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Posts tagged ‘Water’

Clean water and soap ‘boost growth’ in young children

Poor growth is linked to dirty water


Access to clean water and soap not only improves hygiene but may boost growth in young children, research suggests.

A review of global data found evidence of a small increase in height – about 0.5cm – in under-fives living in households with good sanitation.

The studies took place in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chile, Guatemala, Pakistan, Nepal, South Africa, Kenya and Cambodia.

Poor growth affects 265m children globally with long-term health impacts.

The evidence from 14 studies involving nearly 10,000 children comes from a review of evidence known as the Cochrane review, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the international charity WaterAid.

Repeated illnesses

Dr Alan Dangour, a public health nutritionist at the LSHTM who led the report, said providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene is an effective way to reduce deaths from symptoms such as diarrhoea.

It makes absolute sense that there should be a link between dirty water, diarrhoea and growth outcomes but it’s interesting that it’s never been shown before”

Dr Alan DangourReport author

The analysis suggested, for the first time, that better access to these services may also have a small but important impact on the growth of young children, he said.

“What we’ve found by bringing together all of the evidence for the first time is that there is a suggestion that these interventions improve the growth of children and that’s very important,” he told BBC News.

“This is the first time really that evidence has been provided to support the provision of water sanitation and hygiene interventions to improve growth.”

He said there is a clear link between a child drinking dirty water, getting diarrhoea and having poor growth, because repeated illnesses in early childhood can impair growth.

‘Scourge of malnutrition’

“It makes absolute sense that there should be a link between dirty water, diarrhoea and growth outcomes but it’s interesting that it’s never been shown before,” said Dr Dangour.

“Half a centimetre doesn’t sound a lot but in our estimates that increase in growth equates to a reduction in stunting of about 15%, which is quite important.”

Commenting on the research, Dr Francesco Branca, director of nutrition for health and development at the World Health Organization (WHO), said: “This review shows that a multi-pronged approach is the way to go – bringing together actions to improve food quality and safety as well as feeding and care of children, with others to prevent and treat infections and improve the home environment – to address the scourge of chronic malnutrition.”

Poor height growth, or stunting, affects 165m children worldwide, increasing the risk of death and reducing productivity in adulthood, according to the WHO.

Undernutrition is a cause of 3.1m deaths annually – nearly half of all deaths in children under five.

via BBC News – Clean water and soap ‘boost growth’ in young children.

Antioxidant-rich diet offers most benefits to breast cancer survivors

Antioxidants that protect against or repair cell damage are found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and red peppers (Jupiter Images)
By Barbara Sadick
Chicago Tribune
POSTED:   10/09/2012 12:01:00 AM MDT

Cheryl McGee has battled breast cancer. Twice. She’s undergone surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and treatments for infection, but dietary management was never part of her treatment protocol.

“I don’t know why nobody ever told me to go to a nutritionist or how important diet is to recurrence,” McGee said. “A nurse once told me in passing to try to stay away from too much sugar,” but that was it.

On her own initiative, she started to eat a healthier diet, loading up on fresh fruits and vegetables. “I’m feeling better than I have in a long time.”

Scientists continue to learn more about the effects dietary changes can have on people with breast cancer, and this year, for the first time, the American Cancer Society is confident enough in the research to issue guidelines encouraging more attention to exercise and diet to help maximize health and reduce breast cancer recurrence.

Past studies have indicated that overweight and obese women have a higher risk of recurrence from breast cancer than women who are slimmer. That’s because carrying around so much extra weight can compromise the immune system, leading to chronic inflammation. This increases levels of estrogen that contribute to cancer formation, said Joseph Sparano, associate chairman of the Department of Oncology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Sparano and Jennifer Ligibel, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, have recently conducted trials showing that the relationship between obesity and increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and death is true for patients treated with the most current chemotherapy regimens.

With this in mind, breast cancer survivors can be proactive with their weight and diet. “When women are diagnosed with breast cancer and are scared, they usually will do anything, such as change diet, to prevent another ‘bullet,’ ” said Lillie Shockney, administrative director of Johns Hopkins Breast Center and its Cancer Survivorship Programs. “But the problem is sustaining the changes, which usually last about six months and then wane as the fear subsides.”

Shockney said people are more likely to stick with dietary changes if they make them a little at a time. Looking at labels to determine nutritional content and becoming more informed about what you’re eating is a good start.

What to eat: The American Cancer Society advises survivors to reach a healthy body weight, to exercise and to limit high-calorie foods.

Portion control can help you reach those goals, but what foods, specifically, should you be shunning or embracing?

Doctors and nutritionists versed in the latest research recommend a plant-based diet rich in natural compounds known as phytochemicals, said Amanda Bontempo, oncology dietitian at Montefiore-Einstein Center for Cancer Care.

Phytochemicals have health-promoting properties that work together with vitamins and nutrients to prevent, halt and lessen diseases. They act as antioxidants to protect against or repair damage to cells and are found mostly in colorful fruits and vegetables but also often found in beans, grains, onions, garlic and corn.

Breast cancer survivors “should eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods every day,” Bontempo said. Her dietary advice follows:

Less of: Red meat, processed meat, trans fats, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and other “white” foods. The American Cancer Society warns that alcohol could increase the risk of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer recurrence and recommends no more than one drink a day. Soda should also be avoided because it interferes with calcium absorption and has absolutely no nutritional value.

More of: Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, olive oil and lean protein such as fish, poultry and beans. Include semolina pasta, whole-grain breads and whole grains themselves like bulgur, barley and quinoa, but do keep portion size in mind. Turmeric, ginger and other healthy herbs and spices contain potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress enzymes that activate carcinogens.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, also rich in phytochemicals, help fight breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective hormone. They’re also a good source of vitamin C and soluble fiber, which helps control weight by slowing down digestion and making you feel full.

Omega 3, the fatty acid found in flaxseed and oily fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring, may benefit the immune system by reducing inflammation and the risk of metastatic cancer.

Allium vegetables that include garlic and onion are known to be protective and can be added to almost any dish. Tomatoes, berries, whole grains, apples, legumes and green peas are also rich in anti-cancerous properties.

White and green teas are recommended because they contain antioxidants that may stave off breast-cancer recurrence.

Whole soy, which mimics estrogen, can be eaten in moderation, Bontempo said, but processed soy is high in estrogen and should be avoided. For those being treated with tamoxifen, any soy can interfere with therapy, so consult with your doctor.

Vitamin D can directly or indirectly control carcinogenic genes in the body, studies show. Sun-dried tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, egg yolk, fortified cow’s milk, fortified soy milk and other foods contain high levels of vitamin D.

“Supplements and sunlight are also sources of vitamin D,” said Bontempo, “but every breast-cancer survivor should consult a physician before taking any supplement, because supplements are not FDA regulated and could contain harmful chemicals.” Vitamin D, required for optimal calcium absorption, can also be found in spinach and white beans.

Water should be a survivor’s go-to drink. It flushes toxins out of vital organs and carries nutrients to cells.

Read more:Antioxidant-rich diet offers most benefits to breast cancer survivors – The Denver Post
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