Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Article] Pain sensitivity may be influenced by lifestyle, environment, twin study suggests

One way to address the growing heroin epidemic? Address lifestyle and environment components.
Certainly would be a public health way to stem folks dependence on substances that can often diminish quality of life and death.

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From the 4 January 2014 Science Daily article (read the entire article at this link)

Researchers have discovered that sensitivity to pain could be altered by a person’s lifestyle and environment throughout their lifetime. The study is the first to find that pain sensitivity, previously thought to be relatively inflexible, can change as a result of genes being switched on or off by lifestyle and environmental factors — a process called epigenetics, which chemically alters the expression of genes.

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February 5, 2014 Posted by | environmental health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy outlook leads to a healthy lifestyle: study

 

Healthy outlook leads to a healthy lifestyle: study.

From the 13 September 2012 press release

Researchers from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research analysed data on the diet, exercise and personality type of more than 7000 people.

The study found those who believe their life can be changed by their own actions ate healthier food, exercised more, smoked less and avoided binge drinking.

Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said those who have a greater faith in ‘luck’ or ‘fate’ are more likely to live an unhealthy life.

“Our research shows a direct link between the type of personality a person has and a healthy lifestyle,” she said.

Professor Cobb-Clark hoped the study would help inform public health policies on conditions such as obesity.

“The main policy response to the obesity epidemic has been the provision of better information, but information alone is insufficient to change people’s eating habits,” she said.

“Understanding the psychological underpinning of a person’s eating patterns and exercise habits is central to understanding obesity.”

The study also found men and women hold different views on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Men wanted physical results from their healthy choices, while women were more receptive to the everyday enjoyment of leading a healthy lifestyle.

Professor Cobb-Clarke said the research demonstrated the need for more targeted policy responses.

“What works well for women may not work well for men,” she said.

“Gender specific policy initiatives which respond to these objectives may be particularly helpful in promoting healthy lifestyles.”

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The study used data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey.

 

September 16, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | 1 Comment

[Reblog] Clustering of unhealthy behaviours over time Implications for policy and practice

 

From The Kings Fund (UK site)

Summary

People’s lifestyles – whether they smoke, how much they drink, what they eat, whether they take regular exercise – affect their health and mortality. It is well known that each of these lifestyle risk factors is unequally distributed in the population.

Less is known about how these behaviours co-occur or cluster in the population and about how these patterns of multiple lifestyle risk have been evolving over time. This paper considers this in the context of the English population and sets out the implications for public health policy and practice that flow from the findings.

It reviews the current evidence on multiple lifestyle risks and analyses data from the Health Survey for England on the distribution of these risks in the adult population and how this is changing over time.

You can also download the supporting methodology and data appendices (98 kb) [pdf]

Key points

  • The overall proportion of the English population that engages in three or four unhealthy behaviours has declined significantly, from around 33 per cent of the population in 2003, to 25 per cent in 2008.
  • These reductions have been seen mainly among those in higher socio-economic and educational groups: people with no qualifications were more than five times as likely as those with higher education to engage in all four poor behaviours in 2008, compared with only three times as likely in 2003.
  • The health of the overall population will improve as a result of the decline in these behaviours, but the poorest and those with least education will benefit least, leading to widening inequalities and avoidable pressure on the NHS.

Policy implications

More effective ways must be found to help people in lower socio-economic groups and those with the least education to improve their health behaviours.

This requires a more holistic approach to policy and practice, addressing lifestyles that encompass multiple rather than individual unhealthy behaviours.

In addition, behaviour change should be linked more closely to inequalities policy and be focused more directly on improving the health of the poorest.

More research and better use of the data already available is key. In particular, it would be helpful to know whether it is easier or harder to change the behaviour of those with multiple risks, whether it is more effective to tackle the risks in sequence or in tandem, what the most cost-effective approaches are and what we can learn from other areas of care.

 

September 6, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

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