Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Does Physical Education matter?

March 29, 2013

Do the duration and frequency of physical education predict academic achievement, self-concept, social skills, food consumption, and body mass index?

From Health Education Journal

This paper assesses more comprehensively than previous studies whether PE continues to have relevance in producing desirable, policy-based outcomes in United States (US) schools as a whole. It evaluates PE in terms of its relationships with BMI, academic achievement, social skills, and self-concept. More simply put, this study helps to answer the question: does PE matter?


Australia leads the world in e-Mental Health

March 14, 2013

Special Issue e-Mental Health

From Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

The Internet and related technologies are here to stay and have opened up a ‘brave new world’, which e-mental health has eagerly embraced – especially in Australia. E-mental health refers to ‘mental health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies’. Australian mental health researchers were amongst the first to realize the potential of this area. They have developed and evaluated a number of pioneering e-treatment programs and psychoeducation websites. Australia has been responsible for around half of the world’s e-mental health programs and has produced more publications on the topic over the last decade than the rest of the world put together.

In acknowledgment of Australia’s current leading position and the fast-moving pace of this area, the ANZJP invited four leading researchers to provide their perspectives on how they see this area evolving over the next 10–15 years the results are presented in this special issue. The articles included cover diverse aspects of e-mental health, but all indicate that e-mental health will grow in importance and have major implications for the whole mental health sector.


Are the weight loss and sport performance ingredients caffeine and DMAA safe for human use?

February 21, 2013

Safety profile of caffeine and 1,3dimethylamylamine supplementation in healthy men

From Human and Experimental Toxicology

Supplements containing DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) have been the center of some controversy, particularly in the UK, recently. It was revealed that an inquest found that Claire Squires, 30, who collapsed and died on the final stretch of the London marathon last April had DMAA in her system. The coroner said she died of cardiac failure caused by extreme exertion, possibly complicated by DMAA toxicity. Until now, no investigation has determined the safety profile of chronic intake of caffeine or DMAA, alone or in combination, within the same study design. In this study a total of 50 young and healthy men completed 12 weeks of daily supplementation with either a placebo, caffeine (250 mg/day), DMAA (50 mg/day), or caffeine (250 mg/day) + DMAA (50 mg/day). To allow for familiarization, during week one of the study, subjects ingested one half of the required dosage. The following variables were measured before and following 6 and 12 weeks of treatment: body mass/composition, resting respiratory rate, blood pressure, 12-lead electrocardiogram, urinalysis, complete blood count, metabolic panel, lipid panel, and oxidative stress, inflammatory, and cardiac biomarkers. Results indicate that caffeine and DMAA, alone or in combination, does not result in a statistically significant change in any of the measured outcome variables.

“Much concern has been raised regarding the use of DMAA by humans, particularly in light of two case reports indicating severe adverse outcomes following oral ingestion of what appeared to be extremely high dosages of this ingredient. The present study included a relative small and recommended dosage of DMAA and caffeine in young and healthy men. When used at the provided dosages, initial findings indicate no adverse outcomes with regards to the selected safety measures. These findings do not suggest that the stimulants used in this study are safe for consumption by those who are older and/or unhealthy, particularly if they are used at much higher dosages. Further research would be helpful to extend these findings, as well as to determine the safety profile of these stimulants (and others) in populations distinct from that studied in the current investigation.”


Is ‘gene talk’ used to shift responsibility for ‘fat’ problems?

February 12, 2013

The role of genes in talking about overweight: An analysis of discourse on genetics, overweight and health risks in relation to nutrigenomics

From The Public Understanding of Science

This study looks at how it is evident from everyday talk that information about genetic susceptibility empowers people to live healthily and how people account for the relation between food, health and genes in everyday life. It uses discourse analysis to study accounts of overweight in six group interviews with people who are and who are not overweight. The  indirect focus on behavioral explanations as the norm and the related treatment of gene explanations as implying a denial of personal responsibility for one’s overweight shows the extent to which gene accounts are still connected with attributions of responsibility and blame and the need for self-discipline. The normative orientation to being relaxed about possible health risks and the allied resistance to health fanaticism has also been found in other studies. A nutrigenomics test that reveals genetic susceptibilities for overweight will possibly be treated as an invested account, that is, as an explanation of overweight that is informed by an interest in avoiding personal responsibility and/or blame. Unlike studies that look at how people cognitively understand science, this research shows how ‘gene talk’ can be deployed to shift responsibility for overweight problems, or how it can be drawn upon asymmetrically so as to allow thin children to eat fatty food. It is not the perception of genes per se, or health risks for that matter, but the way these notions are put to use in everyday talk. A gene-based ‘wellness’ focus on health may prove to be a helpful account for preventive behavior, that is, more in tune with the broader everyday notion of health. The article concludes by outlining that as long as the relation between genes and behavior is reproduced as a pure dichotomy, there is little chance of turning gene talk from a blaming device into an accountable and nuanced incentive for healthy behavior.


Safe sex practices among African American women

February 6, 2013

Motivations for sex among low-income African American young women

From Health Education and Behavior

Researchers have found that African American women exhibit a higher risk for sexually transmitted infections including HIV/Aids. But what motivates this group of women to have sex? And when are they more likely to use protection? This study reveals that regardless of motivations for having sex, condom use expectations were less than 50% for all types of sexual encounters, including the riskiest types of sex. Researchers used a combination of interviews and focus groups to conduct the study. Participants were African American women with low incomes who had had an average of 1.2 sexual partners in the past month, with an average age of 20.4 years old. “Findings highlight the need for tailored interventions to increase condom use in casual relationships, where perceived risk is already high, and in primary relationships, where motivations for condom use may be low.” the authors wrote. “Interventions that address mediators of sexual risk, including self-esteem and coping, may be more effective than those focusing solely on risk perceptions.”


The Prince of Wales calls for a broader definition of health

January 15, 2013

Integrated health and post modern medicine

From Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

HRH The Prince of Wales has called for society to embrace a broader and more complex concept of health. In this article The Prince describes a vision of health that includes the physical and social environment, education, agriculture and architecture. Emphasising that his point is not to confront accepted medical wisdom, HRH suggests reasons for encouraging a wider perspective on health. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease, The Prince advocates a health service that puts patients at the heart of the process by incorporating the core human elements of mind, body and spirit. Explaining that symptoms may often be a metaphor for underlying disease and unhappiness, he calls for a scientific and therapeutic approach that understands, values and uses patient perspective and belief rather than seeking to exclude them.

Reflecting on the need to restore urgently a climate of care and compassion at the heart of our health services, The Prince describes how health professionals need to be equipped with the skills and desire to listen and honour what is being said – and not said – by patients. In developing a healing empathy HRH believes that patients will be helped to find their own particular path towards better health. The journal editor concludes “The Prince of Wales is a prominent and influential voice. When he sets out his vision for health, something he clearly thinks deeply about, speaking directly to medical professionals is the best way of allowing a constructive debate to flourish. This is an important article and The Prince’s vision for health is engaging.”


Effect of type and severity of partner abuse on women’s health, quality of life and help seeking

December 6, 2012

Effect of type and severity of intimate partner violence on women’s health and service use: Findings from a primary care trial of women afraid of their partners

From Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) has a major impact on women’s wellbeing. This article describes socio-demographic characteristics, experiences of abuse, health, safety, and use of services in women enrolled in the Women’s Evaluation of Abuse and Violence Care (WEAVE) project. The WEAVE project is the first family practice based trial testing the effect of screening plus intervention for IPV on women’s health and wellbeing. The study explores associations between type and severity of abuse and women’s health, quality of life, and help seeking.

The research finds women who were fearful of partners in the last year, have poor mental health and quality of life, attend health care services frequently, and domestic violence services infrequently. It outlines how health practitioners may need to tailor their care and messages to women’s experiences of type and severity of abuse. Exploration of the extent of abuse may allow practitioners to support women in choosing and accessing IPV-specific services appropriate to their safety needs and readiness to change.


Mixed weight couples experience more relationship conflict

November 28, 2012

You’re going to eat that?: Relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples

Article and Relationship Matters Podcast

From Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

Relationship Matters Podcast Number 16 “You’re going to eat that?”. Dr Tricia Burke at the University of Puget Sound, USA talks about relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples. The authors recognize how weight and health can be significant issues within romantic relationships. The podcast considers a study that examines relationships where one partner is categorized as overweight and the other partner is considered a healthy weight. It used daily questionnaires to gather information regarding their lifestyle, routine, relationship conflict and eating behavior to make observations concluding that mixed weight couples experienced more conflict within their relationship.


Minority children at a higher risk for weight problems in both the US and England

October 10, 2012

Race/Ethnicity and nativity disparities in child overweight in the United States and England

From American Academy of Political and Social Science

With ties to diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, childhood obesity in wealthy countries is certainly of growing concern to researchers. This study explores the ties between childhood weight problems, socioeconomic status, and nationality and finds that race, ethnicity, and immigrant status are risk factors for weight problems among children in the US and England. The researchers studied data of 6,816 children from the US and the UK to analyze childhood weight problems among certain demographics. This research highlights the consequences of migration for children, an area of study that is often overlooked by immigration researchers. “In the United States, both Hispanic and black children of native-born mothers have a higher risk of overweight than children of native-born whites,” the authors observe “In England, children of native-born black mothers have a higher risk of overweight, and in some models, children of native-born Asian mothers have a higher risk.” They recognize that migration requires children to make sense of a new country, often facing unwelcoming communities, whilst learning to navigate the social institutions of their host society and, more often than not, a new language.


Assessing policies designed to ensure more than 2 million disabled adults gain health insurance coverage (USA)

September 4, 2012

The potential employment impact of Health Reform on working-age adults with disabilities

From Journal of Disability Policy Studies

Public health insurance is a valued benefit for many working-age individuals with disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty obtaining health insurance in the private market. This article assesses the extent to which the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 has the potential to expand health insurance options for workers with disabilities and ameliorate existing employment disincentives. The study suggests the impact of the ACA on employment outcomes for persons with disabilities is a critical area for future research. At a minimum, it is expected for the ACA to result in patterns of insurance coverage among persons with disabilities that look more similar to patterns of insurance coverage among working-age persons without disabilities.  Nationally, in 2009, employed working-age people with disabilities were less likely to have insurance coverage than those who were  unemployed. It is projected that this relationship will change in 2014. More than 2 million adults with disabilities will gain coverage and that coverage rates will be higher among the employed.



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