Health Briefs

Health Briefs

Health & Fitness

May 09, 2004

When breakfast isn't very healthy

Within an hour of eating a large high-fat, high-carbohydrate breakfast, the body starts making inflammatory chemicals associated with clogged arteries, a new study has found. These inflammatory factors stay high for three to four hours, and that's when many people sit down to another meal. This nearly continuous state of inflammation helps explain why obese people are at higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, says the study's senior author, Dr. Paresh Dandona of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Researchers studied nine normal-weight adults who fasted overnight before eating a McDonald's Egg McMuffin, a Sausage McMuffin and two servings of hash-brown potatoes. Dandona said many people regularly consume even less healthful meals. The nine breakfast eaters were compared with eight normal-weight adults, each of whom was given a 10-ounce glass of water after an overnight fast. The calorie-laden breakfast increased levels of free radicals, C-reactive protein and nuclear factor-kappa B, a protein that triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals. Results of the study appear in the April American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Squatters prone to arthritis

Squatting puts tremendous stress on the knees, and doing it habitually appears to contribute to arthritis later in life.

To determine the extent of that risk, Boston University medical researchers studied more than 1,800 men and women age 60 and older in China, where squatting is common. Based upon interviews and X-ray images of the knees, they found that Beijing residents with a history of squatting at age 25 had an increased chance of developing a breakdown of the knee joint, a condition called tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. The more time they had spent squatting, the greater the prevalence of the condition, the researchers found.

The increased risk showed up regardless of body weight, an important point because being overweight intensifies wear and tear on joints. Lead author Dr. Yuqing Zhang said the study findings, which appear in the April Arthritis and Rheumatism, would apply to baseball catchers, weightlifters and gardeners.

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