Health Buzz: 3 Cholera Cases Confirmed in New York City

6 ways to help yourself reach a healthy weight; can drinking water before meals help you shed pounds?

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Cholera Confirmed in New York City, But No Need to Panic

Three cases of cholera have been confirmed in New York City—but there's no need to panic, health officials say. The three adults who contracted the disease while attending a wedding in the Dominican Republic recovered without hospitalization, and the chance that they'll infect others is unlikely. Cholera, a water-borne bacterial infection that causes severe dehydration and diarrhea, can kill within hours. If detected early, it's highly treatable with a hydrating solution of water, sugar, and salt, and antibiotics. Last year, an outbreak in Haiti killed thousands, but the disease is not expected to become a major threat to public health in the United States. "It's not uncommon for cholera outbreaks, like the one that has moved rapidly through Haiti, to spread to other countries," Candice Burns Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN. "We have seen a few cases in travelers returning to the U.S," but the risk of person-to-person transmission is low. Travelers can reduce their likelihood of contracting cholera by avoiding raw food, boiling all cooking water, washing their hands with soap, and not swimming or bathing in rivers.

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  • 6 Ways to Help Yourself Reach a Healthy Weight

    Anyone who tells you losing weight will be easy has never tried. But it can be done. Here are some tips to help you succeed.

    Get sleep. This tip may seem counterintuitive: After all, if you're up and about, aren't you burning more calories than when you're conked out? Yet a host of studies have shown that getting too little sleep—five hours or less, in a study focusing on mothers with newborns—is associated with weight gain. One suspect is a group of hormones that regulate hunger; for unknown reasons, those are elevated when sleep is restricted. (Excessive sleep is also associated with obesity.) The sweet spot seems to be about six to eight hours, says Matthew Gillman, director of the obesity prevention program in the department of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School and author of the new mother study.

    Use a pedometer. While 30 minutes of purposeful brisk exercise may suffice to keep your heart in shape, experts say that to lose weight, you need to accumulate 60 to 90 minutes a day. But the steps you take while working, shopping, and gardening count, too—so take thousands. Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine coined the term neat (for nonexercise activity thermogenesis) to describe this unintentional exercise, and he has found that lean people burn 350 more calories a day than obese people doing the same amount. Recommended: Take 10,000 steps a day. Wearing a pedometer can help.

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    • Does Drinking Water Before Meals Help You Lose Weight?

      Drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner may be just the backstop your willpower needs to help you shed pounds permanently in 2011, according to a recent study published in Obesity. Researchers instructed two groups of overweight or obese men and women to follow a low-calorie diet, asking one group to also drink two cups of water before meals. After 12 weeks, the water drinkers had lost an average of 15½ pounds, compared with 11 pounds for the control group, U.S. News reports. Those who continued the habit for a year lost an additional 1½ pounds on average. "I would never promote this as a get-slim-quick scheme," says senior study author Brenda Davy, an associate professor in the department of human nutrition, foods, and exercise at Virginia Tech University, who notes that the practice slows the emptying of the stomach. "This is simply an additional strategy that could help people manage their hunger." [Read more: Does Drinking Water Before Meals Help You Lose Weight?]

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