Monday, 26 November 2018

Even when families have issues, eating together can improve teen diets

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Teens whose families eat dinner together are more likely to make healthy food choices, even when kids and parents have issues with communicating and connecting emotionally, a new study finds.

More frequent family dinners were associated with more healthful eating among teens and young adults, even when families were not especially close and had trouble managing daily routines, researchers report in JAMA Network Open.

"The big thing is that over and beyond family functioning, family meals still matter when you're thinking about dietary intake for adolescents," said the study's lead author Kathryn Walton, who was a doctoral student at the University of Guelph, Canada, when she did the research.

"Many, many studies have looked at the benefit of family meals, and over and over they have found that this leads to adolescents eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages," said Walton, now a research fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

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Keeping cholesterol levels low could reduce Alzheimer's risks

The same genetic risk factors that make some people more vulnerable to high cholesterol may raise Alzheimer's risks, too, a new study suggests.

With the causes of Alzheimer's still unknown, scientists at the Washington University, St Louis, and the University of California, San Francisco are conducting the largest DNA study to date in search of pre-programmed risk factors.

We had already known that one gene linked to Alzheimer's risks codes for a molecule involved in the movement of cholesterol through the body.

The link between cholesterol and Alzheimer's may be even stronger than previously thought, however.


Animation: Amazing dust drawing

Forum: Singaporeans eating healthy? Not really

I was surprised by the report on Singaporeans' eating habits (S'poreans adopting better diets, easing up on calories: Survey; Nov 20).

The report stated that Singaporeans have a mean intake of 2,470 calories a day. This is way above the recommendation of 2,200 calories for men and 1,800 calories for women.

It is also alarming to read that "the trend of worsening diet has been arrested" when there has been only a very small increase in the intake of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods.

There are no details on how this survey was carried out except that it was based on 1,000 participants.

We should be careful not to send the wrong signal or allude to Singaporeans having healthier diets.

I feel there is insufficient data to demonstrate that there has been a sustained change of a healthier diet.

Reducing salt and sugar intake is an important aspect of healthy eating, but salt and sugar are not the root causes of the metabolic disorder faced by our nation.

Please note 1 servicing is about the size of your fist

We should take the opportunity to present the Ministry of Health's My Healthy Plate guideline to the public. This is a very visual illustration which, in a very simple way, tells people what healthy eating is.

Following this guideline daily as much as possible will lead to a sustained healthy eating habit.

Rebecca Lian Hwee Peng (Dr)