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Helping People Achieve Resolutions; Nonprescription Cough Suppressants Do Little To Suppress Colds; Childhood Obesity Can Cause Kids To Be Sicker Than Parents; How You Work Out Important

Aired January 14, 2006 - 08:30   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now Pakistani officials say al- Zawahiri was nowhere near the area. We're going to have the latest details on this developing story in a live report at the top of the hour.
Severe weather whips through several states in South Carolina. At least nine people were injured. Four have been critically in a possible tornado that tore through a mobile home park on Friday.

In Bellville, Alabama, another suspected tornado hit. A woman was killed when high winds collapsed the chimney of a house that she was in.

Three suspected members of the Earth Liberation Front or ELF were arrested in California on Friday. FBI officials say the three were plotting to blow up forest service facilities, cell phone towers. And power generation facilities. The ELF is a decentralized eco-terrorist group linked to several attacks during the past six years, including a ski resort, a logging company, new housing developments, and car dealerships.

Those are the headlines. HOUSE CALL begins right now.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning and welcome to HOUSE CALL. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Well, we've got an exciting show this morning.

If you're trying to stick with your New Year's resolutions, we're here to help. This week we're kicking off our annual "New You" challenge.

Now we received thousands of applications and settled on three pairs. That's right, this year is a bit different. Instead of individuals, we found three twosomes willing to compete, cheer each other on, maybe even compete to become healthier in 2006.

They're all here this morning. And they say they're willing to have producers, cameras, doctors, and of course you following their every move for the next eight weeks.

So let's meet our first pair. Co-workers Frank and Donna are lobbyists in D.C. They're both overworked with kids. And in their spare time, they're both in school.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA (voice-over): When Donna Brighthaupt nominated herself along with her boss Frank Purcell for the "New You" resolution, we couldn't resist their story.

DONNA BRIGHTHAUPT, RUNS DAILY IN THE MORNINGS: When you called, and I was in shock. I have to ask my boss first. So I - I just didn't think that you all read the e-mail.

GUPTA: This lobbyist and his assistant from the nation's capitol are far apart politically.

BRIGHTHAUPT: We're not hoping that people out there in CNN land aren't like hope the Democrat wins or hope the Republican wins.

GUPTA: But they are working toward the common goal. A healthy new you.

FRANK PURCELL, NEW YOU PARTICIPANT: Both share an appreciation for fine food and the food that sometimes isn't so fine, but really tasty any way: baked chicken, fried chicken, curry chicken, catfish, fried catfish.

GUPTA: When we visited, Frank was pondering why walks to the office candy machine don't count as a workout.

PURCELL: Because if you keep walking, you'd probably burn them off.

GUPTA: They both attend school, Frank for his masters and Donna for her undergraduate degree, all on top of a full-time job and family life, which leaves little time for their workouts.

PURCELL: I drag myself up all the sills (ph). You know, I need to lose some weight.

GUPTA: And Donna revealed one more vice. Her post workout reward.

BRIGHTHAUPT: My smoky treat.

GUPTA: But Donna is unsure about quitting smoking as part of her "New You" plan.

BRIGHTHAUPT: Stop smoking. That's a new you.

GUPTA: Out with the old, in with the new. New you, that is.


GUPTA: Well, of course, that is a lot to deal with, but we talked with your family doctors. And they have this "New You" prescription.


GUPTA (voice-over): Get ready, Donna, we have the formula for a "New You".


BRIGHTHAUPT: How much do you do for clothes?

GUPTA: Lose 20 pounds, eat healthier, and increase cardio, and stop smoking.

DR. RUSSELL ROTHENBERG, INTERNIST: If you feel more stress off of cigarettes, call me. There are alternatives that would be better than smoking cigarettes.

GUPTA: Frank lobbied his doctor to create a prescription, as well.

DR. IRVING HWANG, INTERNIST: The goal, I'd like you to shoot for is 184 pounds. I know it's a lot of weight to lose overall.


HWANG: But it's going to be slow and it's going to be steady.

GUPTA: Lose 75 pounds, fit in cardio three to five days a week, lower cholesterol from 229 to below 200.


GUPTA: OK. Increasing cardio and decreasing calories, that's an old prescription. You've all heard that before.

BRIGHTHAUPT: Once or twice.

GUPTA: Once or twice.

Frank, I mean, you're a lobbyist. Lots of lavish dinners, lots of M & Ms in the candy machine. What are you sort of planning to try and get you to where you need to be?

PURCELL: Well, I just got to find a way to build better habits into my lifestyle. What I have done over the years is to permit this little bad habits to creep up little by little by little and think that somehow I was exempt from those laws of gravity. And if you eat bad stuff, you're going to get heavier.

Well, that's just not going to work anymore. I'm turning 40. And you turn 40, and it makes it all that much more difficult. In order to get that extra weight.

GUPTA: Ambitious goal, 75 pounds they say. We're going to be talking about that as the next eight weeks go on.

Obviously you're not going to lose that weight in eight weeks, but we'll talk about how you might get there. Donna, which is it? Which is going to be harder -- exercising more or smoking less?

BRIGHTHAUPT: Smoking less. GUPTA: That's going to be harder?

BRIGHTHAUPT: Exercising more, it's already a habit. I just have to incorporate more things to make the exercise work.

GUPTA: You started smoking 18 months ago, why?

BRIGHTHAUPT: The Republican National Convention.


BRIGHTHAUPT: Actually, full-time mom, full-time job, full-time school. I had an exam that day. And someone gave a sample pack. And it set there in my book bag for about a month. And I was in my favorite chair. And that's it. Started out with one.

GUPTA: Frank and Donna, we're going to be following your progress over the next two months very, very closely. Thanks for joining us on the set.

Coming up next, a military family takes on the mission of health. Stay with us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meet team Rampolla, a couple on the move with four kids and busy jobs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We end up having to split ourselves four ways to get everything accomplished.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their goal? Learn to juggle kids, work, and a healthy lifestyle.


GUPTA: All right, we're back with HOUSE CALL. This marks the beginning of our "New You" resolution. This year, we're focusing on the power of pairs. With each other's support, our twosomes are hoping to see some double digit results.

So let's meet Denise and Pedro. Now they're a military husband and wife serving their country. Pedro just returned from a tour in Iraq. And now the whole family is looking to get some military discipline when it comes to shaping up their own family.


GUPTA (voice-over): Make no mistake, the Rampollas run a military household. 5:00 a.m.


GUPTA: Pedro Rampolla wakes up the boys. DENISE RAMPOLLA, WIFE: From that point, it's what I call organized chaos.

GUPTA: Breakfast, homework, getting the kids to school.

P. RAMPOLLA: Hey, love you. Have a good day.

GUPTA: 8:00 a.m. Hours after attending to the demands of family, Pedro and Denise take on the demands of work.


GUPTA: Pedro controlling air traffic. And Denise counseling families left behind after soldiers deployed.

D. RAMPOLLA: Denise Rampolla calling.

GUPTA: 1:00 p.m. Already lunchtime. One Rampolla eats fast.

P. RAMPOLLA: Typical fast food, you know, Burger King, McDonald's.

GUPTA: The other not at all.

D. RAMPOLLA: I don't often have a lot of time for lunch.

GUPTA: And not a lot of time for dinner, either. Just when you think the day is winding down.

D. RAMPOLLA: We got to get everybody in and out, and go, and get everybody fed, and get their homework done and everything.

GUPTA: Time flies so fast for this military crew, they often favor quick over fresh.

D. RAMPOLLA: You can look in our freezer. We've got your standard frozen pizzas there, little crab rolls here. Lots of frozen vegetables.

GUPTA: And let's not even talk about exercise. There's simply no time. No wonder these two need a New Year's health prescription. And they're raring to do it Rampolla style, together.

P. RAMPOLLA: If we're not both engaged into it, then it's not going to work.

D. RAMPOLLA: We have to work as a team.

GUPTA: Teamwork will be essential to pry into this busy routine and insert healthy habits.

D. RAMPOLLA: And we're ready to do this. No, and we're not going to do it halfheartedly, either. We need to do it for us and we need to do it for our kids. It's time.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA: All right, Team Rampolla, we're here to help. We've started by enlisting your family doctor, who wrote this prescription.


GUPTA: The verdict for the Rampollas after the doctor's visit? Blood pressure good, check. Cholesterol OK, check. Heart doing well, check. But one concern.

P. RAMPOLLA: Heart disease.


P. RAMPOLLA: My mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. What did she have?

P. RAMPOLLA: She ended up with a triple bypass.

GUPTA: Your doctor's advice to combat heart disease in both your families, improve that diet.

D. RAMPOLLA: Pizza. No.

GUPTA: First step before the diet overhaul, keeping a food diary to figure out your food pitfalls. And slow down the furious family activity enough to fit in some exercise.

Military discipline will be key to achieving your "New You" goals.


GUPTA: All right, there's some good news in there. The health numbers all look pretty good in terms of your blood pressure, and your cholesterol and all that, but the strong family history of heart disease, that's a concern for sure. And that's something we're going to keep an eye on for you for the next couple of months.

You have four kids. And you know, we noticed they eat a lot of pizza. They don't particularly like vegetables, Pedro. You eat what your kids eat. How are you going to change that?

P. RAMPOLLA: We're hoping that we'll learn some new ways to get them to like the healthy stuff.

GUPTA: Green foods and things like that?

P. RAMPOLLA: Well, we have one that does like green foods. And maybe we can spread the wealth and get them off to start enjoying some of the stuff.

GUPTA: OK. And Denise, I got to tell you, I have a six-month- old. And you have four children. I don't know if it's like magnified each child, one on top of the other in terms of the overall commitment of time. But how are you going to fit in exercise and things like that with running around as much as we just that you do?

D. RAMPOLLA: Actually, I stress the facet of teamwork. And when we agreed to do this, our boys agreed to do it with us. So they know that taking that organized chaos apart a little bit, and then putting a little bit more emphasis into knowing that mom and dad have to make the break to do this, I think it'll be easier for us to do.

And plus, they're older right now. So I think right now is a good time for a change for the family.

GUPTA: What do your kids think of this, Pedro?

P. RAMPOLLA: They're excited about it. When we did - when we decided to do this, they knew that they were part of it. So if we're going to change the way we eat, that means they already know that they're going to change the way they eat.

And so, we're -- there may have been a trip to fast food place. Now they know that that's just not going to happen.

GUPTA: Not going to happen anymore. All right, the Rampollas, we're going to be following you along for the next eight weeks. Good luck. Lots of good advice coming up.

The power of pairs takes on a twist. Next up, twins compete to lose weight and get fit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twin brothers with twin cravings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like French fries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: French fries are usually an undoing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Traveling, working overnight, juggling a family. These brothers need to lose weight for their hearts. Meet Team Rasch after the break.

First, this week's medical headlines in "The Pulse".


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fighting a cough with over the counter medication may be more than just hard to swallow. It may a waste of money.

The American College of Chest Physicians says nonprescription cough suppressants and expectorants do little to relieve coughs caused by colds.

In new guidelines published in the Journal "Chest," doctors recommend using a simple decongestant with an antihistamine to treat coughs brought on by colds. But an industry trade group say their products provide relief to millions each year.

The World Health Organization says an outbreak of the bird flu in Turkey is not being spread person to person. At least two people have died. And more than a dozen are being treated for the H5N1 virus. But health officials say the Turkish outbreak is expected to be brought under control "relatively easily".

For "The Pulse", I'm Elizabeth Cohen.



GUPTA: Welcome back to HOUSE CALL. We're kicking off our "New You" resolution helping six people get healthy in the new year. Now we've got one more pair to meet, the twins. Stewart and Mark have busy lives, but think that their competitive spirit will drive them to get healthy.


GUPTA (voice-over): Sibling rivalry is a big motivator for these twins to gear up for the "New You" resolution.

STUART RASCH, NEW YOU PARTICIPANT: We've always been competitive. And he usually wins because he's bigger than I am. So what's the sport?

GUPTA: In this corner, Mark Rasch, a D.C. based cyber lawyer who spends half his week traveling for work. Jam packed life schedules force him to rely on fast food.

M. RASCH, NEW YOU PARTICIPANT: Breakfast is basically a butter McCheese.

GUPTA: When he's working from home, he raids the fridge.

M. RASCH: If it's around and it's salty or sweet, it's fair game.

GUPTA: And in the other corner, Stuart Rasch from upstate New York.

S. RASCH: Can you give her one...

GUPTA: He's an emergency room doc, who works overnight and sleeps during the day. When he's not saving lives, he stands over his take-out food, taking quick bites before he has to run to the next patient.

On days off, his sleeping and eating patterns are turned upside down.

S. RASCH: I may, in a 24-hour period, I may eat five meals. And I may conceivably eat only one or two meals on the Tuesday, Wednesday.

GUPTA: Although these 47-year-old twins may have very different jobs in different cities, their food indulgences are surprisingly similar.

S. RASCH: I like French fries.

M. RASCH: French fries are usually an undoing.

S. RASCH: I like pistachios. I like nuts.

M. RASCH: And there are some foods that you actually can't stop yourself, like the pistachios.

GUPTA: The twins have a history of heart disease in their family. Added to that, these two have poor diets, no time for exercise, and excess pounds.

S. RASCH: The body mass index, you know, too much body. Too much mass.

GUPTA: As for which brother will win.

S. RASCH: My cholesterol's going down. My blood pressure's going down. And my weight is going down. It's going down faster and more than his is.

M. RASCH: This is what we will do. We will have the weight loss. We will have the fitness. And we will be better.


GUPTA: All right. We've seen your bad habits and the obstacles that you face. Now check out your "New You" prescription.


GUPTA (voice-over): Hey, Rasch twins, step away from those French fries. Here's your "New You" prescription. Lowering blood pressure is goal number one. Mark's target is 140/85. And Stuart's is 120/80.

S. RASCH: My LDL was the same as my SATs.

GUPTA: Both brothers have to aim for total cholesterol levels below 200.

Finally, diet and exercise enough to lose two pounds a week. Mark's target weight for eight weeks is 189 pounds. Stuart's target is 153 pounds.

To help him reach his goal, Stuart needs to eat several small meals on a regular schedule.

Mark's at risk for metabolic syndrome, a dangerous combination of heart health factors. So he has to cut back on salt, carbs, and junk food on the road.


GUPTA: OK, Rasch brothers. Thanks for joining us here in the studio.

Something that struck me when I was reading about you is that your father had his first significant heart problems at the age of 51. You're both 47. I think you're four minutes older. How much is this motivating you, your father's own history?

M. RASCH: Well, it's a couple of things. Partially, it's his history. It's partially my blood pressure's going up, my cholesterol's going up, my weight's going up. And now's the time to take care of that.

GUPTA: And you've sort of known this for some time. I mean, because you watched your father go through this?

M. RASCH: That's right. And you know, family history is very important in telling you what it is you need to do.

GUPTA: Stuart, you're a doctor. I mean, you know all this stuff. And that's one of the things that strikes me about you, you and all these people is that fundamentally, we know the right things to do. Why don't we do it?

S. RASCH: Because it's hard work. And people don't like to work hard if they can have things made easy for them. And McDonald's and these fast food restaurants are easy. And to make losing weight and taking care of yourself easy is the goal for physicians to try to teach their patients.

Easy for us to tell people what to do.

GUPTA: Right.

S. RASCH: Much harder for us to do it ourselves.

GUPTA: Overnight shifts. You work overtime shifts. A lot of people watching do that as well or split shifts. How hard does that make it to lose weight and eat right?

S. RASCH: Well, because the rest of the world doesn't understand the concept of what you're doing at night, and that also restaurants and good food places are not open at 2:00 in the morning in general. You can't order a chefs salad at 4:00 in the morning the way you can order a pizza.

So it's very difficult to get yourself on a regular schedule.

Now if you work only nights and you work nights all the time and have a short shift, then you could potentially do it...

GUPTA: Right.

S. RASCH: ...because it's only -- but the rest of the world doesn't understand working nights.

GUPTA: Eight weeks, we're going to follow you guys along. I guarantee you're going to have some success here. We're going to see how you do in the long run as well. The Rasch twins.

Stay where you are at home. More HOUSE CALL coming up after the break.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new report sheds light on marketing high calorie food to kids. We'll tell you what food companies are doing to shape up.

Plus, how you can make your workouts more productive from squats to crunches. HOUSE CALL is showing you perfect form.


GUPTA: Welcome back. As obesity levels rise, experts warn that today's children will be sicker than their parents. A new report takes a look at one of the reasons that some experts say children are especially at risk.

Christy Feig filed this report.


CHRISTY FEIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a time when childhood obesity rates are rising, not falling, Shawna Rubbeck is a success story. At 14, she weighed more than 260 pounds. But so far with the help of a special summer camp, she's already lost nearly 70.

SHAWNA RUBBECK, OVERCOMING OBESITY: Before I really didn't like mirrors. I didn't like what was looking back at me. And now I love looking in the mirror now because I think I'm pretty.

FEIG: Although experts say there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity, a new report from the Institute of Medicine says food marketing is one of those.

J. MICHAEL MCGINNIS, DR., INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE: The dominant focus of food and beverage marketing to children and youth is for products high in calories and low in nutrients.

FEIG: To change that, the report calls for voluntary action by the food industry to stop advertising unhealthy food and drinks to children. The food industry says it accepts some responsibility for reducing childhood obesity and says it is already working with the industry on voluntary advertising changes, and that other changes are already underway.

RICHARD MARTIN, GROCERY MANUFACTURERS ASSOC.: Somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 percent are improving information on the food label. More than half are changing portion sizes to single serve or kids size packages.

FEIG: The committee wants the Department of Health and Human Services to monitor food advertising to children over the next two years. They say if voluntary efforts don't work by then, Congress should pass legislation to mandate such changes.

I'm Christy Feig reporting from Washington.


GUPTA: All right, Christy, thanks.

More HOUSE CALL after the break. Could the way you work out be doing more harm than good? Find out how you should be working out in order to have the best results. Stay with us.


GUPTA: Welcome back to HOUSE CALL. As we send off our "New You" warriors to get fit, it's critical for them and everyone to remember that how you work out can be just as important to getting to the gym in the first place.


HOLLY FIRFIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Having proper form in your workouts is essential for maximizing results and avoiding serious injury.

LEE MARTIN, FITNESS TRAINER: For doing crunches over the stability ball, ensure that you don't go too far back and hyper extend.

To perform stability ball crunches with proper form, keep the hips elevated, abs tight, and do not use your hands to pull your neck forward. That's absolutely perfect.

FIRFIR: There are a lot of exercises that personal trainers see people doing incorrectly. One of the most popular is the squat.

MARTIN: Doing squats with improper form can mean several things, including not getting a proper range of motion, locking your knees at the top, and leaning or hunching forward.

Squatting with perfect form includes maintaining natural curvature of the spine with the chest up, a proper range of motions, and lining up the knees with the toes while performing the exercise.

This is the perfect form.

FIRFIR: Now you can improve your workouts and avoid injuries by training with the perfect form.

Holly Firfir, CNN.


GUPTA: All right, Holly, thanks. Unfortunately, we're out of time for the day. I want to say good luck to all of you. It's going to be an interesting eight weeks. Thanks so much for joining us. We're going to be sending our producers and our teams to track your ups and downs. I hope they're more up than down. Certainly everyone's going to get a lot of reports on that.

Also, we're going to be airing weekly reports on your progress every Tuesday at 8:50 a.m. on "AMERICAN MORNING". Plus this year, we have a new way that folks at home can stay in touch as well, asking questions, give some encouragement. That's always a popular part of the program.

It's our Power of Pairs blog. Just go to and look for the link to our blog. And if you're looking for a body to team up with and start your own "New You" resolution, try going to our buddy blog at Good luck and get healthy.

Thanks for watching. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Stay tuned now for more news on CNN.


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