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Developing an Awareness on the Importance of Good Diet for Well Being

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The United States is faced each year with increasing incidence of health issues, and this is of concern to individuals, the general population, and the entire country as health insurance, and governmental expenses on intervention keep rising. Health care givers are beginning to stress the need for prevention, as most of these health issues are preventable. About 30% of Americans meet the criteria for obesity (Yanovski, & Yanoski, 2011). This number keeps increasing, and the need for intervention is urgent. The purpose of this study is to highlight that many diseases are acquired from bad diets, and these diseases can be preventable by making healthy choices of food. Dornelas (2008), states that obesity is associated with many risks which include cardiovascular disease, sleep disorder, reflux disease, stress incontinence, and so many more. Decreasing the amount of calories can also have its negative consequence. Eating disorders like anorexia have been associated with the need to avoid being fat, and this possesses its own health risks. Anorexia nervosa increases the risk of osteoporosis, organ shut down, heart muscles shrinkage, kidneys failure and irreversible brain damage occurrence (Berk, 2010). Too much or too little of food consumption has numerous risk factors. The other side effect of these disorders is the psychological impact it has on sufferers.

When the body mass index (BMI) is not in the range of 18.5 to 25 kg/m2, then the person is said to be at risk for diseases. If it is below 18.5 kg/m2, the person is at risk for osteoporosis the thinning of bones which can lead to bone fracture. People with anorexia nervosa fall in this category after losing 25 to 50 percent of their body weight, and lack of food to the body can deprive it of nutrients that it needs to sustain itself. Anorexic individuals stop menstruating because the body needs about 15 percent of body fat in order to menstruate. Malnutrition causes brittle nails, pale skin, fine dark hair in the body and extreme sensitivity to cold temperature (Berk, 2010). If this continues without treatment, the organs start shutting down and can even lead to death. When BMI is more than 25 kg/m2, then the person is said to be overweight, and anything more than 30 kg/m2 is considered obesity. The more obese a person is, the greater the risk association with diseases such as type II diabetes mellitus, cardiac diseases and so on.

The body needs 6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates, 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, 2 to 4 servings of fruits, proteins, and oil, fats and sugars are needed sparingly daily. The average calorie that the body needs is 2000 Cal. This can be adjusted based on height, gender, and activity. Someone with a sedentary lifestyle needs less calorie while, an athlete or active lifestyle needs more. It is important for the general population to know the caloric contents of the food they consume. Carbohydrate and protein contain 4 Cal/gram respectively, while fats/oils contain 9 Cal/gram. The population consumes more fats/oils than needed daily, and one can see that fat is more than double of carbohydrate and protein combined. When the body has insufficient protein, it results in the disease called kwashiorkor, and lack of total caloric intake results in the disease called marasmus. While excess caloric intake causes high cholesterol, type II diabetes, arteriosclerosis, obesity and much more.

Many scholars have speculated the cause of obesity, as some researchers believe it has genetic origin, as well as environmental. The genetic origin deals with lack of fat receptors in the body, which slows the metabolism of fat. The environmental aspect deals with the type of diet individuals consume, and lack of physical activities. The environmental way to deal with this genetic defect is to further decrease the caloric intake, increase physical activities, education, and social support. A study done by Rooney, Mathiason and Schauberger (2011), examined the predictors of obesity in a birth cohort. A cohort of about 795 mothers and 802 children were followed during pregnancy for about 15 years. Characteristics of mothers and offspring were examined to find any predictor of obesity. They found that, gestational birth gain, weight gained during infancy, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and most especially maternal obesity is the strongest predicator of child’s obesity at all times. The result of this study might be due to genetic or due to the fact that the child has been exposed to the same kind of diet as the mother, and this eating pattern continues with the child.

Some theorists also argued that the cause of obesity is the lack of will power. Boutelle, et al. (2011), examined two treatments specified to reduce eating in the absence of hunger in overweight and obese children. Participants were overweight or obese, selected from schools, day care centers, and parents reported child’s eating in the absence of hunger in order to participate. The study was divided into two groups. The first group was the appetite awareness training group, parents were asked to use monitoring to increase sensitivity to hunger and satiety and the coping skills for the children to manage the urge to eat when not hungry. The second group was the cue exposure treatment food group. This is described as cravings, which is eating when not physically hungry. In this treatment, children learned strategies to recognize cravings and suppress it until urges diminished. The results showed that both treatments significantly decreased the urges of eating when not hungry, and as a result, weight decreased. This means that not every food consumed is due to hunger.

Parenting style can affect the way children eat. Hoerr, et al. (2009) study with 715 children and their parents (43% African American, 29% Hispanic and 28% White) with food intake in several groups were calculated from three days of dietary recall from 3 pm until bedtime. Hoerr et al. found that children from authoritarian families take more fruits and vegetables than children from indulgent or uninvolved parents. This shows the effect parenting can have on children. When parents’ influence are lacking, the children do not have a guide to doing the right things. Children need guidance to making the right choice in life; including choosing the right diet. This is why early education is important to begin from home.

Dornelas (2008) found that as obesity increased, so did referrals to weight loss surgery; because the need to reduce weight is urgent due to high risks associated with it such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, arteriosclerosis. Psychotherapists need to be trained in order to handle the underlying cause of obesity, which is entangled with other psychological problems. Obesity is a disease which needs to be treated, both physically and psychologically. Dong, Sanchez, and Price (2004), examined the relationship between obesity and depression in nuclear families among siblings and parents with a total number of 1730 European Americans, and 373 African Americans. Many variables were measured, and they found that depression was greater with an increase in body mass index (BMI), across gender and racial groups, even after controlling for the presence of chronic diseases. The offspring of depressed parents were also more likely to be depressed.

Furthermore, to predict type II diabetes in individuals at risk, the BMI, or the size of the waist can help do so. When fat accumulates centrally in the abdomen, the circulating fats can cause insulin resistance, as fat is less likely to cause insulin resistance when it accumulates in other parts of the body. Tsenkova, Carr, Schoeller, and Reff (2011) in perceived weight discrimination amplified the link between central adiposity and non-diabetic glycemic control and the result showed that hip-to-waist-ratio (central adipose deposition) has been significantly linked to significant increase in HbA1c (monitors long time diabetic control). It also shows that weight discrimination increases the psychosocial stressor and this increases the HbA1c as a result of stress. Decreasing weight can help eliminate type II diabetes.

The psychological impacts that poor diet has on individuals who suffer, are numerous. People with anorexia nervosa have body image distortion, they are always anxious, they have poor impulse control, are emotionally inhibited, and they avoid close relationship outside the family (Berk, 2010). Anorexic individuals do not see themselves as thin they see a different image of themselves in the mirror, as this shows that the disorder is not just physical, but psychological as well. Even though thin is being admired, anorexic individuals are looked down on as being so thin that they are unattractive. They parents of anorexic adolescents may be very controlling and emotionally distant from their children. In pursuit of absolute thinness and perfection, these individuals are afraid of losing control, so they are always nervous and about six percent end up committing suicide.

To prevent the problem of anorexia nervosa, parents need to emphasize the need for healthy diet, and not criticize the physical appearance of their children. They need to create a routine for family meals; physical activities, as emotional and social support for their young ones are very important in healthy growing of a child. Most anorexic individuals were formerly overweight or obese before the sought solution which landed them in this category. It is not how the media portrays thinness that matters, but how the parents make the children feel. If children have confidence and high self esteem and approval from the parents, it would be hard for peers or media to change that in the children. Godart, et al. (2006) study in a multidimensional treatment for anorexia nervosa, included patient and parent counseling, but not the entire family. The results showed that patients who got therapy with their parents had better outcome than those who got individual therapy. This suggests how parents can help their children feel good about themselves.

People who are obese face many challenges like those with eating disorders, as they are socially discriminated against when compared to normal weight counterparts. They are viewed to be less attractive, and this makes it more difficult to find mates. Employers find it harder to hire obese employees because of fear of high cost of medical expenses that results from obesity. With these social isolations, obese individuals are more than likely to be depressed. Even though the study by Goodman and Must (2011) showed that severely obese youths in their sample did not have high level of depressive symptoms, other studies support an increase in depressive symptoms in obese individuals. In relationship of obesity to depression, Dong et al. (2004), found that obesity was associated with depression, even after controlling for chronic physical diseases. Dornelas, (2008) reported low self-esteem, poor body image, social discrimination and mistreatment in the job, experienced by individuals who are heavier than normal. It is this social mistreatment that usually cause depression; those with social support that feel good about themselves, might not be feeling depressed.

Women were more likely to be viewed negatively when overweight than men, and this makes it harder for women to adjust socially. It is this social stigma that causes women to have harder time coping with depression than their male counterparts. The psychological effect of obesity is worse among women, according to Ferguson, Kornblet and Muldoon (2009). In the study, women were found to have more negative effects than men. They had a lower quality of life, a dissatisfying sex life and more public distress, even though these women had lower BMI than the men did. This is like a cultural norm that women have to look more beautiful and attractive than men do, so any woman that does not conform to this norm is being frowned upon.

Children who are obese are often bullied at schools. Other children make fun of the obese children, because they think that these children lack the will power to control eating. So it is not that obese individuals are depressed because of their obesity, but because of how other people make them feel. Flodmark’s (2005) study in the happy obese child found that obese children in a community with social support are not depressed and do not find their obesity to have a psychological impact in them, but a clinical sample of obese children show low self esteem, and poor quality of life. With this, it can be suggested that it is not obesity that causes depression, rather attitude toward obesity is mostly what leads to depression. To avoid the psychology impact of obesity, the society can socially support the sufferers by not discriminating against them, so that they worry about the medical impact of obesity and not the social aspect.

Arguments can be made about the causes of eating disorder. In the case of anorexia nervosa, it is caused by a compulsive fear of getting fat, especially in adolescents and young adults. This problem is mostly seen in the western world, where admiration for thinness is the norm. This disorder has a psychological basis because, suffers have a distorted body image, where they see themselves as fat even after having been severely malnourished and underweight. At the same time, they vigorously exercise to enhance further weight loss. According to Berk (2010), about six percent of anorexic individuals die of suicide or physical complications. This happens in families were physical appearance and social acceptance are emphasized, where perfect achievement and thinness are well regarded. These patients strive hard to achieve the ideal image, but may never be satisfied with their body image no matter how hard they try.

Obesity is mostly common in people with a sedentary lifestyle that acquire more calories than needed. It is more in industrialized nations where technology has made life easier with little or no man power to do work. The mode of transportation has also helped to facilitate obesity, as people no longer walk from places to places or ride the bicycles, instead they drive from place to place, use the trains, get in the city buses, as these reduce physical activities that aid in energy expenditure. Ersoy, Imamoglu, Tuncel, Erturk, and Ercan (2005) study in three different district found that people from low socioeconomic status, less education, less active professions and men who were unemployed had a higher BMI. This is so because these people had a more sedentary life style than those in high socioeconomically status or those that had jobs.

Another group where obesity trends exist is with the socially economic disadvantaged. In this group, providing the basic necessities of life is difficult, so little money is spent on healthy foods. The foods that are cheap are the ones that are unhealthy while the healthy choices are expensive to afford. Juby and Meyer (2011) state that policies and recommendations make it hard for poor families to buy nutritious food like fruits and vegetables, at the same time, cheaper foods tend to have more calories and provide fewer nutrients. They call this obesity related malnutrition. In a study done by Ludwig et al. (2011), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) randomly assigned vouchers to 4498 women with children from 1994 to 1998, 1788 were told that the voucher is only redeemable if they find housing in low income neighborhood with canceling offered to them, and 1312 were given no specification and canceling also offered to them. One thousand three hundred and ninety eight total individuals were selected as the control group that was offered none of the opportunities. A survey follow up from 2008 to 2010, showed that the prevalence of BMI more than 35 and type II diabetes were more in poverty neighborhood than the other groups.

Ersoy et al. (2005) acknowledged that people from high socioeconomic status and education ate more fruits and vegetables, and used more vegetables, olive or corn oils in their cooking. This shows the need for education and the effect of understanding of the benefit of good diet, and also having the money to afford it. The study also highlighted that female education was more effective in controlling obesity for future generations. Another study by Colineau and Paris (2011) supports the influence of family involvement as a collective goal to eating healthy, and feedback increases significantly with mother’s involvement. This might be true because of the domestic role that a female plays at home. Women are mostly in charge of grocery shopping, cooking and nurturing. If they make this positive changes, and teach their children early enough how to eat right, then less problem with obesity can manifest during their adulthood.

Treatments – it is necessary for health care providers to emphasize the importance of healthy diet to parents, and for parents to start cultivating good eating habits at home. Parents can help inculcate discipline in their children to make better choices of food they eat. A well balanced diet with low fat and sugar according to the food pyramid needs to be followed. Although, weight loss advocates argue that food rich in protein helps suppress appetite, and care needs to be taken in following such recommendations, as the body needs a balance diet from all food categories to function well. What need to be emphasized are reduced portions of meals and healthy choices, rather than excluding vital nutrients that the body needs to function well. Training individuals is needed to keep record of what they eat is another way to help them monitor the quantity and quality of the foods they eat. Thirty to 35 percent of obese people believe they eat less than they do (Blaine & Rodman, 2007). People do not need to diet and feel deprived of what they like, but they should be encouraged to choose food from varieties of what they like but size the portion and calories of what they eat.

The need for exercise should be stressed for everyone, not just the obese individuals. Exercise helps the body to transport sugar into all parts of the body, and maintain healthy weight, and it helps prevent insulin resistant in the body. Van Baak (2010) recommends physical activity rather than just exercise; it is body movement that results in energy expenditure over the resting energy. Physical activity is also essential in reducing the effect of genetic tendency of being overweight. Physical activity as Van Baak (2010) states is what is needed not just exercise, as this can be done by doing chores at home, walking instead of driving, instead of sitting down and watching television, one can simply have leisure activities. Exercise offers physical and psychological benefits that restrict overeating (Berk, 2010).

Government tries to help fight obesity by creating policies based on evidence of what has worked to lower the prevalence of obesity. Unfortunately, most of these policies have not been proven to be of any significance. Recours, Hanula, Travert, Sabiston and Griffet (2011) found that adolescents’ motivation to physical activities decreased significantly from 2001 to 2008, despite government’s seven year health strategy for nutrition. One can conclude that it is not what the government does that helps eliminate obesity, but it is the parental education and involvement at home that really helps children more. If children are not being told the benefit of staying healthy, or are not supported or encouraged by their parents to participate in physical activities, then the zeal to participate will likely not be there.

Care givers have to teach cognitive skills and behavioral strategies to individuals to cope with tempting situations. Long time adaptations have to be made because statistics show that most people regain weight after one year of losing it and anorexic people, never fully recover from it. Boutelle et al. (2011) used behavioral strategies to deal with children who were eating when not hungry. This footstep should be followed to achieve this success. There is need to increase length of therapy for these individuals, to enable them develop new habits and skills to deal with their situations. The need to support these people is very important, this is done by encouraging them and not being critical of them, as this will make them feel good about themselves and help them maintain normal weight.

It is necessary to educate people with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and obese people about the implications of these diseases. Health care givers are trying to create this awareness to general public, and fortunately organizations like American Diabetes Association (ADA) and North American Association for the study of Obesity (NAASA) are using increased educational efforts to fight this epidemic disease and create awareness of the implications of these diseases. Schools should also incorporate nutritional studies in their curriculum, so that children can take the lessons home and further educate their parents who have no prior knowledge of good nutrition.

So many studies have been done on eating disorders and obesity, and these studies have focused on different ethnicities, cultures and the alarming results are still similar to each other. There are indications that genetics enhance the probabilities of getting anorexia nervosa or obesity, but this cannot manifest unless the environmental factors permit. The Rooney et al. (2011) study examined the predictors of obesity in a birth cohort, and found that maternal obesity was the strongest predictor of child’s obesity. The limitations in this study is that Rooney did not analyze children outside their biological homes, to differentiate if the obesity was caused by the gene they inherited from their mothers, or maybe obesity was due to the same diet from which the mother ate as well. Even though some studies found that adopted children were most likely to maintain weight similar to biological families, one can explore this further in the Fernandez et al. (2008) study. Does nature overcome nurture?

Flodmark’s (2005) study about the happy obese child was a very interesting one, as this study showed that obesity is not the cause of depression, but the social treatment of those that are obese is usually what causes the depression. If the society treats the obese individuals the same ways normal weight individuals are being treated, the case of having depressed individuals would be the same in obesity and thinness. Depression might cause further increase in size, since they obese individuals avoid societal bias against them, they might avoid outdoor activities which might help them lose some weight. This is something one has to learn to socially and emotionally support these individuals.

Finally, this literature review examined the problems faced when there is improper nutrition, its financial burden and the effect it has in our health. It explored the causes of anorexia nervosa and obesity, and previous studies on this topic, which showed that obesity has a genetic base, but environment gives way for its manifestation. The Boutelle et al. (2011) study showed that behavioral strategies can be used to combat eating when not hungry. There are many ways one can fight obesity and related diseases, through physical activities, nutritious healthy meals, social support, and having positive body image.

In conclusion, evidence shows that families that work together to maintain a healthy diet succeed more than individuals that work on their own. There is a need for physical and mental support for those trying to gain or lose weight. The support needs to initially start from home. The studies reviewed above highlighted the positive impacts that families have on individuals who struggle with weight. Most times the problems begin from home, and the solutions need to start from home as well. Families need to have dinners together, discuss the importance of healthy meals and incorporate physical activities into their agenda.

Furthermore, there is need for social support for these individuals. Supporting them socially can help them psychologically to avoid depression, anxiety and low self esteem. Provisions can be made to accommodate them with stylish dresses in stores; this approach might help them feel good about themselves. It is social support from families and friends that help these individuals maintain healthy weight after intervention ends.

References

Berk, L.E. (2010). Development through the lifespan (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon

Blaine, B., & Rodman, J. (2007). Responses to weight loss treatment among obese individuals with and without BED: A matched-study meta-analysis. Eating and Weight Disorders, 12, 54-60.

Colineau, N., & Paris, C. (20011). Motivating reflection about health within the family: The use of goal setting and tailored feedback. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, 21 (4-5), 341-376.

Dong, C. C., Sanchez, L. E. & Price, R. A. (2004). Relationship of Obesity to Depression: A Family-based study. International Journal of Obesity, 28 (6), 790-795.

Dornelas, E. A. (2008). Morbid obesity. In E. A. Dornelas (Ed.), Psychotherapy with cardiac patients: Behavioral cardiology in practice (pp. 173-185). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association.

Ersoy, C., Imamoglu, S., Tuncel, E., Erturk, E., & Ercan, ?. (2005). Comparison of the factors that influence obesity prevalence in three district municipalities of the same city with different socioeconomical status: A survey analysis in an urban Turkish population. Preventive Medicine: An International Journal Devoted To Practice and Theory, 40 (2), 181-188.

Ferguson, C., Kornblet, S., & Muldoon, A. (2009). Not all are created equal: Differences in obesity attitudes between men and women. Women’s Health Issues, 19 (5), 289-291

Fernandez, J. R., Casazza, K., Divers, J., & Lopez Alarcon, M. (2008). Disruptions in energybalance: Does nature overcome nurture? Physiology & Behavior, 94 (1), 105-112.

Flodmark, C. E. (2005). The happy obese child. International Journal of Obesity, 29 (Suppl2), S31-S33

Godart, N. N., Perdereau, F. F., Rein, Z. Z., Curt, F. F., Kaganski, I. I., Lucet, R. R., &… Jeammet, P. P. (2006). Resolving a disagreement in a clinical team: Overcoming conflicting views about the role of family therapy in an outpatient treatment program for anorexia nervosa. Eating and Weight Disorders, 11 (4), 185-194.

Goodman, E., & Must, A. (2011). Depressive symptoms in severely obese compared with normal weight adolescents: Results from a community-based longitudinal study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49 (1), 64-69

Hoerr, S. L., Hughes, S. O., Fisher, J. O., Nicklas, T. A., Liu, Y., & Shewchuk, R. M. (2009). Associations among parental feeding styles and children’s food intake in families with limited incomes. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

Juby, C., & Meyer, E. (2011). Child nutrition policies and recommendations. Journal of Social Work, 11(4), 375-386.

Ludwig, J., Sanbonmatsu, L., Gennetian, L., Adam, E., Duncan, G. J., Katz, L. F., &… McDade, T. W. (2011). Neighborhoods, obesity, and diabetes: A randomized social experiment. The New England Journal of Medicine, 365(16), 1509-1519.

Recours, R., Hanula, G., Travert, M., Sabiston, C., & Griffet, J. (2011). Governmental interventions and youth physical activity in France. Child: Care, Health and Development, 37 (3), 309-312.

Rooney, B. L., Mathiason, M. A., & Schauberger, C. W. (2011). Predictors of obesity in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood in a birth cohort. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 15 (8), 1166-1175.

Tsenkova, V. K., Carr, D., Schoeller, D. A., & Ryff, C. D. (2011). Perceived weight discrimination amplifies the link between central adiposity and non-diabetic glycemic control (HbA[sub]1c[/sub]). Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 41 (2), 243-251.

van Baak, M. A. (2010). Exercise, physical activity and obesity. In P. G. Kopelman, I. D. Caterson, W. H. Dietz, P. G. Kopelman, I. D. Caterson, W. H. Dietz (Eds.), Clinical obesity in adults and children (3rd ed.) (pp. 313-326). Wiley-Blackwell.

Yanovski, S. Z., & Yanoski, J. A. (2011). Obesity prevalence in the United States – Up, down, or sideways? The New England Journal of Medicine, 364 (11), 989.

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Beauty

An Interview With Grant Donovan on Varied Matters Relating to Wellness, REAL and Otherwise

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I recently asked Dr. Grant Donovan, one of the earliest promoters of corporate wellness and health promotion, questions about the early years. Here are over a dozen of the questions I put to Dr. Donovan:

1) In what ways was Australia unlike the U.S. for purposes of trying to establish a wellness movement?

2) If you had remained in the wellness business, how might you have expanded upon the wonderful concepts advanced in the early years (mid-80’s and 90’s) when you led Australian conferences, training sessions, wrote books, gave media interviews and engaged in all manner of promotional efforts?

3) Based on your memories of those not-quite-prosperous, golden or halcyon years, how would you describe the key terms of the movement or, if you prefer, the very nature, of a wellness lifestyle, REAL or otherwise as it is or should be today?

4) How much energy did you put into creating a wellness movement in Australia?

5) If you had remained in the wellness business, how might you have expanded upon the wonderful concepts advanced in the early years (mid-80’s and 90’s) when you led Australian conferences, training sessions, wrote books, gave media interviews and engaged in all manner of worksite promotions?

6) Based on your memories of those not-quite-prosperous, golden or halcyon years, how would you describe the key terms of the movement or, if you prefer, the very nature, of a wellness lifestyle, REAL or otherwise?

7) Was there any way the effort could have succeeded (by which I mean “proved profitable” and thus worth continuing)?

8) It seems that corporate and other forms of institutional wellness education has been led by medical doctors, nurses, health administrators, HRA types and maybe a few psychologists? Is there a profession not represented that should have been?

9) Is it possible that a REAL wellness focus, if it comes about, will have more success than the safe, medically based approach that continues to this day?

10) What are best and worst case scenarios for the wellness concept and movement, by any name, ten years or so down the road?

11) Do you believe most people have the capacity to shape and sustain healthy lifestyles?

12) You attended several National Wellness Conferences in the 80’s and 90’s. What is your take on this annual event?

13) Today and since the beginning in the 80’s, worksite wellness has been focused on disease prevention, risk reduction, exercise promotion, stress management, nutritional basics and the like? Is that what you were promoting under the wellness banner?

14) What are the prospects for worksite wellness?

15) When asked, “Grant, tell me please: What’s it all about,” what do you say?

16) What advice do you have for those with little time left, which I suppose is all of us?

I invited Grant to pick and choose as many or as few of these questions to address as he wished. Grant pondered and pondered and pondered. Weeks went by. Reports of pondering going on came in, week after week. Finally, about a month after sending the questions, Grant sent this commentary. In my opinion, his response addresses all the questions and a few that did not occur to me-and maybe one or two I was afraid to ask. Enjoy.

Grant Donovan’s Response

I have been looking at both sets of questions and decided to ignore them all and give you one short answer. Okay, not so much an answer as a wandering series of self-assembling thoughts.

The eighties version of Australian workplace wellness morphed into high performance through self-management. Much more catchy for the bosses. Something they understood and wanted to pay for. Wellness was too esoteric. They wanted hard performance improvements, more dollars and less new age philosophy. They would pay small fortunes for critical thinking, self-management, teamwork, empowering leadership and a range of other wellness skills but little or nothing for programs called wellness.

So we moved on, made a smaller fortune out of real wellness and never used the term once. It was all in the language. The memes.

Which makes me think that wellness lacks a precise meme. When Halbert Dunn and your good self, respectively, coined and popularized the word, it mutated very quickly to become a generic term attached to everything from hand holding and swaying to disease avoidance to alternative medicine to spiritual enlightenment to whatever definition anyone wanted to apply. The genie was out of the bottle very early and it doesn’t appear to be going back any time soon.

Your personal efforts to reset the meme with REAL Wellness is heroic and may succeed but I have my doubts. Not because your efforts won’t be Herculean but because REAL Wellness may only be for the special few. For people like you and a few friends who have the time, money and inclination to dabble. My global observation suggests the rest still need God. Someone to lean on as they slave away at just staying alive. Working hard to exist, without time to contemplate the bigger questions. And this is probably a good thing because if they all stopped to recognize the complete meaninglessness of their lives, nobody would turn up.

By meaningless, I don’t mean life is not valuable or worth living because it clearly is for many people. I personally find it fun, challenging and quirky. By meaningless, I mean it is random and pointless. Totally irrelevant. From a wellness perspective, meaninglessness is extremely liberating. It allows for a freedom of thought and action that cannot be attained through the conforming rigidity of pre-determined purpose. It allows for a rational, critical thought process that renders emotive storytelling mute and lifts scientific logic to a special place, from where we can see the behavioral expression of meaninglessness very clearly.

Okay, so meaninglessness is the answer.

Now you know what Grant Donovan thinks about the issues I raised. I asked Grant for a few lines to go with his interview. He replied: “I’m following the opposite path to Charlie Sheen, with limited or no exposure to the outside world. Your readers will already know that I’m just a good Aussie friend, who doesn’t really have much to say.”

Well, I can respect that, but just the same, here is a brief, unauthorized mini-background bio update on Grant Donovan, Ph.D. A graduate of the University of Western Australia, he is the Managing Partner at Perception Mapping in Perth, Australia and a few other market research firms, including SevenSeventeen and Workplace Global Network. He and I co-authored “Live More of Your Life the Wellness Way” and “Die Healthy” decades ago. We co-presented many times in cities throughout Australia, the U.S., Canada and even Malaysia, but our most memorable performance was a workshop at the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, WI. in 1994 devoted to “The Wellness Orgasm.” It was quite a hit.

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Beauty

Conventional, Versus Wellness Approach, To Health

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What we consider, the conventional approach, to health, in the United States, differs, in many ways, from the way, most of the rest of the world, considers, and approaches, this concept. Many seem to believe, a conventional approach, means, using allopathic medicine, which includes, a primary emphasis on chemically designed, prescriptions, and treatments, while, in most other nations, this approach, includes, both allopathy, as well as alternative remedies, and treatments. Which way, is best for you, depends, on your specific mindset, attitude, overall health, condition, beliefs, etc. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, the different approaches, and some of the different advantages, and disadvantages.

1. Conventional approach: The disadvantage of the so – called, conventional approach, is it pays more attention, often, to the symptoms, rather than all the possible causes, etc. It treats ailments, usually, by using a chemical – drug, to reduce and treat the ailment. It is important to recognize, illnesses, and ailments, should be divided into, chronic versus acute ones, and life – threatening, versus, more common illnesses. I strongly believe, there are many acute conditions, which are best treated with drugs, but there are also circumstances, when the side effects, and potential dangers, may make it less logical. Obviously, when the ailment is life – threatening, such as cancers, severe organ issues (such as pneumonia, liver problems, etc), they need immediate, dramatic treatment, while, at other times, it might make more sense, to use, an alternative approach.

2. Alternative approach: Many use methods, such as Reiki, acupuncture, Ayuverdic, homeopathy, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements, etc, as an essential part of taking care of their overall health. These often, enhance our immunity, and what we refer to, as resistance. However, one must take care, to do so, in consultation, with a qualified, open – minded, health professional, who is able to use, either approach. Don’t abandon prescribed medications, without thoroughly discussing with your doctor! Know the risks and benefits.

3. Wellness: An intelligent, seamless, merger of both, conventional, and alternative treatments, is, often, the wisest approach. In most of the rest of the world, non – chemical approaches, are used, before conventional ones, in order to minimize over – use, and dependence, and minimize side – effects, and attempt to enhance our body’s immunity and immune system. This is the essence of a wellness program, where we proceed, and take advantage of any modalities, which might enhance and improve our overall health.

Beware, you should do your research, and consult qualified, trained health professionals, in order to use the best combination. It’s up to you!

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Predictors of Healthy Aging – Adult Health and Wellness

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There seems to be a formula for healthy aging, suggested by the latest research on centenarians and the research comparing people in their 20’s – 40’s to those in their 60’s – 90’s. Some of the predictors of healthy aging include: physical, intellectual, emotional, relational, spiritual and sexual. Maintaining health and wellness in each of these areas may not prolong your life, but it will certainly improve the quality and enjoyment of your daily existence as you age. And, you may be surprised to find your are living longer than you ever imagined possible.

Physical Predictors of Healthy Aging

A supplement to the November/December 2006 Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior presented the new MyPyramid Food Guidance System, an updated replacement of the former Food Guide Pyramid, based upon research completed over several years.

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), a healthy diet:

o emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grain and fat-free or low- fat milk and milk products
o includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
o is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars

Tufts University researchers have updated their Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults to correspond with the MyPyramid. This modified version of the MyPyramid continues to emphasize nutrient-dense food choices and the importance of fluid balance, but has added additional guidance about forms of foods that could best meet the unique needs of older adults. In addition, there is greater emphasis upon the importance of regular physical activity.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults was published in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. Added to the new pyramid is a foundation depicting physical activities characteristic of older adults, such as walking, yard work and swimming.

Government statistics indicate that obesity in adults 70 years and older has been increasing, physical activity is one way to avoid weight gain in later years and its adverse effects. Older adults tend to need fewer calories as they age because their metabolic rates tend to slow down. Even if they continue to exercise, they are often not quite as physically active as when they were younger. But their bodies still require the same or higher levels of nutrients to maintain optimal health. Regular physical activity is linked to reduced risk of chronic disease, lower body weight and improved quality of life for older adults.

The Tufts University recommendations for older adults include the following:

o Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice & 100% wheat bread
o Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli
o Deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon
o Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk
o Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs
o Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat
o Fluid intake
o Physical activity such as walking, house work and yard work.

Intellectual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Healthy aging requires keeping our minds active before and especially after retirement, regularly learning something new and participating in new activities, maintaining an interest in and passion for reading and current events, and often reflecting on the good things in life.

Emotional Predictors of Healthy Aging

Emotionally healthy people are optimistic, generally happy with life, rarely hostile, recover quickly from angry episodes, and tend to live longer. They cope well with stress, maintaining a good sense of humor and a positive attitude, regardless of how the circumstances in their life unfold, and they continue to develop many outlets for recreation and relaxation.

Relational Predictors of Healthy Aging

Those who remain healthy as they age tend to feel supported by a large social network of family and friends. They tend to frequently help others, have many younger friends, remain in successful marriages or enjoy a full single life, attending social functions and sharing happy events with others.

Spiritual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Spiritually connected people tend to fare better as they age. Spiritual commitments and practices, such as daily prayer, meditation, or regular church attendance, help them to maintain a strong sense of personal purpose and meaning in life as well as ongoing appreciation of the beauty and power of nature and its natural rhythms and cycles.

Sexual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Those who age successfully continue to feel joyful and passionate about life. They tend to continue to derive sensual and sexual pleasure, within their own body, in physical and emotional contact with others, and in connection with the natural environment.

The Formula for Healthy Aging seems to include:

o A large supportive social network of family, friends, and neighbors
o A daily spiritual practice and faith in a higher power
o A healthy lifestyle including exercise, nutrition, rest, sleep and play
o An active imagination, intellectual stimulation, and a passion for learning
o Emotional well being, an optimistic outlook, and a good sense of humor
o Passion for life, sensual and sexual aliveness, and appreciation of nature

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A Nussentials Third Party Review – Just Another Health And Wellness MLM?

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If you are looking into the Nussentials MLM opportunity, here is some information that may prove helpful. Nussentials is a true MLM company, meaning it is not some sort of pyramid scheme or other scam. The president is Phil Mims. Mr. Mims has extensive Network Marketing industry experience, having built organizations of hundreds of thousands of people. If your passion is health and wellness, Nussentials is more than just another health and wellness MLM. It is worth a serious look.

It is still a fairly new company. It was started in Texas in 2006. If you are going to be in the health and wellness niche, you need medical credibility. Nussentials has this credibility. Their Medical Advisory Board has some serious credentials, and they are detailed on the website. This medical experience is an excellent marketing tool for Nussentials. You can’t just say your products are healthful. You have to be able to back it up.

Nussentials offers a wide range of products based on all-natural stabilized rice bran. Rice bran is the layer of the grain right under the husk. Most of the rice we eat doesn’t have the bran. 60% of the nutrients in rice are found in the bran. If you have eaten brown rice, it is easy to tell the difference between it and white rice. It’s light brown and has a nutty flavor; it is also chewier. In processing white rice, the bran is made into animal feed and other products. A great deal of natural nutrition is being used for other purposes. Antioxidants, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, Vitamin E with tocotrienols and tocopherols, and much more is lost in this processing. Nussentials makes it available in its products.

Their product line is not a traditional line of vitamins and minerals. With Nussentials everything is based on all natural rice bran. This could be a Unique Selling Proposition, something most MLM businesses lack. The product line includes an energy product called Alert!, a heart healthy cardiovascular fortifier called Cardio!, a weight management product called Less!, plus skin supplements, healthy coffee, a pomegranate drink, and more. The product line seems to be of high quality, and their website shows the science behind the products documented by third parties.

There are multiple income sources with Nussentials. There is upfront bonus income, and the other basic category is residual income. The compensation plan is a variation on the forced matrix. This one is a 3×8. This means that there are only 3 slots available directly under a distributor on the first level. Anyone else you sign up has to go in the organization of one of these three people. This is called “spillover” in MLM comp plan geekspeak. Because of this spillover, you can actually earn money from distributors that are placed below you by people above you. This is a good thing. The 8 in the 3×8 means that the matrix goes down to 8 levels. As with many MLM comp plans, the larger commission rates are down a few levels. With Nussentials you’ll make the highest commission rates in levels 4 and 5. If this puts you off, you probably don’t want to be in a Network Marketing company. Large income earners have organizations much deeper than 4 or 5 levels.

For someone looking at a health and wellness MLM, this all should sound pretty good. But it isn’t enough. A solid, reputable company is very important, but you’ll need more. Your level of success will depend on your ability to attract new reps to you and your business. How do you plan to generate leads when friends and family run out? Answer this question right and you’ll be on your way.

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Aging is Inevitable – Adult Health and Wellness

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Aging is Inevitable

Although aging is inevitable, how we look, feel and cope as we get older, is not. Aging affects each of us at different rates and in different ways. Even within the same individual, each organ and organ system ages differently, influenced by genetics, environment, lifestyle, attitudes, social networks, spiritual connections, and overall health and well being.

In infancy and childhood, we can be fairly accurate in predicting physical growth and development at different ages and stages. But as we age, there is no uniform timetable. Chronological age is notAging is Inevitable

How Do You Know When You Are Old?

Stereotypical Signs of Aging

• You get dizzy when you stand up or bend over

• Your joints and muscles ache all the time

• Your skin is itchy, spotty, wrinkled and dry

• Your body fluctuates between constipation and diarrhea

• You have poor muscle tone, tire easily, and often feel weak

• You are often irritable, grouchy, depressed and generally unhappy

• You can’t remember what you did an hour ago

• You’ve stopped learning or trying new things

The above symptoms are generally considered to be inevitable effects of aging, but these are actually signs of lifestyle deficiencies, injury, and disease.

Physiologic Changes and Aging

Past research about aging has focused on patients suffering from illness and disability, observed in doctors’ offices, clinics or hospital settings. What we have believed about aging, it seems, has been a reflection of the effects of disease process and unhealthy lifestyle. Studies are only beginning to focus on active seniors and the normal aging process.

• Aging is NOT Disease

Physiologic changes that occur with aging do not necessarily cause disability. Aging does not inevitably lead to declining levels of cardiac functioning, bone density, muscular strength, cognitive ability and memory, sexual desire and activity, physical and social functioning, nor does aging insure rising levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and anemia. But aging does decrease the body’s ability to withstand and respond to stress. As we age, we are less able to regulate pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, blood glucose, serum sodium, and blood ph levels under stress. Aging leads to greater difficulty reacting to injury and the probability that the stress of injury will lead to acute or chronic illness over time.

• One Percent Rule

From age 30 onward, most organ systems lose roughly one percent of their functioning each year. The percent of loss does not increase as we age.

• Body Organs Age Differently

The physiologic state for any organ in our body is affected by the rate of change that organ has experienced multiplied by the number of years that change has occurred. As we age, changes in one organ does not predict changes in other organs.

• Dementia is NOT Part of Normal Aging

Memory decline with age is common, but does not inevitably lead to dementia which is an illness. Dementia-type symptoms include hearing loss, confusion or disorientation, difficulty performing simple tasks and making every day decisions, as well as changes in mood and loss of interest in life activities.

* Remaining Healthy is Often a Lifestyle Choice

Scientists and wellness experts alike are discovering that we are more than our genetic makeup. We do actually influence our own aging processes through diet, exercise, stress management, rest, sleep, social activity, positive mental thought and spiritual connection. Remaining healthy is often just a lifestyle choice and the choice is yours.

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Wellness International Network (WIN) Home Business Review

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In October 1992, Wellness International Network, Ltd. (WIN) became a reality. WIN’s Founders, Ralph and Cathy Oats saw the potential for the health and wellness industry and knew they could make a positive mark by providing others with a vehicle to achieve total wellness: mentally, physically and financially.

WIN is headquartered in North Dallas’ prestigious Legacy Business Park campus, while its European affiliate, WIN Worldwide BV , is located in Hoofddorp, Netherlands and its South African affiliate, Wellness International Network S.A. (Pty) Limited, is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Heading into the company’s 16th year of business, Ralph and Cathy’s vision is ever expanding as they build WIN into a billion-dollar business.

The product line includes new protein shake, an omega-3 supplement and a new hair-care collection. Diving into the latest trend, anti-aging, WIN unveiled a skin-care line using the technology to help wipe away the signs of aging.

You can use Wellness International Network’s products with confidence, the product line ranges from products geared to help increase energy, stamina, weight loss and enhance mental function and mood to a complete line of cellular nutritional products, plus skin- and hair-care products.

WIN’s complete nutritional line is listed in the PDR® for Nonprescription Drugs, Dietary Supplements and Herbs. The PDR is distributed to more than 300,000 physicians and healthcare professionals across the United States giving them a comprehensive overview on WIN’s nutritional products.

WIN seems to have some very solid products in their line and their marketing strategy is based on sampling with the Five Step Program. This approach is focused on using and sharing the products and opportunity. With this kind of marketing you have to consume a lot of different products yourself before you can share your experience with others. That’s why people invest a lot af money before they see some results. WIN’s compensation plan is somewhat confusing and hard to understand.

To sum it up, WIN appears to be a legitimate business opportunity. The executive team is experienced in their field and have come up with what appears to be products with mass appeal. As with any business, it takes hard work and dedication to succeed. If you like marketing many different products, maybe this could be something for you. Keep in mind the possible investments of all the different products.

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Create New Fashions and Set Trends in Hair Dressing

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Fashion is a way of life that brings changes and beautiful traditions with it. So much so, more people are fascinated with fashion than with food and cooking. To say that one is hungry is not as bad as saying one is out of style. Hairdressing is an important aspect of fashion. What is it that makes this so important?

Importance of hairstyling

First, one must acknowledge that one’s hair is the best thing about a person. If the hair is not well maintained, neatly trimmed, and oiled, the person will not look attractive. Hair that does not stay in place will make that person look like a hooligan. The unkempt look will draw dirty looks and he will soon be barred from his own social circle.

Due to this, there is a renewed interest among the job seekers of today to become a hairdresser. For one thing, there is no need to invest a huge sum of money to become a successful hairdresser. One only needs a small shop and one will be set for life. One can undergo one of the many Hair Dressing Courses in Delhi and learn the needed skills from the professionals.

Things to learn in hairdressing

By taking this course, you will learn things like the basics of blow drying and volume blow drying techniques. This is needed because it is an important part of hairdressing. The next thing is you learn hair tonging and hair ironing. It will teach you how to straighten hair and set curls in it. This will take barely one week. They also teach you the latest cuts doing fashion trends now. Skills included will be Natural Inversion, Forward Graduation, and Square Layers.

The advanced course will include classic cuts and it takes 10 days. You can do this to lay the best foundation for your hairdressing career. Here the skills taught will include Transient Mid Length and Transient Length Haircut, Graduated Bob, and Transient Bob. They also teach you how to make Short Round Layers. Along with this, you can take the color course that teaches you the root level application of color to hair. You also learn the Global Color Application. This is one of the Best Hairdressing Courses Delhi.

Learn hair styling methods

Students learn safety methods in haircutting and styling. They are taught how to choose a product as per the nature of a person’s hair. The practical experience in hair waving and chemical straightening will be of immense importance for them. With step by step instructions, the students learn through actual practice how to implement the latest methods and use the latest styles in hairdressing.

It is important to fast track your career in the hairdressing business. Learning how to create highlights in the hair and achieving color corrections help students make a new path for themselves. Your tutor will instruct you personally on how to make changes needed to make a person’s hair fall in line with the latest trend. Advanced techniques like thermal straightening, wet hairstyling, and thermal curling are also taught. This will help one become a master in this art.

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Stick to a Wellness Program by Developing Your Grit

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What is it that pushes us to achieve our wildest and most improbable goals? Grit, defined by Angela Duckworth and her colleagues, is the combination of perseverance and passion for important life goals. Leaders in art, medicine, law, journalism and other fields have it. More important than the diet, exercise plan or yoga class you choose, is staying with it. Developing your grit will help you stick to your wellness program, even in the face of setbacks.

Here are some suggestions for getting more gritty.

* Find your passion. Before picking a diet or exercise plan, read, study and experiment. Nutritionists, personal trainers and other experts are good sources of information. Like to work out with a buddy? Find one. Can’t live without pasta? There are diets out there that include it. You’ll have to try different approaches until you identify something you can enthusiastically embrace. Enjoying your plan will help you stick to it.

* Emulate successful models. Talk to people who maintain a healthy lifestyle. Their success can be inspiring. Try to learn not only what they do, but how they stick to it. Some swear by the first-thing-in-the-morning, get-a start-on-the-day workout. Others prefer the structure of a class. Use only those strategies that you can be positive about and that fit with your lifestyle and preferences.

* Dedicate yourself. Dedication to a goal involves a combination of unwavering commitment and persistence to the goal over time. If you decide you’re going to walk daily or three times a week, make it happen. If eating yoghurt and fruit for lunch every day and sleeping at least 8 hours a night works, keep doing it. If you’re a novelty freak, change it up, as long as you dedicate to the overarching goal.

* Learn from setbacks. There’s no need to dwell on possibilities for failure, but don’t be surprised by setbacks. Face problems squarely and use them productively to modify your approach. Injure yourself biking or find your meditation class cancelled? Rehab, rest or substitute other activities, but don’t give up the changes you’ve already made. Using your setbacks as opportunities for growth will keep you optimistic.

* Run the marathon, not the sprint. When you start to fatigue, get bored or encounter obstacles, it’s not time to quit. If your schedule changes and you can’t get to the gym lunchtime, decide when you can get there. Don’t overdo it, but do keep it interesting. Challenge yourself by gradually raising the bar. Remember you’re in it for the long haul.

Once you reach your goals, use the grit you’ve developed to maintain your gains. A gritty approach to maintaining your program will give you a lifetime of wellness.

Copyright, 2010 Judith Tutin, Ph.D.

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Would You Dare Swallow a Hair Strand, Even in Your Favorite Soup?

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Sometimes you may find a strand of hair in your soup and just decide to overlook it and swallow it together with the soup. A single hair strand is not really dangerous as it is very small and the highest possibility is that it will just pass through the digestive tract. However, the hair poses a danger when it forms a clump, which would eventually form a giant hairball in your stomach necessitating the need to see a doctor. So, what happens when you swallow hair?

Some species of bacteria may try acting on the hair, leading to stomach upsets and/or diarrhea. This scenario is, however, very unlikely.

Hair is densely packed with a protein called keratin which has a very fibrous structure. Keratin requires long exposure to extreme acidic or alkaline conditions and temperatures way above 100 degree Celsius in order to break down. The human digestive system, however, cannot contain such conditions, making it impossible for humans to break keratin down. Most hair just passes through the digestive tract alongside other materials that cannot be digested and they are eliminated in the feces. You can therefore take chances if it is only a single hair strand. However, keep in mind that too many hair strands may eventually clump up and get stuck in the stomach.

Swallowing hair is a scenario that is also very common in cats. Like humans, cats also cannot digest hair, which is fur in their case. The hair that does not make it out of their digestive system builds up in their stomach forming a firm dense hair ball, also known as a trichobezoar. Most cats eventually get to vomit the hair balls before situation gets too bad.

Humans also begin developing hair balls when they eat a lot of hair. This sometimes happens to people suffering from trichophagia, a unique disorder of eating hair. Unlike cats, humans do not vomit their hair balls. Instead, the hair just sits in the stomach, obstructing the normal functioning of the digestive system. Eating hair can greatly alter the functioning of the liver and pancreas.

Some symptoms of trichobezoars in humans include:

Vomiting

Nausea

Appearance of hair and/or blood in the stool

Poor appetite

Foul breath

Constipation

Bowel obstruction

Excessive gas

Bowel perforation

Excessive weight loss.

In extreme cases, a strand of hair ball can reach down the small intestines, a condition commonly known as Rapunzel Syndrome. The doctor can feel the hair ball by gently pushing the in the left upper and mid parts of the patients abdomen.

The hair balls can also be diagnosed using gastrointestinal X-rays, using ultrasound or looking into the patient’s stomach using an endoscope. Removal of this hair necessitates a major surgery where the doctor opens up the digestive track then pulls out the hair.

Considering all these things, you eventually realize it is not worth overlooking that single hair strand because as harmless as it may seem, it may cost you a lot. It is therefore important to avoid mistakes that can be very costly. As they say; ”to be safe is better than to be sorry.”

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The Planet Pluto, the Human Body, the NWI and Understanding the REAL Dimensions of Wellness

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Introduction

The initial title of this essay was, What Is the Relevance of the Planet Pluto, Carl Linnaeus, the Human Body, and the National Wellness Institute (NWI) Six Dimension Wellness Model for the Fate of the Wellness Movement? I was prepared to address this riveting question that puzzled no one on which I believe the movement hovers between eventual ruin and immediate acclaim.

My editor, however, would have none of it. Thus, the shorter title.

Pluto, the Human Body and NWI’s Six Dimensions

Pluto was recognized as the outermost planet in our solar system for a century before the International Astronomical Union (IAU) demoted it a few years ago. Astronomers decided Pluto does not dominate the neighborhood around its orbit, one of the three criteria that must be met for a planet to be considered as such. Now it’s officially a dwarf planet.

Bye bye planet Pluto.

The human body has three main parts (head, trunk and limbs), 12 systems (cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal and urinary) and 78 organs. (I’m not going to list the latter – it would consume too much space and besides, this is a family wellness report.)

It may be that the human body has other parts, yet to be discovered. We should keep an open mind. Who knew Pluto would get the kibosh, in time, back in the day when Percival Lowell was acclaimed for spotting this icy dwarf rock in 1905. There it was, way the hell out there, perhaps struggling mightily to dominate the neighborhood of its orbit. Yet, a revision of the planet’s status did occur. New discoveries are always been made; the human body might be next. Why should we think that all 12 systems and 78 organs are all we’ve got? Maybe there’s another part of us that has been overlooked, besides the head, trunk and limbs.

Once again, we are reminded: Keep an open mind.

Which brings me to the six dimension model of the NWI.

Criteria for Dimensions of Wellness

A dimension of wellness should identify and illuminate the broad elements, principles or requirements of a consistent philosophy or concept of living (i.e., lifestyle).

A dimension of wellness should draw a picture of what is entailed by this unique positive mindset that promotes wellbeing.

Used as a noun, a dimension in the English language refers to the property of a thing, as in the concept of wellness as a philosophy or lifestyle having x number of characteristics. The generalization of this property as having dimensions would apply to elements that it entails, such as exercise, nutrition or management of stress or emotions. Used as a verb with an object, a dimension can shape an idea or mode of functioning to fit and contain the elements pursuing specific outcomes, such as high levels of physical and mental wellbeing.

The six dimensions that NWI claims as expressive dimensions of the wellness concept do not serve such purposes. They are not dimensions. They are generic terms for sectors of life. I refer to the misnamed sectors NWI calls occupational and intellectual dimensions of wellness.

The other four (physical, social, intellectual and spiritual), as employed by NWI, also lack descriptive elements distinguishing wellness mindsets from the norm of just slogging along in these four areas. The NWI provides no standards or descriptive language that associates lifestyle behaviors or levels of functioning that enable optimal functioning in any of the separate categories (i.e., faux dimensions).

The NWI model has been widely adopted by institutions, organizations and practitioners who employ the term wellness. Some have added two other categories as dimensions – environmental and financial. These have the same deficiencies noted above in the NWI model. Sometimes, gobbledegook is tossed into the mix, as in the NWI declaration that the six dimensions derive their resources and services from this model. (No, I don’t know what that means.)

The value of any model depends upon how wellness is defined. NWI goes with this: Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.

Even someone with a dreadful lifestyle could claim wellness as the active process by which he/she has created a successful existence. Nothing in this definition or the six/eight model of the concept addresses the nature of a successful existence. Lots of overweight, sedentary, stressed out people with dreadful addictions think they have a successful existence, especially if they’re rich and powerful enough to lord it over others. Absent clear standards of a wellness lifestyle, people can delude themselves into thinking their choices are healthful and optimal. Yet, few observers would consider them healthy, or thriving in any positive sense of the word.

One way I’ve been unsuccessful (besides not amassing riches or having anyone I can (or want to) lord it over is in having failed to get out ahead of the pack with an easily understood explanation of wellness and, perhaps, the suggested nature of a successful existence. Of course, I offered definitions of wellness and success in High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease in 1977 and other books since, as well as speeches, newsletters and so on, but evidently I didn’t nail it sufficiently for the majority who adopted the NWI list of six dimensions.

Maybe this wasn’t possible — I’m not sure.

However, the fact that the NWI model of sector dimensions is still out there doesn’t mean I and others interested in promoting wellbeing should not promote clearer, more functional frameworks.

It’s time for all good men and women to come to the aide of the wellness concept. It’s time to challenge an archaic, dysfunctional 1980-era model. There are many possibilities for dimensions of wellness that could inform the ingredients contained within the wellness concept. Try to remember that wellness is not a product, nor is it a service. It’s a positive lifestyle that can be abetted by products or services, but wellness is always a process of functioning that individuals shape, control and manage for themselves. Each person must be the sovereign of his or her own wellbeing.

REAL wellness is a philosophy, a mindset, a set of ideas and principles consistent with embracing life in a positive manner. This is not complicated.

REAL wellness should encourage and guide people to think and function rationally, to live exuberantly, to maintain physical fitness, to dine wisely consistent with factual nutritional knowledge and to live as freely as possible. The latter means becoming liberated from cultural or circumstantial elements such as superstitions, irrational dogmas and other mental and social limitations that add constraints on personal liberties.

The four dimensions of REAL wellness are reason, exuberance, athleticism (exercise and nutrition) and liberty. Thus, the acronym R-E-A-L.

A rendition of a continuum for each dimensions illustrates the characteristics of each of the four dimensions, and the characteristics that obtain when these qualities are totally absent. (If interested, please send a request to the author and an attachment containing this morel will be electronically sent to you.)

Not to Overlook Carl Linnaeus

You might recall that Carl Linnaeus was initially included in the original long–form title of this essay, positioned between Pluto and the human body. However, due to the wordy nature of that preliminary title for this essay, the polymath Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician, the father of modern taxonomy, was cruelly edited out by my lovely editor (AKA my wife Carol).

Nevertheless, I’ll end this by giving the Great Man his due. Long long ago, way back in the 18th century, Linnaeus published a system for classifying living things. He commenced this historic undertaking by introducing just two classes of things, which he called kingdoms. The two classes were animals and plants. If he lived today, he probably would have called his classification the Dimensions of Living Things.

I do not believe he would be offended or surprised to discover that, in the modern world, there are eight levels of hierarchical classification — Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Instead, he would probably delight and take pride in the evolution of knowledge which he inspired.

And so it is, I hope, with NWI and others who started out with good intentions and sparked new models over time. At least, I hope that will be the case.

Bonne chance, everyone.

Postscript

Experts on wellness models were asked to comment on this essay. Their remarks follow.

Bill Hettler, Minneapolis, MN

Just as in any healthy living ecology, diversity is a positive.

I am OK with your reductionistic four dimensions. But, as you know, I have always been a Y guy and thus am also OK with the YMCA’s Body, Mind and Spirit.

And, I always remember our friend and colleague Robert F. Allen who reminded us that the best wellness model is the one you actually use.

The six dimensions, which I originally wrote, were based on the written materials of many. I was mainly focusing on how people allocated their time. My selection of six dimensions (as an optimal number) was heavily influenced by my desire to have an easy way to show these dimensions in a two-dimensional drawing. You might remember that damn Ardell guy had five dimensions at one point, and I could not for the life of me easily draw pentagons. I actually played around with a three-dimensional model (I am talking drawing type here, not a mere three wellness dimensions) that was an equilateral tetrahedron.

As you recall, my original social dimension included environmental issues. Each dimension is easily expanded or contracted as best suits the purpose of the users.

Each dimension was focused on how much time people spent on activities related to that particular topic. I had an unproven bias that the more balanced one was in the allocation of their time (and therefore their life), the more likely their chances for a long and enjoyable existence.

From a programming standpoint, as pointed out by Rod Lees (below), we noticed that we might be able to interest people in activities in one area more easily than another. By intention, we also tried to promote cross referrals from one area of participation to another.

Be well Don — and keep up the good work of making people think. (That could be part of the Intellectual dimension, if one believed in that sort of thing.)

John Travis, Novato, CA

Yeah, I agree – -they ain’t really dimensions, but categories. And there’s no real philosophy. However, I can’t get very excited about it because the very word wellness has been too dumbed down, with little hope of reversing it. I admire your diligence to keep hammering away at it tho.

Your pessimistic curmudgeon friend.

Rod Lees, Noosa, Australia

I remember hearing a discussion from the academics at university here in Queensland about the differences between wellbeing and wellness. Someone even wrote an academic paper on the topic. I told them that I didn’t care what they called it. It was all about the thought process, the application and the doing.

In my presentation days, I would talk about REAL wellness and also teach the 6-8 dimensions. I did find that for those who were wanting to develop programs for staff, the multiple dimensions seemed to fit well. They could plan activities around each dimension.

So, in the end, I don’t have an opinion as to which is better. Both have value and I think that both should be used and individuals can pick up on the one that speaks to them the most. Or, as I’m guessing you might say, use REAL wellness dimensions when addressing personal lifestyles, and the NWI-like sector models for corporate or other programming.

Derek Bell, Stevens Point, WI

Ha! Love it. I think it’s a good time to assess the value of traditional wellness models. I respect those who have moved away from models like NWI’s, as well as dated pie charts which suggest equal dimensions wherein balance is the key.

I like the position you’ve taken. We need to frame wellness more by human needs and values-based thinking, less by seeking a perfect balance. Your continuum for lifestyle dimensions makes much more sense to me. Keep up the good work! The establishment needs some rattling.

Judd Allen, Burlington, VT

Thank you for sharing your concern that wellness is frequently used without adequate definition. I agree that a good definition would recognize that personal wellness requires optimizing the benefits of a multi-dimensional life.

You have your list of four dimensions and the National Wellness Institute has adopted Bill Hettler’s six dimensions. The YMCA goes with mind, body and spirit. We all define dimensions of wellness in accord with our visions, language and settings. Wellness is a full-potentials movement with multi-dimensional life perspectives. All the models recognize that a healthy, satisfying lifestyle requires so much more than fitness, such as traits of mental wellbeing, the presence of good works and time spent with good friends. Wellness is only possible when we have many such great resources in abundance.

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