To understand how healthy a food is, we generally look at its components – carbohydrates, fats and proteins, or the vitamins, minerals and other substances it may contain. But this purely “nutritional” vision overlooks one property that’s a key part of a food’s health potential – its structure. For example, serving a child a breakfast cereal made up of whole wheat or rice may seem like a good idea, but research shows that processing can significantly impact its nutritive qualities. Extrusion-cooking or puffing can transform wheat and rice into primarily a source of sugars that the child’s body rapidly absorbs, and many of the nutritive values of the original grains are lost.
The human body needs a tiny amount of sodium to function properly and this is typically found in salt (sodium chloride). But today most people consume way too much salt, increasing the burden of cardiovascular disease around the world. Health professionals have been trying to tackle this problem for decades, but face several barriers, including research that muddies the water about what safe levels of salt intake are. This has cast unnecessary doubt on the importance of reducing intakes. But our latest research has found flaws in these studies and suggests that salt intake should be reduced even further than current recommendations.
It isn’t surprising that employers are looking for ways to improve the health and engagement of their employees when their challenges are so evident: Medical inflation rates continue to be high globally, with the 2019 global average being 7.8%, reported by Aon1. Indeed, in many countries, this is much higher, even exceeding the local inflation rate by double-digit percentage points.
In June 2019, much of Europe was struck by early heatwave, with temperatures reaching nearly 46 Centigrade (115 Fahrenheit) in France, an all-time record. A heat wave is characterised by extremely high temperatures over the course of several days and nights. They have significant impact on our daily lives – we feel overheated and tired. When a heat wave strikes, many governments activate a “heat action plan”, advising those affected to drink water, avoid strenuous exercise, and stay cool. If not, one risks having a heat stroke, which can be potentially life-threatening.
People in China have used salt to prepare and preserve food for thousands of years. But consuming lots of salt raises blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, now accounts for 40% of deaths in China.
Taking a walk on a wooded path, spending an afternoon in a public park, harvesting your backyard garden and even looking at beautiful pictures of Hawaii can all make us feel good. Certainly, for many of us, it’s beneficial to have time outside in natural environments. Being cooped up inside can feel unnatural and increase our desire to get outside. The renowned biologist E.O. Wilson created a theory called the biophilia hypothesis, where he stated that people have an innate relationship to nature.
We know we should eat less junk food, such as crisps, industrially made pizzas and sugar-sweetened drinks, because of their high calorie content. These “ultraprocessed” foods, as they are now called by nutritionists, are high in sugar and fat, but is that the only reason they cause weight gain? An important new trial from the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) shows there’s a lot more at work here than calories alone.
U.S. health insurer and administrator Cigna and pharmacy benefit management organization Express Scripts in May 2019 announced they collaborated with Amazon Alexa, a virtual assistant device, to produce two new voice skills. Express Scripts customers who use prescription home delivery services will now be able to manage their pharmacy prescriptions using voice technology. By saying “Alexa, open Express Scripts”, users can monitor their prescription order status and receive notifications
Perhaps your GP has recommended you exercise more, or you’ve had a recent health scare. Maybe your family’s been nagging you to get off the couch or you’ve decided yourself that it’s time to lose some weight.How do you find the motivation, time and resources to get fit, particularly if you haven’t exercised in a while? How do you choose the best type of exercise? And do you need a health check before you start?
Australians are increasingly using prescription or over-the-counter painkillers to ease emotional, rather than physical, pain. Our cultural understanding of pain is changing, and as a result it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish intoxication from relief.
When “Jeopardy!” episode 7059 aired on April 30, 2015, the category was “The Human Body,” the price was $2,000, and the clue was “This gland’s main duct, the duct of Wirsung, collects its juices & empties into the duodenum.” The question was “What is the pancreas?” Unbeknownst to Alex Trebek, the show’s beloved host, the cells that line the duct of his pancreas would develop into pancreatic cancer, or pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Trebek announced on March 6, 2019 that he has pancreatic cancer, but that he will fight the disease and keep hosting the show. And in fact, he was back at work March 12.
In 2018, Congress initiated a series of actions that represent a shift away from placing the full responsibility – and blame – on individual people to make their own healthier choices. These actions also show a growing recognition that many stakeholders – including the government – are accountable for a healthier, more equitable food system. This shift in thinking reflects an understanding that government can and should play a role in improving the diet of Americans.
For most people, light physical activity makes up the bulk of their daily physical activity. Yet government guidelines focus almost exclusively on moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity. The difficulty of measuring a person’s lightintensity physical activity largely explains this disconnect. It is not possible to measure light physical activity with a questionnaire. The amount of light-intensity physical activity a person thinks they have done bears almost no resemblance to what they have actually done. This means it has been difficult to study the effects of light-intensity physical activity on long-term health.
The Retire Vitally conference, where participants gathered to discuss best practices pertaining to retiring in good health in the European Union, was held 24 January 2019 at PGGM headquarters in Zeist, the Netherlands. The event was organized by AEIP, TELA (Finland) and PGGM (The Netherlands).
A measles vaccine protects against measles infection. By introducing a bit of weakened virus, the immune system learns how to deal with it, so when a real measles virus comes along, it can eliminate it. But does the immune system learn more from the vaccine? Recent research suggests, rather intriguingly, that it does.
Every surface we touch has its own unique chemical properties. It’s because of these properties that some materials stick to surfaces, while others slide off. For a person, a sticky surface may be a minor annoyance, but for a bacterial cell, surface attachment can be a matter of life and death. Bacteria have evolved their own surfaces to be sticky, like Velcro.
For over a century, we have relied on a simplistic measure to determine if someone is a “healthy” weight or not. This is the body mass index (BMI) – the ratio of a person’s weight to the square of their height. The limits of this ratio are clearly demonstrated by professional rugby players; most of whom would be classified as “overweight”, despite having less than 10% body fat.
We’re often told by the popular press and well-meaning family and friends that, for good health, we should fall asleep quickly and sleep solidly for about eight hours – otherwise we’re at risk of physical and psychological ill health.
Generali Employee Benefits (GEB) in September 2018 announced the launch of CIAO, a mobile health app designed to help clients promote healthy behaviors within their organizations, encourage employees to improve their overall health and address lifestyle-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, stress, and heart disease. The CIAO app has been developed in partnership with UK-based health tech firm Tictrac. Through research and a deep understanding of consumer behavior and
Two US researchers recently sparked controversy with their work on the role of “luck” in cancer. Their latest article was published in the March issue of the prestigious journal Science. The researchers, Christian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein of John Hopkins University in Baltimore, showed that the disease is less dependent on hereditary (a genetic predisposition) and environmental risks (such as smoking, or asbestos exposure) than on random mutations (such as DNA replication errors) arising spontaneously in cells as they divide and reproduce over the course of our lifetimes.
Health coaching is one of the most powerful ways of changing people’s mindsets for the long term. Practitioners are rapidly taking their place alongside executive coaches, life coaches and personal trainers as another means of making us better people through one-to-one improvement sessions.
The current epidemic in the US is thought to have begun with the over-prescription of opioids for pain relief: in 1991, 76m opioid prescriptions were dispensed by US retail pharmacies. By 2011, this figure was 219m. The overall rate of death from drug overdose more than trebled in the US between 1999 and 2016.
Updated blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association mean that many more Americans, notably older people, are now diagnosed with high blood pressure, or hypertension. This may sound like bad news, but the new guidelines highlight some important lessons we cardiologists and heart health researchers have learned from the latest blood pressure studies. Specifically, we have learned that damage from high blood pressure starts at much lower blood pressures than previously thought and that it is more important than ever to start paying attention to your blood pressure before it starts causing problems.
Aon is offering 10 tips to help organizations maximize the use of occupational health (OH) programmes. Generally, employers use occupational health to be responsible and compliant, while also reducing costs. Aon’s 2018 Benefits and Trends survey released in August 2018 found that 96% of employers agree that they have a responsibility to influence employee health, although only 65% access occupational health services. The authors explain that a common theme
The number of studies that have found a link between a disease and a specific gut microbiome composition seems to be ever increasing. Until recently, though, almost all these studies have looked at single diseases in isolation. But most people tend to have more than one health complaint at a time – “comorbidities”, in medical parlance.
Global Benefits Vision: Why has MAXIS GBN decided to launch its new wellness solution now? What were the key drivers behind the launch? Dr. Leena Johns MD: Over the past few years we have worked with clients to identify the cost drivers of their health claims data across disparate geographies, through our sophisticated data reporting tools. While some markets offer solutions to mitigate these drivers, often, in reality, there is an absence of data-based recommendations and a lack of cohesive, centralised solutions that can be rolled out globally.
In the 1950s, scholars worried that, thanks to technological innovations, Americans wouldn’t know what to do with all of their leisure time. Yet today, as sociologist Juliet Schor notes, Americans are overworked, putting in more hours than at any time since the Depression and more than in any other in Western society.