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By Beholding We are Changed

Viewing gun use in PG-rated movies by children increased trigger pulls.

Children frequently mimic what they see in real life! Researchers randomized 52 pairs of children 8-12 years of age to watch a 20 minute PG-rated movie clip with or without scenes involving gun use. The pairs then played for 20 minutes in a room with toys and games. Hidden in a drawer was disabled handgun with a trigger sensor. Children who watched gun scenes held the gun longer and pulled the trigger more often. They also played more aggressively.

PositiveTip: What the eye beholds frequently translates into actions!

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The Numbers Make a Sad Statement

More boys than girls are obese in the U.S. now.

There has been a 10 fold increase in childhood obesity since 1975--from 11 million to 124 million last year. The Cook Islands had the highest obesity rates for boys in 2016, with American boys at 12th place. Governments need to curb junk food marketing to children and drive down the consumption of high sugar and high fat foods--and implement strategies to increase physical fitness.

PositiveTip: Encourage the children in your influence to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, along with plenty of whole grains.

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"Constructive Statements" to Finally Run

Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans every day.

Over ten years ago the major tobacco companies were ordered by U.S. federal court to run "corrective statement" ads on national media on the dangers of smoking. Finally, those are due to begin November 26, 2017! These will include messages such as: "More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol combined." Sadly, while these corporations seek to be seen as responsible citizens, they are the root cause of the problem. The amount they spend for these ads is miniscule compared to the amount they spend on marketing their deadly products.

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An Old and Simple Remedy

As old and simple as it is, hand-washing, is a great public health tool!

An experiment in elementary school school children demonstrated the value of hand-washing.The children were taught how to take culture samples from their hands and how to wash their hands properly. Ninety-one percent reported they saw reduced microbial growth after cleaning hands--89% said this changed their hand hygiene in the right direction. Most importantly student absenteeism rates dropped significantly as a result of these activities.

PositiveTip: Are you regularly washing your hands? Do your part to faithfully prevent the spread of disease!

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Regularly Skip Breakfast?

More atherosclerosis seen in those who skip breakfast.

According to a study of 4000 asymptomatic, middle-age Spanish adults who had no history of cardiovascular disease, those who regularly skipped breakfast were more likely to have subclinical atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic plaque was determined by ultrasound. After adjustment for confounders such as age, waist size, smoking, and diabetes, those who skipped breakfast were about 75% more likely to have plaque. The authors suggest that this may be a marker for a general unhealthy diet or lifestyle.

PositiveTip: A healthy lifestyle should include daily, wholesome and nutritious breakfasts.

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Some Gifts are Better Rejected!

WHO advises governments reject help from Philip Morris funded foundation.

The World Health Organization advises governments not accept help from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World because it is funded by Philip Morris International to the tune of $80 million dollars per year for 12 years. The foundation claims to be willing to look at ways to reduce the harm from smoking. WHO says this is a conflict-of-interest and will not partner with them.

PositiveTip: Support tobacco taxes, graphic warning labels, and advertising bans because they work--even if the tobacco industry opposes them.

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Think Twice before Stopping Low-dose Aspirin

Patients who stopped aspirin had a 37% higher risk of cardiovascular events.

A large-scale Swedish study (600,000) of low-dose aspirin users found risk for cardiovascular events rose significantly after discontinuation. Risk increased soon after stopping and continued over time. (This study was partially funded by industry.)

PositiveTip: Think carefully before stopping low-dose aspirin therapy.

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Sugar Substitues: May Not be Sweet for Your Health

Non-caloric sweeteners may interfere with normal glucose absorption.

A small study (published as an abstract) of healthy individuals received the equivalent non-caloric sweetener contained in 1.5 liters of "diet" soda for 14 days along with a with a control group receiving a placebo. The results suggest that glucose absorption is negatively affected in healthy people by artificial sweeteners. This early research may help explain why a population shift in the consumption of artificial sweeteners has not lowered type 2 diabetes risk.

PositiveTip: Limit both sugar-sweetened beverages and the "diet" drinks-- choose water instead!

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Plant-based Diets Lower Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

High meat diets tend to be linked to more dementia.

A 10-country study of the per capita supply of meat and other animal products (not milk) demonstrated that the higher the supply in the 5 years before diagnosis the higher the risk of Alzheimer's disease. This was correlative and could not pinpoint cause and effect. The authors suggest it might be saturated fat or the copper and iron that is more readily absorbable from meat in contrast to plant-based foods.

PositiveTip: Choose plant-based foods like vegetables, fruit and whole grains to lower your risk of dementia.

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Myth: Obese but Healthy

Obesity without other metabolic problems still tied to CVD risk!

Are you obese without hypertension, diabetes, or hyperlipidemia? Robust research challenges the concept that metabolically healthy obese people have nothing to worry about. A study of more than 3.5 million people conducted between 1995-2015 found that "healthy" obese people are significantly more likely than normal-weight people to develop  coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke.

PositiveTip: Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight is essential to minimizing cardiovascular risks.