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Homicides Devastate Black Communities, But Prevention Gets Little Funding

MONDAY, Oct. 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Homicide is the leading cause of early death among black Americans, a new study points out. Yet killings in the United States gets a disproportionately low share of federal research funding compared to the leading causes of death among whites, said study author Molly Rosenberg. “Homicide is, unfortunately, a common cause of premature death, and black Americans are more likely to be affected by homicide than white Americans,” said Rosenberg. She is an assistant professor at Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. “Homicide-related deaths in America, most of which are caused by firearms, constitute a public health crisis,” Rosenberg said in a university news release. “Yet when we look at what kind of public health research gets funded and published, we find homicide to be conspicuously absent,” she added. Rosenberg and her colleagues evaluated the leading causes of death in 2015 by race in the United States. They also looked at publicly funded research projects. Among whites, homicide is the 12th leading cause of early death, or potential years of life lost. This refers to the number of years people would have lived had they not died of a particular cause. The researchers found that heart disease — the top cause of potential years of life lost among whites — received 341 grants and almost 600 publications during 2015. Research on homicide,...

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Homework as a Character-Builder

SUNDAY, Oct. 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Homework may do more than reinforce lessons that students learn in school each day. New research from Germany suggests it may have a positive effect on children’s character, helping them become more conscientious. “Our results show that homework is not only relevant for school performance but also for personality development, provided that students put a lot of effort into their assignments,” study author Richard Gollner, from the University of Tubingen, said in a university news release. For the study, the researchers analyzed data on 2,760 students, starting when they transitioned from fourth to fifth grade and then annually for the next three years. The youngsters answered questions about how well they did in their recent homework assignments, rated their efforts and reported on various measures of conscientiousness, such as neatness. The researchers found that students who invested more time and effort into their homework between fifth and eighth grade became more conscientious, leading the researchers to conclude that thorough and meticulous attention to homework can offset the temporary decline in conscientiousness that preteens typically experience. They noted that the students’ parents echoed this view. The findings were published recently in the Journal of Research in Personality. “The question whether doing your homework can also influence the development of conscientiousness has been mostly neglected in previous discussions of the role of homework,” said...

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California inmates battle wildfires for $1 an hour

View photos As wildfires rage across northern California, a group of low-paid firefighters is on the front lines.  Inmates in California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation have been fighting wildfires for $1 an hour. Some have worked as long as 72 hours straight.  The men and women fighting the wildfires work throughout 43 adult conservation camps in the state, CNN reported. As part of their work there, they clear hiking trails and flood channels and cut brush and trees, both to prevent fires and — in emergency situations like we’re seeing right now — to stop them from spreading....

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Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. Adults Now Obese

FRIDAY, Oct. 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Almost forty percent adults in the United States are now obese, continuing an ever-expanding epidemic of obesity that’s expected to lead to sicker Americans and higher health care costs. Almost four out of 10 adults and 18.5 percent of kids aged 2 to 19 now meet the clinical definition of obesity, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 30.5 percent of adults and 13.9 percent of children in 1999-2000, the CDC report noted. Public health experts are concerned that the continuing rise in obesity will lead to greater numbers of people suffering from diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. “We’ve made tremendous progress reducing deaths due to cardiovascular disease and stroke in our country. Part of that is due to treatment. Part of that is due to the tremendous reduction in tobacco use,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for the American Heart Association. “But we’ve worried if obesity trends stayed or worsened that some of those gains might be reduced.” Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or more. A 6-foot-tall man weighing 221 pounds is considered obese, as is a 5-foot-9 woman weighing 203 pounds. The increase in youth obesity is of particular concern because these children are at greater risk for lifelong health problems,...

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America’s ‘Beautiful People’ Are Changing

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) — It strikes no one as surprising when someone like Beyonce graces the cover of a magazine as an icon of beauty, but a new study suggests that was far more rare three decades ago. If People magazine is any indication, America’s definition of who’s “beautiful” has broadened to include more races and a wider span of ages. “This study analyzed photographs of celebrities who were deemed ‘beautiful’ by People magazine in 1990 compared to 2017,” explained study author Dr. Neelam Vashi. “We intended to answer a simple question: Did our perception of beauty change between 1990 and now?” Apparently it did. “This data suggests that maybe our society is starting to embrace graceful aging, diversity and the beauty we are born with,” Vashi said. In the study, after breaking down looks by hair, skin color, eye color, age, gender and race, the team found that “celebrities rated beautiful in 2017 were older, more often women, and had a higher rate of darker skin types and mixed race,” noted Vashi, who is director of the Boston University Center for Ethnic Skin. Why People magazine? Largely because of its readership of nearly 44 million adult readers, making it the most popular magazine in the United States, Vashi explained. She added that the magazine’s top-50 beauty list was first launched in 1990, and that editorial...

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