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Health News You Can Use | Vol. 26 No. 1 | Nov-Dec 2015

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A SMOKER’S LEGACY

The more a parent smokes, the more their teenage son or daughter will also. While this is no surprise, a recent study explores how much of an effect this has.

According to the study, 13 percent of adolescents whose parents never smoked said they had smoked at least one cigarette. For those children whose parent was dependent on nicotine, the rate went up to 38 percent. Strikingly, daughters were especially sensitive to their mother’s smoking habits, with a fourfold risk increase over those whose parent did not smoke at all. Sons were not affected differently by the habits of either parent.

Clearly, if parents do not want their children to smoke, the best choice is to not smoke either. However, even the child of a parent who had quit had an increased risk compared to those whose parents never smoked in the first place. If mom or dad is a smoker, their teenager is more likely to be a smoker too,” EurekAlert!, eurekalert.org, September 17, 2015.

YOUNG CHILDREN, OLD HEARTS

Exercise is good for the heart, but how early in life can the effects of inactivity be seen? According to a study from Finland, children as young as 6 to 8 years of age were already showing links between arterial stiffness and low levels of physical activity, weaker physical fitness, and higher body fat content. Children with higher levels of physical fitness had better arterial dilation capacity during physical exercise than their peers. Those who had both weak physical fitness and a high body fat percentage or low levels of physical activity had the stiffest arteries.

With rising levels of vascular diseases and type 2 diabetes around the globe, early changes in behavior reduce risks later in life. Allowing your children to be inactive paves the way for future health problems. “Sedentary lifestyle and overweight weaken arterial health already in childhood,” University of Eastern Finland, www.uef.fi, September 11, 2015.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A plant-based diet is good for both body and mind. Diets heavy in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts, and low in processed meats were found to be associated with preventing the onset of depression, according to new research. Consumption of sweets and meats was found to increase the risk. More research is needed to find out exactly how these foods affect the mind. Fruit and vegetables aren’t only good for a healthy body; they protect your mind too,” Science Daily, www.sciencedaily.com, September 16, 2015.

DEADLY DRINKS

There is an “urgent need” to reduce consumption of sugary drinks, according to a new study. It’s well documented that consuming one or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day can cause weight gain and obesity. Consuming one or two servings a day additionally increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent, heightens the risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease by 35 percent, and raises the risk of stroke by 16 percent. Reducing the consumption of sugary drinks may not solve issues of rising obesity, but is “one simple change that will have a measurable impact on weight control and the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases.” Sugary drinks raise risk of heart attack, heart disease by more than a third,” Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com, September 29, 2015.

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