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Two Fails for Multivitamin Supplements

Multivitamin supplements show no benefit in preventing chronic disease.

Almost 6000 male physicians 65 and older received either a daily multivitamin supplement or placebo. Testing after 8.5 years of follow-up showed no significant difference in verbal memory or global cognition. In yet another study, 1700 adults aged 50 or older were given a multivitamin or placebo beginning 6+ weeks following a heart attack. After 4.5 years the outcomes were no different for either group. Both studies were randomized and double-blind.

PositiveTip: Supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults has no clear benefits. Enough is enough!

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We're Missing the Boat with Teen Mental Health

One in 5 teens will have a mental disorder: Most won't get treatment

Over half of adolescents with a mental health issue won't get treated. If they do it's often not by a mental health professional. Researchers at Duke University found that the most commonly untreated mental illnesses were anxiety disorders and phobias. Lack of child psychiatrists and stigma surrounding mental health issues are the primary contributors to the problem.

PositiveTip: A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Include a mental health professional in your teen's regular health checkup.

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Flu Vaccinations: Yield Big Benefits

Flu vaccinations prevent illness and save lives.

Annual deaths in the U.S. from influenza ranged between 3,000 and 49,000 each year from 1976 to 2007. A significant portion of the sickness and death associated with this common illness could be prevented by immunizations. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that during the 2012-1013 flu season, immunizations prevented 79,000 (17%) hospitalizations and 6.6 million cases of the flu. These benefits accrued even though only 45% of the population took the flu vaccine and its effectiveness was 51%.

PositiveTip: Don't wait, get your vaccination today.

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Flaxseed Helps Hypertensives

Flaxseed shown to lower blood pressure.

It was a small study, but the results a very encouraging! Over 100 patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) went on a diet containing 30 g of milled flaxseed in foods or a placebo for 6 months. At the end of this double-blind, randomized trial those in the flaxseed group had lower systolic and diastolic pressures than those on the placebo (10 mm Hg and 7 mm Hg, respectively). Those with higher blood pressures saw the greatest benefit.

PositiveTip: Struggling with hypertension? Try some flaxseed in your diet.

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Is There Really "Healthy" Obesity?

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!

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How Long Till Ex-smokers Return to Ideal Heart Health?

Smokers who quit may be healthy sooner than expected.

Previous estimates predicted smokers must be abstinent for 15+ years to reduce their cardiovascular disease risks to that of non-smokers. However, recent research has found it can happen in closer to 8 years.  Study subjects were 65+ years old and had quit smoking 15 or fewer years ago. The faster health benefits happened for those who had smoked 3 packs/day for less than 10 years or less than 1 pack/day for 30 years.

Positive Tip: Get or provide the support needed to stop smoking. Today.

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Just $1.50 per day Between Healthy and Unhealthy

The biggest price differences were in the meats/protein foods.

Harvard University researchers have systematically analyzed 27 studies from 10 countries that examined food prices at the retail level by healthfulness. The price gap they discovered is it costs about $1.50 per day more for a healthful diet than an unhealthful one. While  less than some might expect, for the economically disadvantaged this could be a barrier. Yet, this amount is less than a espresso or big gulp of soda! What they didn't really compare were healthy vegetarian diets.

PositiveTip: Be creative in choosing healthful foods and save money!

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Ecstasy Use on the Rise

Estimates suggest that more than 450,000 Americans use ecstasy.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that emergency department visits involving the drug ecstacy rose from 4,460 admissions in 2005 to 10,176 in 2011. As a street drug, ecstacy has been found to be mixed with methamphetamine, ephedrine, cocaine, and caffeine which users may not be aware of when using. Dangerous symptoms may include heart failure, anxiety, confusion, and kidney failure.

PositiveTip: Use of ecstasy can be deadly. Encourage young people (and older) to avoid it.

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Puffed-up Serving Sizes

Serving sizes have grown significantly over the last several decades!

Do you live to eat or eat to live? This is an important question! Massive Health created an infographic that will surprise and enlighten you about the phenomenon of swelling servings. Take a few moments to study it--or maybe print it out and pin it to your refrigerator or bulletin board as a reminder.

PositiveTip: Bigger is not always better. Watch not only what you eat, but also how much you consume.

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Sweat Equivalents!

The average American consumed 4500 calories on Thanksgiving--the equavalent of 7 Big Macs!

What do calorie counts really mean? Today, a concept gaining popularity is "sweat equivalents". It's very simple: an estimate of the calories burned per minute in a particular activity expressed as time spent in that activity. So, if your calorie consumption were average on Thanksgiving you would need to run for 7.7 hours or cycle for 15 hours or swim for 10.6 hours to burn off those calories. Thought provoking indeed!

PositiveTip: Make your choices of input and output truly balance.