Dr. Bruce Carter with Tyler Radiology Associates leads the Sept. 21 Walk with a Doc kickoff at Rose Rudman Trail.
He will discuss how lifestyle change can affect obesity.
Walk With a Doc, a project of the Smith County Medical Society, begins with registration at 5:45 p.m. The presentation begins at 6 p.m. at the Copeland Road trailhead, followed by walking.
Q. Which has more influence, lifestyle/habits or genetics/familial risks when it comes to obesity and cardiovascular disease?
A. There is a growing body of medical studies detailing the dramatic positive or negative impact of lifestyle changes on obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and may other medical conditions. Current medical literature ties the added sugars to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Smoking is another lifestyle habit that does not have much respect for your genetic background. Excessive alcohol use is associated with high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, dementia, mental health problems and multiple cancers including breast, esophagus, liver and colon. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1 drink per day (4 ounces of wine) for women and two for men. The AHA does not recommend starting alcohol consumption if you do not drink. Adopt a special occasion rather than an everyday approach to alcohol.
Q. I’ve already had a heart attack and have diabetes and high blood pressure, what can I do to get healthier.
A. People who have already had a heart attack, diabetes or high blood pressure should first of all, be in close consult with their primary care physician and or cardiologist. Take your prescribed medications and continue follow up screening appointments. End lifestyle habits that are contributing to the medical conditions. Discuss with your physician an amount of exercise such as walking that can be safely increased over time. Consult with a dietician or nutritionist.
Q. What are some lifestyle changes or diets that are beneficial and can combat obesity?
A. Walking regularly is an ideal lifestyle habit to combat heart disease and obesity. Recent studies cited by Harvard Medical School found that daily walking at even a casual pace of as little as 5 miles per week reduced the risk of cardiac events by 31 percent and the risk of dying during the course of the 30-plus year study by 32 percent. Walking does this by improving cardiac risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and stress. A daily walk can add 7 years to your life in some studies. Food choices that are nutrient rich and may help control weight include whole fruits and vegetable, low fat dairy products, skinless chicken and fish, olive oil, nuts and legumes. Leafy vegetable and whole grains should be in abundance. Avoid the empty calories of added sugars which have no vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants.
Q. What are three simple lifestyle choices I can make to get healthier?
A. 1. Walk every day for at least as many days as possible, preferably 5,000 to 10,000 steps. 2. Stop smoking. 3. Greatly reduce added sugar.