Unhealthy Habits Can Cost Nothing To Your Life
August 23, 2016 | CTVNews.ca Staff
We’ve long been told that smoking, eating junk food and being physically inactive are bad for our health, but just how bad are they?
According to a new study, unhealthy lifestyle habits are shortening Canadians’ lives by an average of six years
What’s more, Canadians who live extra healthy lives and follow recommendations for healthy lifestyles have average life expectancies 17.9 years longer than those with the unhealthiest behaviors.
The study was led by Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. His team found that smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and unhealthy alcohol consumption contribute to 50 per cent of deaths in Canada.
“Unhealthy behaviors place a major burden on Canadian life expectancies,” Manuel said in a statement. “This study identified which behaviors pose the biggest threat.”
Using data from ICES and the Statistics Canada 2009-2010 Canadian Community Health Survey, the study found:
- 26 per cent of all deaths is attributable to smoking
- 24 per cent of all deaths is attributable to physical inactivity
- 12 per cent of all deaths is attributable to poor diet
- 0.4 per cent of all deaths is attributable to unhealthy alcohol consumption
For men, smoking was the top risk factor, and reduced life expectancy by an average of 3.1 years.
For women, a lack of physical activity was the biggest risk to health and represented a loss of three years of life.
The researchers also found that Canadians who followed recommended healthy behaviors had a life expectancy 17.9 years greater than individuals with the unhealthiest behaviors.
The full results appear in PLOS Medicine.
The authors acknowledge that using health surveys to assess behaviors has limitations since these surveys are usually telephone-based and use self-reported diet, which tends to be unreliable. But the researchers say they adjusted for the fact that many people misreport their food and alcohol intake.
Dr. Manuel and his team have created an online calculator called Project Big Life to help Canadians estimate their own life expectancy based on habits and lifestyle choices.
The study was funded by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
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Sleep Disorders 6 Times Higher Among Veterans
Published July 20, 2016, | By http://healthlibrary.inova.org/
Sleep disorders are six times more likely among American military veterans than in the general population, a new study finds.
And veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) seem to have the highest rates, the researchers said.
The research involved more than 9.7 million veterans treated by the Veterans Health Administration system between 2000 and 2010. The majority (93 percent) of these military service members were men. Slightly more than 750,000 were diagnosed with at least one sleep disorder, the study authors said.
Over the course of 11 years, the investigators found that the rate of sleep disorders rose from less than 1 percent to nearly 6 percent. Sleep disorders were most common among veterans who had experienced combat and those with PTSD.
“Veterans with PTSD had a very high sleep disorder prevalence of 16 percent, the highest among the various health conditions or other population characteristics that we examined,” study senior author James Burch said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Burch is an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina.
The study doesn’t prove that PTSD triggers sleep disorders, but the researchers noted that diagnosed cases of PTSD tripled over the course of the study.
Sleep apnea was the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorder among the study participants. Sleep apnea, which causes brief pauses in breathing during sleep, accounted for 47 percent of diagnosed sleep disorders, the researchers said.
Insomnia accounted for 26 percent of diagnosed sleep disorders, the findings showed.
Veterans with other chronic health issues — including heart disease and cancer — also had higher rates of sleep disorders than other study participants, according to the report.
The findings point to a need for improved management of sleep disorders among U.S. military veterans, the researchers concluded.
The study was published in the July issue of the journal Sleep.
Find out more about sleep disorders from the National Sleep Foundation.
SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, July 15, 2016
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Caregiver gets Zika from man who died in medical mystery
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials say a man who died after being infected with Zika virus passed it to a caregiver, creating a medical mystery about how it spread among them.
The Salt Lake County Health Department said Monday that the two people didn’t have sexual contact and the type of mosquito that mainly spreads the virus is not found in the high-altitude area where they live.
Officials say the caregiver is a “family contact” but wouldn’t give further details. The man who died caught the virus while traveling abroad to an area where mosquitoes are known to spread Zika.
It marked the first time a person in the continental U.S. died after being infected with the virus.
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Eating More Fruits & Veggies May Make You Happier
Eating fruits and vegetables may help you feel happier, a new study from Australia suggests.
Researchers found that people who switched from eating almost no fruit and vegetables in their daily diets to eating eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day experienced an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to what an unemployed person feels after finding a job.
The improvements in the people’s life satisfaction occurred within two years of the changes to their diets. [6 Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables]
“Eating fruit and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health,” study co-author Redzo Mujcic, a health economics research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia, said in a statement.
Previous research has shown that eating more fruits and vegetables leads to improvements in people’s physical health, but these benefits typically occur over longer periods of time, the researchers said.
“People’s motivation to eat healthy food is weakened by the fact that physical health benefits, such as protecting against cancer, accrue decades later,” Mujica said. In contrast, improvements in psychological well-being may happen faster, he added.
In the study, researchers looked at more than 12,000 people in Australia, following them for two years. The researchers asked the people whether they normally ate fruit and vegetables, and how much they ate. Investigators also asked the study participants how satisfied they were with their lives, on a scale from 0 to 10. The researchers then tracked the people’s diets, including whether they had increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables during the study period, and their life satisfaction levels for two years.
Results showed that in the people who began eating more fruit and vegetables per day during the study period, the levels of life satisfaction increased by the end of the study.
The relationship between higher levels of life satisfaction and increased fruit and vegetable intake persisted even after the researchers accounted for changes in the people’s income or other life circumstances, according to the study, which will be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health. And previous research has suggested that it isn’t likely that the link works the other way — that people who start feeling happier start eating more fruits and vegetables, the researchers said.
It is not clear why eating more fruit and vegetables would be linked to greater levels of life satisfaction, the researchers said. However, previous research has suggested that greater levels of pigments called carotenoids, found in some fruits and veggies such as carrots, are linked to higher levels of optimism. Studies have also suggested that an increased intake of vitamin B12, also present in fruits and vegetables, may boost a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin, which plays a role in regulating mood, the researchers said.
The new findings may help doctors convince people to eat more fruits and vegetables, Mujcic said. “Perhaps our results will be more effective than traditional messages in convincing people to have a healthy diet,” he said. “There is a psychological payoff now from fruit and vegetables, not just a lower health risk decades later.”
“The results showed that there was a direct impact in terms of a number of fruits and vegetables someone had and their overall well-being,” said Antonella Apicella, a nutritionist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City, who was not involved in the study. The relationship between nutrition and emotional health is a new, hot research topic that should be studied further in the future, she said.
Originally published on Live Science.