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Lewes, Delaware
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June 24, 2008     Cape Gazette
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Health & Fitness 28 TUESDAY, JUNE 24- THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2008 Cape Gazette Lewes focuses on health and fitness with a twist Third year drops, miles for time For the third consecutive summer, the City of Lewes is inviting people of all ages in the area to join in the Lewes Steps Out For Fitness program. The kickoff ceremony, registration and Family Night - complete with face painting and a magic show - will be at 6 p.m., Thurs- day; June 26, at the George H.P. Smith Park in Lewes. This year's theme is Make Every Minute Count, and with that new theme is a change in the goal of the event. Instead of hav- ing participants add up the steps they walk or run, participants will add up the minutes they spend in healthy activities that get their hearts pumping and im- prove their overall physical fit- ness. "Summer is a time when peo- ple can get outside and enjoy our city and the beautiful environs around us," said Lewes Mayor Jim Ford. "So this year we want to support people in all the activ- ities they enjoy, such as sailing, kayaking, swimming, skating and bicycling, as well as walking and running, knowing that it's the minutes that count, not the miles." The objective of this year's Lewes Steps Out Committee is to get 400 participants to exercise 30 minutes each day for five days a week, between June 26 and Sept. 18, equaling 720,000 min- utes of healthy exercise. All par- tieipants will receive stopwatch- es when they sigh up, so they can count the minutes they exercise. Participants will gather every other Thursday evening at 6 p.m. to take part in fitness-related programs and to share in the fun. Nurses from Beebe Medical Center will be on hand to check blood pressures every evening. This year the gatherings will be at the George H.E Smith Park, which surrounds Block House Pond. The park is centrally located, so Lewes residents are encour- aged to walk and ride their bicy- cles to the events. For those who drive, parking is free and avail- able in the park's parking lot, in the Sussex Consortium's parking lot that is adjacent to the park and in the Beebe Medical Center parking lot nearest to the park. "We want to encourage people of all ages to come out for the ac- tivities," said Lewes Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Betsy Ream- er. "Those who are unable to come the first night to register can register at any one of the Thursday events." Lewes Steps Out For Fitness is sponsored by the City of Lewes, Lewes Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Quest Fit- ness, Beebe Medical Center and Cape Gazette. For details, call Reamer at 645-8073. FILE PHOTO MARK BLASKEY, BEEBE MEDICAL CENTER PHYSICAL THERAPIST, led a tai chi exercise in August 2007 as part ofthe Lewes Steps Out For F'ness program. The slow-moving balance exercises arose from Asian martial arts. Behind him are (I-r) Kids' Ketch proprietor Teresa Ford, Lewes Mayor Jim Ford, Councilman Ted Becker and Cape Gazette Publisher Dennis Forney. Class helps cancer patients gain strength The Wellness Community- Delaware will offer Be Strong at noon, Tuesdays, beginning .Tues- day, July 1. This gentle six-week donditioning class is designed to help participants regain their strength and feel more energized by using stretchable resistance bands. The program will be led by Jo Willdns, B.S., M.S., a former instructor and trainer for the YMCA. She also served two terms on the Governor's Council for Lifestyle and Fitness. The classes will be held at The Wellness Community located in the Medical Arts Building, Suite 312, on Route 24, on the Beebe Health Campus. All programs at The Wellness Community are free of charge for people with cancer and their loved ones. Call 645-9150 for more information and to register for this class. Do prescription-drug advertisements belong on TV? re you experiencing crushing chest pain with shortness of breath? Are you sweating profusely? You could be having a heart attacld Ask your doctor whether Zycrox is right for you." Would an ad like that sound preposterous? We have to admit that Zycrox is a figment of our ima__ginations. But the idea of ad- vertising a medication for a seri- ous condition like a heart attack is not so far-fetched. Plavix is advertised to con- sumers even though this heavy- duty drug is prescribed to pre- vent life-threatening blood clots that could cause a heart attack or a stroke. Sales have soared since people st_rted watching Plavix commercials on T. TV commercials have touted everything from drug-coated stents for clogged coronary ar- teries to potent anemia drugs like Procrit for cancer patients on chemotherapy. Before pre- scription-drug advertising came to dominate prime-time televi- sion, TV drug ads featured over- the-counter products. Ifyou asked a physician from that era whether he could imagine a pa- tient asking for a prescription drug seen on a TV commercial, he would have laughed in your face. Doctors spend years in med- ical school learning about the benefits and risks of medica- tions and devices such as drug- coated stents. The notion that a patient could request a powerful prescription medicine based on a 30-second TV spot would have seemed ludicrous. Today, of course, it is commonplace. You can't watch the evening news without seeing several prescrip- tion-drug ads. Most people tell us they hate TV drug ads. They especially hate ads for prescription drugs to treat erectile dysfunction or overactive bladder. But they al- so dislike commercials for drugs that lower cholesterol, control blood sugar or ease arthritis pain. Many ask us why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits such ads at all when on- ly one other industrialized coun- try allows direct-to-consumer prescription-drug advertising. The FDs authority to regu- late drug ads g6es back to a 1962 act of Congress. Drug advertis- ing must not be false and mis- leading, and it must offer a fair balance of benefit and risk infor- mation. Until th61980s, drug compa- nies assumed they couldn't use television to advertise prescrip- tion drugs: 30-second ads are too short to allow the listing of all the possible negative effects of a drug. Then the FDA decided that broadcast ads could cover only the major risk information. In practice, TV ads cover many fewer side effects than print ads (New England Journal of Medi- cine, May 22, 2008). The pharmaceutical industry likes to frame prescription-drug ads as educating the consumer, but in fact they generate big bucks. Ten of the top 12 brand- name drugs advertised to con- sumers rake in more than $1 bil- lion a year. The industry's other argument is that commercials are protect- ed as free speech. We wonder if that is what John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madi- son and the other Founding Fa- thers had in mind. The only way consumers could have an effect on such tel- evision commercials would be to contact their congressional representatives. A congression- al hearing in May investigated misleading ads about prescrip- tion drugs. Unless Congress changes the law, the FDA has no power to make the industry change its ways. Editor's note: Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is a medical anthropologist. Write to them in cam of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or via their website at www.peoplespharmacy.com.