Polls about fitness and perception of the overweight

06/28/2014 11:10 AM

08/08/2014 10:25 AM

Every month, Vanity Fair magazine does a poll in conjunction with CBS’ “60 Minutes.” June’s subject is fitness, or, rather, how we feel about fitness. How would Americans feel about a fat president? Good news for some politicians (and yes, VF admits having a certain politician in mind): 64 percent of respondents said weight “has nothing to do with getting the job done.” Could we be attracted to someone who is out of shape? More good news for the less-than-svelte: 74 percent said yes.

Would we exercise more in order to live longer? Supposedly, yes: 65 percent of respondents said they would rather exercise and live to be 90 than not exercise and shuffle off this mortal coil at 80. Thirty-three percent favored doing the opposite. But do we put our muscles where our mouths are? Maybe not: Asked if they work out while on vacation, 44 percent said they never do, and 23 percent said they intend to but usually don’t.

The 10-question poll is detailed in Vanity Fair’s June issue, and it is posted online at both www.vanityfair.com and www.cbsnews.com.

Nutrition: Really? The yolk is the healthful part?

We’ve all read about superfoods, edibles that are almost always good for you: salmon, kale, sweet potatoes – and, recently, watercress. In the June issue of Self, dietitian Karen Ansel takes a different turn: She offers a series of tips to make less-than-super foods a little better. Some of the examples are surprising.

Three ways to stave off hunger: Simmer oatmeal in milk instead of water, because the satiation value of protein “more than makes up for the small increase in calories.” Eat bananas when they’re slightly green, because they contain a “resistant starch” that makes you feel extra full. And cook pasta so it’s truly al dente, because its lower glycemic value means carbohydrates are released more slowly, and you don’t get hungry until later.

Three ways to look better: Eat more beans, because potassium reduces water retention and “depuffs your eyes.” Stir unsweetened cocoa into your coffee, because it contains flavonoids, antioxidants that can give you a rosier complexion. Eat aged cheese, because it raises the pH level in your mouth, reducing the risk of cavities and making your teeth a little whiter.

And furthermore: Don’t eat just the whites of eggs; the yolks contain most of the nutrients. Let minced garlic sit for 10 minutes before throwing it in the skillet; allicin, a cancer-fighting compound, becomes more potent several minutes after the cell walls are broken down. Put orange slices in your spinach salad, because vitamin C helps convert plant iron into a form easier for your body to absorb.

Doctors to parents: Start reading to kids early

The nation’s largest pediatricians’ group says parents should read aloud to their children every day starting in infancy.

Doing so can enhance child development and prepare young minds for early language and reading ability.

That’s according to a new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics issued last week.

The academy wants pediatricians to spread the message to parents of young children and to provide books to needy families.

To help promote reading, the doctors’ group is teaming up with the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail program, children’s book publisher Scholastic Inc., and a group called Reach out and Read. That nonprofit group works with doctors and hospitals to distribute books and encourage early reading.

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