Tuesday June 18, 2019

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
  • 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.

diet
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.

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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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Just Spending 2 Hours a Week in Nature can Work Wonders for Health, Well-Being

It's well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people's health

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Nature, Health, Well-Being
People who spend at least 120 minutes a week with nature are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week. Pixabay

If you are looking for that elusive secret to good health and wellbeing, your search may stop now as a new large-scale study has found that spending just two hours a week in the neighbourhood park may do wonders for your mind and body.

People who spend at least 120 minutes a week with nature are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week, said the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“It’s well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and wellbeing but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough,” said lead researcher Mat White of the University of Exeter Medical School in Britain.

“The majority of nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home so even visiting local urban green spaces seems to be a good thing,” White said.

Nature, Health, Well-Being
If you are looking for that elusive secret to good health and wellbeing, your search may stop now as a new large-scale study has found that spending just two hours a week in the neighbourhood park may do wonders for your mind and body. Pixabay

However, no such benefits were found for people who visited natural settings such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches for less than 120 minutes a week.

The study used data from nearly 20,000 people in England and found that it didn’t matter whether the 120 minutes was achieved in a single visit or over several shorter visits.

It also found that the 120 minute threshold applied to both men and women, to older and younger adults, across different occupational and ethnic groups, among those living in both rich and poor areas, and even among people with long term illnesses or disabilities.

“There are many reasons why spending time in nature may be good for health and wellbeing, including getting perspective on life circumstances, reducing stress, and enjoying quality time with friends and family,” said study co-author Terry Hartig of Uppsala University in Sweden.

Also Read- Countries Approved Projects Worth $1 Billion for Environment, Climate Change

“The current findings offer valuable support to health practitioners in making recommendations about spending time in nature to promote basic health and wellbeing,” Hartig said. (IANS)