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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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5 Weight Loss Updates You Might Have Missed


It's tough to keep up with the latest health news, much less the latest news in general. Granted, it's not always exciting or uplifting to read or listen to the news … especially if you're like me and take it all to heart (after all, do we ever actually hear good news?). But it is nice to be in the loop.

True, no one is expected to know everything. But lest you get stuck staring into space with a blank look when your dinner companion tries to make conversation with, "So, what do you think of that new study that came out about diets?" as you're biting into your cheesecake, here are some quick catch-ups on what you might have missed. And after the recent show-that-everyone-is-talking-about, "The Weight of the Nation", it's likely to happen.

How to Succeed at Weight Loss

Among Americans who are obese, nearly two-thirds try to lose weight and about 40 percent of them actually succeed. Their secret is as old as the word "diet": eat less, exercise more and switch to more healthful foods. Structured weight loss support programs are helpful, too. These determined dieters might try other strategies—like liquid diets, nonprescription diet pills and other popular diets—but according to a study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, they're rarely successful.

Stop Signs Help Portion Control

Researchers at Cornell University tested the willpower and self-perception of how much we snack on by inserting special edible red-dyed chips into stacks of packaged chips at regular intervals. A control group ate chips without anything added. Those who consumed the chips with the red chips added (a type of "visual stop sign") ate about 50 percent less than those who didn't and were also better able to estimate how many chips they had actually eaten.

In a statement, Brian Wansink, Cornell Food and Brand Lab director said, "An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indication—such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl—to tell them when to stop eating." Visual markers, he said, might help people better monitor how much they are eating by interrupting their tendency eat in a semiautomatic manner (otherwise known as mindless eating). Read more about the study here.

Healthy Peer Pressure

A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that being around other active children can positively influence a kid's activity level, leading them to exercise more (and thus reduce current and future dangers of obesity). Kids tended to emulate the activity levels of their closest four to six friends, increasing it if their friends were active and decreasing it to match the sedentary friends.

Cesarean Deliveries Could Mean More Obesity for Kids

After taking factors like birth weight and maternal weight into consideration, cesarean sections were associated with doubling the odds of obesity for a child by the time they reach 3 years old. According to Science Daily, "The researchers speculate that one possible explanation … is the difference in the composition of gut bacteria acquired at birth between the two delivery methods." Previous research has shown that children delivered by C-section have higher levels of a type of bacteria (known as Firmicutes bacteria) that are present in obese people.

Genes Can Influence Obesity

Variations in certain "obesity genes" previously linked with obesity can lead certain people to consume more meals and snacks and more calories per day and often be drawn to the same types of high-fat and sugary foods, according to a study published online by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. All the more reason for those with a genetic propensity toward overweight to consider their food choices more carefully and step up their exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits.

You might also want to read:
10 Healthy Snacks
An Overview of Weight Management
5 Unexpected Reasons You're Gaining Weight

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