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expert-perspectives

Coming to a beach near you: The ‘dad bod’

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom how or why some trends ever gain momentum or become popular. The selfie stick? Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge? #YOLO?

Now, a new body image trend known as the ‘dad bod’ is making its way around the Internet and social media. What makes up this unique physical trait?

According to this MSN article, the dad bod is “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” And while this trend seems relatively harmless and all in good fun, a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found 67.6 million American adults aged 25 and older are obese and an additional 65.2 million are overweight.

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expert-perspectives

Decrease your risk of heat stroke this Fourth of July

The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is usually grounds for lounging in the sun, hanging out with friends and family and enjoying a good barbecue. However, when the heat rises it’s important to protect yourself from heat and sun related illnesses such as heat stroke.

William Roberts, M.D., professor in the Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health says heat stroke is a rise in the core body temperature to a level, usually greater than 104º-106º. This causes organs to lose function and fail and can also affect the brain.

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expert-perspectives

Expert Perspective: Do workout devices that monitor activity actually motivate people to exercise?

Lately, it may seem impossible to visit the gym without spotting someone sporting a Fitbit, Garmin watch or some sort of exercise tracking device. As the newest exercise accessories help make logging workouts a breeze, Health Talk spoke with Bill Roberts, M.D., from the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and Jean Abraham, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health, to determine which workout devices and incentives motivate people to get off the couch and on their feet.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Obesity can lead to the alteration of specific genes

In a new study from the University of Minnesota, researchers found there are numerous areas of the genome where obese and non-obese individuals differ in terms of their “methylome.”

Essentially, the researchers found that the level of DNA methylation (addition or subtraction of a methyl group on the DNA molecule) was related to level of body mass index (BMI), a marker of obesity. These differences in methylome are a type of “epigenetic” variation, which does not involve the genetic sequence itself, but rather is thought to alter which genes are turned “on” and “off” at a given point in time in a given tissue. Typical genetic sequences do differ but data shows these differences go beyond that.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Study shows food-insecure mothers use different parenting strategies

A recent study involving researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found parenting practices related to eating and weight differ between food-secure and food-insecure mothers.

The research was part of Project EAT, conducted by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Public Health, and Katherine Bauer, Ph.D., from Temple University.

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expert-perspectives

Be happy and lean; exercise green!

Exercise of any kind can be beneficial to our health and fitness, but exercise in nature, called ‘green exercise,’ can provide additional physical and mental health benefits. As we swarm the treadmills at the local gym, perhaps we should consider hitting the trails, the park or the lake, too.

“When you go outside, you have a more rich, holistic benefit to your exercise routine,” said Jean Larson, Ph.D., director of nature-based therapies at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. “Green and traditional exercises are both beneficial, but there is a bump in the satisfaction and overall impact of the experience when you go outside.”

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