Counting Calories? You Don’t Need a Fitness Tracker


Published: May 25, 2017

RH Weekly News Roundup – 26 May 2017

Plan Your Visit to the Africa Health Exhibition 

Are you working to promote better health and health care on the African continent? Need solutions adapted to local demands and economies? Between 7 and 9 June, you’ll have an option to tap into a network of providers and managers working to make a difference at the Africa Health Exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa.

It’s more than an exhibition, conferences and workshops offer an opportunity to learn and shape the future of health care on the continent. While the exhibition area is free for registered guests, conference attendance carries a small fee and advance registration. And, yes, Radiant Health Magazine is a media partner for the event. After all, we’re definitely trying to trnsform to the health and well-being of African women – across the continent… and the world.


Global Gag Rule Expanded 

Known throughout the world as the “global gag rule”, the United States’ Mexico City Policy prohibits American aid from reaching organisations that promote abortion in other countries. Since its inception in 1984, the policy has been revoked by democratic presidents and reinstated by republican administrations. Previously limited to roughly $600 million in aid, President Trump has just expanded the policy to affect some $8.8 billion in global health care assistance.

NGOs and organisations that promise not to advocate abortion will still be eligible to receive US financial aid through its various channels (such as USAID). Those that don’t will have all their funding revoked. As abortion is illegal in Nigeria, the country’s NGOs are less likely to be affected by the change in policy. However, in many African countries, health organisations that work across a variety of concerns (including AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and more) stand to lose a lot of necessary funds if they provide pro-abortion counselling or assistance.

And, according to many sources, the policy doesn’t appear to have the intended effect of reducing abortions. Increases in abortions – including unsafe, illegal procedures – were recorded during administrations with the global gag rule in place. The power to enforce or rescind this rule lies with the president alone, and the latest expansion is already in motion.


Ebola Outbreak May Already Be Over 

Just over a week ago, new cases of Ebola were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreak erupted in a rural area in the northeast of the country, and almost instantly a few hundred contacts were under surveillance. However, a couple dozen suspected cases have already tested negative, and the World Health Organisation have confirmed two cases, while three cases are probable, and another 38 are still probable.

The numbers are thankfully low, and the DRC has already submitted a formal vaccine trial protocol. If successful, it’s possible that at-risk persons may receive vaccinations in the near future. Previous test vaccinations provided during the last outbreak showed positive results, but more testing is required. It’s possible, however, that the reason for the low number of cases is the rapid response by health care officials. Let’s hope the outbreak is already over.


Counting Calories? You Don’t Need a Fitness Tracker 

If you consume more calories than you expend, you’ll put on weight. That’s the simple truth – even if you ignore the facts that some calories are better for you than other; a couple hundred calories of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains are obviously going to do more for you than the same number of calories from a fast-food hamburger. Logically, it only makes sense to consume about as many calories as you burn – and with wearable fitness trackers, it’s never been easier.

Except, these trackers do a phenomenally poor job of calculating calorie expenditure. According to a study performed at Stanford University School of Medicine, the best fitness tracker was off by 20 percent. And, there are those that are off by 93 percent. That’s because the number of calories a person burns isn’t based on activity alone, the algorithm must also include height, weight, fitness level, and more. By generalising the formula to spread across users, the wearables are getting it wrong. That doesn’t mean you need to give up your Fitbit or stop considering calorie intake; only that you shouldn’t be making important decisions based on the data from your tracker. Sorry.


Alcohol’s Effect on Breast Cancer 

For years, it’s been said that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart – and not terribly bad overall. But, a recent study demonstrates, that even a single drink a day can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. After analysing studies that included over 12 million women, it appears that pre-menopausal women increase their risk by five percent, while post-menopausal women increase their risk by nine percent.

In case you’re wondering, physical activity appears to lower risk of breast cancer best. The most active women can decrease their risk by as much as 17 percent through regular exercise and activity. But, that’s not to say that exercise cancels out a glass of wine; indeed, there’s nothing that can currently eliminate all risk. But, it’s something to consider.

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