Health Capsules
Kids who sleep more have less weight

Washington: A new study has found that kids who tend to sleep more, may actually be eating less. The study by Chantelle Hart, associate professor of public health at Temple's Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE), is the first known study to examine the impact of sleep on children's eating behaviours by manipulating the amount of sleep that study participants were able to get. The study involved 37 children, ages 8 to 11; 27 per cent of whom were overweight or obese.

For the first week of the study, children were asked to sleep their typical amount. Next, during the second week, the group was randomised to either reduce or lengthen their sleep time; participants completed the opposite sleep schedule during the third and final week of the study.

The results were conclusive. During the week that the children increased their sleep, they reported consuming an average of 134 fewer calories per day, weighed a half pound less, and had lower fasting levels of leptin, a hunger-regulating hormone that is also highly correlated with the amount of adipose tissue, when compared to the week of decreased sleep.

"Findings from this study suggest that enhancing school-age children's sleep at night could have important implications for prevention and treatment of obesity," Hart said. The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.

Don't waste time on fad diets

Fad diets, which lead to short-term weight loss, can often be a waste of time, according to a new study. Whether you're following the Atkins and Dukan The Fast Diet, The Alkaline Diet to The Baby Food Diet, The Blood-Type Diet, The French Woman Diet, The Paleo Diet and the new 5:2 regime, these often turn out to be passing fancies, reveals a study conducted on 2,000 adults in London. Dietician Kate Arthur said: "More and more dieters are realise that the majority of these diets are impractical, and indeed so little fun that we often give up within just a few days." Out of half of the respondents who regularly diet, experts found that two out of five dieters quit within the first seven days. One out of five people are able to sustain it for a month, and the same number make it to the three-month mark, while the remainder stay dedicated for at least six months. However, only one in 20 is likely to still be following their new healthy eating regime after one year. Most people begin their diets on a Monday, indicates the survey. Over four out of 10 regular dieters see Mondays as the logical starting point for it usually following a weekend of excess either at home or by eating and drinking out with friends. However, it's often in vain as only five days later, by Friday the same week, many people are likely to have already given up the latest new dieting craze. The research also found that an increasing number of people are realising the benefits of regular healthy eating.

Air pollution linked to low birthweight babies

Women exposed to even low levels of urban air pollution during pregnancy may be at heightened risk of having a low-birthweight baby, according to new study from Europe. Based on data for more than 74,000 women in 12 European countries over a 15-year period, researchers say that if pollution levels were lowered to limits set by the WHO, 22 per cent of cases of low birthweight would be avoided.

For some obese, surgery beats other options

Diet, exercise, therapy and drugs can help obese people get healthier. But weight-loss surgery does a better job of getting rid of extra pounds and treating type 2 diabetes, a new review of past studies shows. The studies only followed people for two years. So it's possible the results would look different further down the line, the study authors write.

High blood-sugar makes Alzheimer's more deadly

A new study has revealed that high blood-sugar levels, such as those linked with type 2 diabetes, make beta amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer's disease dramatically more toxic to cells lining blood vessels in the brain. The Tulane University study supports growing evidence pointing to glucose levels and vascular damage as contributors to dementia. "Previously, it was believed that Alzheimer's disease was due to the accumulation of 'tangles' in neurons in the brain from overproduction and reduced removal of beta amyloid protein," senior investigator Dr. David Busija, at Tulane University School of Medicine, said. "While neuronal involvement is a major factor in Alzheimer's development, recent evidence indicates damaged cerebral blood vessels compromised by high blood sugar play a role. Even though the links among type 2 diabetes, brain blood vessels and Alzheimer's progression are unclear, hyperglycemia appears to play a role," he said. The study is published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Agencies