The latest in ‘Good Fats’
For the first time in – well, ever – women might want to be grateful for that extra chunk on their hips and thighs. Stop laughing! Because while belly fat has been associated with higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, it’s appears that fat stored on the hips and thighs has no link.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolis, scientists aimed to determine the difference in fats. They compared the genes active in belly fat to those in thighs in hips and found that 125 genes differ between the two regions in men, while the number rises to 218 in women.
As a control, stem cells were isolated from both the belly and thigh in order to grow separately in laboratory dishes – away from the influences of nerves, hormones and other outside signals. Despite their segregation, the differences remained, leading researchers to conclude that belly and thigh fat are genetically destined for their location on the body. In other words, fats are preprogramed to where they want to go and when they are ‘belly fats’, they are more detrimental to one’s heart health.
The scientists suggest that rather than toiling away to banish all fat across our midsection, perhaps it’s time to rethink our attitude toward the heart-friendlier fat that tends to coalesce in the hips and thighs. In other words: eat healthy, stay active and when it comes to weight, think more Beyoncé, less Homer Simpson!
Is Twitter the new Jenny Craig?
Twitter is used for a lot of things – but now there’s evidence it might come in handy as…a weight-loss aid?! Research published in Translational Behavioral Medicine suggests the social networking site has vital use as a support network for people trying to shed those extra pounds.
Ninety-six overweight and obese men and women living in a metropolitan area, all with internet-capable mobile devices, were followed over a six-month period. The participants were then randomly assigned to one of two groups.
Both groups received two podcasts per week for three months (15 minutes each) and two mini-podcasts pre week for the last three months. In addition, one group downloaded Twitter , along with a diet-and-physical-activity-monitoring application.
Researchers found that on the whole, participants had a 2.7 decrease in body weight over the course of six months. But those who engaged with Twitter were even more successful: for every ten posts they left, there was a corresponding weight loss of approximately 0.5 per cent. It’s believed that the encouragement they received from others they’d made aware of their goals online helped along their toning tactics.
The Merits of Marriage: Midlife Edition
Researchers from the Duke University Medical Centre have suggested that not having a permanent partner or spouse during midlife puts you at higher risk of premature death during that same period.
Published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the study analysed data from 4,802 individuals who are part of an ongoing study of people born in the 1940’s. They focused on stability and changes in patterns of marital and non-marital status during midlife, controlling for socioeconomic status and health risk behaviours.
The results indicated that those who never married were more than twice as likely to die earlier than those in stable marriages. Losing a partner – and not replacing them – also increased the risk of early death. Even when personality and risk behaviours were taken into account, marital status continued to have a major impact on survival.
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