By Chuck Carree
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8:14 p.m.
Dr. Joanne B. "Anne'' Allen leaves this week for London to work the Paralympics as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee medical staff. This is her ninth trip to the Paralympic Games. "A lot of people who volunteer at the Olympics will tell you they would rather be with the Paralympic athletes,'' said the 1981 New Hanover High School graduate and former Wildcats athlete. "They are so appreciative.'' She senses a better public understanding of the skill levels of handicapped athletes and cites double-amputee South African distance runner Oscar Pistorius in the recent Summer Olympics as an example.Carbon-fiber blades allowed Pistorius to compete, and he will also participate in the Paralympics Aug. 29-Sept. 9."Yes, Oscar Pistorius is an inspiration to a lot of people,'' Allen said. "This guy is disabled, yet he is in the Olympic Games and he did not finish dead last. The level of respect is the same amongst all athletes, abled-body or disabled.'' Although principally a team physician for U.S. sailing, her additional duties include rowing and assisting in the Olympic Village. She operates medical practices in Leland and Atlanta and also races sailboats. With the aid of U.S. sailing coach Betsy Alison, Allen also elicits help from local psychologists Richard Campbell and Randall White to work with Paralympic athletes. White is from Southport and an internationally known author and executive development coach. Campbell is a clinical psychologist in Wilmington and world championship-caliber sailboat racer. Campbell and White will work with Paralympic athletes in London via Skype. "All of our sailing teams race against able-bodied people,'' she said. "They don't consider themselves any different. They are treated equally in sailing and rowing for sure. It is about making the public aware of the Paralympics.'' The Paralympic athletes parade in during opening ceremonies wearing the same Ralph Lauren outfits showed on NBC at the Summer Olympics. The Paralympics won't air on live television in the United States but instead will stream live online at www.paralympic.org. "I have had more people come up to me and say, ‘Where can we look for you on television?' '' Allen said. "They are so disappointed they are not going to be able to watch it.'' However, the games are televised live in Europe. Paralympics athletes display the same mental skill training as abled-bodied Olympians, Allen said. "Everyone's drive, competitiveness and determination are the same as in the Summer Olympics,'' she said. "It may be more so for the Paralympic athletes because they have to overcome disabilities.'' Allen said she always wanted to become a doctor and work with Olympic-level athletes. She launched her career with the Paralympics in 1996 in Atlanta. She also has worked the games in varied spots, such as Salt Lake City, Sydney and China. "My friends laugh at all the paraphernalia I have,'' she said. "They have been giving me grief because I have been wearing my Olympic gear the last two weeks. I have to show my USA loyalty.'' "It is serving your country,'' she continued. "It is being a part of something much bigger than us as individuals. It is just a big honor to represent the country."
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StarNewsOnline.comAugust 19, 2012 8:14 PM
EXERCISE IS MEDICINE – YOUR PRESCRIPTION FOR HEALTH !!
What if there is one thing you could do to decrease your risk of heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes by 40% --- would you do it? If it was in a pill form, would you take it? Well there is – it’s EXERCISE! “If exercise could be packed in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation,” said the late Dr. Robert N. Butler, former director of the National Institute on Aging.
Exercise really should be considered a Vital sign - something that is routinely assessed at every patient interaction with a health care provider (ie. blood pressure reading) and your level of physical activity should be one of them. The American College of Sports Medicine has embarked on a world-wide prevention program – Exercise is Medicine – that is committed to spreading the news that exercise and physical activity are integral in the prevention and treatment of over 40 chronic diseases, and should be integrated into every primary care office visit.
Physical inactivity is one of the fastest-growing public health problems in the world, and contributes to a variety of chronic diseases and health complications, including obesity, diabetes and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, after high blood pressure, tobacco use and high blood glucose, physical inactivity constitutes the 4th leading cause of death globally, and is the second leading cause of death in the USA. More than half of adults (56%) do not meet the recommendations for sufficient physical activity. We are facing what is now referred to as an “inactivity epidemic,” with physical inactivity costing the US Health Care System $330 per person each year, or more than $102 billion dollars annually.
Regular physical activity can:
• Reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by approximately 50%.
• Lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60%.
• Reduce the risk of developing of Alzheimer’s disease by approximately 40%.
• Reduce the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure by approximately 40%.
• Lower the risk of stroke by 27%.
• Lower the risk of developing type II diabetes by 58%
• Be twice as effective in treating type II diabetes than the standard insulin prescription and can save $2250 per person per year when compared to drug treatment.
• Can decrease depression as effectively as Prozac or behavioral therapy.
• Adults with better muscle strength have a 20% lower risk of mortality than adults with low muscle strength. It is better to be fit and overweight than unfit with a lower percentage of body fat.
• Regular physical activity has been shown to lead to higher SAT scores for adolescents.
And it can decrease discipline incidents involving violence by 59% and decrease out of school suspensions by 67%.
The US Federal Physical Guidelines show that, for ages 18-65, a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise ( ie. walking), or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (ie. jogging) are recommended to achieve these health benefits. Additionally, Muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week are suggested.
So, do you need to start an exercise program, or increase your current one? There are a lot of tools available, and hopefully your primary care provider can assist you with a prescription for exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine also has further specific recommendations at http://www.exerciseismedicine.org/keys.htm
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world, with more than 45,000 professionals dedicated to providing educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine
Thank you to the College for providing the above information.