Sunday July 21, 2019

Marijuana users may develop prediabetes: Study

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New York:  Everything that is green is not healthy! Marijuana users are more likely to have prediabetes – the state of poor blood sugar control that can progress to Type-2 diabetes – than those who have never used the drug, new research has found.

The findings suggest that marijuana use may adversely affect a person’s metabolic health in the long term.

“Marijuana use was associated with the development and prevalence of prediabetes,” said the study led by Mike Bancks from University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, US.

To determine marijuana use and presence of prediabetes and diabetes, the researchers used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study that began in 1985-1986 with over 5,000 individuals aged 18-30 years.

The participants are now in their 30th year of observation.

The percentage of individuals who self-reported current use of marijuana declined over follow-up, from 28 percent in 1985-1986 to 12 percent in 2010-2011.

After adjustment for behavioural/lifestyle and physiological characteristics, there was a 65 percent increased odds of currently having prediabetes in individuals who reported current use of marijuana than those who reported never using marijuana.

“It is unclear how marijuana use could place an individual at increased risk for prediabetes yet not diabetes,” the authors said.

But they suggest that it could be because individuals excluded from the study generally had higher levels of marijuana use and greater potential for development of diabetes.

Another explanation could be that marijuana may have a greater effect on blood sugar control in the prediabetic range than for full blown Type-2 diabetes, when other traditional diabetes risk factor levels are exceedingly less favourable, the study said.

The research was published in the journal Diabetologia.

With inputs from IANS

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Why U.S. Women’s Soccer Dominates on World Stage while Men’s Game Continues to Falter

The U.S. men haven’t come close to the women’s success

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Mexico's Rodolfo Pizarro, right, controls the ball against U.S. forward Paul Arriola during the Gold Cup final in Chicago, July 7, 2019. Mexico won 1-0. VOA

In the 28 years since winning the very first Women’s World Cup, the U.S. women’s soccer team has dominated the game on the global stage, taking home four Women’s World Cups in all, including the 2019 title captured this month in a 2-0 victory over The Netherlands.

The U.S. men haven’t come close to the women’s success. Not only have the men never won a World Cup, they even failed to qualify for the most recent men’s World Cup in 2018.

To deduce why U.S. women’s soccer dominates on the world stage while the men’s game continues to falter, you might just have to go back to the beginning, to the time when future world-class players — female and male — first start showing athletic promise.

“Soccer was never really been part of the national lexicon. It’s always been kind of this underground, kind of foreign game,” says Eileen Narcotta-Welp, an assistant professor of sport management at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “Not only has it been a foreign game, but it’s been seen as a less masculine state. So if a child has to choose, or their parents have to choose, which sport a child is going to go into, ultimately it’s going to be basketball, baseball, [or] football.”

US, Women, Soccer
U.S. player Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the World Cup final match against The Netherlands outside Lyon, France, July 7, 2019. VOA

The world in general views soccer — or “football” as it is called practically everywhere in the world except the United States — as an extremely male-oriented, overtly masculine game. However, in the United States, more traditional U.S. sports like baseball, basketball, and American football are more likely to be viewed as “macho” activities.

So while little American boys were pursuing other sports, a combination of events laid the foundation for the popularity of girls’ soccer in the U.S.

One of them was the 1972 passage of the federal law known as Title IX, which prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating on the basis of sex. The law applies to high school and college athletics.

Many schools quickly embraced soccer for women because they could field up to 35 players per team, a sizable number that helped close the gender gap in their athletic programs.

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Additionally, the success of the U.S. women’s soccer team has captured the imagination of young female athletes-in-the-making. Over time, they’ve watched and admired soccer icons of yester-year, like Brandi Chastain, and current superstars like Meghan Rapinoe, and are inspired to emulate them and their success.

Aside from cultural and societal expectations, there are practical financial considerations that help explain why America’s best female athletes might choose to pursue soccer while top male athletes look to basketball, baseball or football.

“Those are also three sports that you can make a living off of,” Narcotta-Welp points out. “If you are a kid that is extremely talented, extremely athletic, and you are a boy…you know that professionally, if you want to play professional sports and succeed, that they’re pretty much three areas in which you’re gonna be able to succeed.”

US, Women, Soccer
In the 28 years since winning the very first Women’s World Cup, the U.S. women’s soccer team has dominated the game on the global stage, taking home four Women’s World Cups. Pixabay

The most talented female athletes have even less choice. Their opportunities to play professionally and make a living out of it basically come down to soccer or basketball.

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“They’re not getting huge exorbitant salaries, but it is kind of the one pathway for young women to play professionally,” Narcotta-Welp says. “For men, you have so many other options that are much more lucrative and probably more culturally acceptable in terms of the idea of masculinity that it would make sense for them to be steered in one of those three directions versus soccer.” (VOA)