CDC Says Numbers of Smoking Americans No Longer on the Decline
According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of Americans who smoke rose slightly between 2007 and 2008, from 19.8 percent to 20.6 percent, Health Day reports. For years, smoking rates had been falling steadily; between 1998 and 2008, the proportion of Americans who smoke decreased from 24.1 percent to 20.6 percent, Health Day reports. But looking at just the past five years, the numbers have not budged. CDC researchers say that many states are not adequately funding programs geared to curb tobacco use.
What Science Is Discovering About Exercise and Depression
It's always on the to-do list for disease prevention and overall good health, but regular physical activity appears to have antidepressant qualities, too, U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf writes.
A good body of observational research suggests that people who are physically active are less likely to be depressed than those who tend to sit on their couch instead. "The problem is you don't know which came first," says James Blumenthal, an exercise researcher and professor at Duke University. It is simply not yet clear if such people are physically active because they're less depressed to begin with. Alternatively, researchers wonder if exercise holds some preventive powers that either stop symptoms of depression from cropping up altogether or somehow lessen depression's effects by dampening its edge. Read more.
More Disabilities in the 60s May Spell Trouble for Baby Boomers
Wasn't the coming generation of senior citizens supposed to be the most active of all? The baby boomers may not be power-walking happily into their later years after all, if the trend captured by a new study continues. Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles found that people ages 60 to 69 report more disabilities (things like being unable to walk up 10 steps without rest and having difficulty doing chores and getting dressed) than in years past, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson reports.
While those are not the boomers—the people studied were born before the end of World War II—the researchers pointed out that there are large and none-too-pretty implications if members of that huge demographic group end up becoming similarly burdened by disability.
The study, published online in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at government survey data from 1988-1994 and 1999-2004 to track changes in disabilities over time. One possible explanation for the findings, the authors wrote, is that while obesity is a problem across the board, African-Americans and Hispanics tend to have higher rates of obesity and lower socioeconomic status, both of which are tied to disability, and a growing proportion of 60-to-69-year-olds are from those ethnic groups. Read more.
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