Posted by: molander | September 16, 2009

One Size Fits All?

I always smile when I see that statement… how on Earth can one size fit all? We need to apply the same discerning eye to health care advice. Often, for the sake of broadcast time or print space, many experts will generalize topics. Even the FDA has to generalize when they post their Recommended Daily Allowances (which need to be updated, btw). (The USDA site is down as I write this so here’s another current site with the current RDA listing.) Most of the time you see recommendations for either male or female… and that’s it. But there are so many other factors to consider:

How old are you?
Do you smoke (I hope not here in 2009)?
Are you a body builder?
Do you have <insert medical condition here>?
Do you take prescription medications?

These are just 5 factors that would affect your nutritional needs. Our health is our responsibility so we need to take the initiative and find out our needs. And if you’re a parent, find out the needs of your children. Size and weight are better factors than age when it comes to children and yet that info is much harder to find. As a matter of fact, I can’t find it!

I was listening to Roxanne Moore on Nutrition Matters (Voice of America Podcast) this morning. Her guest was a doctor who was observing that we get so much less sunlight these days due to our skin cancer paranoia. (True.) This effects our Vitamin D production* so she says that the general recommendation for sun exposure should be “about 30 minutes a day… naked.” Wait. A. Minute. Besides the obvious obstacle of being naked outside each day, there are so many more factors! An article on WebMD explains:

The season, time of day, geography, latitude, level of air pollution, color of your skin, and your age all affect your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D. Further, the form of Vitamin D found in most multivitamins is vitamin D2, which does not deliver the same amount of the vitamin to the body as the more desirable D3 form.

So what’s my unsolicited advice? Read and research then do what you can. Not just about Vitamin D but health improvement as a whole! Since there is no cut-and-dry plan to follow for your particular body, it can get complicated trying to be perfect. Remember what Vince Lombardi said, ““Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

Anything you do today that is better than what you did yesterday is a step in the right direction. In the words of The Biggest Loser theme song, “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”

*Vitamin D is the only vitamin that is also a hormone. It is made by the skin or eaten in foods/supplements.


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