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From The Cooper Institute and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can. - Jimmy Carter


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    Monthly Archives: March 2010

Smith Machine versus Free Weight Bench: A battle of goals
Written by March 29, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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Weight rooms continue to add new machines and tools to allow exercisers to work out in a variety of ways. Most weight rooms have many different machines and exercises that can work the upper body. The bench press, works the pectoralis major, triceps barchii and anterior deltoid, with stabilization by the medial deltoid.  A variety of equipment and a large number of options such as a free weight bench press, seated chest press, or Smith Machine bench press can be used to perform a bench press exercise. But how do these machines and exercises fare in regards to last week’s

The Last (Super Sized?) Supper
Written by March 25, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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You probably saw the media coverage earlier this week about the study that has determined that super-sizing may have been going on a lot longer than we thought.  For a millennium to be exact.  Drs. Brian and Craig Wansink (they are brothers) studied over 50 paintings of the Last Supper that were painted between the years of 1000-2000 AD1.  They picked the Last Supper because they said, “it is the most famously depicted dinner of all time.”  Using the size of Jesus Christ’s and the Apostles’ heads a size reference, the researchers used computer aided design  software to measure the

Training on Unstable Surfaces: Superior to Traditional Strength Training?
Written by March 22, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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Training on unstable surfaces such as stability balls and balance boards continues to gain popularity. Exercises on unstable surfaces are often promoted to improve balance and challenge core stability more than traditional resistance training using free weights and machines. However, scientific proof that training on unstable surfaces is superior to traditional resistance training performed on stable surfaces, such as a bench, is lacking. Given that most activities of daily living are performed on stable rather than unstable surfaces, it is important to determine whether exercising on unstable surfaces transfers to improvements in activities performed on stable surfaces. One group of

Is Taxing Soda a Good Idea?
Written by March 18, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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Last week we introduced you to the concept that changing the prices of foods via taxes or subsidies appears to change food purchasing habits and presumably, what people eat. We also touched on the fact that soda is being singled out for tax hikes in places like New York and Philadelphia.  The thinking is, “Tax it and people will drink less.  Less soda means fewer calories taken in.  Fewer calories means reduced body weight.  Reduced body weight means less obesity.  Less obesity means fewer health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.  Fewer diseases means savings in healthcare costs.” Or

Resistance Training in Overweight and Obese Youth is a Pathway to Success
Written by March 15, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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Researchers are discovering that resistance training in overweight and obese children and adolescents is having multiple positive effects.  For starters it is increasing their time spent in physical activity.  It is lowering their body fat, improving their bone density, and increasing their sensitivity to insulin.1 But, there is more. In a 16 weeks study in which youth participated in progressive resistance training, there was also a 96% adherence rate.2 This is key because identifying activities that they like and can excel in is important for our youth to adopt a lifestyle of regular physical activity. Also psychosocial wellbeing was improved.  Part

Food Prices and Calories
Written by March 11, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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There’s a big beverage brouhaha brewing in New York state.  It has nothing to do with coffee or beer.  A proposed tax on soda is at the center of this storm. Local (e.g., Philadelphia) and state governments such as New York are looking to raise revenues and reduce waistlines by taxing sweetened beverages.  The proposed taxes range from 12 to 24 cents per 12-ounce container.  As expected, soda manufacturers are all afizz over this development. We won’t opine about whether or not taxing soda is worthy public health idea.  We’ll save that for another blog on another day.   But there

Physical Activity: It Does a Colon Good
Written by March 8, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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You may be aware that March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the third most common diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, almost 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed and approximately 50,000 people died from the disease last year. Despite these statistics, unlike some cancers, colorectal cancer is highly preventable and can be detected early through proper screening. And what do you think one of the most important prevention tools is? That’s right—physical activity.

Attack Your Snacks
Written by March 4, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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Eating on the run. Dashboard dining.  Surfing and snarfing.  Viewing and chewing.  These are all ways to describe our modern eating patterns.  Especially our snacking habits.  Research suggests we are doing a lot more of that today than 30 years ago.  I know, it doesn’t surprise you given our hectic lives.  But do you know just how much we snack?  Read on. Studying Snacking Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill compiled data from four very large national nutrition surveys done between 1977 and 20061.  I won’t go into the complicated methodology but suffice it to say the scientists

Caloric Expenditure of the Winter Games
Written by March 1, 2010

Michael Harper, MEd

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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The 2010 Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada ended yesterday. There were fifteen sports and 85 medal events. These events were split up into three categories of ice sports, alpine skiing/snowboarding and Nordic events. Here at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas I felt a little bit more connected to the games this year…  Most due to the actual winter blasts we’ve had. During the games we had colder than normal temperatures and it even snowed.  We set a new 24 hour snowfall record at over 12.5”. With a winter wonderland in Dallas and the winter Olympics it was

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