Health Buzz: Healthier Habits Can Lower Cholesterol Years Later

6 steps to creativity in your business and personal life; shape up with new video game workouts.

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Healthy Habits Can Improve Cholesterol Levels Between Youth And Adulthood

Cholesterol levels can change for the better between youth and adulthood—depending on healthy lifestyle changes. The amount of bad cholesterol circulating in the blood and of triglycerides, a type of fat, vary based on lifestyle habits like eating, exercise, and smoking, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Australian researchers analyzed cholesterol and triglyceride levels of nearly 600 people in 1985, when they were 9, 12, or 15 years old, and again between 2004 and 2006, when they were in their 20s and 30s. They found that participants who had risky cholesterol levels when they were young had normal levels when remeasured—if they stopped smoking or lost weight. Those who put on excess weight, began smoking, or did not exercise were more likely to maintain high-risk levels into adulthood. "This research gives a very clear example of why we need to invest more in adolescent health and make it a higher priority," John Coleman, chairman of the Association for Young People's Health, told BBC News. "It is clear that young people's lifestyle choices have a long-term impact on their health, and it is cost-effective and sensible to work with them to encourage healthy habits."

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  • 6 Steps to Achieving Creativity in Business, Personal Life

    Suddenly creativity is big. You may not cash in as the next Andy Warhol or Taylor Swift, but tapping into your creative powers could boost your earnings—and you'll be happier, experts say. Numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Sears, have hired creativity consultants to help boost innovation, U.S. News reports. The number of business schools offering creativity classes has doubled in the past five years. "It's not enough to just be good at analytical evaluation," argues Yoram Wind, a professor of marketing who teaches a creativity course at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. And creative activity can relieve stress and enhance your mood, according to Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson, author of Your Creative Brain. Brain researchers theorize that coming up with something novel that's also useful—their definition of creativity—so fully engages attention that the brain doesn't have any resources left to devote to stress. 

    What does it take to produce something truly original? The notion that creativity is the province of right-brain, left-handed artsy types is outdated, says Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence. "The creative brain state accesses a whole range of connections throughout the brain," he says. In fact, the latest research suggests that less than a second before the proverbial light bulb switches on, a spike in gamma brain waves appears to bind cells in several regions of the brain into a new neural network. [Read more: 6 Steps to Achieving Creativity in Business, Personal Life.]

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    • Shape Up With a New Video Game Workout

      Health advocates have long decried video games for contributing to a sedentary culture. While those stereotypes might still hold true for some, many families' game consoles are fast becoming as suitable for the exercise room as for the den, U.S. News's Brian Burnsed reports.

      Microsoft's new Kinect peripheral for the popular Xbox 360 video game console uses the whole body as the controller and can be an effective, fun fitness tool. A camera tracks body movements to manipulate the action on the screen. For example, in the boxing mode for the game Kinect Sports, you throw real punches that are mirrored by your onscreen avatar in a digital boxing ring. Other games allow you to dance, drive a car, or negotiate obstacle courses. The system forces users to be active, burning calories as they play.

      The Kinect is just the latest innovation in motion-capture gaming. The Nintendo Wii, released in 2006, quickly became the nation's top-selling video game console because it appealed both to gamers and to families looking to stay active. The Wii and its competitor Move, which Sony released in September to use with its PlayStation 3, rely on handheld controllers to capture players' movements as they simulate playing games like tennis, ping-pong, or golf. [Read more: Shape Up With a New Video Game Workout.]