Weekly health and fitness rail, with items this week on park smoking bans, STDs on the rise and how many children men should father if they want to live to 100.
Children’s Health The Italian city of Naples rolled out a new law this week: No smoking near children or pregnant woman in parks, the AFP reported. Italy already has an indoor-smoking ban on the books, and Naples wants to make its public parks more family-friendly, too. The fine for violating the new law ranges from $40 to $730. U.S. Sets New STD Record Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said last week that the U.S. reported 1,031,000 cases of Chlamydia last year, a new record for sexually transmitted diseases in one year. The previous STD high had been 1,013,436 cases of gonorrhea (set in 1978), according to The Associated Press. Officials also reported that Chlamydia isn’t the only STD on the rise: Gonorrhea and syphilis rates also have risen. Number to Know: 4 Number of children the ideal man would have if he wants to live to 100 years old, according to HealthDay News. "We were surprised that having more than three children is beneficial to longevity -- based on previous studies by other authors, and common sense, quite the opposite could be expected," said study co-author Leonid Gavrilov, who conducted the study with his wife, Natalia Gavrilova, both of the University of Chicago's Center on Aging. Quote of Note "On average, less than a half of a percent change in body weight occurred, and that's really small." Dr. John A. Spertus of the Mid America Heart Institute of Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., on a new study showing that overweight people overwhelmingly do not lose weight after suffering a heart attack, according to Reuters Health. Health Tip: How to Flatten Your Tummy Some tips from WebMD on how to look and be tummy-healthy: Improve your posture: "If people slouch, their stomachs pooch," says celebrity trainer and star of numerous exercise DVDs Ellen Barrett. For better posture while standing, align your ears over your shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles. Keep the fronts of the shoulders open like a shirt on a hanger, instead of a shirt on a peg. Draw your navel to your spine and keep your weight even on the balls and heels. Think whole-body exercise: When it comes to abdominal strength, you shouldn't train the body in isolation, says Liz Neporent, president of Wellness 360, a corporate wellness consulting firm in New York. "People have this misconception that the best way to strengthen the abs is to get on the floor and do a thousand crunches," Neporent tells WebMD. She recommends Pilates "because the focus is the core, but it doesn't just work the abs in isolation." Examine your diet and digestion: "If you have abdominal fat you can have great ab strength and great posture, but you won't have a flat abdominal or a six-pack," Barrett says. "You have to change your diet and increase your energy output." In other words, eat less and move more. Take things slow: There are no fast fixes, Barrett says. Even the promised quick fixes end up being temporary. "It's a goal. You have to plan on a slow and steady progression," she says. Barrett says most people will experience set backs, roadblocks, and utter frustration along the way. Rewards come with time and consistency. Set realistic goals: Though it's not an excuse to explain away a soft midsection, your genes do play a role, Neporent says. For better or worse, you stand a chance of inheriting Mom's thick wavy hair and her dark circles. Same goes for other parts of the body. "Sometimes, even very thin people can't get washboard abs," Neporent says. "Genetically their bodies want to hold on to the extra layer on the top." That doesn't mean you can't improve your appearance, but it does mean you need to set realistic expectations. Not everyone can look like Beyonce, but you won't stand a chance if you're still sitting around with one hand in the candy jar. Senior Health Eat your fish, omega-3 oils, vegetables and fruits, seniors. French researchers say incorporating these foods into your diet will help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to HealthDay News. Omega-3 oils are found in items such as canola, flaxseed and walnut oil. GateHouse News Service