Bullying May Harm Health into Adulthood

Children who are bullied have poorer mental and physical health as adolescents and may also have higher risks of disease as adults.

New research that looked into the biological impact of being bullied found that children who endured verbal and physical abuse from their peers had higher rates of systemic inflammation that persisted into adulthood. Chronic inflammation may contribute to heart disease, stroke, lupus, asthma and other health problems.

The link may be especially important for black children, as African-American kids are bullied at a much higher rate than other kids. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that African-American teens saw bullying as a bigger problem than racism. Experts advise that parents should:

Take it seriously. Getting beat up is not just a normal part of childhood. It is a serious offense that is now considered criminal in many states. Report it to school officials.

Don’t fight fire with fire. Psychologists say forcing children to physically fight bullies may place them in danger and make the situation worse. Kids should be trained to fight only to protect themselves, to report the offense to the proper authorities and to walk away if at all possible.

Watch the computer. Cyberbullying — children humiliating and taunting other children through email and other Internet portals — is increasingly common, but easily missed by parents. It can be just as dangerous as other forms of bullying. Parents can help by talking to their children and letting them know they will be helped, not banned from the computer, if they are bullied. Carefully monitor computer security and your child’s use of passwords, chat rooms and other sites. And keep the computer in a busy, visible part of your home.

Fruits and Veggies Can Prevent Stroke

(gordana jovanovic)

(gordana jovanovic)

Filling up on produce may cut your risk of stroke by almost one third, according to a recent study reported by the American Heart Association. An analysis of more than 700,000 people showed that those who ate the most vegetables and fruits were 21 percent less likely to have a stroke.

The study focused on leafy greens, apples and pears. People who consumed 200 grams (about a cup and a half) of fruit a day reduced their stroke risk by 32 percent. It dropped 11 percent for every 200 grams of vegetables. Black Americans have the nation’s highest risk of stroke.

Exercise Recommendations Fall Short for Weight Loss

If you have been carefully following the national exercise guidelines and piling on the pounds, you are not alone.

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services advises people that 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or just 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a week is enough to keep the pounds off and cut health risks. 

That’s not enough, reports Trine Moholdt, Ph.D., and her research team from the KG Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

They assessed 19,000 adults who followed the guidelines for 22 years. They found that the women gained an average of about 19 pounds. The men gained roughly 17 pounds. But study participants who worked out more than the recommended 150 minutes a week were able to avoid significant weight gain. 

“The current recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 60 minutes of vigorous exercise per week might not be sufficient to prevent long-term weight gain,” Moholdt explained to Reuters Health.

Moholdt’s work is consistent with a 2010 study from the Harvard School of Public Health that found that middle-aged women needed 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day to stave off weight gain.