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Fit Kids May Be Reading

Physically fit children's brains perform better in reading tests than less fit kids.

They're not sure why, but researchers have found that fit kids have stronger language skills. Researchers measured brain activity for aerobically fit and unfit children while reading both normal and jumbled sentences. The fit kids performed better on both sentences. While they can't prove fitness directly causes improved cognitive performance, it appears fit kids' brains may better allocate brain resources for reading.

PositiveTip: Keep your kids active, reading comprehension appears to be yet another benefit.

Press Release. Journal Article.

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Red Meat Raises Risk of Breast Cancer

Consumption of red meat in young adult women raises risk of breast cancer.

Eating large amounts of red meat in early adulthood increased the risk of breast cancer. Red meat consumption was analyzed for almost 90,000 women in the Nurses Health Study II. Those consuming the largest amount experienced a 22% increase in breast cancer risk compared to those eating the least. Swapping out red meat for legumes or poultry at one daily meal made a significant reduction.

PositiveTip: Replace red meat with legumes and other vegetable proteins to lower the risk of breast cancer.

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Teen Trends

Youth risky behavior survey reveals both good and bad news.

High school students in the U.S. are making better choices in areas like smoking, alcohol use, and fighting. However, 64% of teens reported they had been texting or emailing while driving. Watching TV has dropped dramatically, also. Screen time for computer games or nonschool work more than 3 hours per day has increased by over 22%. That is a lot of inactive time sitting.

PositiveTip: Parents, provide your teens with intentional low-risk activities that have high productive and physical activity values.

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Vaccination Hype?

Do we wait for full-blown epidemics and countless deaths before thinking rationally?

Outbreaks of rubella (measles), mumps, and whooping cough are growing today. This increase is paralleled by the growth of the anti-vaccine movement. The Daily Show recently aired a brilliant segment exposing some of the irrational thinking behind this popular, but often misinformed movement. If your sympathies propel you to avoid vaccinations, it probably will not induce you to laugh, though.

PositiveTip: When you stop chuckling, please take your children to get their recommended vaccinations.

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Veggies For Infants

The earlier a child starts eating a vegetable, the more likely they are to keep eating it.

Health researchers found a key to overcoming the battle between kids and vegetables: serve them often and early. Researchers gave artichoke puree to 332 children from three countries at various ages and found younger children were more likely to continue eating the vegetable than older children. Even typically fussy eaters will continue to eat the vegetable if you give it to them 5-10 times at an early age.

PositiveTip:  Include plenty of veggies after weaning your children.

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Obesity and Knee Replacements

Obesity to blame for 15 year surge in total knee replacements.

In the last 15 years, knee replacement surgeries have tripled. Curious researchers found that obesity contributed to 95% of the increase of knee surgeries, compared to hip surgeries. Even more troubling, these increases in knee troubles are found largely in younger populations. Excess weight damages knee joints more than hip joints and researchers expect the knee surgery trend to continue unless obesity rates change.

PositiveTip: Avoid the pain, cost and disability of major joint problems by simply eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

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Why Breakfast?

Eating breakfast is very important for good performance in kids and adults!

Many, many people skip breakfast. Yet it is really the most important meal of the day. Scientists from many fields readily agree that breakfast is vital to learning, memory and feelings of well-being. Researchers examined the impact of breakfast on cognitive performance in elementary school children and the composition of the meal. A wholesome breakfast made a positive difference in learning and memory retention.

PositiveTip: Make a wholesome, healthy breakfast the cornerstone of your nutritional day!

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Cannabis Risk are Significant

Motor vehicle accident risks similar between THC and alcohol.

"Marijuana has been associated with substantial adverse effects, some of which have been determined with a high level of confidence." This is the conclusion of top officials of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. This review provides evidence that regular and/or heavy use of cannabis is strongly linked to addictive behaviors, lung dysfunction, motor vehicle accidents, and "diminished lifetime achievement."

PositiveTip: Avoid the "weed" for a healthy and productive life.

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Sleep is Critical to Scholastic Success

Poor sleep hurts GPA as much as alcohol or marijuana abuse.

Sleep researchers recently found after clinical depression or tremendous stress, lack of sleep or poor sleep habits are the highest predictors of academic problems. From a sample of 43,000 college students they found that sleep problems, binge drinking and marijuana use equally predicted lower GPA's. Sleep issues were the strongest predictor for a student dropping a course.

PositiveTip: Stick with a regular sleep pattern for improved productivity in school or at work.

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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.