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November 2015 Health Newsletter Print-Friendly Newsletter

Current Articles

» Get Some Sleep: How Bad Sleeping Habits Are Hurting Your Health
» The Power of Pets: How Furry Friends Can Lower a Child's Risk for Asthma
» Why California is Considering Red Meat as a True Cancer Risk

Get Some Sleep: How Bad Sleeping Habits Are Hurting Your Health

Life gets in the way, so the importance of getting a full 8 hours of sleep can often fall by the wayside. While it may not feel as important in the short-term, a lack of sleep can have major consequences in the long run. In fact, studies show that consistently getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can help trigger a serious condition called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the term given to a set of 5 specific health conditions.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • Extra mid-section fat
  • Excess fat in the blood

These conditions are all proven triggers for such serious health problems as heart disease and diabetes. A lack of sleep has been shown to increase high blood pressure by over 55% and increase the chances of high blood sugar by 30% in adults. A Korean medical study observed roughly 2,600 participants for two years and also discovered that people who had received less than 6 hours of sleep in those two years were at a greater risk for developing metabolic syndrome by more than 40%. To help combat the long-term consequences of bad sleep habits, doctors recommend that patients analyze their daily routine and see if they're scheduling sleep out of their lives.

Source: Sleep, online September 25, 2015.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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The Power of Pets: How Furry Friends Can Lower a Child's Risk for Asthma
While new parents often consider giving their dog to grandma, studies suggest that raising children with pets may actually have a positive effect on their health after all. In fact, one Swedish study found that children living with farm animals were nearly 52% less at risk of developing Asthma. This result came from a 10-year long study that observed roughly 276,000 children aged 3 years and up. Of this group, over 22,000 included children who were raised with dogs any time during their first year. Out of the entire group studied, only 11,500 children developed asthma in their lives, and researchers found that children who were raised with farm animals or dogs since birth were half as likely to develop asthma in their life.  One of the study's researchers from Sweden's Uppsala University suggested that living with pets and farm animals can potentially increase a child's immune system. Allergy researchers from the University of Washington also suggest that not only do pets get kids out into the fresh air, but certain animals may also have been exposed to a bacterium that protects them against getting Asthma.

Source: JAMA Pediatrics, online November 2, 2015.
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Why California is Considering Red Meat as a True Cancer Risk
There have been numerous studies linking red meat to cancer, but one report by the World Health Organization may have persuaded California to change its mind about meat. California has been a leader in discussions about GMO food labeling and humane agricultural practices. One of California's most important consumer-based policies is Proposition 65. Signed into law in 1986, this measure requires California to retain a database of all substances that are known to be triggers for cancer. Companies that use these substances are then required to disclose that information to consumers on their product labels. Since the WHO report categorizes processed meat as a carcinogen, not unlike tobacco, it puts the meat industry in a very precarious position in the state.  While some believe California may lead toward putting red meat, particularly processed meat, on the cancer risk alert list, the meat industry remains confident that they have enough leverage to not adhere to California's policy. In 2009, a California court reaffirmed that meat factories are not subject to state inspection if they're already inspected by the federal government. Thus, the meat industry may get to escape California's risk list after all. However, processed meats may still be in a position for cancer risk labeling since it's not a fresh meat.

Source: Reuters, online October 28, 2015.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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