lifestyle

EXERCISE INCREASES SENIORS’ MOBILITY

Posted on

86808667

A new study called Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) by the University of Florida and the University of Maryland shows the importance of physical activity for adults in relation to their good health. It was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers evaluated 1,635 individuals with inactive lifestyles US with ages ranging from 70 to 89 from eight varying study centers across the US. The subjects were able to walk 400 meters in 15 minutes but were put at high risk of losing their mobility.

Marco Pahor, PhD, of the Institute of Aging at the University of Florida states that populations in this range are “typically understudied,” even supposing that health professionals see such patients every day.

Low physical activity in older adults can increase the risk of institutionalization, hospitalization, and death.

Participants were assigned to one of two groups at random. The first group consisting of 818 participants monitored twice a week was tasked to carry out daily moderate exercises, which involved walking 150 minutes a week and executing strength, flexibility and balance training.

The second group which included 817 individuals was subject to attending health education classes and performing stretching exercises. Each individual was assessed every six months for an average of 2.6 years.

Staff members from each study center looked at the subjects’ walking ability, pulse rate and blood pressure, and other measurements of health at each assessment, and were uninformed of what group the participants were assigned to.

Researchers arrived at the conclusion that individuals in the moderate exercise group had an 18% higher walking ability than those in the education classes group. Moderate exercise was correlated with a 28% reduction in mobility loss as determined by the ability to walk 400 meters.

Jack Guralnik, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine remarked that the purpose of conducting this study was to provide evidence affirming that physical activity can improve the physical independence of older adults.

The study shows the rate of hospitalizations in each group was higher among individuals who carried out moderate exercise although the figure was not ‘statistically significant.’

Wendy Kohrt, PhD, a professor at the University of Colorado, reviewed the study’s scientific merit before it was initiated. She stated that such research is vital in concluding lifestyle recommendations to be made for senior citizens.

She says that the LIFE trial showed that an increase in physical activity has the prospective to help older adults “maintain functional dependence.”

Among information to be deducted from the study include how physical activity impacts participants’ emotional well-being and social, physiological and biological factors.

In addition to this, the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA found that physical activity for people over the age of 65 may reduce the risk of heart attack. Other findings establish that exercise for women aged 50 and over may help reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Cacao Industry Bids For ‘Sweet Success’

Posted on

The rebirth of a Philippine world-class product

By Allysa Faye Greganda

By 2020, the world’s need for cacao beans is projected to increase by 30%, yet the country’s production has yet to meet the demand. If our cacao industry can do so, then there is hope for the Philippine agricultural sector.

While Filipinos crave for imported chocolates, better think again: first-rate quality cocoa can be grownin your backyard. It is the same reason why the Department of Agriculture keeps an eye on this delectable opportunity for the country’s agri-production.

This month, DA just handed an initial P14M for cacaoagri-business zones (CABZs) in Davao City.

Being endowed with such perfect soil composition and sun temperature, the Philippine’s cacao industry is a potential big exporter—only if more farmers would invest into it.

The truth is, cacao seeds do not grow in thewestern countries known to produce these mouth-watering chocolates, including Japan. Raising cacao trees haveclimatic requirements.

Land capability

Rainfall should range from 1250 to 3000 mm per annum while 1500-2000 mm during dry season of not more than 3 months. Maximum temperature is 32°C and the minimum is 18°C. Altitude of the area must lie between 300-1200 meters above sea level.

Cacao thrives best in areas with evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. As of now, cacao plantations can be found in the areas of Mindanao specially Davao and CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) in Luzon.

The cacao industry has never grown into its full potential. Moreover, we even import 20,000 metric tons of cocoa beans from Africa last 2008 up to this date, costing $42 million a year.

During 1980s, Philippines has shared 20% of the world’s need for cocoa. The industry declinedaltogether with the rise of CARP.

Discovering these lost chances, the DA and Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) made partnerships with different companies to help boost cacao farming in the country.

BAR also collaborated with Cocoaphil for the Sustainable Cacao Program. The target now is to be able to produce 100,000 metric tons by 2020 from our usual production of 25,000 metric tons yearly.

As for the initial funding, P1.75 million has been allotted for the distribution of seedlings.

P2.5 million goes for production equipment’s and machinery. Post-harvest facilities and other infrastructure costs P6.22 million, marketing development services amounts to P200,000, while P615,000 budget allotted in training for new and current cacao industry players.

Made in the Philippines

“Dry like a full bodied well-aged red wine,” these were the words Shawn Askinosie of the world’s famous Zingerman’s Deli said to describe the Philippine Tablea (chocolate).

So far, there had been few who attempts in making it into the exporting world—all by themselves. Rob Crisostomo started as a simple farmer then eventually founded the Seed Core Enterprises in Davao.

He now exports container load of Philippine cacao to Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest supplier of high quality chocolate and cacao products. It just proves that cacao made in the Philippines is globally competitive.

This will not only give glory to the country but also provide livelihood for many families.

The secret of Philippine cacao beans is in how our farmers carefully process the seedlings from planting, harvesting and even in quality control phase. Filipino women are the usual laborers in cacao plantations. DA said that this type of farming is gender-sensitive, that is why women are the preferred laborers.

As of now, there are 20,000 hectares of cacao trees in Davao, and 70% of the annual production of the crop come from the same province. The industry has helped 16,000 farmers and 340 cooperatives, according to Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.

Indeed, this industry has becoming a good source of livelihood for most Filipinos in the South.

Harvesting Hope

It is a wise decision for DA to finally revive the cacao industry. This can even lift the country into poverty. We should focus more into utilizing our lands because the Philippines’climate and environment has the perfect set up for growing such crops.

Our true wealth is our agriculture because not all countries are capable of producing crops such as cacao beans. Our government has to realize that prosperity in our country does not merely relyon just ICT, business empires and technology.

It will be beneficial for the country’s economy if the budget allocation for this industry is increased.

(Ms. Greganda is a graduating student of AB Communication in the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna. She is currently working in OpinYon as an intern. She also loves sweets, including chocolate.)

Samsung Finally Launched the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Posted on

Good news for photography enthusiasts: Samsung finally launched the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom.

Along with its unusual camera lens, it offers a 10x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization that can go from a focal length of 24mm to 240mm in just a snap.

It is pretty versatile for those who love to capture selfies, food, landscapes, concerts and other events.

K Zoom runs with the latest 4.4.2 KitKat version of Android OS and TouchWiz interface. There are several new enhancements on this device,including GoogleNow,an application that actively listens to voice commands.

It is also power-driven by a hexa-core processor made up of two 1.7GHz ARM A15 cores paired with four 1.3 GHz ARM A7 cores.

That means this smartphone has improved performance and will use power more efficiently,while being easy on battery life.

Techies will probablyraise their expectationsfor smartphone technology done by  other big-name manufacturers, because Samsung has raised the bar with this new product line. (Niks Aguila)

New Exodus

Posted on

[By Erick A. Fabian] 

The Philippines has the best call center agents in the world. We shouldn’t be surprised when they are pirated by companies in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand come ASEAN 2015.

All the foreign firms have to do is offer them better salaries and security of tenure.

There is one thing the government can’t stop — the continuous brain-drain of Filipino professionals which has been happening for several decades.

It started with our scientists. Then the doctors, nurses, teachers, and information technology professionals followed.

For a country relying on manpower as a major source of revenue, we will soon find ourselves empty-handed.

There is no question as to the competence of Filipino business processing operations (BPO) or call center employees. Being a former American colony for 50 years, the Philippines has produced a large pool of fluent English speakers.

Ability to mimic

Even India conceded when its BPO companies moved 70 percent of their operations here recently. Companies worldwide have attested to the Filipino’s natural ability to mimic a neutral, easy-to-understand Western accent.

With most of our industries outflanked by their counterparts in other Asian countries, the BPO industry is one of the most promising saviors of the Philippine economy.

Offshore business processing is expected to double its multi-billion dollar earnings in 2015, due to rising demand in the global economy.

As ASEAN 2015 looms, the emerging economies of Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam will be joining the BPO bandwagon.

International investors keep complaining about the corruption, infrastructure, and the difficulty of setting up a business here, seen as a major bottleneck for would-be BPOs.

We cannot blame Filipino call center employees if they eventually move abroad. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your family’s needs, and a better offer is always tempting.

New players

Fresh graduates of electronics communications engineering from provincial colleges are already getting offers of double compensation abroad. BPO agents will soon follow suit, because investors will find fertile ground in other Asian countries.

In fact, even military junta-ruled Myanmar is loosening up policies so foreign investors will be attracted to come and stay. The current regime at least had the sensibility to admit that they need a lot of foreign investor money to sustain their country’s economy.

US-based BPOs are here simply because the costs are much lower, and the return on investment more than makes up for the initial capital of setting up a new operation.

But more and more Filipino professionals are slowly trickling into Thailand and Vietnam, buoyed by their innate English language proficiency.

A 2013 ZDNET.com report by finance analyst Ryan Huang confirms that the Thai call center industry is pulling up its sleeves to challenge BPO heavyweights Philippines and India.

Gray area

Internet speed is the lifeblood of the BPO industry, and yet the Philippines has one of the slowest Internet speeds in Asia. This is what they call the digital divide: the one who gets the information first wins.

The country has supplied the initial amount of exceptional BPO employees, but it is now becoming more obvious that we cannot respond to the skyrocketing demand.

The availability of foreign BPO companies here is a drop in the bucket. There are more than three million eligible but unemployed Filipinos. The call center industry can only employ around 600,000.

There are recent reports of Filipino professionals doing well in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. A quick sweep of online job listings shows random lists of companies in Asian countries recruiting Filipino call center agents with offers of better salaries and working conditions.

One gray area is that law enforcement can’t even ensure the safety of BPO workers in Makati and Ortigas who mostly work at night. Recent accounts of mugging and other crimes against call center workers abound.

Whether the government and the BPO industry can get their acts together is another story.

Middle East Virus Is Potential Global Threat

Posted on

By Nicole Ann M. Aguila

A virus threat is something to be alarmed about, because it may not only occur in the Middle East, but also spread around the globe. Filipinos might think that we would not become susceptible to this kind of illness. But that is not true, because we are not superhuman.  Infection by the said virus is always possible, especially because migration from country to country happens on a regular basis.

These past few weeks, the MERS-CoV-related news doesn’t fail to pop up on the news headlines. This deadly virus, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, has already taken 27 lives out of 49 infected individuals.

Last August 29, 2013, a Pinay nurse who suffered from pneumonia, which is one of the severe indications of MERS-CoV, has been confirmed positive for the said virus. A male overseas Filipino worker who only just got back in Manila was also tested positive for the MERS-CoV.

DOH Secretary Enrique Ona believed that the OFW, who is also a nurse, had interaction with the infected person in the UAE. The male health worker was put on confinement.

“He has no symptoms.  He has the virus but he is not sick with it.  But he still can infect others so we put him in isolation.  We can say that he’s a carrier.  It means he was exposed to the virus,” Ona said.

The OFW was observed for five days to see if he still has the virus. Secretary Ona also added that there is a probability that he might get sick or can infect others in two weeks.

After repeating the examination by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the OFW was declared cleared from MERS-CoV virus, according to Ona.

They will also be tracing the seatmates on the plane and other people that the person interacted with so that they would be assessed, observed and quarantined if needed. This is to make sure that these people are not infected and had no symptoms. These are all preventive procedures. Government will also take up the expenditures of those who will get ill with MERS-CoV or get quarantined.

Undersecretary Eric Tayag said on Twitter that the Philippines became the 12th country and the first in Asia with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV. But there were reports that a Malaysian was the first person in Asia to capitulate to the said virus.

“To contain MERS-CoV spread, quarantine those who had contact with known infection and isolate those who became sick after contact with a known case,” Secretary Ona also tweeted.

This deadly virus can easily spread throughout the country and even become the next ‘SARS’ if it is not given sufficient attention. To be protected from it, Filipinos need to be educated about this virus threat. After all, prevention is better than cure.

(Ms. Aguila is currently an intern for OpinYon. She is an incoming fourth year student in AB Communication Arts in Malayan College in Cabuyao, Laguna.)

 

The Php600k Gaming Pc

Posted on

Yoyotech’s Aurum 24K sports a spectacular interior as is water-cooled, not air-cooled.The Aurum 24K isn’t just a fast PC. Many man-hours have been invested to add lots of customization to make the PC unique.Called the XDNA Aurum 24K, the PC actually retails for £7979 in the UK, and if you paid attention in school you’ll know that 79 is the atomic number for gold, while Aurum is Latin for gold. Chemistry and Latin facts aside, the PC sports an incredible specification that is likely to be blisteringly fast not just in games but at anything you can throw at it too.

Yoyotech has chosen Intel’s Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition processor, which it has tweaked to run faster than it does out of the box, boosting its frequency to 4.6GHz.

NVIDIA’s Titan graphics cards were the most drool-worthy of 2013, and Yoyotech has included not one but two of them. It also has a gargantuan 64GB of Corsair memory, a 512GB solid state disk and 2TB hard disk, all housed in a Corsair Obsidian 900D tower case, which has been modified to hide cables and give the inside a super-clean look. (Antony Leather)

MVP for 2016 VP

Posted on

 

MANNY V. Pangilinan has repeatedly said he is not running for President in 2016. But he could be running for Vice President, instead. That is, if Vice President Jejomar Binay got his way.

Speaking to reporters, the former mayor of Makati City confirmed he is considering MVP as his running mate in the 2016 polls—and with good reason.

Considered as one of the most influential men in the country today, MVP is the perfect running mate for any presidential aspirant since he is at the helm of corporations and industries crucial to the Philippine economy: Philippine Long Distance Company, infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Manila Electric Company, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., Maynilad Water Services Inc., gold producer Philex Mining and the biggest local power player Manila Electric Company. And with vast holdings in media, health services and various other industries, MVP already wields enough power and financial resources to propel his chosen political allies into the halls of power come 2016.

But MVP is not the only person in Binay’s list of potential bets for VP. Last month he was mouthing off the name of another MP—that of Saragani Representative and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao—as running mate. Another potential mate for Binay is Ate Vi, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos Recto. But like MVP, Vilma has also repeatedly stated that she has no plans of seeking higher office in 2016.

With 2016 just around the bend, the Liberal Party is said to have already begun to raise funds for the campaign kitty of its next presidential standard bearer be it Mar Roxas or Kris Aquino. The LP, too, would benefit immensely having a man of MVP’s stature in its corner.

Let’s put ourselves in MVP’s shoes for a minute. Would it be wise to associate with any single political party in 2016? We think it’s not. And MVP knows it very well that for the sake of his business empire it is best to remain neutral and to stay out of politics.

“There is no political blood that runs through my veins,” MVP said back in October. “I believe I can serve our people better some other way,” he said.

Business and politics do not make good bedfellows. By staying neutral, MVP can play all sides of the fence and emerge a winner regardless of the outcome of the 2016 polls.  All he has to do is to spread his bet—put money on the ruling party, on the opposition and the long shots, too. This way, MVP’s business empire is guaranteed to survive and thrive beyond 2016.