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Underage Tobacco Sales Promoted on Facebook

The tobacco industry is exploiting Facebook's stated policies.

Although Facebook bars all paid tobacco ads, Stanford University researchers have found more than 100 unpaid brand and online vendor pages which promote leading brands of tobacco products. More than half of the identified pages included "shop now" instructions, and less than half of these included an "age gate" discouraging minors from visiting. Nearly all the sites identified included images of the products being promoted.

PositiveTip: Encourage Facebook to remove these tobacco-promoting pages--it will be a win for your children, and for Facebook, too.

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Cardiovascular Disease is Not All in the Genes

The benefits of physical fitness extend to those at high genetic risk of CVD.

A study in the U.K. followed almost 500,000 adults for an average of 6 years. At baseline participant's physical fitness was determined by a variety of tests. Researchers found patients with high cardiovascular fitness had a 49% lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) when compared with those who had low fitness--even when they carried a high genetic risk for CVD.

PositiveTip: Maintain a high level of physical fitness to compensate for genetic risks of CVD!

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Overweight Boys Can Lower Risk of Diabetes

Childhood overweight at age 7 raises diabetes risk if it persists into puberty.

A study of about 63,000 Danish boys measured their BMI at ages 7 and 13. By the time they reached age 30, 11% had developed type 2 diabetes. When overweight boys lost weight between ages 7 and 13 and maintained healthy weight into early adulthood, their risk was very similar to those who were never overweight

PositiveTip: It is never too early to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight!

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Artificial Sweeteners Not So Sweet

Sucralose may cause inflammation and fat formation.

Sucralose is a popular non-caloric artificial sweetener thought to be safe. In a small, early study, researchers have shown its use may predispose people to metabolic syndrome. Dr. S. Sen, a senior study author, said, "The only part that's not there is the calories--it's not adding the calories, but it's doing everything else that glucose does." A larger study is now underway to assess other types of artificial sweeteners.

PositiveTip: Choose to enjoy less intensely sweet foods by lowering your intake of sweetened and artificially-sweetened foods.

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Gene-editing Technology OK for Food Plants

USDA will not regulate plants whose genomes have been edited.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not regulate plants altered with gene-editing technology as long as the final product is something that could have been developed through traditional breeding techniques. It cannot be a plant pest or achieved with the help of a plant pest. Permitted will be changes that provide immunity to disease or natural resistance to crop chemicals. This does not include transgenic plants with a gene from a distant species--these will still be regulated.

PositiveTip: You can probably rest assured that our food supply will remain safe.

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Do E-cigarettes Help People Quit Smoking?

Patients who used e-cigarettes were less likely to quit smoking.

An observational study found those who used e-cigarettes were less successful in quitting smoking than those who did not use e-cigarettes. An analysis of 237 propensity score-matched pairs, at 6 months, found 10.1% of e-cigarette users had quit, versus 26.6% of non-users. There were limitations to this study that suggest the need for a randomized trial.

PositiveTip: Like medications, the possibility exists that using e-cigarettes as a complete replacement for cigarettes, might be helpful.

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Eat Beans to Reduce Worldwide Gas

Choosing to eat beans instead of beef would free up 42% of U.S. cropland.

One of the keys to short-term reduction of harmful greenhouse gases may be found on your dinner plate. One simple change in American eating habits would have a large impact: eat beans instead of beef. This would immediately help the U.S. achieve 50-75% of its GHG target for 2020, and it  would be accomplished without any new standards on automobiles!

PositiveTip: Eating beans instead of meat is not only good for the environment--it is also good for your health.

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Postpone Dementia by High Midlife Cardiovascular Fitness

Hi-fitness in midlife women may cut dementia risk by almost 90% in later life.

Women with a high level of cardiovascular fitness during middle-age had an 88% reduction in risk of developing dementia compared women who were moderately fit in midlife. When the highly fit women did get dementia, they developed it an average of 11 years later--at 90 instead of 79 years old! This comes from a Swedish cohort of women who were followed up to 44 years.

PositiveTip: Improving you fitness level in middle-age could delay and even prevent dementia later in life!

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Fraudulent Flu Products

There are no legally marketed over-the-counter products to prevent or cure the flu.

Here are some claims from the Food and Drug Administration that may indicate an over-the-counter flu (OTC) product is fraudulent:

  • boosts your immunity naturally without a flu shot
  • safe and effective alternative to the flu shot
  • prevents catching the flu
  • faster recovery from the flu
  • effective treatment for the flu
  • faster recovery from the flu

PositiveTip: Avoid fraudulent products that could delay you getting a proper diagnosis and treatment--save money, too!

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Manage Inflammation to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

A healthy diet and weight lowers inflammation and reduces risk of colon cancer.

When a tissue is chronically inflamed it often stimulates pathways in the cells that increase cancer risk. Eating colorful foods that are aromatic, nutrient-dense and low in calories tend to reduce inflammation and help protect against colorectal cancer. Healthy eating also tends to promote a healthy weight. Stored fat in the belly may play a strong role in inflammation, increasing the risk of the same cancer.

PositiveTip; Tackle inflammation with a healthy diet and weight control, and have regular screenings.