January 2007 News Tips

Note to media: To reach the media contacts for any of these health news tips, call the Office of News and Publications at 214-648-3404.


Trying to lose holiday weight? Start by stocking good-for-you foods

If your holiday diet consisted of feasts and sweets and now you’re trying to shed a bit of weight to kick off the New Year, start by ridding your refrigerator and pantry of fattening candy, snacks and treats, says Lona Sandon, a registered dietician at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Then go shopping to stock your home with food selections that are good for you, she said.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat yogurt and milk, lean meats, whole-grain cereals and walnuts or almonds are healthy foods that can be eaten as snacks.

“It’s easier to stick to a healthy eating plan when you’ve got nutritious foods handy,” Ms. Sandon says. “When it’s easy to grab something nutritious and low-calorie, you’re more likely to eat right.”

Also, follow these other tips to lose holiday weight:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet but eat in moderation, as eating large portions of even healthy foods can prompt weight gain or prevent weight loss.
  • Exercise regularly so it becomes part of your normal daily routine. At least 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity each day is a good rule of thumb. Also, exercising during commercial breaks as you watch TV can increase activity levels.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
Visit utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

Media Contact: Cliff Despres

As they age, men need to be proactive about limiting loss of bone density

Osteoporosis is commonly thought of as a woman’s health problem, but it is increasingly becoming a man’s health issue, too.

Although it strikes more women than men – of the 10 million Americans estimated to have osteoporosis, 8 million of them are women – the disease is more likely to go undiagnosed in men.

Dr. Khashayar Sakhaee, chief of mineral metabolism at UT Southwestern, says lifestyle modifications such as not smoking, consuming alcohol moderately and exercising regularly are important factors for the prevention of osteoporosis.

“Adequate calcium intake also is essential,” Dr. Sakhaee says.

In general, men aged 30 to 50 should take 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily and 1,200 milligrams after age 50.

Vitamin D is also important. In men 50 to 70 years old, 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D may be sufficient, but the daily dose should increase to 1,000 IU after age 70. 

Visit www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/endocrinology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in endocrinology.

Media Contact: Connie Piloto

Thin may be sending the wrong message

More and more often, psychologists are treating impressionable teens with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Trends in advertising, television serials and feature films that portray extremely thin girls as role models may account for some of the increase.

Glamorizing thin teen girls wearing makeup and posing suggestively in advertisements promotes unhealthy bodies and unhealthy attitudes, especially for girls in the pre- and early teen years, says Dr. Stephanie Setliff, a UT Southwestern psychologist who specializes in eating disorders.

“The age of diagnosis for several types of eating disorders has gotten younger, as I’m now treating girls ages 7 to 9, versus 13 to 14 years old being the youngest diagnosis several years ago,” says Dr. Setliff. “Messages being sent to girls and young teens by the media and popularized by ultra-thin movie stars and models contribute to the pressure these girls feel to be perfect. However, genetic and biological components also factor into the situation, as well as these children’s personality characteristics and temperament, and how they and their families resolve conflicts in their lives.”

The recent deaths of two ultra-thin models have galvanized worldwide reaction, as fashion shows in South America and Europe have been cancelled. Italy’s youth minister, meanwhile, has hammered out a manifesto in cooperation with some of the country’s leading couture houses to take the lead in driving size zeroes from the catwalk during Milan’s fashion week in February. Their self-regulatory code of good practice intends to recognize the World Health Organization’s body-mass index of 18.5 to define underweight and, for working models, in danger of being banned from fashion shows.

Closer to home, Dr. Setliff suggests that parents be alert to any indication that their child may be developing an eating disorder. Signs may include an obsession with food and/or exercise; wearing clothing that disguises the body; spending less time with friends and formerly pleasant pastimes; frequent trips to the bathroom – especially after meals; dieting and changes in sleep patterns.        

Visit utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/mental-health to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in psychiatry.   

Media Contact: Donna Hansard


Protect yourself to protect your baby against whooping cough

To protect a baby against whooping cough, it’s best to vaccinate the mom – and right after birth is the best time to do it, says Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, medical director of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Paul University Hospital. Supplies have been limited, but the vaccine is expected to become more widely available.

“The number of cases of infant pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is rising; it is now recommended that new parents and other caregivers of infants less than age 1 receive a booster for this disease,” says Dr. Horsager-Boehrer.

Infants receive the vaccination, but it takes a while for their immune systems to develop full protection. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended vaccination of adults who are in close contact with babies.

The vaccine is known as toxoid/diphtheria/acellular pertussis booster (Tdap or Adacel®). It is not recommended for people with an allergic reaction to its components, an acute illness or other conditions.

Visit utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/obgyn/ to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in gynecology and obstetrics.

Media Contact: Aline McKenzie

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About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center, one of the premier medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. Its more than 1,400 full-time faculty members – including four active Nobel prize winners, more than any other medical school in the world – are responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and are committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 89,000 hospitalized patients and oversee 2.1 million outpatient visits a year.?

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