Tuesday November 20, 2018

Beware! Frequent dining out can harm your health

The new study looked more broadly at dining out -- not just at fast-food outlets -- and found that it was significantly associated with increased exposure to phthalates

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Dining out regularly can harm your health. IANS
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  • Frequent dining out can affect your health
  • It can have a bad effect on your health
  • High level of phthalates is the cause of this

Next time you order a sandwich from your favourite fast food joint or plan a dinner with your friends at a nearby restaurant, you must give a try to home-cooked meal first.

According to researchers, dining out more at restaurants, cafeterias and fast-food outlets may boost total levels of potentially health-harming chemicals called “phthalates” in the body, especially among pregnant women, children and teenagers.

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Dining out is not as good as it may seem.

“Phthalates”, a group of chemicals used in food packaging and processing materials, are known to disrupt hormones in humans and are linked to a long list of health problems. “This study suggests food prepared at home is less likely to contain high levels of ‘phthalates’, chemicals linked to fertility problems, pregnancy complications and other health issues,” said senior author Ami Zota, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

For the study, published in the journal Environment International, researchers used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected between 2005 and 2014. The 10,253 participants in the study were asked to recall what they ate and where their food came from in the previous 24 hours.

Also Read: Food Preservative Shows Promise In Schizophrenia Treatment

The researchers then analysed the links between what people ate and the levels of phthalate break-down products found in each participant’s urine sample. The team found that 61 percent of the participants reported dining out the previous day.

The study found that sandwiches consumed at fast food outlets, restaurants or cafeterias were associated with 30 per cent higher phthalate levels in all age groups. The researchers also found the association between phthalate exposure and dining out was significant for all age groups but the magnitude of association was highest for teenagers. Adolescents who were high consumers of fast food and other food purchased outside the home had 55 per cent higher levels of phthalates compared to those who only consumed food at home.

Remain healthy during winter with these healthy tips
Homemade food is healthier. wikimedia commons

“Pregnant women, children and teens are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals, so it’s important to find ways to limit their exposures,” said lead author Julia Varshavsky who did the work while she was at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. A previous study by Zota and colleagues suggested that fast food may expose consumers to higher levels of phthalates.

The new study looked more broadly at dining out — not just at fast-food outlets — and found that it was significantly associated with increased exposure to phthalates. The findings are worrisome because two-thirds of the US population eats at least some food outside the home daily, the authors warned. IANS

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Growth Hormone Deficiency May Also Hit Healthy Children

Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters.

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FILE - UNICEF staff measure a girl's height to see if she is stunted in a village health clinic of South Hamgyong province, North Korea. VOA

Most healthy children between the ages of four and 10 grow about five centimeters (two inches) a year. So, one family knew something was wrong when their son fit into the same clothes, season after season. Doctors were able to get him growing once again after testing for a growth hormone.

Eleven year-old Spencer Baehman is passionate about baseball.

“My goal is to play college baseball,” Spencer said.

There was only one problem. Spencer was the shortest player on his team. It didn’t stop him from playing, but the height difference was noticeable. And it made Spencer feel different.

“I want to be as tall as these kids,” Spencer said.

At first, Spencer’s parents thought their son was just small, but gradually, they suspected something was wrong. His mom, Stephanie Baehman, became worried.

“It really set in one year coming out of winter into spring when he got out his cleats for spring baseball and he put them on, and they fit. And they never should have fit. Those were from the spring prior,” Baehman said.

Spencer’s parents set up an appointment with Dr. Bert Bachrach, the chief of pediatric endocrinology at University of Missouri Health Care. Nurses measured Spencer’s height.

After careful testing, Dr. Bachrach determined a growth hormone deficiency was causing Spencer’s growth failure. Hormones are basically chemicals that send messages from one cell to another.

“Growth hormone just doesn’t affect your growth, it affects your muscle mass and fat distribution, so that affects your cholesterol, that affects you overall, it also affects your overall sense of wellbeing,” Bachrach said.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

Growth hormone insufficiency is a disorder involving the pituitary gland which is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It’s this gland that produces human growth hormone, among others.

Also Read: Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

Every day, Spencer’s mother gives him a daily hormone injection. Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters (six inches). But just in case he doesn’t grow tall, he has a reminder written in each of his baseball caps.

“It says HDMH, which means height doesn’t measure heart,” Spencer read.

And heart is something Spencer has plenty of. (VOA)