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March 2012

Importance of Body Image and Self Esteem

Importance of Body Image and Self Esteem
By Kya Grace

There is a close link between body image – the way you feel
about your physical appearance – and self esteem – how much you
value yourself. According to research, the fitter you are, the
better is your body image and resultantly, higher is your self
esteem. This link and correlation is more pronounced in the case
of people in their early teens, since at that age you are more
concerned and perturbed about the way others see you.

It is important to note that self esteem is not something that
is permanent and cannot be changed. Studies have shown that the
level of self esteem in people changes depending on the age
group that a person belongs to and also the external factors –
media images, criticizing peer or colleagues – that one is
exposed to. Since self-esteem is not set in stone, it can be
altered, resulting in a marked difference in one’s personal as
well as professional life. One of the most potent ways of
building greater self-esteem is to feel confident about the way
you look and feel about your physical appearance – your body

Since body image is your perception about your physical
appearance, it can be positive or negative. A positive body
image brings with it self-confidence and self-worth, thus having
positive ramifications for your self-esteem. A positive body
image implies that you are comfortable with yourself. Having
such a healthy attitude helps you become more outgoing,
developing friendships and being able to challenge yourself
mentally as well as physically. On the other hand, if you have a
negative body image, it translates into feelings of anxiety and
emotional distress, which has a detrimental effect on your
self-esteem. Body image is manifested through one’s body
language. The way people react to your body language and image,
reinforces your self-esteem – positively or negatively.

It has been argued that in the case of inherently good-looking
people, a positive body image is a given. However, this may not
be the case, since a body image is one’s perception and that may
deviate from reality. Thus, body image is a matter of
consideration for all, even if we may not be consciously
thinking about it.

There are certain ways in which you can influence your body
image. Regular exercise and a good diet helps raise the energy
levels in the body, resulting in stronger bones and a glowing
skin, thus shaping a positive body image. Research has shown
that psychological health is closely tied to physiological well
being. During exercise and regular workouts, the body releases
endorphins and other associated chemicals, which are believed to
be “mood-lifters”. Moreover, physical activity helps in slowing
down the aging process, making you look as well as feel younger
by many years.

Thus, regular exercise plays a major role in lowering stress
levels and anxiety. This will result in a more confident
demeanor, a sense of true happiness, piece of mind and
satisfaction. Fitness and exercise represent the path leading to
a positive body image, thus helping you arrive at the
destination of high self esteem.

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This Week's Top Stories



Too Much White Rice May Be Bad For You - You'll be surprised by the results of this study about the one of the world's most popular grains.

Depression Can Increase Stroke Risk - Read this article to learn more about the relationship between mental and physical health.

Women In Wealthy States Have Healthier Hearts - Read this article to find out what scientists have discovered about how finances are intricately tied to women's physical well-being.

Dense Breasts Might Be Linked To Recurring Breast Cancer - Read about the latest developments in breast cancer.

The Grass Isn't Always Greener - Thoughts about life.


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The Grass Isn't Always Greener

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When we see others with a luxurious home, fame, perfect spouse, and an amazing body we assume they've got it all. This can produce a couple of different effects, depending on the individual. For some, witnessing the success of others can lead to admiration for the people who have acquired all of these things that we hope to have. In some people, however, the success of others can produce feelings of jealousy.

These people will waste their entire lives coveting what others have. They'll allow resentment and hatred to rule their life, clouding their judgment, affecting their health and ability to succeed in life. 

They'll watch with envious eyes, looking and hoping for any opportunity to bring down the ones whom they believe do not have a right to enjoy the wealth, spouse, etc. which they covet.

Yet when all is said and done, they fail to realize that we are responsible for our own life, that success and failure are our's to make.

They will also forget that appearances can be deceiving.

A luxurious home might be the result of an excessive mortgage, or going beyond the front door could reveal a shell without furniture. The dream spouse in reality could be purely materialistic, ready to bail at the first hint of financial ruin. And all the fame in the world means nothing if noone who can be counted on for support in a time of crisis.

If you ever find yourself resenting the seeming great life of others, remember this spin on the adage "the grass is always greener on the other side".

For the grass so green may in fact be nothing more than artificial turf.


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Dense Breasts Might Be Linked To Recurring Breast Cancer



Women over age 50 who have denser breasts are more likely to have a recurrence of breast cancer, researchers warn. Speaking at the European Breast Conference in Vienna, Swedish researchers report that women with denser breasts are twice as likely to suffer breast cancer recurrence than other women. The startling report prompted researchers to warn physicians to consider breast density when preparing treatment and following up on such women.

Dr. Louise Eriksson and her colleagues from the Karonlinska Institute in Stockhlom, Sweden, studied the mammograms and outcomes of 1,774 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50-74 who had volunteered for a larger study of all Swedish women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1993-1995. 

Eriksson's team observed that women with breast tissue percentage density (PD) higher than the 18% mean average were more likely to have a breast cancer recurrence. 

"We found that if you have a PD diagnosis of 25% or more, you have an almost two-fold increased risk of local recurrence in the breast and surrounding lymph nodes than women with a PD of less than 25%. However, density does not increase the risk of distant metastasis and has no effect on survival." 

The researcher pointed out that breast density among postmenopausal women is variable and can decrease with age. In fact her study revealed that women with the lowest breast density had breasts that were less than one percent dense, whereas those with breasts of the highest PD were found to be 75-80% dense.


Breast Cancer Screenings Are Important

Eriksson said that mammogram density was a risk factor for breast cancer development and emphasized the importance of taking this into account when performing breast cancer screenings.

"As far as screening programmes are concerned, it is already known that breast density is a risk factor for the occurrence of breast cancer and that it decreases the sensitivity of mammograms. Our study confirms the importance of taking breast density into account in the screening setting."

The Karolinksa Institute PhD candidate and physician at Stockholm General Hospital also  said:"We also see that although mammogram density is one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer it doesn't seem to influence tumor development in any specific way; for instance it isn't more associated with oestrogen receptor negative tumors, but seems to act as a general stimulator of tumor development."

The Swedish study is important because up to this point scientists had scant and conflicting information about the association between density, tumor characteristics and prognosis followed cancer occurrence.

Erikkson's study, which happens to be one of the largest of its kind, will provide health care providers with a wealth of data from nearly 50% of all breast cancer cases in Sweden between 1993-1995.

The study didn't reveal why breast density is linked to breast cancer recurrence but it does give physicians and their patients something to work with.

EBCC-8 chair, Professor David Cameron from the University of Edinburgh called for further research into the issue. "A number of factors are known that influence mammogram breast density, but more research is needed to know which of these, if any, is responsible for this important observation."


1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Women In Wealthy States Have Healthier Hearts

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Women who live in wealthy states are less likely to suffer heart disease than women from poorer states, new research shows. In the report published in BMC Public Health, scientists have found a connection between state wealth and heart health in women. 

Scientific investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a cross-sectional analysis based on data from the Women's Health Study (WHS). The team recruited 26,029 women from the WHS and measured wealth and prosperity, labor productivity, poverty, income inequality, and average annual economic growth on a state by state basis.

These variables were then compared to biomarkers of cardiovascular inflammation in order to determine whether associations between state-level socioeconomic conditions and individual cardiovascular inflammation biomarkers exist. 

Their investigation revealed some interesting facts about heart health and socioeconomics.


Women Living In Wealthy States Have Healthy Hearts

Harvard researchers learned that socioeconomic conditions had a significant influence on women's heart health. In fact, women who resided in wealthier states were less likely to suffer cardivascular inflammation than women who lived in less affluent states. For example, high risk values of the C - reactive protein cardiovascular inflammation biomarker was highest in women residing in the most deprived states.

The research performed by the Brigham and Women's Hospital scientists is very important because cardiovascular inflammation is a major predictor of heart disease.

They also noted that women who lived in the wealthiest states (e.g. Connecticut, Massachusetts and California) tended to be younger, more personally wealthy, less likely to smoke, more inclined to exercise, less obese, and less diabetic. On the other hand, women living in the poorest states e.g. Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia tended to be less healthy and more inclined toward obesity, diabetes and poor HDL cholesterol profiles. 

These data show that state-level economics affected individual health and thus prove that associations between the financial and social stability of a state and individual risk of heart inflammation does indeed exist.

Put another way, the wealthier the state, the less likely it is for women residing there to be at risk of cardiovascular inflammation whereas the poorer the state, the higher the risk of heart disease. 


Why Do Wealthy States Have Healthier People?

Psychological factors could also be at play. States that had less socioeconomic inequality appeared to have a positive influence on women's health. This suggests that peace of mind influences physical health. (Read my article "Depression Can Increase Stroke Risk" to get insight into the relationship between mental and physical health.

The results of the Harvard study can give state policymakers and health officials additional tools to work with in order to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the citizenry of their states as this could have a positive impact on the individual health of their citizens.

After analyzing the data, study author Cheryl Clark and her colleagues came to a similar conclusion when they wrote: "... [A]ttention to changes in cardiovascular risk factors associated with evolving state-level socioeconomic conditions may yield insights into the role of state-level policies in the prevention of cardiovascular disease among women."

Of course, you don't have to wait on state policymakers to improve your health and well-being. You can start right now, by taking the Million Hearts pledge to lead a healthy lifestyle. Million Hearts was implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes in the United States by one million over the next five years. You can be part of that by pledging to take better care of yourself.

Click on the Million Hearts link located in our sidebar of our website to learn more about steps you can take to improve your heart health wherever you may live.


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Article Source 

Clark, C., Ridker, P., Ommerborn, M., Huisingh, C., Coull, B., Buring, J., & Berkman, L. (2012). Cardiovascular inflammation in healthy women: multilevel associations with state-level prosperity, productivity and income inequality BMC Public Health, 12 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-211


"Women In Wealthy States Have Healthier Hearts" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved. Registered & Protected


Depression Can Increase Stroke Risk




Depressed people are at risk for stroke, researchers warn. According to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, depression is strongly correlated with deadly strokes. This underscores the need to treat mental illness before it becomes life threatening.

Harvard researchers learned of the link between depression and fatal strokes after reviewing 28 cohort studies involving 317,540 adult patients. The study revealed that 8478 stroke cases were reported during a follow up that ranged from 2 - 29 years. In fact, they found the risks associated with depression was 106 cases for total stroke, 53 cases for ischemic stroke, and 22 cases per 100,000 for deadly stroke. These stats findings demonstrate that strokes are very prevalent among depressed people.  

But what could make depressed people susceptible to stroke? There are several things that could be at play. For one, depression is an emotionally draining illness; the disorder often saps enthusiasm and motivation. People who lack motivation won't be inclined to exercise, eat healthy or seek medical treatment.

Secondly, certain medications can raise blood pressure and cholesterol both of which can be damaging to blood vessels, thereby increasing stroke risk. 

The link between depression and stroke can't be ignored. According to government estimates, 1 out of 10 Americans are reportedly depressed. Depression knows no boundaries, affecting men and women, young and old.

It's mentally and physically unhealthy to hold things inside, the Harvard discovery of the link between depression and increased risk of stroke is as relevant as ever. If you're feeling depressed, seek medical help because your life may depend on it.

For more information about depression, visit the National Institutes of Mental Health to learn about the signs and symptoms of this mental illness.

 “Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing. Be clean!’ The leprosy left him at once and he was clean” (Mark 1:41-42).

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Article Sources 

Pan, A., Sun, Q., Okereke, O., Rexrode, K., & Hu, F. (2011). Depression and Risk of Stroke Morbidity and Mortality: A Meta-analysis and Systematic Review JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 306 (11), 1241-1249 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.1282

Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Mental Illness: Why Are These Often Linked Together?

CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: an Estimated 1 in 10 US Adults Report Depression


"Depression Can Increase Stroke Risk" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved. Registered & Protected


Too Much White Rice May Be Bad For You

Bowl of Rice, China, Asia
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People who eat large quantities of white rice are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research suggests. According to research recently published in the BMJ, scientists have found a link between high rice consumption and adult onset diabetes, which can be especially problematic for ethnic groups that rely heavily on this food source.

Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, made the connection when performing a meta-analysis and review of data for a cohort study designed to establish associations between risk for adult onset diabetes and white rice consumption.

To find the answer, Qi Sun, Emily Hu and their colleagues systematically reviewed data from trials involving 352,384 participants residing in the United States, Australia, China and Japan who were followed from four to twenty-two years to get information on incidents of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Their review of the literature produced 13,284 incidents of the disease, which showed that Asian populations were more likely to consume large amounts of rice compared to the Western countries that were studied.  

The investigators also found a correlation between the type 2 diabetes and white rice consumption. Each serving of white rice per day increased the risk of diabetes by 11% in the overall population i.e. the more rice eaten, the greater the risk for diabetes.

Some folks might find it shocking that white rice is linked to diabetes, but it makes sense if you stop to think about it. Diabetes is caused by an inablity to synthesize insulin; insulin is crucial to cellular glucose uptake; high amounts of sugar in the bloodstream cause insulin levels to spike. White rice is a starchy sugar. Therefore when people eat large quantities of white rice, they're eating a lot of sugar which over time can lead to diabetes.

Just as potatoes are a staple in American households, white rice is a staple in China and Japan. Potatoes also increase the amount of sugar in the blood because it is also a starchy food, many diabetics tend to avoid potatoes for this very reason.

Qi Sun's study is relevant to the US because rice is becoming an important part of the American diet - European Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans consume white rice. Thus it's important to be aware of its potential effects on diabetes numbers in this country

In fact, Qi Sun and colleagues concluded that: "...the dose-response relations indicate that even for Western populations with typically low intake levels, relatively high white rice consumption may still modestly increase risk of diabetes."

Does the Harvard study mean that you should cut white rice from your diet? Not necessarily. White rice can be eaten in moderation. Alternatives to white rice also exist i.e. brown rice, and whole grains which will increase the amount of dietary fiber while reducing the amount of starch dumped into the bloodstream. 

It's hard to get people to change their dietary habits, but when they're presented with the facts, they can make more informed decisions about things that affect their health and well-being.


Look to Jesus Christ who is the source of your salvation.

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Article Source  

Hu, E., Pan, A., Malik, V., & Sun, Q. (2012). White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review BMJ, 344 (mar15 3) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e1454


"Too Much White Rice May Be Bad For You" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved. Registered & Protected


Easy Health Tips to Improve Health

Easy Health Tips to Improve Health
By Jamie Mazique

Contrary to what other people say, you do not have to do
something grand in order to stay healthy. In fact, you can
simply sneak in a little bit of healthy activity every now and
then in your lifestyle. Of course, doing something small is a
whole lot better than doing nothing at all. Hence, here are some
helpful health tips in order for you to be set on the road to a
healthy lifestyle.

Let us start with your diet. Your goal here is to maintain a
balanced diet, but you should not do this all in one blow. You
can begin by making the switch from processed foods to natural
foods. Try to be more conscious of what you are eating and make
it a habit to look at the nutrition facts so that you know what
you are putting inside your body. Also, add fruits and
vegetables to your diet since these foods are full of vitamins
and minerals that keep your body healthy. If you are not fond of
eating vegetables as is, why not try eating a salad as an
appetizer before dinner? This is a great way to start eating
fruits and vegetables and incorporating them in your diet.

There are also health tips with regard to exercising. Not all
people have the luxury of time when it comes to maintaining
physical fitness. So the least you can do is to infuse a tidbit
of exercise in your everyday activities. For example, when you
are trying to pick up something, you can squat instead of bend
over. Squatting is already a muscle-strengthening exercise for
your legs, and you can already do it without breaking a sweat.
Also, if your place of work is just walking distance from your
home, you can opt to walk instead of bringing your car or
commuting. Not only will you be able to save on gasoline; you
will also be able to get your daily dose of exercise.

Health tips also involve stress management, since keeping your
stress levels controlled can give a positive boost to your
health. Remember that overall health is composed of not just
your physical health but even your emotional and psychological
health as well. You can keep your stress levels in check by
doing deep breathing exercises every now and then. Also, when
you have problems, do not hesitate to hug it out and have a good
cry. This helps you eliminate all the negative stress in your

Finally, rest and sleep is also an important factor in your
health. One of the helpful health tips for improving sleep is to
make sure that you are comfortable with the pillow you are
using. The quality of your pillow can enhance the quality of
your sleep, thus leaving you in a good mood when you wake up.
Also, drinking milk before going to sleep gives you a good
night’s sleep.

With all these easy health tips that you can incorporate in
your daily life, there is simply no reason for you not to stay

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How to Recognize and Understand High Blood Pressure

How to Recognize and Understand High Blood Pressure
By Greg Garner

The force of blood as it circulates against the blood vessel's
inner walls is called blood pressure. There are many things
affect blood pressure, causing it to rise.

• The amount of force with which the blood pumps
• The amount of blood in the body
• The blood vessel's diameter

So that generally, blood pressure rises when the heart pumps
harder, there is an increase in the amount of blood in the body,
or there is a decrease in the diameter of the blood vessels that
carries the blood.


Adequate blood pressure is vital to those organs and tissues
that depend on the nutrients and oxygen that the blood supplies
to keep them healthy. Without the proper pressure, waste
materials would damage cells that depend on venous blood to
carry it away to be discarded. For this crucial exchange of
nutrients and waste to occur, pressure and concentration must be
maintained within certain levels.

High Blood Pressure

In the US, greater than fifty million people suffer from high
blood pressure, also called hypertension. Contrary to how it
sounds, it has nothing to do with being tense or hyperactive; it
is a condition where the blood is flowing through the vessels at
too great a pressure to ensure the health of the vessel over the
long term. Any pressure that is 140 over 90 or higher is
considered too high and unhealthy. This level will damage vessel
walls over time, leading to very serious health issues.

Risk Factors

Secondary Hypertension is high blood pressure, which is caused
by a disease, however most people who suffer from high blood
pressure, suffer from essential or primary hypertension. The
exact cause of this is unknown although the theories involve
several mechanisms. Risk factors include:

• High blood pressure in family history
• Race
• Age
• Obesity
• Sedentary
• Diabetes mellitus


Understanding high blood pressure, including how to take a
reading is important. Information can be found online, like
HIPAA Training that can help. You can measure blood pressure
with a tool called a sphygmomanometer. The cuff is placed around
the upper arm and then tightened. When the blood flow through
the brachial artery is stopped, the pressure is gradually
released. Using a stethoscope placed in the crook of the elbow,
you listen to blood flow and read the meter attached to the BP
cuff. When the first sounds of pressure are heard, mark the top
number. The last sound you hear as the pressure is released is
the mark for the bottom number.

• Top number = Systolic This is the heart under contraction
• Bottom number = Diastolic This is the heart resting
• Average healthy blood pressure for an adult is 120 over 80.

High BP Problems

Besides damage to the blood vessels, High Blood Pressure can
also damage the eyes, the kidneys, the brain, and the heart,
including some of these problems:

• Stroke
• Cerebrovascular insufficiency
• Heart disease
• Congestive heart failure
• Kidney disease
• Kidney blood vessel damage

Steps You Can Take

• Low-fat diet
• Decrease salt
• Shed weight
• Don't smoke or quit smoking
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol
• Follow doctor's instructions
• Take your meds
• Exercise plan (doctors)
• Monitor BP
• Do not stop meds when you feel better

Treatment and Options

Treatment of high blood pressure includes diet, diuretics,
sympathetic nervous system blocking drugs, and vasodilators. If
you have or suspect you have high blood pressure, it is very
important that you see your doctor soon. Damage to vessels or
your heart can be irreversible and the earlier you catch it the
better for you.

About the Author: For more information please visit our Blood
Borne Pathogens Training Website


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The Ones Who Go The Farthest - Thoughts about life.


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"Top Stories This Week" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved. Registered & Protected