Health Bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 November, 2013, 11:23am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 November, 2013, 11:23am

Sugary drinks raise cancer risk

Post-menopausal women who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit drinks and carbonated soda, were more likely to develop type 1 endometrial cancer compared with women who didn't. The risk increased with consumption, with study participants reporting the highest intakes (60.5 servings a week) having a 78 per cent increased risk, according to the report published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Type I endometrial cancer is oestrogen-dependent: the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks has been linked to obesity, and obese women tend to have higher levels of oestrogen and insulin than women of normal weight. The study used data from more than 23,000 menopausal women who reported their dietary intake, demographic information and medical history in 1986 - before the cancer diagnosis - under the Iowa Women's Health Study, a decades-long investigation into the effect of multivitamins or supplements.

Solid boost for your baby

Introducing solid food with breast milk 17 weeks after birth could reduce food allergies in babies, according to research from the University of Southampton in Britain. "Introducing solid foods alongside breastfeeding can benefit the immune system," says Dr Kate Grimshaw, a dietitian and senior research fellow at the university. "It appears that the immune system becomes educated when there is an overlap of solids and breast milk because the milk promotes tolerogenic [or tolerance-producing] mechanisms against the solids." Grimshaw adds: "Our findings suggest that 17 weeks is a crucial time point, with solid food introduction before this time appearing to promote allergic disease, whereas solid food introduction after that time point seems to promote tolerance." The study, funded by Britain's Food Standards Agency and published in Paediatrics, tracked 1,140 infants from birth.

Stay healthy with TV breaks

Children who spend a lot of time in front of the television, playing video games or just sitting, should be encouraged to get up more often - as a recent study reinforces the idea this helps promote better health. Canadian researchers looked at risk factors for type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease in more than 500 children in Quebec with a family history of obesity and who were between the ages of eight and 11. Using an accelerometer to gather data, the researchers studied all breaks in sedentary behaviour for these children for one week. Global health risk indicators were measured, including waist circumference, body mass index, fasting insulin, fasting glucose, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol and C-reactive proteins. The results suggest that frequent interruptions - or the number of times children got up - in sedentary time can have a positive impact on their health.