Last week in health: Avocado shortage causes crime wave, obesity fuelling malnutrition, and more

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Psychologists recommend children be bored in the summer. There are activities and summer camps galore to fill children’s time and supply much needed childcare when kids are out of school. But psychologists and child development experts suggest that over-scheduling children during the summer is unnecessary and could ultimately keep kids from discovering what truly interests them.

Obesity boom ‘fuelling rise in malnutrition’. Malnutrition has traditionally been associated with children who are starving, have stunted growth and are prone to infection.

These are still major problems, but progress has been made in this area.

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report said 44% of countries were now experiencing “very serious levels” of both under-nutrition and obesity. It means one in three people suffers from malnutrition in some form.

Here’s how long children should sleep every day. “Sleep is essential to good health, and it starts in childhood,” said Dr. Shalini Paruthi.

The latest recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
Babies 4 months to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours, Children 1 to 2 years old: 11 to 14 hours, Children 3 to 5 years old: 10 to 13 hours, Children 6 to 12 years old: nine to 12 hours, Teenagers 13 to 18 years old: eight to 10 hours.

Well-timed exercise might improve learning. Aerobic exercise four hours after a memorization task, but not exercise right afterwards, was linked to improved recall in a series of Dutch experiments.

From shouting to the silent treatment, how couples argue can affect future health. How spouses disagree may predict which ones are more likely to develop certain ailments down the road, new research suggests.

Analyzing 156 older couples over 20 years, scientists found that patterns of angry outbursts raised the risk of heart problems, while emotional withdrawal or “stonewalling” could lead to musculoskeletal issues such as back pain or stiff neck.

Hot drinks probably cause cancer, warns WHO. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the WHO, said very hot drinks of 65C and over double the risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus.

However, the panel found there was no evidence that coffee or tea causes cancer and said any link was because of the hot temperature of the drink.

Women over 50 ‘putting off cervical screening test’. According to a survey from a cervical cancer charity, the average delay was more than two years, but one in 10 put off the test for more than five years.

The survey found not attending cervical screening was the biggest risk factor for developing cervical cancer.

Women’s long work hours linked to alarming increases in cancer, heart disease. Work weeks that averaged 60 hours or more over three decades appear to triple the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis for women, according to new research from The Ohio State University.

The risk begins to climb when women put in more than 40 hours and takes a decidedly bad turn above 50 hours, researchers found.

Cutting back on meat may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating a mainly plant-based diet—especially one with lots of healthy veggies, fruit, and whole grains—may significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

“This study highlights that even moderate dietary changes in the direction of a healthful plant-based diet can play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes,” said study lead author Ambika Satija.

Scientists to treat brain cancer with drugs that cross the blood-brain barrier. It’s not by accident that chemotherapy drugs fail to treat most brain tumors and cancers. The organ sits behind a blood-brain barrier that has a short list of substances allowed through, and unfortunately, it does not include medicine — at least not yet.

Scientists have started to disguise new medications inside nanoparticles coated in iron-like proteins so that they have a chance to enter the brain. Other scientists are experimenting with ways to force the barrier open, with one ongoing study testing the power of tiny bubbles.

“As scientists come up with more clever ways to get across the blood-brain barrier, there will be more trials to come,” Hill said.

Surprising discovery:

Avocado shortage fuels crime wave in New Zealand. Since January, there have been close to 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards in the north island of New Zealand, with as many as 350 fruits stolen at a time.

Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each (£2-3) across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand. [The Guardian]

#QuoteoftheWeek – “To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”  ~William Londen

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