America's Sweet Tooth Harms Heart Health
Americans are consuming more added sugar than they did decades ago, which raises their risk of heart problems, a new study suggests. Sugar—added to soda, cereals, and most other processed foods—made up 15.8 percent of study participants' daily calorie intake, according to data on 6,113 adults. Researchers found that those whose sugar intake was more than 10 percent of their daily calories were more likely to have heart disease risk factors, including low levels of "good" cholesterol and higher levels of triglycerides, HealthDay reports. The average American adult consumes 359 calories of added sugars each day, the researchers estimated. The results are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. [Read more: Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health.]
Gaining a Pound a Year After Age 20 Nearly Doubles Women's Breast Cancer Risk
Gaining a pound or two a year after age 20 is the norm for most Americans, which explains why two-thirds of us are overweight by the time we hit our 50s. Not only does that put us at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, but it can also increase a woman's chances of developing postmenopausal breast cancer, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz reports.
A new National Cancer Institute study of 72,000 women found that those who had a normal body mass index at age 20 and gained through the decades to become overweight—an increase of at least 5 BMI units, which is equivalent to a 30- pound gain for a 5- foot, 4- inch woman—had nearly double the risk of developing breast cancer after menopause compared to women who kept their weight steady as they aged.
"Weight gain is a major risk factor for breast cancer," and could play as much of a role as other known risk factors, like family history of cancer, or the age at first menstruation or childbirth, says study coauthor Regina Ziegler, an epidemiologist at NCI. That's probably because the accumulation of excess body fat over time increases the level of estrogen in the body, which is thought to fuel the growth of most postmenopausal breast cancer tumors. [Read more: Gaining a Pound a Year After Age 20 Nearly Doubles Women's Breast Cancer Risk.]
Your 'Sick' Kid May Be Well Enough for Day Care
When a child has a runny nose but is nonetheless perky, most parents would ship him off to school or day care. But day care directors would send that kid home about 60 percent of the time, despite the fact that guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say otherwise, U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute reports.
The day care exclusion guidelines make clear that in most cases, there's no point in keeping kids home once they're symptomatic: Children generally spread germs for a few days before signs of colds or other bugs appear. That's something directors of child care centers are supposed to be up to speed on. Apparently many are not, Shute writes.
The new survey, published online in Pediatrics, found that 57 percent of the 307 day care center directors who responded would exclude children from day care with symptoms allowed under the medical guidelines. "There's a lot of phobia regarding pinkeye and colds," which isn't justified, says study lead author Andrew Hashikawa, a pediatrician at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. [Read more: Your 'Sick' Kid May Be Well Enough for Day Care.]
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