To Your Health! A Year-End List Worth Saving
< Jan. 02, 2013 > -- Need help deciding on a New Year's resolution? Below are six more health stories from the past year that may encourage you to make a healthy change.
The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association released a joint statement endorsing the use of artificial sweeteners. That includes Splenda, Equal, Sweet'N Low, stevia, acesuflame-K, and NutraSweet. The two groups said that these sweeteners may help people maintain or even lose weight. The catch? Use the sweeteners to cut overall calories, not as an excuse to overindulge on high-calorie foods.
Exercise should be your mantra whether you have diabetes or want to prevent it. That's the conclusion of a pair of studies published last year. In the first study, researchers examined data on nearly 6,000 people with diabetes. Those who got regular exercise-whether traditional exercise like biking or walking, or general activities like gardening or housework-were less likely to die early. The second study found that men who got regular aerobic exercise and weight training were less likely to get type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise is one way to manage or prevent type 2 diabetes.
Researchers analyzed more than 200 studies of organic vs. conventional foods. They found no consistent differences in vitamin content or health benefits between them. They did conclude that organic produce was 30 percent less likely to be contaminated with pesticides. But the amount of pesticides found on conventional fruits and vegetables fell within allowable limits. Organic chicken and pork also appeared to cut exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Whether you pack your plate with organic or conventional foods, focus on healthier eating.
Which do you prefer-a casual stroll around the block or a vigorous walking workout? If you want to help prevent metabolic syndrome, often a precursor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, you should go with choice No. 2. That was the conclusion of a study that followed more than 10,000 adults for up to a decade.
Even if you have no risk factors for cardiovascular disease, you may still be at increased risk for it. Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago found that U.S. adults overall have more than a 55 percent risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Among people with no risk factors-such as smoking or diabetes-the risk is still more than 30 percent. Across all ages, people who had no risk factors had a lower lifetime risk than those with at least two major risk factors.
Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for stroke. For African-Americans, the condition can be especially hard on the heart. Late last year, a study found that uncontrolled high blood pressure may greatly increase this group's risk for stroke, particularly in those ages 45 to 64. But no matter your race or nationality, it's important to know your blood pressure numbers and to keep them under control.
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