Week of: Monday, December 7th, 2015Courtesy of:
Employees in offices with enhanced ventilation systems and low levels of chemical air pollutants appear to outperform workers from offices with inferior air quality. The researchers also found the average performance scores of these employees fell as carbon dioxide levels increased to levels that commonly occur in indoor settings. Lead author Dr. Joseph Allen comments, "These results suggest that even modest improvements to indoor environmental quality may have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers."
Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2015
New research suggests that severe obesity is placing a huge financial strain on both the United States' Medicaid system as well as on the severely obese themselves. According to the study, $69 billion dollars is spent in the United States each year on obesity-related health services. Currently, Medicaid pays about 10% of the annual cost of treating severely obese individuals, and that total is likely to rise as Medicaid expands under the Affordable Care Act. Overall, people who are severely obese pay $1,980 more for healthcare than non-obese individuals. Co-author Dr. Michael Long adds, "Medicaid patients, who have low resources and a high burden of disease and obesity, are not covered completely. So severe obesity is a big burden on both Medicaid and patients." Dr. Long and his colleagues add that diet and exercise initiatives are needed to curb severe obesity and its associated health costs.
Health Affairs, November 2015
Fast-food restaurants that offer free toys in their television ads strongly influence children and families when it comes to meal choices. The study, which included 100 children and their parents, revealed the more kids watched TV channels that advertised children’s fast-food meals, the more likely their families visited those restaurants. Study author Dr. Jennifer Emond writes, "For now, our best advice to parents is to switch their child to commercial-free TV programming to help avoid pestering for foods seen in commercials."
The Journal of Pediatrics, October 2015
Children who are not overweight or obese performed better on tests of mental skills, such as planning and paying attention, than their inactive counterparts. In the study, active children were defined as those who took part in organized activities, such as swimming, gymnastics, soccer, or dance for more than an hour a week. Study author Dr. Catherine Davis adds, "Activity made a difference even among normal-weight kids. That verifies that physical activity makes a difference in brain function."
Pediatric Exercise Science, October 2015
The frequent carrying, lifting, and breast feeding of babies can often result in back pain for new moms. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends avoiding bending over during nursing, placing a pillow on your lap to help raise baby to your level while nursing, using an upright firm chair instead of a soft couch, and remembering to remove the tray first before lifting a baby out of a high chair.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, October 2015
Early exposure to dogs may reduce the risk of asthma in children. A new study found children in homes with a family dog during their first year of life had a 13% lower risk of asthma by the time they were old enough for school. The researchers speculate early exposure to a wider variety of microorganisms (via the family dog, in this case) helps build a more robust immune system that is less susceptible to some of the environmental causes of asthma attacks.
JAMA Pediatrics, November 2015
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