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Sickle Cell Disease, Its Economic Impact: Costs, Controls, and Collaborations

Written and submitted by
Sheila L. Marchbanks, M.B.A.,
SCD Facilitator/SCD Program Director, Loma Linda University Health,
June 22, 2016

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited disease which affects approximately 100,000 Americans and millions of people globally from a multitude of ethnicities. The existence of this global disease has serious economic impact on individuals living with the condition and their care-providers. Counting the costs, examining potential controls to minimize loss of time and money, and discussing collaborations which may support the mitigation of loss will be examined. First, however, a brief summary of SCD will be most helpful. Who does this disease affect? How does it affect individuals?

SCD is not just a “Black Disease”. Yes, the vast majority of individuals affected by SCD are of African descent; however, this blood disorder is found in human beings in many parts of the world. In addition to the high rate of the sickle hemoglobin gene being present in Africa, people in North America, (African-American and Native American), South and Central America, Latin-America, Caribbean, Mediterranean (Greece and Italy), Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia also are affected with SCD. SCD exists in many variants: Sickle Cell Anemia (SS), Sickle Beta Thalessemia (SBT), Sickle C (SC), Sickle D (SD), Sickle E (SE), and Sickle O-Arab (SO) to name the 6 most prevalent.

Each variant has a range of symptoms and complications which presents from severe to mild. The symptoms and complications may have significant consequences that impact an individual’s ability to obtain and sustain employment and realize their full economic potential.

Many Individuals living with SCD suffer from painful episodes, called “Crisis”. These painful crisis are signals that damage may be occurring in the body due to a “log jam” of the sickled red blood cells in the capillaries. Hence, the flow of oxygen to the organs is negatively affected. Together, painful crisis and complications may result in the inability to work consistently, to gain financial security, and to retain resources. In calculating the costs and potential opportunity loss, let’s look at these three areas.

Costs, typically a full-time employee (or entrepreneur) has a finite number of paid sick days per year. Once that benefit is exhausted, the employee (or entrepreneur) may find that the loss of income is quite significant and has a major impact on their lifestyle. This inability to work consistently and its direct impact on earnings lead to both short term and potential long term loss. For instance, if an individual earns $25.00 per hour, each day of lost earnings is equivalent to $200.00 for a full time worker. Over the course of a year, each additional day away “without pay” may present a staggering financial shortage/loss which is irretrievable.

The economic impact of living with SCD may affect multiple levels within a family, the patients as well as parents, spouses, family members, and supporters. The calculation of economic loss is therefore expanded in some families, impacting generational wealth and well-being. So, what can be done?

Protecting one’s health and preventing/minimizing painful crisis along with the resulting complications figure importantly for every person living with this genetic disease.

Controls and collaborative strategies are crucial. No, they will not stop the ravages and reality of this lifelong disease, but there are some positive methods which may be employed to “maximize economic gains” and “minimize economic aches”.

Controls and collaboration can be thought of as actions which may result in better outcomes. Better outcomes which may reduce income loss and contribute to increased and robust funds.

Proactive and powerful behaviors are major keys to mitigating exposure to the risk factors which may have an impact on some painful crisis, and the attendant complications, and time away from gainful employment/service.

Proactive Controls: The 7 Regal Rules-

  1. Rest, 8 hours, plus naps as needed
  2. Relish Water, drink 1 gallon per day
  3. Reduce Infections, get immunizations
  4. Reach for the Folic Acid daily
  5. Read, become an informed patient
  6. Remember moderate exercise
  7. Real Food, eat a healthy diet

Powerful Collaborations: S.I.C.K.L.E. Smart

  1. S-Seek and obtain knowledgeable Medical care
  2. I-Increase understanding & SCD awareness at work
  3. C-Create and/or attend SCD Support Group meetings
  4. K-Keep positive relationships with Mentors and Care-givers
  5. L-Learn Labor Laws-Federal, State, Local, and Employer
  6. E-Educate yourself and all others in your life regarding SCD

In summary, with a reasonable measure of health and the incorporation of these strategies, an individual living with SCD has the opportunity to lead a life with a very positive financial future building a legacy of financial security and retained resources.

Want To Achieve 10k? Take The First Small Step

10k steps


One Small Bite At A Time

There’s an old saying that states, “You can eat an entire elephant, one small bite at a time.”  In our zeal to immediately accomplish a goal, we attempt to reach our goals or the epitome of success long before we determine what the ultimate goal is and sticking to putting in the work that will be required to reach and maintain said goals.  Individuals that do marathons don’t run a marathon first and then start their training. They begin with walking, then jogging, then picking up the running pace – each day increasing their distance to ultimately be prepared to complete the marathon.

The Small Committee of One vs. the Large Committee

Every idea, plan, effort and activity does not require a Committee! When the need arises, form a group of individuals with the same mindset and goals as your own that are willing to roll up their sleeves and put in the work without having to meet about the meeting with a meeting.  Until then, forge ahead with what your own personal strengths and weaknesses are with the objective to get SOMETHING accomplished with a small change to better yourself and your Community.

Small Goal Attainment

Once you determine that you are willing to put in the sweat equity and keep your eyes focused on the goal, what you have set your mind to do can be achieved. Keeping things in a simple perspective, first determine what the [communal] need is and then make a simple plan. Once those two things have been considered and completed, it is then the time to move forward with putting a plan into action. We can’t stress enough that a 10,000 foot journey starts with one small step. To avoid, burnout, discouragement, extreme frustration and just throwing in the towel – START…SMALL!

 Small Communal Changes


Did you know that a small shift in the environment can cause an avalanche of epic proportions? Whether that shift is an atmospheric disturbance or an intentional man-made disruption, it can serve several purposes; such as creating new pathways, clearing unnecessary debris through complete destruction to allow for reconstruction/regrowth and also, to remind us that we are a very small entity in the cosmic universe yet, have a large impact.  Don’t think too long or too hard about how you can make a small change in your life and Community or otherwise you will over analyze yourself right out of moving into action. DO accomplish one small Communal effective change each day, week or month without regard for who knows or sees you doing it. Plant a tree to provide the future with shade. Build a resting bench to provide the future with a resting place. Take another route home (driving or walking) to grant a stranger or different neighbor your warm and inviting smile.

The Man That Thinks He Can

by Walter D. Wintle

If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win, but think you can’t

It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,

For out in the world we find

Success being with a fellow’s will;

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are:

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or late the man who wins

Is the one who thinks he can.

Share Your Small Change

Share some of the small changes you will be taking to be the change you want to see in yourself and your Community with us: ( or

P.S. Our container garden has just been cleaned and cleared. Next small step, containers!


The Southern California Black Business Expo


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Small Changes Challenge



Challenging You To Make Small Changes

Last week we stated that the Southern California Black Business Expo Team would be starting a container garden to encourage healthier eating habits and also, just beautifying our Community.


Remember, It’s The Small Ripple That Makes A Big Wave

Throughout last week, we recommended some small changes to you such as gently guiding the ambitions of the Youth (Mentoring Monday), giving back and taking care of your Community (Teachable Tuesday), making small positive changes to your health to ward off and thwart diseases prevalent in the Black Community (Wisdom Wednesday), learn to listen and become teachable (Thought Provoking Thursday) and then finally on Friday we encouraged you to start a little change in your journey with just speaking to your next door neighbor (if you don’t already – Fruition Friday) as a way to develop your future platform for speaking to the masses.

SMALL CHANGES4 from-fat-to-thin

Set Out Daily to Make A Small Change

The Southern California Black Business Expo Team members strive each day to travel a little bit further in our journey to make small changes. Often time people become discouraged and stop dead in their tracks of progress because (like loosing weight), they don’t see an immediate result or impact from their efforts and hard work. They don’t feel successful or encouraged to keep moving forward when there is a lull or plateau.


Small Efforts Equals Successful Results

Sports, Music, Dance, Art, Writing all have the same thing in common, constant practice and continual efforts equal results. Success is not only measured in dollars and cents and the big picture. Overcoming and conquering small daily tasks and skirmishes equates to success.  We see large groups in the media and in our Black Community protesting (sometimes rioting) and moving the Black civil rights platform forward. Keep in mind, that is “their” calling. Everyone is not called to protest or be ‘on the front line’. Every single solitary role is critical and just as important to our cause as are the front-liners. Don’t ever feel useless, overwhelmed or discouraged because you can’t march or protest. Do your part to your best ability by simply staring with a daily, small change that will impact your Community, like maintaining your property (owned or rented), speaking or smiling to your neighbor, checking in on a neighbor you haven’t seen for some time (particularly the elderly, widowed or single parent), if you can do repairs – throw in a few for free or at very low-cost, shovel someone else’s driveway or car out of a space, park farther away (and get some exercise) so that someone else can park closer, recirculate your Black dollars in the Black Community with a Black business (virtual or bricks and mortar).

What Small Changes Do You Suggest?

We would like to know some of the small changes you are making in your Community. Please contact us at and share some of your ideas and current actions. We would like to share your suggestions with our Community.

Mark Your ‪#‎CALENDAR‬ and plan to join us: Saturday February 27th 10a – 4p in Pasadena

Facebook: SCBBE

Facebook: USBBE

Speak To The Masses


Lay The Foundation In Order To Speak To The Masses


Everyone wants to be on a stage, behind a podium, the facilitator of a TED Talk and speaking to hundreds or thousands of people (the masses) but they don’t want to do the work it takes to get to that level. In order to be the change you want to see in your Community (Teachable Tuesday), you have to create a foundation by just mastering the ability to speak to your next door neighbor, making eye contact and being the initiator of a smile and nod to a stranger in the grocery store and learning to listen with interest and intensity. Learn to lead, mentor, communicate and interact with the person sitting next to you in a classroom, work or church. Spend one-on-one time with a Millennial (Mentoring Monday) and glean all that you can from them regarding modern technology and social media in turn, you can gently guide their youthful ambitions.

Teacher, Do The Work


A platform is not a single tier or level, it is many layers and levels to get to the peak. But first, you must do the work or people will immediately know that you do not know what you speak of and that you lack integrity. People will follow those they know, like and trust. If you want to lead people, first you must be a follower and be teachable (Thought Provoking Thursday). If you want to make a huge impact in your Community, it starts with the little ripples, which in turn causes the big waves (Wisdom Wednesday).

Each One Teach One


We all believe we have the ability to share all of our hard-earned knowledge with the masses on a grand level, but maybe our calling is just to connect with the next door neighbor and teach them that we know how to be a good neighbor by just speaking to them.

<META NAME=”Description” CONTENT=”Southern California Black Business Expo (SCBBE) presents Black Business to Business Networking at Its Finest. The time is NOT now to speak to the masses?”>

Eat to Live vs. Living to Eat


Over the course of the upcoming weeks, the SCBBE Team will embark upon a movement to eat to live versus living to eat or as we like to say, “growing green” starting with small changes such as growing fresh produce in our own container garden. Even through the winter months, we are beginning with seedlings in our window garden, small pot containers. We are going to practice what we preach. We will not be denying ourselves what is considered “comfort food” in the Black Community but we will learn better portion control and observe the Push Away Diet mentality (push away from the table).

Making Small Strides in Eating to Live

The Black Community is greatly suffering from Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Diabetes and a host of other ailments and diseases that can be avoided, managed or treated with a simple plan to eat and live healthier lives. Take that first small step with us. Let’s be the change we want to see in our Community.

Lemon Seed Plant – Week 3
PLANT2”lemon plant week 3
Lemon Seed Plant – Week 6
PLANT3”lemon plant week 6
Lemon Seed Plant – Week 9
PLANT”lemon plant week 9

What Is Killing The African American Community?

A.T. Thompsonby A.T. Thompson AKA The Sideline Pro

The African American community is dying at unprecedented rates. What is killing us? The Center for Disease Control released a statement that they project that by 2016, “40 percent of Americans will develop diabetes, and rates for black women and Hispanics will be even higher at 50%.” Is it simply our diet or are there other contributing factors to this epidemic? Let’s explore some troubling statistics about the state of African American health.

  • African American men 20 years and over who are obese: 37.9%
  • African American women 20 years and over who are obese: 57.6%
  • African American men 20 years and over with hypertension( high blood pressure): 39.9%
  • African American women 20 years and over with hypertension (high blood pressure): 44.5%
  • 80% of African American children develop asthma

The Top Four Leading Causes of Death in the African American Community are:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Diabetes

You would think that in this day and age of healthcare, where the magic word is PREVENTION that we would not be in such a state. How many of you get those automated phone calls from the doctor’s office telling you to get breast exams, colonoscopies, pap smears, flu shots and so on? This applies to those that have health insurance because a staggering number of African Americans still do not. You would think that with these constant reminders that WE all should be in perfect health. Yet, sadly that is not the case. So why is PREVENTION not working within our community? Could the answer be that the medical community is just not speaking our language and developing solutions that work for US?

The medical industry puts a band aid on the symptoms and does not fix the underlying cause. Maybe it is time for us to find the solutions for ourselves. You remember that popular clothing line and saying FUBU…For Us By Us? It is time for us to take the bull by the horns and solve this health catastrophe that has been facing our people for far too long.

My own personal journey led me through a pathway off illness that almost killed me because the medical industry could not figure out what was wrong with me. All the physicians that I saw were not asking the correct questions. I was exposed to lethal levels of Toxic Mold for 14 years. As a result, I developed Diabetes, Respiratory Disease, Heart Disease, Candida and Alzheimers like symptoms. I worked in a building that was literally making me sick.

My symptoms started to progress into severe weight gain and memory loss. I literally went from weighing 210lbs to well over 350lbs within 2 years. I developed intense skin irritation and rashes to the point where any stress or activity would cause a major interruption rendering me nearly disabled. The itching on my head became so severe that I literally scratched the hair off my head. The memory loss became more pronounced to the point that many of my business associates and staff knew something was profoundly wrong with me. Other symptoms I experienced included equilibrium problems, nosebleeds, Gout, major allergy symptoms, libido problems, extreme fatigue, “brain fog”, etc. No one recognized the person I had become.

The medical community could not figure out what was going on with me. When I could not get the answers to my health challenges; I had to think outside of the box and find the answers for myself. I had to put aside my traditional thought that my doctor (MD) had all of the answers, and I started to explore the world of Naturopathic remedies. As a result, I was finally able to break free of the chains of illness that was killing me.

This led me to develop presentations for our community about staying healthy. I have developed a four part series speaking engagement about health and wellness:

Series #1

“What Is Killing The African American Community?”
Date: December 13th Time: 12:00pm
Location: African American Museum of Beginnings
1460 East Holt Ave Entrance 3, Pomona, CA 91766

Series #2

“Curing The Incurable Diseases”

Series #3

“Are We Aging Faster Than We Should?
How To Slow Down The Process”

Series #4

Diabetes & Kidney Disease:
“What Is the Missing Link to Wellness?”

A.T. Thompson, CEO of Golden Source Health Solutions LLC. He is the chairman of Health and Wellness at the African American Museum of Beginnings. He offers alternative health products on his website and hosts speaking engagements relating to health and wellness, toxins in our environment, alternative health therapy, empowerment, etc. For more information visit or call (951) 205-9105.

The Bitter Truth About Sugar

by Dr. Elaine

[View Original Article]

You’ve probably heard over the last few years there’s too much consumption of sugar. The average American eats a whopping 152 pounds a year! Sugar is a known risk factor for obesity and adult onset diabetes, dementia, cirrhosis of the liver; the latest research has determined that it is also a risk factor for heart disease.

A Leading Heart Disease Risk Factor

In 2001, I saw a teenage boy, with very vague symptoms—fatigue, difficult sleeping, achy muscles. While his exam was normal, I conducted a series of routine lab sets. For the first time, I made the diagnosis of adult onset (Type 2) diabetes in a 17 year old. I was flabberghasted.

Eating too much sugar has been linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease that was assumed to be due to obesity. However, a new study indicates that too much sugar is not only making us fat, it’s also making us sick.

A new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine found that 71.4% of American adults consume far more than the recommended 10% of their daily caloric intake from sugars added to foods and drinks, which increases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The added sugars were defined as “all sugars used in processed or prepared foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereals, and yeast breads, but not naturally occurring sugar, such as in fruits and fruit juices.”

Between 1988 and 1994, Americans got 15.7% of their calories from added sugars, on average. That figure rose to 16.8% in the years 1999 to 2004, then dropped to 14.9% between 2005 and 2010, the researchers found.

According to the study, among U.S. adults, the daily calories from added sugar increased from 15.7 percent between the years 1988-1994 to 16.8 percent in the years from 1999-2004. However, this percentage decreased to just fewer than 15 percent between 2005 and 2010. More than 70 percent of adults consumed 10 percent or more calories from added sugar, and 10 percent of adults consumed 25 percent or more in the years 2005-2010.

In the follow-up that came about 14 years later, the researchers documented 831 deaths via heart disease. Specifically, study participants whose diet consisted of 17 percent to 21 percent of their daily calories from added sugar experienced a 38 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease when compared to others whose diet consisted of 8 percent or less of added sugars. Even more surprising, when the added sugar consumption was greater than 21 percent, researchers were shocked to discover the risk of cardiovascular death “more than doubled.”



The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is not intended to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any illness or disease. All material provided on is only for the education of the reader. You should always consult with your physician or other licensed health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition regarding your health and/or medical condition, and before undertaking any changes in your exercise, eating habits, diet, physical therapy or other health program. This website does not recommend self-management of one’s health care. Images, text and logic are copyright protected. All rights are explicitly reserved without prejudice, and no part of this website may be reproduced except by written consent. Copyright. All rights remain in force. Removing this notice forfeits all rights to recourse.

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

by Dr. Elaine

[View Original Article]

A recent article published in the Washington Post brought to our national attention a significant, but correctable health problem. Simply stated, we are not moving enough. Even if you exercise, you need to move often throughout your day.

Are you a couch potato, lying around watching TV for hours on end in the evenings and on the weekends? Do you spend many hours seated at a desk during the day? Thanks in part to the technology revolution; it’s very likely that you do. If so, you should know that there is a relationship between long stretches of sitting and dying from heart disease. This risk to your health is heightened even if you do physical activity at other times.

We are in the midst of an epidemic of chronic disease related to the modern lifestyle. The sedentary behavior now ingrained in our culture is literally killing us. Long periods sitting in front of a computer, or driving a vehicle such as a bus or a taxicab, has a significant negative effect on our physiology.For example, extended TV viewing—the kind that’s done while seated in your living room or lying down on a couch or in bed rather than while running on a treadmill at the gym—leads to an increased incidence of metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes, in adults over sixty.

Potential Risks

Sitting for an extended period of time can cause your body to slow down many of the metabolic processes that burn calories.

Recent studies have found a number of negative health effects associated with sitting for long periods:

  1. Metabolism slows down–burning only one to two calories per minute
  2. Blood circulation slows
  3. The body uses less blood sugar and burns less fat, which, in the long term, can result in insulin resistance
  4. After sitting for two hours, good cholesterol (HDL) levels can drop and levels of toxic (LDL) cholesterol can increase
  5. After sitting down all day, the efficiency of insulin drops
  6. Studies have even shown that regular prolonged periods of sitting can increase your risk of premature death!

What Should I Do?

The solutions can be simple. In my workplace, for example, I intentionally asked not to have a printer installed in my office so that I would have to get out of my chair routinely and walk ten feet or so over to the shared printer. I also make a point to stand up and stretch periodically, because I sit at my desk or in meetings for at least four or five hours every day. It is critical to interrupt your prolonged periods of sitting by standing up and walking around. Other options would be to take phone calls standing up or to do your paperwork while standing at a high counter.

Researchers now believe that sedentary behavior should be considered the actual cause of the majority of human diseases. Being sedentary has been proved to increase the risk of heart disease by 45 percent, the risk of osteoporosis by 59 percent, the risk of stroke by 60 percent, and the risk of high blood pressure by 30 percent.Although most people are clearly aware that exercise is essential, almost 75 percent of people don’t achieve the necessary level of activity to prevent these illnesses.

The Physical Benefits of Movement

If you’re thinking about staying young at heart, fit, and strong as you grow older and want to stay healthy, or improve your health, one of the best things you can do is to get off the couch or step away from your computer or other favorite technological gadget and move. Many people now wear pedometers to measure the number of steps they are taking. Guidelines published by the federal government state the importance of walking 10,000 steps a day. But the intensity of your exercise also matters. When you do moderately intense activity or vigorous activity, your body will reward you.

The Centers for Disease Control define moderately intense exercise as activities like walking at a brisk pace of 100 steps per minute (3,000 steps per half hour), biking five to nine miles per hour on flat terrain, doing light calisthenics or yoga, golfing, ballroom dancing, playing doubles tennis, canoeing, playing Frisbee, and swimming recreationally. Vigorous activity is defined as activities like jogging or running five miles per hour or faster, biking more than ten miles per hour or on steep terrain, doing high-impact aerobics, jumping rope, wrestling or boxing, playing singles tennis, playing soccer or racquetball, and swimming steady laps.

Moderate exercise is good for us. Exercising moderately for thirty minutes a day, five days a week has been shown to lower rates of premature death by 19 percent in people who were previously inactive. Vigorous exercise is even more beneficial. Fifteen to twenty minutes of vigorous activity every day produces improved cardiovascular function, reduced abdominal body fat, and lowered stress. Furthermore, studies have shown that short bursts of exercise, such as at ten-minute intervals, may be just as good for improving metabolic health and reducing the risk for chronic disease as longer durations of sustained exercise.

Exercise is a characteristic of your lifestyle—entirely under your control—that will help you be healthier in ways you might not even imagine until you begin a regular fitness regimen. I’ve exercised most of my adult life—except for a few years, and especially since the vacation with my parents in Jamaica—and I can tell you that when I’m not exercising vigorously several times a week, I simply do not feel as good. When I don’t move regularly, I feel both physically and mentally stagnant. When I am active, in contrast, I feel confident that nothing is impossible for me to accomplish.

If you are not aware that exercise is one of the most effective anti-aging strategies available to you, it’s probably because it requires more effort from us than the packaged creams, procedures, pills, surgeries, and everything else that’s advertised to us as a means to appear younger. Study after study has shown, however, that exercise keeps our cells, organs, and bodies young. If exercise was a drug, it would probably be the bestselling drug ever, because it impedes the aging process, prevents the development of chronic disease, and, by virtue of the biochemicals and neural pathways it activates, relieves depression and anxiety and uplifts our moods.

One of the most important things exercise does is to protect our telomeres, the caps on the strands of our DNA, from the damage induced by stress, which makes it an important way to prevent aging. A study of women who were chronically stressed from taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease showed that exercising protected their telomere length. A study of middle-aged athletes showed that the telomeres in those who exercised were longer than the telomeres of those who didn’t. The same researchers evaluated mice and found that those that ran for three weeks experienced increased levels of the protective proteins that maintain the length of telomeres and postpone the process of cell death.


Superhealing Chapter 5 Superhealing With Movement pages 119-120

Washington Post


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is not intended to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any illness or disease. All material provided on is only for the education of the reader. You should always consult with your physician or other licensed health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition regarding your health and/or medical condition, and before undertaking any changes in your exercise, eating habits, diet, physical therapy or other health program. This website does not recommend self-management of one’s health care. Images, text and logic are copyright protected. All rights are explicitly reserved without prejudice, and no part of this website may be reproduced except by written consent. Copyright. All rights remain in force. Removing this notice forfeits all rights to recourse.

Attention Meat Eaters: How to Reduce Your Risk of Death by 42 Percent

by Dr. Elaine

[View Original Article]

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death by 42 percent


This table summarizes the main effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on risk of death, expressed as percentage decreases.

A new study has determined that eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion, reports a new UCL study.

Researchers used the Health Survey for England to study the eating habits of 65,226 people representative of the English population between 2001 and 2013, and found that the more fruit and vegetables they ate, the less likely they were to die at any age. Eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. The research also showed that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruit.

This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruit and vegetable with the most benefit.

Compared to eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables, the risk of death by any cause is reduced by 14% by eating one to three portions, 29% for three to five portions, 36% for five to seven portions and 42% for seven or more. These figures are adjusted for sex, age, cigarette smoking, social class, Body Mass Index, education, physical activity and alcohol intake, and exclude deaths within a year of the food survey.

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, with each daily portion reducing overall risk of death by 16%. Salad contributed to a 13% risk reduction per portion, and each portion of fresh fruit was associated with a smaller but still significant 4% reduction.

“We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” says Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL’s Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, lead author of the study. “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good.”

The findings lend support to the Australian government’s ‘Go for 2 + 5’ guidelines, which recommend eating two portions of fruit and five of vegetables. The UK Department of Health recommends ‘5 a day’, while ‘Fruit and Veggies — More Matters’ is the key message in the USA.

“Our study shows that people following Australia’s ‘Go for 2 + 5’ advice will reap huge health benefits,” says Dr Oyebode. “However, people shouldn’t feel daunted by a big target like seven. Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables. In our study even those eating one to three portions had a significantly lower risk than those eating less than one”

The researchers found no evidence of significant benefit from fruit juice, and canned and frozen fruit appeared to increase risk of death by 17% per portion. The survey did not distinguish between canned and frozen fruit so this finding is difficult to interpret. Canned fruit products are almost four times more popular than frozen fruit in Europe*, so it is likely that canned fruit dominated this effect.

“Most canned fruit contains high sugar levels and cheaper varieties are packed in syrup rather than fruit juice,” explains Dr Oyebode. “The negative health impacts of the sugar may well outweigh any benefits. Another possibility is that there are confounding factors that we could not control for, such as poor access to fresh groceries among people who have pre-existing health conditions, hectic lifestyles or who live in deprived areas.”

*Note: 13.0m tons of canned fruit and vegetables were sold in the EU in 2008 compared to 3.7m for frozen fruit and vegetables.


Journal Reference: 1. Oyinlola Oyebode, Vanessa Gordon-Dseagu, Alice Walker, Jennifer S Mindell. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. J Epidemiol Community Health, 31 March 2014 DOI: 10.1136/jech-2013-203500


Make smoothies, salads, or juicing your veggies and fruit


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is not intended to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any illness or disease. All material provided on is only for the education of the reader. You should always consult with your physician or other licensed health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition regarding your health and/or medical condition, and before undertaking any changes in your exercise, eating habits, diet, physical therapy or other health program. This website does not recommend self-management of one’s health care. Images, text and logic are copyright protected. All rights are explicitly reserved without prejudice, and no part of this website may be reproduced except by written consent. Copyright. All rights remain in force. Removing this notice forfeits all rights to recourse.

Can Diabetes Be Reversed?

by Dr. Elaine

[View Original Article]

I’m often asked the question if I think a chronic disease, such as diabetes can be reversed. And my answer is emphatically yes. It’s not wishful thinking; it’s based on my experience, and a lot of research most doctors don’t know about.

Usually when a person is diagnosed with diabetes (type 2 adult onset), they’re told that they will be on medications for the rest of their life and that the disease will get worse. They are usually told to monitor their diet, loose, weight and exercise, without a lot of help. And most people have great difficulty doing so. There isn’t a lot of motivation if you’re told, you’re only going to get worse.

However, my experience is that it doesn’t have to be this way, and if you give your body what it needs, it will heal/reverse the dis-ease.

Most of us don’t realize, that dis-ease occurs as a response to the environment that our cells and organs are living in—an unhealthy one, where there is no ease. Dis-ease is really a sign of weakness. When the cells are returned to ease—they will restore our bodies to health. It’s just that simple, yet powerful.

Do Diet and Lifestyle Interventions Really Work?

Two studies regarding diabetes published in major medical journals (and there are many more), reveal exactly that.

One looked at the Mediterranean diet, in people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, a low–carbohydrate Mediterranean diet CMD) resulted in a greater reduction of HbA1c levels, higher rate of diabetes remission, and delayed need for diabetes medication compared with a low–fat diet.

The study involved, overweight, middle-aged men and women with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were randomized to a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet.

After 4 years, participants who were still free of diabetes medications were further followed up until the primary end point (need of a diabetic drug); remission of diabetes (partial or complete); and changes in weight, glycemic control, and cardiovascular risk factors were also evaluated.

Mediterranean Diet vs. Low Fat Diet Findings

The primary end point was reached in all participants after a total follow-up of 6.1 years in the low-fat group and 8.1 years in the LCMD group; median survival time was 2.8 years and 4.8 years, respectively.

Those on the Mediterranean diet were more likely to experience any remission (partial or complete), with a prevalence of 14.7% during the first year and 5.0% during year 6 compared with 4.1% at year 1 and 0% at year 6 in the low-fat diet group.

Another study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association sought to examine the association of a long-term intensive weight-loss intervention with the frequency of remission from type 2 diabetes to normal blood sugar (glucose) levels.

The 4 year study compared an intensive lifestyle intervention with a diabetes support and education control program among 4500 obese adults with type 2 diabetes.

Lifestyle and Education Options

The lifestyle intervention included weekly group and individual counseling in the first 6 months followed by 3 sessions per month for the second 6 months and twice-monthly contact and regular refresher group series and campaigns in years 2 to 4. While the education and support group offered 3 group sessions per year on diet, physical activity, and social support.


Partial or complete remission of diabetes, defined as transition from meeting diabetes criteria to a normal or non-diabetic level of glycemia (fasting plasma glucose <126 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1c <6.5% with no antihyperglycemic medication). At the end of the first year, the Intensive lifestyle intervention participants lost significantly more weight than the education and support group participants and had greater fitness increases. The ILI group was significantly more likely to experience any remission (partial or complete), during the first year and 7.3% at year 4, compared with 2.0% for the DSE group at both times points. Among the lifestyle participants, 9.2% had continuous, sustained remission for at least 2, at least 3, and 4 years, respectively, compared with less than 2% of education and support participants for at least 2 years; 1.3% for at least 3 years; and 0.5% for 4 years. The researchers concluded that an intensive lifestyle intervention was associated with a greater likelihood of partial remission of type 2 diabetes compared with diabetes support and education. However, the absolute remission rates were modest.


The effects of a mediterranean diet on need for diabetes drugs and remission of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: Follow-up of a randomized trial
Diabetes Care, 04/22/2014 Clinical Article

Association of an intensive lifestyle intervention with remission of type 2 diabetes. 2012 Dec 19;308(23):2489-96. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.67929.

A look ahead at the future of diabetes prevention and treatmACP Journal Club. An intensive lifestyle intervention increased remission from type 2 diabetes in overweight adults. [Ann Intern Med. 2013]

[Lifestyle intervention in type 2 diabetes: is remission possible? Overcoming thinking barriers–lifestyle interventions have great benefits!]. [Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2013]


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is not intended to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any illness or disease. All material provided on is only for the education of the reader. You should always consult with your physician or other licensed health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition regarding your health and/or medical condition, and before undertaking any changes in your exercise, eating habits, diet, physical therapy or other health program. This website does not recommend self-management of one’s health care. Images, text and logic are copyright protected. All rights are explicitly reserved without prejudice, and no part of this website may be reproduced except by written consent. Copyright. All rights remain in force. Removing this notice forfeits all rights to recourse.