Monday, July 14, 2014


Recently published research indicates that under-exercising, rather than over-eating, is at the heart of the obesity epidemic. Over the past twenty years, the number of women who report getting no exercise has jumped from 19% to more than half. Black and Mexican-American women showed the greatest decrease in exercise. Men have a four-fold increase in lack of exercise. Children with an obese sibling were more likely to be obese, and the hours of screen time are directly correlated with weight.

The greater the body mass index (BMI), the greater the risk of dying from underlying disease. People with a BMI greater than 40 are ‘robbed of 6 ½ years of expected life span.’ The most obese will die 14 years earlier (controlling for other diseases and conditions).

It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to make a big difference. One hour of exercise can counteract the effect of sitting for seven hours at the workplace. Sustained exercise for thirty minutes gives the most cardiovascular benefit, but committing to six ten minute intervals over the course of the day will put a person into a different statistical risk pool. An hour is too much? The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Empty Stomach

It’s fairly clear what “take with food” means – not withstanding the details of how much, what types, etc. Much less clear is the instruction “take on an empty stomach.”

In short, “take on an empty stomach” means having nothing to eat for at least two hours before taking the medicine and then not eating for at least thirty minutes. The medication should be taken with a full glass of water (not juice or coffee). Two examples of medications that should be taken on an empty stomach are thyroid supplements and stomach acid blockers. Most people take these medications upon awakening; by the time they have finished washing and brushing a half hour has passed. Others are too rushed in the morning – taking the medication before bed is fine as long as there has not been any after-dinner snacking.

When in doubt, consult with the pharmacist. And while you are asking: are there any medications that should be taken at different times? It’s tempting to just swallow a handful of pills all at once but there could be interactions.