In Brief


January 05, 2009

Teens near liquor stores have more drinking issues

The closer teens live to where alcohol is sold, the greater the seeming risk of binge drinking and driving under the influence.

Researchers from the Pardee Rand Graduate School in Santa Monica, Calif., researched the relationship between proximity to alcohol retailers in zones around homes in California and drinking in children ages 12 to 17. They found an association among homes within walking distance (about half a mile) of places selling alcohol and evidence of binge drinking and driving after drinking.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Public Health, also noted that alcohol is more readily available in minority and lower-income areas. In predominantly white neighborhoods, within a half-mile there are an average 5.5 locations with active alcohol licenses. In predominantly African-American neighborhoods, it's 6.4 locations; in predominantly Latino, 8.6; and in predominantly Asian, 9.5.

Researchers point out that living in areas with higher alcohol sales could also mean more exposure to violent crime and drunken driving.

Los Angeles Times

Smoking ban may have cut heart attacks

A smoking ban in one Colorado city led to a dramatic drop in heart attack hospitalizations, according to a new study that is considered the best and longest-term research to show such a link.

The rate of hospitalized cases dropped 41 percent three years after the ban of workplace smoking in Pueblo, Colo., took effect. There was no such drop in two neighboring areas, and researchers believe it's a clear sign the ban was responsible.

The study suggests that secondhand smoke may be a terrible and under-recognized cause of heart attack deaths in this country, said one of its authors, Terry Pechacek of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least eight earlier studies have linked smoking bans to decreased heart attacks, but none ran as long as three years. Some critics had questioned whether a ban could have such an immediate impact, and suggested other factors could have driven the declines.

Associated Press

Tips to beat midday winter work blahs

In winter's gray and cold days, the midday work blues can hit hard. If you feel tired, lethargic or unmotivated during the day, try these pick-me-up tips from

* Drink some green tea. Its small amount of caffeine will give you a boost, and its antioxidants will help protect you from some chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

* Walk to get the blood pumping to your heart and brain. A walk outside in the sun will also activate Vitamin D in your body and improve your mood.

* Munch on a snack rich in protein, not sugar. A sugar high comes with a subsequent sugar low, so try something else: a slice of whole-wheat toast, a handful of nuts, yogurt and granola or hummus.

* Take a moment to stand up and stretch. Focus on the muscles in your shoulders, neck and upper back. Breathe deeply as you stretch, inhaling through your nose and exhaling slowly through pursed lips.

Washington Post

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