Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we analyze the true risk from that nightly glass of wine, how your gym class experience affects your appetite for fitness, and the big risk posed by e-cigarettes.
How safe is that daily glass of wine?
A sweeping new global study grabbed headlines this week asserting that no amount of alcohol—not even a single heart-healthy glass of wine—was safe.
Moderate drinking may help safeguard against heart disease. However, it elevated the risk of developing cancer, other diseases and injury, offsetting those cardiovascular gains, according to the Global Burden of Disease study, which analyzed alcohol use and health effects in 195 countries from 1990 to 2016. According to the report, alcohol led to 2.8 million deaths in 2016 and was the leading risk factor for disease worldwide, accounting for almost 10 percent of deaths in the 15 to 49 age group.
But before you mourn the loss of pinot noir forever, experts in this NPR article say it’s important to put things in perspective. It’s not a huge health gamble. One drink a day—the daily limit recommended for women by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—increases the risk of developing one of the 23 alcohol-related health problems by just .5 percent compared with not drinking at all, according to the study. So for each group of 100,000 people, 918 will have a problem, compared with 914 nondrinkers. At two drinks per day (the CDC limit for men), the number experiencing a problem increased to just 977, with the risk rising slowly from that point.
PE class affected you more than you know
Your memories of the good or bad old days in physical education class may shape how you feel about exercise today, as well as your current activity levels, according to new research in this New York Times article.
About two-thirds of adults in the Western world rarely if ever exercise. Could it be that those who don’t enjoy breaking a sweat had a bad first introduction to exercise in school?
To test that theory, a group of scientists from Iowa State University sent out lengthy online questionnaires asking people to detail and rate their memories of gym class and how they felt about exercise and how active they were now.
The questionnaire also asked for participants’ best and worst phys ed memories. More than 1,000 men and women between 18 and 40 responded. And boy, were their answers “vivid and emotionally charged,” researchers said.
Turns out, those memories did have a lasting impact on people’s exercise habits. People with unpleasant memories had a lingering resistance to exercise years later. Those who disliked gym class did not expect to like exercise nor plan to do it in coming days. People who did like gym class were more likely to find exercise enjoyable and were more active on weekends.
Some of the reasons cited for those bad memories were undressing in front of others, too many sports tests, fumbled sports performance, bullying or not being chosen for teams.
The results could help educators rethink gym class programs to instill more positive attitudes about fitness. Teams, for instance, could be chosen randomly, fitness tests could be pared back, or teachers could come up with more nontraditional physical activities such as gardening.
Vaping almost doubles your heart attack risk
In case you thought e-cigarettes were a better alternative to smoking, puff on this: Vaping daily nearly doubles the user’s risk of a heart attack, according to this UPI article about a new University of California, San Francisco, study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Even worse are the risks for those who both smoke and vape. Using both products raises the odds of a heart attack 4.6 times, more than either smoking or vaping alone. The good news? The risk drops almost immediately after you quit, so drop the pen.
Photo credit: Kym Ellis, Unsplash