Mental Attitude: The Companionship of a Dog May Ease a Child’s Fears.
Dog ownership may lower a child’s anxiety levels. In a study involving nearly 640 children, researchers found that only 12% of children with dogs tested positive for anxiety, compared with 21% of those without dogs. The researchers speculate that having a dog may reduce a child’s anxiety, particularly social and separation anxieties, by triggering conversations and helping break the ice with new people.
Preventing Chronic Disease, November 2015
Health Alert: Fewer Teens Using Cigarettes and Alcohol!
The 2015 Monitoring the Future survey finds cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption continues to decline among teens. Among 10th graders, researchers observed a 54.9% reduction in cigarette use in just the past five years. The rate of binge drinking (described as having five or more drinks in a row within the past two weeks) among high school seniors fell from 31.5% in 1998 to 17.4% this past year and just over a third of seniors have been drunk in the past year compared with more than half in 2001. National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli writes, “This year’s Monitoring the Future data continue the promising trends from last year with declining rates of adolescent substance use, and support the value of evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery… I encourage parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors to have a conversation with the young people in their lives about making the healthy decisions that will keep them on a path toward a successful future.”
National Institutes of Health, December 2015
Diet: Fruits and Veggies Can Lower Hypertension Risk!
Using multi-decade data concerning over 200,000 men and women, researchers have found an association between fruit and vegetable consumption and blood pressure. They observed that those who consumed four or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables had a 5-8% lower risk for developing hypertension. The researchers also observed a reduction in hypertension risk among participants who consumed four or more servings per week of broccoli, carrots, tofu, soybeans, raisins, or apples.
Hypertension, December 2015
Exercise: How Strong Is Your Handgrip?
The strength of your handgrip may indicate your risk for future cardiovascular disease. Researchers analyzed data regarding 4,221 adults collected during the 2011-2012 cycle of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found those with above-average grip strength for their age were more likely to have a healthy cardiovascular profile than their peers with weaker grips.
American Journal of Preventative Medicine, December 2015
Chiropractic: Working Postures That Increase Musculoskeletal Pain Risk.
Among a sample of 789 workers across a variety of industries, researchers found prolonged exposure to awkward postures could increase an individual’s risk of developing a musculoskeletal (MSK) condition. These postures include: kneeling/crouching (low-back pain), neck flexion and rotation (neck pain), trunk flexion (low-back pain), and arm elevation (neck and shoulder pain). Future studies aim to identify exposure limits for each posture in an effort to curb work-related MSK disorder risk.
Ergonomics, December 2015
Wellness/Prevention: Weight Loss Can Benefit Knee Cartilage.
Obesity is a significant risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis of the knee. A new study shows that losing a large amount of weight can slow the loss of knee cartilage in obese individuals. The study included over 500 overweight and obese participants and found that cartilage degenerated much slower in those who lost more than 10% of their body weight during the four-year study. Researcher Dr. Alexandra Gersing adds, “Significant weight loss not only slows the loss of knee joint cartilage, it also reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. Along with moderate exercise, weight loss is one of the best ways to prevent the disease.”
Radiological Society of North America, November 2015