In that household financial debt in America has risen dramatically in recent years, the impact of financial debt on health has remained relatively underexplored. Elizabeth Sweet, from Northwestern University (Illinois, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 8,400 young adults, ages 24 to 32 years, enrolled in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Finding that 20% of the subjects reported that they would still be in debt if they liquidated all of their assets (high debt-to-asset-ratio), the researchers determined that a higher debt-to-asset ratio was associated with higher perceived stress and depression, worse self-reported general health and higher diastolic blood pressure. Those with higher debt were found to have a clinically significant 1.3% increase (relative to the mean) in diastolic blood pressure. Further, the team found that individuals with high compared to low debt reported higher levels of perceived stress (representing an 11.7% increase relative to the mean) and higher depressive symptoms (a 13.2 percent increase relative to the mean). The study authors submit that: “The results suggest that debt is an important socioeconomic determinant of health that should be explored further.”
Elizabeth Sweet, Arijit Nandi, Emma K. Adam, Thomas W. McDade. “The high price of debt: Household financial debt and its impact on mental and physical health.” Social Science & Medicine, Volume 91, August 2013, Pages 94-100.
Volunteering may improve your mental health and help you live longer.
Higher debt associates with worse health, among young Americans.
Daily consumption of sea buckthorn berries and its extracts may promote metabolic and heart health, among overweight women.
To optimize stem cell therapies, UK researchers develop gold nanoprobes that help to enable cell identification on a molecular scale.
Among cancer survivors experiencing sleep difficulties, yoga helps to improve sleep quality.
Moderate levels of added sugar reduce survival and compromises fitness and reproduction, in a lab animal model.
People who consume dairy products are at reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
British researchers have developed a comprehensive map of mutational processes behind the development of tumors.
Celery – as well as artichokes and the herb Mexican oregano – contain apigenin and luteolin, flavonoid compounds that kill human pancreatic cancer cells.
Depression in patients with type 2 diabetes is a significant risk factor for dementia.
Chinese men who practiced tai chi, a form of mind-body exercise, were less likely to die over a five-year period, as compared to sedentary men.
A steady rise in life expectancy over the past two decades is accompanied by prolonged health in later life.
Young men who are obese in their early 20s are significantly more likely to die earlier and/or develop serious ill health by the time they reach middle age.
Seven tenets of the anti-aging lifestyle not only reduce a person’s risks of heart disease, but may combat cancer as well.
Seniors who are socially isolated and lonely may be at greater risk of early death.
Worldwide, people are dying at older ages and early childhood survival rates have risen dramatically.
People may lose 30 minutes of life expectancy for every two cigarettes, for being 11 pounds overweight, and for eating an extra portion of red meat daily.
Optimal heart health in middle age helps the odds of living up to 14 years longer, free of cardiovascular disease.
Individuals with telomeres in the shortest 10% may be 23% more likely to die in the three years following measurement of these DNA endcaps.
Two United Nations agencies have mapped the intersection of health and climate in an age of global warming.
Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:
• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.
• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.
• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.