Category Archives: health

America’s Obesity Report Card: BIG FAT F

Last week the Trust for America’s Health released their annual “fat” report for 2011 — F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011 [PDF].

To better visualize the F that America receives year after year, below is the infamous fat map from the past 3 years. It just keeps getting REDDER.


This is an excerpt from TAH:

“Today, the state with the lowest obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995,” said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. “There was a clear tipping point in our national weight gain over the last twenty years, and we can’t afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending.”

Read the press release here for a synopsis of the full report (which is 124 pages long).

Obesity is related to several health issues including Diabetes, Hypertension, sleep apnea… the list goes on (the risk of getting breast cancer even rises significantly).  The fatter we get, the sicker we are, and the poorer this nation will be. It is not surprising that the poorer an individual is, the more likely he or she will be obese and continue to create a culture of bad lifestyle habits for their family members. Affordable food is fast food and/or processed (Is that even food?! It’s more like S@#$!). If a person lives at or below the Federal Poverty Level, they are more likely to consume this type of food on a regular basis. This is an issue everyone living in this country should be concerned about. After all, taxpayers do pay for Medicaid.

It’s such a devastating trend and horrible culture of disease that we live in.

What can we do? Start with yourself! Live and lead a healthy and active life.

Awareness: Don’t eat that popcorn!

As you already know, I’m obsessed with infographics and their beautiful ways of sharing data –> DATA VISUALIZATION. Rather than telling someone, “hey, don’t eat that popcorn!” I can just show them this and they can SEE why. I love it. It’s all about increasing awareness and finding the most effective way to do it.

Bottled Water Infographic

About a year ago, I posted this video on the bottled water industry. Although it was effective in its own right in getting the message across, I’ve now found another way information and data can be shared effectively on the internet: infographics. Below is an excellent example of an infographic.

Charley Bit Me!

I’m referring to charley, the horse, not Charlie the baby — a charley horse!

This past Sunday I ran my first road race of 2011, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. I finished within my projected time at 1:29:43 (I might have / probably would have PR’d if I didn’t have to use the porta-potty at the 4th mile, but that’s life).

Here are some fun running stats via RunPix.

Anyway, about 2 minutes after I crossed the finish line, I experienced one of the most debilitating charley horses of my life in my right calf. To my surprise, I was not the only one to have experienced this post-race.

So naturally, I Googled it and I shall share my findings here.

The 4 Ws [Ref: NYTimes]

What: A charley horse is usually referred to as a muscle spasm that occurs in the leg.

Where: Calf or thigh.

When/Why: 1) Muscle is overused. 2) Muscle is injured. 3) Dehydration. 4) Low levels of potassium or calcium.

Given these choices, I’m pretty sure my calf muscle was overused (especially with the style of running I practice), I was very likely dehydrated, and also low on potassium. One banana ain’t gonna cut it for 90 minutes of running! I shall see if I can prevent this in the future.

Tips for controlling the cramp via TopEndSports:

the muscle is trying to contract violently. Muscles will never stop a contraction in the middle, it has an “all or nothing” system. A muscle fiber contracts fully, or not at all. If you try to stretch it out, while the muscle is trying to contract, you will tear fibers. You need to assist the muscle in its contraction BEFORE you can stretch it without injury.

When the muscle goes into this cramp, tightly grab your calf with your hands: one hand at the top of the calf, just below the knee; and the other hand at the bottom of the muscle, at the top of the achilles tendon just above the ankle. Now, help the muscle complete it’s contraction by pushing your hands together. This will be extremely painful, but only for a few seconds. Next, just release your hands, and then replace them in the same positions. Now, again push your hands together, this time it won’t hurt nearly as much. You are now assisting any last fibers to finish their contraction. Take a few breathes, get back your oxygen that was lost while you were breathing heavily during the pain.

Now you can safely stretch the muscle.

Further Reading:


Here’s to future races without cramps or spasms!

Chi Running

It was only a matter of time before I devoted a post to chi running. I was first intrigued by it because it builds on the barefoot running style by endorsing a better form. This would inherently reduce injury and increase efficiency. I just couldn’t quite grasp the entire idea of it yet, so I put it off. I shall take a stab at it now.

When you Google “chi running” the first thing that pops up is www.chirunning.com. The problem with this website is that it tries to tell you too much all at once. There is SO MUCH text to digest and so many tabs to navigate; I needed some more quick and straightforward information. My wishes came true when an active.com article came out earlier this week describing the five basic elements of chi running:

  • Run tall
  • Lean forward
  • Land on the Mid-foot
  • Run from Your Core
  • Relax, Relax, Relax

Read about the 5 elements [here].

I found it odd that there are certified chi running instructors, classes, training programs, etc offered. They say that this is a natural form of running, but there sure are a lot of learning they say you have to do. I’m not against it, I just find it peculiar.

Another interesting thing I noticed is that they have this whole line of Chi products to promote chi in your running. For example: Correct Toes. “Correct Toes are podiastrist-designed to place each toe in the correct anatomical position in relationship to each other and to the ground. The width can be customized with the use of shims in the first and fourth interspaces.”

There’s also a Chi Running book written by the co-founder of Chi Running; and this is what they claim:

Chi Running combines the inner focus and flow of T’ai Chi with  running to create a ground-breaking running technique that takes the pain and potential injury out of the sport of running. Increase mental focus and clarity.

Lastly, but certainly not least, are the shoes the co-founder recommends for chi running. MINIMALIST BABY!

  • Adidas Adizero Rocket
  • Brooks Mach II Spikeless
  • INOV-8 Talon 212 or Rocklite 295
  • Mizuno Wave Ronin 2
  • New Balance MT100
  • Newton Isaacs
  • Nike Free 3.0
  • Puma Cabana Racer II
  • Vibram Five Fingers KSO or Trek
  • VivoBarefoot EVO

What can I say? I’m a running shoe GEEK. No shame here! So I might as well try this out on one of my runs sometime; I’ve already got one of the five basic concepts down pat anyway! Please stay tuned for an update!

New Wine Wednesdays

A little more than a month ago I started, what I like to call, New Wine Wednesdays. I decided that when choosing wines in restaurants I always went with what was comfortable; and this usually meant the cheapest Cabernet Sauvignon on the list. I realized that maybe it was time to venture outside of my comfort zone and try new things. After all, if you never change, you’ll never learn.

So, (almost) every Wednesday I try a new wine. Why Wednesdays, you ask? Well for the alliteration, of course! I’m just so lucky that I can also drink a glass to get through hump day as well.

In the past month or so I have yet to purchase a “cab” or even a pinot noir; and I’ve developed some new loves as well. Oh and we’re talking reds here because, 1) one glass of red wine is actually heart healthy (Google resveratrol), and 2) whites can be too sweet or tart for me to drink weekly. Those new loves that I’ve tried include: Malbecs, Tempranillos, and Chiantis.

Tonight’s choice?

A modern Spanish blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet by Tempra Tantrum. They specialize in blending “international varietals with the quintessential Tempranillo grape…” This was the first blend I’ve tried since starting this weekly ritual and it ain’t too shabby.

I may sound like a wino right now, but I’m allowed to for just one day a week.

Posted via WordPress for iOS.

Let’s Do This!

Greetings friends, family, and readers (whoever you are)!

As many of you know, I recently started a new job at the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County (PCC).  And you probably know I do something health related or something Komen related or something with related to the low-income and uninsured population, but you probably don’t know what it is exactly that I do.  I’m hoping to now clear up that vagueness with this post.

What is PCC?

The Primary Care Coalition is a private, non-profit, charitable organization working with public/private partners to provide high-quality, accessible, equitable, efficient, and outcome-driven health care services for low-income, uninsured County residents.

What do I do?

In September of 2010, I joined PCC’s Center for Health Improvement as the Komen Regional Project Coordinator. I am specifically working on the National Capital Area Breast Healthcare Improvement Initiative; and in short, I am working with safety-net clinics in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, DC, and Northern Virginia to streamline breast healthcare services for low-income and/or uninsured women 40 and over. The “Komen” part of my title comes from the fact that Susan G. Komen for the Cure funded this entire program.

This morning I attended a news conference for the kick-off of the 22nd annual Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure and met Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I was pretty moved and motivated by the event, so I elected myself to be PCC’s team captain for the 2011 Global Race for the Cure.  Why not combine my love for running with my passion for what I do?

You can visit my personal page here: http://globalrace.info-komen.org/goto/PearMoraras

For PCC’s team page, click here: http://globalrace.info-komen.org/goto/PCC

Let’s do this!

2011 TeamRaiser widgets