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Weight Loss

April 19, 1999

Many people are looking to lose weight before the "bathing suit" season of summer. But health officials urge caution when trying to trim those pounds--especially if you try fad diets or assorted medications. The wrong diet or drugs can cause major health problems. Here are some tips.

Advice for those considering losing weight:

* Check with your doctor. Make sure your health status allows for taking in fewer calories and increasing physical activity.

* Follow a calorie-

reduced but balanced diet that provides for losing as little as one or two pounds a week.

* Make time in your day for some form of physical activity.

* Consider the benefits of moderate weight loss. There's scientific evidence that losing 5% to 10% of your weight and keeping it off can benefit your health.

Recommendations for those who decide to choose a weight-loss product or plan:

* If your doctor prescribes medication, ask about complications or side effects. Let the doctor know what medications you're taking or other conditions you have.

* If your treatment includes periodic monitoring or counseling, make sure the location is easy to get to.

* Some methods for losing weight have more risks than others. Ask for details about side effects, complications or risks of any products.

* Where appropriate, ask about the credentials and training of the program staff.

* Ask for an itemized price list for all costs of the plan you're considering, including membership fees, diagnostic tests, weekly visits, meal replacements or nutritional supplements.

Train Safety

More trains than ever are using the maze of railroad tracks that cut across Orange County. With the increased train traffic come increased risks of injury. Here are some safety tips:

* Never walk, play or loiter on or near railroad tracks or use the tracks as a shortcut to your destination. Railroad tracks, yards and equipment are private property, and trespassers are subject to arrest and fines.

* Stop and obey the flashing lights or lowered crossing gates that warn of an oncoming train.

* If the gates are down, stop and stay in place until the gates are raised and the lights stop flashing.

* If a train is coming, stop and wait until it has passed.

* Never drive onto the tracks unless you're sure you can cross without stopping. If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, get everyone out immediately whether or not a train is coming.

Sources: Associated Press; the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management

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