We’re moving!

I’m thrilled to announce that on April 1, I will officially join the faculty at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health Sciences.

Loyola University Chicago has an outstanding commitment to reducing the global burden of preventable disease, improving international health, and decreasing health disparities.  The community surrounding the Stritch School of Medicine disproportionately suffers from high rates of obesity and preventable chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

The Public Health Programs at Loyola are truly multidisciplinary, drawing from faculty in medicine, nursing, ethics, health policy, environmental health, statistics, social work and communication.

This move will allow my lab to continue its commitment to cancer prevention and survivorship, improving health outcomes in medical and community settings and addressing the needs of the underserved.

Exercise for quality of life

As a cancer researcher, I often get asked to talk about how our choices (to exercise or not, to eat vegetables or Twinkies) influence our health.  And what most people expect me to talk about, and I do, are the benefits of those choices on disease and mortality endpoints.  But I also always talk about the QUALITY of life benefits – not just the QUANTITY of life benefits.

The quality of life benefits are real.  I should know, as one of my earliest published research articles was on the benefit of exercise for quality of life.

It is great to see the dialog about exercise starting to change – to get people to focus on the immediate benefits of exercise.  You feel better.  You sleep better.  Kudos to Jane Brody for highlighting it this week in the NY Times.

If you need some more reasons to exercise today, hop over to Twitter and check out the #reasontoexercise tag from my colleague Dr. Sherry Pagoto.

Huh? or YEAH!

I’ve said before that the internet is full of questionable cancer prevention advice.  The truth is, the internet is full of weak science from questionable sources.  (For a nice discussion of how to evaluate someone’s “expertise” – check out this post from Dr. Lauren Streicher.) I often open my computer (or Twitter feed) and find myself saying “HUH? What the heck!?!” about some posting.

But just as often, I find myself saying “YEAH! That’s a GREAT point! I’m glad someone made it!”

Here are a couple “YEAH!” posts from people well qualified to be experts on the topics they discuss:

Dr. Sherry Pagoto is one of my favorite tweeps – she is a clinical psychologist and runs a highly regarded weight management program.  She’s also funny and has great blog. One of her recent posts was titled, “Why Ice Cream SHOULD Be In Your Weight Loss Plan.”  Now you might think this should be a “HUH?” post, but if you read it the logic is incredibly sound.  Denying ourselves the things we like (and ice cream has always been one of my favorite treats) during weight loss is more likely to lead us to fall off the wagon.  Dr. Pagoto’s approach is about small progressive changes that will lead to long term success.  SMART stuff.

Dr. Gary Bennett recently published a study advocating that people not eat less, they just not eat more.  Given how much time I spend talking about the role that obesity plays in causing cancer and worsening survival for cancer patients, you might thing that would be another “HUH?” post for me.  Several years ago, Bennett founded (and serves as Director of ) the Duke Obesity Prevention Program.  Dr. Bennett knows a LOT about weight loss (and how hard it is to lose weight – particularly for those in underserved communities) and does a lot of work in weight loss so he’s not “anti weight loss”.  But given how unsuccessful most weight loss studies in the literature have been at achieving and sustaining weight loss (which is what we need to prevent chronic diseases), Dr. Bennett’s approach of preventing additional weight gain is both incredibly innovative and well supported by the science.  SMART stuff.