Don't Eat These Fish!
Turn Off the TV
Jetlag and Food
Broccoli contains a compound, glucoraphanin, believed to aid in preventing some types of cancer. But the Agriculture Department studied 71 types of broccoli plants and found a 30-fold difference in the amounts of glucoraphanin. Some had virtually none of it. The varieties of broccoli typically sold in supermarkets do not vary that much. Other fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, garlic and carrots, also contain varying amounts of cancer-fighting chemicals, a fact many consumers probably do not realize. Studies suggest that people who eat broccoli have a lower incidence of colon and rectal cancer. Sulforaphane, a product of the glucoraphanin in broccoli, induces the production of certain enzymes that can deactivate free radicals and carcinogens. The enzymes have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors in laboratory animals. Johns Hopkins scientists developed broccoli sprouts that guarantee a consistent level of sulforaphane, as much as 20 times higher than the levels found in mature heads of broccoli. The sprouts are available in some stores under the trade name BroccoSprouts.
Don't Eat These Fish!
Pregnant women and those who might become pregnant should not eat four types of fish - shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish - because they could contain enough mercury to hurt an unborn baby's developing brain, the government warned. When ingested in pregnancy, mercury can damage the central nervous system, leaving babies with slower cognitive development. Critics say up to 60,000 children a year may be affected.
Dry extract of the agnus castus fruit is an effective treatment of premenstrual syndrome, and should be considered a therapeutic option, finds a study in BMJ. Patients who received agnus castus had a significant improvement in combined symptoms compared with those on placebo. Symptoms like irritability, mood alteration, anger, headache and breast fullness were significantly improved. Other symptoms such as bloating were unaffected by treatment. Overall, more than half the women had a 50% or greater overall improvement in their symptoms, and side effects were few and mild.
Turn Off the TV
A Stanford University study suggests discouraging television and video game use makes grade-school children less aggressive. The study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine finds that programs that discourage kids from television and video game use can reduce aggression. In the study, researchers looked at third- and fourth graders at two public schools in San Jose, California. Their findings indicate that the effects of televised violence in kids are reversible. Dr. Thomas Robinson, the lead author, said he's testing the program's effects in a longer and larger study, of about 900 students at 12 schools, that may answer whether it results in long-term reductions in aggression. That theory is plausible because children who watch lots of TV or video games may spend less time interacting with others and may thus have fewer social skills, said Dr. Katherine Kaufer Christoffel, a professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Northwestern University.
Jetlag and Food
A study conducted on rats, not on travellers, concludes that the timing of meals may play an important role in resetting body clocks. This may help scientists find ways to combat long-distance travelers' jet lag.
The bigger the baby, the smarter it's likely to be. A study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, found that birth weight influenced intelligence until about the age of 26. After that, it tended to even out, as other factors began to play a more important role. Experts have long known that premature or underweight babies tend to be less intelligent as children. But in the biggest study to date examining the influence of birth weight on intelligence, scientists have found that babies born on the heavy side of normal tend to be brighter as adults. However, size at birth doesn't necessarily determine intellectual destiny. It is only one of many factors that influence the intelligence of a person. Marcus Richards, a psychologist at Britain's Medical Research Council who conducted the study said, ``Parental interest in education - being in the PTA and getting involved in your child's homework - has an enormous impact, one that may even offset the effect of birth weight.''
Cars replace bikes and television replaces outdoor activity. Everyone is forced to become lazy. The number of overfed people on the planet is at its highest level. The trends indicate that fat and flabby people will become the majority. In the last eight years in China, the proportion of overweight men has tripled. Researchers say that half of the world population is overfed and is equal to the starving population. Scientists expect the spread of technology to tip the balance toward sedentary living in coming decades.
The number of overweight children, adolescents, and adults has risen over the past four decades. Total costs (medical cost and lost productivity) attributable to obesity alone amounted to an estimated $99 billion in 1995. During 1988B94, 11 percent of children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years were overweight or obese. During the same years, 23 percent of adults aged 20 years and older were considered obese. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled among children and adolescents since 1980. It is also increasing in both genders and among all population groups of adults. Surgeon General David Satcher on January 8, 2001 announced a year-long effort to develop a national action plan for reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States. Satcher said the process would be inclusive and collaborative, and would include open public comment periods, listening sessions, federal and non-federal dialogue, interactive workshops and the formation of working groups to implement strategies.
Useless Popular Diets
Most popular diets help people drop pounds initially, but only traditional moderate-fat, high-carbohydrate regimens seem to keep dieters slim, according to the first major review of popular diets by the federal government. Those programs that have put more demands on dieters - like those recommended by groups such as the American Heart Association and Weight Watchers - have the best scientific evidence to back up their success rates and health claims. They recommend consuming no more than 30 percent of calories as fat, limiting protein to about 20 percent of the diet and consuming more fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates to help satisfy hunger with fewer calories. They are the most nutritionally adequate and showed some of the best improvements in blood levels of the most dangerous cholesterol and blood fats and in blood sugar control, the study found. "Based on the scientific knowledge we have, this seems to be the most efficacious way to go and it is most likely the safest," the Post quoted Xavier Pi-Sunyer, director of the obesity research center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York and editor of Obesity Research, which will publish the full USDA study in the March-April issue.
School meals getting better
School meals are getting leaner and more nutritious. Under pressure from federal officials, schools have trimmed fat, cholesterol and sodium from lunches and breakfasts and are offering children more fruits and vegetables, the government says. A decade ago, barely a third of elementary schools offered students lowfat lunches. Now, four of every five schools do, according to an Agriculture Department report. "Kids choose what foods they know. If they are eating a lot of pizza at home, they're going to choose pizza at school. It's pretty hard to overcome what they have been learning at home," said Hurt, supervisor of nutrition programs for the schools in LaCrosse, Wis.
Indications of cardiovascular problems
Signs in the bloodstream of chronic low-grade inflammation linked in overweight adults to cardiovascular problems have been found in heavy children as young as 8 years old, researchers report. Overweight children were between three and five times more likely than normal-weight youngsters to have the potentially ominous inflammation, the authors reported in January's Pediatrics.
Body Mass Index
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health departments in 10 countries, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI)--a measure of a person's weight in relation to their height--can identify health risks associated with overweight and obesity. The current recommendations, published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are based on a review of studies investigating the link between body measurements and disease. The reviewers found that people with similar waist circumferences had comparable rates of type 2 diabetes regardless of age and that in women, the rate of heart disease rose as both BMI and waist circumference increased.
Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, 01/30/2001
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