Thursday, August 15, 2013

Unruly kids become fatter adults?

Looking at the actual tables of results attached to the journal article is enlightening here.  Table S3 is particularly interesting.  The major predictor of health was in fact gender.  No surprise when we reflect that women live longer.  The beta weights for all other variables were small to negligible.  And Table S3 shows us that conscientiousness predicted obesity very weakly indeed (beta -0.09) and was marginally significant statistically only by virtue of the large sample size. The other significant results showed that Hawaiian natives were fatter and Japanese Hawaiians were slimmer.  No surprises there.  Much ado about nothing here, I think

Research has revealed that a person's behaviour as a child could have a startling impact on their waistline in their future. The longitudinal study observed a group of Hawaiian schoolchildren in the 1960s and then compared their vital statistics today as 50-year-old adults.

The research found that children who acted in an irresponsible and careless manner compared to those who do not were prone to adult obesity, with the children who exhibited lower conscientiousness also generally experiencing worse overall health as adults.

The Oregon Research Institute (ORI) study examined the relationship between childhood personality and adult health. It showed a strong association between childhood conscientiousness (organised, dependable, self-disciplined) and health status in adulthood, as reported in Science Daily.

ORI scientist Sarah Hampson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health, Hawaii report these findings in the August issue of Health Psychology.

'Others have shown that more conscientiousness children live longer. Now we have shown that these conscientious children are also healthier at midlife' noted Dr. Hampson, while on a panel on personality and health at the national American Psychological Association meeting in Honolulu.

Hawaiian school-children rated by their teachers in the 1960s as less conscientious had worse global health status as adults. They also had significantly greater obesity, high cholesterol, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Childhood conscientiousness was significantly associated with decreased function of the cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
People who are more conscientious have better health habits and less stress, protecting them from disease

People who are more conscientious have better health habits and less stress, protecting them from disease

This association was independent of the other big five personality childhood traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and intellect/imagination), adult conscientiousness, childhood socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender.

This is the first study in which all the big five personality traits assessed in childhood have been used to predict objective health status assessed by multiple biomarkers over 40 years later in older adulthood.

More than 2,000 children from entire classrooms in elementary schools on two Hawaiian Islands were comprehensively assessed on their personality characteristics.

The National Institute of Mental Health funded the ORI researchers in 1998 to locate and examine the health-related behaviors and mental and physical health status of these individuals.

Researchers managed to convince almost 75 per cent of those in the original group who could be located (mean age 51 years) to participate.

More than 800 individuals completed a medical and psychological examination supported by subsequent grants from the National Institute on Ageing.

The physical examinations included biomarkers of cardiovascular and metabolic systems such as height, weight, waist and hip circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting blood glucose.

'These findings suggest avenues for further research that may lead to interventions.

'People who are more conscientious tend to have better health habits and less stress, which protects them from disease.

'Self-control is a key part of being conscientious, so our findings confirm the importance of teaching children self-control to enable then to grow up to be healthy adults,' said Hampson.

Childhood conscientiousness relates to objectively measured adult physical health four decades later.

Hampson, Sarah E. et al.


Objective: Many life span personality-and-health models assume that childhood personality traits result in life-course pathways leading through morbidity to mortality. Although childhood conscientiousness in particular predicts mortality, there are few prospective studies that have investigated the associations between childhood personality and objective health status in adulthood. The present study tested this crucial assumption of life span models of personality and health using a comprehensive assessment of the Big Five traits in childhood (M age = 10 years) and biomarkers of health over 40 years later (M age = 51 years). Methods: Members of the Hawaii Personality and Health Cohort (N = 753; 368 men, 385 women) underwent a medical examination at mean age 51. Their global health status was evaluated by well-established clinical indicators that were objectively measured using standard protocols, including blood pressure, lipid profile, fasting blood glucose, and body mass index. These indicators were combined to evaluate overall physiological dysregulation and grouped into five more homogeneous subcomponents (glucose intolerance, blood pressure, lipids, obesity, and medications). Results: Lower levels of childhood conscientiousness predicted more physiological dysregulation (β = −.11, p < .05), greater obesity (β = −.10, p < .05), and worse lipid profiles (β = −.10, p < .05), after controlling for the other Big Five childhood personality traits, gender, ethnicity, parental home ownership, and adult conscientiousness. Conclusions: These findings are consistent with a key assumption in life span models that childhood conscientiousness is associated with objective health status in older adults. They open the way for testing mechanisms by which childhood personality may influence mortality through morbidity; mechanisms that could then be targeted for intervention.


Is sugar an invisible killer? Even 'safe' levels of the sweet stuff could lead to an early death, scientists warn

The old sugar scare rolls on.  Mouse study only.  Using mice to predict human longevity is absurd.  Amusing that there was no effect on obesity, though

   U.S. scientists believe even 'safe' levels of dietary sugar could be having invisible adverse effects on people's health.   Scientists said 'safe' levels of dietary sugar - found in a can of fizzy drink, for example - could be having invisible adverse effects on people's health

Researchers gave mice the equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of fizzy drink a day and found the female animals died twice as fast as those whose food was not largely composed of sugar.

Male mice consuming the sugary diet were less able to hold territory and reproduce, leading scientists to speculate that sugar has a damaging effect on the health of mammals, including humans.

Scientists from the University of Utah said the mice showed no sign of suffering serious physical changes in their bodies.

Writing in the online edition of the journal Nature Communications, the researchers said: 'Our results provide evidence that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic adverse impacts on mammalian health.'

Mice on the experimental diet received 25 percent of their energy intake in the form of added sugar, no matter how many calories they ate.

In human terms this was equivalent to a person eating a normal healthy diet plus three cans of sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks a day.

After 32 weeks, more than a third of the female mice fed extra sugar died - twice the number fed a non-sugary diet.

The death rate of males was not affected, but their survival behaviour was.

Males on the sugary diet acquired and held on to 26 percent fewer territories than their normal diet nest-mates and produced 25 percent fewer offspring.

Study leader Professor Wayne Potts,at the university, said: 'This demonstrates the adverse effects of added sugars at human-relevant levels.'

To observe the mice in a more realistic setting, the researchers kept them in room-sized pens rather than cages.

This allowed them to compete more naturally for mates and desirable territories.

Despite the effects on the mice, the sugar-fed animals showed only minor metabolic changes, including raised cholesterol.

The study found nothing unusual in terms of obesity or insulin and blood sugar levels.

'Our test shows an adverse outcome from the added-sugar diet that couldn't be detected by conventional tests,' said Professor Potts.


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