Health Buzz: Women May Prevent Stroke by Walking

Why many kids have high cholesterol; fruits and veggies may not thwart cancer.


Women May Prevent Stroke by Walking

A new study finds that regular walking for exercise may keep women from having a stroke, the Associated Press reports. Researchers examined data on 39,000 women ages 45 and older who were tracked over 12 years. During the study period, 579 women had strokes. But those who walked at least two hours a week had a 30 percent lower risk of stroke than women who did not walk for exercise. Women who walked at a faster pace reduced their risk of stroke by 37 percent, according to the AP. The findings are published in the journal Stroke.

[Read Why Exercise Might Help You Eat Less—or Not and Exercise Can Help Prevent Weight Gain, but It Won't Be Easy.]

Why Might One Fifth of Adolescents Have High Cholesterol?

Some adolescents are genetically predisposed to have high cholesterol levels, but most authorities think that environmental causes are to blame, writes Steven Nissen, U.S. News's Health Advice expert in cardiology. The diet of adolescents often includes more "fast food" than a generation ago, including burgers, pizza, french fries, and soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Astonishingly, writes Nissen, 15 percent of young people are now considered obese, which definitely increases cholesterol levels. Obese children and those with high cholesterol levels face a shortened life span and high risk of developing coronary heart disease at an early age. Yet, most authorities are reluctant to treat younger teenagers with cholesterol-lowering drugs, so diet, exercise, and weight loss are the most important interventions.

Nonetheless, some children with an inherited disorder known as heterozygous familial hyperlipidemia will require statin drugs to reduce bad cholesterol, because their LDL can be very high. Read more.

[Read Statins for Prevention? Taking a Cholesterol-Lowering Drug When Cholesterol Is Normal and Concerned About Your Cholesterol? 10 Ways to Lower LDL and Raise HDL.]

Fruits and Vegetables May Not Affect Cancer Risk

Searching for ways to stave off cancer? Loading up on fruits and veggies may not be the ticket, a new study suggests. Data collected from more than 470,000 people showed that high fruit and vegetable consumption hardly reduced their cancer risk, HealthDay reports. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Its findings confirm previous research that showed little or no evidence that eating fruits and vegetables can affect one's cancer risk, according to an editorial in the Journal, written by Walter Willett of Harvard's School of Public Health. (Willett is also U.S. News's Health Advice expert in nutrition.)

Last year, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson examined whether or not certain vitamins, minerals, and herbal and botanical supplements can help prevent or treat cancer. Some substances, like green tea and ginger, seem to have potential in preventing or helping to treat cancer, but they may also actually interfere with treatment or have other serious side effects. Meantime, countless substances that kill or slow the growth of cancer cells in a test tube have not shown that same success in human beings, Hobson wrote. What's going on? As it turns out, the question of whether—and in what form—nutrients can be extracted from food or plants and used to fight cancer is quite complex. Read more.

[Read Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Work? and 'Diets' That Promote Health (and Always Have).]

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