Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic athletes to receive free dental care during London 2012

In order to make sure those gold medal winners smiles are looking their best for London 2012 coverage, the overseas Olympic athletes are being provided with free dental care at a private Polyclinic at the Olympic Park.

This also means that any work that the athletes were unable to access in their home country, due to factors such as high costs, can now be carried out free of charge.  If athletes are receiving treatment for dental health issues at the Olympic village, the National Health Foundation, organised by the British Dental Health Foundationsaid this should help with their overall performance during the games.  Looking after your dental health not only helps to maintain a healthy mouth, your general health will also benefit substantially. 

Generally athletes are in a strong position for oral health as people who regularly exercise are less likely to develop problems that could lead to gum disease and other dental worries.  There is also a large number of links between overall health benefiting from good oral hygiene and is said to benefit issues including lung disease heart issues and diabetes. 

One problem that athletes may find is that they are at risk of dental erosion through supplementing their training with sports and energy drinks to aid performance and recovery.  Due to the high sugar nature of these drinks, they wear away at the enamel coating on the teeth which can cause cavities requiring fillings and tooth loss in more extreme cases. 

If you have budding athletes in the family or if you just have active children, it is important to try regulating the amount of acidic and sugary food and drinks they consume.  If younger adults and children continue to use energy drinks they will face a great number of dental problems in later life.  If they are consuming acidic and sugary drinks, one way to minimise damage to the teeth is to drink through a straw.  Other proactive things that can be done are making sure the child regularly brushes their teeth and visits the dentist.  Another proactive option is to get dental insurance so they will be protected in the event that they will need treatment and will be covered and receive quality care.  

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Awe-Inspiring Moments Can Improve Mental Health

Psychologists have claimed that regular ‘awe-inspiring’ experiences can have a positive impact on our mental health and can make us nicer, friendlier people. They also say they can help people deal with stress better and cope with modern day living more effectively. 

These kinds of overwhelming experiences can slow down people’s perception of time, and can bring their attention to the present moment. This ability to live ‘in the moment’ can be key to improving people’s mental state. 

The study on a group of volunteers found that those who were experiencing awe felt they had more time to spare. This change in attitude prompted them to feel they had more patience and were willing to sacrifice more time helping others. 

The experiments included asking people to write about previous awe-inspiring events in their life, as well as showing volunteers videos of ‘vast images’ of natural phenomena and astronauts in space.

Melanie Rudd, from Stanford University in California, concluded: "A small dose of awe even gave participants a momentary boost in life satisfaction... and underscored the importance of cultivating awe in everyday life."

The researchers added: "Our studies ... demonstrated that awe can be elicited by a walk down memory lane, a brief story, or even a 60-second commercial."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Half Of UK Women Face Increased Cancer Risk From Growing Waistlines

Fresh research into the nation’s waistlines has identified that more than half of UK women have waists that are over the recommended healthy size. Health charity Nuffield Health, who conducted the research, say that overweight women face an increased risk of developing a variety of cancers including breast cancer, infertility, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The Research

The research, based on health analysis of over 54,000 individuals seeking to actively improve their health, found that 57% of women had waist sizes over the NHS recommended limit of 80cm. The average female waist measurement was 84.9cm.

In addition to this, 52.5% of the women who took part in the research had BMI’s over the defined healthy range of 18-25.

What Waist Size Means

It is well known that being overweight brings increased risk of a number of health conditions and waistline size is a common measurement by health professionals in determining both the need for weight management, the risk of coronary conditions and of central fat distribution.

Fertility Issues

In women, being overweight also brings additional risks such as increased risk of breast cancer and also infertility. Fat stored around the waistline can affect ovarian function, leading to irregular ovulation cycles and anovulation, whereby the ovaries do not release an oocyte, causing ovulation not to take place.

Of the women who participated in the study, 50% were between the ages of 26 and 46, increasing concerns over the impact of the nation’s growing waistline on fertility.

Regional Distribution

The findings of the research also indicate that the issue of expanding waistlines is prevalent throughout the UK, with average female waist sizes in all regions of England and Scotland falling into the at risk category, making this a nationwide health concern.

Apples and Pears

While it was long held that the average UK woman had a pear shaped figure, the research also suggests that this is no longer true. The data showed that the average waist to hip ratio for the 30,000+ women across the UK who took part in the research was 0.83, meaning the waist size was over 80% of hip circumference. Anything over 0.8 would imply a much rounder midriff and narrower hips, making for a more apple shaped figure.

However, women who fall into this group, but who want to take action to improve their health and their waistline can find consolation in the knowledge that, through dieting and exercise, excess fat stored around the waist is often the first to go.

Additional Insights

The research also looked at men’s health in a similar manner and found that, when it comes to average waist size and BMI, UK men are doing much better than women. The average waist size from the men assessed was 92.7 cm, 1.3 cm under the NHS recommended healthy limit.
However, it is possible that, since the research was conducted on individuals looking to improve their health, the findings say more about motivations and intent of people looking to increase their physical activity and reduce their food intake.

The contrasting findings between both genders suggest that there are very different factors driving men to be exercise and diet to those which motivate women. The research would suggest that men who aim to adopt a more healthy lifestyle do so from a better, healthier starting point, adopting a more preventative mentality to becoming overweight.

UK women, by contrast, appear to be more reactionary in their approach to health, waiting until weight has become a significant issue before seeking to alter their lifestyle to tackle the problem.
Regardless, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that waistlines are growing globally and the sooner action is taken to buck this trend, the better.