Study: Men Who Go Bald at 20 More Likely to Develop Prostate Cancer
Men who begin balding at 20 may be at greater risk of developing prostate cancer than their non-balding peers. So suggests new research comparing nearly 700 men in their late 60s with and without the disease. Those with prostate cancer were twice as likely to have started balding in their 20s, according to a study published Tuesday in the Annals of Oncology. Early hair loss was not, however, associated with earlier cancer onset or a more aggressive tumor. And the trend did not hold up for men whose hair began to thin in their 30s and 40s. Although this is the first time this link has been reported, past research has associated baldness with higher levels of androgenic hormones—like testosterone—which may fuel the growth and development of prostate cancer. Study author Michel Yassa, a radiation oncologist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal, says balding could eventually be used as a way to screen for those at risk of developing the disease. "With balding, we don't need to do any tests," he told Bloomberg. "When [men] walk into the clinic, we can say, 'Were you bald at 20 or 30? If so, you may be at higher risk of getting prostate cancer.'"
Best and Worst Fast Food Kids' Meals
Even if you don't want fries with that kids' meal, chances are your fast food restaurant wants to give you some. Chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Burger King offer unhealthy sides and drinks 84 percent of the time, in lieu of their more nutritious offerings like apple slices, yogurt, and juice. That's among the findings of an analysis released last year by researchers at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which examined fast food marketing and nutrition trends. The fast food industry has stepped up its efforts to reach children and teens, the researchers say: In 2009, preschoolers saw 56 percent more ads for Subway, 21 percent more ads for McDonald's, and 9 percent more ads for Burger King than they did in 2007. And often, they're bombarded with images of snacks and desserts—children see more than two advertisements each day promoting unhealthy menu items.
The report adds weight to concerns about the childhood obesity epidemic, U.S. News reports. As fast food marketing campaigns become more aggressive, children are more likely to chow down on greasy fries and burgers, Rudd Center researchers say, which could take a toll on their waistlines. And childhood obesity isn't just a short-term problem: Obese teens are 16 times more likely than their peers to become severely obese by age 30, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Severe obesity was defined as a body mass index of 40 or greater; obesity was defined as a BMI of more than 25.) Severe obesity can lead to diabetes, hypertension, asthma, arthritis, and a shorter life, says senior author Penny Gordon-Larsen, a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. "It's very easy to eat a high-calorie, high-fat diet," she says. "We have so much food around—high-fat, high-sugar, tasty food that we need to be very careful of. Those foods are marketed well to people, and making healthier choices takes a lot more work." [Read more: Best and Worst Fast Food Kids' Meals.]
The Skinny on Fats: What Research Says About What You Should Be Eating
There are plenty of confusing topics in nutrition, but fats may take the cake. Are saturated fats like butter and animal fat terribly harmful? Should you worry about whether you're eating too much of one kind of polyunsaturated fat and not enough of another? What about olive oil? And shouldn't we be eating as little fat as possible, since so many of us are, well, fat? The distinctions are "enormously confusing unless you're a lipid biologist," says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University.
First, toss out the notion that the lower the fat content in your diet, the better, U.S. News reports. A certain amount of fat is essential to your body's functioning. And as you've probably heard, all fats are not alike in their effects on blood cholesterol levels, which can affect heart disease risk. Saturated fat, for example, generally increases levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. But while this information was known when the surgeon general issued the first report on nutrition and health in 1988 and the National Academy of Sciences issued its own report in 1989, public health authorities felt that a message to reduce total fat would be best understood by the public. The thought was, says Nestle (who was managing editor of the 1988 report), that since saturated fats from meat and dairy products were the main sources of fat in the American diet, lowering total fat would automatically reduce consumption of saturated fat. That's certainly true, in theory. [Read more: The Skinny on Fats: What Research Says About What You Should Be Eating.]
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