitness.

“When you go to the doctor’s office, he or she doesn’t only weigh you to assess your health,” Ikeda points out. Taking blood pressure, blood tests, and other evaluations are necessary to tell the doctor about your general health and fitness. One important indicator of that is your “metabolic fitness,” which is related to blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar. (Metabolism is a series of chemical reactions in the body that convert calories to energy.) People who have good metabolic fitness burn calories effectively–both when they are physically active and at rest.

Those who are at increased risk for health problems are people who are both overweight and metabolically unfit. “But,” cautions Ikeda, “large children who have healthy lifestyles are probably just meant to be–are genetically programmed to be–large, and there is very little if anything they can do about changing their body size and shape.

“We will always have size diversity in our society,” she says, “but the most important thing is for people of those different sizes and shapes to maintain healthy lifestyles.”

Set Goals

set-goal

So, what can you do? For one thing, think behavior, not dieting. “Weight is not a behavior,” adds Ikeda. “Having a goal of weighing 10 pounds less is sort of ludicrous, because even that you can’t accomplish without setting behavioral goals.”

Amazingly, those goals can be quite simple. Instead of going on a diet (see sidebar above), check out the U.S. Dietary Guidelines (www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines). The 2000 guidelines emphasize balance, moderation, and variety in food choices, with a special emphasis on grain products, vegetables, and fruits. Watch for the brand-new 2005 guidelines one year from now.

To get moving, start with a plan–and think variety here too. It’s recommended you fit in 60 minutes of fitness-promoting activities five days a week. A 30-minute gym class usually takes care of half of that. Other activities can be entirely of your design and should be a combination of things you really like doing. Most activities you can do on your own, or with a friend–be it swimming, biking, jogging or fast walking, or jumping rope, spinning indoor–or playing sports like tennis, baseball, or soccer. Even little bursts of activity count, such as carrying things up and down stairs, dancing to a favorite song, or helping with chores.

Seek Support

For all this, it’s a good idea to have an adult in your corner. Your mom or dad can help you design, build, and carry out a good eating and exercise plan. For any questions about your weight, ask your doctor.

When you get down to it, though, it’s your call. Ikeda, who works with many young people, says she finds that teens are interested in taking more responsibility for themselves, at a time when they can see a future of independence. “You are making your food choices,” she tells teens. “There’s no one watching over you to make sure you’re well nourished except yourself. It’s time to take responsibility for caring for your body.”

REALITY CHECK

Does Dieting Work?

Not necessarily, according to a large three-year study of young people by Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The study, published in October 2003, found that frequent dieting appears to result in long-term weight gain.

The study began in 1996 with nearly 17,000 9- to 14-year-olds. At the beginning, 30 percent of the girls and 16 percent of the boys identified themselves as “dieting.” For three years, researchers followed up. They asked the girls and boys questions about dieting, weight change, and exercise and eating habits. In the end, the scientists found that dieters gained more weight than non-dieters. For example, a 14-year-old girl who dieted frequently gained about 2 pounds per year more than other 14-year-old girls who didn’t diet.

“Our study found that dieting was counterproductive,” said one researcher.

I Think I Can

You can take small, determined steps to reach a goal. Each of
the following activities, behaviors, and attitudes can help you
take steps away from being overweight. In fact, they can help
anyone lead a healthier lifestyle. First, decide whether you will
take the step. After two weeks, check if you have taken the
step and write down how you've done it.

Physical Activities                             I will    I have    How

[check] Participate more actively in PE           ()        ()
        class. (I don't have to be the
        best; I'll just try harder.)

[check] Do one physical activity or more          ()        ()
        on my own for at least five days
        a week (such as bike riding,
        walking, swimming, chores).
        Specify which:--

[check] Watch one half-hour less TV a day         ()        ()
        (or even more). These are some
        programs to skip:--

[check] Cut video game playing by 30              ()        ()
        minutes a day.

Eating Behavior

[check] Drink fewer sweetened sodas.              ()        ()

[check] Eat more fruits and vegetables.           ()        ()

[check] Eat less fast food.                       ()        ()

[check] Read food labels.                         ()        ()

[check] Eat less fat.                             ()        ()

[check] Eat breakfast.                            ()        ()

[check] Eat fewer unhealthy snacks                ()        ()
        (with lots of sugar and/or fat).

[check] Keep a food diary.                        ()        ()

Attitudes

[check] Set limits on unhealthy                   ()        ()
        activities/behaviors.

[check] Avoid using food as a reward.             ()        ()

[check] Avoid using food as a punishment.         ()        ()

[check] Avoid using food as a consolation.        ()        ()

[check] Talk with my parents about my goals.      ()        ()

[check] Talk with my doctor about any             ()        ()
        questions I have about my weight,
        shape, or size.

[check] Talk with a good friend about my          ()        ()
        goals.

OBJECTIVES

Students will be able to educate and advocate better nutrition and increased physical activity among their peers and in the community. Students will demonstrate an understanding of key concepts related to proper nutrition and maintenance of healthy body weight.

REVIEW/DISCUSS

* How are being overweight and obesity related to the problems of premature death, disability, and chronic disease? (High-fat, low-fiber diets and being sedentary are ranked second and third in terms of contributing to premature death, disability, and chronic disease. Both are related to being overweight and obesity.)

* Obesity is described as epidemic in our country. Whatdoes that mean? (That description refers to the fact that there has been a big increase within a short period of time of persons who are obese.)

* How prevalent is obesity in children and adolescents ages 6-19 years? (An estimated 15 percent of children and adolescents ages 6-19 years are overweight.)

* Identify several health risks associated with being obese. (Obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, respiratory problems, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, and arthritis.)

* Beyond diseases associated with being obese, what other concerns might a young person have about being obese? (Because young people are so concerned with their body image and appearance, being obese may cause a person’s self-esteem to suffer.)

* What is meant by the expression “metabolic fitness?” (When someone has a good metabolic fitness, that means they are able to burn the calories they get from their foods effectively–both when they are physically active and when they are at rest.)

* What are some goals you could set that might help you to avoid being overweight or obese? (Answers will vary, but may include: You could set reasonable goals such as: increase your level of daily activity to 30 minutes of fitness-promoting activities per week; try new fitness activities until you find something you enjoy enough to carry through with over time; do some everyday things in a more energy-consuming way, such as using stairs rather than elevators.)

ACTIVITIES

1. Have students prepare an event to increase awareness of the obesity problem and give tips on what people can do. Resources available to help them develop a plan include the Nutrition & Physical Activity segment of the CDC. This resource has information about marketing your message in a tool kit called Physical Activity: Ready. Set. It’s Everywhere You Go, which can be found at www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/ physical/health_professionals/readyset_toolkit.htm

2. Invite a speaker to discuss proper nutrition and maintenance of healthy body weight. Good sources might include your state or community department of health, local health insurers, Team Nutrition (which can be located at http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn), a local culinary school, and so.

* TEACHER RESOURCES

Be sure to check out the CDC’s Nutrition & Physical Activity segment, which can be found at http://www.cdc. gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/. There are many links from this site directing you to lay-person friendly resources.

News You Can Use

In support of the maintenance of healthy weight, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formed an Obesity Working Group to reexamine strategies that help consumers lead healthier lives through better nutrition. The FDA is now reviewing public comments on obesity issues. To find out more about this working group and the process the FDA has begun, go to www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/ obesity.html.

Shrink the kids: can weight be talked away?

Research indicates that family therapy can help obese children from becoming obese teenagers. A study found that therapy combined with a diet and exercise program were more effective in helping overweight children than behavioral treatment alone.

obesity

Somewhere between the basement and the attic, you already have the device that may prevent you plump preteen from becoming an obese adolescent. It’s called the rest of the family.

Most overweight kids balloon into their teens. But a new Swedish study showed that when parents and siblings got involved, overweight kids didn’t gain as much weight. Researchers uncovered this when they gave 19 obese 10-year-olds exercise instructions and a low-calories diet strategy. A group of 20 others got that recipe plus six sessions (over 18 months) of family therapy–talk sessions with the whole family and a family therapist that help everyone sort out what’s working (or not) in how the family functions. For instance, family members might learn how to problem solve, nurture, set limits with one another and talk about feelings. By getting the family to work better together, the child receives the nurturing needed to prevent emotional overeating and the limits required to develop a healthy lifestyle.

family-therapy

By the time the obese kids reached age 14, those whose clans helped out stopped the bulge, while everyone else gained weight (Pediatrics, May 1993). Based on this study, if an average, overweight 10-year-old (Starting at 100 pounds) had family therapy in conjunction with behavioral treatment, he might reach his teens weighing 138 pounds. On diet and exercise alone, he might be closer to 145, but without anything, his weight could Inflate to 150.

American researchers say this study is the first published evidence to confirm what they’ve suspected all along. “We’ve seen for some time that it’s only when you have an impact on the family functioning that weight loss persists in the child for the long terms,” says Laurel Mellin, R.D., director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Obesity at the University of California, San Francisco. That’s because family therapy doesn’t just treat the pounds once they’re on, she says. It also helps pull the plug on what’s luring the child’s hand to the cookie jar in the first place. That’s why many child-obesity programs conducted by hospitals already weave together lifestyle and family therapy in caring for obese children.

The bonus for the household with a chunky child is that most families end up with more than a slim teen, says Mellin. “The whole family gets an opportunity to become closer. And parents find they feel better about their parenting.” Check with your family doctor or call the SHAPE-DOWN Program Hotline at (415) 453-8886 for information on how to find a program with a family therapist in your area.

THE QUICK FIX

Frustrated dieters have been quietly spreading the word about a controversial use of mood meds: effortless weight loss. Elizabeth Weil investigates the questionable trend.

weightloss1Everybody wants to look like the women on Justin Gelband‘s listlithe, luscious, toned, and tightand when prospective clients approach him, the New York-based trainer doesn’t just ask which shows and shoots they’re preparing for, he asks them if they’re clean. Gelband isn’t inquiring about cocaine. He’s not even asking about cigarettes or alcohol, though he cares about that, too. “It’s become a huge fad to use prescription drugs to lose weight,” he told me. “It’s even more everyday clients than it is the models.”

Some confess their pharmaceutical habits right away, telling Gelband they’re taking Adderall or Wellbutrin or any number of drugs that doctors prescribe off-label to help melt away pounds. Others are more coy. But partway through his workouts, which combine boxing, yoga, and Pilatesworkouts, incidentally, that have brought supermodels into pre-baby shape in less than three months without any medicinal edgeGelband always knows. “She fades because she’s not eating or because she’s taken something that gives her a short lift but then she can’t hold up the intensity of the workout,” he says. “It’s a big epidemic right now.”

In the Mad Men era, women chain-smoked and guzzled coffee to slide into their pencil skirts. Now they’re dipping into their medicine cabinets, maybe even the ones in their children‘s bathrooms. On the surface, this approach looks much cleaner, healthier: no ashtrays, no cancer, no stained teeth, just a discreet little pill that easily blends in with all the Yoga, Spinning (incase you need to buy a spin bike for workout at home, check out spin bike reviews here), and Gwyneth-inspired cleanses women do to maintain their figures.

For physicians, prescribing pills off-label for dieting is common and legal. Federal regulations allow doctors to prescribe almost every drug to patients for any reason at any time. (The rules are different for pharmaceutical companies; for them, promoting off-label drug use can be a felonyand a frequently prosecuted one, too.) As a result, women are heading to the pharmacy with hopes of shedding a dress size.

This gray market for thinness is hard to track, as much of the evidence for it exists in private, often coded conversations in doctors’ offices and shady Internet dealings. But culturally, the trend is predictable, perhaps even inevitable. Americans, as a group, have a convoluted and dysfunctional relationship with their weight. Our bookshelves sag with diet tomes, our gyms stay open 24 hours a day, and still the country is obese. We’re a fat country obsessed with skinnyand a quick fix.

Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration is tied in knots over the question of whether obesity is a disease or a personal failing; thus it’s been largely unable to decide whether we should treat a weight problem with pharmaceuticals in the absence of other major health risks. The FDA has been slow to approve new weight-loss drugs in the wake of the fen-phen debacle. In 1996, fen-phen, a combination of two appetite suppressantsfenfluramine and phentermine, neither of which caused significant and lasting weight loss on its ownwas hailed as a miracle cure; doctors were writing 85,000 prescriptions a week. A year later, physicians started reporting untreatable heart-valve problems in patients who took fenfluramine. By September 1997, the fen-phen craze was over. Fenfluramine was removed from the market.

slim-for-weightloss

Today, FDA-approved choices for dieters remain slim. Only one diet drug is available over the counter: Alli, a compound that prevents the body from metabolizing fat and has the unfortunate side effect of causing diarrhea in some users. A handful of meds are available by prescription. The oldest and one of the most common is phentermine, but the FDA authorizes its use only for twelve weeks (because there are no data on its long-term safety). Last summer, the FDA approved two new drugs: Belviq, known generically as lorcaserin, is also an appetite suppressant and works by activating a single serotonin receptor in the brain, making a person feel full. The second drug, Qsymia, is a combination of phentermine and an anti-seizure drug called Topamax; it seems not to have the negative side effects of fenfluramine, the problem component in fen-phen. All three are sanctioned only for patients with body-mass indexes over 27 (170 pounds for a woman who is five feet six inches tall) who have weight-related health problems or those with BMIs over 30. People seeking a medical edge to drop five or ten or even fifteen pounds have no “on-label” option.

This is not preventing relatively trim women from taking pills. AJ Johnson, a celebrity wellness coach in Los Angeles, sees a lot of use among her already svelte clients and blames what she calls “our multitasking lifestyle.” “We take a cocktail of medications just to get through the day,” she says. “We take something to burn fat, something else to sleep.” Just recently, Johnson herself went through a dark phase, using supplements and all sorts of pills to try to burn her already limited body fat. She wanted to look not just fitwhich, as a trainer, she already wasbut exceptional. “I live in Hollywood. It’s me on camera, not just my clients. I wanted to take my body to a whole new level.”

At first Johnson tried meeting friends for hikes instead of for drinks. But she didn’t see the results she wanted. So she started taking pills. The binge ended badly, of course. Johnson called her doctor, complaining of chest pains. He asked her to come in for an appointment and bring everything she was taking. “Here I was, thinking I’m Miss Clean, and I filled a Whole Foods shopping bag. I couldn’t believe I’d become that girl who takes six pills a day. I was so embarrassed. I’m supposed to know how this all works.” As Johnson can attest, even those focused on health and wellness can succumb to the overwhelming pressures to be thin. “You think you’re not included and then you’re sneaking your friend’s asthma inhaler because you heard it suppresses appetite.”

Jackie Keller, also a wellness coach in Los Angeles, notes a related phenomenon: high achievers overcome by their waistlines. “People who are engaged in their careers and involved in their lives are just at wit’s end when it comes to their bodies,” says Keller. “Weight loss can seem so overwhelming. People feel completely ill equipped to handle the problem.”

Enter the 10-mg. secret weapon. Off-label drug use for weight loss is not just a Los Angeles or New York practice. Trisha Danula, a 34-year-old who lives in Fairfax, Virginia, recently lost fifteen pounds the old-fashioned wayby following a strict diet and exercise planand stayed skinny for a while, then noticed the weight creeping back. A co-worker who’d recently lost and kept off more than 50 pounds suggested she see Michael Anchors, M.D., Ph.D., a bariatric physician in Gaithersburg, Maryland. At Danula’s first appointment, Anchors counseled the five-foot-four-inch firefighter about portion size and consuming minimal sugar. Then he wrote her two prescriptions: one for phentermine, the other for Prozac, even though she was neither obese nor depressed.

“Did the pills help?” I asked Danula when I phoned her one recent afternoon.

pillShe answered with a resounding yes: “They put you in a better mood, you’re not as hungry, and they give you lots of energy.” Danula did not experience the exercise fadeout that Gelband often sees; in fact, quite the opposite. “I ended up working out twice as long as I normally would,” she said. Today she is fifteen pounds lighter and continues to take her meds.

The majority of Anchors’s patients are significantly overweight, but he believes frustrated dieters deserve pharmaceutical help to lose even a single pound. As he said, “I have 20 years’ experience with these medications. I know they’re safe. Why not?”

Paul Rivas, M.D., who runs eight weight-loss clinics in Pennsylvania and Maryland, is also enthusiastic about pharmaceutical aids. “I treat hypertension with medication. I treat high cholesterol with medication,” he told me. “I treat obesity with medication. All the same.”

In some cases, Rivas, like Anchors, pairs phentermine with a second medication, a practice known as combo-pilling. “The two big things are compulsive eating, where people eat out of stress or boredom, and cravings,” according to Rivas. Neither, he believes, can be fixed with an appetite suppressant alone. Frequently the second drug is an antidepressantone of the SSRIs (Prozac, Effexor, Celexa), which, Rivas says, are “good at curbing sweet cravings,” or Wellbutrin or another dopamine drug, which are “better for salty things like chips.” These mood drugs have the ancillary benefit of helping to lift depression and anxiety, conditions that may have been contributing to the stress or boredom eating. Still, says Rivas, drugs like Prozac and Wellbutrin “don’t do a doggone thing for weight loss by themselves. You’ve got to mix ’em and match ’em. Then you can hit.”

But all drugs have side effects, and diet pills make medical sense only if the benefits more than compensate for the risks. Among the side effects for phentermine are heart palpitations, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty sleeping; for Wellbutrin, anxiety and seizures; for Prozac, drowsiness and loss of libido. Part of the FDA’s job is to weigh a drug’s potential harms against its therapeutic value and decide in what circumstances it will do the public good. Prescribing off-label circumvents this. “By definition, if it’s off-label, there isn’t enough evidence either for a doctor or a patient to accurately analyze the benefits versus the risks,” says Sidney Wolfe, M.D., director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “Every one of these drugs has adverse side effects. No one has been able to find an appetite suppressant that doesn’t touch the heart.”

Adderall is arguably the riskiest pharmaceutical regularly used to trim down. The drug is an amphetamine and highly addictive. Its weight-loss properties are well knownin the 1960s a compound nearly identical to Adderall was sold under the brand name Obetrol as an FDA-approved “anorectic.” Obetrol was phased out because there was not enough evidence of its safety and efficacy as a diet pill (but now its on-label use is to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD). According to wellness coach Jackie Keller, some women buy it online from foreign pharmacies; others complain to their doctors about symptoms “that are thinly veiled disguises for other issues.” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Ellison, author of Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, a book that explores treatment for ADHD, including her son’s and her own, has tracked Adderall usage in recent years and found what she calls “a bulge.” “There’s a huge increase in Adderall prescriptions among women in their mid-20s,” says Ellison. “It’s the fastest-growing segment.”

Tempting as it may sound, fast-talking oneself into an Adderall prescription is not a free ride to slim. Adderall’s side effects include insomnia, depression, and severe headaches. Worse, Adderall addiction can form in just a few weeks, and those hooked may experience hallucinations, delusional thinking, abnormal heart rhythms, and numbness in the hands and feet. Withdrawal can be both unpleasant and disheartening. Along with several weeks of fatigue, panic attacks, and paranoia, users often experience appetite surges, causing them to regain the weight they lost.

“Here I was, thinking I’m Miss Clean. I couldn’t believe I’d become that girl who takes six pills a day. I was so embarrassed”

Rachel Beller, a dietitian and founder of the Beller Nutritional Institute in Beverly Hills, sees a lot of clients who are trying to wean themselves from drugs used off-label for losing weight and views the whole adventure as a big mistake. “Most of my clients are women who looked pretty good to begin with,” says Beller. “Hollywood folks, actresses. They always say they want to lose seven pounds. Not five, not ten. Seven.” Often these women arrive motivated to hone their figures the tried-and-true way, through exercise and eating right. But then what Beller calls “lazy-mind syndrome” kicks in. “At some point, they’ll flop in a chair and say, ‘It was so much easier when I was taking the drugs!’ ” There’s also a lot of fear associated with stopping the medication. Says Beller, “They all think they’re going to balloon.”

food

For those trying to lose a significant amount of weight, some risk might well be worth it. Extra pounds can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. What’s more, when a person has too much fat tissue, her metabolism is thrown off kilter, and lifestyle changes alone often can’t set it straight. As Anchors explains, “Obesity is not the result of hunger. Hunger is the result of obesity.” For this reason, in the obese, drugs can kick-start a positive-feedback loop, decreasing appetite and with it weight, allowing “the plane to get off the ground,” Anchors says.

But for those who are already trim, dabbling with drugs is bound to backfire. “If you haven’t changed your lifestyle, when you quit taking the drug you’re going to want 10,000 calories,” says wellness coach AJ Johnson. “You either do the work now or you do the work later. Much better to slow down, let shaping up take 60, not fifteen, days, and commit to the healthier way.”