|Diet and Exercise
We have truly a global epidemic affecting most countries in the world.
Nearly half of the children in North and South America will be overweight
by 2010, up from what recent studies say is about one-third, according to
a report published by the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.
In the European Union, about 38 percent of all children will be overweight
if present trends continue, up from about 25 percent in recent surveys, the
study said. The percentages of overweight children also are expected to increase
significantly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Mexico, Chile, Brazil
and Egypt have rates comparable to fully industrialized nations. Researchers
concluded that the prevalence of childhood obesity increased in almost all
the countries, for which data were available. The trend is fueled by more
sedentary lives and the increasing availability of junk food due to globalization,
among other factors. The public health consequences of the trend alarm
According to a study, published this month in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, people interested in lowering their cholesterol should acquire
a taste for tofu and oatmeal. The participants were prescribed a diet that
included specific foods, such as raw almonds, tofu and other soy foods, viscous
fibers such as oatmeal, barley, okra and eggplant, and plant sterol-enriched
margarine. After a year, the group who stuck faithfully to the new
eating plan lowered their cholesterol by an average of 29 percent.
The rate was comparable to results from participants who had taken a statin
drug for one month before starting the diet, as well as general studies of
patients on such drugs.
Omega-3 Oils Reduce Prostrate
Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids that work together to promote
good health. The body cannot make them, so eating a diet rich in the substances
is important. Certain oils such as canola, flaxseed and fish
are sources of omega-3, while raw nuts and seeds contain omega-6. In
laboratory studies, scientists at the Paterson Institute at the Christie
Hospital in Manchester, England found that omega-3 fats could block the spread
of cancerous cells. The results of the research published in
the British Journal of Cancer suggest a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids
might help to inhibit the spread of the disease in men with early prostate
cancer. Because omega-3 and omega-6 work together, it is important
to maintain a balance of the two for good health.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, and doctors
generally recommend that patients begin screening for the disease at age
50. Drinking and smoking may contribute to developing colorectal cancer years
earlier than average, a new study found. The findings appear in the March
27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Everyone knows that smoking kills, but a new study finds it can kill much
earlier than most people realize. The study, which is the largest and longest
study of smoking and its consequences involving both men and women, appears
in the current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Not only smoking
can shorten lives, but also, a new study finds, it also hampers men's sex
lives. Researchers say men who smoke a pack of cigarettes or more a day are
nearly 40 percent more likely to have erectile dysfunction compared with
nonsmokers, reporting in March issue of the British journal Thorax.
How much water should you drink? Experts now say that drinking eight glasses
of water is not necessary. For normal, healthy adults, simply drinking when
thirsty — even coffee and other drinks — can meet the body's need for fluids.
Fluid intake can include the fluid you get from food, caffeine drinks, and
other beverages. Experts haven't set a limit for drinking too much liquid
— but some runners actually drink too much water during a race, according
to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and highlighted
by the Cleveland Clinic. Exceptions to these guidelines are athletes, those
who are sick or who have certain medical conditions, or people living in
extreme weather conditions. Exercise, heat, and humidity increase the possibility
of dehydration, so you need to drink more frequently. Sickness, a high body
temperature, excessive perspiration, vomiting, frequent urination, or diarrhea
also increase our fluid needs. Watch your urine: if it's too concentrated
and yellow — which indicates a need for more fluid — drink more. (http://www.humana.com/eplanpro/issue_1/article1.asp)
New research with rats suggests that running solo might not offer the perceived
benefits and, in fact, may actually be bad for runners when combined with
social isolation. The scientists behind the study report that mice forced
to live and run by themselves have less brain cell growth than those that
get to run with other rats. The rats who ran in groups did a better job of
generating new neurons than those that ran in isolation. The researchers
also found that the isolated rats had higher levels of corticosterone, a
hormone related to stress. The findings appear in the March 12 online edition
of the journal Nature Neuroscience. The implications for humans aren't
A diet rich in magnesium may help reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome,
the cluster of conditions that can lead to diabetes and coronary heart disease,
new research finds in a study called The Coronary Artery Risk Development
in Young Adults study. The standard recommendations for preventing heart
disease are avoiding smoking, getting more physical activity, and eating
more fruits and vegetables. Food sources of magnesium include dry roasted
almonds, cashews, spinach, whole-grain cereals, avocados, bananas and raisins.
About 16 percent of the study participants were taking dietary supplements
that contained magnesium.
Tummy Fat in Women and ED
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health and is being presented
on March 3rd at an American Heart Association conference in Phoenix, suggests
that by just lifting weights twice a week for an hour, women can battle the
buildup of tummy fat that often takes hold with aging. The study focused
on intra-abdominal fat, the deep fat that wraps itself around organs and
is the most unhealthy because it's linked with heart disease.
A major new study of American males suggests that regular exercise and a
healthy diet may help banish ED and the heart disease that often accompanies
it. "Couch potato" men were much more likely to develop erectile difficulties,
suggesting that getting off the couch and getting active might help fight
the problem. Lifestyle modifications such as exercise and weight loss for
patients with the metabolic syndrome have been shown to prevent almost two-thirds
of new-onset diabetes cases. Increasing physical activity, weight loss and
control of high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes can also reduce
the incidence of heart attacks and strokes.
Obesity rates have tripled over the past 40 years for children and adolescents
from ages 6 through 19, raising their risk of risks of type 2 diabetes and
a range of other diseases. The rise of diabetes among young people has caused
the medical community to change its terminology -- what used to be called
adult onset diabetes is now type 2 diabetes, because it's turning up in children
as young as 9, former President Clinton, a reformed overeater said.
Halting the rising obesity rates must be part of a larger challenge to the
rising costs of health care, he said. If the country could reduce the nation's
spending on health care -- now 16 percent of the gross domestic product --
down to 11 percent, the most other countries spend, it could save $700 billion.
Clinton urged the nation's governors to embrace a long-term effort to change
the nation's culture of "too much food and too little exercise." But ultimately
it comes down to people's choices. "No matter what else you say, no matter
what different studies show, you've got to consume less and burn more," Clinton
said. "To do that you've got to change the culture."
Food Industry Regulatory
Outlook for 2006
The major issues for the food industry in 2006 will continue to be obesity
and health. Obesity continues to be of great importance to a variety of groups
for differing reasons. Regulators are concerned because of the high mortality
and morbidity rates associated with obesity and the resulting increase in
expenditures of health care resources. Individual consumers are also becoming
more concerned about their weight and health and, as a result, are seeking
out diet and functional food products. Consumer groups continue to assert
that the food industry is contributing to rising obesity levels through its
advertising and promotion of nutritionally deficient foods, as well as its
failure to develop and market more healthful products. All of these interests
will continue to be factors during 2006, and will drive regulation as well
as major shifts within the food industry such as self-regulation of advertising
to children and the development of functional and health foods. http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=38722&email_access=on
Chili Peppers Kill Cancer
An ingredient which makes chilli peppers hot, also triggers prostate cancer
cells to commit suicide. Tests showed that Capsaicin triggered 80 per cent
of the cancer cells to start the process leading to cell death. It also reduced
the size of tumours by a fifth with no major side effects in mice. The rodents
had been genetically modified to have human prostate cancer cells.
Habaneras are the highest rated pepper for Capsaicin content typically containing
between 60 to 120 times the levels in the more popular Jalapeno. However,
high intake of hot chillies has been linked with stomach cancers. Men
with prostate cancer should avoid fatty foods, red and processed meat, increase
their Omega-3 fat intake and enjoy a wide and plentiful range of fruit and
vegetables every day.
Folate, also known as folic acid, is a B vitamin that is naturally found
in fruits and vegetables Increased levels of dietary folate from food, but
not from supplements, appears to reduce the risk of developing pancreatic
cancer, according to results of a large population-based study of Swedish
men and women. Beans and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, which
are high in folic acid help, prevent pancreatic cancer but vitamin supplements
do not help. The US government recently mandated that manufacturers
fortify grain products with folic acid, adding it to flour, rice, pasta and
cornmeal. Previous studies have suggested that folate may protect against
colorectal and breast cancer, according to a report published in the Journal
of the National Cancer Institute.
The average total polyphenol concentration of the red cabbage is 190 milligrams
per 100 grams of fresh weight, while white cabbages yields only 45 milligrams
per 100 grams. Red cabbages also contain significantly more anthocyanins
than the white cabbage variety: 23 versus 0.01 milligrams per 100 grams.
In a new study red cabbage was seen to reduce the build-up of certain plaques
in the brain that could cause Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of
dementia that costs the UK an estimated £15 billion (€ 22 billion)
The news come hot on the heels of a similar report in the Journal of the
Science of Food and Agriculture (doi: 10.1002/jsfa.2409) from New Zealand
researchers who looked at blackcurrant extracts and Alzehimer's. The
protective effects of the currants were again linked to the high anthocyanin
content, and the researchers concluded: “The phenolic extract of blackcurrant
demonstrated the highest protective effect and may be a good candidate for
inclusion into a processed functional food.”
A new study, published on-line in Food Chemistry (doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2006.01.013),
assessed the effects of ginger on the blood antioxidant levels and kidney
health of diabetic rat models. Ginger could help protect against kidney damage,
a condition said to threaten one in three diabetics, if the results of an
animal study published in Food Chemistry are also seen in humans.
Fruits and Vegetables
may Prevent Asthma
Women who eat plenty of tomatoes, carrots and leafy greens appear less likely
to have asthma, researchers have found. Though it's uncertain whether the
foods are the reason, the findings suggest that some vegetables may protect
against adulthood asthma, the researchers report in the medical journal Thorax.
A number of studies have suggested that antioxidants or certain other nutrients
in plant foods may help prevent or ameliorate asthma and other allergic conditions.
Carrots, tomato juice and spinach contain nutrients called carotenoids, some
of which are converted into vitamin A in the body. Among other jobs, vitamin
A helps regulate the immune system and maintain the lining of the respiratory
A new study has found that sudden cardiac death during exertion is extremely
uncommon in women, and perhaps even more uncommon in women who exercise regularly.
And in the same vein, a second study showed that women who are heavier and
who exercise less are more likely to have warning signs implicated in the
development of cardiovascular disease. These two studies appear in the March
22/29 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
When to get a Pet
In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, Austrian researchers found
that the risk of dog attacks on children is highest when the children are
1 year old, and then decreases as the children get older. Accordingly, parents
should wait before introducing a dog into the home until children are school
age, at least 5 years old.
Loneliness in people over 50 greatly increases their risk of high blood pressure,
researchers say in the latest study to underscore the health advantages of
friends and family. The loneliest people studied had blood pressure
readings as much as 30 points higher than those who weren't lonely, suggesting
that loneliness can be as bad for the heart as being overweight or inactive,
the researchers said in the March issue of the journal Psychology and Aging.
Loneliness was strongly linked to high blood pressure even when conventional
risk factors such as weight, smoking and alcohol consumption were also considered.
TV is not only dangerous to kids' brains, but also associated with cognitive
decline in adults. Daytime television may be associated with cognitive
decline in older women. A study published in the Southern Medical Journal
finds that elderly women who watch soap operas and talk shows are more likely
to have cognitive impairment than women who don't watch those programs.
A University of Liverpool team compared mammograms of 252 women who went
on to develop breast cancer with a similar number from women who stayed healthy.
The study in the journal Breast Cancer Research found the relative odds of
getting cancer went up 50% for each 100ml increase in breast asymmetry. The
average female breast in the study was about 500ml in size, so a variation
of 100ml was quite big. Almost all women had some degree of breast asymmetry,
except one woman who had perfectly symmetrical breasts. Accordingly,
breast asymmetry should not be considered in isolation. It is important
to consider a woman's entire risk profile before assessing her breast cancer
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients: 1-1/2 pounds new potatoes, 1 teaspoon non/low fat margarine,
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon peel, grated, 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
green onions, chopped.
Steam potato's for 12-15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and peel. Melt margarine
in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add remaining ingredients and
potatoes and stir until potatoes are coated with mixture and heated.
Banana Maple and Lime Pancakes
Ingredients: 115 g/ 40z/ cup plain flour, 1 cup skimmed milk, sunflower oil
For the filling, 4 bananas, sliced 3 tbsp maple syrup or golden syrup, 2
tbsp lime juice
strips of lime rind to decorate.
Direction: Beat together the flour, milk and water until smooth and bubbly.
Chill until needed.
Heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick frying pan and pour in enough batter
just to coat the base. Swirl it around the pan to coat evenly. Cook
until golden then toss or turn and cook the other side. Place on a plate
cover with foil and keep hot while making the remaining pancakes.
To make the filling place the bananas syrup and lime juice in a pan and simmer
gently for 1 minute. Spoon into the pancakes and fold into quarters. Sprinkle
with shreds of lime rind to decorate. Serve hot with yogurt.
Ingredients: 2 tsp canola oil, 1.20 lb carrots, peeled and chopped, 1 celery
stick, sliced, 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated, 1½-cup lowfat soymilk,
1 onion, medium, chopped, 2 vegetable stock cubes
Direction: Heat oil in a large saucepan. Sauté onion until soft. Add
carrot, potato, celery, water, stock cubes and ginger. Bring to the boil;
then cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Cool, then process in food processor until smooth. Gradually add soymilk,
processing until well combined. Reheat before serving
Expenses & Tax Credits
There are a number of education related tax benefits available to individuals
who are paying higher education costs or repaying student loans. These usually
fall into two categories tax deducations or tax credits. In this issue we
will take a look at the benefits of using education tax credits.
Education Tax Credits
A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you may have to pay. Unlike
a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a credit
directly reduces the tax itself. The lifetime learning credit is a nonrefundable
credit. This means that it can reduce your tax to zero, but if the credit
is more than your tax the excess will not be refunded to you.
There are two tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher
education by reducing the amount of your income tax. They are the Hope credit
and the lifetime learning credit.
Tax Tip: You may be able to take a tuition and fees deduction for your education
expenses instead of an Education Tax Credit. You can choose the one that
will give you the lower tax.
The Hope Credit
You may be able to claim a Hope Credit of up to $1,500 for qualified tuition
and related expenses for each eligible student during that student’s first
two years of post-secondary education. An eligible student must be taking
at least one-half of the normal full-time workload in order to qualify for
The Lifetime Learning Credit
You may be able to claim a lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 for qualified
education expenses paid for all students enrolled in eligible educational
institutions. There is no limit on the number of years the lifetime learning
credit can be claimed for each student. The lifetime learning credit you
are allowed may be limited by the amount of your income and the amount of
Tax Tip: If you are eligible to claim the Hope credit and you are also eligible
to claim the lifetime learning credit for the same student in the same year,
you can choose to claim either credit, but not both. For 2005, if the total
qualified education expenses for a student are less than $7,500, it will
generally be to your benefit to claim the Hope credit.
There are several differences between these two credits. For example, you
can claim the Hope credit based on the same student's expenses for no more
than 2 years. However, there is no limit on the number of years for which
you can claim a lifetime learning credit based on the same student's expenses.
The differences between the two credits are summarized in following table.
Generally, you can claim either education tax credit if all three of the
following requirements are met.
-You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
-You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
-The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for
whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.
Claiming the Credits
You claim the Hope credit by completing Parts I and III of Form 8863 and
submitting it with your Form 1040 or 1040A. Enter the credit on Form 1040,
line 50, or on Form 1040A, line 31.
You claim the lifetime learning credit by completing Parts II and III of
Form 8863 and submitting it with your Form 1040 or 1040A. Enter the credit
on Form 1040, line 50, or Form 1040A, line 31. Visit the Military.com
Tax Center for more information on using this and other credits and deductions
to lower your taxes and increase your return.
This material contains only general descriptions
and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security,
nor is it intended as any financial, tax, medical or health care advice.
For information about specific needs or situations, contact your financial
agent or physician.
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|Source: The primary
sources cited above, New York Times
(NYT), Washington Post (WP), Mercury
News, Bayarea.com, Chicago Tribune,
USA Today, Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle
(DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times
of India, AP, Reuters, AFP, womenfitness.net