Put The Phone Away

Published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, the most recent study linking poor mental health conditions to social media use has added even more evidence to back up the theory. The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania intentionally designed their experiment to be more comprehensive than previous studies on the topic. Rather than relying on short-term lab data or self-reported questionnaires, they recruited 143 undergraduate students to share screenshots of their Phone battery screens over a week to collect data on how much they were using social media apps including Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.

ZeroHedge article link.

Independent article link.

Earlier this year I felt it was important to Put The Phone Down….

With increasing scientific evidence you need to put the phone away.

Unless you want a self-imposed endless cycle of depression and misery.

There’s always Wellbutrin.

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Daily Weighing may be Key to Losing Weight

Researchers identified several categories of self-weighing adults, from those that weighed themselves daily or almost daily to adults who never used at-home scales.

They found that people who never weighed themselves or only weighed once a week did not lose weight in the following year. Those that weighed themselves six to seven times a week had a significant weight loss (1.7 percent) in 12 months.

Link to source article.

184.4

Yes, I weigh myself almost every day.

Yes it’s been over 40 years since I lost 200 pounds.

Yes!

The Power of Positive Deviance

Positive deviance

Positive deviance is the observation that in most settings a few at risk individuals follow uncommon, beneficial practices and consequently experience better outcomes than their neighbours who share similar risks.14

 

Positive deviant behaviour is an uncommon practice that confers advantage to the people who practise it compared with the rest of the community. Such behaviours are likely to be affordable, acceptable, and sustainable because they are already practised by at risk people, they do not conflict with local culture, and they work.15 For example, in Egypt, contrary to custom, parents of poor but well nourished children were found to feed their children a diet that included eggs, beans, and green vegetables. Child nutrition programmes that provided opportunities to parents of malnourished children to follow this and other new behaviours, such as hand washing and hygienic food preparation, improved child growth.

Summary points

Even in the poorest communities, a few individuals or families achieve good health

Positive deviance is a quick, low cost method to identify the strategies used by these people and encourage the rest of the community to adopt them

The approach has been used successfully, mainly to improve child health

The potential for the approach to help communities to gain better health or other social benefits is vast and largely untapped

 

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7475.1177 (Published 11 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1177

Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind

The study, published recently in Social Science Research, assessed data from 160,000 adults from 31 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Turkey, Japan and Chile. Participants filled out surveys with the Programme for the International Assessment of Competencies, which measures proficiency in three categories: literacy, numeracy (using mathematical concepts in everyday life) and information communication technology, (using digital technology to communicate with other people, and to gather and analyze information).

Respondents, who ranged in age from 25 to 65, were asked to estimate how many books were in their house when they were 16 years old. The research team was interested in this question because home library size can be a good indicator of what the study authors term “book-oriented socialization.” Participants were able to select from a given range of books that included everything from “10 or less” to “more than 500.”

The effects were most marked when it came to literacy. Growing up with few books in the home resulted in below average literacy levels. Being surrounded by 80 books boosted the levels to average, and literacy continued to improve until libraries reached about 350 books, at which point the literacy rates leveled off. The researchers observed similar trends when it came to numeracy; the effects were not as pronounced with information communication technology tests, but skills did improve with increased numbers of books.

Interesting research findings.  Read the source article here.

Only two percent of teens read newspaper, one-third have not read book for pleasure in last year.  We. Are. Doomed.

Take a Selfie…Die!

From October 2011 to November 2017, there have been 259 deaths while clicking selfies in 137 incidents. The mean age was 22.94 years. About 72.5% of the total deaths occurred in males and 27.5% in females. The highest number of incidents and selfie-deaths has been reported in India followed by Russia, United States, and Pakistan. Drowning, transport, and fall form the topmost reasons for deaths caused by selfies. We also classified reasons for deaths due to selfie as risky behavior or non-risky behavior. Risky behavior caused more deaths and incidents due to selfies than non-risky behavior. The number of deaths in females is less due to risky behavior than non-risky behavior while it is approximately three times in males.

Conclusion:

“No selfie zones” areas should be declared across tourist areas especially places such as water bodies, mountain peaks, and over tall buildings to decrease the incidence of selfie-related deaths.

Read the study here.

No selfie zones?  Seriously?

America’s Declining Well-Being, Health, and Life Expectancy

Abstract

Although recent declines in life expectancy among non-Hispanic Whites, coined “deaths of despair,” grabbed the headlines of most major media outlets, this is neither a recent problem nor is it confined to Whites. The decline in America’s health has been described in the public health literature for decades and has long been hypothesized to be attributable to an array of worsening psychosocial problems that are not specific to Whites.  To test some of the dominant hypotheses, we show how various measures of despair have been increasing in the United States since 1980 and how these trends relate to changes in health and longevity. We show that mortality increases among Whites caused by the opioid epidemic come on the heels of the crack and HIV syndemic among Blacks. Both occurred on top of already higher mortality rates among all Americans relative to people in other nations, and both occurred among declines in measures of well-being.  We believe that the attention given to Whites is distracting researchers and policymakers from much more serious, longer-term structural problems that affect all Americans. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print September 25, 2018: e1–e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2018.304585)

Interesting AJPH analysis which can be accessed at this link.

The article has a link to the complete analysis in PDF.

Low Carb Diets Are Bad

This study prospectively examined the relationship between low carbohydrate diets, all-cause death, and deaths from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke), and cancer in a nationally representative sample of 24,825 participants of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 1999 to 2010. Compared to participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest intake had a 32% higher risk of all-cause death over an average 6.4-year follow-up. In addition, risks of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer were increased by 51%, 50%, and 35%, respectively.

The results were confirmed in a meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies with 447,506 participants and an average follow-up 15.6 years, which found 15%, 13%, and 8% increased risks in total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality with low (compared to high) carbohydrate diets.

For the source article click this link.