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Wellness Tied to Job Availability

by Bob Curley on September 30, 2014

Gallup-Healthways-logoResidents of countries with the best jobs outlook are twice as likely to be “thriving” in at least three of five aspects of personal wellbeing, according to data from the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index.

In countries where respondents were most likely to report that now is a “good time” to find a job, about 20 percent of adults were thriving in three or more well-being elements — purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.

The relationship between work opportunities and wellness was consistent throughout every region of the world.

“The jobs climate and well-being share a reciprocal relationship, with each influencing the other,” noted Gallup researchers. “For example, areas — including countries — where residents have high well-being provide fruitful ground for potential employers, because they will have prospective employees who are active and productive while at work, miss few days of work due to poor health, and who have lower levels of healthcare use. In this manner, a citizenry with high well-being can drive economic vitality through an engine of jobs creation.

“At the same time, economic vitality and the good jobs that come from it will typically lead to residents having greater food, shelter, and healthcare security,” according to researchers. “They will also have greater pride in their communities, more secure relationships with their loved ones, better physical health outcomes, and a higher standard of living. All of these effects enhance well-being in tangible ways across each of the five elements.”

Long Hours, Low Pay: A Recipe for Diabetes?

by Bob Curley on September 30, 2014

Low-income workers who toil for long hours may be at elevated risk of Type 2 diabetes, the New York Times reported Sept. 29.

Researchers found that low-income individuals who worked 55 hours or more per week had a 30-percent elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Similar risk was not observed among those who worked long hours but had higher incomes.

Some known risk factors for diabetes, like stress, sleep disturbances, depression, and unhealthy lifestyles, also may be associated with working long hours.

The findings were drawn from 19 previous studies involving more than 222,000 men and women.

The research was published in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Don’t Take Powerful Painkillers for Headaches, Docs Say

by Bob Curley on September 30, 2014

neurologylogoThe overdose and addiction risks of opioid painkillers are too great for them to be used as treatment for chronic headaches, lower back pain, and fibromyalgia, according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Neurology.

WebMD reported Sept. 29 that the physicians groups said that while drugs like  morphine, codeine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), methadone, fentanyl, and hydrocodone can be effective for short-term pain relief, about half of users who take opioid painkillers for at least three months stay on these drugs for five years or more.

“More than 100,000 people have died from prescription opioid use since policies changed in the late 1990s to allow much more liberal long-term use,” noted Gary Franklin of the University of Washington in Seattle. ”There have been more deaths from prescription opioids in the most vulnerable young to middle-aged groups than from firearms and car accidents. Doctors, states, institutions and patients need to work together to stop this epidemic.”

The group said that patients on high-dose opioid drugs who don’t show substantial improvement in pain should be seeing a pain-management specialist.

Study Finds Lack of Concern About Heart Disease

by Bob Curley on September 30, 2014

britishheartfoundationlogoFew people are concerned about having a heart attack, and knowledge about how to prevent a coronary is often lacking, according to a British report.

The BBC reported Sept. 28 that a British Heart Foundation survey found that only 2 percent of adults in the U.K. say they worry about having a heart attack, expressing more concerns about conditions like dementia and cancer. About one in 10 people also said they did not know how to prevent heart disease.

That’s despite the fact that heart disease kills roughly one in five men and one in eight women in the U.K.

The British Heart Foundation’s tips for preventing heart disease include:

  • Give up smoking
  • Get health checkups regularly after age 40
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Lead an active lifestyle
  • Reduce sodium intake
  • Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily
  • Cut down on saturated fat
  • Read food labels to find out if something is healthy for you
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol
  • Watch food portion sizes


Walk for Life, Experts Say

by Bob Curley on September 29, 2014

walkingBrianSmithsonFlickrIf you have to choose a single exercise to do, make it walking.

Reuters reported Sept. 29 that in terms of what’s good for us, it’s important to think of  ”movement” as well as “exercise.” Even many marathoners, for example, are sedentary for long stretches when they are not actively running or training. And that might not be healthy.

“Walking is a superfood. It’s the defining movement of a human,” said Katy Bowman, author of, “Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement.” “It’s a lot easier to get movement than it is to get exercise … You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”

Start by taking a walk at a three-mile-per-hour pace. Even a few five-minute walks during the day can help.

(Photo © Brian Smithson via Flickr)

Want to Eat Better? Take Your Time

by Bob Curley on September 29, 2014

crockpotLaurenFriedmamnFLickrMaking time to cook at home can be hard, but consider it an investment in your health.

Reuters reported Sept. 26 that research found a strong correlation between healthy eating and preparing your own food; on the other hand, people who spent the least amount of time making food spent the most money eating out and ate the most fast food.

Those who spent the most time preparing food typically consumed at least eight servings of fruit and 13 servings of vegetables weekly, while those who spent the least amount of time consumed about six servings of fruit and 11 servings of vegetables per week, the study found.

Preparing your own food also saves a little money — about $7 per family member per week.

Lori Rosenthal, a dietician at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, acknowledged that it can be hard for working families to find time to prepare fresh meals, but that planning is crucial.

“Sit down and figure out what you are going to eat for the week – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – and make a grocery list so you can buy the things you need in advance,” she said. “Even right after you go grocery shopping clean the vegetables, cut them up, separate things into Ziploc bags, have it set up for yourself, so it’s faster.”

Making big batches of meals and freezing portions for future use also helps. “You basically have healthy homemade frozen dinners,” she said. One-pot meals can also speed up preparation and cleanup time.

The research was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

(Photo © Lauren Friedman via Flickr)


Exercise Can Be An Effective Antidepressant

Exercise can give you much the same type of neurophysiological benefits as taking antidepressant drugs, according to Swiss researchers. The University Herald reported Sept. 18 that the study found that sports and exercise affected the brain’s ability to absorb serotonin and boost other brain activity that encourages cell growth and prevent the cell death in the […]

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It’s Fine to Combine Aerobics and Weights

You don’t need to alternate your workouts between aerobic activity and weight training, experts say: just craft a routine that works best for you. The New York Times reported Sept. 26 that contrary to what you may have heard at the gym, the idea that doing aerobics diminishes the impact of strength-building exercise, or vice-versa, […]

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E-Cigarettes May Be Losing Their Buzz

About 8 percent of Americans have tried electronic cigarettes, but that’s a figure that has not changed much in recent years, the Associated Press reported Sept. 25. Between 2010 and 2012, e-cigarette use rose from 3 percent to 8 percent among Americans, but has barely budged since, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control […]

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Abdominal Weight Gain May Raise Breast Cancer Risk

Women who gain significant abdominal weight as adults may significantly increase their risk of developing breast cancer later in life, Fox News reported Sept. 25. British researchers said that women over age 50 whose skirt size increased one size over any 10-year period after age 26 had a 33-percent higher risk of breast cancer, while […]

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