Posts Tagged ‘health’

Losing Weight

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri is going on a diet. An alumna of the all female, liberal arts institution was talking to the college president about the rise of obesity in the United States.

The conversation turned to the president’s own excess pounds and how difficult it is to balance work and exercise. The alumna challenged the president to lose 25 pounds in exchange for a $100,000 gift. The president agreed but proposed that the alumna give $1 million if the college staff could lose a collective 250 pounds by the end of the year.

With the financial motivation, the campus is making it easier to live healthfully: starting walking clubs, adding more nutritious food to the cafeteria, and setting an example for other employees.

Particularly at an academic medical center, the lessons of this experiment are even more relevant. The institution can make it easier to opt for healthy choices, but individuals must prioritize their own health. It’s not an either/or because being healthy allows faculty and staff members to work more effectively.

Running barefoot

Monday, April 19th, 2010

In honor of today’s Boston Marathon, I want to share a site dedicated to barefoot running. With the success of ┬áChris McDougall’s book Born to Run about the Tarahumara Indians, more athletes have become interested in “natural” ways of running.

There is still more hype than science around the benefits of running without shoes. We do know that humans evolved to run long distances. We also know that most Africans who grow up running unshod tend to strike the ground with their forefeet first. What we don’t know is whether returning to this kind of running offers any gain for those of us in urban centers.

For now, researchers remind us to run the way we feel most comfortable.