Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fish will keep you active: Eating plenty in old age can reduce chance of medical or physical illness by 39%  -- if you are Japanese

This is just correlational and self-report rubbish

Researchers from the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan asked more 1,000 men and women to fill in a questionnaire designed to assess their mental and physical fitness.

Questions included how easy they found it to use public transport or pay bills and how much they visited friends or were asked for advice.

They were also quizzed about what they ate.

Those who ate the most animal protein were 39 per cent less likely to have failed mentally or physically seven years later.

Protein is key for building the muscle needed to protect against falls and fractures but it is thought the body finds it harder to absorb and process the nutrient as we age.  As a result we need more of it to remain healthy.

However, high amounts of protein only men – perhaps because they lose more muscle in old age.

Fish may have been particularly good because of the other nutrients it contains, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are credited with health benefits from easing the pain of arthritis to staving off dementia.

Writing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers said that physical and mental decline have an ‘enormous effect’ on hospitals and care homes and the economy and it is imperative to find ways to keep the elderly healthy for longer.

They added: ‘Keeping a higher protein intake could contribute to maintaining elderly functional capacity.’

The research chimes with a high-profile study released last week.  It found that eating lots of animal protein, such as meat and cheese, in middle-age can be as deadly as smoking.

However, it concluded that protein is beneficial in old age.


Girls who are obese at 11 'get lower GCSE results': Effect of weight can be difference between C and D grade

Of course it can.  Most obesity is among poor people and the poor are dumber.  The researchers claim to have controlled for SES but that consisted of the mother's education only.  They did not control for income.  That is a no-no question in most surveys

A study found that girls who were dangerously overweight at 11 did less well at school at 16.  The effect was big enough to make the difference between gaining a C and a D at GCSE.

The British researchers said that while the health effects of obesity receive a lot of attention, the problems do not end there.

They also warned that the knock-on effects could be lifelong.

Latest figures show that almost 20 per cent of 10 to 11 year olds in England are obese. A further 15 per cent are overweight.

The researchers analysed data from a long-running study of children born in the Bristol area in the early 1990s.

This included IQ at age eight, weight through the teenage years and school results.

No clear effect was found for boys but crunching the figures showed that girls who were obese at 11 did less well in tests at 11 and 13.

They also fared less well in maths, science and English GCSEs at 16.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity also showed that the longer the child was obese, the bigger the effect on their schoolwork.

Strikingly, the effect of obesity remained even when factors such as socio-economic status, the amount of exercise done and depression were taken into account.  IQ, measured at age eight , was also factored in.

Given this, the researchers aren’t entirely sure why obesity affects how a child does at school but some research has suggested it slows the development of the brain.

It is also possible that the psychological scars of obesity run deep.

For instance, bullying by other children may lower self-esteem and lead to youngsters taking more time off school and so missing lessons.

Teachers may also treat obese children differently to their normal-weight classmates.

The researchers tried to account for depression the study but say they may not have been able to factor in the full effect of the stigma of obesity on mental health.

Teenage boys are thought to be less sensitive to the effects of bullying than girls, perhaps explaining why no link was found for males.

With poor school grades having a knock-on effect on higher education and employment, the effects of being obese as young as 11 could be long-lasting.

Lead researcher, Professor John Reilly, of the University of Strathclyde, said: ‘Further work is needed to understand why obesity is negatively related to academic attainment but it is clear that teenagers, parents and policymakers in education and public health should be aware of the lifelong educational and economic impact of obesity.’

Dundee University researcher Dr Josie Booth said: ‘The key message is that obesity has a wide-reaching impact and we need to be doing more to help children attain a healthy lifestyle.’

Dr David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, hit out at schools for rewarding children with chocolate and punishing them by stopping them from playing football.

He added: ‘It is not only academic achievement, marriage and university prospects are also lower in obese kids.  ‘It is very worrying and it is another dimension to the obesity problem.

‘Everybody thinks about obesity and diabetes but when you think that success in life is affected by your weight, it is pretty serious.’


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