The healthiest people are those who have normal weight all the time!
A 2013 meta-analysis suggested that overweight individuals had lower all-cause mortality than those at normal BMI. Now data from three large cohort studies with more than 225,000 men and women has demonstrated there is no protective effect of being overweight. These researchers used the maximum weight achieved over the past 16 years in addition to current weight, demonstrating that trends in weight are very important.
Eighty percent of current smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
Smoking is responsible for about 6 million deaths per year globally at an estimated associated cost of $1 trillion. An international report projects that by 2030, smoking-related deaths will rise to over 8 million a year! While smoking in the U.S. has fallen to a record low of 15.!% of adults, it has been countered by rising numbers of smokers concentrated among the poor and other vulnerable groups. Just five tobacco companies account for 85% of global cigarette production.
PositiveTip: Fully support all reasonable efforts to control tobacco use!
Even a single cigarette each day increases mortality risk by 64%.
Many smokers believe very light smoking or not smoking every day may reduce their health risks. In a study of 290,000 middle-age and older smokers, researcher found long-time, low-volume smokers had significantly higher mortality risks compared with those who had never smoked or quit. Those who reported consistently smoking 1-10 cigarettes a day had an 87% greater chance of dying prematurely. These associations were similar for men and women.
PositiveTip: All smokers--even light smokers--can benefit from smoking cessation.
High saturated and trans fat intakes increase mortality.
Over 125,000 male and female health professionals free of CVD, cancer, and diabetes were followed for about 30 years. Saturated fat when replacing carbohydrates raised mortality rates by 8%. A high intake of trans fats was associated with a 13% increase in mortality. On the other hand, higher intakes of polyunsaturated fats (most vegetable oils) and monounsaturated fats (olive oil) reduced mortality rates 19% and 11%, respectively.
PositiveTip: Focus on reducing saturated and trans fats in your diet, while increasing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated choices.
Grip strength is a simple and robust predictor of death risk.
A large, international study has revealed that for each 5 kilogram decrease in grip strength, over all mortality risk increased by 16%, cardiovascular mortality by 17%, and a 9% increase in stroke risk. The findings were consistent across nationalities and economic levels.
PositiveTip: Keep up the strength exercises. They could lower your risk of premature death.
Alcohol no longer seen as beneficial for heart disease risk.
Earlier research appeared to show that moderate drinkers lived longer than non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. However, many of those studies included former heavy drinkers who had poorer health than never drinkers. Research from the U.K. which removed the former drinkers from comparison groups did not find the same benefits. The authors note they are skeptical there is any benefit from alcohol.
PositiveTip: Avoid all alcohol as it appears not to protect from heart disease and is a definite risk factor for breast and colon cancer.
Forty years of lifestyle changes in communities reduce morbidity and mortality.
A 40 year community-based effort in a rural Maine (U.S.) county to help residents control elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, stop smoking, eat healthfully, and exercise more appears to have yielded significant benefits. Compared with other counties in the same state, Franklin's residents have lower mortality rates and fewer hospitalizations resulting in savings of $5.4 million in hospital charges annually after adjusting for income.
PositiveTip: Simple, positive lifestyle changes yield big benefits over time!
Moms are right: Eat your fruits and veggies!
Consuming seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily reduced all-cause mortality, cancer and cardiovascular disease according to a large British study. The average consumption was just under four portions per day. It is not hard to eat seven servings as the standard portion size for most fruits and vegetables is one-half cup. This study also found that canned fruits are linked with increased mortality, possibly because of the high sugar content.
PositiveTip: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, mostly fresh, for a healthy life.
Common levels of added sugar in U.S. diets raises risk of dying from heart disease.
In a 15 year follow-up, consuming 10% to 24.9% of calories from added sugar raised the risk of cardiovascular death by 30%, compared to those with less than 10%. Death jumped to 175% in those who consumed 25% or more from added sugar. Remember: one can of soda equals 7% of the calories in a 2000 calorie diet!
PositiveTip: Avoid sugar sweetened processed or prepared foods such as sodas, desserts, fruit drinks and candy!
Vitamin E supplements did not reduce mortality.
Researchers combined results from 57 clinical trials of Vitamin E supplementation. In more than 246,000 participants doses up to 5,500 IU per day appeared to have no effect on all-cause mortality. It has been thought that an antioxidant like Vitamin E might benefit diseases associated with oxidative stress. The good news from this pooled data is these supplements seem to be safe and do not increase the risk of death.
PositiveTip: Eating a diet that includes moderate amounts of healthy fats provides all the Vitamin E needed for health.