Shift Work Linked to Diabetes

An article published in The Independent this morning states, “Medics, police officers and fire fighters could be at increased risk of developing diabetes.”

shift work

The publication comes after new research was published in the Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal linking a heightened risk of diabetes to shift work.

In comparison with conventional employees who work a 9 to 5 day, shift workers, especially “graveyard” shift workers, are 9 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Additionally, researchers found that male shift workers are 37 percent more likely to develop diabetes while employees who work rotating rather than fixed shift patterns have an increased risk of 42 percent.

According to CBS News, ‘”Some potential biological mechanisms may explain the link between shift work and [diabetes],” the researchers write in their study. “First, shift work may interfere with the normal synchrony of the light-dark cycle, sleeping and eating patterns, which might cause a mismatch of circadian rhythms.”‘

Other research on the topic has also linked shift work to serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease and potential harm to fertility for women who hold late night or rotating shift jobs.


Other articles covering this story include Forbes, Tech Times and BBC News.

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On July 25, 2014, posted in: News by

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Are Your TV Habits Harming Your Health?

If you are planning to spend your weekend on the couch, you may want to reconsider. A recent report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that watching too much TV may be linked to a higher risk of early death.


“Watching television is a passive, sedentary activity, and certainly people who do it for hours are not paying attention in terms of their lifestyle and in terms of their diet,” said American Heart Association cardiologist Nisa Goldberg.

In the study, researchers analyzed more than 13,000 Spanish adults by tracking each individual for a period of 8 years. All the participants were not only healthy, but college graduates. By closely monitoring sedentary behavior, researchers were able to find an association between the 97 deaths (19 from cardiovascular causes, 46 from cancer and 32 from other) during the project and too much television viewing.

While most of the participants only watched about 1.6 hours of television a day, NBC News reports, “for every two extra hours of watching TV over and above one hour a day, the volunteers were 44 percent more likely to die from heart disease or stroke, 21 percent more likely to die of cancer and 55 percent more likely to die from something else, and that’s taking in account their age, sex, whether they smoked, whether they were obese and whether they ate a healthy, Mediterranean diet.”

Doctors and health professionals urge the public to take sedentary activities, such as watching too much television, very seriously as it could be the difference between living a longer life. In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Americans watch 2.8 hours of television a day – a high statistic considering the recommended maximum is 2 hours per day.

Additionally, you can avoid a sedentary lifestyle and improve your overall health by implementing these active habits into your daily routine:

1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

2. Bike or walk to work when you can.

3. Watch your favorite shows while on the treadmill or stationary bike. You can even do simple chores such as folding laundry while watching TV. This keeps you from mindless eating and increases body movement.

But most importantly, spend time outside! Colorado offers numerous outdoor activities for everyone. Enjoy an active summer in Fort Collins and spend less time in front of the TV!

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On July 11, 2014, posted in: News by

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Outdoor Health Benefits

In a recent article published by USA Today, reports claim that being outdoors can improve health in more than one way.

Richard Louv, an advocate of being outdoors states, “Pediatricians are telling me they are not seeing many broken bones in kids anymore. What they are seeing are repetitive stress injuries from using computers and mice.” Additionally, Louv says obesity can be a side effect of an indoor life.

To help parents and children better connect with an active, outdoor lifestyle, USA Today wrote up a ‘prescription’ to try this summer. Here are three of our favorite suggestions for a healthier summer:

Try exercising outside more. Studies actually prove that those who exercise outdoors are more likely to stick with it than those who workout inside. And exercise outdoors doesn’t have to be limited to running or doing push-ups. Louv suggests building a tree house or going on a hike. Other activities could include riding bikes, jumping on a trampoline or swimming.

Spend time in the sun (with sunscreen). Sun exposure for at least 10-15 minutes a day stimulates your body to make its own vitamin D and improves bone health. Additionally, the National Sleep Foundation claims exposure to morning sunlight can help you sleep better at night.

 Take a walk. If you are feeling stressed, try taking a walk outside. Victoria Maizes, executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona-Tucson states, “Being outside seems to tap into the relaxation side of our nervous system and does it in as little as five minutes.”


To read more about outdoor health benefits, visit USA Today for the original article.

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On June 30, 2014, posted in: News by

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6 Alarming Statistics about Diabetes

A 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that nearly 29 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 86 million adults have prediabetes.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, “Between 15% and 30% of those with prediabetes will go on to develop the full-fledged metabolic disorder within five years, a transition that can sometimes be averted with substantial weight loss and increased physical activity.”

On its website, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the following “key findings from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014 (based on health data from 2012):

    1. 29 million people in the United States (9.3 percent) have diabetes.
    2. 1.7 million people aged 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.
    3. Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.
    4. 208,000 people younger than 20 years have been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or type 2).
    5. 86 million adults aged 20 years and older have prediabetes.
    6. The percentage of U.S. adults with prediabetes is similar for non-Hispanic whites (35 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (39 percent), and Hispanics (38 percent).”

In addition to these alarming statistics, diabetes is costing patients financially. Adults with Type 2 Diabetes have medical bills that are two times higher than patients without the disease.

Dr. James Hendrick of Medical Metabolic Specialists is an expert in preventing and treating diabetes. Due to the new statistics and alarming numbers of diabetic and prediabetic Americans, a lot of you who are reading this post may need to schedule an appointment at our office in Fort Collins, Colorado. If you are looking for a weight loss clinic to help you deal with the causes of being overweight and meet your individual needs, Medical Metabolic Specialists is for you.

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Why You Should Increase Your Daily Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

Unless you are consuming at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day, you may not be eating enough.

In a recent article by the LA Times, Oyinlola Oyebode, lead researcher at University College London, claims, “We have shown that those eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily have the lowest risk of mortality from any cause.”

A portion can be relatively small though according to registered dietician Andy Bellatti. “A mere half cup of cooked leafy greens counts as a serving, as do roughly a dozen baby carrots or six asparagus spears,” he tells the LA Times.

Eating out and not taking the time to prepare meals are two of the biggest reasons that only about a quarter of American adults have three or more servings of vegetables a day. Jennie Cook, an LA Caterer, recommends stocking your kitchen with fresh produce and making it a priority. She encourages adults to have three servings of vegetables and/or fruit at both lunch and dinner and two servings with breakfast.


Read the full study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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On June 11, 2014, posted in: News by

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Counting Calories and Exercise Won’t Help with Long Term Weight Loss

While counting calories and incorporating exercise into your routine may help with short-term weight loss, researchers are finding these remedies do not contribute to long-term weight loss.

“We intuitively know that ‘eat less exercise more’ doesn’t work. It’s such simple advice that if it worked, my colleagues and I would be out of job,” says Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The uncomfortable fact is that an exceedingly small number of people can lose a substantial amount of weight and keep it off following that advice” (TIME).

According to Dr. Ludwig and his colleague, Dr. Mark L. Friedman, weight loss should not be viewed as something separate from biological functions and the effects of what kinds of food are consumed. “‘Instead of counting calories, we should be focusing on the quality of the food we consume,’ says Ludwig” (TIME).

At Medical Metabolic Specialists, this research is core to our practice. As an obesity medicine specialist, Dr. James Hendrick focuses on the prevention and treatment of obesity and its associated conditions. His goal is to help patients understand their obstacles and manage their metabolism to help them lose weight.

Unlike traditional weight loss clinics you see advertised, our comprehensive approach addresses the important issues of behavior, nutrition, emotion, disease, and medication along with how they relate to your weight. We don’t just tell patients to exercise and count calories, but rather we use the latest scientific techniques to create a comprehensive, individualized, lifelong weight management program to improve overall health and happiness.

If you are ready to start your journey to long-term weight loss, contact us to begin your individualized assessment!

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Recommended Exercise Guidelines Aren’t Cutting It For Weight Loss

A recent article published by Reuters suggests that the recommended exercise guidelines for adults are far too low and adults who follow the guidelines still gain weight.

“Current recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 60 minutes of vigorous exercise per week might not be sufficient to prevent long-term weight gain,” lead researcher Trine Moholdt told Reuters Health in an email. “More is needed.”

Moholdt and her team recently published the results of a 22-year study examining weight and exercise patterns of more than 19,000 adults. The study shows that, on average, the men gained roughly 17 pounds while the women gained approximately 19 pounds.

“Only those who exceeded the recommended weekly 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 60 minutes of vigorous activity were able to avoid significant weight gain over both the first and second half of the study period” (Reuters).

So what does this mean? Consider taking your exercise to the next level by participating in at least two intense exercise regimes a week. Try joining a Zumba class or dusting your bike off for some long distance riding. Whatever exercise you decide on, find something that is going to make you sweat and add it to your schedule a few times a week!


Read more about this study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


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Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Decrease Risk of Stroke

Did you know “stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American adults eat on average only 1.1 fruits and 1.6 vegetables a day – less than half of the daily recommended intake” (ABC News).


You may want to reconsider your fruit and vegetable intake because, according to research, fruit every day may decrease the risk of stroke by almost one third.

This research was a recent review of 20 studies examining a total of 16,981 strokes among 760,629 participants (Reuters). It showed that participants who ate the most amounts of fruits and vegetables reduced their chance of stroke by 21% and the more fruits and vegetables a person consumed, the more the risk decreased (32% decrease for every 200 g of fruit, 11% decrease for every 200 g of vegetables).

‘“A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is highly recommended because it meets micronutrient and macronutrient and fiber requirements without adding substantially to overall energy requirements,” study author Dr. Yan Qu of Qingdao Municipal Hospital in China said in a statement. In particular, Yan told ABC News, “citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, apples and pears” seem to be linked to a lower risk of stroke’ (ABC News).

So spend a little more time in the produce aisle next time you go grocery shopping – it could save your life!

To read more about this study, visit ABC News and Reuters Health.

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On May 12, 2014, posted in: News by

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Bike to Work and Improve Your Health

If you have been keeping up the news, Fort Collins is starting 2014 with a bang. Not only did USA Today Travel  rank our city as the #2 Best U.S. Cycling Town, but Time recently reported “94.9% of Fort Collins residents say they are satisfied with the city — a higher percentage than found in any other American city.”

While many factors play into why residents love this town, we know great health is one of the top reasons. With the numerous bike trails and outdoor activities, Fort Collins residents are not only happy, but also healthy.

According to USA Today, the Alliance for Biking and Walking recently found “levels of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are lower in cities where a higher percentage of commuters bicycle or walk to work…” Jeffrey Miller, president and CEO of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, commented, “It’s not surprising to see that we have a correlation between public health and levels of biking and walking. Still, it’s good to have the data. It’s a very positive thing that we need to highlight.”

So dust off your bikes and get to riding! With our 310-mile network of paths and bike lanes, Fort Collins is the perfect city to commute to work or enjoy a weekend ride.


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On April 28, 2014, posted in: News by

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Sleep Just As Important As Diet and Exercise

According to an article by Time Magazine, “Your doctor could soon be prescribing crucial shuteye as treatment for everything from obesity to ADHD to mental health as experts say carving out time for sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.”

As stated by the article, researchers have known for some time that sleep is critical for weight maintenance and hormone balance, and too little sleep is linked to many diseases and heart problem as well as mental health. However, it wasn’t until recent that research on sleep became a paramount component of the medical industry in terms of treatment of various conditions.

“Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen, a pioneer of sleep research at the University of Chicago, once said, “If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process ever made.””

The article goes on to explain how Americans are chronically sleep deprived, and “catching up” can take a very long time, most Americans continue to put off sleep unaware of the negative consequences. The article also brings up the issue of the ever growing digital world and how it interferes with our sleep patterns.

“Using technology before bed stimulates us and interferes with our sleep, yet 95% of Americans use some type of electronics like a computer, TV, or cell phone at least a few nights a week within the hour before we go to bed, according to a 2011 National Sleep Foundation survey. “Many doctors, lawyers, and executives stay up late and get up early and burn the candle at both ends,” says Dr. Richard Lang, chair of Preventative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “Making sure they pay attention to sleep in the same way they pay attention to diet and exercise is crucial.””

The bottom line: sleep is vital to health, not just for weight loss and alertness, but it can also be instrumental in fighting disease and heart problems.

Read the entire Time article here. 


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On April 14, 2014, posted in: News by