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Capsule: Health news

A compilation of recent health news.

photos_articles_10.jpgLadies and gentlemen, start your engines

Keeping your metabolism humming keeps your body burning fat. eDiets.com senior editor Jason Knapfel offers these suggestions:

  1. Lift weights. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even while you sleep.
  2. Get moving. People with high cardio capacity burn fat easily.
  3. Do interval training. To keep your body from adjusting to routine, add quick sprints to your jogs or a few minutes of incline to your treadmill routine.
  4. Keep the calories up. Cut too many calories and your body thinks it is starving and slows the metabolic rate. Lose more than one or two pounds a week, and you will trigger this survival mechanism.
  5. Eat breakfast. This kick starts your metabolism.
  6. Space your meals. Have six smaller meals a day. If you have three squares, cut them back and add a couple of healthy snacks. This keeps your metabolic rate up.
  7. Get some sleep. Sleep loss affects production of cortisol, which regulates appetite. Get what you need every night.
  8. Drink water. This helps your metabolism work effectively, curbs your appetite, and flushes your system.
    Skip alcohol. This adds calories and increases appetite.
  9. Drink milk. If you are not lactose intolerant, the calcium and other substances in milk rev up your metabolism—especially in women.

Vive la difference!

Women are more likely than men to search for health information on the Internet, according to a team at Bryant University who analyzed U.S. national survey data. They also found that women are more likely to seek online support groups for medical problems, seek health care information for others, and they also visit more health sites.

However, men are more likely to go online for sensitive heath information that may be difficult to talk about. Generally, men use the Net more than women, with the exceptions of health care, religion, and driving directions.

Protecting the national mind

The federal government is taking on a major challenge with the creation of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, set up to erase the social stigmas that prevent many from getting treatment.

Mental illness is one of the most destructive elements in our society, and it has no respect for social status. The economic costs of mental illness are estimated to exceed $35 billion a year in lost production.

“Depression today is the fastest growing source of disability in the Canadian labour force,” said Bill Wilkerson, CEO and co-founder of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health Roundtable, when the commission was announced in the March budget.

A recent report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that mental disorders account for more than half of the hospital stays among the homeless in Canada.

Retired Liberal Senator Michael Kirby is the commission’s chairman. The official announcement was made by the Prime Minister during the 2007 International Initiative on Mental Health Leadership Exchange and Conference in Ottawa in August.

“The commission will improve quality of life for Canadians dealing with mental illness and their families,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “It will seek to ensure Canadians in every part of the country will have access to the best prevention, diagnostic, and treatment practices.”

Kirby is chairman of the new commission. He will provide leadership in the area of reducing chronic job stress as well as bring together the scientific and business communities. Kirby has decades of personal experience with the issue, as he had a sister who suffered from severe depression.

Junk sleep: The new threat to teenagers

Junk sleep could soon rival junk food as a major lifestyle worry among parents of teenage children. That’s the conclusion of a Sleep Council survey of 12 to 16-year-olds. It found the unprecedented boom in teenage-owned entertainment gadgetry is having a detrimental effect on the length and quality of their sleep.

The online poll of 1,000 youngsters found many are not getting enough sleep during the night before a school day with nearly one in three (30%) achieving just four to seven hours’ sleep instead of the recommended eight to nine hours for this age group. And almost a quarter (23%) admit they fall asleep watching TV/listening to music or with other machinery still running more than once a week.

Not surprising given that nearly all (98.5%) have either a phone, music system or TV in their bedroom; and two thirds (65.3%) have all three. Among 12 to 14-year-old boys, nearly three in five (58%) have a phone, music player, TV and games console in their bedroom. And nearly one in five of all teenage boys (19%) admitted that leaving on the TV/computer etc. affected the quality of their sleep.

Even more worrying is how few placed much importance on the quality of sleep they get with just one in 10 giving it much thought. When asked how they thought sleep affected them, they ranked energy levels as being the most affected followed by mood, schoolwork, hair and skin, and weight.

SOURCE: The Sleep Council (U.K.); survey conducted via an online poll in June of 2007.

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