Friday, August 29, 2008

Hurricane Gustav and the Blog

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It is kind of hard to get focused on the blog when we are staring down the barrel of a hurricane. Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to a southern region leadership group representing various program areas in the Cooperative Extension Service. The “chancellor’s challenge” was made to all the southern states. One bond we share, in addition to being located in the Sun Belt, is the obesity epidemic. Since this meeting was in North Carolina, I took the opportunity to test my walking interest on hills rather than the Louisiana flatlands. I did better than I thought, however, walking up and down North Carolina hill country.

With our attention directed toward the Gulf, let’s take a break for a few days to ride out the storm. I’ll be back with you next Wednesday.

Bill Richardson


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Prepare Healthy for a Hurricane

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I would rather not have to write about a hurricane. But we all know that such is life in Louisiana. Nutrition planning is critical to your preparations for a storm. There is a general rule of thumb that you need a three-day supply of food. But while that sounds simple enough, there are some things that you need to think about now rather than later. Rather than me trying to paraphrase what our specialists have prepared, let’s cut to the chase and ask that you read carefully the response below.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist's Response

Anyone who has heard disaster preparedness recommendations probably knows a three-day emergency food supply is on the list. That means on top of having ample food and water to last the first few days after a storm or other emergency, you also need to have some way to prepare the food or keep what you’re eating safe to consume. You may be without power, which means you may not have a way to heat things up or refrigerate them.

Some of the potential foods you could include are single-serving cereal packages, crackers, granola bars, canned fruit, canned juice, packaged drink mixes, raisins, apple sauce, canned vegetables, canned soups or chili, tuna, canned chicken, beef jerky, peanut butter, canned milk or other shelf-stable milk, shelf-stable cheese, hard candy and chocolate.

You’re going to need at least two quarts – and preferably a gallon – of water for each person per day. Choose commercially bottled water or store water from your household system in clean containers.

Keep these things in mind when choosing the foods:

–Nonperishable foods require little or no cooking and no refrigeration.

–Can or jar sizes should be appropriate for one meal with no leftovers. Once opened or prepared, many foods lose their shelf-stable character and will go bad.

–Select foods you like and normally eat.

–If you don’t have a way to boil water when the power is off, do not include instant foods that will require hot water. Keep in mind foods that require water also will consume your water supply quickly.

–Keep a supply of disposable plates, bowls, cups and utensils on hand. Otherwise, you could use far too much of your water supply washing dishes.

–Don’t forget baby food, special dietary requirements and food for your pets.

Purchase a hand-crank can opener, if you don’t have one already.

As you assemble your food and other disaster supplies, keep them in a central location – above potential flood level. Store food in the coolest cabinets or a pantry away from appliances that produce heat. And, remember, your three-day food supply may last only six to 12 months. So replenish and refresh as needed.

Beth Reames


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Healthy Eating, Exercise Lead to Better Aging – Guest Blog

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Few factors contribute so much to successful aging as healthy eating and regular physical activity, and it's never too late to start. Poor diet and lack of physical activity are the most important factors contributing to the increase in overweight and obesity in the United States, which in turn are major risk factors for many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

A team of researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, led by Dr. Eric Ravussin, is conducting research on calorie restriction and aging as part of the multi-center Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Restricting Intake of Energy (CALERIE) trial, funded by the National Institute on Aging,

The study investigators recently made headlines by announcing results that indicate if you severely cut the calories you eat – by up to 25 percent for six months – while maintaining a nutritious diet, you are likely to be healthier and live longer. The researchers have planned a second calorie restriction study (CALERIE 2) that will examine certain biomarkers of aging and health indicators to try to determine if the study participants' improvement in health and aging slowdown was due to the calorie restriction or to their weight loss during the study.

Read more about the study.

Beth Reames


Monday, August 25, 2008

Diabetes and Weight Loss

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I was reading the local paper the other day and ran across an article about weight loss and diabetics. The article reported on a study completed in Portland where researchers tracked weight gain and loss patterns of more than 2,500 people who were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Many of the subjects didn’t lose any weight, but a group of about 300 shed 20 pounds in the months after diagnosis. Four years later the group that shed some weight had better control of their blood sugar and blood pressure even if their weight loss was short-lived. Immediately losing weight after diagnosis seems to help with the long-term effects of type 2 diabetes. And, the author of the research study indicates, there is never a bad time to lose weight.

We have discussed in past months the impact of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Our state faces an epidemic unless we do something to get our young citizens to deal with weight-related health issues. We have to find ways to help young people maintain a healthy weight and make smart choices about diet and exercise. Each of us adults needs to be a role model. We need to practice what we preach.

Let's don’t let our children down. But, first, look in the mirror as I have done and, as they say on the airplane in case of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first and then help others. Be selfish! Take care of yourself. Then reach out to others. Together we can!

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist's Response

Many people do not know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Here is a brief explanation:

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that occurs because the body can’t make insulin, and sugar levels in blood get too high. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that the body needs to move glucose (sugar) from the blood into body cells to be used for energy. Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes. Most cases of type 1 diabetes develop in youth, but it can develop at any age. Five percent to 10 percent of all diabetes cases are type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs because the body either can’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin properly, causing sugar to build up in the blood. Type 2 diabetes was previously known as adult onset and noninsulin-dependent diabetes. From 90 percent to 95 percent of diabetes cases are type 2. Most cases of type 2 begin after age 30 or 40, but the number of children and teens with type 2 is increasing.

View more information about diabetes on the LSU AgCenter’s Web site.

Beth Reames

2/10/2009 1:16:33 AM
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