Every year we gain new reports regarding our health and well-being, and whether the advice is to stay away from this or implement that, there is no question that experts are getting better at providing Americans with important health information. With 2019 upon us and New Year’s resolutions in full swing, now is an optimal time to review what we learned in 2018 and what to consider in the New Year.
From diet recommendations to monitoring screen time, Americans are keen to learn how to lead longer, healthier lives. While it’s impossible to capture all of the healthcare news that made headlines last year, let’s review some of the more interesting headlines and research findings from last year.
Avoid the Fads & Find the Best Diet For You
2018 seemed like the year of the diet. From Whole30 to Keto and intermittent fasting, a wave of new dieting fads and options found their way into kitchens across the nation, with varying levels of results. Recently, US News and World Report published a study concerning the best diets in 2018, while also noting ones to stay away from.
Among the 41 diets evaluated, the publication found that a Mediterranean diet was best for overall health and longevity. The plan that has the worst impact on one’s overall health? The Keto diet. Data illustrates multiple concerning elements of this strategy, including the lack of carbohydrates and high fat intake, making it the one to avoid when possible.
Prolonged Screen Time Impacts Teen Mental Health
Any parent will tell you that they are concerned about their children’s amount of screen time, but 2018 revealed a wealth of data to back up those worries. Between 1991 and 2016, annual studies were conducted among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders to determine technology’s impact on mental health. They measured data pertaining to happiness, self-esteem, and overall satisfaction with life, and an interesting shift was noted in 2012.
Among those surveyed that year who used smartphones and social media, happiness scores tanked. In addition, students who played excessive amounts of video games were categorized as the least happy, while students who were involved in sports tended to rate higher on issues of well-being. Although correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation, it’s a reminder to stay conscious of how much time your children are spending on their smartphones.
Glass of Wine A Day No Longer Considered Healthy
For years it’s been believed that a glass of wine can promote good overall health, yet a study published in The Lancet tells a different story. After monitoring individuals across the globe and gaining a better understanding of the effects of alcohol, it’s now being reported that the only healthy amount of alcohol to consume is none at all. One or two glasses of wine or beer used to be considered safe, but not as of 2018.
Although the study acknowledges that drinking small amounts of alcohol can be beneficial in warding off diabetes and heart disease, the risks of developing cancer and other serious illnesses are just too great. In 2016 alone, alcohol was linked to nearly 3 million deaths worldwide.
Common Household Disinfectants May Harbor Health Risks
It’s easy to assume that items as commonplace as household cleaning products would come with little to no health risk. But, a study out of Canada flipped that assumption on its head in 2018.
After observing children’s health in relation to household cleaner use over a period of several years, researchers discovered an association between cleaning product use and Lachnospiraceae, a gut bacteria linked to body fat and BMI. Homes which used disinfectants at a higher frequency, at least once per week, showed juveniles with significantly higher rates of Lachnospiraceae and higher BMIs than other children of the same age. While homes that used eco-friendly cleaners did not have the same effects, thus encouraging households to switch to more natural products.
High Heat Cooking Methods Linked To High Blood Pressure
From savory BBQ to roasted vegetables, there’s no doubt that Americans love to grill. However, those who partake in this popular past time should keep in mind that preparing meat in this high heat fashion, along with broiling or roasting, can bring about some potentially concerning health issues.
The American Heart Association found in a 2018 study that individuals who ate meat prepared with high heat methods at least 15 times per month had a 17% greater risk of developing high blood pressure. Three long-term studies that examined the health of over 100,000 found that this risk increased even more in individuals who consumed well-done meat.
A Healthier Year
With every year, we’re making more advancements in ways we heal our bodies, diagnose ailments and use technology in medicine. 2018 brought new studies, data and insights into healthier lifestyles and potential behavioral risks. These strides shed new light on past findings and age-old adages that once went unchallenged. We’re eager to share what new research uncovers in 2019!