Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another Cause For Children Obesity!

Childhood obesity is a serious issue as obese children are at a much higher risk of developing many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke and even certain types of cancer later in their life.

Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet have been crowned as the main culprits responsible for childhood obesity. However, researchers from Temple University had recently found a new cause.

In a paper published in the ‘Journal of Pediatrics’, they reported that toddlers who still drank from bottles at age of 2 were 33 percent more likely than other children to be obese at the age of 5.

Of the 6,750 children studied, 1 in 5 was still using a bottle at the age of 24 months, either at night or all the time. For those who were long-term bottle users, roughly 1 in 5 was obese at the age of 5, comparing to about 1 in 6 that has been weaned earlier.

After looking into other factors that could affect a child's risk of obesity, including mother's weight, family income and education, and if the child had ever been breastfed, the researchers found that prolonged bottle-feeding by itself could induce a 33 percent increase in children's risk of obesity.

According to researchers, the bottle might be providing a source of comfort, rather than meeting nutritional needs. Nevertheless, the extra calories could be substantial. For instance, for an average 2-ear-old girl, an 8-ounce bottle of whole milk fed at bedtime would provide 12 percent of her calorie needs for the day.

Though the findings could not conclude long-term bottle-feeding is directly responsible for the increased risk of obesity, they did suggest that weaning babies around 12 month old could help prevent weight gain.

In fact, pediatricians already advise parents to wean their children when they are about 12 to 14 months old, or even earlier. This is mainly because extended bottle-feeding, especially overnight, is believed to boost the risk of cavities and might contribute to iron deficiency.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It Is Food Choice That Make You Fat!

What you eat is what you get! Unhealthy eating can cause people to develop chronic diseases including Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.

Many people believe eating less and exercise more can achieve good health! But in reality, this seems to be too simplistic because researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that slight changes in eating habits, like eating an extra serving of potato chips or fries each day, could raise a person’s weight over the years.

After examining data on diet and lifestyle of 3 large studies including more than 120,000 nurses and health professionals from around the United States over a period of 20 years, the researchers argued that overall food choice appears to have the strongest link to how much a person gains weight.

While the United Nations praising potato as a good source of Vitamin-C, several B Vitamins and Minerals, including iron, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, the researchers reported on June 22, 2011 in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ that people who ate an extra serving of French fries every day gained an average of 1.5 kilos over a 4-year period. Those who consumed on an extra serving of potato chips daily gained an average of 770 grams every 4 years, and an extra serving of potatoes prepared in any non-chip form was found to contribute to an average weight gain of 590 grams over 4 years.

Similar results were seen in people who consumed extra sugary drinks (0.45 kilos) and unprocessed meat (0.43 kilos) and processed meat (0.42 kilos).

On the other hand, people ate more of certain foods like yoghurt, vegetables, fruits and whole grains, did not gain weight. Over the period of 4 year, people who ate an extra serving of vegetables each day lose 0.1 kilos. Similar results were discovered in people who ate extra serving of yoghurt (0.37 kilos), fruit (0.21 kilos) and nuts (0.26 kilos).

In conclusion, the study found that quality of food is more important than quantity to prevent long-term weight gain, and that small lifestyle changes did make the difference between staying slim and becoming overweight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Be Happy To Lower Heart Disease Risk!

Are you happy with your life? If your answer is yes, then probably you will be at a lower risk of getting heart disease.

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that people who were most content with their lives had 13 percent lower risk of heart disease. Their findings were published online on July 4, 2011 in the ‘European Heart Journal’.

According to them, participants' level of satisfaction with their job, family, sex life and with themselves was linked to their risk of coronary heart disease. The higher the satisfaction, the greater the risk reduction.

About 8,000 British government workers were asked about 7 specific areas of participants' everyday lives, including love relationships, leisure activities, standard of living, job, family, sex and one's self. They rated their satisfaction level in each area on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 7 (very satisfied).

The participants’ health records for coronary related death, non-fatal heart attack and angina, or chest pain were tracked over the next 6 years. It seemed that satisfaction with one’s job, family, sex and self were most paramount for heart disease prevention, after taking into account of other heart disease risk factors including hypertension (high blood pressure) and body mass index (BMI).

Health experts have long regarded depression and anxiety as risk factors for heart disease, but there has not been much evidence found that supported benefits of a positive psychological state like feeling content with one’s life.

The new findings suggested effort to encourage positive psychological states could be as relevant as to lessen negative psychological states for those who are at high risk of heart disease.

Nevertheless, being happy alone might not be enough to keep heart disease away as there are many other risk factors that can cause people to develop heart disease. The basic rules remain: a healthy diet and regular physical activities are still a must for people who wish to be heart healthy.

Monday, December 05, 2011

How Did Movies Affect Teen Smoking?

Smoking is undoubtedly a unwanted habit that should not be encouraged because it can cause smokers as well as people around them (through secondhand smoke) suffer chronic diseases including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary) and erectile dysfunction. It can lead to birth defects, too.

Teens smoke for a number of reasons. Pressure among the peers and smoking habit of parents or relatives tend to influence the teens to follow suit. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, indicated that smoking among teens is somehow related to movies with tobacco.

According to their findings that were published on July 14, 2011 in the ‘Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report’, number of movies in the United States in which an actor smoked fell sharply between 2005 and 2010.

55 percent of movies that had huge box office grossing in the United States in 2010 did not have smoking scenes, compared with a third of films that scored huge box office success in 2005.

During the same 6-year period, the number of tobacco incidents in top-grossing movies fell by 56 percent, though there were still some 2,000 scenes where an actor used tobacco either openly, on screen, or implicitly, off-screen. In fact, the percentages of 2010 top-grossing movies with no tobacco incidents were the highest observed in 2 decades.

In 2010, a study released by CDC found that the percentage of middle school students in the United States who smoked fell from 11 percent to 5 percent between 2000 and 2009 and those who experimented with smoking fell from nearly 30 percent to 15 percent.

Meanwhile, use of other tobacco products like cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco was also down among middle school boys aged between 11 and 14. The smoking among high school students was also down though less sharply.

17 percent of high school students smoked cigarettes in 2009, comparing to 28 percent in 2000, while 3 in 10 high school students tried smoking 2 years ago, comparing to nearly 4 in 10 in 2000.

The drop in onscreen smoking might have contributed to the decline in smoking among middle school and high school students.