Five-a-day no help against cancer?
Eating more fruit and vegetables has only a small effect on warding off cancer, a study published on 7 April says.
Doctors led by Paolo Boffetta at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, looked at data from 10 European countries to find an increase of 200g fruits and vegetables a day resulted in a risk reduction of only 3%. High vegetable consumption alone gave a small benefit too, but only to women. Heavy drinkers who ate many fruits and vegetables had a reduced risk, but only for cancers linked to alcohol and smoking. “The bottom line here is that, yes, we did find a protective effect of fruit and vegetable intake against cancer, but it is a smaller connection than previously thought,” Boffetta said in a press release issued by Mount Sinai. “However, eating fruits and vegetables is beneficial for health in general and the results of this study do not justify changing current recommendations aiming at increasing intake of these foods.”
Limited impact: Fruits and veggies aren’t all that potent.
The study appeared online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published by Oxford University Press.
Study links dogs, not cats, to kids’ asthama risk
For children at higher-than-average risk of asthma, having a dog around the house may increase the chances of developing the lung disease, a study published online in the Pediatric Allergy and Immunology journal last month suggests. The study, which followed 380 children at increased risk of asthma due to family history, found that those exposed to relatively high levels of dog allergen at the age of 7 were more likely to have asthma. Why this was so is unclear, but lead researcher Chris Carlsten, from Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada, suggested it might have to do with higher levels of bacterial endotoxins on dogs. However, Dr Carlsten added that there wasn’t enough evidence to recommend for or against pets for families (the study also did not look at families at average risk of asthma).
Pet peeve: Could your pet be causing your child’s asthma?
Factors that affect sleep
Nutrition and exercise may be the first factors most of us think of as affecting weight, but it has become increasingly apparent that sleep is another key factor. For instance, obese adolescents go to bed later and sleep less, found a new study published in the April issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Prof. Tim Olds and colleagues at the University of South Australia explored sleep patterns in the 9-18 age group over a week.
Pillow pattern: Children sleep less as they get older and heavier.
Poor sleep among obese students was particularly evident on Sunday nights—just before school resumed. On the other hand, underweight children went to bed significantly earlier than those of normal weight. However, the cause and effect relationship remains unclear, said Prof. Olds, adding “There may also be some third factor that contributes to both overweight and short sleep duration.” This may be time in front of the computer or TV screens or little physical activity, the study suggested.
In general, adolescents slept less as they grew older, but there was a gender bender too: On average, girls slept more, because of earlier bedtimes.
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