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Surgeon General Report on Addiction in America

Only one in 10 people with substance abuse disorders receive treatment.

Almost 21 million Americans struggle with substance use disorders. Close to the same number have diabetes, and it exceeds the combined number of those with all cancers. Alcohol accounts for 88,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.  This and much more is contained in the first-ever U.S. Surgeon General's report, Facing Addiction in America

PositiveTip: Community leaders, churches, public health agencies and the healthcare system need to partner together for the well-being of the population.

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How Best to Control Portion Size

Spare the foods that pack a lot of calories in one bite!

A trial of 186 overweight or obese women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: standard advice to eat less, another was taught to choose portions based on energy density, and the other received portion controlled meals. The  last group lost the most at first, but at the end of a year all lost about 10 pounds. Those focusing on types of food did better than those trying to resist larger portions.

PositiveTip: Eat more veggies, fruit, legumes, whole grains--they are lower in calories without sugar and fats.

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Healthy Lifestyle Offsets Genetic Risk

A healthy lifestyle can mitigate a high genetic risk for CAD.

Both genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to an individual's risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). In an analysis of three prospective cohort studies, researchers found those with the highest genetic risk experienced a 91% higher risk for CAD. However, if they followed 3 or more healthy lifestyle habits their risk dropped by 46% compared with those who had 1 or fewer healthy lifestyle habits! The 4 healthy lifestyle habits were not smoking, no obesity, regular physical activity, and a wholesome diet.

PositiveTip: A healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce inherited cardiac risk.

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CVD Risk and Calcium Intake

Dietary and supplemental calcium intake below 2500 mg daily OK.

Inconsistent evidence has suggested there might be an association between calcium supplementation and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. A multi-center, meta-analysis of 4 randomized trials and 27 observational studies has found moderate-quality evidence suggesting that calcium intake (with or without Vitamin D) from food or supplements does not raise the risk of CVD in healthy adults.

PositiveTip: Dietary sources of calcium are preferred over supplemental calcium, and every person needs an adequate intake. Are you getting enough?

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Big Money Spent to Fight Cigarette Tax Hikes

A 10% increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes drops kid's use by 7%.

Big Tobacco will spend almost $100 million on this election to defeat tax hike propositions in just three states: California, Colorado, and North Dakota. If approved, per-pack taxes will rise by $1.75 to $2.00. Proponents of these hikes say one of the most effective ways to encourage people to stop smoking is to raise taxes by $1.00 per pack. 

PositiveTip: Support all reasonable efforts to curb the tobacco habit, especially if tax funds are used to help cessation efforts.

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E-Cigarette Use Tempts Teens to Become Smokers

Flavored e-cigarette use by kids likely to become a gateway to real cigarettes.

More that 90% of teens agreed that tobacco use is dangerous in the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey. While those who used candy flavored e-cigarettes were significantly more likely to perceive tobacco use as less harmful. The vapers had a significantly greater likelihood of becoming smokers compared to those who did not use e-cigarettes. 

PositiveTip: Encourage your teens to avoid e-cigarettes in any form to lower their risk of becoming tobacco users.

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Dad's Active Childcare Influences Kids Weight

Father's active involvement in physical childcare lowers risk of obesity.

Children of dads who participate in physical childcare tasks such as bathing and dressing them between 2-4 years old are less likely to be obese. The inverse was found to be true, also. These findings were reported at Obesity Week 2016This could be due to the fact that these activities are a marker for more stable homes, leading to better health behaviors.

PositiveTip: Fathers, be actively involved in the care of your children--it could have major impact on their health.

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Health-related Anxiety Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Disease is sometimes produced or aggravated by the imagination!

Researchers in Norway studied 7000 adults and found about 10% had health-related anxieties. Those anxious individuals were 70% more likely to develop heart disease in the next 12 years, even after adjusting for cardiovascular and other confounders, compared to those without health anxiety. Ellen G. White, an early health reformer wrote, "Many die from disease the cause of which is wholly imaginary." (Ministry of Healing).

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"Lose-Lose" Together!

Ripple Effect: weight loss by one spouse often spreads to the other!

In a poster session (T-OR-2014) at ObesityWeek 2016 Amy Gorin, PhD reported her team found when one spouse lost weight the other one frequently did, too! Participants were randomized to Weight Watchers or a self-guided program to lose weight. Both participants and untreated spouses experienced significant weight loss at the 3 and 6 month milestones. 

PositiveTip: Work together to lose weight, improve risks, and support your health--and spouse. 

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Kids, Smartphones and Sleep

Forty percent of kids have poor sleep quantity and quality when using smartphone before bed.

Two-thirds of high schoolers sleep next to a phone or tablet--and 47% awake at least once per night to respond to messages! A meta-analysis of 17 studies finds the use of smartphones and tablets at night are a significant problem for the amount and quality of sleep kids get. These studies were not randomized, so more research is needed.

PositiveTip: Phones are a part of life today--including kids. We need to find ways to keep phones out of their bedrooms, and maybe ours, too!