Less TV and more sleep can help cut weight gain in chil­dren

THE PULSE Com­piled by Dr Chris­tine White

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

KIDS who watch too much TV and don’t get enough sleep are in­creas­ing their chances of be­com­ing over­weight. In the Archives of Pe­di­atric­sandA­do­les­cen­tMedicine this week, re­search has found chil­dren who sleep less than 12 hours and watch two or more hours of television a day are twice as likely to be­come over­weight by the age of three than those who sleep more and watch less TV. A to­tal of 915 chil­dren were stud­ied. When the chil­dren were six months, one year and two years old, their moth­ers re­ported their av­er­age nightly sleep time and daily TV view­ing time. Chil­dren who slept less than 12 hours and watched two or more hours of TV a day had a 16 per cent chance of be­com­ing over­weight by age three. ArchPe­di­a­trA­do­lescMed 2008;162:305-311 (Tav­eras EM, et al) DE­PRES­SION may in­crease the risk of de­vel­op­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease, con­cludes a new study in Neu­rol­ogy. Re­searchers ex­am­ined 486 peo­ple aged 60 to 90 with no symp­toms of de­men­tia. Of th­ese, 134 peo­ple had ex­pe­ri­enced at least one episode of de­pres­sion that re­quired med­i­cal at­ten­tion. In six years, 33 de­vel­oped Alzheimer’s dis­ease. Those who had suf­fered from de­pres­sion were 2.5 times more likely to de­velop Alzheimer’s dis­ease than peo­ple who had never had de­pres­sion. The risk was even higher for those whose de­pres­sion oc­curred be­fore the age of 60 — they were nearly four times more likely to de­velop Alzheimer’s than those with no de­pres­sion. Re­search is needed to dis­cover if there is an­other fac­tor that causes both de­pres­sion and Alzheimer’s, say the au­thors. Neu­rol­ogy 2008;70:1258-1264 (Geer­lings MI, et al) PREG­NANT women may be spared an un­nec­es­sary treat­ment, with the de­vel­op­ment of a new blood test pub­lished in the Bri­tish Med­i­cal Jour­nal this week. The blood test, given to preg­nant women, can de­ter­mine the blood type of their de­vel­op­ing baby. The ‘‘ pos­i­tive’’ or ‘‘ neg­a­tive’’ in blood types refers to a pro­tein called the Rhe­sus (Rh) anti­gen. If a Rhe­sus-neg­a­tive mother has an Rh­e­sus­pos­i­tive baby, then her im­mune sys­tem may at­tack the blood cells of her next Rh-pos­i­tive baby, caus­ing a se­ri­ous con­di­tion called haemolytic dis­ease. To pre­vent this, all Rh­neg­a­tive women are given one or two in­jec­tions dur­ing their first preg­nancy to ‘‘ train’’ their im­mune sys­tem not to at­tack an Rh-pos­i­tive baby. But not all Rh-neg­a­tive preg­nant women will be car­ry­ing an Rh­pos­i­tive baby — in fact, around 38 per cent will have an Rh-neg­a­tive baby, and will re­ceive the in­jec­tions un­nec­es­sar­ily. Re­searchers an­a­lysed blood sam­ples from 1997 preg­nant women, and com­pared the re­sults with the baby’s cord blood at birth. In 96 per cent of cases, the test cor­rectly pre­dicted the blood type of the baby from the mother’s blood sam­ple. Us­ing the test would mean only 2 per cent of preg­nant women would get the treat­ment un­nec­es­sar­ily. BMJ 2008;doi:10.1136/ bmj.39518.463206.25 (Finning K, et al) SMALL size at birth and ex­ces­sive weight gain dur­ing ado­les­cence may in­crease the risk of de­vel­op­ing heart dis­ease in later life, ac­cord­ing to a new study in the Euro­peanHeartJour­nal. The find­ings show the im­por­tance of stay­ing within the healthy weight range at all stages of life. The study in­volved 5840 par­tic­i­pants who were fol­lowed from birth to 31 years of age. Their weight and height were mea­sured at birth, 12 months, 14 years and 31 years of age. At 31 years, they were also given a blood test to as­sess their lev­els of in­flam­ma­tion — a known risk fac­tor for heart dis­ease. Those with the low­est birth weights, who then put on the most weight up to the age of 31, had the high­est in­flam­ma­tion lev­els. EurHeartJ 2008;doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ ehn105 (Tzoulaki I, et al) SIM­PLE changes to their work sched­ules could help to im­prove the health of shift work­ers, claim the au­thors of a new study in the Amer­i­canJour­nalofPreven­tiveMedicine. Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have found that shift work­ers are more likely to suf­fer from sleep dis­tur­bances, drug abuse, ab­sen­teeism, in­juries and ac­ci­dents com­pared to other em­ploy­ees. Re­searchers ex­am­ined 26 pub­lished stud­ies on the health ef­fects of shift work. They found that ‘‘ for­ward-ro­tat­ing’’ shifts — for ex­am­ple, a morn­ing shift, fol­lowed by an af­ter­noon shift and then a night shift — are less dam­ag­ing to health than ran­dom or back­ward-ro­tat­ing shifts. And ro­tat­ing work­ers through shift changes ev­ery three or four days, rather than ev­ery seven days, is bet­ter for health and work-life bal­ance. AmJPrevMed 2008;34 (Bam­bra C, et al) Want to know more? Items are ref­er­enced where pos­si­ble. A ref­er­ence such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on pages 18-25 in vol­ume num­ber 35 of the pub­li­ca­tion, in 2007. A doi num­ber or web­site ad­dress is used for re­search pub­lished on a jour­nal’s web­site.

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