Healthier lifestyles can lower the risk of myocardial infarction.
Swedish investigators following 20,000 healthy men for 11 years found that each "low risk" lifestyle factor (healthy diet, no smoking, physically active, not overweight, and moderate alcohol use) was independently associated with a lower risk for myocardial infarction (MI). Those with all five healthier lifestyle factors experienced an 86% lower risk. Sadly, less than 1% of the study group followed all five of these. (NOTE: PositiveChoices.com does not believe any amount of alcohol is a part of a healthy lifestyle.)
Higher body mass increases risk of many cancers.
Researchers investigated the relation between baseline BMI and cancer incidence in 160,000 new cancers from a population of 5 million adults collected over 7.5 years from British general practices. Higher BMI was associated with increasing cancers of the uterus, gallbladder, kidney, cervix, thyroid, liver, colon, ovary, and breast (postmenopausal) and with leukemia. Cancers of the lung and oral cavity were attributable entirely to smoking and not BMI.
PositiveTip: Maintaining an ideal weight through physical activity and a healthy diet lowers risk of many kinds of cancer.
Elementary school kids who did not participate in exercise gained weight.
Physical education has declined dramatically in most elementary schools. Researchers found that a 9-month, after school exercise program for 8 and 9 year old elementary school children improved their physical fitness and helped them control their weight. The control group showed no improvements. This program provided moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 times per week.
PositiveTip: Provide your children regular physical activity--even if school does not.
Normal BP, blood lipids and glucose did not appear to fully protect the obese.
"Healthy" obese people, i.e. having normal blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood glucose, did not protect them from increased risk for cardiovascular problems or death. Researchers analyzed data from 8 studies with over 60,000 adult participants. Four of those studies lasted 10 or more years and found that metabolically normal obese participants still had a 24% increased risk when compared to normal weight adults.
PositiveTip: Beware of the "healthy obese" myth!
Breast-feeding may help you keep that girlish figure!
Obesity-related diseases are a growing concern around the world. Based on the Million Women Study in Britain, researchers have found that mothers who had not breast-fed had significantly higher BMI scores than those who did. Those who breast-fed for more than 6 months had the greatest weight reduction. While not proving casuality, this study adds to the growing body of evidence that lactation has important health benefits for the mother--even years in the future.
PositiveTip: Choosing to breast-feed is best for the baby and can reduce the mother's risk of excess weight later.
Lifestyle may reduce risk of early death by 42%.
The Cancer Prevention Study ll Nutrition Cohort shows that people who maintain a BMI within normal range, exercise 30 or more minutes daily, and eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains exhibit reduced deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause mortality. For those who met the criteria above, this study shows reductions of 48%, 30%, and 42% for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause mortality in men. For women, the numbers are 58%, 24%, and 42%, respectively.
PositiveTip: Diet, exercise, and maintaining a normal weight significantly reduce the risk of disease and premature death.
Fighting adolescent obesity may help prevent MS.
Swedish researchers have found that subjects whose body mass index (BMI) was more than 27 at age 20 had a two-fold increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with normal weight subjects. The Nurse's Health Study reported similar findings, indicating that a BMI of 30 or more at the age of 18 is associated with more than double the risk of MS compared to those not obese. However, this study found no significant association between adult BMI and MS risk. The obesity epidemic may explain the increasing incidence of MS, although the factors involved remain unknown.
People with chronic sleep deprivation more easily overeat.
Young, healthy, normal weight men showed significantly greater hunger when shown pictures of high-calorie foods following one night of sleep deprivation--regardless of blood glucose levels. Participants served as their own controls with tests spaced two weeks apart. The areas of the brain involved in hunger motivation showed greater activity on functional magnetic resonance imaging. People who do not get enough sleep may be more likely to overeat, and a preference for energy-dense foods may predispose them to weight gain.
PositiveTip: When tired and sleep deprived be extra cautious about the desire to eat high-calorie foods.
Children who start eating solid finger-food on their own adopt healthier eating patterns.
When compared with parental spoon-feeding, infants allowed baby-led weaning learned to regulate their food intake leading to lower BMI and a preferance for healthier dietary patterns. When children were introduced to solid foods by feeding themselves, they preferred carbohydrates over other types, as well as protein-based foods and whole grains. If spoon-fed with pureed foods the children tended to become obese and prefer sugar-sweetened foods. More research is needed to explore these fascinating findings.
PositiveTip: Baby may know best! Parents should be patient and not force solid foods on their young children.
Good and bad genes can be influenced by what you eat and how you live.
A study was conducted to determine whether a pure vegetarian diet, exercise and stress management could modify the progression of prostate cancer. After one year, those following the program showed significant improvements in weight, abdominal obesity, blood pressure and blood fats. The research found that over 500 genes changed function -- some were turned "on" and others turned "off" in favor of controlling the cancer. We all have bad genes and are exposed to cancer-causing agents, but our lifestyle and diet can determine whether those genes are activated.
PositiveTip: Are you helping to turn "off" cancer genes by choosing a vegetarian diet and exercise to lower your risk of cancer?