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Health News You Can Use| Vol. 25 No. 4 | May-June 2015


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A study involving 104 children with an average age of 12.5, found that those who reported having friends who joined them in physical activities were almost twice as likely to be in the most physically active category themselves. Having active friends was found to be a stronger influence than the encouragement or involvement of parents. It should come as no surprise that we can be influenced to adopt better habits by those whom we choose to associate with. These findings are especially significant as parents and teachers seek ways to encourage more activity in their efforts to combat the global epidemic of childhood obesity. Friends may make the difference in keeping children active,” American Heart Association, March 3, 2015,


Regularly losing as little as half an hour of sleep at night could ultimately promote the onset or speed the development of type 2 diabetes. In a 12-month study of 522 newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients, it was found that for every 30 minutes of weekday sleep debt, the risk of obesity was increased by 17%, and the risk of insulin resistance was increased by 39%. Those who had sleep debt were 72% more likely to be obese than those who did not.

Previous studies have found an association between insufficient sleep and the development of obesity and diabetes. This study reinforces the fact that the effects of poor sleep can add up over time, and lead to metabolic issues. Losing 30 minutes of sleep per day may promote weight gain and adversely affect blood sugar control,” Science Daily, March 6, 2015,


A mounting body of evidence indicates that those with few social connections are at an increased risk of dying early, whether they feel lonely, or simply lack connections in the first place. The feeling of loneliness was correlated with a 26% increase in risk of death, while social isolation and living alone had an even greater effect, at 29% and 32% respectively. Evidence suggests that the increased risk of mortality from a lack of social relationships is even greater than the risk from obesity. More people are living alone in rich countries now than ever before in history, and this rate is expected to continue rising. Why Loneliness May Be the Next Big Public-Health Issue,” Time, March 18, 2015,


A new study finds that foods with added fat, white flour, and/or sugar—like chocolate, pizza, and French fries—may trigger addictive-like eating behavior. People who had the symptoms of food addiction and/or a higher body mass index reported having more difficulty with the “rewarding” properties of these foods than with foods such as brown rice or salmon. These findings could help change the way obesity treatment is approached. “It may not be a simple matter of ‘cutting back’ on certain foods, but rather, adopting methods used to curtail smoking, drinking, and drug use,” said Dr. Nicola Avena, a co-author of the study. The study’s authors suggest that researchers should next examine whether addictive foods are able to cause the same sorts of changes in brain circuitry and behavior as addictive drugs. Highly processed foods linked to addictive eating,” Michigan News, February 18, 2015,


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