New Research Released on Breast-feeding Rates, as World Breast-feeding Week Begins
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recently published 2013 Breast-feeding Report Card shows that more and more new moms have been breast-feeding over the last 10 years. On average, 77 percent of infants born in the United States in 2010 have been breast-fed. At six months of age, nearly half these infants were breast-feeding in 2010, up from 35 percent 10 years earlier. Idaho, California and Oregon are among the states with the highest average percentages of infants breast-feeding at six months, with 74.5 and 71.3 and 71 percent, respectively. Mississippi sits at the bottom of the list, with 19.7 percent of infants breast-feeding at six months and only 9.1 percent at 12 months.
The CDC's report was released on the heels of another study, which suggests that breast-fed babies may become children with higher IQs. Read more about the study, published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, here.
Are You Tough Enough to Complete a Tough Mudder?
Over the course of 12 miles, Tim Bergsma dunked himself into frigid water, crawled through mud underneath barbed wire and hurled himself and his teammates over 12-foot vertical walls. He saw a man with a knee injury hop through a gazebo adorned with dangling electric wires, and joined his teammates to help him to the finish line. But ask Bergsma what it was like, and he won't tell you about the pain or his muck-filled shoes. He'll tell you it was a thrill.
The former University of Michigan men's soccer captain completed a Tough Mudder, a 10- to 12-mile course featuring obstacles designed to test participants' physical and mental strength. The event is just one of many adventure- and obstacle-style races throughout the country – others include the Spartan Race and Warrior Dash – that are attracting athletes and those looking for an adrenaline-pumping way to get in shape. Tough Mudder alone saw a rise in participation from 20,000 people in 2010 to more than 460,000 in 2012, according to the event's website. That popularity, however, doesn't come without risk.
"Some of the things are, quite honestly, too extreme, and for many people are not beneficial," says Grace DeSimone, editor of the American College of Sports Medicine's "Resources for the Group Exercise Instructor" manual. "Many of [these competitions] intentionally try and provide surfaces that are challenging, whether it's mud or it's wet or it's slick in some way." Participants with known medical conditions – like those with knee or spine injuries, and especially anyone with heart conditions or chronic ailments – should be particularly cautious, she adds. For people thinking of signing up, Brett Stewart, author of more than a dozen fitness books, suggests starting to train at least three months before a Tough Mudder. Events that feature a shorter course, like the Warrior Dash, don't require the same level of training and are smart choices for beginners, he says. [Read more: Are You Tough Enough to Complete a Tough Mudder?]
- Up and Running: The Rise of the Themed Road Race
- How to Exercise in the Heat and What to Do if You Get Sick
Nutrition News: Who Can You Believe?
It seems like every day there's a new nutrition headline in the press: "Ditch Carbs!" "Eat the Right Fats." "Don't Eat After 7 p.m." "Fast Two Days a Week." It's difficult for consumers to sift through the myths and facts and know whom to rely on for information they can believe and apply, writes U.S. News blogger Bonnie Taub-Dix. Between what you read in magazines, hear on the news or follow on social media, it's even possible to hear conflicting information on the same day. I recently came across two stories exemplifying this point; the first encouraged eating breakfast, while the other suggested it was beneficial to skip your morning meal several times a week.
Diet and nutrition stories can sometimes be compared to tabloid magazines; they get people talking by making an outrageous claim. So when it comes to getting the latest dish, what's a confused consumer to do?
First, look at the author's credentials. Although stories about diet and nutrition are hot, not all reporters are nutrition professionals, and they're often not registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). Many journalists, however, are trustworthy correspondents who rely on quotes from dependable resources. Second, make sure to read beyond the headline. An attractive title doesn't necessarily tell the complete picture or explain the details of the research. Third, the fact that a study is reported doesn't mean it's credible. Do some reading to determine how many subjects participated in the study and where it was originally published – a peer-reviewed scientific journal or the National Enquirer? Also, check to see who funded the study. If a beverage brand that uses artificial sweeteners in their products financially sponsors a study concluding that artificial sweeteners are good for you, you should be suspicious of the results. Studies funded by non-related third parties generally provide non-biased conclusions. [Read more: Nutrition News: Who Can You Believe?]