Health Buzz: Worldwide Alert for New SARS-like Virus

26 healthy steps that can lead to longevity; why fast food could be good for your waistline

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Update: WHO Urges Health Workers Worldwide to Be on Lookout for New SARS-like Virus Symptoms

Health workers across the world should report any patient with an acute respiratory infection who has traveled to Saudi Arabia or Qatar, urged the World Health Organization yesterday. WHO is closely monitoring these infections after a virus that looked very much like SARS was detected in a Qatari man this weekend. The man, who remains critically ill at a London hospital, had recently visited Saudi Arabia, where another man died earlier this year from an almost identical virus. "The important thing is to be aware of the virus and to be on the lookout for any evidence that it is more than a rare chance event," Andrew Easton, a professor of virology at University of Warwick, told Reuters. This morning, The Telegraph reported that five people from Denmark have shown symptoms of the SARS-like virus, though their samples still need to be tested. SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, caused a short-lived epidemic throughout 2002 and 2003, killing about 800 people worldwide. The virus found in the Qatari man is in the same family as SARS and is known as a coronavirus, which causes most common colds, as well as the deadly respiratory infection.

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  • 26 Healthy Steps That Can Lead to Longevity

    How well you age and how long you live aren't cemented at birth. While genes play a large role—as do environmental influences you can't control—you have tremendous sway, for better or for worse, over your health and longevity. These 26 steps, drawn from the U.S. News How to Live to 100 project, can help you secure a long and healthy life—and avoid expiring before your time.

    All ages:

    + Stay active. Cut your chances of being mowed down prematurely by major scourges like heart disease and cancer by exercising regularly. Get your heart rate up for 150 minutes each week through moderately intense aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, or for 75 weekly minutes through more intense activities, such as jogging. Strength training at least twice a week is also important, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    + Stay lean. Packing on extra pounds not only jeopardizes health, but can set the stage for arthritis and mobility problems.

    + Eat wisely. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low- and nonfat dairy, legumes, lean meats, and fish are staples of a healthy diet. [Read more: 26 Healthy Steps That Can Lead to Longevity]

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    • Why Fast Food Could Be Good for Your Waistline

      Waiting for her flight, Sharon had a few eating options: Chili's Grill and Bar, McDonald's, Starbucks, and some non-descript airport bar. With her waistline in mind, Sharon chose Chili's, where after spending at least five minutes meticulously scrutinizing the menu, she decided to play it safe and order the Santa Fe Chicken Salad as a main. She was also proud to have pushed the bread basket aside, but at the insistent request of her husband and two teenage girls, she did agree to eat her share of the Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Chips. And while she spent zero calories on a Diet Coke, she couldn't resist grabbing a few spoonfuls of her daughter's Brownie Sunday.

      It would certainly have been a different story had she gone to McDonald's, where she always orders the same thing: a Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich with a small fries, Diet Coke, and no dessert.

      Did (hypothetical) Sharon make the right choice?

      Had she gone to McDonald's, her usual would have set her back 580 calories, writes U.S. News blogger Yoni Freedhoff. Yet her "smarter" Chili's order quickly added up. Sharon's salad alone contained 690 calories; her ¼ portion of dip and chips contained another 320; and her few small bites of brownie packed a final 137, giving her a Chili's grand total of 1,147 calories—basically double her McDonald's fare. [Read more: Why Fast Food Could Be Good for Your Waistline]