Medi Watch

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 January, 2007, 12:00am

Children bad for waist

Adults who live with children consume more fat - the equivalent of almost a whole pizza each week - than those who don't, according to a six-year US study of the eating habits of 6,600 adults. Those with children 'ate more snacks and convenience foods', says University of Iowa researcher Helena Laroche. On average, they ate an extra 4.9g of fat daily, including 1.7g of saturated fat, AFP reports. Possible factors include being under greater time pressure and advertising aimed at children. 'Once these foods are in the house, even if bought for the children, adults appear more likely to eat them,' Laroche says.

Sad news for big bellies

The bigger your belly, the greater the risk of developing heart disease, according to another study questioning the reliability as a risk indicator of body mass index, or BMI, which relates weight and height. Analysis by non-profit medical group Kaiser Permanente of a 12-year study of more than 100,000 people focused on the sagittal abdominal diameter (Sad) measurement. Women with the largest Sad were 44 per cent more likely to develop heart disease than those with the smallest measurement; and men with the largest Sad were 42 per cent more likely, Reuters reports. Even among men of normal weight, the risk was higher for those with bigger bellies.

Americans world's fattest people

Americans are the fattest people in the world and spend about 81/2 hours a day on sedentary activities such as watching TV and using the computer, according to US Census Bureau data. On average, they each drank more than 87 litres of bottled water in 2004 (about 10 times more than in 1980), and ate more than twice as much high fructose corn syrup, The New York Times reports. The data also shows that more Americans are injured by wheelchairs than lawnmowers.

Gene preserves memory

A gene associated with longevity may also help older people think more clearly and preserve memory, according to a study of more than 280 people of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent, aged over 75. Those with the gene variant, CETP VV (which affects the size of good and bad cholesterol in the body) were twice as likely to have good mental function, with fewer signs of dementia, than those without it, WebMD reports. 'The same gene variant that helps people live to exceptional ages has the added benefit of helping them think clearly for most of their long lives,' says team leader Nir Barzilai of Yeshiva University in New York.

Time to get rid of that hangover

Time cures all things ... and it's the only surefire cure for a hangover, according to a review by researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth published in the British Medical Journal. Symptoms typically ease within eight to 24 hours, Reuters reports. Among traditional cures rejected by the review are: a sauna (Finland); cabbage soup (Russia); Marmite on toast (Britain); Berocca or Alka Seltzer; a Prairie Oyster (egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper); bacon and eggs; strawberries and peanut butter with honey; green tea; and the old hair of the dog.

Jason Sankey is a tennis professional