Short course: Group program helps teens lose weight

Group program helps teens lose weight

Rhode Island: Four months of weekly group discussions and physical activity sessions helped overweight teens lose weight and keep some of it from coming back, in a new study. The changes - seven or eight pounds, on average - were "modest," but the study program represents one of the few weight-loss strategies shown to be successful among adolescents, researchers said. Elissa Jelalian, one of the authors of the study from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island designed a weight-loss program aimed at teenagers. They were asked to keep their diet limited to 1400 to 1600 calories per day and to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise. Once a week the teens, all 13 to 16 years old, also participated in physical activity programs. Half took aerobics classes while the other took part in an adventure-based program that involved mental and physical challenges. At the beginning of the study, the teens weighed an average of 187 pounds. By the end of the four-month program, that had dropped to 181 pounds among teens in the aerobics group and 179 in those who went through the adventure-based classes.

Vitamin D prevents fractures in elderly

ZURICH: A new analysis of nearly a dozen studies testing vitamin D in older individuals has concluded that it takes a daily dose of at least 800 international units (IU) to consistently prevent broken bones. A dose that high was found to reduce the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent and other breaks by 14 percent. Lower doses didn't have any effect. The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests that too much calcium — perhaps more than 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day - can weaken the benefit. Studies now recommend an upper limit at 2,000 mg of calcium and 4,000 IU of vitamin D. "Notably, there was no reduction in the risk of hip fracture at any actual intake level lower than 792 IU of vitamin D per day," the researchers said adding that there are still doctors around who are giving calcium without vitamin D to hip fracture patients. "Imagine giving a calcium supplement and increasing the risk of fracture," said study researcher Dr Heike Bischoff-Ferrari of University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland.

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