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[check mark] New Physical Activity Guidelines Get Americans Moving


[check mark] The Buzz on Caffeinated Energy Drinks


[check mark] Diverticulosis Food Restrictions Questioned


Eating Nuts, Popcorn Not Linked With Higher Risk of Diverticulosis

Contrary to a common recommendation to avoid eating popcorn, nuts, and corn to prevent diverticular complications, a large prospective study of men indicates that the consumption of these foods does not increase the risk of diverticulosis or diverticular complications. Diverticular disease is a common digestive illness. One-third of the US population will develop diverticulosis by the age of 60 years, and two-thirds will do so by the age of 85 years. Historically, physicians have advised individuals with diverticular disease to avoid eating nuts, corn, seeds, and popcorn although there is little evidence to support this recommendation. Researchers examined the association between nut, corn, and popcorn consumption and diverticular disease in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which is composed of a large group of men who were followed up from 1986 to 2004 via self-administered questionnaires about medical and dietary information several times over the course of the study. Twenty-seven percent of the participants reported eating nuts at least twice per week, and corn and popcorn each were consumed at least twice a week by 15% of the participants as a whole. The 47,228 men ranged in age from 40 to 75 years and, at baseline, were free of diverticulosis or its complications, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. During the 18 years of follow-up, there were 801 new cases of diverticulitis and 383 new cases of diverticular bleeding. Nut, corn, and popcorn consumption was not associated with an increased risk of new diverticulitis or diverticular complications, but instead, inverse relationships were observed between nut and popcorn consumption and the risk of diverticulitis. After adjustment for other known and potential risk factors for diverticular complications, men with the highest intake of nuts (at least twice per week) had a 20% lower risk of diverticulitis compared with men with the lowest intake (less than once per month). Men with the highest intake of popcorn had a 28% lower risk of diverticulitis compared with men with the lowest intake. No association was seen between corn consumption and diverticulitis. For diverticular bleeding, there were no significant associations observed for nut, corn, or popcorn consumption. The results suggest but do not prove that nut, corn, and popcorn consumption is not associated with an increased risk of incident diverticulitis or diverticular bleeding. These findings differ from the pervasive but unproven belief that these foods are associated with diverticular complications. The results suggest that the recommendation to avoid these foods in diverticular disease should be reconsidered and that more definitive feeding studies to determine if in fact these foods are safe need to be conducted. Source: Journal of the American Medical Association


New Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Adults gain substantial health benefits from 2.5 hours a week of moderate aerobic physical activity, and children benefit from an hour or more of physical activity a day, according to the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. A comprehensive set of recommendations for people of all ages and physical conditions has just been released by the US Department of Health and Human Services. It came just as the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee members met in late October. Now, Americans have guidelines for both energy output and energy inputs.


The guidelines are designed so that people can easily fit physical activity into their daily plan and incorporate activities they enjoy. Physical activity benefits children and adolescents, young and middle-aged adults, older adults, and those in every studied racial and ethnic group, the report said. In adults, regular physical activity reduces the risk of early death, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression. In older adults, it can improve thinking ability and the ability to engage in activities needed for daily living. The recommended amount of physical activity in children and adolescents improves cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness as well as bone health and contributes to favorable body composition.


The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is the most comprehensive of its kind. The guidelines are based on the first thorough review of scientific research about physical activity and health in more than a decade, based on the report of an advisory committee to the secretary of Health and Human Services.


Key guidelines by group are as follows:


Children and adolescents. One hour or more of moderate or vigorous aerobic physical activity a day, including vigorous-intensity physical activity, at least 3 days a week is recommended. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include hiking, skateboarding, bicycle riding, and brisk walking. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities include bicycle riding, jumping rope, running, and playing sports such as soccer, basketball, and ice or field hockey. Children and adolescents should incorporate muscle-strengthening activities such as rope climbing, sit-ups, and tug-of-war, 3 days a week. Bone-strengthening activities such as jumping rope, running, and skipping are recommended 3 days a week.


Adults. Adults gain substantial health benefits from 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity. Brisk walking, water aerobics, ballroom dancing, and general gardening are examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities include race walking, jogging or running, swimming laps, jumping rope, and hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes. For more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 5 hours a week of moderate-intensity or 2.5 hours a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Adults should incorporate muscle-strengthening activities such as weight training, push-ups, and sit-ups and carrying heavy loads or heavy gardening at least 2 days a week.


Older adults. Older adults should follow the guidelines for other adults when it is within their physical capacity. If a chronic condition prohibits their ability to follow those guidelines, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow. If they are at risk of falling, they should also do exercises that maintain or improve balance.


Women during pregnancy. Healthy women should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week during pregnancy and the time after delivery, preferably spread through the week. Pregnant women who habitually engage in vigorous aerobic activity or who are highly active can continue during pregnancy and the time after delivery, provided they remain healthy and discuss with their healthcare provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.


Adults with disabilities. Those who are able should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity a week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. They should incorporate muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups 2 or more days a week. When they are not able to meet the guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity.


People with chronic medical conditions. Adults with chronic conditions get important health benefits from regular physical activity. They should do so with the guidance of a healthcare provider.


For more information about the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and to download the complete report, visit or Source: US Department of Health and Human Services