Dale is the Executive Director of Faith and Health Connection Ministry where they teach biblical truths for health & wholeness. Connect with Dale at www.FaithandHealthConnection.org
Posted 1/5/12 at 2:05 PM | Dale Fletcher
In my last post I wrote about studies that have shown that religious activity, specifically church attendance, has been shown to be related to higher levels of obesity. According to several studies, people who regularly attend church are more likely to be obese than those who do not regularly attend. I find this disturbing.
It's not the simple fact that these people are obese in and of itself that is the issue. But the research clearly shows that obesity is linked to higher rates of mortality and other related diseases. Obesity in the United States is also a $179 billion burden on our economy. When obese people have to conend with many of the associated health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers these conditions require treatment and the treatment costs money. Imagine if even a fraction of this money could be directed towards missions and the needy. Wouldn't that be a better use of the money? FULL POST
Posted 12/19/11 at 10:53 AM | Dale Fletcher
Religious activity is generally associated with good physical and mental health. But it also is associated with higher rates of obesity. On the surface, this just does not make sense.
A half dozen studies of mortality risks in the last ten years have found that frequent worship attenders were anywhere from 18% to 35% less likely than non-attenders to have died during the time period studied. But there have also been other studies that have shown a strong relationship between church attendance and levels of obesity.
Researcher George Fitchett of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago presented his findings on religion and obesity at a recent joint meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He found that people who attended church services or otherwise participated in organized religion weekly were 62% more like to be obese than those who never participated, according to data that he studied from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis of adults ages 45 to 84 sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. FULL POST
Posted 10/31/11 at 5:12 PM | Dale Fletcher
In a recent article in the NY Times, researchers reported on the impact that forclosures are having on the mental and physical health of people.
Foreclosure is linked to a number of intense stressors, Julia Lynch, an associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania says. "An awful lot of people in this country right now are subject to a huge amount of stress. Foreclosure is wrapped together for many people with a horrible, messy combination of job loss, ill health, uninsurance or underinsurance, and debt. When you put those things together, people are subject to really intense stress, which is likely to lead to depression and other health problems."
In their study, they also found that for every 100 foreclosures, there was a 12 percent increase in anxiety-related emergency-room visits and hospitalizations by adults under 50. FULL POST
Posted 9/20/11 at 11:00 AM | Dale Fletcher
Our reactions to the trials and stressors of our life are a key determinant of our emotional and physical health. It's not the events or the relationship issues that have a detrimental impact on our health, it's our interpretation and perception of them.In most days of our lives, we find ourselves in situations that can impact us in either a negative or a positive way. First, the event or circumstance occurs. This is generally quickly followed by the emotions that we experience. Then, typically, we react with our behavior and what we say. Our reactions are most often automatic because we do this out of habit. Our reactions will have either a positive or a negative impact on our body based, based on the accompanying emotions we experience. FULL POST
Posted 8/4/11 at 11:47 AM | Dale Fletcher
An article in today's Wall Street Journal – Antidepressant Use Rises – reports that the use of antidepressants is significantly on the rise. The article cites a study published in the journal of Health Affairs, authored by Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University.
Antidepressants were the second most widely prescribed class of medicine in the United States in 2010, after cholesterol-lowering statins, according to IMS health. It appears that physicians may be prescribing antidepressants for more mild forms of mood and anxiety disorders, or for isolated psychiatric symptoms like sleep disturbance, nervousness or nonspecific pain, Doctor Olfson said.
"Over 10 percent of people over the age of 6 were receiving anti-depression medication. That strikes me as significant," says Dr. Olfson.
In a similar vein, an article on the Psychology Today website reports that antidepressants are oversubscribed. Christopher Lane, Ph.D, indicates that a reported study more than 70% of patients in the survey who were prescribed antidepressants presented no medical need for antidepressant treatment.
It sure seems that the trend is for people to turn to pills instead of God to relieve the results of stress that they are experiencing in their lives. On the one hand it sure seems like a simple and quick fix to go to your doctor's office or to your counselor and ask for and receive a prescription for an antidepressant drug. Just pop one in your mouth every day and you'll feel better. This is not God's way of handling stress.
Yes, there may be times when medication may be the right thing to turn to... for a short time... but I believe God wants us to especially turn to him above all. FULL POST
Posted 7/21/11 at 11:14 AM | Dale Fletcher
Today's 200.5 kilometer-long 18th stage of the Tour de France will end on the highest-ever mountaintop finish. The Col du Galibier sits at 2645 meters above sea level. The total distance of the last mountain climb is 23 kilometers and the last part of the climb is 8.5 km long at an average gradient of 6.9% (height gain: 585 m) with a maximum of 12.1% at the summit.
I can not imagine cycling up this mountain. I can not imagine the level of fitness and mental toughness that is required to endure the pain these riders must experience.
As you look at the profile of this stage – the up and down nature of the route – you can make the analogy that it's like the ups and downs that life brings. Sometimes we are on our mountaintops and sometimes we are in the valleys. The ease of the cyclist's valleys are like our mountaintops and the difficulty of their mountaintops are like the challenging aspects of the valleys of our lives. When we are on our mountaintops, things are grand. When we are in our valleys, life can be tough.
The key is how we handle our valleys. FULL POST
Posted 7/8/11 at 9:23 AM | Dale Fletcher
The number of obese people rose in 16 of the 50 states last year. The trend in our country for people becoming more fat continues.
Now there are 12 states where the obesity rate is above 30% and in 38 states the rate is above 25%. Since 1995, obesity rates have grown fastest in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Tennessee, and slowest in Washington, D.C., Colorado, and Connecticut.
Racial and ethnic minority adults, and those with less education or who make less money, continue to have the highest overall obesity rates: FULL POST
Posted 6/22/11 at 5:16 PM | Dale Fletcher
Do you know an obese teenage girl? Do you know a young adult female who smokes? Maybe you're one.
The Health Behavior News Service reports of research that indicates that obese adolescent girls are more than twice as likely to become addicted to smoking when they are young adults than those who are not obese. The study appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The researchers indicate that some of the risk factors that could lead teens to engage in smoking include low self-esteem, depression and poor academic performance.
In a 2009 blog post on the Faith and Health Connection ministry website I wrote the following:
"I'll bet that if we researched this (obesity) issue, we'd find a great proportion of those who are obese are not really well in their relationships with God, themselves or others. The unhealthy and long-term thinking patterns and associated toxic emotions of feeling unacceptable, worthless, unloved, guilty and anxious will set off a regular dripping of harmful chemicals(cortisol, etc.) in their bodies through the inner workings of the endocrine and limbic systems. If left unchecked a host of complicated immune-related diseases, diabetes and obesity included, may develop." FULL POST
Posted 6/16/11 at 4:29 PM | Dale Fletcher
The new National Prevention Strategy was rolled out today, June 16th, by the Health and Human Services branch of the U.S. Government. The report is titled National Prevention Strategy - America's Plan for Better Health and Wellness.
America's Plan for Better Health and Wellness - Strategic Direction and Priorities
The strategy's seven priorities are designed to improve health and wellness for the entire population of the United States:
This new plan has four Strategic Directions:
These Priorities and Strategic Directions are to be the foundation for all prevention efforts and will form the basis for a prevention-oriented society. According to the plan, these directions will form a web needed to fully support Americans in leading longer and healthier lives. FULL POST
Posted 6/6/11 at 2:49 PM | Dale Fletcher
I've recently read a few columns on Christian Post about Yoga, the most recent being Holy Yoga or Demonism?
Ariel Rey, in the above mentioned column, indicates that "Yoga, according to Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, is a form of demonism. He said in a sermon last year, "It's absolute paganism. Yoga and meditation and easternism is all opening to demonism.""
Diriscoll aparently puts all 'yoga' into this camp - and I don't agree with him.
If you do a seach for Christian Yoga, you'll likely come across each of the following organizations: Outstretched, Praise Moves, Yahweh Yoga, Scripture Yoga, WholyFit and Be Strong Ministries. I'd submit that participation in any of these programs would be good for your health - both your physical and spiritual health. I have communicted with at least three of the owners of these organizations. They consider their initiatives as much a ministry as a business. There intent is to help others care for their body, mind and spirit. Scripture is the basis for their short "Bible Studies" conducted at the end of the exercises sessions. Christ is at the center of what they do. Their intent is to glorify God with their programs. FULL POST