January 21, 2019

Going Nuts for Nuts? By Dr. Bushman

Going nuts for nuts?
 

In a recent publication in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers highlight the health benefits of nut and tree nut consumption. For purposes of the study, “nuts” referred to peanuts, peanut butter, tree nuts, or tree nut butter. Specifically “tree nuts” included almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and pine nuts. To be considered a consumer of nuts, at least ¼ ounce (7.09 grams) of nuts were consumed daily; non-consumers ate less the ¼ ounces per day. Subjects in the study included adults 19 years of age and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) over a 6 year period of time. Nut consumption was found in approximately 19% of individuals between 19 to 50 years of age and 21% of those over 50 years of age; tree nut consumption was about 5½ and 8½ percent for the two age groups respectively.
 

Nut consumers were found to have a number of positive health characteristics including lower body mass index, waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure as well as decreased prevalence of some risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome (including hypertension and low levels of HDL-cholesterol.)
 

Similarly, tree nut consumers had a decreased prevalence of hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol. In addition, tree nut consumers had lower body weight and a lower prevalence of abdominal obesity and high fasting glucose. Thus, consumption of nuts/tree nuts was associated with a lower prevalence of a number of risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. (Metabolic syndrome includes dyslipidemia, hypertension, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and high blood glucose.)
 

Does this mean that simply adding nuts/tree nuts to an individual’s diet will improve health? Since this study is cross-sectional (meaning behaviors and measurements are recorded at a particular point in time), a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be determined – future research will be required to look at specific ways nuts/tree nuts impact health. However, nuts as a general group are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids while being relatively low in saturated fatty acids. Nuts are high in fiber as well as various other vitamins and minerals (e.g., vitamin E, folate, magnesium, potassium.)
 

At this point, researchers are encouraged by the association between nut/tree nut consumption and, coupled with the known nutritional profile of nuts, suggest that nut consumption be recommended by health professionals and dietitians.

 

SOURCE:  O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Nicklas TA, Fulgoni VL.  Nut consumption is associated with decreased health risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome in U.S. adults: NHANES 1999-2004.  Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 30(6):502-510, 2011.
 

Dr. Bushman is a Professor at Missouri State University and is American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified as a Program Director, Clinical Exercise Specialist, Health Fitness Specialist, and Personal Trainer. She is the editor of ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health (Human Kinetics, 2011, http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/acsms-complete-guide-to-fitness–health), a book focused on optimizing both exercise and nutrition to improve fitness and health for individuals of all ages. For more health and fitness related tips, join Dr. Bushman’s Fitness ID Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FitnessID) to discover, develop, evolve, and personalize your FITNESS ID. Dr. Bushman also is the lead author of ACSM’s Action Plan for Menopause (Human Kinetics, 2005, http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/action-plan-for-menopause) and is the author of the “Wouldn’t You Like to Know” column in the ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.

Fit or Fat: Research Explained by Dr. Bushman

Fit or Fat – can it be either one or the other for health?

How do fitness level and body fat affect health risks?  Fitness helps to lower one’s cardiovascular risk level; gaining weight or fatness, in contrast, increases risk. Although these relationships are widely supported, there is less consensus regarding the impact of being fat but fit on health.

In a prospective observational study of 3,148 healthy adults over a 6-year time period, researchers examined the effect of fitness and fatness – separately and combined – on the development of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and metabolic syndrome. Fitness was determined using a maximal treadmill test (modified Balke protocol). Fatness was determined using percent body fat (7-site skinfold measures) and body mass index. Hypertension was defined as resting systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or higher, diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher, or physician-diagnosed hypertension. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as total cholesterol of at least 240 mg/dl or physician-diagnosed hypercholesterolemia. Metabolic syndrome was defined as the presence of three or more of the following:  waist circumference of over 102 cm in men or 88 cm in women, triglycerides of over 150 mg/dl, HDL-cholesterol less than 40 mg/dl in men or less than 50 mg/dl in women, blood pressure of at least 130/85 or physician-diagnosed hypertension, and fasting glucose of 100 mg/dl or physician-diagnosed diabetes.

The researchers found changes in fitness and fatness were BOTH significantly associated with the development of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and metabolic syndrome; lower risk was associated with maintaining or improving fitness while the opposite was true for increasing fatness.

The researchers then examined the question – can fitness compensate for the health hazards of fatness? The answer appears to be not completely. Some of the negative effects of fat gain were lessened by maintaining or improving fitness BUT were not completely eliminated. Similarly, reducing body fat compensated for some health risk associated with loss of fitness but not entirely. 
 

Bottom line: maintaining or improving fitness ALONG WITH preventing fat gain are BOTH important for reducing risk of developing a number of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. 

(Source:  Lee D, Sui X, Church TS, Lavie CJ, Jackson AS, Blair SN.  Changes in fitness and fatness on the development of cardiovascular disease risk factors.  Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2012; 59:665-72.)
 

Dr. Bushman is a Professor at Missouri State University and is American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified as a Program Director, Clinical Exercise Specialist, Health Fitness Specialist, and Personal Trainer. She is the editor of ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health (Human Kinetics, 2011, http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/acsms-complete-guide-to-fitness–health), a book focused on optimizing both exercise and nutrition to improve fitness and health for individuals of all ages. For more health and fitness related tips, join Dr. Bushman’s Fitness ID Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FitnessID) to discover, develop, evolve, and personalize your FITNESS ID. Dr. Bushman also is the lead author of ACSM’s Action Plan for Menopause (Human Kinetics, 2005, http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/action-plan-for-menopause) and is the author of the “Wouldn’t You Like to Know” column in the ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.

Optimal Exercise by Dr. Bushman

What is an “optimal” exercise prescription?
What will bring about the greatest results for the time invested in an exercise program? 

A study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center and East Carolina University published in the November 2011 issue of the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism provides some insight. The researchers compared aerobic training to resistance training to see the impact on fat stores, along with some other health-related measures, in a group of overweight or obese inactive adults. Although both visceral fat (the fat within the abdominal cavity surrounding the internal organs) and subcutaneous fat (the fat just under the skin) were assessed, the focus was on visceral fat due to its relationship with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. Researchers found that aerobic exercise including use of treadmills, elliptical trainers, and/or cycle ergometers was superior to resistance training for reducing body mass, subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat. Aerobic exercisers included an equivalent of about 12 miles per week (about 132 minutes) at an intensity around 75% of their peak oxygen uptake while the resistance training group exercised 3 days per week, 3 sets per day with 8-12 repetitions per set, for 8 different exercises.

Based on the study results, for individuals with limited time to exercise, aerobic exercise appears to be more time-efficient and effective than resistance training to reduce body weight and fat. Does this mean that resistance training is of no value?  Rushing to that conclusion is premature. Realize this study focused on very specific outcome measures and thus did not examine the effect of resistance training on improvements in other important health parameters like blood pressure or bone mass, both of which have been found to be improved with resistance training in other studies.

Bottom line: Resistance training IS important for improving strength and lean body mass, even if its role in reducing visceral fat wasn’t found in this study.  Thus, don’t throw out the concept of a balanced exercise program for overall health, which includes both aerobic exercise and resistance training. 

For a complete look at the research study, see http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/301/5.toc.  For more information on the benefits and components of a complete exercise program, see ACSM’s Position Stand on Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromuscular Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise (http://www.acsm.org/access-public-information/position-stands) or a summary of this material at http://www.healthyourwayonline.com/?s=bushman

Dr. Bushman is a Professor at Missouri State University and is American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified as a Program Director, Clinical Exercise Specialist, Health Fitness Specialist, and Personal Trainer.  She is the editor of ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health (Human Kinetics, 2011, http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/acsms-complete-guide-to-fitness–health), a book focused on optimizing both exercise and nutrition to improve fitness and health for individuals of all ages. For more health and fitness related tips, join Dr. Bushman’s Fitness ID Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FitnessID) to discover, develop, evolve, and personalize your FITNESS ID. Dr. Bushman also is the lead author of ACSM’s Action Plan for Menopause (Human Kinetics, 2005,

New ACSM Guidelines for Exercise Prescription, released July 2011 by Barbara Bushman, Ph.D., FACSM

What components make up a complete exercise program? The American College of Sports Medicine released an update on the quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults. The recommended components include the following:
 

Cardiorespiratory (aerobic) exercise. Three to five or more days per week depending on intensity. More specifically, this guideline includes continuous, rhythmic exercise using large muscle groups (e.g., brisk walking, running, biking, swimming, racquet sports, or team sports like soccer).  Target 150 minutes per week for moderate intensity activity (e.g., a walking program) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity activity (e.g., running) or consider a mix of moderate and vigorous.

Resistance exercise. Two to three days per week. For example, free weights, weight machines, resistance bands/cords as well as body weight exercises like pushups and curl-ups. For those starting out, 10-15 repetitions will be effective. Once established, 8-12 repetitions per set are recommended to improve strength and power. One set is a good starting point with a target of 2-4 sets, including exercises for all the major muscle groups. 

Flexibility exercise. Two to three days per week, or even daily. Various methods can be used including static stretching (end position is held at the point of feeling tightness), dynamic stretching (slow movement stretching), ballistic stretching (faster movements, bouncing stretching, more typical in sport environments), and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (contract-relax stretching). Total stretching time per muscle-tendon unit should be 60 seconds (e.g., static stretching held 15 seconds for a given position would be repeated 4 times).

Neuromotor exercise training. Two to three days per week or more. Exercises involving balance, agility, coordination, and gait fall into this category for older individuals. Other younger and middle-age adults may also benefit. Multifaceted activities like tai chi and yoga are also potential ways to improve functional fitness.

For the complete ACSM Position Stand see http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.aspx
Examples of exercises and progressive programs can be found in ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health (Human Kinetics, 2011, http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/acsms-complete-guide-to-fitness–health). 

For more health and fitness related tips, join Dr. Bushman’s Facebook page for ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health http://www.facebook.com/FitnessID to discover, develop, evolve, and personalize your FITNESS ID.   Dr. Bushman also is the lead author of ACSM’s Action Plan for Menopause (Human Kinetics, 2005, http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/action-plan-for-menopause) and is the incoming author of the “Wouldn’t You Like to Know” column in the ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal. She is a Professor at Missouri State University and is ACSM certified as a Program Director, Clinical Exercise Specialist, Health Fitness Specialist, and Personal Trainer.

Stress-Relief in a Bag by Nicole Clancy

Ever feel so overwhelmed that you can’t even think straight? Planning an outing with a little one takes exactly that…planning! Three experts share their user-friendly, everyday child care tips for insuring we have all we need… in one bag. A little pre-planning allows moms and dads to travel about town with greater ease, and less stress. These simple tips will feed your little one’s mind, challenge their body and invigorate their spirit.
Balance it. Barbara Bushman, PhD Professor at Missouri State University and Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, recommends packing a bean bag or two for every day outings. They are a light-weight and portable choice for an entertaining toy on-the-run. “Balancing the bag on top of his/her head and standing with both feet together, or placing the bag on the floor and hopping over it offer a coordination challenge guaranteed to keep your little one interested.” Dr. Bushman says. She adds “bean bags provide control and safety, whereas a ball can roll away.”
The beeper rules. Eliminate the struggle of when to say when, by trying this trick from Brett Klika, Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10 and author/researcher of children and athletics. Pick up a child friendly watch at your local convenience store, and show him/her how to fasten about the wrist. Set the countdown timer at ten minutes to go. “Setting the timer gives the child an objective boundary for certain behavior.” He further explains, “your child will learn to value time and since they have the watch, feel as though they have more control or input.” Klika continues, “this process removes the power-struggle and places time accountability in their hands,” The result is no tears, no dreaded melt-downs and no more negotiations.
Game on. Stashing a deck of cards in your bag provides fun memory or coordination games to distract little ones while running errands. Klika, advises “toss a card in the air and challenge your child to catch it. Or play games with the numbers. For example, “pick two cards and calculate the sum of the two numbers.” He continues, “or choose a few cards and challenge them to remember the order.” Your imagination is the limit to activities using a deck of cards.
Fun with Bubbles. Pack a small container of bubbles to help focus your little one’s energy. Jan Schroeder, PhD Department of Kinesiology at Cal State University Long Beach recommends, “alternate blowing bubbles and chasing them across the lawn.” Counting or adding bubbles as they appear and then subtracting as they pop is another fun option to provide practice learning numbers. Focusing energy and attention on a physical or mental activity will provide a welcome distraction while waiting for an appointment.