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Healthy Living Newsletter - Volume 2, No. 8

Issue Date: April 29, 2005
Publisher: Mellanie True Hills, The Health & Productivity Revitalizer

Escape the hype. The Healthy Living News cuts through the health clutter to bring you reliable news to optimize your life, your health, and your work.

Are you confused about your health? You're not alone. Even the researchers seem to be confused. Much of the recent health news has been full of contradictions, so we'll try to sort some of that out here. Here are recent health findings that may impact you and your health.

  1. Is Being Overweight Good? Don't Believe It!
  2. If Bacteria Causes Heart Disease, Won't Antibiotics Wipe It Out?
  3. Your Healthy Eating Pyramid
  4. Are You Living a Healthy Lifestyle? If So, You're Very Rare.
  5. Health Findings for Women
  6. Sad, But True: E-mail Impairs You More Than Cannabis Does!
  7. Repeat of Thursday's message (in case you missed it)

1) Is Being Overweight Good? Don't Believe It!

You've undoubtedly heard the great news splashed on every TV channel, and as fodder for the late night comedians—-being overweight puts you at less risk of death than being normal weight.

Don't grab that Krispy Kreme doughnut or cheeseburger just yet. These findings, from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), directly contradict the CDC's own report last year that obesity was the number two cause of death, and was on target to overtake smoking as number one. A few months ago, the CDC recanted last year's research, and now, this latest research tells us that obesity actually ranks number seven in cause of death, not number two after all.

This also seems to directly contradict another CDC study, which indicated that obesity is shortening our life expectancy, by as much as five years, and that kids will see their life span decrease due to chronic illnesses associated with obesity.

Where did they get those facts? They just don't compute. At the same time that the CDC said that it's healthy to be overweight, other studies were again verifying that being overweight is dangerous to your health.

For example, in a study in Sweden, larger waists predicted greater risk of diabetes and heart disease. And at the same time, Circulation: the Journal of the American Heart Association, was publishing multiple studies that found that you're at a greatly increased risk of cardiovascular disease if you're overweight. For example, they found that:

  • Body fat and excess weight were associated with more cardiovascular disease risk in men.
  • Women with enlarged waists and high triglycerides had almost a five-fold increase in cardiovascular death, largely due to the apple shape being more dangerous than the pear-shape.
  • Heavy teens who were insulin resistant had 2 or more cardiovascular risk factors, whereas only 8 per cent had risk factors if they were neither heavy nor insulin resistant.

Since cardiovascular diseases are the number one and number three killers, taking nearly half of us, and all the results seems to indicate that being overweight is a significant risk factor for these diseases, the CDC's contention just don't make sense.

The CDC stats are probably related to the long-term nurses study, which found that physical activity was more important in lowering the death rate than was weight. Nurses who were physically active, but slightly overweight, had less risk than nurses with normal weight but who were less active.

However, when grouped by activity level, at every activity level, those who were overweight were more likely to die than the lighter ones. Certainly these findings are a reason for taking action if you're overweight.

So how long will it be before the CDC flip-flops again in light of the nearly overwhelming evidence that being overweight puts us at risk? It probably won't be long.

2) If Bacteria Causes Heart Disease, Won't Antibiotics Wipe It Out?

We still don't really know what causes heart disease, but previous studies have found bacteria and the common cold bug in the plaque clogging arteries, thus explaining the inflammation commonly associated with heart disease.

Logically, scientists have looked to antibiotics to therefore reduce heart disease risk. Shockingly, two large new studies didn't bear that out.

In both cases, study participants already had heart problems, so it may have been a case of being too late. Prevention is still the key to avoiding heart disease. It will be interesting, however, to see if antibiotics make a difference in the susceptibility of healthy people.

Tying together our first two topics, it's interesting that the Harvard Health Letter reported that excess weight, especially when concentrated in a pot belly, "stirs up inflammatory processes and disrupts blood sugar." This helps explain the higher risk of heart disease and diabetes for those with extra belly fat.

3) Your Healthy Eating Pyramid

Have you checked out the new USDA Food Pyramid yet?

The new pyramid turns the old one on its side and replaces the horizontal layers with vertical slices of varying widths, portraying the relative per cent each should be in your eating plan.

To make it easy to figure out the right amounts of food for you, the USDA now has 12 pyramids, apparently based on your daily calorie needs.

To create your personal pyramid, enter your age, gender, and level of physical activity, and it produces your own pyramid based on your caloric needs. The eating plan details are good, guiding you in how much of which foods to eat each day.

The only problem I have with it so far is that I find it strange that height isn't also a factor. Thus, two women that are the same age and activity levels, but different heights—-say, one is 4' 9", and the other is 6' 2"—would get the same calorie requirement recommendation. I don't think so!

The calorie level suggested for me is several hundred calories too high—at 5' 7", I'd gain weight at that calorie level, but by dropping back to a lower activity level, I was able to get a plan that makes sense.

4) Are You Living a Healthy Lifestyle? If So, You're Very Rare.

We all know what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. How come so few live that way?

A survey in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that only 3% of adults in the US do all of the following: don't smoke; eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily; exercise regularly; and maintain a normal weight.

The individual stats were interesting—while 76% of adults didn't smoke, only 22% of adults exercised at least 5 times per week.

Gosh, it's not that hard to make just a few changes that can dramatically improve your health and increase your longevity. If you just cannot find ways to live healthfully, send me an e-mail, or call me, and let's explore some things that might help.

I challenge you to find a way to shoehorn in just 2 hours of activity in a week—-it will get you off to a good start.

5) Health Findings for Women

Previous studies found that marriage is beneficial to the health of both men and women. That's presumably because social networks reduce negative habits, such as smoking, and boost immune system response.

New results from a study of women, done by the University of Florida, expand on that and point out the impact of other social network factors on our health. For example, having one or two casual friends leads to better health outcomes, and the larger your social circle, the healthier you will be.

One other finding for women—treadmill stress tests aren't as accurate for women as for men. In fact, they are of limited diagnostic value for women as they miss a significant portion of those with blockage.

6) Sad, But True: E-mail Impairs You More Than Cannabis Does!

Researchers at the University of London Institute of Psychiatry found that being constantly distracted by e-mail or text messaging is more harmful to your IQ and productivity than smoking cannabis (marijuana).

Those distracted by e-mail and text messages had an IQ drop of 10 points--double the impact of the cannabis—as the constant shift in concentration made the brain tired. It's amazing that our obsession with e-mail is lowering our IQs. This research was brought to us by HP.

7) Repeat of Thursday's message (in case you missed it)

I'm including yesterday's special message below in case you missed it. Please take the time to fill out the survey mentioned below to let us know about your concerns. Thanks.


There is a lot coming in this week's issue of the Healthy Living News, which you'll get tomorrow, but there are a few things that really shouldn't wait, so we're sending them today.

a) The Stroke Test

The "Stroke Test" e-mail is circling the globe again, so I wanted to comment on medical e-mails that ask you to send them to all your friends and family.

Most are hoaxes, such as the e-mail that tells you that you can hold off a heart attack by coughing vigorously. Before forwarding such messages, please check them out at one of the Urban Legends or Hoax sites (such as,, or others).

However, the Stroke Test IS TRUE. This is good information that we should all know. It consists of three simple and accurate tests, and comes from a study reported at the International Stroke Conference in 2003.

Please pay attention to this message, copied below, and tell this to your family and friends—it could save your life, or that of someone you love. Here's the message:

How to Recognize a Stroke

Symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. A stroke victim may suffer permanent brain damage when people fail to recognize what's happening. Now, doctors say any bystander can recognize a stroke, simply by asking three questions:

  • ask the individual to smile.
  • ask him or her to raise both arms.
  • ask the person to speak a simple sentence.

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately, and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. Researchers are urging the general public to learn to ask these three questions quickly, to someone they suspect of having a stroke. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of a stroke, and prevent permanent brain damage.

(Thanks, Nancy, Celesta, and others who forwarded this to me.)

b) What Are Your Health Concerns?

Thanks to all who filled out the health concerns survey. If you haven't had a chance, please take a moment (it's short) to take the survey and tell us what health concerns frustrate you or keep you up at night, and what you'd like to learn more about. The results are totally anonymous. Thanks.

c) Health Events

Just a reminder for those in central Texas--the Governor's Texas Roundup for fitness will be this Saturday, April 30. I'll be speaking in the Health Education Tent at 2PM. Please come join us.

Remember Mother's Day, May 8

Remember how much she did for you when you were growing up. Remember the sacrifices she made. Now, you can do something special for her—give her the gift of good health with A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life so she can continue to enjoy all the special things in life. We were so deeply touched by how one reader asked us to personalize a book for her mother: "So you can see your grandchildren grow up." Wow!

Shipping is FREE for all US orders received through this Saturday, April 30. And we can ship it directly to her, if you'd like, so it gets there on time. With special Mother's Day discounts, give yourself the gift of good health, too.

Wishing you all a wonderful week, and lots of health and happiness,


Mellanie True Hills
The Health & Productivity Revitalizer...improving lives & productivity
Speaker and Author of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life
Read the first two chapters

PS. Are you at a loss about what to give Mother for Mother's Day? Let her know how much you care by giving her the gift of good health.

For a Limited Time Only (until Mother's Day, May 8), get Autographed and Personalized copies of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life at quantity discounts. Get a copy for Mother as well as for yourself or others. Through April 30, you'll get FREE shipping in the US, too, or discounted international shipping.

Please let us know what personalization you'd like by indicating that in the comments box on the order form.

To find out why this information is so important, download "What Every Woman Needs to Know About Weight and Stress," my Gift to You. It's excerpted from "A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life." Download it at

PPS. Invite Mellanie to speak to your company, organization, or association. Her latest speaking topic is Getting More Done Without Killing Yourself. See some organizations for whom she has spoken or with whom she has worked at and view comments from attendees at her speeches.

PPPS. Feel free to reprint this or any of my articles in your publication, company newsletter, or on your intranet. Please include attribution, copyright, and contact information ( and and please send us a copy. Thanks.

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