Health Points: Wednesday
- A new study claims limiting TV and computer time, helps kids lose weight. Steven Reinberg HealthDay News reports:
"Using technology to modify television viewing eliminates parental vigilance needed to enforce family rules and reduces the disciplinary action needed if a child exceeds his or her sedentary behavior limits," the authors concluded. "Perhaps most important, the device puts the choice of when to watch television in the child's control, as opposed to a rule such as 'no television time until homework is completed.'"
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, said the study, "shows the upside to this ominous mix -- reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity by several mechanisms. Less screen time may be even more important to dietary pattern than to physical activity pattern. But by either means, the ends here are encouraging and highlight the importance of this strategy."
- Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times investigates the claim, does caffeine cause dehydrations? See for yourself:
Investigations comparing caffeine with water or placebo seldom found a statistical difference in urine volume, the author wrote. “In the 10 studies reviewed, consumption of a caffeinated beverage resulted in 0 to 84 percent retention of the initial volume ingested, whereas consumption of water resulted in 0 to 81 percent retention.”
Another study, in the same journal in 2005, involved scientists following 59 active adults over 11 days while controlling their caffeine intake. They were given caffeine in capsule form on some days and on other days were given a placebo. Researchers found no significant differences in levels of excreted electrolytes or urine volume.
- A new Georgia law requires schools to measure and track students’ body-mass index. ParentDish is on it:
They're not the first; several other states have similar laws on the books, including Arkansas, which was the first in 2003.
Children will be weighed twice a year, in private. Their BMI will be tracked but kept confidential. "Sally, step into the office, step up on the scale, that's about as invasive as it gets," said Senator Joseph Carter, who sponsored the bill. "The presence of childhood obesity is staggering," he added.
Not everyone is a fan of the idea, however. Senator Preston Smith wants to keep the government out of the weight loss business and worries that pressure from schools will do more harm than good. "Come on, pick it up fat kid, we're not going to get money if you don't!" he said, mimicking what he thought school officials would say.
- The CBS Early Show has some tips to help make your home greener. Check it out:
- Seat Belt Pillow: There are new and cool ways to go incorporate green and recycled materials into your house. These pillows are made of end-of-the line seat belt webbing otherwise destined for the landfill. A little expensive at $114, but very innovative.
- Recycled glass bowls and vase from Pier 1: You can take the green theme to other parts of your home. And one great way to do this is to decorate green. Pier 1 has a new line of hand-painted glass bowls and vases that are made from 100 percent recycled glass. They are beautiful and eco-conscious.
- Cork Bowls: This bowl is made 100 percent recycled cork (reclaimed waste material from the bottle-stopper industry). Cork is also a great choice for flooring, and made of tree bark, which is an eco-responsible alternative to petroleum-based vinyl flooring and slow-growing hardwoods such as oak.
- According to Michael Kahn of Reuters, a British study has determined radiation can be linked to heart disease. Here’s more:
The researchers cautioned that further studies were needed to consider factors such as diet, exercise, cholesterol levels and smoking habits that affect the risk of heart disease.
The study focused on more than 65,000 workers employed between 1946 and 2002 at four sites operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc and its predecessors. The team analyzed non-cancer death rates and cumulative radiation exposure using the workers' personal dosimeter badges.
Comparing the some 42,000 workers exposed to relatively high levels of radiation to office workers and other employees pointed to an increased heart disease risk, the researchers said.
- Researchers have discovered that drinking alcohol may boost blood pressure more than previously thought. Reuters is on it:
Drinking alcohol, even moderate amounts, may boost blood pressure more than previously thought, British researchers said on Tuesday.
People with a genetic mutation that makes it difficult to consume alcohol had significantly lower blood pressure than regular or heavy drinkers, the researchers found.
People without the mutation who had about 3 drinks per day had "strikingly" higher blood pressure than people with the genetic change who tended to drink only small amounts or nothing at all.
- It seems that eating breakfast helps keep U.S. teens thin. More from Will Dunham of Reuters:
The study involved 2,216 adolescents in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota whose eating patterns, weight and other lifestyle issues were tracked for five years. They were just under 15 years old when they entered the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics.
The more regularly the teens ate breakfast, the lower their body mass index was, according to the study. BMI is a measure of body weight relative to height. Those who always skipped breakfast on average weighed about 5 pounds more than their peers who ate the meal every day.
- Sorry, but vitamins aren’t magic pills and according to a new study, they don’t cut lung cancer risk either. Reuters reports:
Their study involved 77,721 people in Washington state ages 50 to 76, tracking their use over the prior decade of supplemental multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate to see if this would offer protection from lung cancer.
None of the vitamins looked at in the study was tied to a reduced risk of lung cancer. In fact, people who took high doses of vitamin E, especially smokers, had a small but statistically significant elevated risk, the researchers said.
- Jacki Donaldson of That’sFit lets us know that rosemary is quite a healthy herb. Here’s an excerpt:
Originating in the Mediterranean and then spreading to the United States and Europe, rosemary was used for centuries to treat nervous system ailments, says Discovery Health. Healthwise, it's used today in aromatherapy to enhance senses and boost memory and it just happens to contain those magical antioxidants -- carnosol is its strongest -- which help prevent cancer and high cholesterol. It also helps stimulate the immune system, increase circulation, and improves digestion, according to The World's Healthiest Foods site. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds, increases blood flow to the head and brain, and improve concentration. Whew. That's some pretty good stuff.
- Could flexibility be overrated? Mike Howard of Diet-Blog gives us the lowdown on stretching. Check it out:
- There is an ideal range of flexibility in each joint. People who are too flexible may be just as susceptible to injury as those who are too tight as they often lack adequate stability.
- Relative flexibility is a key factor: Often when we are tight in one joint, the adjacent joint is too flexible. The key is to try and stabilize what is too loose and release what is too tight.
- Asymmetry of flexibility is a more likely cause of injury than tightness (i.e. if one hamstring muscle is far tighter than the other).
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