Health Buzz: Weight Training May Prevent Diabetes

Why some of us are thrill-seekers; America’s food truck fixation

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Weight Lifting May Reduce The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Can weight training help prevent diabetes in men? That seems to be the case, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers who followed more than 32,000 men for nearly two decades. Lifting weights for 30 minutes a day, five times a week, lowers a man's chance of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 34 percent; when combined with aerobic exercise, it cuts the risk by about 59 percent. Findings were published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Our study was the first to look at whether weight training provided benefits long-term in lowering the incidence of diabetes.," study co-author Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology, told The Boston Globe. "While the study didn't include women, there's no reason to believe that the finding doesn't apply to them as well."

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  • Why Some of Us Are Thrill-Seekers

    Every adrenaline junkie knows the feeling: Heart pounding. Hands trembling. Blood racing. And then all of a sudden—flying. Plunging through the air, 18,000 feet above the earth, clinging to a parachute that could by all means fail. Hurtling 50 miles an hour down a 1,600-foot volcanic slope, on a "volcano board" popularized by young adventurers. Whooshing down white-water rapids on a flimsy raft. Or being strapped into a zero-gravity roller coaster and preparing to whirl upside down, again and again. Thrill-seekers crave that rush; they thrive on it. 

    "It's the excitement," says Frank Farley, a professor of educational psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. "It makes things interesting, keeps you going. When this life is over, you want to be able to look back and say, 'I lived.' As Helen Keller once said, 'Life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing.'" 

    In the 1980s, Farley coined the term Type T personality to describe thrill-seekers, or those who crave variety, novelty, intensity, and risk. These are people who long for exciting, meaningful challenges. Some enjoy the physical sensations that come from being scared silly; others like the idea that they're pushing themselves to the extreme. 

    At least to some degree, Type Ts are born that way, Farley says. Though researchers don't yet have all the answers, it's clear that biology plays a role. Neuro-chemicals like dopamine and testosterone appear to affect how inclined someone is to play it safe or live on the wild side, as does the amount of white matter in the brain. [Read more: Why Some of Us Are Thrill-Seekers

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    • America's Food-Truck Fixation

      These days, a date who suggests cuisine that's at least mildly exotic—Thai for a safe standby, Burmese to show some edge—might signal a bit of hipness unattainable by recommending, say, a run-of-the-mill diner. In fact, some 70 percent of singles "appreciate a date who is knowledgeable about food and wine pairings," according to a survey published last month by Match.com and Today.com. 

      It seems that this country, especially its urban dwellers, has become a nation of foodies, connoisseurs of cuisine among a range of regions and distant lands. Part of the phenomenon reflects new immigrant populations, who have introduced a range of ethnic food far more expansive than Chinese take-out. Plus, the Food Network has brought every kind of cookery into the living rooms of every kind of American. So perhaps we should not be surprised by the trend that embodies this hunger for hip cuisine by and for the masses: the food truck. If you live in any number of American cities, you know all about this. You've seen the packs of people lined up at food trucks as if for concert tickets, their cool factor rising in relation to the length of time they'll wait for that perfect pouch of dim sum or extravagantly layered taco. 

      And yet, for fare that's by definition, pedestrian, street food has been getting the attention of the most elite arbiters of culinary excellence. In 2010, Food & Wine named among its "Best New Chefs" Roy Choi, whose Los Angeles-based Korean barbecue truck, Kogi, arguably spawned the food truck movement and put Choi at its helm. It was the first time the magazine had ever bestowed the title, awarded to 10 up-and-comers each year, on someone known for truck food. He's "transcendent," says Kate Krader, Food & Wine restaurant editor. [Read more: America's Food-Truck Fixation]