Thursday, August 25, 2011
What is the appropriate amount of time to exercise every day

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

When we listen to news stories, we sometimes hear what we want to hear. A recent report in the Lancet was quoted on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. The report said that people who exercise for 15 minutes per day can decrease their risk of death. They can increase their life expectancy by three years. The implication was that you really did not need to do that much exercise. However, there was more to the report than just that tidbit. The first has to do with the size of the group that was studied. They looked at 416,000 people in Taiwan. When you have that large a group, it means that some people did benefit from the exercise. It also means that others did not. The overall result was that the group who did more exercise had better results overall. It does not mean that each person in that group lived three years longer. The second issue is the way they collected the data. They asked people how much exercise they did the previous month. If I were to go up to an individual to ask them what their exercise routine was for the last month, they likely would not know. In this study, they asked the question every month for 8 years. Therefore, the reports are probably more accurate. However, they still only asked people to self report. They did not actually measure the exercise level which means that some people could have exaggerated. The third issue is related to those people who exercised for more than 15 minutes per day. The study found that each extra 15 minutes of exercise per day decreased the risk of death by an additional 4%. That means that 15 minutes cuts the risk by 14%. Thirty minutes cuts it by 18%. Forty-five minutes cuts it by 22%. One hour of exercise cuts it by 26%. Seventy-five minutes leads to a 30% decrease. Ninety minutes resulted in a 34% decrease. However, after 100 minutes per day, there were no further increases. The bottom line here is that 60 minutes per day takes you from the 14% related to 15 minutes of exercise to almost double that at 26%. That should keep those who currently exercise for an hour at a time from cutting back to only 15 minutes a day. What is the most important thing here is that even a small amount of exercise is better than no exercise. Those who say that they do not have the time to exercise really cannot use that as an excuse any longer. There is usually more to the story. This is no exception to that. It should be looked at as encouragement for more people to take up exercise. It should not be seen as encouragement to do less than we currently do.

NMH offers diabetes education Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford will hold a four-session diabetes educational program on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6, 13& 20, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the hospital. Registration is required. The cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. Family members and significant others are welcome to attend the weekly sessions. To register and to obtain more information about the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Free prostate cancer screenings Bayhealth Medical Center will offer prostate cancer screenings free to those who qualify during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September. These screenings are part of Bayhealth's continuing efforts to educate the community and help people identify cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage.

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men according to the American Cancer Society. Annual screenings are recommended if you're a man over the age of 50, or over the age of 40 with a family history of prostate cancer in a close relative diagnosed before age 65. African-American men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer and should begin screenings at the age of 40. The Bayhealth Cancer Institute is providing prostate cancer screenings which consist of a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and a digital rectal exam (DRE). The screenings are free to those who qualify but pre-registration is required no later than one week before the screening. For any questions, and to register, call 430-5064 or 744-6752. In Milford, screenings will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Bayhealth Cancer Center located at 21 W. Clarke Ave.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. "New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

DPH seeks nominations Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) is accepting nominations for the 2011 Governor's Award for Excellence in Food Safety from Delaware's food service workers across all segments of the field. DPH wants to recognize food professionals in hospitality, industry, educational institutions and government agencies. Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 7. For the nomination form, go to Delaware's food service industry employs a workforce of more than 40,000 people and is the largest component of the state's tourism industry. "As the number one small business employer and the fourth largest employer overall, Delaware's restaurant industry creates an economic impact of over $1.3 billion," said Gov. Jack Markell. "We want to recognize food professionals providing us with the highest standards and most outstanding service." Award winners will be recognized by Governor Jack Markell at the Retail Food Safety Expo 2011 on Sept. 30, at Iron Hill Brewery. The Governor's Award has been presented to the "best of the best" in retail food safety for the past nine years. For more information, call DPH's Office of Food Protection at 302-744-4743.