Basic Aspects of Health Insurance Exchange

Health insurance Exchange is one of the major aspects of The Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act. These Exchanges are however not just an online platform for insurance plan transactions nor a mere listing of the insurance companies operating in the state. These Exchanges are governed by certain guidelines, need to mandatorily perform certain functions and must have certain features that will be common across the States.

Basic Aspects of Health Insurance Exchange
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Shopping Arena:
The Exchange will function as an expansive online health insurance marketplace where residents can window shop and compare plans and finally purchase a policy that suits their medical needs and financial budget completely.

State Owned:
Though the Exchange will be funded by federal dollars, it will be governed by state authorities. Though the health reforms propagate that each state must have its own Exchange, it has also left for a Regional Exchange that will cater to a group of states. A regional Exchange will be cost effective and will be able to tap a bigger market, thus ensuring more competitive rates.

Low Cost Insurance:
The Act makes it all compulsory that all participating companies will exhibit their cheapest plan on the states. Also, the intense competition between the companies will lead to price war which will finally lead to residents accessing policies at the most competitive rates. Apart from the price war, the Exchange will also house sponsored health programs like CHIP, Medicaid and Medicaid. So, if a resident wants to purchase the cheapest plan, he will not have to look beyond the health Exchange.

Not Government Insurance
The Exchange is not a government insured health program. It is only an online platform, built with the government money and guided by government guidelines, that allows health insurance company, private or otherwise, to display their products on the Exchange.

Will not replace company sponsored plans
The Exchanges are not an alternative to getting coverage at work. Employer sponsored insurance will still remain one of the cheapest way to access health insurance. In fact, the Exchange will have a special segment for group coverage. Known as SHOP (Small Business Health Option Plan), this sub platform is meant for small business firms who are looking to purchase health insurance on behalf of their employees.

Not a way to curb premium rates
The main idea behind setting up an Exchange is to bring in more regulations in the insurance market place. Cheaper health plans are only a by-product of a perfectly built health Exchange. Otherwise, as the residents of Massachusetts have discovered from their experience with the Connector, the Exchange could end up going the cable TV way, with rising prices and limited choices.


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How to Choose a Weight Loss Food Plan

It is important to begin discussing with the doctor matters pertaining to a weight loss food plan including physical activity and weight management programs. Choosing a healthy fat loss diet program may often prove difficult because you may not be informed on what to consider in a weight reduction program. You may therefore need to consult with your health care provider before you make a decision on any weight reduction program.

How to Choose a Weight Loss Food Plan
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In case your health care provider advises that you should consider losing weight, you should choose a program that is based on an eating plan and regular physical activity. The plan should be balanced, easy to follow and healthy.

During any given year, many people engage in a fat reduction diet. However, the majority of people find it challenging to lose even a few pounds; just a few remain at reduced weights. The difficulty and challenge in losing weight has led many people to consider commercial or professional fat loss programs for help. Any professional weight reduction program works as long as it motivates sufficiently to indulge in a weight loss food plan and physical activity daily.

Whether you engage in a commercial or create your special fat loss program, it is important to ensure that it is safe. A safe weight loss food plan should include all the RDAs (recommended daily allowances) for proteins, minerals and vitamins. The diet should however be lower in the calories. A diet that contains 1000-1200 calories daily should be recommended for the majority of women while a diet of 1200-1600 calories daily should be recommended for men. However, it is important to consult with your health care provider.

When you are considering an effective weight loss food plan, it is equally important to choose a slow and steady fat reduction program. The program should be geared towards a slow and steady loss of weight unless the health care provider feels that the condition of your health would benefit more from a rapid fat loss. You can expect to lose about a pound on a weekly basis during the first and second week.

With many weight loss food plan there is a rapid loss of weight particularly during the first two weeks. However, the loss is notably fluid. The initial loss of fluid is also regained quickly when the normal calorie diet is resumed. Therefore, a reasonable weight reduction plan should be expected. The rate of the fat loss should fall between 1 to 2 pounds on a weekly basis.

When enquiring about a commercial weight loss food plan it is important to be provided with a statement of fees as well as the costs of the additional items including foods and dietary supplements. It is also important to ask whether the fat loss program consist of health professionals and qualified counselors including doctors, registered dietitians and exercise physiologists.

Furthermore, you should find out the percentage of persons who have completed the program, the fat loss goals stipulated by the health professionals and/or client and the percentage of persons who have experienced side effects.


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How Can A Weight Loss Center Be Advantageous?

Joining a weight loss program could be intimidating first, but if you are serious about shedding those extra kilos, it's all worth it. If you have never joined a this kind of center earlier, you must have some thoughts and apprehensions about which one to choose. Among so many locally operated weight loss centers, choose one that fits your needs best. Location is an important factor that you should consider so that you don't spend too much on just reaching the center. Membership fee could be another concern if you're on a tight budget, so go for a pocket-friendly center to help yourself. However, the price can be a major concern, but don't compromise on the quality over cost. It would be ideal to do a little research on local weight loss centers over the internet prior joining one by looking for some reviews.

How Can A Weight Loss Center Be Advantageous?
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How do experts at a weight loss center help with?


The professionals: Professional experts will give you precious advice on how you should start. Although a lot of related information is available online, it is always better to consult a professional who will be there to take care of your desired program personally. Based on your physical test, the professional can determine your fitness status and can guide you through everything like exercise, diet plans and eating habits. Following a guided diet plan that's right for your body, you can get rid of stubborn fat around the belly and other parts and have better results.

Guidance on exercise: Understanding your body type, its strengths and limitations; professional expert will guide on exercising right, as some exercises are not appropriate for your present health condition. You are not a subject expert, and doing particular exercises without vital information, you may sometime injure yourself. So, join a weight loss center, where professionals can provide you right information on exercising after examining your internal body type and limitations via medical tests.

Guided diet plans: Professionals at a leading weight loss center will advise you on healthy food intake that you need to have in moderation. Since your food intake will be guided by experienced professionals, you will feel confident on losing those extra kilos without damaging your health. These experts make sure you are not dependent on dietary supplements solely and don't compromise on essential nutrients while following the diet plan. Further, at a weight loss center, you will also have experts, who will provide immediate assistance for your queries related to the program.

Apart from the advantages that you can avail at experts' end at a weight loss center, you also need to strictly adhere to the regimens advised by these experts. Regularly following a healthy lifestyle and keeping a watch on the calories intake, you will fast come in shape. Including lots of vegetables like tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, spinach, olives, broccoli and beets in your diet helps in keeping up fiber and essential nutrients in your body. Although the weight loss centers may be expensive at some places, you should not get discouraged to join it early after gaining weight.

You may get apprehensive while deciding on joining weight loss center, but it has many positive sides to it. Here professionals directly guide you on following right diet and exercise plan to help you quickly shed weight.


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How Diet Nutrition Supplements Work

A proper diet plan should be in place before starting on a fitness regimen. And however well balanced that diet plan is, it is best to add some diet nutrition supplements also into it. These supplements are available as chewy protein bars, flavored protein drinks, or multivitamin tablets.

How Diet Nutrition Supplements Work


The way diet nutrition supplements are made available today, it is easy to accommodate it into a daily diet. They are tasty, can be stored, and are also available everywhere. They make up for the deficiencies in the diet and have energizing properties. Multivitamins, fat burners, and protein shakes are some of the nutritional supplements commonly in use.

A multivitamin tablet should ideally be part of everybody's diet, especially when they are trying to lose weight or improve overall fitness. When a person is on a diet, he will have to cut down on overall food intake and it is possible that in the process he may miss some nutrients as well. Having vitamin tablets every day is a surefire way of making up for that. These diet nutrition supplements will keep you fit and bouncing.

Fat burners are also diet nutrition supplements that you can take together with your vitamin tablets. As its name indicates, it helps in burning fats and boosting energy. However, dosage is very important while taking fat burners. Fat burning supplements are designed to do a range of jobs like burning stored fat reserves, increasing energy levels, and speeding up metabolism. When taken in excess fat burners may give the user more energy than he requires and it will leave him tensed. In other words, the usage would become counterproductive.

Protein shakes are diet nutrition supplements which will help a lot in burning off calories. Protein helps in building lean muscles and this in turn burns calories even when the body is at rest. Many of the foods that are part of our daily diet like eggs, milk, and meat do contain proteins. The advantage with protein shakes is that it has got proteins in a more concentrated form whereas with ordinary foods you will have to consume lots of it to get that much protein. Further, these diet nutrition supplements also contain some additional vitamins and minerals as well.

Diet nutrition supplements also taste well so that you are in no way inconvenienced by making them part of your diet. You feel good while taking them and you will also feel good once the body has absorbed it. These supplements are feel-good things all the way.


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Top Ten Best Diet Foods

Lose Weight with These Ten Best Diet Foods!

Healthy weight loss is not achieved by starving yourself. Extreme low calorie diets may help you lose weight initially, but that type of diet cannot be sustained. As soon as you start eating regularly again, you will gain the weight back, and oftentimes, even more weight than you lost! In order to lose weight, and more importantly, lose fat, you must eat! The key is to eat the Right things, not nothing.

Top Ten Best Diet Foods


To aid you in your quest for healthy weight loss, I have put together a list of the top ten best diet foods. These are foods you should eat every day whether you are specifically trying to lose weight or not. So, without further ado, the top ten best diet foods (in no particular order):

1. Almonds - Almonds are definitely one of the best diet foods. They are packed with protein and fiber which aid in feeling full. Fiber is also important for digestion, while protein is essential for muscle building. Almonds also help regulate blood sugar levels, which will help curb overeating.

2. Apples - Apples are high in fiber and are largely composed of water. This helps you feel fuller which leads to less calories eaten. They make a great snack between meals. Apples also contain antioxidants that help prevent metabolic syndrome.

3. Beans - Beans are a great source of protein, fiber and resistant starch. Protein and fiber are extremely important for weight loss (see above), and resistant starch helps your body resist the urge to store fat. Beans are a great replacement for french fries or potato chips! There are numerous different kinds of beans. Try them all and find your favorite.

4. Cauliflower - Cauliflower is a great source of Vitamin C. Plus, this veggie is a proven cancer fighter. It's been linked to a lower risk of colorectal, lung and stomach cancers. Like other vegetables, cauliflower is low in calories while still offering filling fiber. Cauliflower also has tons of different delicious recipes!

5. Cinnamon - Cinnamon can help you control blood sugar levels. Cinnamon naturally brings out the sweetness in foods and can help you fight urges for sweets. Mix it in as a spice!

6. Berries - Berries are high in fiber. Their antioxidants can also help your workouts by increasing blood flow. Berries are some of the best diet foods around because they're convenient, healthy and tasty!

7. Salmon - Salmon fillets offer around 21 g of protein! That is as much as a typical scoop of powdered protein. Salmon is not only loaded with protein, it also contains healthy fats called polyunsaturated fats. These fatty acids found in salmon protect your heart against irregular heartbeats, reduce your risk of heart attack and can lower blood pressure.best diet foods, diet food, best food, weight loss foods, food for weight loss, weight loss diet

8. Spinach - Spinach is low on calories, high on fiber and contains calcium, which can help provide a boost to your workouts. It also has Vitamin C and E, and no fat! Try it soup, salads, sandwiches and more.

9. Broccoli - Broccoli contains a great amount of fiber and Vitamin A. It is a great snack to keep you feeling full and full of energy throughout the day.

10. Eggs - The last item on our list of the best diet foods are eggs. Eggs are the ultimate breakfast food. They're packed with protein and amino acids to keep you feeling full and aid in muscle growth. Studies show that eggs in the morning made participants feel fuller than when eating things like bagels. They're full of vitamins and are easy to mix with other healthy options like vegetables. For a fat free egg, remove the yolks.

BONUS TIP- Try a cup of Green Tea during your midday lull. Green Tea can shift your metabolism into high gear to help you with weight loss. Making it a great addition to our list of the best diet foods.

If you're trying to lose weight, stick to these top ten best diet foods, and you will start to see results. Diet is essential when it comes to losing weight, but don't forget to exercise too! That includes weight lifting.


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Effectiveness of Diet Supplements

What are diet supplements?

The weight loss business is booming in the United States. Each year, consumers spend billions on books, videos, gym memberships, and diet supplements. So how do we know what is effective and what is just a short-lived trend? While there is no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise, some diet supplements will actually aid in weight loss if used correctly.

Effectiveness of Diet Supplements


How do they work?

Most weight loss supplements are designed to increase the body's natural ability to lose weight. In a very broad sense, this is essentially done by speeding up a person's metabolism. Metabolism is the action a body takes to process calories and nutrients and turn them into energy. When this process is more efficient, the body is able to lose weight more quickly. In addition to increasing metabolic rate, many weight loss supplements are designed to replace nutrients the body needs but may not be receiving while dieting.

What is in them?

There are regulations in place to govern the claims and ingredients that go along with weight loss supplements, although none of these regulations are enlisted to measure the effectiveness of the supplement in promoting weight loss. Regulation is generally in place to protect consumers from harmful substances and to ensure that a supplement does actually contain the ingredients that are advertised by the manufacturer. It is important to look for a weight loss supplement that contains only natural ingredients.

Who should take them?

Diet supplements can be used by most anyone that is trying to lose weight. Some precautions should be taken by persons with certain medical conditions or women that are pregnant. For pregnant women, there are a host of other supplements on the market that contain vitamins and other nutrients that can be beneficial during pregnancy. If there is uncertainty, it is best to learn more about the specific supplements and even consult a physician.

How do I choose the right one?

If you are planning to exercise and observe a reduced calorie diet, it is wise to choose a weight loss supplement that includes some essential trace minerals. Often when reducing caloric intake, a dieter is also reducing the amount of nutrients needed by the body for proper function which can be counter-productive to losing weight. These nutrients should support enzyme and organ functions as well as aid in digestion. Natural appetite suppressants are also a good attribute when selecting a weight loss supplement. There are many natural ingredients that are known to serve this purpose. A reduced calorie diet may take a toll on the body's energy levels and so some supplements will contain caffeine or other natural stimulants that are great for boosting energy -- just be careful to limit or eliminate caffeine from the rest of your diet so as not to take in too much. As a bonus, some diet supplements may contain ingredients that are known to reduce stress. Dieting can be stressful to some and these natural stress relievers may be just what one needs to ensure success with losing weight.

Diet supplements can be a great way to replace nutrients while dieting and speed up the metabolic process to turbo charge weight loss. To be safe, only purchase diet supplements that contain natural ingredients and are made by a well-known brand that has been around for some time.


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Healthy Vegan Meals

There are many reasons why people should be careful with what they eat. First off, they have too many activities to attend to every day. With each activity, their body consumes and burn energy. The environment is also no longer as safe as it was. Even the air that supplies the oxygen contains particles and bacteria that could cause diseases. One way to protect their body from diseases is by eating healthy and nutritious food.

Healthy Vegan Meals
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Nowadays, people try to keep their bodies protected and healthy through exercises and healthy diets. Many people have resulted to following vegetarian diet plan. However, even with this plan, people may still be at risk of some illnesses.

When a person prepares a meal, he has to remember that every ingredient he uses is special and is meant for something. Some ingredients are used to give the meal a pleasing taste. But, most ingredients are used to infuse it with nutrients and vitamins that his body needs.

Meat, for example, is a good source of protein. Proteins act as the building blocks of the body. They are needed to develop the muscles, cartilages, and bones. Even the human skin and blood need them. Without them, he may stay in the gym the whole day and obtain very little result. Going for high protein low carb vegetarian foods is actually going to help him have stronger muscle and leaner body.

Carbohydrate is another component that the human body needs. It is what keeps people do what they have to do by helping them obtain energy. Unfortunately, having too much of it could lead to serious and long-term diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, dietician and other health experts recommend some low carb vegetarian recipes to people suffering from such conditions.

People who try to indulge in vegetarian meal without understanding how it works may deny their body with some nutrients. That is because this diet may not include the sources of proteins, carbohydrates and some vitamins that are required by the body.

On the other hand, following a vegan meal may actually be a good start to a healthier lifestyle. But, a person who intends to shift to this kind of diet should first look at what he needs. He must consider his activities and health conditions. He needs to determine what he actually wants to develop or remove from his body. Taking these things into consideration would help him obtain faster result, fitter and healthier body. Most importantly, it would help him determine what vegetarian diet plan to follow.


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Health Insurance Low Income

An increasing number of our young people are suffering from a multitude of ailments that result from the modern environmental pressures like lack of exercise, lifestyles or stress. The medical profession has also progressed some and is usually able to address most of these resultant disorders. However, for people in the low-income brackets, the steady rise in health insurance expenses means that they are now finding it difficult to get medical help on time.

Health Insurance Low Income


For most people medical health insurance seems to be unaffordable. Health insurance is there to offer succor for the unexpected medical problem. There is a dearth of health insurance service providers in California resulting in a very competitive market.

The laws in California require that every person has access to some medical cover. The state provides health insurance programs for people in low-income brackets to afford insurance.

Low income individuals in California can use the services of the Medicaid program. The federal government set up this program to permit as many people as possible to be able to some form of insurance cover. The funding for this program comes from the federal and state funds.

Individuals get the application forms from an office in the Division of Family services. Some form of documentation is required of each applicant to be able to qualify for the program.

The individual and their family have their various health needs catered for. For the individuals whose employees to not cover the rest of the family, the Medicaid program provides a feasible option for them.

The MRMIB (California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board takes pains to provide a quality health insurance that is also affordable. For low-income groups, through their HFP (Healthy Family Program), MRMIB cover for vision, dental and health, at fairly inexpensive rates for children.

Another MRMIB program, AIM (Access for Infants and Mothers) provides low cost insurance to pregnant women in low income groups. The infants also get cover under the program.

Before picking health insurance service provider, take some time to research the options available that suit your needs and your budget.


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Will Texas Health Insurance Increase With The Medical Loss Ratio Mandate?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was created by the Obama administration to improve the health care system in the United States. More specifically, it aims to reduce the number of people going without any form of health care coverage. One of the controversial mandates of the new health care reform law is the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR).

Will Texas Health Insurance Increase With The Medical Loss Ratio Mandate?


What Is The Medical Loss Ratio All About?

Medical loss ratio is the percentage of premium dollars spent on medical care and healthcare quality improvements versus administrative costs. Under the medical loss ratio mandate of the health care reform law, starting 2011, all insurance companies are required to maintain a MLR of 80 percent for small group and individual health insurance plans and 85 percent for large group plans. The remaining percentage should be spent on administrative costs. If an insurance company could not comply with this mandate, they would be required to issue rebates to their plan holders by 2012.

Texas Filed A Waiver For The Implementation Of The MLR

States are allowed to file a waiver to the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius if they think the MLR requirements would pose a risk of destabilizing their insurance market. It would be the decision of the secretary of HHS if she would grant the state a waiver or not.

Since the passage of the health care reform law, the HHS has received 15 requests for exemption from the MLR mandate. Texas was one of the states who submitted a request regarding the medical loss ratio requirements for the individual and small group Texas health insurance plans. Texas Department of Insurance believes that the mandate will disrupt their state's individual and small group insurance plans.

Currently, out of the 15 states who filed waiver requests, only one was fully approved. Five requests were granted limited approval and six were rejected right then and there. As for Texas and two other states, their fate still lies in the hand of HHS because they are waiting for the decision.

How Will The MLR Mandate Affect Texas Health Insurance Premiums?

According to Spencer Harris, Texas health care policy analyst, the MLR mandate can be damaging because it interferes with the way insurance companies run their business. Instead of the main purpose of lowering premiums so people can afford getting healthcare, it might have the opposite effect.

The medical loss ratio mandate might even raise Texas healthcare coverage premiums. This would force a lot of insurers to stop doing business or leave the state. If this happens, competition among insurers will be limited driving up the prices of healthcare coverage.

While waiting to see the changes to Texas health insurance, why not take a closer look at your health care spending? There are plenty of things that you can do to lower your health insurance premiums without compromising the quality of healthcare that you receive. You can get a high-deductible Texas health insurance plan to get lower premiums. You may also consider pairing it up with an HSA to enjoy tax-free benefits.


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Is Belly Fat Surgery What You Need?

For a lot of people who have tried just about every diet plan in the world, exercise regularly and do everything suggested to shed those unwanted lbs., and still can't lose weight, surgery might be the last and only option left. In fact, thousands of people each year are getting these procedures done. Yes, it's a cosmetic type surgery, but on the other hand, it could be a life-saving one. The reverse side of the coin is giving up and being obese and unhealthy, or worse dying a premature death.

Is Belly Fat Surgery What You Need?


So what exactly is this surgery and what does it accomplish?

A rubber band type of device (called a lap band) is inserted and surrounds part of the stomach, effectively making it much smaller. And obviously if you have a smaller stomach, it's going to take far less food to get a full feeling. You eat less, you get full quickly, hence you start to lose weight, assuming you are active enough to burn more calories than you have coming in.

There is also a procedure that is more well known, called liposuction. The surgeon will cut into the stomach area and will use a device that literally vacuums out the fat. This is good for targeting problem areas, and the results are immediate. You go in with belly fat and you leave without it. It's that simple.

As with any type of surgical procedure there are risks involved. People have complications such as infection or reactions to anesthesia may arise. The risks are generally low however, and for most patients the rewards of a slimmer body far outweigh it. Another consideration is that in most cases, fat reduction is considered elective surgery and more than likely will not be covered by your insurance policy, unless of course it's considered as a life threatening situation.

Most liposuction and lap band surgery can be financed however, even by the clinic doing the procedure. So, if you have tried everything else and that stubborn belly fat just will not go away, belly fat surgery might be just what the doctor recommends so you can finally have the body you have been wanting.


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Definition of a Healthy Lunch

If breakfast is the usual meal we like to skip everyday, then lunch is the most unavoidable meal of the day. Lunch is the meal that balances our day. But there are a few who likes to skip lunch no matter how busy their schedule would be. Especially, the working class since they cannot afford to miss lunch.

Health wise, most of us fail to obtain a nutritious lunch; that doesn't mean that our stomach is satisfied, our lunch is healthy. Fast food could offer a delicious meal, but our health says otherwise. Cholesterol and sodium rich food are usually on the menu. That doesn't give us that much to choose. If you are working 8 hours, mostly, an hour of lunch time is allowed.

Definition of a Healthy Lunch


Packing lunch from home is a good idea. However, we pack lunch in the morning where usually our time is pressured; this interferes with our judgment in choosing a healthy meal. What composes a healthy lunch? Here is a list that could define the true meaning of a healthy and nutritious lunch.

Get Ready For Lunch

Gourmet green salad with walnuts - spinach in the salad has zeaxanthin and lutien two phytochemicals that prevents the occurrence of muscle degeneration; a condition that can cause blindness to a person. Spinach also contains folate, important in reducing certain chemicals that could damage the heart. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 which is good for the heart and improves our mood.

Triple tomato bruschetta - tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, particularly when cooked. They also contain lycopene that prevents the risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and digestive tract cancer. Several conducted studies show that lycopene lessens the risk of heart attacks.

Chickpeas and turkey breast - chickpeas are a good source for isoflavones, also a cancer-fighting nutrient, while turkey breast is high in protein which is good for tissue building. Protein contains amino acids, which is essential to the human body.

Seedless grapes - the benefits of red wine could be obtained in seedless grapes without the alcohol. An antioxidant called polyphenols, and resveratrol that increase the good cholesterol in the body (HDL) is found in seedless grapes. Flavonoids present in seedless grapes could enhance arterial health, destroys blood clots, prevent heart attacks and stroke. Finishing a meal with seedless grapes is a good way to go.

Other Healthy Choices 
Medium whole-grain roll
Waldorf chicken salad on the bed of greens
Sparkling water with lime

Nutritional facts we see in these foods would leave us speechless. This makes us think twice of ever skipping lunch. Avoid getting caught up in the pressures of work. With a meals like these, stress are gone.


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Health Insurance Cost

Health insurance in the United States these days is a cause of concern to many, who claim that it is rapidly approaching the "unaffordable" mark. It is certainly a product that has always been as important as employment, but too often overlooked as "something we'll get around to soon".

In the US, health insurance cost has risen apace with workers' wages; the problem arises with low-cost insurance, because as the old adage has it - you get what you pay for. Skimp on health cover and skimpy cover is what you'll receive. Benefits will be insufficient, while excesses and out-of-pocket minimums stay too high.

Health Insurance Cost


So from the outset we must face one fact: the worker might claim that he cannot afford health coverage, but the obverse side of the coin is - can he afford not to be insured? How expensive is it for a chap living within his means?

Even though health insurance cost increased during 2007 at a lesser rate than in 1990, workers' wages have risen at an even slower rate. The average annual cost for a man to insure his family's health is $3000. Health insurance costs are trending upwards, and a lot of fellows are asking whether they can meet the premiums being asked. Well, if they think a shade outside the square here, they might ask if they can afford to pay out-of-pocket $20,000 for a hip replacement or heart transplant.

Insurance companies are striving to hold premiums down, but it appears to a lot of workers to be a losing battle as they feel they cannot get the benefits they need at an affordable rate.

Four years ago deductibles on family plans ranged from $759 for an HMO to $3596 for indemnity policies. It is unfortunate for the employee of a small businessman who cannot afford to provide him with one. High health insurance cost with heavy excesses make it difficult for some Americans to cover themselves and their families, even though some insurance companies offer a high-deductible plan with a savings option.

Some companies try to help their employees by arranging low-cost plans, but the employees are often not satisfied.

The health insurance cost make it difficult to acquire the best health plan these days. Drug and alcohol abuse, junk food diets and smoking-related illnesses have filled the hospitals with some very expensive patients, so the hospital treatment costs on average are forced up everywhere, meaning the health coverage companies can either absorb those costs and go broke or pass them on to the consumer.

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Healthy Meal Plans - Guidelines To Follow

These days when junk foods, processed foods and other unhealthy edible treats are very common in the market, it is of importance that you know how you can plan your meals. Planning meals will help you eat healthily.

Healthy meal planning is something that many people may find challenging, yet with the help of some pointers, you can certainly ease this difficulty and make sure that everything you and your family eat is delicious and nourishing.

Healthy Meal Plans - Guidelines To Follow


• Develop a cycle menu for about 4-6 weeks. This will help provide variety to your meals.

• Your menu cycle must include balance; Balance in flavors such as sweet, sour, savory, tart and lightly spicy. This balance will help awaken and stimulate the taste buds. Balance also refers to the contained nutrients in each meal. Meals that you will prepare and serve to your family must provide them with nutrients. Meals should have protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and other nourishing components found in a variety of foods.

• Your meals must be emphasized with variety. Change the types of menus that you prepare and serve every day. Every now and then, you may try to cook foods that are unfamiliar to you.

• Contrast is also another important aspect of meal planning. Food texture and appearance of foods must be considered. Textures of food include smoothness, crispness and fluffiness. You should avoid using excessive amount of the same kind of foods in just one meal. Make your dish striking by using different shapes and sizes of ingredients.

• Color also makes the meals and foods appealing to the eyes. When your dish has only one color, you tend to have less desire to eat it; but if the food has various colors in it, your mind thinks that it is delicious even if you have not tasted it yet. Vegetables and fruits add the natural colors you need in your meals.

• In planning meals, there are several things that contribute to your challenges like calorie counts. To be successful in healthy meal planning, you can avoid all these difficulties by making everything simple. Meal planning does not have to include too extravagant or elaborate meals every day. You just have to stick to foods that you love and enjoy. There are also easy recipes that you can find online which incorporate ingredients that are new to you.

• In making changes to your diet, you should not do it all at once. Make changes gradually and slowly. It would not be realistic to make your entire meals on the completely healthy side in just one night.

• There are certain foods that you know are not that healthy enough, but you should not consider these foods are wholly prohibited. You may still include them in your meals, but what's important is you consume them moderately.

• Remember that you may plan the healthiest meal of all, yet if your attitude in eating will not be healthy, then your efforts may all be for nothing. Eat your planned meals with the family and enjoy them together. Always eat breakfast to jumpstart the metabolism.


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Healthy Snacks for Kids at Night

Kids need to be fed on healthy snacks at night just as much as adults. Just before they retire to their beds for sleep, kids must be given a snack or two to ensure that they obtain the last nutrients they need for the day. It is common to find parents feeding their kids with fruits at night. Parents have taken into including parfaits as part of the healthy snacks they feed their kids with at night before they go to bed. The base of the parfaits should be made of purely fruits or grapes, or where possible, a combination of the two.

Healthy Snacks for Kids at Night


If you are looking for the healthiest choices of snacks for your kids at night, you should never veer too far away from berries. Get hold of a plate and place those berries around it in various groups. Divide up the plate into various sections where one is composed of cheese, the other one has crackers and the last one contains an assortment of melon balls. This option is very good when divided into smaller portions for one or two kids. It can also be served in larger portions depending on the number of kids being catered for.

There aren't better nutritious or healthy snacks like celery. However, for added nutrition, they should be filled with peanut butter. This is considered a very nutritious vegetable snack hat the kids will benefit greatly from while they are asleep. However, it also provides kids with protein and iron in sufficient amounts. Not only this, but these types of healthy snacks are well equipped to make kids full and eliminate any hint of hunger they might have felt at night even after consuming their last plate of dinner.

Cracker sandwiches are very good healthy snacks for kids to take at night. If they are to be of great benefit to the kids, the parents must prepare them from whole grain crackers. The addition of cheese or peanut butter will do wonders for this type of snack. If you want to add cheese, try to use Turkey and chicken rounds, but if you desire to use peanut butter, they should be accompanied with apple slices.

If you have never tried working with toast as part of the base of healthy snacks for your kids at night, you are missing out on a lot. Toast can be used in a variety of ways to feed your kids with what their bodies require for good health. You can either make use of cheese or peanut butter together with the toast to add its nutritional value. The beauty of feeding your kids with toast, as the main base of any healthy snacks you wish to offer to them, is that you can use it with multiple types of foods and your kids will enjoy it.

Kids need plenty of healthy snacks as they grow up. These healthy snacks can be fed to kids at night to make up for the nutrients they might have missed out on during the course of the day.


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Healthy Heart Diet Plan

Healthy heart diet plan assumes significance from the fact that a healthy heart is the most fundamental requirement for healthy living. Though health covers a vast area, health of the heart is of paramount importance because the functioning of the heart is central to our living. In today's world, heart problems are very common. There are also a variety of problems affecting the heart. Though considerable medical advances have been made in treating heart ailments, having a healthy heart diet plan is not only the simplest and the most effective way to take care of the heart but also a fundamental requirement.

Healthy Heart Diet Plan


We will discuss some of the diets that are good for the heart and some that are not good. As a way of drinking to your health, I will start with the red wine! Red wine is rated high as an antioxidant. It helps in reducing what is known as bad cholesterol, while boosting good cholesterol. Red wine also improves digestion which again is good for the heart's functioning.

Another good item is fatty fish. Experts in heart health recommend eating fatty fish at least twice a week. There are two types of fats, omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficent fats in that they lower triglyceride levels, decrease blood pressure, and retard the growth of plaque in the arteries. Fatty fish are rich in omega -3 fats and low in saturated fats. Some other fish varieties like herring, mackerel, and sardines also have high omega-3 content.

The third type of diet is nuts. The good news is that all nuts are good for the heart. Almonds are particularly rated high by nutrition experts. Nuts also have omega-3 fatty acids and many other valuable nutrients which strengthen the lining of arteries and lower LDL cholesterol.

Beans, cantaloupe, oranges, whole grains, broccoli, garlic, and avocado are also good for a healthy heart.

Many people consume some of the above items of food but unfortunately, most of the people do not have regular food habits. A conscious attempt should be made to include some of these items in your food on a regular basis. It is also necessary to give up certain items of food which have high levels of saturated fats. While you may not be able to totally eliminate items like oil, ghee, milk products etc, you can definitely restrict their consumption.

Including some fruit in your meal, making a habit to consume some quantity of nuts as an after the food dessert etc. will have a positive effect in developing a healthy heart. Take healthy balanced food intake of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and avoid saturated fats.


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Top Ten Healthy Snacks for Kids

Whether they're running, jumping, chasing, playing, dancing or just following you around asking questions, one thing is for certain - kids are always on the move! And all of that energy leads to large appetites.

But when it comes to getting kids to eat healthy snacks to renew that energy, many parents find themselves stuck in gridlock. So how can parents compete with endless junk food options and get their kids to eat healthier snacks? You can start out by offering these top ten healthy snacks that will get your kids excited about eating right.

Top Ten Healthy Snacks for Kids


Ants on a Log 
This fun and healthy snack for kids is a classic that's been pleasing youthful palates for generations. All you need is some celery stalks, peanut butter, and raisins. Simply slice celery stalks down the middle and spread each side with peanut butter. Next, place raisins on top of peanut butter, spacing them out to look like ants marching on a log.

Homemade Snack Mix 
Snack mixes are great on-the-go snacks for kids. They can also be an excellent healthy snack, depending on what's in them. Making your own snack mix is an inexpensive and easy alternative to buying store-bought mixes. Use ingredients like nuts, dried fruit chips, seeds, granola, and carob for a healthy and delicious snack kids will love.

Green Bean Chips 
A healthier alternative to potato chips, green bean chips make eating green beans fun again! Kids will love the crunchy, salty flavor. They can usually be found at your local health food store. Many regular grocery stores are also starting to carry them too so be sure to check out using this healthier snack to replace regular potato chips.

Hummus and Pita Slices 
Made from fiber and protein packed chickpeas, hummus is a delicious and versatile spread. It comes in a variety of flavors and is available at most grocery stores. It's also simple to make from scratch at home. Serve with toasted pita slices for a yummy snack kids can get excited about.

Sunflower Seeds 
Sunflower seeds are another fun and healthy snack for kids. They're a great source of vitamin E and a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 too. Shelled or unshelled, roasted, salted or not, your kids are sure to enjoy this classic healthy snack. For a fun family activity, grow some sunflowers in the yard or in pots and have your kids help you harvest them.

Cinnamon Toast 
This snack combines cinnamon, bread, margarine, and a touch of sugar - all things kids love! Simply toast your favorite healthy bread choice, spread lightly with margarine and sprinkle with a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Your kids will be requesting more of this favorite low-fat snack.

Popcorn Made Healthy
Popcorn isn't as unhealthy as everyone thinks it is. It's actually all of the stuff we put on it that makes it so bad for us. Kids love popcorn, but all that butter and salt equals a bad snack choice. Make popcorn healthy again by popping it plain and topping it with nutritional yeast, which tastes great and is full of amino acids and B complex vitamins.

Yogurt and Pretzels 
Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth and yogurt is rich in calcium, not to mention cultures that aid in digestive tract health. Yogurt comes in all kinds of fun flavors that mimic the taste of your kid's favorite desserts. You can also buy plain yogurt in bulk and top it with fresh fruits. Add some pretzel sticks for a great healthy snack.

Avocado 
Fat is actually a good part of any diet, as long as it's the right kind of fat. Avocados are full of healthy unsaturated fats. They're also a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. Mash up with tomato and a splash of lime for homemade guacamole, use instead of mayo on a sandwich, or place on toasted bread for a quick, nutritious snack.

Smoothies 
A smoothie is a lot like a milkshake-only much healthier! Your kids will love the fruity ice-cream like taste and you can sneak in all kinds of healthy additions. Use fresh fruit like strawberries and bananas, soy or rice-milk and limit the sugar. You can also use smoothies as a way to introduce new fruits for your kids to enjoy like mangoes and kiwi.
These top ten healthy snacks for kids are sure to get your kids more excited about eating right.


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Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Get You Going

Remember the speech "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" from you mom?

Your mom isn't the only expert in our midst. According to Mayo Clinic breakfast fuels the body and gives you energy to keep you going for hours. The National Institute for Health reports that whenyou eat a healthy breakfast you are less likely to overeat later in the day. Weight Watchers teaches if you are trying to lose weight - skipping meals may cause you to gain weight. Think about this. Breakfast is really "breaking" your night time "fast". So if you skip the first meal of the day your body will be running on the energy (food) from the day before. That's a lot to ask of your body. Don't you think?

Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Get You Going


But wait, you already know that.

So what's the problem? How to do it.

Squeezing in a healthy breakfast

Mornings tend to be hectic for most of us. For some of us the kids, husband and pets are more than we can juggle. For the rest of us just getting out of bed is challenge enough. Adding breakfast to the mix and a healthy one at that just seems like too much.

Good planning, change a few habits and you're over half way to improving your health. It's equally easy to eat healthy as it is to eat unhealthy. You're just in the habit of eating unhealthy. Now is a good time to develop the habit of eating healthy.


  • Start the night before you go to work.
  • Think about what you want for breakfast the next day.
  • Set out any dry ingredients and any bowls, blenders or pans so they're ready for use.
  • Make breakfast the night before and put in the refrigerator.
  • Make a weeks' worth, divide it into daily portions.
  • Pack a to-go breakfast the night before.

Quick healthy breakfast ideas

You have plenty of ways to get in a healthy breakfast each day, and it doesn't always have to be a your mom's breakfast of cold sugary cereal, fried eggs and bacon.

Healthy breakfast ideas to get you going in the morning:

Eggs


  • A whole-wheat pita stuffed with organic scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, organic sliced tomatoes
  • Organic egg omelet with chopped vegetables, fruit and 100% whole wheat toast
  • Breakfast sandwich with 100% whole grain bread sliced and an organic hard-boiled egg

Cereal


  • Cooked oatmeal, steel cut oats or multigrain cereal topped with almonds or dried cranberries
  • Whole grain high fiber (at least 8 grams) cold cereal

Vegetables


  • A whole wheat tortilla filled with vegetables, salsa
  • Vegetable smoothies - blended romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, banana, flax seeds and protein powder
  • Carrot, celery, cucumber sticks and yogurt
  • Celery sticks, peanut nut butter and raisins

Fruit


  • Yogurt with chopped fruit, nuts and raisins
  • Fruit smoothies - blended from fruits, some low-fat yogurt and a spoonful of wheat germ and protein powder
  • Trail Mix of nuts and dried fruit
  • Sliced apple and almond nut butter

Pancakes - Waffles


  • Multigrain pancakes with fruit and yogurt
  • Buckwheat pancakes with pecans
  • A whole-grain waffle with peanut butter

Bagels - Toast - Crackers


  • Whole-wheat crackers, bagels or 100% whole wheat bread with peanut butter or almond nut butter add a banana or apple
  • A whole-wheat vegetarian sandwich on a bagel with hummus, fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber

A word about food bars, protein powder and processed soy products.

Food bars are not always a good option. Food bars have become a popular to grab and go food for a speedy breakfast. However, it's important to read the food labels carefully. Many food bars have as many calories, fats, sugars and the overall nutrition as a candy bar.

Powdered protein can be a problem. The protein in protein powder is generally from whey, milk, or soy. Many people are allergic (or creates gastric distress) to milk and whey. The American Cancer Society recommends soy as cancer protective and the American Heart Association as reducing your heart attach risk. When selecting soy go with whole food sources, the healthiest option.

Processed soy is used in food bars and substitutes for protein such as veggie burgers. Processed soy like all processed foods are bad for you. Stick with natural, non-GMO (genetically modified organic) soy beans, tofu, miso, soy milk and whole food soy protein drinks. If you're wondering what company to go with check out Cornucopia Institute's Behind the Bean report.



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Greater Acces to Insurance Health in Florida

According to previous Census data, Florida had the second highest percentage of uninsured children in the entire nation, and Florida ranked third in the country for the number of uninsured children. More than one in six children in Florida, or 797,000 children, had no health insurance in Florida.

An estimated 8.6 million children had no health insurance coverage in the U.S. in 2007, and Congress passed two pieces of legislation that could have cut the number of uninsured children by almost half. President Bush vetoed both bills.

Greater Acces to Insurance Health in Florida
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Florida Health Insurance For Families

The vast majority of uninsured Florida children came from families where at least one parent worked. More than two-thirds of uninsured children (or 71.4 percent) were living in Florida households where at least one family member worked full-time all year long.

More than half (or 60.7 percent) of these uninsured children were from low-income households with incomes below twice the poverty level. More than half (or 58.6 percent) of uninsured Florida children lived in two-parent households.

Half Of Medicaid Enrollees Are Children

Children make up about half of Medicaid's 42 million enrollees. Bills were introduced in both the House and Senate in 2008 to boost the Medicaid matching rate, but they were not included in the economic stimulus package that ultimately passed.

The U.S. has the highest Gross National Product (GNP) per capita in the world. It also has a lower life expectancy than nearly all the other rich countries, and even a few poor countries, despite being responsible for half of the world's health care bill. The U.S. also has the highest poverty levels of any wealthy country with large health disparities, and poor health outcomes.

Massachusetts Leads The Nation In Health Care Reform

National health care reform was modeled on the groundbreaking 2006 legislation of Massachusetts, which required adults to have health coverage. In Massachusetts, most people continue to receive insurance through employers with no changes. Those who were previously uninsured are now covered by subsidized programs such as MassHealth (Medicaid), the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the employer-based Insurance Partnership Program.

More people signed up for coverage at work, or bought coverage through the new exchange (the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority). Those who cannot afford insurance may obtain a waiver, but few have done so. Ninety-seven percent of adults in Massachusetts are covered by insurance now, and that's the highest number of any state.

The largest increase in enrollment was implemented through the Commonwealth Care program, which allows those with a family income under the 300 percent federal poverty level to receive subsidized health coverage.

Massachusetts also limits insurance companies from excluding people who have pre-existing conditions. That reduces the fear that insurance companies will drop you as soon as you get sick. The move toward universal coverage made it possible to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

The Outlook For Health Insurance In Florida

Now that legislation has passed at the national level, the critical implementation is just beginning. The goal is for Florida's residents to be able to invest in insurance that will be there for them if they need it, even when pre-existing conditions are found. That will make Florida health insurance a more secure investment. Those who can't afford it will also have greater access via subsidies so families and their children can receive long-overdue health care in Florida.


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Health Insurance Humana

Humana was started in 1961 by two lawyers who started a business building nursing homes. Four of their friends invested $1,000 each. They created a Heritage home and eventually owned 6 more nursing homes in 1968. They were able to expand when they acquire a hospital in Alabama. Finally in 1974, this nursing business was named Humana which now focuses on hospital business. During the 80's it has become the world's largest hospital company. Humana Health Insurance is one of the largest insurance companies that offer a wide range of products and services on top of their health insurance. Humana also serves military, seniors, individuals and many others. They are committed in helping employers and individual in managing cost for their health care.

Health Insurance Humana


The following are Humana Health Insurance plans and products.

1. Group Insurance is used by employers or companies in providing health care benefits to their employees. You will be provided with information to help you decide a plan that suits your need.

2. Medicare Plans includes coverage for prescription drugs. From basic to rich coverage, you will find one that you are looking for including top-notch facilities and services.

3. Individual Plans is best for those who are self-employed, retired or in a company that has no insurance coverage. This plan is designed to fit your lifestyle, health history and your age.

4. Specialty Benefits include dental insurance, life insurance, disability coverage, accident insurance, vision care, workplace voluntary benefits, employee assistance programs, critical illness coverage and supplemental health.

Humana Health Insurance also involves in social responsibility and help Americans build a healthy lifestyle. Humana Foundation started in 1981 which focus on health care, culture, education and disaster relief. They also help in supporting schools that specialized on students with disabilities. Today, this corporate involvement to community is continuously helping and supporting individuals across the country.



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The Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is a disorder in which a person has abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair their health. A persons' Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-to-height that is most commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. BMI is defined as a person's weight in kilos divided by the square of his/her height in meters (kg/m2).

- a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight

- a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity

 The Obesity Epidemic
Image:dietdoctor.com


BMI provides the most appropriate means of defining obesity and overweight in the general population, as it is the same for both sexes and all ages of adults. It's not without its inaccuracies, however, as it gives you a definition of your body mass-height ratio without actually measuring what your body mass consists of. For instance, it's not uncommon to find a bodybuilder at 1.77m (5ft 10in) and 101 kg (16 stone). This person would have a BMI of 32.2 and would be classed as obese. However on looking at the bodybuilder, who may well be 6% body fat, it's obvious there is no obesity. There are other measurements that can give an indication as to whether somebody is overweight or obese, including (but not limited to): Waist-Hip ratio, Waist-Height ratio and Lean-Fat Mass readings. BMI does however remain the best tool for classifying obesity in the general population.

Causes of Obesity

There is no getting away from the underlying cause of obesity; there is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Simply put, to become obese you need to eat more than you burn off. This comes down to the lifestyle choices and lack of physical activity of the individual who is obese.

There are some genetic causations of obesity that can increase ones appetite or determine how much fat your body stores. And indeed there are some medical disorders including; Cushings Syndrome (hormonal), Under Active Thyroid Gland (hypothyroidism; Again hormonal), and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). However these pale into insignificance when it comes to the cause of the vast majority of global obesity.

Globally there has been an increase in the intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat, salt and sugars and contain very low nutritional value. This accompanied by a global decrease in physical activity, due in part to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation and increase urbanization, forms the platform from which our global obesity epidemic flourishes.

Health Consequences

We are all told that Obesity is a global epidemic that is sure to be the largest socio-economic burden on the planet in the near future, and we all seem to accept this. However do we really know why being Obese is so horrific? What is it about carrying an excess amount body fat that is crippling our (and many others) nation?

A look at obesity in more detail:

Obesity is concerning subcutaneous (under the skin) body fat that is split into different compartments of your body, some more serious than others.

- Lower Body Fat (all areas of subcutaneous fat below your hip bone, gluteal and leg) including marbling of fat between the muscle groups, and

- Upper Body Fat (all areas of subcutaneous fat in the superficial and deep trunk and breast.

These stores of body fat act as a reservoir for fat storage and release. Fat in your body is stored in cells known as adipocytes. In obesity, adipocytes become resistant to you body's attempt to discard of excess fat, which in turn leads to an even higher concentration of fat in these stores and, as a consequence, flowing into the bloodstream to be circulated around the body. Simply put the more fat you have, the more efficient your body becomes at storing fat. The consequences of an increase in fat storage include:

- Type 2 Diabetes

- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

- Cardiovascular Disease (Coronary Artery Disease, Stroke, Heart Attack)

- Cancer (Pancreatic, Throat, Kidney, Rectum, Colon)

- Gastro-Intestinal Disease

- Kidney Disease

- Disrupted Menstrual Cycle

- Infertility

- Obstetrical Risks (Still Birth, Caesarean Section)

- Musculoskeletal Disorders (Osteoarthritis)

Disease risk from the above is directly linked to an increase in BMI. These conditions are not only limited to the adult population, far from it. Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.

The Facts

If not yet, then this is when you will realise that Obesity is serious, serious problem.

- Obesity is the fifth leading risk for global deaths.

- At least 2.8 million adults dies each year as a result (30,000 in the UK alone).

- 44% of the diabetes burden, 23% of heart disease and between 7-41% of certain cancers is attributed to overweight and obesity.

- 1.5 billion adults are overweight, of these, nearly 200 million men and 300 million women are obese.

- Overall, more than one in ten of the world's adult populations are obese.

- In 2010, 43 million children under 5 were overweight.

- An estimated $100 billion is spent on obesity each year worldwide.

- The likelihood is that somebody you know will die of a disease related to obesity and overweight.



What we do now... What we need to do?

It doesn't take a genius to realise that obesity is a problem that isn't going away. If you don't believe this, then just take a look at the national statistics for 'obesity, overweight, physical activity and diet' over the last 10 years. There is a steady increase in the amount of people with the disease and the amount of people set to have it in years to come. What's worrying is that there's also a steady increase in the amount being done to prevent and treat the problem, (and I believe this to be true).

Many people will have their own opinion as to why this is the case, most blaming either the greed of the obese person or their poor education surrounding health, physical activity and diet. My opinion: there is no single cause for blame. Yes in some cases people will be unaware of the potential health risks associated with a poor nutritional status, but there are also those who are fully aware and simply can't afford the cost of healthy food (a cost that's growing at a seemingly exponential rate).

With the cost to manufacture processed foods remaining lower than the cost to farm and supply foods from fresh local sources, the price of a healthy diet is always going to remain a problem. One can only hope that the government intervenes sooner rather than later (which may well be the case if the socio-economic cost of obesity continues to rise). The need to educate people as to the risks of a poor nutritional status is essential. Everybody knows of obesity, but very few actually understand the perils one faces if they slip into the morbidly obese 'bracket'. However, education is most certainly becoming more accessible to, well, everyone. The Internet, social media and government are all on a push to spread the healthy word.

So what is it that's holding the fight against obesity and overweight back? For me the problem stems from our lifestyle. All you have to do is compare the lifestyles of people 50 years ago with today and then compare the rates of obesity. Our day to day lives are steadily are becoming longer, more and more sedentary, and increasingly stressful.

How many people actually work a job that involves much more movement than a pen to paper, or typing on a keyboard (oh and the occasional stroll to Gregs for breakfast lunch and second lunch)?

How many people walk/ride to work any more?

How many people truly hit their daily-recommended exercise quota?

How many kids go outside to play with their friends?

The truth is, our lifestyles now involve finding different ways we can sit down for extended periods of time. Whether it's for 8 hours in front of your computer screen at work, 4 hours in front your TV at when you get home, or an hour in the queue for the McDonalds drive through because you can't be bothered to get up and walk 30 yards to the counter.

Nothing is going to happen overnight and there is only so much that education and bringing the cost of healthy food will do. The truth is, unless we change, nothing will change.



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Obesity Surgery Options

The demand for obesity surgery has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, thanks to the explosive increase in morbid obesity rate.

Obesity is a leading public health concern today and it is not only overeating and lack of exercise that promotes obesity, our modern lifestyle is equally responsible for fuelling the phenomenon, which further elevates an obese individual's risk for heart disease, diabetes and premature mortality.

Worldwide obesity rate inches upward, so do the demand for surgical weight loss options. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity has more than doubled since 1980, with more than 1 billion adults around the world are now overweight, and at least 300 million of them are clinically obese.

Obesity Surgery Options
Image:WVLT


Over the course of past few years, obesity surgery has grown in popularity, thanks to the vast advancements in surgery techniques and development of new surgical instruments. By some estimates, approximately 100,000 severely obese people in the United States go under the bariatrician's knife every year to get rid of those oodles of extra fat around their midsection.

Obesity surgery is the most effective treatment for chronically obese people. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended obesity surgery for people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 or who have a BMI of 35 with serious obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.

Obesity surgery comes under the category of bariatric surgery which is further classified as restrictive procedures, malabsorptive procedures and combined restrictive/malabsorptive procedures. Each of these procedures has several variations.

Restrictive Surgery Options
Restrictive Procedures- As the name implies, these surgical procedures restrict the food intake by making the stomach smaller. Following the restrictive surgery, a person feels fully satisfied even after consuming less food.

The much more commonly performed restrictive surgeries include Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB), the Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (LAGB) also known as the Laparoscopic Band or Lap Band for short, Vertical Banded Gastroplasty more commonly known as Stomach Stapling, Gastric Sleeve surgery, and the Gastric Balloon.

Malabsorptive Procedures- The surgeries in this category are done on the stomach and/or intestines to alter the normal digestive process, which results in considerable weight loss. The main type of obesity surgery in this category is Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD). Purely malabsorptive surgeries are no longer done because of quite high risks of malnutrition.

Restrictive and Malabsorptive Procedures- When used in combination, these procedures limit the absorption of proteins, calories and other nutrients by stomach, while also making the stomach smaller. Long limb or Distal Gastric Bypass and Duodenal Switch are the two most common surgical interventions for morbid obesity in this category.

Of all types of obesity surgery, Open Gastric Bypass (combination of restrictive and malabsorptive procedures), Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass (combination of restrictive and malabsorptive procedures) and Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding - Lap Band (restrictive procedure) are by far the most sought after surgical options by morbidly obese people.

While a variety of surgical procedures for morbid obesity are available, gastric bypass surgery is the most commonly used procedure. Gastric bypass surgery can be further categorized in three main types - Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RGB), Mini-Gastric Bypass Surgery and Extensive gastric bypass (biliopancreatic diversion). According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS), an estimated 140,000 gastric bypass surgeries are carried out every year in the United States.

If you are dangerously overweight and have failed to shed those extra pounds through conventional approaches, such as diet and exercise, or if you are suffering from serious health problems caused by your massive body fat, then obesity surgery may be the only option for you.

For a number of people who've failed to lose weight through orthodox methods, getting Lap Band in India is quite helpful. Americans can pursue any kind of obesity surgery right in the US. US people with weight issues can get gastric sleeve and Gastric Band in Las Vegas.


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Ways of Preventing Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has become prevalent in developed countries. One fourth of the children in the US are overweight, and 11% are obese. There is evidence that excessive sugar intake, larger portion size, and the decline in outdoor and physical activity play key roles contributing to the rising rates of obesity worldwide. Hence, both over-consumption of calories and reduced physical activity are factors in childhood obesity.

Ways of Preventing Childhood Obesity


What is the best way to cure childhood obesity?

Prevention is the best cure for childhood obesity. Obesity can be control through many strategic interventions which include creating the right environment, imbibing physical exercise, and diet. Most of these strategies can be started at home while some can happen at school as children spend much time at school. After-school care services can play a significant role in influencing the diet and physical activity for children at an early age. The faster the plan is initiated, the better for today's generation.

What are the causes of childhood obesity?

Although the exact factors supporting childhood obesity are not entirely understood, it is a proven fact that obesity may occur when the energy intake exceeds the energy spent by children. Genetic factors also play a role in childhood obesity, but it is not the only factor to looked when trying to determine what causes obesity in children. Different outside factors like environmental factors, lifestyle preferences, and cultural conditions are also reasons for the rise in childhood obesity. The following are being considered as factors as well:

Behavioral and social factors

1. Diet: improper regulation of Calorie intake can be a factor as children consume foods of high calories but do not spend it in activities.

2. Fat Intake: Studies show that the fat intake has decreased in some parts while increased in some areas of the country. However, children have a robust system that burns fat efficiently. Hence it cannot be an isolating factor.

3. Other dietary factors: Soft drink intake by children has increased during the past decades and has been a significant cause of the of obesity and type II diabetes. However, no conclusive studies have been published as of now.

4. Physical Activity: Numerous studies have shown that nonphysical activities like watching TV and playing video games have contributed much to an obese population. Parents often encouraged their children to watch television and spend more time inside the home so that they can complete their work and babysit at the same time. Many children have recorded low participation rates in sports and physical education which has added to their chances to become obese.

What are the ways to prevent childhood Obesity?

Having a neighborhood that has a big and safe place to play sports as well as a school which encourages physical activities as a part of school work is the first step to getting children out in the open. A home where physical activity is considered necessary, and the right diet is encouraged will decrease the chances of a child becoming obese drastically. Less time in front of the television and family dinners at the table instead of the TV will be helpful as advertisers are targeting this age group influencing their eating habits to a great extent.

Obesity is a disorder that has multiple causes including depression and the physical and mental health of obese children. Cardio and digestive diseases in adulthood are common in obese children. Over-consumption of calories and reduced physical activity is believed to be the main factors in the occurrence of childhood obesity.


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Comprehensive Weight Loss Surgery Cost Guide

In today's world, obesity is the next man-made epidemic that needs immediate attention of the global health authorities. The urgency of the situation can be understood from the fact that there are more obese adults in the us than overweight adults. Thus to cover all the avenues we present to you a weight loss surgery cost guide which will provide all the in-depth details of undergoing a weight loss surgery abroad.

Extreme obesity, also known as morbid obesity, puts an individual at an increased risk of a number of health conditions. This includes hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease (CHD), and other fatal events such as stroke and heart attack.

Comprehensive Weight Loss Surgery Cost Guide


Incorporating permanent changes in the overall lifestyle becomes the need of the hour in such cases. Diet management, physical exercise, and healthy lifestyle changes are needed to shed weight. However, this approach rarely tends to work for people who are morbidly obese.

For people who are extremely obese, weight loss surgery is a convenient and a promising option to shed extra weight. However, it is not just a surgery. The patient is required to make a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. In the absence of such commitment, it is hard to witness the desired results.

The failure to adapt to the changed lifestyle has a direct impact on the total cost that the patient may have to incur later. This includes the out-of-pocket expenses that the patients pay to manage obesity-related comorbidities.

In this weight loss surgery cost guide, we have compiled the costs of the three most common bariatric procedures - sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and gastric band. Additionally, it examines some of the factors that control the overall costs, the out-of-pocket expenses, and the ways to make bariatric surgery more economical. Lastly, we list some of the best and globally renowned hospitals in the most popular medical tourism destinations that conduct weight loss surgery.

Types of Weight Loss Surgeries: Know The Difference

There are three major types of weight loss surgery that obese individuals can choose from. However, the eligibility criteria for each of these types of surgeries differ. For example, people with body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 are a suitable candidate for sleeve gastrectomy procedure and not gastric banding.

Cost of Bariatric Surgery Around the World

Even though the ultimate objective of each type of weight loss surgery is the same, the approach to achieve the desired results is different. Because of the difference in approach, the cost of bariatric surgery is different. Additionally, each type of weight loss surgery requires different expertise, levels of skills, and investment with respect to time. All these reasons also contribute to the cost of each surgery.

It can be seen that the cost of a particular type of weight loss surgery varies from one country to the other. Sleeve gastrectomy cost in India is just $4000 but the same procedure can cost as high as $20000 in the US. The cost of a particular medical procedure depends quite a bit on the laws that govern the healthcare facilities.

Factors That Control The Cost of Bariatric Surgery

The following are some of the factors that control the cost of bariatric surgery in a particular country:

1. The fees of the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and the supporting staff
2. Anesthesia fees
3. Cost of consumables and other medications
4. Room charges, operation theater (OT charges), and intensive care unit (ICU) charges
5. Pre-surgery lab tests and X-ray charges
6. Quality of gastric band used (if applicable)
7. The choice of country and hospital

Costs Additional To Bariatric Surgery Package

There are some other costs that are not included in the initial fee for weight loss procedure. These may include expenses associated with:
  • Vitamins and minerals: Patients may require vitamins and minerals after the surgery on a daily basis. This is especially true in the case of gastric sleeve and gastric bypass because it may lead to malabsoption of nutrients. As a result, the individual may face severe nutritional deficiency. Daly vitamin and mineral supplement helps prevent this deficiency.
  • Exercise and diet counseling: Exercising and diet management is essential after weight loss surgery. Only an individual who maintains good dietary habits and maintains a minimum level of exercise is able to see the desired weight loss results after the surgery. Bariatric surgery is not a miracle that produced results overnight. It takes a lot of efforts to achieve the desired body type and body weight.
  • Second surgery in case of "staged surgery:" Sometimes the weight loss procedure is staged, that is, it is conducted in stages. Secondary bariatric surgery procedures may cost extra.
  • Body contouring and cosmetic procedures: Massive weight loss after the bariatric procedure may lead to loose folds of skin. Such individuals may require or desire to undergo a cosmetic procedure to lift the sagging body areas. Such procedures may include tummy tuck, breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation. The greater the expectations out of the procedure, the higher is the time required and the cost of the procedure.
  • Follow-up cost: The candidate must visit the doctor for follow-up after the surgery. Such appointments with the doctor cost extra.


Cost of Weight Loss Surgery versus Cost of Staying Obese

Gastric sleeve cost, gastric band cost, and gastric bypass cost may seem huge at the time of consideration. Even obese individuals may once think of avoiding the surgery to save the surgery and out-of-pocket expenses. However, an individual may end up paying much more than the cost of the bariatric procedure for the management of comorbidities associated with obesity.

According to researchers, an individual may save as much as $3000 and more by choosing to undergo weight loss procedure to manage their weight. For some individuals, management of condition such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension accounts for a greater cost than $3000. Additionally, it has been observed that some procedures can let patients save at least $11000 per year after two years of the surgery.

Obese individuals invest their time and money in availing services that help manage such conditions. This may include purchasing medications, opting for a gym membership, and paying for OPD consultation with a specialist or a dietician. The total expenses per year for such regimen turns out to be greater than the cost of weight loss procedure in a maximum number of cases. Additionally, there is an added disadvantage of reduced mobility and diminished quality of life.

Thus, in most of the cases, weight loss surgery turns out to be a one-time investment. Undergoing the right procedure can drastically improve the quality of life while ensuring an improvement in conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

Is Weight Loss Surgery Covered By Insurance?

There was a time when bariatric surgery was not that popular and was never covered by insurance. However, today, insurance companies are starting to cover weight loss surgery more than ever.

Typically, insurance policies do not cover any experimental procedures such as duodenal switches and mini gastric bypass. However, a majority of major insurance companies have now started to cover laparoscopic gastric bands, laparoscopic gastric bypass, and gastric sleeves. However, that does not mean that your insurance policy includes coverage for bariatric surgery.

The coverage rules depend on the type and age of your policy. It does not depend on the insurance company. You must check this with your insurance carrier directly by letting them known your member identification number or policy number. If your policy states that weight loss surgery is included, insurance is typically the best way to go as compared to cash payment.



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