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Digest

Track your fitness efforts

By TIMES STAFF
Published February 13, 2007


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TRACK YOUR FITNESS EFFORTS

It's been weeks since we here at Health Line nagged you about your New Year's resolutions. So here's today's tip: At diet.ivillage.com/quiz/topics/0,,7sh4wttm,00.html - your fingers will have a workout right there - a free "Food and Fitness Tracker" lets you record caloric, carb, water and fat intakes and fitness workouts. It also has calculators to find your "ideal" weight and your heart rate while exercising.

But it's almost Valentine's Day

And we have tasty factoids about chocolate: The Census Bureau reports there were 1,241 U.S. locations producing chocolate and cocoa products in 2004 (the most recent figure available) and average consumption of all candy products was 25.7 pounds per person in 2005. Recognizing growing awareness of the downside to eating candy, Mars Inc. has increased the selection in its CocoaVia line of chocolates. These candies retain more cocoa flavanols - shown to improve blood flow and vessel function - and more plant sterols, which can reduce LDL, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Of course, there still are those calories.

Molecules at work

A standard dose of certain medications can prove dangerously high for some patients but too low to produce beneficial effects in others. Scientists have known that factors include age, gender, diet and genetics. Now, researchers report that variations in the body's production of hydrogen peroxide can affect accumulation of drugs inside the body's cells. The chemical's effects could be especially important in about two dozen so-called "narrow therapeutic index" drugs.

Trial tribulation

Researchers at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute will conduct a three-year study to learn why so few people with cancer enroll in trials of experimental medicines. Participation in these federally required drug trials is especially low among minorities and the elderly. Data from the study will be used to improve access to these drug trials and to encourage people to take part in them.

Free to you

"Medications and the Older Adult" contains information to help caregivers understand the benefits and risks of over-the-counter, herbal and prescription medications in managing chronic conditions. The pamphlet includes record charts to help keep track of multiple medications, a list of resources and a section on Medicare Part D. Created by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving, this pamphlet is available at www.metlife.com/Applications/Corporate/WPS/CDA/PageGenerator/0,4132,P8900,00.html.

On the calendar

Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, plus samples of heart-healthy products. At various Wal-Mart stores. Go to www.behearthealthy.info to find the closest location. The same screenings will be offered Feb. 24 at Sam's Club locations; use that Web site for store locations.

Times staff

[Last modified February 13, 2007, 06:32:05]


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