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Vitamin D and Cancer in Postmenopausal Women

Four years of supplemental vitamin D and calcium made no difference in cancer risk.

Researchers divided 2300 postmenopausal, healthy women aged 65 or older, into two groups. One group received 2000 IU/day of vitamin D3 and 1500 mg/day of calcium; the other a placebo. After 4 years, the difference in any new cancer incidence between groups was insignificant--including breast cancer. While more research is needed, this study indicates supplementation later in life may not make significant differences.

PositiveTip: Adequate vitamin D and calcium are essential throughout the life span, but supplementation may not be necessary.

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Women Reaching Equality with Men in Drinking

Women closing gap with men in alcohol use and related harms.

Researchers have found women have all but caught up with men in their alcohol drinking habits. During earlier decades men were far more likely to drink so much that it affected their health than women. That gap has closed. Women around the world are now nearly as likely as men to drink excessively and suffer harm from it.

PositiveTip: Choosing to live alcohol-free assures freedom from the health and social downsides of drinking.

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How Old Do You Look?

Crow's feet are not a powerful indicator of perceived age.

Using a complex set of algorithms calculated by a computer, researchers found the length of the grooves that run from the side of the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial grooves) best predicted a person's perceived age. Interestingly, in this study of 120 females in their 40s, the wrinkles (crow's feet) around the eyes were the least predictive!

PositiveTip: Avoid smoking and tanning beds to give yourself the greatest chances of a youthful appearance as the years pass.

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Inactivity Tops Women's Cardiovascular Risk

Exercising 150 minutes per week could save thousands of lives!

A study of 32,154 women found physical inactivity had the greatest impact on lifetime risk of heart disease after age 30 when compared to excess weight, high blood pressure, and smoking. For those under the age of 30, smoking was the biggest contributor to heart disease. The authors estimated 2000 lives could be saved every year in Australia alone if every woman exercised moderately 150 minutes each week.

PositiveTip: Ladies, keep moving everyday--and invite your husbands and kids to join you!

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Eat to Prevent Atherosclerosis

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can keep your arteries clean in later years

The American College of Cardiology reports that high consumption of fruits and vegetables as young adults predicts healthier arteries 20 years later. Females who ate 8-9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables for a 2000 calorie diet were 40% less likely to have calcified plaque in their arteries compared to those who only ate 3-4 servings per day.

PositiveTip: Start healthy habits now and have up to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day for optimal future blood vessel health.

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Second Hand Smoke and Pregnancy

Even if you never smoke, second hand smoke increases risks of miscarriage or stillbirth.

New research looking at 81,000 women confirms the risks of second hand smoke for pregnant women. The study's large size and comprehensive approach helped demonstrate that non-smoking women with the highest level of second hand smoke exposure (10+ years in childhood or 20+ years in adulthood) were at a risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or tubal ectopic pregnancy that approached those who were smokers.

PositiveTip: For the health of yourself and your baby limit your exposure to second hand smoke.

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Exercise Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones

Moderate exercise significantly reduces kidney stone risk in postmenopausal women.

Choosing the minor discomfort of regular exercise may reduce the excruciating pain of kidney stones in women. Researchers studied the exercise and eating habits 84,225 postmenopausal women for a median of 8 years. They found that women who exercised more reduced their kidney stone risk by 31%. The equivalent of 4 hours of gardening per week or 3 hours of moderate walking per week cut kidney stone risk for these women.

Positive Tip: Make exercise a part of every day!

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Simple Way to Reduce Risk For Bladder Cancer

Fruit and vegetable consumption significantly lowers risk of bladder cancer in women.

Researchers in Hawaii have identified one more reason to eat lots of fruit and veggies. In their 12 year study of almost 186,000 multi-ethnic older adults, researchers found that bladder cancer risk was 65% lower amongst women who ate the most fruits and vegetables. Those with the highest intake of vitamins, A, C and E also had similar reduced risk of bladder cancer.

Positive Tip: For a healthy bladder, make fruits and vegetable intake a daily habit.

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Cancer and the Taller Woman

Cancer risk in women increased 13% for each 4-inch increase in height.

Analysis of 145,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative over 12 years found that taller postmenopausal women face higher risks for 10 types of cancer. For each 4-inch increase in height a 13% increase in risk for all cancers was observed. Height may not be the cause, but rather a marker for one or more factors that influence risk. 

PositiveTip: If you are a taller than average woman, preventive care checkups could be very important.

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Women Have Caught Men in Smoking Deaths

If you never smoked you are twice as likely to live to 80 compared to smokers.

"Most people in the U.S. assume that smoking is on its way out. But the grim reality is that smoking still exerts an enormous toll on the health of Americans," wrote Steven A. Schroeder, MD of UCSFO. Smoking killed about 100 million people in the 20th century, and is predicted to kill about 1 billion in the 21st century. Current data support that women who smoke like men, die like men.