Hard habit to break

By Heather Camlot

Technology may be making our lives easier, but it could also be making our bodies sicker. Read up on the latest tech-related health news.

Game on!

Want your kids to be more active? Power up the video games. In a new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers asked 39 children between the ages of 9 and 13 to play exergames, including Dance Dance Revolution, Nintendo Wii Boxing, and LightSpace Bug Invasion.  The result: all of the games got kids’ heart rate going with a moderate to vigorous activity level. Particularly interesting is that overweight children enjoyed exergaming most, which could lead them to being more active on a regular basis.

Repeat the tweets

After spending four and a half months on Twitter analyzing tweets about antibiotics, researchers at Columbia University found more than 700 incorrect statements.  In reality, antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viral ones; using them to counter viral ailments can lead the body to resist the drug when it is necessary. Take your doctor’s advice before that of Twitter posts.

Lights out

If you like to check your smartphone or delve into a good book on your iPad before sleeping, take note: the bright light from these gadgets could hinder your sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that signals your body to rest, and tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime. If you need to read before bed, use an e-reader like the Sony or Kobo, which are not backlit (like the iPad or your smartphone), or crack open a paperback.

Hands off

How many times a day do you touch your smartphone? We love ours too, but you may want to consider not fondling it so much – touchscreens are a haven for germs and viruses. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, some 30 percent of a virus can be easily transferred to your fingers and can lead to all sorts of health issues, from colds, the flu and E.coli. While the researchers can’t be sure how many people have contracted ailments from their phones, it’s better to be safe than sorry: don’t share your phone and if you can’t help testing the latest gadgets at the Apple Store, bring along hand sanitizer.

Stand up to cheat death

There’s a new epidemic sweeping across North America: the sitting disease.  According to several studies, we’ve become too sedentary, sitting in front of televisions, computers, gaming devices and more, and it’s killing us – through increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Australian researchers found that regardless of the amount of exercise done, people who took breaks from sitting were slimmer, had healthier blood fat and blood sugar levels, and had lower BMIs.  Statistics Canada reported that screen time should be considered a contributing factor to obesity and that the risk of death is 1.54 times higher for those who sat all day. Get up and take a walk – and leave the gadgets at your desk.

First published March 24, 2011, on WorkLivePlayCafe.com.


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