Friday, July 31, 2009

More on Body Weight

Underweight and extremely obese die earlier
24. June 2009 06:12

Underweight people and those who are extremely obese die earlier than people of normal weight - but those who are overweight actually live longer than people of normal weight.

Those are the findings of a new study published online in Obesity by researchers at Statistics Canada, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, and McGill University.

"It's not surprising that extreme underweight and extreme obesity increase the risk of dying, but it is surprising that carrying a little extra weight may give people a longevity advantage," said David Feeny, PhD, coauthor of the study and senior investigator for the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.

"It may be that a few extra pounds actually protect older people as their health declines, but that doesn't mean that people in the normal weight range should try to put on a few pounds," said Mark Kaplan, DrPH, coauthor and Professor of Community Health at Portland State University. "Our study only looked at mortality, not at quality of life, and there are many negative health consequences associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes."

"Good health is more than a BMI or a number on a scale. We know that people who choose a healthy lifestyle enjoy better health: good food choices, being physically active everyday, managing stress, and keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in check," said Keith Bachman MD, a weight management specialist with Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute.

The study examined the relationship between body mass index and death among 11,326 adults in Canada over a 12-year period. (BMI uses height and weight to estimate body fat.) Researchers found that underweight people had the highest risk of dying, and the extremely obese had the second highest risk. Overweight people had a lower risk of dying than those of normal weight.

This is the first large Canadian study to show that people who are overweight may actually live longer than those of normal weight. An earlier study, conducted in the United States and published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed similar results.

For this study, researchers used data from the National Population Health Survey conducted by Statistics Canada every two years. During the study period, from 1994/1995 through 2006/2007, underweight people were 70 percent more likely than people of normal weight to die, and extremely obese people were 36 percent more likely to die. But overweight individuals were 17 percent less likely to die. The relative risk for obese people was nearly the same as for people of normal weight. The authors controlled for factors such as age, sex, physical activity, and smoking.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. Authors include: Heather Orpana, PhD, Statistics Canada; JM Berthelot, Canadian Institute for Health Information and McGill University; Mark Kaplan, DrPH, Portland State University; David Feeny, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; Bentson H. McFarland, MD, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University and Nancy Ross, PhD, McGill University.

If you want to know more about health risks related to your weight and BMI, ask your doctor or get more information at

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beware of the Fat Police


Patrick Basham and John Luik, Baltimore Sun - Why is a thin, male smoker considered a physical role model as president but a full-figured African-American woman is considered an embarrassment as his nominee for surgeon general?

President Barack Obama's nomination this month of Dr. Regina Benjamin as U.S. surgeon general brought down upon the White House a barrage of criticism from medical "experts" who claim Dr. Benjamin is setting a bad example because of her weight. For example, Dr. Sarah Reed, who religiously keeps her own Body Mass Index in the "underweight" category, was quoted in The Daily Telegraph saying: "Although her credentials speak for themselves, her weight cannot be overlooked. Shame on her!"

Is Dr. Benjamin too fat to handle the nation's health? There are three evidence-based public health reasons why worries about her weight are unwarranted.

First, there is little credible scientific evidence that supports the claims that having an overweight or obese BMI leads to an early death. For example, Katherine Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in the U.S. population there were more premature deaths among those with BMIs of less than 25 - the so-called normal weight - than those with BMIs in excess of 25.

In fact, the lowest death rates were in the "overweight" category - that is, those with BMIs from 25 to 29.9. Indeed, in this study, Americans who were overweight were those most likely to live the longest.

In the American Journal of Public Health, Professor Jerome Gronniger looked at weight and mortality for each BMI point, rather than simply comparing, as is usually done, mortality across broad categories, such as underweight, normal, overweight and obese. He found that men in the "normal" weight category exhibited a mortality rate as high as that of men in the moderately obese category (BMIs of 30 to 35); men in the "overweight" category clearly had the lowest mortality risk.

Moreover, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that looked at alternative measures of obesity, such as percentage of body fat, skin fold thickness, waist circumference, and waist-hip ratio, found even less scientific support for the alleged fat-equals-early-death thesis. The authors report that for the intermediate level of each of the alternative measures of obesity, there was a negative link with mortality. In other words, those with a higher waist circumference or a higher percentage of body fat had lower mortality rates.

A second reason why Dr. Benjamin's weight is a non-issue is because in those studies that have found statistically significant associations between overweight/obesity and premature mortality, the risks are so modest as to be essentially negligible. For example, whereas the reported lung cancer risks for smokers are typically 10 to 20 times higher than for nonsmokers, the death risks for those who are overweight and obese are often closer to only 0.5 above those of normal weight.

Third, contrary to conventional wisdom, the association of overweight and obesity with higher risks for a variety of diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease is unproven. In part, this is because these diseases have multiple causes.

More strikingly, increases in overweight and obesity have been paralleled by falls in total cardiovascular mortality and mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke, as well as in the prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, undermining claims that overweight and obesity lead to higher rates of morbidity.

The last demographic holdout against "fatism" is the African-American female, who on average is disproportionately heavy. And she is disproportionately comfortable with her weight. The fat police view this fact as simply unacceptable.

Patrick Basham and John Luik, Baltimore Sun

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Organic food 'no healthier' than conventional produce, reveals watchdog

By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 2:02 AM on 30th July 2009
Organic food is no more healthy or nutritious than other food, watchdogs declared yesterday.

The Food Standards Agency's ruling, which follows the world's largest study into the subject, will be a huge blow to the booming organics business.

It will also dismay the millions of Britons who spend more than £2billion a year on fruit, vegetables, eggs and meats produced without the aid of pesticides, artificial fertilisers and intensive farming techniques.

Tasty: But the FSA says eating organic vegetables does not have significant health benefits

They pay up to 10p a pint more for organic milk, while organically reared chickens can cost nearly three times as much as those from battery farms.

The analysis of 50 years of research into organic food was quickly rejected by the Soil Association, Britain's biggest certifier of organic foodstuffs.

Critics pointed out that the study ignored possible side-effects from pesticides and that organic farming may be better for the welfare of livestock.

But other bodies, including the British Nutrition Foundation, have long held the view organic products are no better for us than other foods.

Earlier this year, Delia Smith supported the sale of battery chickens and challenged the fashion for organic food.

She said that access to cheap chicken was crucial for poor families and pensioners and the taste of a product mattered more than its green credentials.

The latest study was carried out for the FSA by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

In the most comprehensive analysis of its kind, they trawled through more than 50,000 studies on the nutritional value of foods published since 1958.

Fifty-five met the researchers' criteria and were used in the comparison.

The work clearly showed organically and conventionally-produced foods to be comparable in their nutritional intake, including in vitamin C, calcium, iron and fatty acids.

It did find conventionally-produced fruit and veg had more nitrogen, while their organic counterparts had more phosphorus.

A similar pattern was found when comparing meat, eggs and dairy products. But the researchers said the differences were small and unimportant.

Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, said the conclusions were disappointing

Dr Alan Dangour, a public health nutritionist and leading researcher, said: 'The shift in demand among consumers from conventionally to organically produced foodstuffs appears to have arisen at least in part from a belief that organically produced foodstuffs are healthier and have a superior nutrient profile.

A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally-produced crops and livestock but these are unlikely to be of any public health significance.

'Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.'

Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers concluded that differences in nutrient content are 'unlikely' to be relevant to health.

Gill Fine, the FSA's director of consumer choice and dietary health, said: 'Ensuring people have accurate information is absolutely essential in allowing us all to make informed choices about the food we eat.

'This study does not mean that people should not eat organic food.

'What it shows is that there is little, if any, nutritional difference between organic and conventionally produced food and that there is no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic food.'

She said that many buy organic for reasons of taste or animal welfare but added: 'If people are buying organic on the basis it is going to be better for them nutritionally, that is not the case.'

The Soil Association argued the strict criteria set by the researchers meant they had disregarded the findings of many important studies.

Peter Melchett, the organisation's policy director, said: 'Organic farming and food systems are holistic, and are produced to work with nature rather than to rely on oil-based inputs such as fertilisers.

'Consumers who purchase organic products are not just buying food which has not been covered in pesticides - the average apple may be sprayed up to 16 times with as many as 30 different pesticides.

'They are supporting a system that has the highest welfare standards for animals, bans routine use of antibiotics and increases wildlife on farms.'

But the British Nutrition Foundation said the research confirms its advice that 'organic food offers no benefits over conventionally produced food in terms of nutrition'.

In Scotland Free Church traditionalists call

David Robertson said there was no need for new denominations

Traditionalists within the Church of Scotland could set up a new group with the Free Church, according to an author and pastor.

David Robertson said those with the same "theology and faith" could come together.

His comments follow the Church of Scotland's appointment of its first openly gay minister.

Last week, a minister resigned in protest over Scott Rennie's induction at Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen.

The Reverend Thomas Mackinnon told his Kilmuir and Logie Easter congregation, near Invergordon, of his decision to demit, or resign, his post.

Controversial scientist

Mr Robertson said rather than Church of Scotland members splitting to form another denomination, they could join with the Free Church.

But he said changes would have to be made.

He said some Free Church congregations may choose to lift a ban on the playing of music and singing of hymns during worship, but added that this would not mean sacrificing traditional psalms.

He said: "We don't ask people to be Free Church, we ask both the Free Church and evangelists within the Church of Scotland to become more Biblical and Christian and to work together."

Mr Robertson wrote a book, The Dawkins Letters, in response to controversial scientist Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion.

The biggest split in the Church of Scotland and the forming of the Free Church of Scotland occurred in 1843.

More than 450 ministers walked out of the General Assembly in a row over the process of appointing ministers.

The dispute had its roots in the Patronage Act of 1712, which required ministers to be put into churches by "the patron", usually the local laird.

Until 1832 this had gone unchallenged.

In that year, the General Assembly decided that if a majority of male heads of local families objected to the patron's choice, they had the right of veto.

Ten years of legal argument followed before the House of Lords ruled that the Assembly's decision allowing the right to veto was illegal.

Those who accepted the Lords' decision stayed in the Church of Scotland and those who did not left to create the Free Church.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Texting Lifts Crash Risk by Large Margin

Published: July 27, 2009

The first study of drivers texting inside their vehicles shows that the risk sharply exceeds previous estimates based on laboratory research — and far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions.

The new study, which entailed outfitting the cabs of long-haul trucks with video cameras over 18 months, found that when the drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which compiled the research and plans to release its findings on Tuesday, also measured the time drivers took their eyes from the road to send or receive texts.

In the moments before a crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices — enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.

Even though trucks take longer to stop and are less maneuverable than cars, the findings generally applied to all drivers, who tend to exhibit the same behaviors as the more than 100 truckers studied, the researchers said. Truckers, they said, do not appear to text more or less than typical car drivers, but they said the study did not compare use patterns that way.

Compared with other sources of driver distraction, “texting is in its own universe of risk,” said Rich Hanowski, who oversaw the study at the institute.

Mr. Hanowski said the texting analysis was financed by $300,000 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which has the mission of improving safety in trucks and buses. More broadly, the research yielding the results represent a significant logistical undertaking.

The overall cost was $6 million to equip the trucks with video cameras and track them for three million miles as they hauled furniture, frozen foods and other goods across the country.

The final analysis of the data is undergoing peer review before formal publication.

Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech institute, one of the world’s largest vehicle safety research organizations, said the study’s message was clear.

“You should never do this,” he said of texting while driving. “It should be illegal.”

Thirty-six states do not ban texting while driving; 14 do, including Alaska, California, Louisiana and New Jersey. New York legislators have sent a bill to Gov. David A. Paterson. But legislators in some states have rejected such rules, and elected officials say they need more data to determine whether to ban the activity.

One difficulty in measuring crashes caused by texting drivers — and by drivers talking on phones — is that many police agencies do not collect this data or have not compiled long-term studies. Texting also is a relatively new phenomenon.

The issue has drawn attention after several recent highly publicized crashes caused by texting drivers, including an episode in May involving a trolley car driver in Boston who crashed while texting his girlfriend.

Over all, texting has soared. In December, phone users in the United States sent 110 billion messages, a tenfold increase in just three years, according to the cellular phone industry’s trade group, CTIA.

The results of the Virginia Tech study are buttressed by new laboratory research from the University of Utah. In a study over the last 18 months, college students using a sophisticated driving simulator showed an eight times greater crash risk when texting than when not texting.

That study, which is undergoing peer review and has been submitted for publication in The Journal for Human Factors, also found that drivers took their eyes off the road for around five seconds when texting.

David Strayer, a professor who co-wrote the University of Utah report, offered two explanations for the simulator’s showing lower risks than the Virginia study. Trucks are tougher to maneuver and stop, he noted, and the college students in his study might be somewhat better at multitasking.

But the differences in the studies are not the point, Mr. Strayer said. “You’re off the charts in both cases,” he added. “It’s crazy to be doing it.”

At Virginia Tech, researchers said they focused on texting among truckers simply because the trucking study was relatively new and thus better reflected the explosive growth of texting. But another new study from the organization is focusing on texting among so-called light-vehicle drivers, specifically teenagers.

Preliminary results from that study show risk levels for texters roughly comparable to those of the truck drivers. The formal results of the light-vehicle study should be available later this year. By comparison, several field and laboratory studies show that drivers talking on cellphones are four times more likely to cause a crash than other drivers. And a previous Virginia institute study videotaping car drivers found that they were three times more likely to crash or come close to a crash when dialing a phone and 1.3 times more likely when talking on it.

Researchers focused on distracted driving disagree about whether to place greater value on the results of such a so-called naturalistic study or laboratory studies, which allow the scientists to recreate conditions and measure individual drivers against themselves.

But, in the case of texting, laboratory and real-world researchers say the results are significant — from both scientific methodologies, texting represents a much greater risk to drivers than other distractions.

A new poll shows that many drivers know the risks of texting while driving — and do it anyway. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety plans on Tuesday to publish polling data that show that 87 percent of people consider drivers texting or e-mailing to pose a “very serious” safety threat (roughly equal to the 90 percent who consider drunken drivers a threat).

Of the 2,501 drivers surveyed this spring, 95 percent said that texting was unacceptable behavior. Yet 21 percent of drivers said they had recently texted or e-mailed while driving.

About half of drivers 16 to 24 said they had texted while driving, compared with 22 percent of drivers 35 to 44.

“It’s convenient,” said Robert Smith, 22, a recent college graduate in Windham, Me. He says he regularly texts and drives even though he recognizes that it is a serious risk. He would rather text, he said, than take time on a phone call.

“I put the phone on top of the steering wheel and text with both thumbs,” he said, adding that he often has exchanges of 10 messages or more. Sometimes, “I’ll look up and realize there’s a car sitting there and swerve around it.”

Mr. Smith, who was not part of the AAA survey, said he was surprised by the findings in the new research about texting.

“I’m pretty sure that someday it’s going to come back to bite me,” he said of his behavior.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Divorce Hurts Health Even After Remarriage – Mon Jul 27, 11:42 am ET

Divorce can wreak havoc on a person's health, even after remarriage, a new study finds.

Scientists have known that marriage can boost a man's health and augment a women's purse. The new study shows that divorce or losing a spouse to death can exact an immediate and long-lasting toll on those mental and physical gains.

"That period during the time that this event is taking place is extremely stressful," said study researcher Linda Waite, a sociologist and director of the Center on Aging at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. "People ignore their health; they're stressed, which is itself a health risk; they're less likely to go to the doctor; they're less likely to exercise; they're sleeping poorly."

It turns out, once you have tarnished your health, it's hard to snap back, even if you tie the knot again. "Remarriage helps. It puts you back on a healthy trajectory," Waite told LiveScience. "But it puts you back on a healthy trajectory from a lower point, because you didn't take care of yourself for a year."

Finding that divorce and spousal death had similar impacts on a person's health suggests divorce operates like a traumatic event in one's life, according to Waite.

Mark Hayward of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not invovled in the study, agreed.

"The acuteness of stress surrounding a divorce could operate a lot like a trauma as opposed to years and years of low-grade stress," said Hayward, who is also the director of the university's Population Research Center.

The new study "suggests much of health can be altered by these major turning points in one's life, like divorce, from which one doesn't recover," Hayward said.

Divorce prognosis

Waite and Mary Elizabeth Hughes of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland analyzed data collected from nearly 9,000 adults ages 51 to 61 who took part in the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study.

Overall, about 20 percent of the participants were remarried, meaning they had previously been divorced or widowed, the researchers will report in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. And nearly 22 percent had previously been married but hadn't remarried. Less than 4 percent were never married.

Results showed that those who had been divorced or widowed suffered from 20 percent more chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, compared with individuals who were currently married.

Other findings included:
People who never married reported 12 percent more mobility limitations, such as trouble walking or climbing stairs, than married individuals.
People who never married were 13 percent more likely to show signs of depression than their married counterparts.
Individuals who remarried reported an average of 12 percent more chronic conditions and 19 percent more physical limitations compared with the continuously married. No difference in depression was found between these two groups.

"Some health situations, like depression, seem to respond both quickly and strongly to changes in current conditions," Waite said. "In contrast, conditions such as diabetes and heart disease develop slowly over a substantial period and show the impact of past experiences, which is why health is undermined by divorce or widowhood, even when a person remarries."

What's a couple to do?

The results don't mean spouses should stick together even when the going gets really tough. But during a divorce or after the death of a spouse, people need to make sure to focus on their health, Waite said.

Hayward notes, however, that the results give averages and that some divorces may do a body good.

"If you have a high-conflict, abusive marriage, divorce can be a relief," he said during a telephone interview. "I would never recommend that people in high-conflict, abusive marriages stay in them."

Rather, support during divorce might be key to better health outcomes.

"I'm just suggesting that if there is any room for policy it is to make [divorce] less adversarial and provide more support for those going through the divorce process," Hayward said.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Friday Night Treat! Ed Miller!

Ed Miller – Scottish Singer Cole Auditorium/Lawns 7:30pm

Ed Miller has been hailed as "one of the finest singers to come out of the Scottish Folksong Revival" and as "one of Scotland's best singing exports." Originally from Edinburgh, he has for many years been based in Austin, TX where he gained graduate degrees in Folklore and Geography at the University of Texas. Visit Ed at

Edinboro Highland Games & Scottish Festival

July 24-25, 2009

New This Year: Admission is FREE, we're moving to summer, adding a fiddle competition, and the bagpipe band and solo competitions are back!

Experience a wide variety of music at many venues, massed pipe bands marching, fantastic food, awesome athletics, beautiful dance, kids' games, and an array of gift and clothing vendors on the campus of Edinboro University. Come summer -- come see what's new.

Come to Edinboro . . . and "Tak a cup'o kindness home!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What's love got to do with it?

What's love got to do with it? Marital bliss depends on so much more

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:54 AM on 15th July 2009

Researchers found couples who have similar drinking patterns are less likely to split, but if one drinks more it could lead to divorce

It has always been celebrated as the heart of any long lasting marriage. But love, it seems, is little more than a starting point.

Far more important factors must come into play if a bride and groom are to have a hope of living happily ever after, according to academics.

These include the ages of the couple when they marry, their level of education, how much they enjoy a drink and even whether they both smoke.

Researchers came up with the factors by examining the relationships of nearly 2,500 couples over a six-year period. In this time, a quarter of the relationships ended. They concluded that half were likely to have broken down after 25 years.

The reasons they found were what many of us already knew, or at least suspected.

Age is a big factor. Couples who are young when they walk down the aisle will have less idea of what makes the best match, increasing the probability of a break-up later.

But the same applies to those who marry older because the 'marriage market' at that stage in their lives may have produced less-than-perfect partners.

Big differences in the age between husband and wife are also associated with higher rates of divorce, particularly if a wife is nine years or more younger than her husband.

The same applies if the husband is significantly younger than his wife.

Having children from a previous relationship can also take its toll.

The researchers, from the Australian National University, found a husband losing his job can heighten the risk of a break-up, as can generally tough economic times.

And as they toast each other at their wedding, the bride and groom might also do well to note how much each likes to drink.

The researchers found couples who have similar drinking patterns are less likely to face a marriage bust-up. But high consumption by either partner could lead to the divorce courts.

The same applies to smoking - if both enjoy lighting up there is less risk of separation, but if one smokes and the other abstains they are more likely to end up going their separate ways.

Education also plays a vital part in the success of a marriage, according to the research. A husband and wife who each have a degree are more likely to remain together than couples who do not have higher educational qualifications.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The worlds oldest bible reunited online

On July 6, 2009, the world's oldest Bible went digital. The 4th century Codex Sinaiticus manuscript ("the Sinai Book") is one of the most important texts in Christianity, dating to the time of Constantine the Great. Thanks to the Codex Sinaiticus Project, you can now see and read its raw animal-hide pages online. The photographs of the book's pages show not just the written text — an English translation accompanies the original Greek — but also skeletal imprints, insect bites, scar tissue and spilled candle wax. At nearly 800 pages, Sinaiticus is the largest edition of an ancient manuscript ever to hit the Web.

Watch a video of the world's oldest Bible at London's British Library.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I perfer to celebrate Wynton Marsalis not Michael Jackson

Wynton Marsalis has been described as the most outstanding jazz musician and trumpeter of his generation, as one of the world’s top classical trumpeters, as a big band leader in the tradition of Duke Ellington, a brilliant composer, a devoted advocate for the Arts and a tireless and inspiring educator. He carries these distinctions well. His life is a portrait of discipline, dedication, sacrifice, and creative accomplishment.

Wynton Marsalis Septet - "The Holy Ghost"

On this Michael Jackson Spectacle Today...

Why couldn't all this love now being displayed stop MJ from spiraling down? Where were all his friends when he was slowly dying? I find this creepy. Why so much emotion for someone whose music was not particularly spiritual or loving? I am confused by all this. To me Michael Jackson's life is the sad story of celebrity worship and excess in America. It's a perfect story of how wealth and fame does not bring happiness. I listened to a little of this on NPR but couldn't stand it. Why so much adulation for someone who was so incredibly mixed up and unhappy? Everything about the real person behind the music makes me so very, very sad. He started out so handsome and vibrant and died a disfigured wreck. Come on the nation sadly watched MJ on trial for being a pedophile. I was thinking this morning in bed, what if one of these kids who was sleeping in MJ's bed now comes forward and says you know MJ really molested me after all and my family took the money to keep quiet. How is this going to reflect on our society? We threw this giant party for a pedophile. Are we excusing him because he was so wealthy and famous? Michael Jackson has been unable to produce a good video or song for over a decade. I am not moved by what he did artistically anyway. When he grabbed his crotch and smashed cars on that one video I completely lost interest in his work. I do not celebrate the lives of people who take young boys into their bed. Even if he never touched the boys its very, very strange and troubling. You would think with all this fanfare we were mourning the death of FDR or something! Trotting out these kids to be on stage today reminds me of when Jackson dangled his son over the balcony or when Palin used her retarded son Trig as a prop at the GOP convention. It's just so horrible how we do not protect children anymore in our society.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Vegetarian diet 'weakens bones'

Vegetarian diet 'weakens bones'

SYDNEY (AFP) – People who live on vegetarian diets have slightly weaker bones than their meat-eating counterparts, Australian researchers said Thursday.

A joint Australian-Vietnamese study of links between the bones and diet of more than 2,700 people found that vegetarians had bones five percent less dense than meat-eaters, said lead researcher Tuan Nguyen.

The issue was most pronounced in vegans, who excluded all animal products from their diet and whose bones were six percent weaker, Nguyen said.

There was "practically no difference" between the bones of meat-eaters and ovolactovegetarians, who excluded meat and seafood but ate eggs and dairy products, he said.

"The results suggest that vegetarian diets, particularly vegan diets, are associated with lower bone mineral density," Nguyen wrote in the study, which was published Thursday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"But the magnitude of the association is clinically insignificant," he added.

Nguyen, who is from Sydney's Garvan Institute for Medical Research and collaborated on the project with the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City, said the question of whether the lower density bones translated to increased fracture risk was yet to be answered.

"Given the rising number of vegetarians, roughly five percent (of people) in western countries, and the widespread incidence of osteoporosis, the issue is worth resolving," he said.

About Me

My photo
I grew up in Chautauqua County, NY. I graduated from Edinboro University of Pennyslvania in 1981 with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalworking. I have been married 31 years. I currently run a small business with my husband. We both enjoy the outdoors and animals a great deal and live on a tiny farm in Western, NY.