Here is what you saw on Good Day Alabama for June 25, 2013:
JEH JEH LIVE - The Magic City Chocolate Challenge is Thursday from 5-9pm. It is hosted by the Disability Rights & Resources' Junior Board. It will be at the Cantina in Pepper Place. Tickets are $5 and include samples from all the chocolate competitors plus happy hour drink prices. Proceeds from the event go towards the new facility for the Disability Rights & Resources Offices located in the Civil Rights District. The office welcomes all people with disabilities and provides them with answers and possibilities for more independent living. Through advocacy, education and community involvement, Disability Rights & Resources promotes an independent and fulfilling lifestyle for people with disabilities. "The Power of Hope and Freedom" is more than a campaign, but a way of life. Disability Rights and Resources seeks to create an environment of equality for all. For more information, visit www.drradvocates.org.
BETH K - The big news last week that the American Medical Association overrode its own committee's recommendations and declared obesity an official disease sparked some interesting reactions. Some say that obesity is not a disease and that this designation absolves people of their personal responsibility for their weight and their health. Some of the arguments against the designation as a disease is that not all people who are obese have health problems caused by their weight and that truly determining if someone is obese is not as easy as it sounds. We use BMI right now - body mass index - which is looking at weight for height and not a very precise predictor of body fat - which is really what matter. But others say that this will help people with obesity get the counseling and other treatments for obesity that they need. keep in mind that the AMA's declaration does not officially change anything - yet. And the physicians who were in favor of the change stressed that people who are obese do bear personal responsibility - to a point. Obesity is a complex condition in which environment and genetics also play roles. One of the things that proponents of the new designation hope to see is more insurance companies covering weight loss drugs. Dr. Beth Kitchen takes a look at the two most recently FDA-approved medications for obesity - Qsymia & Belviq. Qsymia is not really a new drug. It's a combination of two approved drugs combined into one. Phentermine lowers the appetite and is already approved for weight loss. The other half of Qsymia is topiramate - a drug now approved to treat seizures. Researchers discovered that topiramate increases satiety so people don't get hungry as quickly after a meal. Together, these two drugs can help people lose more weight than just diet and exercise alone. The biggest risk of taking Qsymia is for pregnant women. Topiramate increases the chances of having a baby with birth defects - specifically a cleft palate. Pregnant women should not take Qsymia because it could increase the risk of having a baby with a cleft lip 2 to 4 times. There was a very slight increase in heart rate with Qsymia loss but it was very small - 1.3 beats per minute. However, people at high risk for heart attack or stroke should not take it. Belviq is a medicine that suppresses the appetite. Here are the basics:
· Belviq works by activating receptors in the brain that help you feel full after eating smaller amounts of food
· Possible side effects in non-diabetic patients include: headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth and constipation
· Possible side effects in diabetic patients include: low blood sugar, headache, back pain, cough, and fatigue
Belviq and Qsymia are not magic fat melting drugs. You still have to diet and exercise and the weight loss you will have is likely to be modest. But a small weight loss can have a huge impact on your health - lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels.
And these are not drugs for people who want to lose a few pounds for their upcoming high school reunion or wedding. These are medications for people who need to lose weight for medical reasons. Here are the guidelines:
-BMI above 30
-BMI above 27 with weight-related problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or sleep apnea
-To find out what your Body Mass Index (BMI) is, go to www.stanfordhospital.org/weightloss & click on the obesity section.
MONEY TUESDAY - Stewart Welch joined us today with "The Money Quiz." According to the recently released National Financial Capability Study, Americans are feeling much better about their current personal finances. Unfortunately, he's noticed that along with this new-found optimism, savings rates are beginning to fall after rising steadily since the financial crisis of 2008. He offers a short quiz that you could take that would allow you to self-analyze just how confident you should be about your current financial situation. Answer these six 'Yes or No' questions and tally your score to see where you stand:
1. Do you have a minimum of three months' worth of net paychecks in the bank? In my experience, true and well-founded financial confidence comes from having 'money in the bank'. Most families pretty much spend their whole net paycheck every month so having three months in the bank would be a minimum. The more uncertain you are about job security, the more cushion you'll want…up to twelve months' worth of income if you'd anticipate re-employment would be difficult.
2. Are you currently contributing to your employer's retirement plan? You only get to answer 'yes' to this question if you are contributing an amount that fully catches the company's matching contribution. To knowingly contribute less than a full matching contribution would be like walking past a $5 bill on the ground simply because you don't want to bend over!
3. Are you paying your credit card bill off in full every month? Carrying a balance on your credit card from month-to-month is a sure sign that you do not have your financial house in order. After all, most credit cards charge interest rates of 11% to 18% or more. In this low interest rate environment, paying a high, non-deductible interest rate is simply poor money management.
4. Are your total debt payments less than 30% of take-home pay? Add up all of your monthly debt payments, including home mortgage and car payments, and determine what percentage they are of your net paycheck. Less than twenty percent should allow you to meet other financial objectives such as saving for retirement or college funding. Your ultimate goal is to be debt-free by retirement including mortgage debt.
5. Are you investing a minimum of 10% of your gross income? Here I'm talking about your gross income, not your net paycheck, but it does include money you are investing through your employer's retirement plan. If your answer to this question is 'no', rest assured, you are not on the path to financial freedom. This assumes you began investing in your twenties. If you didn't start investing until your thirties or forties, you'll need to up your percentage to fifteen percent or more.
6. Is your net worth on track? In order to become financially independent by retirement, you'll need to build your investment net worth over time. Investment net worth includes only assets you can use to produce cash flow during retirement, so it typically wouldn't include assets such as your home. Here's your target investment net worth guideline:
· 20 X Annual Income at retirement
· 15 X Annual Income if you are 5 years away from retirement
· 10 X Annual Income if you are 10 years away from retirement
· 5 X Annual Income if you are 20 years away from retirement
· 1 X Annual Income if you are 30 years away from retirement
· .5 X Annual Income if you are 35 years away from retirement
For example, if your current income is $100,000 and you are twenty years away from retiring, to be on track, your investment net worth needs to be approximately $500,000. These numbers are exclusive of Social Security.
Now add up the number of 'Yes' answers. If you scored six out of six, consider yourself a 'Financial Wiz'. If you scored five, you do indeed have reason to be optimistic about your financial progress. If you scored four, you're doing a lot of things right but it's time to refocus your efforts. If you scored three or less, there's still hope but you face financial doom unless you get dead serious about changing your money habits. Remember that there is always a solution to solving financial problems. You just have to ask the right questions of the right people and be willing to do whatever it takes to get the results you desire. For more information, visit www.welchgroup.com.
MOST AMERICAN-MADE CARS - The 2013 ranking of the Top Cars Made in America unveils which cars are the "most American." The list takes into account where the car is assembled, the percentage of the car's parts that are made here in the US and aligns it with the amount of cars sold here. This consumer friendly index is taken from information that can be found on the window sticker of every new car which includes domestic parts content and final assembly point of that car. For the past several years, the top-ranked has been from a foreign automaker, but could a domestic vehicle take the crown in 2013? Patrick Olsen revealed the 10 Most American Made Cars - just in time for the Fourth of July holiday. For the complete list, visit cars.com.
ASK THE ANGLER - Reed Montgomery answered viewer questions about fishing. You can contact him with your questions at (205) 663-1504 or on his website fishingalabama.com - there you can find lake reports, fishing tips, upcoming events, and more.
GARDENING - Jimmy Rockett teaches us about sod. Jimmy says there are several varieties of sod for the Southeast - Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. He says the Zoysia grass comes in four varieties - z-52, emerald, flora variety (which is better for the shade), and empire . All Sod has shade restrictions. Bermuda needs the most sun - about 6 hours a day. Z zoysia grass needs about 4 hours. And Centipede and St. Augustine need less. When applying sod, never have your edges about the ground. This will help dry out the sod. Apply fertilizer lightly - you can always reapply again later. Jimmy also says never buy sod that looks bad because you will struggle with it trying to get it to take root. Watering everyday is key to getting your new sod to root in well now that we are in the summer months. For more information, call Jimmy at (205) 981-1151, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.rockettsbugjuicegardens.com.
JEREMY WALLACE & ELEVATED PRAISE - Jeremy Wallace & Elevated Praise just released a single which is already nominated two 'Gospel Choice Awards.' Jeremy Wallace & Elevated Praise were nominated at the Birmingham Gospel Choice Awards. The group held nominations for two awards in the "New Artist" and "Best Duo/Group" categories. The nominations were announced on the heels of releasing their new single, "Run To You." The inspirational track is described as "Mellow, mid-tempo, easy-listening and very catchy." "Press Through" has gained air play on stations in the United Kingdom, as well as on some of the top stations in the region (95.7 Jamz). "Run To You" is available on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, Google Play and with other online retailers. Production will begin soon to shoot the concept video for the new single. For more information, visit epmusicministry.org, or facebook.com/JeremyWallaceandElevatedPraise.
Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, do you recycle? We look at Birmingham's recycle program and how you can participate! The veterinarian joins us to take your questions about your pets' health! Familiar with the Mediterranean Diet? We check out the new book - Mediterranean Diet for Dummies - to help you fully understand it and give you some great recipes to get started! And familiar with Daniel Moore and his famous art work? We explain where his art will be on display and you can meet the artist! Join us for that and much more tomorrow on Good Day Alabama.