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Breastfeeding Associated with Lower CVD Risk

Breastfeeding for 2 or more years lowered the risk of CHD by 18%.

A study of 300,000 women in China found mothers who breast fed their babies had significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to those who did not. Those who breastfed 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, or over 24 months, respectively, had 1%, 7%, 11%, 13%, and 18% lower risk of CHD. Each additional six months of breastfeeding reduced the risk by 4%.

PositiveTip: Encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies. It is best for the baby and good for the mother!

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Do We Need to Fear Fruit Sugar?

There is little fear about the sugars in whole fruit!

Information from the Australian Health Survey reveals those with higher intakes of whole fruit were 12% less likely to be obese than those with lower intakes. Those with higher intakes of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and chocolate were 9% more likely to be obese. There is no need to fear fruit sugar, although chemically similar, the combination of other nutrients and the overall diet probably account for the difference.

PositiveTip: Eat more fruits as they are an excellent source of many wholesome and necessary nutrients.

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Revised Breast Screening Recommendations

Average-risk women now advised to begin mammography at 50 years old, not 40.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have revised recommendations for breast cancer screening of average-risk women:

  1. Women should discuss with their physician if they should start mammography at 50 years old, and screening every 2 years is reasonable for those age 55 or older.
  2. Women should be screened until age 75.
  3. Clinical breast exams should be offered to women aged 25-39 every 1-3 years and each year after age 40.

PositiveTip: Openly discuss with your physician the potential risks and benefits of mammography.

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What Are the Saturated Fat Offenders?

There is no evidence for coconut oil benefits, but it is not the real culprit.

The AHA Presidential Advisory rightly cautioned us about the potential dangers of coconut oil. However, coconut oil represents only a small fraction of all U.S vegetable oils. Americans consume about 1.5 pounds of coconut per capita per year compared to cheese at 35 pounds; red meat, poultry and shell fish at 181 pounds; and finally dairy, at 239 pounds--excluding cheese. Four of the top 10 sources of saturated fat involves meat, yet the media has focused on coconut oil.

PositiveTip: Replace meat, butter, and cheese with beans, vegetable oil spreads and nut-based cheeses to really lower the risk of heart disease.

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Summer Safety Tips

Are you ready for sun and water safety?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a list of summer safety tips for 

  • fireworks
  • insects
  • playgrounds
  • bicycle
  • skateboards and other wheeled devices
  • all-terrain vehicles
  • and lawn mowers

PositiveTip: Pay attention to this common-sense advice for an enjoyable and safe summer.

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Maternal Weight and Congenital Malformations

Higher body-mass index leads to greater risk of malformations.

Expectant mothers who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for having infants with congenital malformations. The higher their weight, the greater the risk. Using data from Swedish health registries, researchers found overweight mothers (BMI 25-29.9) had a 5% greater risk. This risk increased incrementally to 37% for obese mothers with BMIs of 35-39.9.

PositiveTip: Women planning to bear children should be encouraged to attain normal weight before pregnancy.

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AHA Takes A Stand Against Saturated Fat

For heart health, replace saturated fat with unsaturated vegetable oils.

An advisory from the American Heart Association strongly recommends replacing the intake of saturated fat with poly- and mono-unsaturated vegetable fats to help prevent heart disease. Replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates and sugars is not supported. This group also advised against the use of coconut oil.

PositiveTip: Consider carefully your intake of saturated fat (animal) in light of your overall dietary pattern.

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Prenatal Smoking Impacts Offspring in Teen Years

Smoking just 10 cigarettes a day disrupts child's executive functions in high school.

The short-term risks of smoking during pregnancy have long been recognized. Boston researchers found negative impacts last well into the child's future life. When the mother smoked as few as 10 cigarettes per day during pregnancy, the child suffered organizational, attention span, and time management skill deficits--along with a decreased ability to self-manage their behaviors as a teen.

PositiveTip: Encourage every woman smoker you know of child-bearing age to stop smoking before they become pregnant.

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Sleep Deprivation Leads to Less Cognitive Flexibility

Tired people tend to get stuck and cannot shift well when faced with the unexpected.

Sleep deprived people may perform expected tasks well. Yet, when they are faced with unexpected events their reaction times are significantly impaired. These impairments can lead to safety errors and accidents. Early research has found sleep loss or disruptions to circadian rhythms (shift changes, jet lag) make it difficult to switch from proactive control to reactive control. Tired people lose cognitive flexibility.

PositiveTip: Get adequate sleep to maintain cognitive effectiveness.

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Changing Habits

Breaking bad habits is one of the most difficult things for humans.

Have you ever felt trapped by unhealthful habits you know you should change? You are not alone. Here is a short, practical video that will inform and help you understand the basic principles of how to break harmful behaviors. Watch it now!

PositiveTip: Add to these principles the promise of Philippians 4:13: "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." You can become a new person!