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Obese adults sleep less than others, study finds

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Sept. 14 (UPI) — Obese adults get about 15 minutes less sleep per night than those who maintain a healthy weight or are merely overweight, a study published Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine found.

Those defined as excessively overweight slept about six hours, 36 minutes per night over more than a two-year period, the data showed.

Meanwhile, adults who were just overweight or who maintained a healthy weight got about six hours, 52 minutes of sleep per night over the same period, the researchers said.

“Shorter sleep duration and greater sleep variability were both associated with higher BMI,” wrote the authors, from the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego.

The findings are based on an analysis of sleep and body weight trends among U.S. adults based on body mass index.

BMI is calculated by taking people’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by the square of their height in meters. It is a commonly used measure for assessing whether someone is overweight or obese.

A person with a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, while someone with a BMI above 30 is defined as obese, or excessively overweight, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency recommends that adults get an average of seven hours of sleep during a 24-hour period.

For this study, the Scripps scientists analyzed sleep data on more than 120,000 American adults, based on Fitbit readings collected between March 2016 and May 2018.

Overall, the adults included in the study slept an average of about six hours, 47 minutes per night, the researchers said.

However, 46% of those with BMIs above 30 reported “sleep variability” — meaning that the amount they slept varied nightly — while 38% of those with BMIs below 30 reported sleep variability, the data showed.

“While we cannot determine the direction of association from our study result, these findings provide further support to the notion that sleep patterns are associated with weight management and overall health,” the Scripps researchers wrote.



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Asthma, food sensitivity linked to irritable bowel syndrome in study

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Teens who had asthma and food hypersensitivity when they were younger are at increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome, researchers report.

For the study, the investigators examined the health of 2,770 children from birth to age 16. Kids with IBS at age 16 were more likely to have had asthma at age 12, about 11% versus 7%.

In addition, the researchers found that 16-year-olds with IBS were more likely to have had food hypersensitivity at age 12, 41% versus 29%.

Asthma, food hypersensitivity and eczema — a condition that makes your skin red and itchy — were all associated with an increased risk of concurrent IBS at age 16, the findings showed.

“The associations found in this large study suggest there’s a shared pathophysiology between common allergy-related diseases and adolescent irritable bowel syndrome,” said study leader Jessica Sjölund, of the Institute of Medicine at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden.

Sjölund noted that previous studies on allergy-related diseases and IBS have been contradictory.

These new findings could lead to development of new treatments for adolescent IBS, targeting processes of low-grade inflammation seen in the allergy-related diseases, she said.

The study findings were scheduled for presentation Monday at a United European Gastroenterology virtual meeting. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

IBS affects more than one in 10 people and is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, the study authors noted in a meeting news release. It can cause abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea and constipation, and can be extremely disabling for patients.

Hans Törnblom is a leading IBS expert in Europe who was involved in the research. He said, “Even though functional gastrointestinal disorders are common, many patients are, unfortunately, negatively stigmatized and labeled. The fact that many IBS sufferers do not seek medical advice should be of great concern.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on IBS.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



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Cancer takes heavy toll on women’s work, finances, study shows

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Young women with cancer are at a high risk for employment and financial consequences, a new study finds.

“Our study addresses the burden of employment disruption and financial hardship among young women with cancer — a group who may be at particular risk for poor financial outcomes after cancer given their age and gender,” said researcher Clare Meernik, a fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,300 women in North Carolina and California a median of seven years after diagnosis. Their cancer was diagnosed when they were 15 to 39 years of age and working.

Following their diagnosis, 32% of the women had to stop working or cut back on their hours. Twenty-seven percent said they had to borrow money, go into debt or file for bankruptcy because of cancer treatment.

Women with disrupted employment were more likely — by 17 percentage points — to have these problems than women who were able to keep working.

Half of the women said they were stressed about their big medical bills, and women with disrupted employment were more likely to suffer psychological distress by 8 percentage points than women who were able to keep working.

The findings were published online Oct. 12 in the journal Cancer.

“Our findings highlight the need for effective interventions to promote job maintenance and transition back to the workforce after cancer treatment, as well as increased workplace accommodations and benefits, to improve cancer outcomes for young women,” Meernik said in a journal news release.

More information

To learn more about work and financial effects of cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



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Study: Less restrictive reproductive rights reduce birth complications risk by 7%

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Oct. 13 (UPI) — Women living in states with less restrictive reproductive rights policies are 7% less likely have low birth weight babies than those living in states with more stringent laws, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The risk was 8% lower for Black women living in less-restrictive states, the data showed.

“Our study provides evidence that reproductive rights policies play a critical role in advancing maternal and child health equity,” study co-author May Sudhinaraset, of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Since the Supreme Court‘s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, which effectively legalized abortion, states have had “substantial discretion” in creating policies governing whether Medicaid covers the costs of contraception or reproductive health care.

Some states have taken steps that effectively limit access to abortion services and other reproductive care, Sudhinaraset and her colleagues said.

Black women are more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than any other race group, experience more maternal health complications than White women and generally have lower quality maternity care, they said.

In addition, women of color are more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes.

Compared to infants of normal weight, low-birth-weight babies face many potential health complications, including infections early in life and long-term problems, such as delayed motor and social development or learning disabilities.

Sudhinaraset and her colleagues analyzed birth record data for the nearly 4 million births that occurred in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in 2016, comparing reproductive rights policies and adverse birth outcomes in each state.

They also evaluated if the associations were different for women of color and immigrants.

The findings indicate that expanding reproductive rights may reduce the risk of low-birth weight, particularly for U.S.-born Black women, the researchers said.

“Important policy levers can and should be implemented to improve women’s reproductive health overall, including increasing abortion access and mandatory sex education in schools,” Sudhinaraset said.



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