February 2019





Just released: NCCOR’s 2018 Annual Report

February 28, 2019, NCCOR

NCCOR’s 2018 Annual Report, “A Decade of Transforming Childhood Obesity Research,” showcases accomplishments from the last year and the last decade, as the Collaborative celebrates 10 years since it was first launched.

In 2018, NCCOR:

  • Updated more than 70 systems in the Catalogue of Surveillance Systems and added five new systems including NCI’s Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) study, and USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS).
  • Published a chapter called, “Behavioral Design as an Emerging Theory for Dietary Change” in Food and Public Health, a book from Oxford University Press. The chapter comes from a white paper NCCOR released in 2017, that resulted from a series of meetings with experts that NCCOR convened in 2015 and 2016.
  • Convened community-based healthy weight program representatives, through NCCOR’s Engaging Health Care Providers and Systems, for a kick-off meeting to launch its collaborative learning project.
  • Facilitated six webinars, with more than 760 attendees, on a range of topics from preventing childhood obesity in Latin America to America’s eating habits away from home with experts from across the field.
  • Attended seven conferences where NCCOR shared resources and presented new tools in workshops.
  • Developed new materials to translate information and disseminate it to reach new audiences. These materials include the Measures Registry Q&A for students, guides to help PE teachers and public health practitioners use the Youth Compendium of Physical Activities, and a fact sheet to help others learn from NCCOR’s success in building a public health collaborative.

These are just some highlights from the last year. Check out the full annual report here to learn more about what NCCOR accomplished in 2018 and in the last 10 years!

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Publications & Tools

NCCOR's Toolbox


This month, NCCOR is introducing a brand-new section to the monthly newsletter to feature some of the most useful and innovative tools that the Collaborative has to offer. Check back here each month to see what you can incorporate into your research methods or see all of NCCOR’s tools at

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Healthy Youth Index


This tool from CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health has a newly updated website with a cleaner look and more user-friendly design. Researchers and practitioners can search for data and statistics, fact sheets, funded programs, and more to incorporate into their childhood obesity research.

See the resources here

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Food Research & Action Center School Breakfast Scorecard, 2017-2018 School Year


This annual report analyzes participation in the School Breakfast Program among low-income children nationally and in each state and the District of Columbia for the 2017–2018 school year. The report features best practices for increasing participation in the program, including breakfast after the bell models and community eligibility.

Read the report here

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Decisions to Act: Investing in Physical Activity to Enhance Learning and Health


A new report from the Physical Activity Research Center investigates why and how physical activity-supportive elementary schools prioritize and implement physical activity strategies to help students reach the recommended amount of daily physical activity.

Read the report here

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Childhood Obesity Research & News

Why these Pacific Island nations have world’s highest childhood obesity rates

February 13, 2019, CNN

By Jacqueline Howard

Childhood obesity continues to rise around the world, and the World Health Organization has called it “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.”

Yet the prevalence of childhood obesity appears to vary across countries.

Island nations in the Pacific, such as Nauru and the Cook Islands, appear to have the highest obesity rates among children 5 to 19, but the countries Ethiopia and Burkina Faso appear to have the lowest rates.

“There are still more children that are underweight in the world than there are obese, but that’s likely to change pretty soon,” said Tiago Barreira, an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Syracuse University in New York who has studied childhood obesity on a global scale.

The prevalence of child and adolescent obesity is expected to surpass the prevalence of moderate and severe underweight by 2022, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet in 2017.

The study estimated that in 1975, there were 11 million children 5 to 19 with obesity, and that number increased to 124 million in 2016.

The number of obese or overweight children 5 and younger climbed from 32 million globally in 1990 to 41 million in 2016, according to WHO data. If current trends continue, the number of overweight or obese children in that age group could increase to 70 million by 2025.

Where childhood obesity is most and least prevalent

The highest prevalence of obesity in children 5 to 9 is in the Pacific Islands, at around 30% for both boys and girls, said Juana Willumsen, an expert in WHO’s Department of the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases.

Based on that 2016 data, Nauru is followed by the Cook Islands at 36.1%, Palau at 35.5%, Niue at 33.3%, the Marshall Islands at 31.2%, Tuvalu at 31.1%, Tonga at 30.2%, Kiribati at 27.5%, Micronesia at 25.2% and Samoa at 24.9%.

Among children 10 to 19, Nauru still appears to have the highest obesity rate at 31.7%, followed by the Cook Islands at 30.3%, Palau at 29.4%, Niue at 27.6%, Tuvalu at 25.3%, Tonga at 24.9% and the Marshall Islands at 24.4%, according to WHO data from 2016.

“However, these are small countries,” Willumsen wrote in an email. “The next highest is Kuwait.” That Middle East country appears to have an obesity rate of 23.1% among children 5 to 9 and 22.8% among children 10 to 19, based on that WHO data from 2016.

On the other hand, “a number of countries have childhood obesity prevalence below 1% for boys,” Willumsen said, including Uganda and Rwanda among ages 5 to 9 and Niger, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia among ages 10 to 19, based on WHO data from 2016.

Several countries also have childhood obesity rates below 2% for girls, Willumsen said, including Cambodia and Burkina Faso among ages 5 to 19, according to 2016 data.

In the United States, the prevalence of childhood obesity was 18.5%, and it affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents in 2015 and 2016, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released last year, showed significant state-by-state differences in obesity rates among children 10 to 17. The report, based on combined data from 2016 and 2017, revealed that Mississippi had the highest childhood obesity rate at 26.1% for that time, and Utah had the lowest at 8.7%.

Across Europe, there seems to be similar rates of and differences in childhood obesity prevalence. A WHO report last year showed that of 34 countries in the European region, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, San Marino and Spain had the highest rates of childhood obesity. In these countries, about 1 in 5 boys was obese, and rates of obesity among girls were only slightly lower.

Denmark, France, Ireland, Latvia and Norway were among the countries with the lowest rates, ranging from 5% to 9% in either boys or girls, according to WHO. Those findings were based on 2015-17 data among children ages 6 to 9 from the WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative.

‘The definition of obesity for children is not universal’

Obesity is defined by body mass index or BMI, which is a measure of the relationship between weight and height. Most health groups — including WHO — measure the condition in adults as when their body mass index is 30 or higher.

Yet in children, identifying and measuring obesity can be difficult, as their BMI drastically changes as they grow and standards around those measurements change with growth.

“The definition of obesity for children is not universal like the adults’,” Barreira said.

Also, “global data is a little problematic because the methods to collect data — self-reported or measured — and to analyze data differ. So some of the information that we have is not identical depending on who is reporting,” he said. “For children — depending on who is reporting — the World Health Organization has a standard, the CDC has another standard, so obesity rates vary.”

The CDC, for instance, defines childhood obesity as having a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile of a child’s age group in the CDC’s sex-specific growth chart.

Meanwhile, the WHO defines childhood obesity according to the WHO growth reference for school-age children and teens, so a body mass index that is two standard deviations above the average for a child’s age group and sex would be considered obese.

Overall, most health groups agree that there are several risk factors for childhood obesity, including eating high-calorie and low-nutrient foods and beverages; not getting enough exercise; sitting too much, such as watching television or other screen devices; medication use; and getting inadequate sleep.

WHO has noted that “replacing traditional foods with imported, processed food has contributed to the high prevalence of obesity and related health problems in the Pacific islands.”

Where a child lives can influence some of those risk factors, but overall, the link between risk factors and obesity has been well-established, Barreira said.

When it comes to exercise, a study published in the journal Obesity in 2017 found that across 12 countries — Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, India, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States — physical activity was a stronger predictor for childhood obesity than how much a child weighed when born.

“The main thing that we found was that there was a relationship between physical activity level — especially moderate to vigorous physical activity — and obesity in all those different places,” said Barreira, who was involved in the study. “So that relationship exists everywhere.”

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Public health nutrition: Translating research into practice

February 6, 2019, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

Public health nutrition is a unique, multifaceted discipline that includes a wide range of experts in the research, policy, and programming sectors.  A goal of the SNEB Public Health Nutrition Division is to help translate public health nutrition research into practice and policies. This translation process is essential to ensure practitioners have the tools to implement effective, evidence-based interventions that have demonstrated improvements in nutrition-related behaviors and health outcomes of the target audiences. Furthermore, collaboration between researchers and practitioners is necessary to ensure that researchers are testing interventions that can feasibly be implemented in public health settings. The need for translating research into practice is certainly not new to the field of public health nutrition. However, as nutrition education programs continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the population, the dissemination of information between practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers will remain important. Many nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), have expanded their programming to include strategies that influence food and physical activity environments. Such program expansion can be made more effective and cost-efficient through the sharing of evidence-based interventions that target individual behaviors, environmental factors, and related policies. Additionally, utilizing evidence-based programming and evaluation instruments can be helpful for practitioners when obtaining initial funding and providing evidence of programmatic impact to secure continued funding. Furthermore, close collaboration between researchers and practitioners is necessary to generate evidence to help establish or advance local, state, and national level nutrition-related policies. Several resources are available to assist researchers and practitioners throughout the translation process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Knowledge to Action (K2A) Framework is a tool to support collaborative efforts between researchers and practitioners. Through the K2A Framework, specific guidance is provided on researching, implementing, and evaluating interventions that are feasible and replicable for practitioners. Additionally, the National Cancer Institute and National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research have extensive collections of individual and environmental level diet and physical activity measures that researchers and practitioners can adopt. Lastly, the SNAP-Ed Toolkit is an example of how interventions can be made available for professionals to use in practice. This toolkit includes interventions, curricula, and evaluation instruments that are either research- or practice-tested and determined to be appropriate for SNAP-Ed implementing agencies. Continued contribution to these and similar resources by both researchers and practitioners will help facilitate the essential task of translating research into useful public health interventions.

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Keeping the peace when mom and grandma disagree on feeding the kids

February 1, 2019, EurekAlert!

Many mothers have to navigate a sea of advice from family and experts when it comes to feeding their babies. Nonetheless, nutrition educators typically focus only on the mother, even in Latino communities where grandmothers and other older female relatives often play major roles in caring for children.

A new study shows programs to reduce childhood obesity and other nutrition programs should incorporate all family members who regularly take care of children, not just their mothers.

Ann Cheney, an assistant professor in the Center for Healthy Communities at the UC Riverside School of Medicine, co-led the study with Tanya Nieri, an associate professor in the UCR Department of Sociology. The study focused on food and feeding in low-income Latino families and sought to generate ideas for the development of early childhood obesity prevention programs based on mothers’ experiences.

“Mothers are busy. We can’t assume that only the mother feeds her baby,” Cheney said. “In many cultures, senior women in family and community help with childcare and instruct new mothers on how, when, and what to feed their baby.”

The researchers talked about feeding babies with 19 women who had a child under 2 years old enrolled in Early Head Start programs in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The participants were Latina, mostly of Mexican descent. Many lived in extended family households, which included in-laws or other members of their families of origin. A little over half spoke English as their dominant language, with the rest speaking predominantly Spanish.

Through Early Head Start nutritional education, the mothers knew a lot about healthy diets for babies but faced conflicting ideas from older female relatives. They knew, for example, that doctors do not recommend giving solid food to babies under six months old because it increases the risk of obesity. But many of them were told by their own mothers, mothers-in-law, or grandmothers to give their babies oatmeal, mashed rice and beans, or other soft foods to help their babies feel fuller and gain weight, even though the mothers did not think their babies were too thin.

The mothers also knew not to give their babies sugar but were often told by older female relatives to add sugar to milk or other foods so the baby would consume more of it. These relatives also often fed the children, making it harder for the mother to stick to the healthy feeding recommendations she learned through Early Head Start.

Some of the older relatives had experienced food insecurity growing up and did not want their grandchildren to experience it too. To the older generation, chubby babies with full stomachs were healthy babies. Although their advice came from love and concern for the baby’s health, the mothers knew some of the grandparents’ recommendations could to lead to obesity and other health problems.

The mothers used two strategies to balance their child’s healthy diet against preserving family harmony. They could agree to the relative’s instructions in face-to-face interactions, but later, feed the child as they wished. They could also use the opportunity to educate the family member by saying “no” and explain why. Most mothers used both strategies in different situations and with different family members.

“It is difficult at times to tell the family, ‘no.’ But we are thinking of the well-being of our children. Because our (family) roots are very strong,” one study participant said. “But families have to learn new ways too.”

The authors concluded that government sponsored nutrition education programs, like Early Head Start nutrition education, prioritize nuclear family dynamics and identify parents as primary caregivers. The researchers recommend that nutrition education programs should recognize the diversity of families and acknowledge other family arrangements including extended families, and programs should incorporate extended families in addition to the child’s parents.

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Rutgers study finds need for early childhood obesity prevention interventions beyond preschool education settings

January 30, 2019, Newswise

A Rutgers study has found a need for early childhood obesity prevention interventions beyond preschool education settings.

The paper, which appears in the journal PLOS ONE, reviewed 34 studies of obesity prevention programs and policies spanning pregnancy, infancy and preschool and found that there is a need for culturally adapted, bilingual nutrition and physical activity programs for children and their families.

“The studies show that most healthcare system initiatives did not to improve childhood growth trajectories and that culturally adapted, bilingual nutrition and physical activity programs were more beneficial to children and their families,” said lead author Sheri Volger, a graduate student at Rutgers School of Health Professions. “We also discovered there is little research on the cost-effectiveness of these programs and how much it actually costs to implement these prevention strategies.”

In the United States, about 14 percent of preschool children are obese, with the highest rates among low-income racial and ethnic minority communities. In the Rutgers study, researchers found that less than half of the obesity prevention initiatives recommended during pregnancy, infancy or preschool worked at improving appropriate weight gain in children. Some studies did work to improve health behaviors, such as limiting screen time, providing alternative playtime activities and serving nutritious snacks at childcare centers, but the researchers only included studies with a body mass index (BMI) outcome in the scoping review.

“Our study took a life course approach, which takes into account the important role that early life events play in shaping an individual’s future health,” said Volger.

While almost 80 percent of the interventions examined occurred during the preschool years, with 63 percent of these conducted in early childcare education settings serving low-income families, such as Head Start or the YMCA, only 42 percent registered a significant improvement in the BMI in children at high risk of obesity. “This finding underscores the needs to expand obesity prevention programs beyond the early childhood education setting,” she said.

The majority of the studies conducted during pregnancy studied lower income, pregnant minority women who were receiving health care services through clinics, home visits and primary care practices in order to help prevent excess gestational weight gain and accelerated infant growth during pregnancy.

Workshops and groups sessions were among the most beneficial programs components aimed at decreasing BMI scores. These programs taught by trained educators reinforced healthy lifestyles habits to families and childcare employees. “We found that programs that incorporated parental or family participation tended to be the most successful. The study reinforces the need to develop multi-level, multi-component obesity prevention, public health initiatives, focusing on the child, family and community to obtain the largest population research,” Volger said.

The study also highlights the need to intensify early childhood obesity preventive efforts during critical periods of health development. The researchers say future studies should estimate the feasibility, effectiveness and cost of implementing multilevel obesity prevention interventions and policies. “This early life stage is a critical time period because there is a growing body of evidence showing that it represents a phase when young children are developing food preferences but also susceptible to biological changes that will impact the child’s short-term health, and long-term risk for chronic metabolic conditions,” she said.

The paper was co-authored by Diane Rigassio Radler and Pamela Rothpletz-Puglia, associate professors at Rutgers School of Health Professions.

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© 2016 National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity

A collaboration among


Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in the United States

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is still too high.

For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years1:

  • The prevalence of obesity was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents.
  • Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
  • Hispanics (25.8%) and non-Hispanic blacks (22.0%) had higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic whites (14.1%).
  • Non-Hispanic Asians (11.0%) had lower obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

1Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief pdf icon[PDF-603KB]

Note: Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts.

Obesity and Socioeconomic Status

[Read the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)]

  • The prevalence of obesity decreased with increasing level of education of the household head among children and adolescents aged 2-19 years.
  • Obesity prevalence was 18.9% among children and adolescents aged 2-19 years in the lowest income group, 19.9% among those in the middle income group, and 10.9% among those in the highest income group.
  • Obesity prevalence was lower in the highest income group among non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic boys.
  • Obesity prevalence was lower in the highest income group among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic girls. Obesity prevalence did not differ by income among non-Hispanic black girls.

Women, Infant, Children (WIC) Data

Related Information

Data, Maps, and Trends
Use these maps and interactive database systems to find information relating to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity.
Obesity Among WIC-Enrolled Young Children
CDC works with the USDA to analyze child obesity data from the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics Report (WIC PC).

Page last reviewed: June 24, 2019

45 best health tips ever

We've done the legwork for you and here they are: the 45 best health tips. Make that 46 - taking the time to read this tops the list.

1. Copy your kitty: Learn to do stretching exercises when you wake up. It boosts circulation and digestion, and eases back pain.

2. Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show that eating a proper breakfast is one of the most positive things you can do if you are trying to lose weight. Breakfast skippers tend to gain weight. A balanced breakfast includes fresh fruit or fruit juice, a high-fibre breakfast cereal, low-fat milk or yoghurt, wholewheat toast, and a boiled egg.

3. Brush up on hygiene. Many people don't know how to brush their teeth properly. Improper brushing can cause as much damage to the teeth and gums as not brushing at all. Lots of people don’t brush for long enough, don’t floss and don’t see a dentist regularly. Hold your toothbrush in the same way that would hold a pencil, and brush for at least two minutes. 

This includes brushing the teeth, the junction of the teeth and gums, the tongue and the roof of the mouth. And you don't need a fancy, angled toothbrush – just a sturdy, soft-bristled one that you replace each month.

4. Neurobics for your mind. Get your brain fizzing with energy. American researchers coined the term ‘neurobics’ for tasks which activate the brain's own biochemical pathways and to bring new pathways online that can help to strengthen or preserve brain circuits. 

Brush your teeth with your ‘other’ hand, take a new route to work or choose your clothes based on sense of touch rather than sight. People with mental agility tend to have lower rates of Alzheimer's disease and age-related mental decline.


5. Get what you give! Always giving and never taking? This is the short road to compassion fatigue. Give to yourself and receive from others, otherwise you’ll get to a point where you have nothing left to give. And hey, if you can’t receive from others, how can you expect them to receive from you?

Read: Mind aerobics

6. Get spiritual. A study conducted by the formidably sober and scientific Harvard University found that patients who were prayed for recovered quicker than those who weren’t, even if they weren’t aware of the prayer.

7. Get smelly. Garlic, onions, spring onions and leeks all contain stuff that’s good for you. A study at the Child’s Health Institute in Cape Town found that eating raw garlic helped fight serious childhood infections. Heat destroys these properties, so eat yours raw, wash it down with fruit juice or, if you’re a sissy, have it in tablet form.

8. Knock one back. A glass of red wine a day is good for you. A number of studies have found this, but a recent one found that the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea, red wine and olives may also help protect you against breast cancer. It’s thought that the antioxidants help protect you from environmental carcinogens such as passive tobacco smoke.

9. Bone up daily. Get your daily calcium by popping a tab, chugging milk or eating yoghurt. It’ll keep your bones strong. Remember that your bone density declines after the age of 30. You need at least 200 milligrams daily, which you should combine with magnesium, or it simply won’t be absorbed.

10. Berries for your belly. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain plant nutrients known as anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries rival grapes in concentrations of resveratrol – the antioxidant compound found in red wine that has assumed near mythological proportions. Resveratrol is believed to help protect against heart disease and cancer.

11. Curry favour. Hot, spicy foods containing chillies or cayenne pepper trigger endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Endorphins have a powerful, almost narcotic, effect and make you feel good after exercising. But go easy on the lamb, pork and mutton and the high-fat, creamy dishes served in many Indian restaurants.

12. Cut out herbs before ops. Some herbal supplements – from the popular St John's Wort and ginkgo biloba to garlic, ginger, ginseng and feverfew – can cause increased bleeding during surgery, warn surgeons. It may be wise to stop taking all medication, including herbal supplements, at least two weeks before surgery, and inform your surgeon about your herbal use.

13. I say tomato. Tomato is a superstar in the fruit and veggie pantheon. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful cancer fighter. They’re also rich in vitamin C. The good news is that cooked tomatoes are also nutritious, so use them in pasta, soups and casseroles, as well as in salads.

The British Thoracic Society says that tomatoes and apples can reduce your risk of asthma and chronic lung diseases. Both contain the antioxidant quercetin. To enjoy the benefits, eat five apples a week or a tomato every other day.

14. Eat your stress away. Prevent low blood sugar as it stresses you out. Eat regular and small healthy meals and keep fruit and veggies handy. Herbal teas will also soothe your frazzled nerves. 

Eating unrefined carbohydrates, nuts and bananas boosts the formation of serotonin, another feel-good drug. Small amounts of protein containing the amino acid tryptamine can give you a boost when stress tires you out.

15. Load up on vitamin C.We need at least 90 mg of vitamin C per day and the best way to get this is by eating at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. So hit the oranges and guavas!

16. No folly in folic acid. Folic acid should be taken regularly by all pregnant mums and people with a low immunity to disease. Folic acid prevents spina bifida in unborn babies and can play a role in cancer prevention. It is found in green leafy vegetables, liver, fruit and bran.

17. A for Away. This vitamin, and beta carotene, help to boost immunity against disease. It also assists in the healing process of diseases such as measles and is recommended by the WHO. Good natural sources of vitamin A are kidneys, liver, dairy products, green and yellow vegetables, pawpaw, mangoes, chilli pepper, red sorrel and red palm oil.

18. Pure water. Don’t have soft drinks or energy drinks while you're exercising. Stay properly hydrated by drinking enough water during your workout (just don't overdo things, as drinking too much water can also be dangerous). 

While you might need energy drinks for long-distance running, in shorter exercise sessions in the gym, your body will burn the glucose from the soft drink first, before starting to burn body fat. Same goes for eating sweets.

19. GI, Jane. Carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index, such as bread, sugar, honey and grain-based food will give instant energy and accelerate your metabolism. If you’re trying to burn fat, stick to beans, rice, pasta, lentils, peas, soya beans and oat bran, all of which have a low GI count.

20. Mindful living. You've probably heard the old adage that life's too short to stuff a mushroom. But perhaps you should consider the opposite: that life's simply too short NOT to focus on the simple tasks. By slowing down and concentrating on basic things, you'll clear your mind of everything that worries you. 

 concentrate on sensations and experiences again: observe the rough texture of a strawberry's skin as you touch it, and taste the sweet-sour juice as you bite into the fruit; when your partner strokes your hand, pay careful attention to the sensation on your skin; and learn to really focus on simple tasks while doing them, whether it's flowering plants or ironing your clothes.

21. The secret of stretching. When you stretch, ease your body into position until you feel the stretch and hold it for about 25 seconds. Breathe deeply to help your body move oxygen-rich blood to those sore muscles. Don't bounce or force yourself into an uncomfortable position.

22. Do your weights workout first. Experts say weight training should be done first, because it's a higher intensity exercise compared to cardio. Your body is better able to handle weight training early in the workout because you're fresh and you have the energy you need to work it. 

Conversely, cardiovascular exercise should be the last thing you do at the gym, because it helps your body recover by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and flushing out lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles while you're weight training. It’s the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel stiff and sore.

23. Burn fat during intervals. To improve your fitness quickly and lose weight, harness the joys of interval training. Set the treadmill or step machine on the interval programme, where your speed and workload varies from minute to minute. Build up gradually, every minute and return to the starting speed. Repeat this routine. Not only will it be less monotonous, but you can train for a shorter time and achieve greater results.

24. Your dirtiest foot forward. If your ankles, knees, and hips ache from running on pavement, head for the dirt. Soft trails or graded roads are a lot easier on your joints than the hard stuff. Also, dirt surfaces tend to be uneven, forcing you to slow down a bit and focus on where to put your feet – great for agility and concentration.

25. Burn the boredom, blast the lard. Rev up your metabolism by alternating your speed and intensity during aerobic workouts. Not only should you alternate your routine to prevent burnout or boredom, but to give your body a jolt. 

If you normally walk at 6.5km/h on the treadmill or take 15 minutes to walk a km, up the pace by going at 8km/h for a minute or so during your workout. Do this every five minutes or so. Each time you work out, increase your bouts of speed in small increments.

26. Cool off without a beer. Don’t eat carbohydrates for at least an hour after exercise. This will force your body to break down body fat, rather than using the food you ingest. Stick to fruit and fluids during that hour, but avoid beer.

27. ‘Okay, now do 100 of those’. Instead of flailing away at gym, enlist the help – even temporarily – of a personal trainer. Make sure you learn to breathe properly and to do the exercises the right way. You’ll get more of a workout while spending less time at the gym.

28. Stop fuming. Don’t smoke and if you smoke already, do everything in your power to quit. Don’t buy into that my-granny-smoked-and-lived-to-be-90 crud – not even the tobacco giants believe it. Apart from the well-known risks of heart disease and cancer, orthopaedic surgeons have found that smoking accelerates bone density loss and constricts blood flow. So you could live to be a 90-year-old amputee who smells of stale tobacco smoke. Unsexy.

29. Ask about Mad Aunt Edith. Find out your family history. You need to know if there are any inherited diseases prowling your gene pool. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, finding out what your grandparents died of can provide useful – even lifesaving – information about what’s in store for you. And be candid, not coy: 25% of the children of alcoholics become alcoholics themselves.

30. Do self-checks. Do regular self-examinations of your breasts. Most partners are more than happy to help, not just because breast cancer is the most common cancer among SA women. The best time to examine your breasts is in the week after your period.

31. My smear campaign. Have a pap smear once a year. Not on our list of favourite things, but it’s vital. Cervical cancer kills 200 000 women a year and it’s the most prevalent form of cancer among black women, affecting more than 30 percent. 

But the chances of survival are nearly 100 percent if it’s detected early. Be particularly careful if you became sexually active at an early age, have had multiple sex partners or smoke.

32. Understand hormones. Recent research suggests that short-term (less than five years) use of HRT is not associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer, but that using it for more than ten years might be. Breast cancer is detected earlier in women using HRT, as they are more alert to the disease than other women.

32. Beat the sneezes. There are more than 240 allergens, some rare and others very common. If you’re a sneezer due to pollen: close your car’s windows while driving, rather switch on the internal fan (drawing in air from the outside), and avoid being outdoors between 5am and 10 am when pollen counts are at their highest; stick to holidays in areas with low pollen counts, such as the seaside and stay away from freshly cut grass.

33. Doggone. If you’re allergic to your cat, dog, budgie or pet piglet, stop suffering the ravages of animal dander: Install an air filter in your home. 

Keep your pet outside as much as possible and brush him outside of the home to remove loose hair and other allergens. Better yet, ask someone else to do so.

34. Asthma-friendly sports. Swimming is the most asthma-friendly sport of all, but cycling, canoeing, fishing, sailing and walking are also good, according to the experts. 

Asthma need not hinder peak performance in sport. 1% of the US Olympic team were asthmatics – and between them they won 41 medals.

35. Deep heat. Sun rays can burn even through thick glass, and under water. Up to 35% of UVB rays and 85% of UVA rays penetrate thick glass, while 50% of UVB rays and 75% of UVA rays penetrate a meter of water and wet cotton clothing. 

Which means you’ll need sunscreen while driving your car on holiday, and water resistant block if you’re swimming.

36. Fragrant ageing. Stay away from perfumed or flavoured suntan lotions which smell of coconut oil or orange if you want your skin to stay young. These lotions contain psoralen, which speeds up the ageing process. Rather use a fake-tan lotion. Avoid sun beds, which are as bad as the sun itself.

37. Sunscreen can be a smokescreen.Sunscreen is unlikely to stop you from being sunburned, or to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. That’s because most people don’t apply it properly, and stay in the sun too long. 

The solution? Slather on sunscreen daily and reapply it often, especially if you’ve been in the water. How much? At least enough to fill a shot glass.

38. Laugh and cry. Having a good sob is reputed to be good for you. So is laughter, which has been shown to help heal bodies, as well as broken hearts. Studies in Japan indicate that laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body shake off allergic reactions.

39. It ain’t over till it’s over. End relationships that no longer work for you, as you could be spending time in a dead end. Rather head for more meaningful things. You could be missing opportunities while you’re stuck in a meaningless rut, trying to breathe life into something that is long gone.

40. Strong people go for help. Ask for assistance. Gnashing your teeth in the dark will not get you extra brownie points. It is a sign of strength to ask for assistance and people will respect you for it. If there is a relationship problem, the one who refuses to go for help is usually the one with whom the problem lies to begin with.

41. Save steamy scenes for the bedroom.Showering or bathing in water that’s too hot will dry out your skin and cause it to age prematurely. Warm water is much better. 

Apply moisturiser while your skin is still damp – it’ll be absorbed more easily. Adding a little olive oil to your bath with help keep your skin moisturised too.

42. Here’s the rub. Improve your circulation and help your lymph glands to drain by the way you towel off. Helping your lymph glands function can help prevent them becoming infected. 

When drying off your limbs and torso, brush towards the groin on your legs and towards the armpits on your upper body. You can do the same during gentle massage with your partner.

43. Sugar-coated. More than three million South Africans suffer from type 2 diabetes, and the incidence is increasing – with new patients getting younger. New studies show this type of diabetes is often part of a metabolic syndrome (X Syndrome), which includes high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease.

More than 80% of type 2 diabetics die of heart disease, so make sure you control your glucose levels, and watch your blood pressure and cholesterol counts.

44. Relax, it’s only sex. Stress and sex make bad bedfellows, it seems. A US survey showed that stress, kids and work are main factors to dampen libido. With the advent of technology that allows us to work from home, the lines between our jobs and our personal lives have become blurred. 

People work longer hours, commutes are longer and work pervades all aspects of our lives, including our sexual relationships. Put nooky and intimacy on the agenda, just like everything else.

45. Good night, sweetheart. Rest heals the body and has been shown to lessen the risk of heart trouble and psychological problems.

Read more:

8 Tips for super healthy kids
Top 10 tips for managing acne
Top 10 beauty tips
10 tips for better sleep

Image: mom and child eating apple from Shutterstock



The State of Mississippi Obesity

Mississippi has the second highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America released August 2017. Mississippi's adult obesity rate is currently 37.3 percent, up from 23.7 percent in 2000 and from 15.0 percent in 1990. This state profile includes data on adult obesity, childhood obesity, and obesity-related health issues in Mississippi. New this year, it also highlights policy actions Mississippi is taking to prevent and reduce obesity. According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in five states, 30 percent in 25 states and 25 percent in 46 states. View adult obesity rates for all states.

Adult Obesity in Mississippi New Data

Current adult obesity rate (2016)


Rank among states (2016)


Adult obesity rate in Mississippi (1990-2016)


Obesity rate by age (2016)

18-25 19.9% 26-44 42.9% 45-64 42.6% 65+ 31.0%

Obesity rate by race (2016)

White 31.9% Black 44.6% Latino 22.3%

Obesity rate by gender (2012)

Men 31.9% Women 37.4%

Source: Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The State of Obesity 2017 [PDF]. Washington, D.C.: 2017.

Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Mississippi New Data

2- to 4-year-old WIC participants

Current obesity rate (2014)


Rank among states (2014)


Historical rates (2000-2014)



10- to 17-year-olds*

Combined overweight & obesity rate (2016)


Rank among states (2016)


Historical rates (2004-2016)



High school students

Current obesity rate (2015)


Rank among states (2015)


Historical rates (1999-2015)



Adult Obesity in the United States

Updated September 1, 2016: According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25 states and are above 20 percent in all states. Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate at 36.2 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 20.2 percent. U.S. adult obesity rates decreased in four states (Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio), increased in two (Kansas and Kentucky) and remained stable in the rest, between 2014 and 2015. This marks the first time in the past decade that any states have experienced decreases — aside from a decline in Washington, D.C. in 2010.

Adult Obesity Rate by State, 2015

Select years with the slider to see historical data. Hover over states for more
information. Click a state to lock the selection. Click again to unlock.

Percent of obese adults (Body Mass Index of 30+)
  • 0 - 9.9%
  • 10 - 14.9%
  • 15 - 19.9%
  • 20 - 24.9%
  • 25 - 29.9%
  • 30 - 34.9%
  • 35%+
All States

Adult obesity rates, 1990 to 2015

Adult Obesity Rate 2015
95% Confidence Interval
Trend 1990 - 2015
1 RLouisiana
+/- 1.9%  
2 BAlabama
+/- 1.5%  
2 YMississippi
+/- 1.9%  
2 wWest Virginia
+/- 1.5%  
5 QKentucky
+/- 1.7%  
6 CArkansas
+/- 2.3%  
7 PKansas
+/- 0.8%  
8 jOklahoma
+/- 1.7%  
9 pTennessee
+/- 1.9%  
10 XMissouri
+/- 1.6%  
10 qTexas
+/- 1.5%  
12 LIowa
+/- 1.6%  
13 nSouth Carolina
+/- 1.2%  
14 cNebraska
+/- 1.1%  
15 OIndiana
+/- 1.8%  
16 VMichigan
+/- 1.3%  
17 bNorth Dakota
+/- 1.8%  
18 NIllinois
+/- 1.6%  
19 JGeorgia
+/- 1.9%  
19 vWisconsin
+/- 1.7%  
21 oSouth Dakota
+/- 1.9%  
22 aNorth Carolina
+/- 1.4%  
22 kOregon
+/- 1.7%  
24 UMaine
+/- 1.4%  
24 lPennsylvania
+/- 1.6%  
26 AAlaska
+/- 2.4%  
26 iOhio
+/- 1.4%  
28 HDelaware
+/- 2.1%  
29 sVirginia
+/- 1.4%  
30 xWyoming
+/- 2.0%  
31 TMaryland
+/- 1.7%  
32 fNew Mexico
+/- 1.8%  
33 MIdaho
+/- 1.8%  
34 DArizona
+/- 1.6%  
35 IFlorida
+/- 1.3%  
36 gNevada
+/- 2.7%  
37 uWashington
+/- 1.0%  
38 dNew Hampshire
+/- 1.5%  
39 WMinnesota
+/- 0.9%  
40 mRhode Island
+/- 1.7%  
41 eNew Jersey
+/- 1.3%  
42 GConnecticut
+/- 1.2%  
43 tVermont
+/- 1.4%  
44 hNew York
+/- 1.1%  
45 rUtah
+/- 1.0%  
46 SMassachusetts
+/- 1.3%  
47 ECalifornia
+/- 1.0%  
48 ZMontana
+/- 1.6%  
49 KHawaii
+/- 1.4%  
50 yDistrict of Columbia
+/- 2.5%  
51 FColorado
+/- 1.1%  

Note: A change in methodology makes direct comparisons to data collected prior to 2011 difficult. Read the full rates and ranks methodology for more information.

The State of Obesity in Mississippi

Mississippi now has the second highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America released September 2016. Mississippi's adult obesity rate is currently 35.6 percent, up from 23.7 percent in 2000 and from 15.0 percent in 1990. According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25states and are above 20 percent in all states. Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate at 36.2 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 20.2 percent. U.S. adult obesity rates decreased in four states (Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio), increased in two (Kansas and Kentucky) and remained stable in the rest, between 2014 and 2015. This marks the first time in the past decade that any states have experienced decreases — aside from a decline in Washington, D.C. in 2010. View data for all states

Current adult obesity rate (2015)


Rank among states (2015)


Adult obesity rate in Mississippi (1990-2015)


Obesity rate by age (2015)

18-25 32.8% 26-44 38.4% 45-64 36.8% 65+ 30.8%

Obesity rate by race (2015)

White 31.5% Black 43.2% Latino 25.4%

Obesity rate by gender (2012)

Men 31.9% Women 37.4%

Source: Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The State of Obesity 2016 [PDF]. Washington, D.C.: 2016.

Childhood Obesity in Mississippi

Signs of Progress on Childhood Obesity in Mississippi: A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August, 2013 showed that 18 states, including Mississippi, and one U.S. territory experienced a decline in obesity rates among 2- to 4-year-olds from low-income families between 2008 and 2011. Over that period, Mississippi's rate fell from 14.6% to 13.9%, a statistically significant decrease according to the CDC analysis. Read more about the report at

2- to 4-year-olds from low-income families

Current obesity rate (2011)


Rank among states (2011)


Historical rates (1989-2011)



10- to 17-year-olds

Current obesity rate (2011)


Rank among states (2011)


Historical rates (2004-2011)



High school students

Current obesity rate (2015)


Rank among states (2015)


Historical rates (1999-2015)




Obesity-Related Health Issues in Mississippi


Current adult diabetes rate (2015)


Rank among states (2015)


Diabetes cases in 2010


Projected cases of diabetes in 2030 at current pace


Historical adult diabetes rates (1990-2015)



Current adult hypertension rate (2015)


Rank among states (2015)


Hypertension cases in 2010


Projected cases of hypertension in 2030 at current pace


Historical adult hypertension rates (1990-2015)


Heart Disease

Heart disease cases in 2010


Projected cases of heart disease in 2030



Arthritis cases in 2010


Projected cases of arthritis in 2030


Obesity-Related Cancer

Obesity-related cancer cases in 2010


Projected cases of cancer in 2030



Sources: Current diabetes (2015) and hypertension (2015) rates are from The State of Obesity 2016 [PDF]; 2010 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis and obesity-related cancer numbers and projected cases of obesity-related health problems related are from F as in Fat 2012 [PDF].