Tracking What You Eat May Lead to Weight Loss
Keeping a food diary may help you lose more weight, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research. Those in the study who kept a daily log of what they ate lost twice as much weight as those who didn't keep records. The 1,700 participants also followed the heart-healthy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, attended weekly support meetings, and did moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. They lost an average of approximately 13 pounds during a six-month period. The study, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is scheduled to appear in the August edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Cholesterol Tests for Kids
The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that many children as young as 2 get a fasting cholesterol test, Nancy Shute reports. Specifically, the guidelines call for testing in kids who are overweight or have a family history of heart disease, and, for the first time, they call for kids to get cholesterol-lowering drugs if needed. In addition, the new recommendations also say that kids should drink reduced-fat milk (2 percent or less) starting at 12 months of age.
U.S. News's Deborah Kotz offered advice in February on how to tell if cholesterol-lowering drugs are right for you. In April, Shute explained the American Heart Association's recommendation that children get cardiac screening before taking stimulants.
Heart Attacks in Pregnancy
Heart attacks are a rare occurrence in young women, but becoming pregnant can double or triple a young woman's risk of having a heart attack, according to a new study. Researchers reviewed the case files of 103 women who'd had heart attacks while pregnant. Those who'd had a heart attack in the 24 hours before or after delivering their babies were twice as likely to die compared with women who'd had a heart attack either before labor or up to three months after delivery. About 250 pregnant women have heart attacks each year in the United States, and mortality rates can be high because heart problems are often not diagnosed or found too late, the researchers report. The study appears in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
A New Weapon Against West Nile Virus
With West Nile season getting underway and mosquitoes and birds from Philadelphia's suburbs to California testing positive for the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a fourth insect repellent to consumers. In May, the CDC added IR3535, a chemical used in Europe for 20 years and sold in certain Avon products in the United States, to the list of three other safe and effective mosquito repellents. The others are DEET, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
—January W. Payne