Improving Fertility Through Lifestyle Interventions

A recent study has found that a low-intensity lifestyle intervention may improve fertility in obese women who are having trouble conceiving. Researchers have found that obese women struggling with infertility may benefit from a lifestyle intervention program. This program consisted of an 18-month intervention compiled of individuals sessions with a nutritionist and kinesiologist (exercise specialist) every 6 weeks and 12 group sessions. Their overall goal was to target diet, exercise, and motivation as a means of reducing obesity and improving fertility.

As a guideline, clinicians advise obese women with infertility to lose 5-10% body weight with lifestyle modifications. This program asked individuals to reduce their caloric intake by 500 calories per day. This comes out to roughly two cans of soda, per day. Additionally, they were asked to increase physical activity by 150 minutes per week, which is the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendation for seeing health benefits.

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They were able to demonstrate significantly improved rates of overall and spontaneous pregnancy for those who participated, as compared to the control group. At 6 months, those in the intervention lost 3.4% body weight, decreased their waist circumference and percent fat mass, and improved their healthy eating. Following the conclusion of the intervention, 60.8% of those who received the lifestyle intervention and fertility treatment had become pregnant, compared to 38.6% of those who relied on fertility treatment only. These findings emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle on fertility. Additionally, it demonstrates an effective intervention for improving fertility in obese women. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to exercise, nutrition, and goal setting. We can assist with providing support for adhering to a healthy lifestyle, improving health, and increasing fertility.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources:  Lifestyle Interventions Improves Fertility in Obese Women.  Miriam E. Tucker – Medscape – April 3, 2019. Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

What does my BMI mean anyways?

Body mass index, or BMI, is a common health screening tool that an be used to classify individuals into different categories based on their height and weight. To calculate, it divides your weight by height using the following formula: BMI = kg/m2. BMI is used to help identify elevated risk for various health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Higher BMI’s have been found to be associated with a higher risk of these health outcomes.

While the BMI is a beneficial screening tool, it has several caveats. First, BMI does not measure body fat or body composition. As such, individuals who have a high amount of muscle mass might have a higher BMI classifying them as overweight or even obese. Second, BMI does not account for various demographics such as age, sex, or ethnicity. Another important note about the BMI is that an individual can be categorized as obese, according to BMI standards, but still be “metabolically healthy”. In other words, individuals who meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity and adhere to a healthy lifestyle can still reap the health benefits even if they are not in the healthy BMI range.

How do I calculate my BMI? Start by finding your height on the left, then scanning to the right until you reach your approximate weight. Once you find it, scan upwards to reach your BMI and category on the top.

How do I calculate my BMI? Start by finding your height on the left, then scanning to the right until you reach your approximate weight. Once you find it, scan upwards to reach your BMI and category on the top.

For individuals looking to improve their BMI, it is never too late to begin living a healthier lifestyle. Minor changes such as eating healthier and exercising a little bit each day can make improvements on your overall health and BMI. It is recommended you start small, such as walking for 30 minutes per week or limiting your sitting time. Incorporate positive behavioral interventions like goal setting. Whatever your motivation for living a healthier life, the Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to exercise, nutrition, and goal setting. We can assist in providing support for maintaining motivation and adherence to living a healthier life.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources: Measuring BMI for adults, children, and teens. Yvette Brazier, Medical News Today, November 8, 2018; Metabolically healthy obesity: All you need to know.Joseph Nordqvist, Medical News Today, April 18, 2017; BMI: What’s Your Number?HMR Weight Management Services, September 17, 2018.

Unhealthy Lifestyle and Working Night Shifts Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

An unhealthy lifestyle and working night shifts is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  Research continues to support the overall health benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as not smoking, having a healthy weight, a healthy diet ,and exercising regularly.  Researchers found that nurses working night shifts who also had an unhealthy lifestyle were at an increased risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.  Women with both of these factors were at an even greater risk, as compared to men.  Additionally, it was found that for every 5 years of rotating night shift work, nurses had a 30% increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  Adding an unhealthy lifestyle more than doubled the risk, making an individual 2.83 times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.  They explained that an unhealthy lifestyle includes smoking, getting less than 30 minutes per day of physical activity, having a poor diet, and not maintaining a healthy weight (BMI >25).   Individuals with three or more of these unhealthy lifestyle factors were at an increased risk of developing the disease.

Increase in risk of type 2 diabetes based on unhealthy lifestyle score. Higher scores indicate more unhealthy lifestyle factors.

Increase in risk of type 2 diabetes based on unhealthy lifestyle score. Higher scores indicate more unhealthy lifestyle factors.

Shift work, particularly at night, has been linked to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and certain types of cancer.  Furthermore, shift workers have higher rates of obesity and smoking.  Research has illustrated that the more years an individual spends on rotating shift work, the more likely they are to be smokers and have a higher BMI.  These findings are particularly important as 1 in 5 US workers have non-standard working hours.  Of this group, nurses make up one third of the population.  Most cases of Type 2 Diabetes could be prevented with an adherence to a healthy lifestyle.  These benefits are even larger for those who are rotating night shift workers.  It is important that those who are at a higher risk, particularly female night shift workers, establish a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce their risk of disease such as Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and cancer.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to establishing a healthy lifestyle.  Additionally, we can help by providing support for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources:  Shan, Z., et al. (2018).  Rotating night shift work and adherence to unhealthy lifestyle in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes:  Results from two large US cohorts of female nurses.  BMI, 363, k4641; Night Shifts and Unhealthy Lifestyle combine to Up Risk of Diabetes. Liam Davenport, Medscape, November 23, 2018. Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Healthy Lifestyle Helps to Increase Life Expectancy and Delay Disability

Average age of disability for individuals with and without behavioral risk factors.

Average age of disability for individuals with and without behavioral risk factors.

A healthy lifestyle is associated with improved health outcomes later in life. Research has found that those who have not smoked, not been obese, and drank alcohol in moderation had longer life expectancy and delayed the onset of disability.  Nearly 80% of Americans have reached their fifties having smoked, been obese, or both.  Researchers studied those who were ages 50 or older who never had any of these risk factors. They found that these individuals had a favorable behavioral profile, meaning they were more inclined to have positive health outcomes.  These individuals had a life expectancy at age 50 that was 7 years longer than those with these risk factors.  Additionally, these individuals delayed the onset of disability by up to 6 years.  In other words, having a favorable behavioral profile and establishing a healthy lifestyle when they were younger helped to increase life expectancy and delay the onset of disability.  These findings illustrate the damaging effects that behavioral risks have on health at older ages.

This study emphasizes the importance of establishing healthy behaviors early in your life, however, it is never too late to adopt healthy lifestyle habits.  A separate research study found that adopting 5 healthy lifestyle habits midlife (age 50) can add up to 10 years to your life expectancy.  Additionally, they note that each single lifestyle change adopted will help an individual live longer and better.  The five healthy lifestyle habits they note are not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, adopting a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight (BMI <25), and engaging in regular exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Coupled together, these findings demonstrate the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle for increasing life expectancy and delaying disability onset.  It is important to note that it is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle and that even at age 50, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help add 10 years onto your life expectancy.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing support for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and increasing life expectancy.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources:  Mehta, M. & Myrskyla, N. (2017).  The population health benefits of a healthy lifestyle:  Life expectancy increased and onset of disability delayed.  Health Affairs, 36(8), 1495-1502; Li et al. (2018). Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population.  Circulation, 137(2). Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Healthy Lifestyle and the Risk of Coronary Disease

Research examining the relationship between genetic risk and coronary events has found that those with high genetic risk had a 91% higher risk of coronary events compared to those with low genetic risk. Additionally, they found that a favorable lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of coronary events as compared to an unfavorable lifestyle.  This finding was independent of the genetic risk of the individual.  The four healthy lifestyle factors outlined were not currently smoking, no obesity (BMI <31), physical activity at least once per week, and eating a healthy diet.  A “favorable lifestyle” was defined as having three or four of the healthy lifestyle factors while an “unfavorable lifestyle” was defined as having zero or one of the healthy lifestyle factors.

The effects of a healthy lifestyle for those with low, intermediate, and high genetic risk of a coronary event.

The effects of a healthy lifestyle for those with low, intermediate, and high genetic risk of a coronary event.

One of the significant findings from this study was the impact of a favorable lifestyle, particularly for those with high genetic risk.  They found that high genetic risk individuals who adopt a favorable lifestyle had a 46% lower risk of coronary events than if they had an unfavorable lifestyle.  This illustrates the impact that healthy lifestyle factors have on reducing the risk of coronary events.  Intensive lifestyle modifications should be targeted towards those at a high genetic risk. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to nutrition and exercise. Additionally, we can provide support for maintains a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of coronary events.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources:  Khera et al., (2016).  Genetic risk, adherence to a healthy lifestyle, and coronary disease.  The New England Journal of Medicine, 375(24), 2349-2358. Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

Healthy Lifestyle Important for Reducing Stroke Risk

Risk of stroke for those with an unfavorable, intermediate, or favorable lifestyle.

Risk of stroke for those with an unfavorable, intermediate, or favorable lifestyle.

Researchers have concluded recently that individuals who are following a healthy lifestyle had significantly lower risk of stroke as compared to those who have unhealthy habits, such as smoking and poor diet. They noted this this finding was regardless of genetic risk factors.  Their study focused on examining the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and stroke risk.  They outlined a healthy lifestyle to include the following four factors:  not currently smoking, healthy diet, BMI <30, and participating in moderate physical activity at least twice a week. The researchers found that individuals who had an “unfavorable” lifestyle, as defined by having 0 or 1 healthy lifestyle factors, were at a 66% increased risk for stroke as compared to those with a “favorable” lifestyle, defined by having 3 or 4 healthy lifestyle factors.

High genetic risk for stroke, when coupled with an unfavorable lifestyle profile, was associated with twice the increased risk of stroke compared to those with a low genetic risk and a favorable lifestyle profile.  The researchers noted this finding is particularly important for men, who appear to be at a higher risk.  They noted that men with an unfavorable lifestyle had an 82% relative risk of a stroke as compared to 36% for women with an unfavorable lifestyle. The effect of smoking appears to be almost twice as strong as compared to the other lifestyle factors.

This study demonstrates the importance of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, specifically not smoking, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and maintaining an appropriate weight.  The researchers note that while they cannot imply cause and effect through an observational study, their work emphasizes the important relationship between stroke and a healthy lifestyle.  Additionally, these same four factors discussed have been found to lower the risk of heart disease.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing assistance with adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors such as those discussed in this study.  Additionally, we can help by providing specific education on the healthy lifestyle factors such as eating healthier, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources. :  Rutten-Jacobs, et al. (2018).  Genetic risk, incident stroke, and the benefits of adhering to a healthy lifestyle: Cohort study of 306,473 UK Biobank participants. BMJ; Healthy Lifestyle Trumps Genes for Stroke Risk – fewer strokes with good exercise and diet habits, despite high genetic risk.  Kate Kneisel, Medpage Today, Oct. 26, 2018.

Adopting Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors can Increase Life Expectancy

Healthy lifestyle behaviors have been found to increase the life expectancy of those who adopt them.  Specifically, adopting the following five behaviors mid-life (age 50) can potentially add up to 10 years onto your life:  healthy diet, maintaining healthy weight, do not smoke, drinking alcohol in moderation, and regular exercise.  Researchers found that each single lifestyle behavior adopted will help the individual live longer and better.

Life expectancy of males/females with zero healthy lifestyle factors compared to those with all five healthy lifestyle factors.

Life expectancy of males/females with zero healthy lifestyle factors compared to those with all five healthy lifestyle factors.

A healthy diet, one of the lifestyle behaviors, can be defined as one that is high quality.  Specifically, individuals are encouraged to reduce added sugar, refined grains, and highly processed foods.  A healthy diet also includes increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables. Researchers emphasized the lifestyle behavior of maintaining a healthy weight, specifically a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.  They explain that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight. Adopting the lifestyle behavior of not smoking can have several health benefits for the individual including reduced risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, improved lung function, and reduced risk of lung, mouth, and throat cancers.  Researchers encourage individuals to drink alcohol in moderation, which is defined as 2 glasses of wine per day for males and 1 glass of wine per day for females.  A healthy lifestyle behavior of exercising regularly in encouraged.  This includes at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which might include walking, jogging, biking, or other exercise activities.

Researchers have identified these five healthy lifestyle behaviors as important for living a longer and better life.  Specifically, adopting these five behaviors during mid-life (age 50) can potentially add up to 10 years onto your life expectancy.  Each single behavior adopted will have positive effects on an individual’s health and can help add years onto their life.  Additionally, it is never too late to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Adopting these behaviors mid-life was found to increase life expectancy.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing education on these various behaviors and how they can be incorporated into an individual’s life.  We can assist by collaborating to identify health goals and by providing continued support for your health.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources: Li et al. (2018). Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population. Circulation, 137(23); Gardner, C., Trepanowski, J., & Del GobboL., et al. (2018). Effects of Low-Fat vs. Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association with Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion. JAMA, 319(7), 667-679; Fact Sheet About Healthy Benefits of Smoking Cessation. World Healthy Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/; Start Active, Stay Active. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines 2011