Entries in Healthy Living (4)


Immigrant Children Less Prone to Allergies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- America's obsession with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer may not be such a good thing. Research shows that some exposure to germs is actually helpful.

A new study found that children born outside the U.S. develop fewer allergies than American-born children. The reason isn't that they have an inherent resistance to them. It may have to do, instead, with the hygiene hypothesis: Kids who spend some of their earliest years exposed to infections and germs seem to get fewer allergies.

"It would be expected that immigrants to the United States from developing countries, where infectious stimuli are more prevalent, would have a lower risk of allergic disease," noted the researchers.

It might also have to do with what foods those children eat and their lifestyles. Asian children living in Chinatown, for example, have lower rates of asthma than Asians outside of that neighborhood.

While the researchers don't have a definitive answer yet, the numbers are compelling.

More than 10 percent of American kids suffer from asthma, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, and one in five may have atopic dermatitis, a skin disease. Those numbers are high when compared to immigrant kids though. While just one in five foreign-born kids develop allergies, more than one in three U.S.-born children do. The discrepancy when it comes to asthma is even larger.

Mexican Americans born in the U.S. have significantly higher rates of asthma, for instance, than Mexican Americans born in Mexico.

Factors including socioeconomic status and ethnicity can play a role, but the researchers accounted for those factors and a strong correlation between being born outside the U.S. and fewer allergies.

That fact was further bolstered by the study's finding that foreign-born kids who spend just a couple of years in the U.S. are far less likely to develop allergies than foreign-born kids who live in the country for a decade or more.

However, this could also mean that the benefits of being born somewhere else don't necessarily provide a shield after so much time has elapsed.

"The odds of developing allergic disease dramatically increase after living in the United States for longer than 10 years," wrote the researchers. "This suggests that the protective effects of the hygiene hypothesis may not be lifelong and that subsequent exposure to allergens and other environmental factors may trigger atopic disease even later in life."

The idea that those kids might be eating healthier and living lifestyles more in line with their countries of origin gains traction when you consider that foreign-born kids with U.S.-born parents are more likely to get allergies than foreign-born kids whose parents are also born outside the country.

"Some cultures more commonly use spices, such as curcumin, and green tea that have anti-allergy and inflammatory properties," wrote the scientists.

Researchers aren't suggesting altering a child's diet solely based on his or her allergies or to let her aversion to baths flourish, and they're certainly not saying that if your child has allergies that you should've let them roll in grass more as a toddler. But some early exposure to irritants may be a good thing.

In other words, it's ok to put down the Lysol wipes. Exposure to a few germs -- a romp through a muddy field or a splash through a puddle, for example -- may help developing immune systems learn to successfully recognize and respond to germs.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Americans Who Cook More Exercise Less

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, Americans who cook more frequently also exercise less.

The study, presented at a Population Association of America Meeting, found that for every ten additional minutes that the average American spends preparing food, that person was less likely to spend ten extra minutes exercising each day. The researchers in the study speculate that one reason their findings may be true is due to a lack of free time -- the average American spends less than 60 minutes combined on exercise and food preparation each day.

The study looked at one day's worth of data from more than 100,000 adults. The study suggests that instead of simply being told to eat better and exercise, Americans should be advised on time management for healthy behaviors.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ten Healthy Tips to Start Off the New Year

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This is the time of year when many of us resolve to lose weight and exercise more.

Here are simple, painless steps you can take to get started on this path to lifelong success:

  1. Give your refrigerator and pantry an overhaul. Stock up on healthy foods.
  2. Leave the junk foods at the grocery store where they are not in easy reach and never go grocery shopping hungry.
  3. Learn how to read labels. An educated consumer is a healthy consumer.
  4. Deprivation leads to overindulgence. Treat yourself to small portions of the higher-calorie foods on occasion.
  5. Learn how to cook with less fat, salt and sugar. Healthy food can be both nutritious and delicious.
  6. If you have a setback, keep moving on. Lifestyle changes do not happen overnight.
  7. Watch your portions. Calories are still at the core of weight loss and weight gain.
  8. Exercise at least 30 minutes (cardiovascular and resistance training) most days of the week.
  9. Keep yourself hydrated. Chose water and seltzer over other beverages.
  10. Accept the fact that there are no quick fixes. Visualize success and take it one day at a time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tips to Get You Eating Better and Working Out

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mary Claire Orenic, USA Today’s “happiest woman in America,” says her diet and exercise regimen have contributed to her high well-being. She eats five small meals a day in addition to a big breakfast, plays volleyball with her son and basketball with her husband and enjoys lots of walking with a neighbor.

“I continually eat throughout the day to keep my energy up,” she told ABC News. “I like doing sports....We love going skiing. We love going hiking. We love going down to the beach.”

Check out the following five tips to give your health a kick in the right direction.

  1. Add 2 or 3 healthy snacks to your shopping list.
  2. Ask a friend to go for a walk this week.
  3. Climb a set of stairs (at least 20 steps) today.
  4. Design a tossed salad.
  5. List a healthy activity you can do to help you manage stress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio