Readers write, May 13

HEALTHY LIVING

Proper diet calls for moderation, balance

I recently read “Doctor dispels food, health myths” (Living, May 2), and as a registered dietitian, wanted to provide my perspective.

First of all, congratulations to Dr. Richard Besser on the release of his new book. I respect Dr. Besser’s views and completely agree with his recommendations to limit portion sizes by purchasing smaller place settings, and asking for a take-out container before starting a meal while dining out.

I disagree that any food or beverage should be eliminated from a person’s diet. A common myth is that healthy eating includes an all-or-nothing approach. However, a foundation for any healthy diet is moderation. I tell my patients they can have chips, pizza and soda as part of a healthy diet, but only in recommended portions — and if lower-calorie options are chosen when available. Elimination diets are not the right answer. A more holistic approach is needed to maintain a healthy weight.

KRISTEN SMITH, ATLANTA

Centenarians don’t take their health for granted

To mark Older Americans Month this May, UnitedHealthcare released the results of its annual 100@100 survey, which examines the lifestyles of centenarians and reveals their secrets to longevity.

Each year, this survey shows centenarians aren’t taking their health for granted. The majority are exercising every week, and making healthful choices when it comes to their diet. But this year’s findings bring special attention to the emotional and mental components of health. Half of the 100-year-olds polled this year said they wouldn’t change a thing about the way they lived their lives. A senior who can reflect on his or her life without regret has peace in the present — the kind that enhances one’s sense of well-being and makes for a more satisfying life, maybe even a longer one.

I encourage you to reach out to the centenarians and other older adults in your life during Older Americans Month. Their perspective may be just the reminder you need of what’s most important for a healthy, happy life.

GREGG KUNEMUND, REGIONAL VICE-PRESIDENT, UNITEDHEALTHCARE MEDICARE & RETIREMENT

CEO COMPENSATION

Use of pay consultants explains rising salaries

Regarding “Why some CEOs get paid so much” (Business, April 28), I want to congratulate Russell Grantham for a very well-researched and written article, and to be sure you know there are readers who appreciate his excellent analysis of this issue.

The root of this problem is the creation and expansion of compensation consulting firms, none of which could attract new business without a near-perfect record of defining “peer groups” in a way that leads to the need to increase compensation.

Given the very few executives who move from one business or industry to another, the rationalization of management retention based on compensation in “peer groups” that include companies in other industries is almost absurd.

With total compensation now largely determined by performance incentives, it is also important to understand how performance goals are often loosely defined — and how often they allow for a large margin of error, if not totally overlooked, when performance does not meet the goal.

RON KURTZ, ALPHARETTA

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