This May, in support of National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, Dr. Travis Stork and the other physicians on the television show "The Doctors" are encouraging viewers to develop a healthier lifestyle. They've dubbed the month's broadcast focus "Get Moving May." Reducing obesity with a healthy diet and sensible exercise is the goal.
During a recent interview with Dr. Stork, I asked him how we can encourage our aging loved ones to exercise and eat right to lose weight and stay healthy, especially when we hear the excuse "why bother now?" Dr. Stork chuckled at my question, saying he hears that excuse all of the time. He added, "I don't care if you're 90... it's a medical fact that it's never too late to change behaviors." He continued by saying that diet and lifestyle changes had "almost an immediate impact on quality of life and that saying it's too late is medically inaccurate."
Many studies have shown that obesity raises the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The National Institutes of Health says the following about obesity and the Alzheimer's risk:
"Obesity is now a global health hazard. It not only predisposes to an array of risk factors leading to increased morbidity and mortality amongst adults but it also has a major negative impact on children's health. The deleterious effects of obesity on (the) cardiovascular system have now been well acknowledged. It causes insulin resistance that in turn leads to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular abnormalities. The vascular effects of obesity may have a role in the development of a rapidly growing disease of late life, Alzheimer's disease."
Studies have shown that obesity raises the risk of diabetes, likely because of the way insulin is used in the body. This also raises the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Stork's advice throughout the phone conversation emphasized obesity control by finding an exercise that people enjoy and can sustain, such as regular walking, as well as changing our eating habits to learn to control what and how much we eat. He doesn't believe in crash diets or exercise binges because the results generally don't last. He says lifestyle changes can work if we approach making the changes with the attitude that our quality of life depends on these changes, and we commit to the process.
Dick Van Dyke on how to stay young
On Thursday, May 3, show business veteran Dick Van Dyke will be a guest on "The Doctors." For more than 60 years, Van Dyke has entertained audiences through song, dance, film and theatre. He's still vibrant, despite a 50-plus year battle with arthritis. On the show, he'll talk about his approach to staying "young" no matter what the calendar shows. Van Dyke says we need to:
- Do the things we love
- Exercise daily
- Keep young friends
I expect that Dick Van Dyke's advice on how to stay young will offer viewers an entertaining and informative episode of "The Doctors." Other shows during the month of May on "The Doctors" will encourage viewers to get a handle on the obesity epidemic. By focusing on weight control and fitness, we could help curb the rising trend toward diabetes and may even lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease.