Monthly Archives: June 2017

Study finds breastfeeding could lower a mothers risk of a heart attack or stroke later in life

A new study published in the American Heart Association has found that the risk of a heart attack or stroke is reduced later in life in mothers who breastfeed their babies.


Coconut oil in diet is rich in saturated fats and bad for heart says AHA advisory report

According to a new report from the American Heart Association, the use of coconut oil in the diet may not be such a good idea as previously thought.


Penn study reveals new molecular pilot light required to turn on brown fat furnace

As we bask in the summer heat, it is easy to take for granted that humans are also prepared for the cold of winter, with overcoats in the closet and home heating systems ready to be fired up as an added assurance against falling temperatures.


Mom Who Weighed Over 300 Lbs. Was Determined to Lose Weight Without Surgery: How She Lost 145 Lbs.

This article originally appeared on 

Tara Kavanagh has several obese family members, so she always believed she was “destined to be fat.”

The 5’7″ self-employed mom-of-three from Rapid City, South Dakota, 35, was already over 200 lbs. when she started having children, but her pregnancy weight brought her up to 304 lbs. After having her second child, she knew she wanted to make a change.

“I was a young mother of two little girls and in my early 20s when I decided I didn’t want to live the rest of my life obese and unhealthy anymore,” she tells PEOPLE. “I wanted to be an active mother and be able to play with my kids. I also wanted to live my life, not just exist. I wanted to experience new things and felt my size was holding me back.”

Some of Kavanagh’s family members had opted to undergo weight loss surgery, but had all ended up gaining their weight back. So she became determined to go a different route.

“For a long time I felt surgery was my only option for how big I was — there was no way I could lose so much weight on my own — but after seeing my relatives gain their weight back, I knew it wasn’t about the surgery,” she says. “It had to be about lifestyle, and I was determined to figure it out to prevent myself from spending all that money and going through all the pain of surgery for something that I never saw work long-term for anyone I knew who had it done.”

Kavanagh admits she had never stuck to workout routines in the past because she would get bored before seeing any results. When she started doing Jillian Michaels’ workouts (available on her app and FitFusion), she finally found a fitness program that she could stick to.

“Jillian’s workouts are always fun and I look forward to doing them,” she says. “Right when I would be getting the hang of one workout, another would come out, so I never got bored. Over the years I have also appreciated that there are a variety of intensity levels to most moves, so no matter what weight I was at I could get a good workout. I still do the same workouts as a fit person that I did as a 300-lb. person, I just up the intensity level now to get my killer workout!”

She also began paying more attention to what she ate.

“I used to eat because I was bored,” says Kavanagh. “I never thought about what I was eating, how many calories were in it, the quality of it, etc. I ate because it made me feel good.”

Initially, Kavanagh ate the same foods she always had, but started decreasing her portions.

“I knew if I changed too much too fast I would get overwhelmed and quit,” she says. “After the weight started to come off, it was addictive for me to learn healthier ways of eating. I turned my focus on calories after that, living by what I learned from Jillian: my calories in needed to be less than my calories out. I used her app along with a fitness tracker, and the weight came off so easily!”

Now Kavanagh focuses on eating unprocessed, non-GMO and organic as much as possible, and follows the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating.

“I still need my treats once in a while!” she says.

Losing 145 lbs. has given Kavanagh a whole new lease on life.

“The best part of losing the weight has been gaining the confidence to really live my life and try new things,” she says. “I don’t let my body hold me back anymore.”


Body contouring surgery is affordable to patients with insurance and income, says researcher

Only a small percentage of obese patients who have undergone bariatric surgery to help them control their weight follow up this procedure with further plastic surgery to reshape their bodies and remove excess rolls of skin.


Plus-Size Models Not Only Look Good, They Make Women Feel Better About Their Bodies

Women pay more attention to—and feel better after looking at—models who are average and plus-size compared to models who are thin. That’s the conclusion of a new study from Florida State University researchers, published last week in the journal Communication Monographs.

Women in the study also remembered more details about fashion models who were not super skinny, and they were less likely to compare themselves to women of more realistic proportions.

RELATED: The Best Body Positive Moments of 2016

The study involved 49 college-age women, all of whom considered themselves “average” weight but aspired to be thinner. The women were shown various images of fashion models—taken from the Macy’s and Target websites—who’d been classified by the researchers as either thin, average, or plus-size. (The plus-size models all appeared to be overweight or obese, but none were morbidly obese.)

After the women observed each image, they were asked to categorize the model based on her body type, rate how attractive and pleasant they perceived her, and indicate how much they compared themselves to her. They were also asked about their own levels of body satisfaction, and—as a “distractor question” meant to mask the true intent of the study—whether they planned to buy the clothing depicted in the image. The women were then shown an unrelated short video, and afterward were asked some questions to evaluate their memory about the models.

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Their responses revealed very different opinions toward models of different sizes. When thin women were on the screen, the participants made more comparisons to their own bodies, paid less attention, and remembered less about the models. They also reported less body satisfaction, which the researchers say can be bad for mental and physical health.

When viewing average and plus-size women, on the other hand, the participants paid better attention, remembered more, made fewer self-comparisons, and reported higher body satisfaction—despite the fact that they all admitted they wanted to be thinner.

RELATED: 15 Inspiring Things Celebrities Have Said About Dealing With Anxiety

“We found overwhelmingly that there is a clear psychological advantage of depicting the non-ideal body type in media campaigns,” the authors wrote in their paper. “These findings suggest that incorporating more realistically sized fashion models in the media might have its benefits in terms of improved health outcomes,” they add, including less dejection and more body satisfaction for a female audience.

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The study’s sample size was small and only included college-age women who wanted to lose weight, and the authors say their findings should be replicated with people of different genders, ages, ethnicities, and body images. But lead researcher Russell Clayton, PhD, director of the Cognition and Emotion Lab at FSU, tells Health that the findings “tell an interesting story about the current trend of depicting plus-size models in media campaigns.”

Clayton also says the study results can be eye-opening for women who do want to be thinner, in terms of how viewing images of realistic versus “ideal” body types might affect their self-confidence and personal body satisfaction. (That’s especially important in a world where media is inundated with unrealistic body goals—which, by the way, are often altered or strategically photographed.) The bottom line? Pay attention to how images of other women truly make you feel, not just whether they match your idea of the perfect figure.


Almost 30% of People In the World Are Obese or Overweight

This article originally appeared on 

The global obesity epidemic continues, and a new report shows that about two billion people worldwide are overweight or obese. That’s about 30% of the world’s population.

The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that about a third of the global population—including adults and children—exceed a healthy weight. About 10% of people in the world are obese, according to the findings. Studies have linked overweight and obesity to a higher risk for health complications like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, respiratory problems, major cancers and more.

MORE: 9 Science-Backed Weight Loss Tips

The study authors looked at data from people in 195 countries and territories from 1980 through 2015. They found that in 2015, there were 107 million children and 603 million adults with obesity. Having a high body mass index accounted for 4 million deaths in 2015, and more than two thirds of these deaths were from heart disease.

Since 1980, obesity rates in 70 countries have doubled, the study found, and the rate of childhood obesity has increased faster in many countries than the adult obesity rate.

As TIME recently reported, several factors have contributed to the growing obesity epidemic, including greater access to fast food, larger portion sizes and ubiquitous processed food. Emerging science also suggests that chemicals from food and household products may have an effect.


Woman Who Lost 70 Lbs. Says Having a Partner with Parkinson's Inspired Her to Be Her Best Self

This article originally appeared on 

Marie Byrne used to deal with her unhappiness by eating.

“I was an emotional eater — happy, sad or angry, I ate,” the Gloucester, U.K.-based nursery manager, 42, tells PEOPLE. “Plus, my husband at the time was very overweight so he didn’t mind what I looked like. When you live with someone who doesn’t support you and encourages you to eat takeaway multiple times a week, the weight is bound to go on. I made excuses, as that was easier than facing up to the fact that I was overweight.”

Before she knew it, Byrne — a mom of two — weighed 223 lbs. at 5’3″. But it wasn’t until an alarming doctor visit that she started to seriously consider the health implications of carrying so much weight.

“My blood pressure was through the roof,” she says. “The doctor even said that I was a heart attack or stroke waiting to happen. My mum had a stroke very young, and it scared us as a family. I didn’t want to put my family through the same thing, so knew I had to do something.”

Byrne started doing Jillian Michaels’ workouts (available on her app and FitFusion) and says they played a crucial part in her weight loss.

“It was not easy — there were days when I swore at the TV, but the feeling I felt after the workout and still do, there are no words for,” she says. “I had energy, stamina and inner-strength that I did not know that I had.”

In addition to starting a workout regimen, Byrne worked to overhaul her diet.

“The same day I started to exercise was the day I started to really look at what went into my body,” she says. “I decided to split my meals into calories per meal, and tried not to go over that. I also made sure that I ate three meals a day, something that I never did before. I never had breakfast, and my lunch was always huge with extra helpings of junk. My biggest change was portion size. The first time I looked at my plate I wondered how that was going to satisfy me, but it did.”

Byrne has dropped 70 lbs., and continues to do Michaels’ workouts at 5 a.m. before work every day.

“Sometimes I’m so tired, but once I get into my own head, I push on regardless of how my body feels,” she says. “I truly believe she changed my life, and that’s a strong statement to make. The changes with my body encouraged me to push on.”

Another motivation for her weight loss journey has been dating someone with Parkinson’s disease, who inspires her to be her healthiest self.

“He was with me at my heaviest and still wanted me for me,” says Byrne. “He doesn’t moan about his condition. When we first got together he was going to Pilates and would walk his dog three times a day. He was way more active than me. What excuse did I have not to exercise when he didn’t make any excuses?”

“I know I’m going to be with this man for the rest of my life, and we don’t know how Parkinson’s will affect him in the future, so I need to be strong for him because one day he may need me to be,” she continues. “I know he’s proud of me, and that inspires me to continue, because I’m so proud of him for not being defeated by something he has no control over.”

Byrne says her partner not only inspired her to be more active, but to be her best self inside and out.

“If I wasn’t happy with me, how could I expect anyone else to be?” she says. “My smile is a genuine one now, not masked. I’m happy.”


Vegetarian diets found to be most effective for weight loss

Dieters who go vegetarian not only lose weight more effectively than those on conventional low-calorie diets but also improve their metabolism by reducing muscle fat, a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has found.


Could artificial intelligence create virtual GPs?

The vision for the partnership is to incorporate artificial intelligence into online GP consultations by providing accessible information that is certified and verified by Health Commissions so that we reduce the demand for GP services. The underlying aim or objective is to shape demand for healthcare services.