This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

More Sleep + Less Sugary Soda = Better Heath

OK, with any luck you already know these things, but it always helps to have new research come along to remind us of these truths. The Nation's Health (from the American Public Health Association) summarizes a study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
We show that more than one-half of racial differences in cardiometabolic risk can be explained by sleep patterns—namely, less total sleep and lower sleep efficiency among African American than European American adults. Sleep is a malleable health behavior that is linked with characteristics of the social and physical environment and could be an effective target in national efforts to reduce racial health disparities.
Differences in sleep patterns may be attributed to increased exposure to social stresses, the study showed. Stressors associated with socio-economic status and systemic discrimination can lead to low sleep efficiency.
Although the study compared racial/ethnic groups, the lesson is true for everyone--better sleep is associated with better health. You can find out more about this by thumbing through issues of the Journal of Sleep Research--with luck it won't put you to sleep... 

Sugary sodas have been under attack for a long time and the evidence continues to mount that they push your weight up, and that is bad for your health in a variety of ways. The latest research comes from the American Journal of Public Health and uses data from a population of teachers in Mexico.
We followed 11 218 women from the Mexican Teachers’ Cohort from 2006 to 2008. Dietary data were collected using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Weight was self-reported, and waist circumference was self-measured. We used linear regression to evaluate changes in sugar-sweetened and sugar-free soda consumption in relation to changes in weight and waist circumference, adjusting for lifestyle and other dietary factors.
Decreasing consumption of sugar-sweetened soda was associated with less weight gain, and increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened soda had an opposite association. These results were similar when waist circumference was used as a measure of adiposity. The impact of changes in sugar-sweetened soda intake on weight appeared to be stronger among women who were overweight or obese at baseline relative to women who were of normal weight. Changes in sugar-free soda consumption were not associated with weight change.
Thus, if the consumption of sugary sodas increased over a two-year period, so did a person's weight. Conversely, less sugary soda was associated with a weight loss. The results were not huge, but this was only a two-year timeframe. And the fact that sugar-free sodas had no effect lends credibility to the findings.

So, drink less sugary soda, get more sleep, and, by the way, don't forget to be vaccinated against the flu. 

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