Physical Activity and Obesity among Premenopausal Women
Women who are approaching or at menopause and are at risk for obesity and heart disease can benefit from increasing their levels of physical activity, according to researchers at Kansas State University. The researchers looked at relationships between physical activity and obesity in 1,004 premenopausal white women. They found that body mass index, percent of body fat and other weight-related measurements were significantly lower among women who engaged in moderate to vigorous regular physical activity. The researchers note that abdominal obesity is strongly associated with development of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among American women, especially in late premenopausal and early postmenopausal periods. "The ability of physical activity to minimize abdominal obesity could be a strong incentive for women approaching menopause to become more physically active," the researchers write.
Possible Dietary Causes of Central and Eastern European "Coronary Disease Epidemic"
Diets low in foods containing folate and carotenoids may be "a major contributing factor" to the high rate of heart disease among both men and women in Central and Eastern Europe, especially compared with people in Western Europe, the United States, Mediterranean nations and Asian countries, according to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University. Folate is found in foods such as orange juice, avocados, spinach and fortified grain products, while apricots, broccoli, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes are among the sources of carotenoids. The researchers studied "coronary mortality" and diets of people in nearly 20 countries. Among other findings, they discovered substantially higher death rates from cardiac disease among both men and women - especially compared with their folate intakes - in Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania and the Russian Federation than in Greece, Japan, France and Spain. The researchers note that "the terrible toll from sudden death that is particularly striking in men aged 30 to 50 years [in Central and Eastern Europe] is likely the result of a combination of factors. Still, the diets in these countries that are high in pathogenic dietary factors and low in protective dietary factors, especially folate and carotenoids, may help explain the very high death rate from coronary disease in both men and women in Central and Eastern Europe."
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