Long-term lesson: Extended behavioral counseling can help people at risk for heart disease and other chronic illnesses learn healthier eating habits, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force reviewed 35 years' worth of diet counseling studies and concluded that intensive counseling can help adults eat less fat and more fruit and vegetables, and that the counseling can be delivered by primary care physicians or referral to dietitians or other specialists.
Effective counseling usually involved multiple individual or group sessions, with emphasis on techniques to boost patients' skills, motivations and social supports in goal-setting. Task force members said patients with high cholesterol or other risk factors might benefit more from counseling because they are more motivated to make changes.
The panel's report appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Smart shopper: Thinking about buying the latest "as seen on TV" exercise gadget?
Consider these tips from the American Council on Exercise before you shell out your hard-earned cash:
Be leery of claims that the equipment is an easy or effortless way to burn calories; that it helps you burn more calories or lose weight faster than other gadgets; or that it will help you "spot reduce" - trim only your abs or thighs, for example. Losing weight and building muscle require using the whole body.
Read the fine print: The results manufacturers claim may be based on using the equipment and cutting calories.
Know what you're paying for: Is shipping and handling included? What about set-up fees and sales tax? And ask about the warranty, guarantee and return policy. That "30-day money back guarantee" might not be such a good deal if it costs a bundle to ship back the gadget.
If you think you've been ripped off, or you want more advice, contact the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357 or www.ftc.gov.
Seminar: The Jewish Hospital Weight Management Center will present "The Truth About Dieting," 6:45 p.m. Jan. 27 at its new location, 6350 E. Galbraith Road in Kenwood. Topics will include information on what makes people fat, diet myths and making weight loss work. Free. Reservations required. 686-6820.
All about you: Dr. Kushner's Personality Type Diet (St. Martin's Press; $23.95) by Dr. Robert F. Kushner and Nancy Kushner, looks at behavior patterns that lead to weight gain, including food plans and strategies to control eating.
Click: Check out www.fitness.gov for advice on getting yourself and your kids up and moving.
Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone, 768-8510; fax, 768-8330, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
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