ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
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Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain

An hour a day of moderate-intensity exercise will prevent weight gain in normal-weight women, middle age and older, according to a new study.

"'Moderate intensity' means brisk walking, casual bicycling, ballroom dancing, playing with the grandchildren," said Dr. I-Min Lee, lead author of the study, which is published in the March 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"It's nothing special," added Lee, who is an associate epidemiologist with the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "For someone who wants to eat normally, this is enough."

On the other hand, those who engage in something more vigorous -- like jogging, playing tennis or swimming laps -- can get away with 30 minutes a day and no weight gain as they age.

The findings did not hold true, however, for overweight and obese women.

In the current age of fast food and big-screen TVs, about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Even among the healthiest, weight tends to creep up with age.

"We know that being overweight and obese adversely affects health," Lee said.

Despite the dozens and dozens of commercial and even medically supervised weight-loss programs that are available, people who lose weight still tend to gain it back.

"We thought, 'Wouldn't it be better to prevent the weight gain in the first place so you don't have to worry about sustaining the weight loss after that?'" Lee said.

And though tons of research has addressed ways to help overweight and obese people lose weight, much less research has focused on how to prevent weight gain over time in normal-weight individuals.

U.S. government recommendations suggest exercising 30 minutes a day to lower the risk of chronic disease.

To find out what levels of physical activity are needed to successfully maintain weight, Lee and her colleagues followed 34,079 women, who averaged 54 years old at the start of the study, for 13 years. The women reported their physical activity and had their weight checked every three years.

Physical activity levels were divided into three categories: 420 minutes a week (60 minutes a day); 150 to 420 minutes a week (about 20 to 60 minutes daily); and less than 150 minutes a week.

Overall, the participants gained an average of 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) over the 13 years, considered average for the general population.

Women in the two lesser categories of exercise gained more weight than those who exercised 60 minutes a day, the study found. There was no difference in weight gain between the two less active groups.

"The successful weight maintainers kept a normal BMI [body mass index] over a long period of time," Lee said, referring to an indicator of body fatness calculated from a person's weight and height. "They gained less than five pounds, and they constantly expended 60 minutes a day in moderate level activity."

Lee stressed that she didn't want people to feel discouraged if they weren't making the 60 minutes a day. "It's very clear that even the lower levels of physical activity reduce the risk of important chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer," she said. "There are still some health benefits."

Eugenio Lopez, a registered nurse with the Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center in Corpus Christi, said the study "showed that you do need physical activity just to maintain, let alone lose, actual pounds. ... but they started off with individuals who were already at an ideal body mass index, which is absolutely irrelevant here in South Texas."

"It was interesting that it took 60 minutes just to maintain that particular body mass index," Lopez said. "I would have really been interested to see what it would take for somebody already above their ideal BMI to actually lose weight -- how much physical activity would actually be required."

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that, as people age, "it's clearly harder to keep the same weight so you have the option of exercising every day for an hour, really understanding that calorie restriction [might] need to be a huge part of your lifestyle because your natural tendency is to gain weight."

SOURCES: I-Min Lee, M.D., Sc.D., associate epidemiologist, division of preventive medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and associate professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., director, women and heart disease, Heart and Vascular Institute, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Eugenio Lopez, R.N., nurse, Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center, Corpus Christi, Texas; March 24/31, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association Published on: March 23, 2010