Something New Under the Sun:
Adapting to Change in the 21st Century


AnthroHealth News

January 2002

Volume 1, Issue 1


Greetings!! It is again that time of the year to make resolutions. This year, let's resolve together to live a healthier, happier, more productive life. Here's to you and a great 2002!!

News: The major theme of the health news this month is obesity. Several articles dealt with this topic, probably in reaction to the overindulgence characteristic of the holidays. Other topics of interest include osteoporosis, tomatoes and prostate cancer, and antioxidants and teas.

Osteoporosis: A study funded by Merck and Co., makers of an osteoporosis drug, found that 40% of women past menopause had bone thinning, the precursor to osteoporosis. An additional 7% had osteoporosis. The percentages are probably higher for women of northern European ancestry who have the most bone density problems. Even among women of West/Central African ancestry, who on average have much denser bones, 32% had bone thinning and 4% suffered from osteoporosis.

To prevent osteoporosis the AnthroHealth way: Maintain optimal serum vitamin D levels by: Obtaining adequate UVB radiation exposure to activate vitamin D production. Eating cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel for their vitamin D and calcium. Taking vitamin D supplements. Walk 2 - 3 miles each day to build bone mass.

The Effect of Maternal Obesity on Adult Children: Research has shown a positive relationship between a mother's weight during pregnancy and the later weight of her adult children. Heavy mothers give birth to heavy infants who become heavy adults. The weight of fathers is not correlated to the weight of their children. Some undefined variables affected by maternal nutrition appear to have a major impact on children. Although more research is needed to clarify the actual variables, an obvious strategy to reduce later adult obesity is to reduce obesity of women who plan to become pregnant.

Children and Obesity: Between 1986 and 1998, studies show that the percentage of significantly overweight (body-mass index exceeding the 95th percentile for children of the same age) children between ages 4 and 12 dramatically increased. For black children, the rate increased from 8% to 22%; for Hispanic children from 10% to 22%; and for white children from 8% to 12%. The percentage of children exceeding the 85th percentile for body-mass index has also risen dramatically. These dramatic increases are cause for concern because excess weight is associated with Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Excessive weight in children is generally the result of poor diet and little exercise.

Obesity in the United States: The Surgeon General has issued a "call to action" on obesity in the US. Being obese or overweight is closing in on smoking in terms of the number of deaths each year that are associated with it: in excess of 400,000 for smoking and around 300,000 for obesity and overweight. As of 1999, about 61% of US adults and 13% of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. As with children (see above), the primary causes are inactivity and poor nutrition.

To prevent obesity the AnthroHealth way: Get adequate exercise: Walk 2 - 3 miles each day. Swim. Use free weights to work the upper body. Make sure children have plenty of outdoor activities. Eat using the Premier Nutrition Pyramid guidelines: Eliminate all dairy products. Eliminate grain products, particularly baked goods. Eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat 1 - 2 servings of tree nuts daily (e.g. almonds, walnuts). For protein eat eggs, fish, and shellfish; some fowl is OK; red meat can be eaten occasionally. Note: It is almost impossible to eat enough fruit and vegetables each day if you also eat grains and dairy products. Grains are filling, but provide less overall nutrition, antioxidants, and flavonoids than are provided by eating fruit and vegetables. Dairy products may adversely affect the taste of some fruits and vegetables, causing you to eat less of them.

Tomatoes Fight Prostate Cancer: A study of 32 men who ate a tomato sauce-based pasta dish every day for three weeks prior to having a prostatectomy found they had high levels of lycopene in their prostates when examined after surgery. There was a 28% reduction in oxidative DNA damage to the tissues and 17.5% reduction in PSA levels. This was the first study using a whole food instead of a lycopene supplement and it yielded results that were statistically significant. While more research on larger sample sizes needs to be done, eating tomatoes daily would probably be a wise move for those concerned about prostate cancer.

Drink Tea: Black, Green, and Oolong: Researchers analyzed all types of teas for antioxidant properties. Black, green, and oolong teas are not significantly different from each other in their radical scavenging capacity. In terms of their antioxidant abilities, two cups of tea are equivalent to taking 400 mg of vitamin C or eating five servings of fruits or vegetables. However, this does not hold true for other types of "tea" made from leaves other than the Camellia sinensis plant. cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11518612&dopt=Abstract

Drink beverages the AnthroHealth way: The best beverage is water. Substitute black, green, or oolong teas for coffee.


AnthroHealth Tip of the Month: Think colorful. The more colorful, and the deeper, richer the colors of the foods you eat, the more nutritious your diet will be. Instead of using pale iceberg lettuce in a salad, use deep green spinach. Substitute sweet potatoes or yams for white potatoes. An essentially monochromatic meal, one in which the foods are shades of white, tan, and brown, will be much less nutrient-dense and healthful than one which is a mix of colors such as the dark green, orange, and red of various vegetables, the black of olives, and the pink of shellfish in a seafood salad. Aim for 2 - 5 different colors of food (for a total of at least 10 each day in fruit and vegetables) other than white, tan, or brown in every meal you eat and you will improve your chances of getting all the nutrients you need to maintain your health. Salud!

Return to Archives

Copyright 2001-2009 Kathleen E. Fuller, PhD. All rights reserved.