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Sharon Smith 888-217-5016


call or email TODAY -- START LOSING WEIGHT FOR THE LAST TIME! Not a diet, but a weight management program.


ASK ME HOW I can help with Arthritis or other special needs products.




May is national Arthritis month --


You owe it to yourself to understand how the joints in your body work, how those joints can be affected by arthritis, and what you can do to slow down or prevent joint damage. Take a true/false quiz to find out how much you know.    Quiz

Arthritis affects nearly 43 million Americans, roughly one American in six. Based on predictions of population growth, in 2020 an estimated 60 million Americans will have some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type; it affects more than 20 million Americans. An estimated 2.1 million people, about 1% of all American adults, have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

What common risk factors determine who gets arthritis, be it OA, RA, or another form?


Age. Your risk of developing arthritis depends on your age. Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability among adults 18 years of age and older, with OA being the most common form of arthritis in this age group

Gender. In general, arthritis occurs more frequently in women than in men. Before age 45, OA occurs more frequently in men; after age 45, OA is more common in women. RA also occurs much more frequently in women than in men. About two to three times as many women as men have RA.

Obesity. Obesity increases the chances of getting OA, particularly for women. There is a clear link between obesity and the development of OA of the knee in women. Diet and exercise can help with weight control and minimize the stress on weight-bearing joints, such as your knees

Work factors. Work-related repetitive injury and physical trauma contribute to the development of OA. If you have a strenuous job that requires repetitive bending, kneeling, or squatting, you are at high risk for OA of the knee.You may want to explore the options for minimizing the effects of arthritis in the workplace.

What is Osteoarthritis?
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Managing Arthritis Pain

Copyright 2002 Associated Press 
               AP Online

April 2, 2002 Tuesday
LENGTH: 588 words
HEADLINE: IRS Recognizes Obesity As a Disease

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Overweight Americans now have a new pocketbook reason to shed some pounds. Recognizing obesity as a disease, the IRS says it will begin allowing taxpayers to claim weight loss expenses as a medical deduction.
 ``It really opens the gate for everybody to be at a
 healthier weight. America really needs to wake up,'' said Linda Webb Carilli, a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers International Inc.
 Apart from the tax break, the Internal Revenue Service ruling could pave the way for insurance companies and such government programs as Medicare to offer coverage for obesity treatment, experts say. Now, it is usually considered a symptom or precursor to some other disease.
 ``It legitimizes an important area that's been on the
 fringe,'' said Morgan Downey, executive director of the nonprofit American Obesity Association.
 Taxpayers have been able to deduct the costs of weight loss  programs as a medical expense since 2000 only if they were  recommended by a doctor to treat a specific disease.  Obesity itself was not recognized by the IRS as an ailment  that qualified for the weight loss expense deduction.
 Tuesday's ruling qualifies obesity itself as a disease. `It's going to help a lot of people,'' Downey said. ``Most of the services are not covered by insurance and they can be fairly expensive.''
 There is mounting evidence that obesity takes a huge toll on the nation's health. In 1998, the National Institutes of Health estimated that 97 million adult Americans were
 overweight or obese; the Obesity Association estimates that
 300,000 unnecessary deaths a year can be attributed to the disease.
 Obesity is defined by the federal government as excessive mass for a given person's height. Some examples: a 5-foot-5 person is considered obese at 180 pounds; for a 6-foot person, 221 pounds is listed as obese.
 Obese people are at heightened risk of high blood pressure,  diabetes, heart disease, stroke, several types of cancer and gall bladder disease. A social stigma also is frequently attached to being extremely overweight, the Obesity Association noted.
 The IRS ruling cited this growing body of research,
 including a recent World Health Organization finding, for why it now believes ``obesity is medically accepted to be a  disease in its own right.''
 To take the deduction, a taxpayer will have to participate in a weight-loss program for medically valid reasons.  Simply joining a gym or a weight control program to  ``improve the taxpayer's appearance, general health and sense of well-being'' and not under a physician's guidance will not qualify, the IRS said.
 Also not deductible are diet foods, even if they are an integral part of the weight loss plan. The IRS reasons that  people have to pay for their food whether or not they are trying to lose weight.
 The deduction comes in the area of medical expenses, which must in total exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income and can only be taken by taxpayers who itemize their deductions.
 The ruling applies not only to 2001 income tax returns -- which are due April 15 in most of the country -- but as far back as 1998. Taxpayers who want to take a deduction for  past expenses need only file an amended return for the tax year in question.
 The IRS has included smoking cessation programs as deductible medical expenses, as well as treatment and other costs related to alcoholism. IRS Publication 502 has the details on the medical deduction.