The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is out with their latest health data. Bad news: 28% of adults in the U.S. are obese, the exact same rate as 2008. So no real progress on that front. But good news: More people are working out! 34.7 percent for 2009 versus 31.9 percent for 2008. Three percent? Pshaw, you might say. But that's hundreds of thousands of people who weren't active before getting out there and moving their bodies. Which is pretty awesome when you think about it.
Last week we wrote about the growing trend of employer weight loss incentive programs. Turns out it's not just private companies — governments are getting in on the slim-down incentive action too. The National Institute for Health in the U.K. lauched the "Pounds for Pounds" program last years, offering volunteers up to £425 to lose weight. (FYI, the NIH also offers young people £10 if they get tested for Chlamydia). But here's the bad news: A year later, despite the cash incentive, two-thirds of the volunteers failed to achieve their weight loss goals. In the final assessment, the NIH says the failure of the program is complicated — people lose weight then gain it back; high-drop out rates make it hard to say exactly what happened. But their final conclusion: "We need to incentivise a healthy, happy and active lifestyle as a sustainable end result rather than a cash payout."
"Exercise acted like a drug, protecting against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack," says the lead author of a recent study conducted at the University of Georgia. In the study, men were shown an anger-inducing slideshow both before and after working out and before and after quietly resting. They then ranked their anger. After exercising, the men's responses to the sildeshow were markedly more moderate than after resting. The study's authors are guessing that exercise helps moderate anger because it boosts serotonin in the brain, which decreases aggression. Stay cool, exercisers. Stay cool.
Starting last summer, Bally Total Fitness Corp. mailed more than 11,000 misleading "past due" notices to former gym members in Texas whose dues were, in fact, not overdue. Texas's Attorney General has cried foul, and wants to fine Bally $20,000 per violation. For the calculation impaired, that's That $220 million. For its part, Bally claims the notices were a harmless attempt to encourage former members to rejoin the gym. Check out a sample of notices sent — not exactly friendly renewal reminder...
MyCelebrityFashion.co.uk, the "UK’s leading independent celebrity fashion website," has just concluded a poll of more of a thousand some odd men ages 18-35 in the U.K. regarding their feelings on women's apparel. Turns out 67% find "the gym look" most appealing. Whatever. Who cares. Except there's this funny little tidbit buried in the results: 11% of the men in the survey claim to have had a relationship with a woman they had met at their local gym (which supposedly has something to do with their love of "the gym look"). 11 percent! That's actually a lot of gym action.
The Indian government is sick of people "inventing" new styles of yoga then trying to patent them and make a buck (aka Bikram and his patented 26 moves). Which is why the "Traditional Knowledge Digital Library," a government agency set up by the ministries of health and science, is undertaking an ambitious new project to film hundreds of yoga poses so that next time someone claims to have invented some new form of yoga, the Indian government can whip out the video and say not so fast. "Yoga originated in India. People cannot claim to invent a new yoga when they have not," said the director of the project. "There is no intention to stop people practising yoga, but nobody should misappropriate yoga and start charging franchise money." Cynics may say that the Indian government just wants a piece of said franchise money, but from the looks of things it's purer than that. They just want India to get credit instead of some dude in a do-rag.
Snap, crackle, pop — you thought that was the sound of Rice Krispies and milk? Nope. It's the sound of Kellogg's executives' knuckles getting crushed by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is demanding that Kellogg's remove claims from Rice Krispies boxes that the cereal "helps support your child’s immunity." Earlier this year, Kellogg's got a similar cease-and-desist order related to Frosted Mini Wheats. According to the FTC statement, Kellogg's is specifically barred "from making claims about any health benefit of any food unless the claims are backed by scientific evidence and not misleading." Which you'd sort of hope Kellogg's would know already.
Are you smarter than a seventh grader? Today's Washington Post includes a section of a quiz given to middle school students in a "Wellness for Life" class at a DC-area school. Give it a go. You might be surprised when you have to stop and think about the answers.
- Which of the following food lists includes all five food groups?
A. Milk, bread, cottage cheese, turkey, crackers, pie
B. Grapes, bread, carrots, turkey, oranges, rice
C. Milk, bread, carrots, turkey, apple, vegetable oil
D. Milk, bread, eggs, turkey, yogurt, rice
Regular boot camp is so dainty. Add swords and disembowelment strikes, and you've got something to talk about. Enter "Samurai Camp," an hour long class offered by choreographer Takafuji Ukon in Tokyo. Combining 16th century swordsmanship with techno music, the camp consists of non-stop fighting and slashing, save for a green tea break at the thirty minute mark. Classes are packed, reports the Times, and Takafuji is now training new instructors to export the class to other cities. Turns out there's a craze for all things 16th century currently sweeping Japan, so the popularity of samurai fitness isn't shocking. But surprisingly, Samurai Camp is all women. “When the class started, it was all men coming to symbolically cut the fat from around their middles,” says Takafuji, “but they weren’t like real samurai, and quit. The women stick to it. They are Japan’s modern samurai.”
"I've seen people in wheelchairs who haven't moved their bodies for years, people who led physical and athletic lifestyles before it was all taken away from them. And you should see their faces light up when they start doing the yoga. It's really meaningful for them to get their bodies back and to move."
— Yoga celebrity Baron Baptiste, describing the new in-home yoga program for MS patients he recently partnered with Dr. Elliot Frohman, an MS specialist, to create.