C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

I have written frequently about the 4 essentials for health and the sad fact that only 3% of Americans have all 4! Now there are more specific findings in a 20 year study of 120,877 adults who at the beginning were free of disease and not obese. On average, participants gained about 0.84 pounds per year (16.8 pounds in 20 years!!) with specific increases due to consumption of:
Potato chips
Sugar sweetened beverages
Unprocessed red meat
Processed meats
TV watching (0.31 pounds of gain per hour of average daily use!)
Smoking cessation
Alcohol consumption daily
Less than 6 or more than 8 hours of sleep per day

The only significant activity that DECREASED weight gain was physical exercise! Sadly this study was of Nurses and Health Professionals—not very good role models. Weekly TV watching ranged from 4 to 10.5 hours. Of course overweight is associated longer term with virtually every disease.

The choice is simple, if you prefer health.

N Eng J Med, 2011:364: 2392-2404

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