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Distracted Parenting!

Parents screen time should be limited when their children are around!

Caregivers of children (ages 0-10) were observed in fast-food restaurants typing and swiping on mobile devices--and spending less time paying attention to the child or children in their care. They also often reacted harshly to misbehavior or bids for attention. A surprising 40 of the 55 caregivers observed were engaged with a mobile device rather than the child.

PositiveTip: When taking care of children, give them your full attention, not your mobile device!

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Why Low Fat Diets Seldom Prevent Heart Attacks

A whole diet approach is most effective in reducing cardiovascular disease

While low fat diets can reduce cholesterol, they're less effective in reducing heart attack risk. New meta analysis of diet and heart disease research from the past 50 years reveals it takes a diet overhaul. Changing the whole diet to something like the Mediterranean diet (lots of fruit and veggies, legumes, and whole grains) has much greater success in reducing heart disease.

PositiveTip: If you're serious about a healthy heart, get serious about your whole diet.

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Occasional Binge Drinking Raises Death Rates

Occasional binge drinking appears to erase any benefits seen from moderate drinking.

We hear lots about the so-called benefits of moderate drinking. Yet most studies have not taken into account different patterns of drinking. Researchers found in a 20 year study that even occasional binge drinking among older moderate drinkers resulted in significantly earlier death and erases any health benefit associated with moderate drinking. Binge drinking is often a part of real life moderate drinking and may be a slippery slope for many.

PositiveTip: Alcohol carries too many hidden pitfalls. Avoid it altogether!

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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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Quitting Smoking Improves Mental Health

Depression and anxiety improves with smoking cessation.

A widely held belief among smokers is that the habit relieves psychological symptoms. However, a new meta-analysis of 26 prospective international studies challenges this assumption. After a median follow-up of 6-12 months, smoking cessation significantly decreased anxiety, depression, and stress while increasing psychological quality of life, compared with continued smoking. Cessation of smoking resulted in an effect similar to drug therapy for depression in the general population.

PositiveTip: Quitting smoking improves anxiety and depression--as well as physical health!

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Age of First Cigarette Alters Risk of Regular Smoking

The younger the first exposure, the higher the risk for regular smoking.

Evidence from the U.S. Youth Behavior Risk Survey 2011 suggests strategies to delay the onset of cigarette smoking in teens is an important step in preventing progression from experimentation to regular use. The earlier a child initiates smoking, the higher risk of regular smoking (1.27 times increased risk for each earlier year) regardless of sex or ethnicity.

PositiveTip: Do all you can to discourage kids from trying even one cigarette!

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Lifestyle Changes Alter Gene Expression

Lifestyle changes make a difference and need to be maintained for maximum benefit.

Patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or at high risk for developing CVD were placed on a year-long very low-fat vegetarian diet, 180 minutes/week of moderate aerobic exercise, one hour of stress management daily, and weekly group support. Hypertension, dyslipidemia and obesity all dropped compared to the controls. Researchers identified 143 genes that showed significant change in their expression, mostly downregulated resulting in lower vascular inflammation. 

PositiveTip: Healthy lifestyle changes seem to induce positive changes at the molecular level--stick with them!

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Selenium Supplements May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

Men received no preventive benefit from selenium or vitamin E supplements.

"Men using these supplements [selenium and/or Vitamin E] should stop, period." These are the words of Alan Kristal, author of a new study examining why some men are at increased risk of prostate cancer when taking these supplements. Men with high selenium levels at baseline who took selenium supplements increased their risk of high-grade cancer by 91% (P=.007). 

PositiveTip: Dietary supplements may not be helpful or innocuous--they may be harmful.

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Good News for Children's Obesity

Toddler obesity rates have dropped dramatically in the last 9 years

Obesity researchers looked at trends from 2003-2012 and have found there's been a 43% drop in obesity rates amongst US children aged 2 to 5. Researchers theorize that increased breastfeeding trends and reduced consumption of sugary beverages are primary reasons. Unfortunately these findings are the lone improvement in obesity trends. Researchers found that obesity rates for infants, children 2-19 and adults remain unchanged over the past 9 years.

Positive Tip: Obesity CAN be beaten - one healthy choice at a time.

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Passive Smoking Matters to Mothers

Exposure to secondhand smoke significantly increases pregnancy risks.

Women exposed to second hand tobacco smoke are at significantly increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy--almost as much as if they were active smokers. This data comes from the very large Women's Health Initiative. The added risk ranged from 17% to 61% and was highest with the largest exposures in childhood, adult life, or at work.

PositiveTip: Avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible!