It’s OK to pour yourself that extra cup of coffee in the morning. It just might cut your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Harvard researchers say.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 120,000 people in three long-term studies. Those who increased their daily coffee intake by more than one cup over a four-year period had an 11 percent lower diabetes risk than people who made no changes to their coffee habit. Those who decreased their coffee consumption by more than a cup in the same time period increased their diabetes risk by 17 percent.
Decaffeinated coffee showed no effect on the risk of diabetes, the researchers noted.
Why coffee? Chemicals in coffee called polyphenols may help the body better use the insulin it makes to process sugar, according to a separate 2012 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Coffee also is high in antioxidants and magnesium, which have been linked to diabetes prevention.
Coffee is second only to water on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s list of the beverages adults consume most.
Coffee may other health benefits. Studies suggest regularly drinking coffee cuts the risk of colon and endometrial cancer and aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Some research even indicates daily coffee drinkers reduce their risk of Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline and depression.
Living near trees, parks reduces stress
If you’re in need of a little stress relief, it might be waiting just outside your front door.
A new study from the University of Wisconsin in Madison reveals that people who live near trees and green spaces report lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression than those in more concrete- and asphalt-lined neighborhoods.
Researchers collected health-survey data from 2,500 Wisconsin residents, then paired the data with satellite images showing how much vegetation was in residents’ neighborhoods. The results: People who lived on blocks with less than 10 percent tree canopy were more likely to report feeling stressed or down.
The findings were true regardless of race, age, income level, marital status or education. “A poor person living on a logging road in (a national forest) was more likely to be happy than a wealthier person living on a treeless block in Milwaukee,” the researchers said.
Houston came in at No. 38 in the 2013 Park-Score Index, which rates the park systems of the 50 most populated U.S. cities. Dallas and Austin tied at No. 26; Fort Worth is No. 33.
The Trust for Public Land, a conservation nonprofit, creates the annual index by scoring cities on several open-space factors: accessibility, or the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park; park size, which includes the median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; the number of playgrounds per 10,000 city residents; and per capita park spending.
Minneapolis (No. 1) and New York City (No. 2) came out on top in the latest scoring.
Americans have long way to go to meet 2020 benchmarks
Over the past few years, more Americans have gotten vaccines and cancer screenings and met exercise guidelines. But we’re still about as obese as we were in 2010 – plus, adults binge-drink just as often and teens smoke just as much.
The findings come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Healthy People 2020 initiative, which set health, fitness and nutrition goals for the U.S. population in 2010. This month, the department released a status report on the first third of the 10-year initiative.
The report showed that Americans have made progress on, or even surpassed, the goals for 14 of 26 health indicators.
Here’s where the country stands on a few goals:
Some 20.6 percent of U.S. adults meet federal guidelines that call for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. The goal was 20.1 percent.
Just 41.8 percent of Americans visited the dentist in the past year, well short of the 49 percent goal.
The percentage of obese Americans hasn’t changed significantly in recent years and the current 35.3 percent is well above the 30.5 percent target.
Controversial contraception coverage ruling remains in limbo
The nation is awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether the Affordable Care Act can require most employers to provide comprehensive insurance coverage for birth control, but the court of public opinion has already spoken, according to one poll. Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans favor mandating the coverage.
The findings are part of a report the University of Michigan published in the Journal of the American Medical Association recently. A nationwide survey of more than 2,000 adults revealed that the people most in favor of required contraception coverage are the people most likely to benefit from it – women, blacks, Hispanics and parents with kids younger than 18 living at home.
The Affordable Care Act requires many employers to provide health insurance that covers contraception, but last month the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments the law violates the first amendment by forcing some employers to provide birth control against their religious beliefs. The court is expected to rule in June.