HEALTH news in brief

Girls who exercise likely to live longer; picky eating bad for your health

Women who exercised as adolescents for 80 minutes a week or less had a 16 per cent lower risk for death from cancer, Shanghai study shows

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 August, 2015, 10:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 August, 2015, 10:31pm

Exercise in adolescence linked to lowered health risks: Women who participate in exercise as adolescents have a reduced risk of death from cancer and all causes in adulthood, according to a new study involving about 75,000 women in Shanghai. Aged 40 to 70, the women were tracked for an average of about 13 years. Researchers at Vanderbilt Epidemiology Centre in Tennessee, US, found that women who exercised as adolescents for 80 minutes a week or less had a 16 per cent lower risk for death from cancer, and a 15 per cent lower risk for death from all causes; while those who exercised for more than 80 minutes a week had a 13 per cent lower risk for death from all causes. Women who participated in exercise both in their adolescent and adult lives had a 20 per cent lower risk for death from all causes. The data was adjusted for socioeconomic factors in adult life.

Even moderate picky eating can negatively affect children's health: You may think your child's picky eating is just a phase, but a new study from Duke Medicine finds the habit in moderate and severe forms often coincides with serious childhood issues such as depression and anxiety. According to the US study in the journal Paediatrics, more than 20 per cent of children aged two to six are selective eaters. Of them, nearly 18 per cent were classified as moderately picky and the remaining were so restrictive in their food intake that it limited their ability to eat with others. Both moderate and severe selective eating were associated with significantly elevated symptoms of depression, social anxiety and generalised anxiety. Children with severe selective eating were more than twice as likely to also be diagnosed with depression. The researchers said some children who refuse to eat might have heightened senses, which can make the smell, texture and tastes of certain foods overwhelming. Some children may have had a bad experience with a certain food, and develop anxiety when trying something new or being forced to eat food they didn't like before.

An all-natural sunscreen derived from algae: Trying to find the perfect sunblock? Scientists are now turning to the natural sunscreen of algae to make a novel kind of shield against the sun's rays that could protect not only people, but also textiles and outdoor materials. Reporting in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the researchers used algae's natural sunscreen molecules, which can also be found in reef fish mucus and microorganisms, and combined them with chitosan, a biopolymer from crustacean shells. Testing showed the materials were biocompatible, stood up well to heat and light, and absorbed both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation with high efficiency. Existing sunblock lotions typically work by either absorbing ultraviolet rays or physically blocking them, but the researchers say most commercial options have limited efficiency, pose risks to the environment and human health or are not stable.