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healthbriefs


Jog or Walk to Live Longer A


slow jog around the block a few times a week can prolong life. The Copenhagen City Heart Study monitored 1,878 joggers for 30 years and found that 44 percent of these subjects are less likely to prematurely die from any cause than non-runners. Males and females that continued to jog regularly added 6.2 years and 5.6 years, respectively, to their average lifespans. It only takes 1.5 hours of slow-to-average-pace jog- ging a week to reap the longevity benefits. Walking is also beneficial; the National Institutes of Health says it can add up to 4.5 years to the average life expectancy. Seventy- five minutes of brisk walking a week can add 1.8 years to


life expectancy after age 40, according to study results cited in PLOS Medicine.


School Lunches Minus the Meat A


s the first school in the nation to go com- pletely meatless, 400 students at New York


City’s P.S. 244, the Active Learning Elementary School, are treated to eclectic fare that includes black bean and cheese quesadillas, falafels, and tofu in an Asian sesame sauce. “We’ve had a really great response from the kids, but they also understand it’s about healthy options,” says Principal Bob Groff. “Because we teach them to make healthy choices, they understand what is happening and believe in what we’re doing, too.”


When the school opened in 2008, the cafeteria served vegetarian meals three days a week. “We started to try out recipes with small groups of students to see what they liked and didn’t like. It was a hit,” says Groff. All meals adhere to U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, so students get plenty of nutrient- and protein-dense vegetables. Students are also welcome to pack their own lunches, including meat.


Yoga Relieves Back Pain C


Weightlifting Lowers Heart Disease and Diabetes Risks F


ewer than 10 percent of Americans regularly lift weights, but perhaps more of us should, according to a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Scientists at the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, found that weightlift- ers had a 37 percent reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors linked to heart disease and diabetes. Previous research has linked having greater muscle strength and mass (results of weightlifting) to lower rates of metabolic syndrome. People with three out of five risk


ould a simple yoga class ease chronic back pain? Yes, say researchers in two recent studies. Scientists at the University of Washington found that subjects reported a 61 percent decrease in back pain when practicing yoga in a 12-week period compared with doing simple stretching. The researchers attributed their findings, published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alterna- tive Medicine, to yoga’s physical and breathing exercises and how they increase awareness and relaxation. Another project, funded by Arthritis Research UK, showed that Britons with long-term back pain that took a 12-week yoga course reported 75 percent fewer sick days.


8 Hudson County NAHudson.com


factors—a large waist (more than 40 inches for men, more than 35 inches for women), high triglycerides and low levels of HDL (good) choles- terol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar—may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The researchers also analyzed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which showed that young men were most likely to do regular weight- lifting, while women, older people and Latinos were least likely. The survey statistics support the conclusion that non-weightlifters are more likely to exhibit metabolic syndrome.


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