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Off the cuff articles about health

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The fallacy of exercise - a series.

This will be an open article and basically an opinion that will try to answer a few items on my mind about our health and how it is addressed in the transportation industry.  Click to read more...

Successful Weight Control

It's not just cutting calories
Eating less, or cutting back on fat in your diet, won't keep the weight off. What you really need to do is strike a good balance between the number of calories you consume and the number you burn.  Click to read more...

The Mainstream Media Should Never be Trusted For Nutrition Information

The mainstream media is part of the reason for all the nutrition confusion out there.

These stories often get a lot of attention, but when you look past the headlines and read the actual studies, you find that they are taken way out of context.It seems like every week there is a new study making headlines, often contradicting another study that came out just a few months earlier.

In many cases, there are other higher quality studies that directly contradict the media frenzy (which rarely get mentioned).

Meat Does Not Rot in Your Colon

It is completely false that meat rots in the colon.

The human body is well equipped to digest and absorb all the important nutrients found in meat.

The protein gets broken down in the stomach by stomach acids, then the rest of it gets broken down in the small intestine by powerful digestive enzymes.

All the fats, proteins and nutrients are then moved past the digestive wall and into the body. There is simply nothing left to “rot” in the colon.

Healthy habits can lengthen life

American don’t live as long as people in most other high-income countries. Heart disease and cancer are two of the most common preventable chronic diseases in the United States. An unhealthy lifestyle increases your risk for these and other chronic diseases that can lead to an early death.

To explore the effects of healthy habits on Americans’ health and lifespan, a team of scientists led by Frank Hu at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed data from more than 78,000 women and 44,000 men who participated in two nationwide surveys: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). They used other data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to estimate the distribution of lifestyle choices and death rates across the U.S. population. The research was supported in part by NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI). Results were published online in Circulation on April 30, 2018.

The team collected data on five different low-risk lifestyle factors and compared health outcomes for those who adopted all five with those who didn’t adopt any. The five factors included maintaining a healthy eating pattern (getting the daily recommended amounts of vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids and limiting red and processed meats, beverages with added sugar, trans fat, and sodium); not smoking; getting at least 3.5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week; drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol (one drink or less per day for women or two drinks or less per day for men); and maintaining a normal weight (body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9). The researchers also collected information about the participants’ medical history, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, as well as when they died.

At age 50, women who didn’t adopt any of the five healthy habits were estimated to live on average until they were 79 years old and men until they were 75.5 years. In contrast, women who adopted all five healthy lifestyle habits lived 93.1 years and men lived 87.6 years.

Independently, each of the five healthy lifestyle factors significantly lowered the risk of total death, death from cancer, and death from heart disease.

“This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population,” Hu says. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.”

Understanding your blood pressure reading->

Making sense of your blood pressure reading can be tricky, but we’ve broken it down to help you better understand what the numbers mean.

A blood pressure reading involves two numbers, one over the other. For example, a reading might be presented as 120/80.

Systolic pressure, the top number, is the pressure on the arteries when the heart beats and pumps blood.

Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, is the pressure on the arteries in between heartbeats.

Although both systolic and diastolic measures are important, research has found that systolic pressure is a strong predictor of heart problems caused by high blood pressure, especially among older adults. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

New blood pressure guidelines

In late 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology announced updated high blood pressure guidelines. The new guidelines are based, in part, on research carried out and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at NIH.

Under the updated AHA/ACC guidelines, if you have systolic blood pressure rates of 130 and higher you are considered to have high blood pressure. The old guidelines set high blood pressure rates at 140 or higher.

These new guidelines were informed by a number of clinical studies that showed that lifestyle changes can help high-risk individuals reduce their blood pressure—and may ultimately save lives.

Those changes include heart-healthy diets, weight loss, and exercise as key first steps in reaching a lower blood pressure target.

One study that helped inform the guidelines was the SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention) trial, which was supported by NHLBI.

SPRINT studied 9,300 adults, aged 50 and older, at risk for heart disease from around the U.S. It showed that achieving a lower blood pressure goal of 120 mm Hg (instead of 140) reduced the rate of heart events by about 25 percent and the overall risk of death by 27 percent.

Talk to your health care provider

You can measure your blood pressure at home with a monitor and in your health care provider’s office. Some people have higher blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office due to the stress that appointments can create. It’s known as “white coat hypertension.”

Be sure to talk to your health care provider about your blood pressure reading and any follow-up steps you need to take.