Latest News & Research: 13 November 2018

This week: Wearable tech tops fitness trends again • Fermented dairy may protect heart • Nuts may stave off weight gain.

Wearable tech tops fitness trends again

Fitness trackers, smart watches, and other wearable technology are the number one fitness trend for 2019, according to a US survey of health and fitness professionals published in ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.

Other notable trends in the 13th annual survey include the continued rise of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), increased interest in hiring certified fitness professionals, and growing interest in workplace health and wellness programs, according to the report by Walter R. Thompson, PhD, FACSM, of Georgia State University, Atlanta, and the immediate past-president of ACSM.

Conducted each year since 2007, the survey included responses from more than 2,000 health fitness professionals from around the world. Respondents represented all sectors of the industry: commercial, clinical, community, and corporate.

Highlights of the 2019 annual survey of health and fitness trends included:

  • Wearable technology returned to the top-ranked position it had occupied for two consecutive years, before dropping to number three in last year's survey. The return of wearables to number one ‘may be the result of manufacturers correcting some monitoring inaccuracies of the past’ according to Thompson.
  • Group training, defined as classes of more than five participants, was rated number two for the second year in a row. This item was recently revised to distinguish it from small group personal training, which was ranked number 19.
  • Rounding out the top five were high-intensity interval training (HIIT); fitness programs for older adults, which has made a strong return to the top 10 in recent surveys; and bodyweight training.
  • There's a growing emphasis on employing certified fitness professionals (long the case here in Australia), certified by ACSM or other nationally accredited organisations. A revised item specifying professional certification ranked sixth in the 2019 survey.
  • An expanded item on worksite health promotion and workplace wellbeing made its first appearance in the top 20, scoring at number 15.
  • Trends dropping out of the top 20 since the previous survey were circuit weight training, sport-specific training, and core training.

The November issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal features articles and columns dedicated to several of the top trends in the 2019 fitness survey, including wearable technology and fitness apps, HIIT, body weight training, and yoga. The special issue also presents four commentaries on the survey findings, authored by internationally recognized experts.

Thompson emphasises the value of the annual survey in appreciating the differences between trends and fads in the fitness industry, helping to make important investment decisions and programming decisions for future growth and development: ‘While no one can accurately predict the future of any industry, this survey helps to track trends that can assist owners, operators, program directors, and health fitness professionals with making important business decisions.’

Source: Science Daily



Fermented dairy may protect heart

Men who eat plenty of fermented dairy products have a smaller risk of incident coronary heart disease than men who eat less of these products, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. A very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products, on the other hand, was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease.

Earlier studies have shown that fermented dairy products have more positive effects on blood lipid profiles and on the risk of heart disease than other dairy products. Examples of fermented dairy products include cheese, yoghurt, quark, kefir and sour milk. However, research into the topic remains scarce.

The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland explored the associations of fermented and non-fermented dairy products with the risk of incident coronary heart disease. Approximately 2,000 men participated in the study. Their dietary habits were assessed at the beginning of the study in 1984-1989, and they were followed up for an average of 20 years. During this follow-up, 472 men experienced an incident coronary heart disease event.
The study participants were divided into groups on the basis of how much they ate different dairy products, and the researchers compared the groups with the highest and lowest consumption, while also taking various lifestyle and nutrition factors into consideration.

When the study participants were divided into four groups on the basis of their consumption of fermented dairy products with less than 3.5% fat, the risk of incident coronary heart disease was 26% lower in the highest consumption group compared to the lowest consumption group. Sour milk was the most commonly used low-fat fermented dairy product. The consumption of high-fat fermented dairy products, such as cheese, was not associated with the risk of incident coronary heart disease.

However, the researchers found that a very high consumption on non-fermented dairy products was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. Milk was the most commonly used product in this category, and a very high consumption was defined as an average daily milk intake of 0.9 litres. Lower consumption levels were not associated with the risk.

The new study provides further evidence on the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have over non-fermented ones. All the mechanisms are not understood yet, but they may be linked to compounds forming during the fermentation process.

Source: University of Eastern Finland



Nuts may stave off weight gain

Two new studies suggest that a small daily serving of nuts may benefit overall metabolic health and keep off the weight we tend to gain as we enter adulthood.

The first study — led by Xiaoran Liu, Ph.D., a research associate in the nutrition department of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA — looked at the long-term effects of nuts and peanuts on body weight in over 125,000 people.

The researchers discovered that replacing foods that had less nutritional value with a 1-ounce serving of nuts and peanuts lowered the risk of weight gain and obesity over the 4-year follow-up intervals.

The second study, supervised by Mee Young Hong, PhD, a dietitian and a professor in the School of Exercise & Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University, examined the effects of Brazil nuts and pretzels on satiety, blood sugar, and insulin response in 22 adults.

Hong explained, ‘While both Brazil nuts and pretzels increased a sense of fullness after they were eaten, eating Brazil nuts stabilised postprandial (after eating) blood glucose and insulin levels, which may be beneficial in preventing diabetes and weight gain.’

Source: Medical News Today