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healthbriefs


National Start! Walking Day I


mproving overall health can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other—and April 6, National Start! Walking Day, is the ideal opportunity to begin a regular walking routine. Ameri- can Heart Association (AHA) research shows that individuals can gain about two hours of life for every hour engaged in regular, vigorous exercise—a two-for- one deal that’s hard to beat. Walking just 30 minutes per day, five days a week, can also help reduce the risk of cardio-


vascular disease and stroke, promote better sleep and assist in maintaining healthy body weight. Visit StartWalkingNow.org for resources to kick-start a heart-friendly regimen.


The site offers links to local walking paths, heart-healthy recipes, an online prog- ress tracker and an app that helps walkers find and create paths while traveling. To find walking buddies or start a walking club, visit AHA’s MyWalkingClub.org.


Unplug During Screen-Free Week


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he American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for children under 2 and less than two hours per day for older children. Yet, the Kaiser Family


Foundation reports that 40 percent of 3-month-old infants are regular viewers of televi- sion and DVDs, and school-age kids spend nearly twice as many hours with screen media such as television, video games, computers and handheld devices as they spend attending school. To help kids, families, schools and communities turn off screens and turn on healthier activities, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) urges everyone to participate in Screen-Free Week, April 30 through May 6. CCFC is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators,


advocacy groups, parents and individuals, with a mission to reclaim child- hood from corporate marketers. “The commercialization of childhood is the link between many of the most serious problems facing children and society today,” advises CCFC Director Susan Linn. “Childhood obesity, eating disorders, youth vio- lence, sexualization, family stress, underage alcohol and tobacco use, rampant materialism and the erosion of children’s creative play are all exac- erbated by advertising and marketing.”


Learn more about the week-long event, ef- forts to restrict market- ers’ access to children and how to help, at CommercialFreeChildhood.org.


6 Hartford County Edition www.NAHRT.com H


DIABETES LINKED TO DIRTY AIR


ealth wise, the air we breathe is just as important as the foods we eat, ac- cording to a recent report published in the journal Diabetes Care. The report is based on one of the first large-scale, population- based studies linking diabetes prevalence with air pollution. According to research- ers from Children’s Hospital Boston, a strong, consistent correlation exists between adult diabetes and particulate air pollution, an association that persists after adjustment for other risk factors such as obesity and ethnicity. The relationship was seen even at exposure levels below the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency safety limit.


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GREEN VEGGIES BOOST IMMUNITY


esearchers reporting in the journal Cell have found another good reason to fill our plates with plenty of green vegetables like bok choy and broccoli: Tiny chemi- cal compounds found in these healthful greens interact with the immune cells of the gut, known as intraepithelial lympho- cytes (IEL), by effectively protecting them and boosting their numbers. IELs, white blood cells that inhabit the lining of many body cavities and struc- tures, are concentrated in the gastrointes- tinal tract, where their primary purpose is to destroy target cells that are infected by pathogens. Because pathogens frequently enter the body via the gastrointestinal tract, a high IEL count benefits overall health.


Source: Babra- ham Institute, Cambridge, UK


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