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CDC Recommends Against Use of Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

Nasal spray flu vaccine is not found to be very effective.

Due to the low efficacy among children over the past three seasons, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices no longer recommends using the nasal spray form of the live attenuated influenza vaccine. It is estimated to be only 3% effective for those 2-17 years old compared to the 63% effectiveness of the inactivated influenza vaccine given by injection. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports this position.

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Leafy Greens Help Prevent Glaucoma

Eating more leafy greens reduced the risk of glaucoma by 20-30%.

A large retrospective analysis of men and women found those who ate more leafy greens had a lower risk for primary open-angle glaucoma (POA)--especially cases with early paracentral visual field loss. It is thought nitric oxide plays a role in ocular blood flow and the development of POA.  Eighty percent of nitrate intake comes from leafy green vegetables. 

PositiveTip: Include lettuce, kale, chard and spinach in your daily food choices for better health--including eye health!

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U.S. Dietary Report Card

Improvements in some components are good, but much more progress is needed!

Americans are eating significantly more whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, as well as fruit, according to an analysis of NHANES data from 1999-2012. Consumption of 100% fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages decreased as well. However, vegetable intake did not change. The good news: diets rated as ideal increased from 0.7% to 1.5%. The not-so-good news: nearly half of all adults still consume poor quality diets.

PositiveTip: Make choices at each meal to eat more good foods and less poor quality foods. Together we can improve even more!

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Larger Bottles Linked to Later Obesity

Using bottles larger than 6 ounces to feed infants formula may lead to obesity.

Overweight infants are more likely to be overweight children. In formula-fed infants the size of the bottle may be associated with the weight gain. Researchers found when infants were fed from a 6 or 8 ounce bottle they weighed significantly more at 6 months than those using bottles smaller than 6 ounces. This was true after adjustment for birth weight, socioeconomic characteristics and time between visits.

PositiveTip: To help prevent childhood obesity, choose a bottle smaller than 6 ounces when feeding formula.

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UN Calls for Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products

Tobacco kills almost 6 million people every year.

On May 31, World No Tobacco Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all governments around the globe to require plain packaging of tobacco products in order to save lives. Restricting or prohibiting  the use of logos, colors and brand images save for brand and product name displayed in a standard color and font would save lives by reducing demand for tobacco products. It would also help families retain more of their income.

PositiveTip: Tobacco use is still one of the largest causes of preventable non-communicable disease. 

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Weight Loss in Obese Young Women Improves Fertility

Reducing calories and increasing physical activity increased the odds of natural conception.

A high body-mass index (BMI) combined with a sedentary lifestyle decreases the likelihood of natural conception. Dutch researchers randomized 574 infertile, obese women to a six month lifestyle program of lowered calories and increased physical activity followed by infertility treatment.  Those in this group experienced 10% higher natural conception than the control group which received infertility treatments immediately.

PositiveTip: Modest weight loss and more exercise can increase the chances of natural conception in young infertile, obese women.

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Another Reason Not to Smoke During Pregnancy

Prenatal exposure to cotinine was associated with increased risk of schizophrenia.

A prospective study in Finland from 1983 to 1998 has found maternal cotinine levels (one of many toxic substances in cigarette smoking), after adjusting for multiple confounders, conveyed a significant excess risk (2.6 to 3.4 times higher) for schizophrenia. When psychiatric disorders were explored for maternal and paternal histories there was no significant additional risk.

PositiveTip: The evidence is clear: maternal cigarette smoking is dangerous for the physical and mental health of the child.

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Eat Less for a Better Life

Nonobese adults who ate less for 2 years lost weight and functioned better.

Researchers randomized 220 healthy, nonobese adults and assigned them to 2 years of 25% calorie restriction (CR) or the usual calorie intake (AL). The CR group received individual and group counseling. At 24 months the CR group had lost 7.6 kg (16.8 pounds) compared to the 0.4 kg (0.9 pounds) of the AL group. The CR group experienced significant improvement in mood, sleep quality, sexual drive, relationship satisfaction, and quality of life.

PositiveTip: Try eating less to enhance your quality of life and maybe extend your lifespan, too.

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Importance of Love and Connections

Health destroying habits are frequently used to numb the pain of depression.

Canadian researchers studied 222 survivors of heart attacks. Six months after the heart attack those who were depressed were 4 times more likely to be dead than those who weren't depressed. These findings were independent of cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight and even smoking. 

PositiveTip: People who are lonely and depressed are much more likely to get sick and die prematurely compared to those with a strong sense of love, connection, and community.

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Lifestyle Modifications Make Big Difference in Cancer Burden

Chance does not drive all cancer risk.

More than 28,000 healthcare professionals who met four healthy-living criteria (never or past smoking, moderate or no alcohol, BMI of 18.5-27.4, and regular physical activity) were compared with over 100,000 participants who did not meet all four criteria. Researchers estimated that 25% of cancers in women and 33% in men could have been prevented. Also, these simple health habits could prevent 48% of cancer deaths in women and 44% in men.

PositiveTip: Don't wait for new medical discoveries. Lower your risk of cancer now by choosing to live healthfully.