Obesity: Lifestyle or Genetics?

“How does she eat so much and not gain any weight?”

It’s a question that has left many puzzled and quite frustrated. The conversation about weight, however, is a longstanding one. Today, especially, weight gain and weight loss remain relevant discussions, as the United States faces an obesity epidemic.

Though several health initiatives to help fight obesity have been implemented over the past few years, it is important to first understand what factors contribute to obesity. According to a National Institutes of Health funded study conducted by UCLA, not only does behavior and environment affect obesity, but genetic factors can also play a significant role in causing obesity.

How our genes actually influence obesity varies. As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), genes give the body instruction for responding to changes in its environment. Some research has linked genes to metabolism, pointing out that genetics affects how one’s body responds to high-fat diets. Genes can either cause an increased tendency to store fat or a diminished capacity to use dietary fats as fuel. Other research has suggested that genes influence behaviors, such as overeating and being sedentary.

The conversation about obesity can now change since research has shown that body weight is hereditary and that genetic disposition affects weight. In all efforts to fight obesity, living environments where high calorie foods are prevalent and physical activity is limited should be looked at more closely.

We understand that the road to healthier choices isn’t easy to travel, especially alone. Here at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center our outpatient registered Dietitians assist patients to grow their knowledge about nutrition, wellness and healthy eating. To schedule an appointment the outpatient nutrition services department can be reached directly at 718-206-7056.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Are THere Any Known Dangers to Virtual Reality Headsets?

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets have become a very popular item for teens and pre-teens.  Users can simply download virtual reality apps onto their smartphone and place the phones into specially designed headsets that transform the viewer into a three-dimensional, virtual world. While technology is an amazing experience, some are raising concerns about whether or not it is safe for children.

Fascinated little boy using VR virtual reality goggles

Most VR headsets products have recommendations for use in place. These usually include a minimum age of either ages 12 or 13 and older. Other manufacturers suggest children only use them while under adult supervision and most suggest taking breaks every 30 minutes when using these products.  When trying to determine why these warnings are in place, the answers aren’t so clear. The most logical answer is that these advisories are precautionary since the technology is so new that there is not enough information on whether or not there are any health concerns.

One of the most common concerns being asked is what the consequences of wearing VR headsets can have on a child’s eyesight.  The reason some believe it can lead to problems with vision is that the process of creating a 3-D illusion in a VR headsets requires that the eyes focuses on objects differently than they would in the real world.  Others believe that using VR headsets can actually help diagnose ocular disorders when the user is unable to view objects in the headset correctly.

Like all new technology, it is best to carefully read the manufacturers suggestions and follow them accordingly.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Lifestyle Choices Affect Infertility

Fit young woman fighting off fast food

Did you know that infertility affects 10-15% of couples in the United States.  Although it is commonly assumed that this condition occurs only in women; it affects both genders.

Infertility is usually diagnosed after a couple has tried to conceive for over one year without success.  In women this problem can be the result of several problems such as ovulation disorders, pelvic inflammatory disease, blocked Fallopian tubes or uterine fibroids.  Factors that can cause infertility in men may include oligospermia (very few sperm cells are produced) or azoospermia (no sperm cells are produced).

There are also lifestyle practices that can increase the risk of infertility. Smoking, consuming too much alcohol, mental stress and poor diet are all known to affect fertility.

Excess stress can affect the function of the hypothalamus gland; which regulates the hormones that tells the ovaries to release eggs.  Recent studies have also indicated that women experiencing greater amounts of stress were more likely to produce high levels of alpha-amylase and had a more difficult time getting pregnant.

The toxins inhaled from cigarette smoke can affect fertility by causing damage to reproductive organs, eggs and sperm.  Heavy and prolonged alcohol consumption can also cause imbalances in the hormones of the reproductive systems of women and can also damage sperm in men.

Adopting a healthy diet that includes foods known to improve reproductive health and boost fertility can increase the chances of healthy ovulation. Dietitians often recommend eating organic foods and cold water fish such as salmon, increasing the intake of whole grains and drinking freshly squeezed fruit juices to couples who are trying to conceive.

If you have been trying to conceive for at least one year without success, it is possible that your lifestyle could be a contributing factor. It is recommended that you consult an Ob/Gyn to explore the possible causes of your infertility.

To learn more about infertility and treatments please call the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.