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Be a couch potato, risk heart disease

health and fitness Updated: Jun 18, 2011 23:43 IST
Hindustan Times
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Be a couch potato, risk heart disease
People who spend more hours in front of the television are at greater risk of dying, or developing diabetes and heart disease, with even two hours of television a day having a marked effect, reports a US study that followed more than 2 lakh people for an average of 7 to 10 years.

The study found that for every two hours of daily television that people watched, their risk of diabetes increased by 20%, while their risk of heart disease rose by 15%. Every two hours of TV per day increased the risk of dying by 13%. “The combination of a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and obesity creates a ‘perfect breeding ground’ for type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” said researchers, who were led by Frank Hu, at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Many studies have linked TV to obesity, with one 2007 report associating more TV time with higher blood pressure in obese children.

Overweight kids nod off during the day
Fat, asthmatic, anxious or depressed children are likely to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and nod off during the day. Characterised by the inability to stay awake during the day, EDS usually occurs along with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, or pausing in breathing while sleeping.

EDS affects children’s daytime functioning, including schoolwork, and was found to affect one in seven children with high waist circumference, asthma, heartburn, parent-reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

Sleep well for better problem solving
Sleep helps college students better at solving problems in classroom exams, shows a new study. It found that university undergraduates did better at a microeconomics test — especially at brain-taxing integration problems — after a 12-hour period that included sleep as compared to staying awake for 12 hours. Previous research has shown that learned information is often replayed during sleep, which helps to flexibly combine distinct concepts to solve novel problems.

Olive oil lowers risks of stroke, obesity
People who use olive oil in cooking and salads almost half their risk of stroke, shows a French study that found that those who regularly used the oil have a 41% lower risk of stroke.

Intake of olive oil — which is unsaturated fat — is linked to a lower risk of heart attack, and a longer lifespan among heart attack survivors.

Olive oil, one of the mainstays of the Mediterranean diet — low on red meats and sugars — helps control risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and “bad” LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

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