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Stress and Illness, Children and Peer Pressure, & Weight Gain and Denial - HER Week In Health

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More Videos from Bailey Mosier 30 videos in this series

In this edition of EmpowHER's "HER Week In Health" Bailey Mosier takes a closer look at why stress is linked to illness and we'll also learn that children succumb to peer pressure at a startlingly young age and unless we want to buy bigger-waisted pants every year, we need to recognize weight gain as it’s happening.

Hi, I’m Bailey Mosier. This is your EmpowHER HER Week in Health.

Over the past six decades, researchers have linked stress to illness. In this week’s edition, we’ll take a closer look at exactly why that is. We’ll also learn that children succumb to peer pressure at a startlingly young age and unless we want to buy bigger-waisted pants every year, we need to recognize weight gain as it’s happening. Have a look.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh asked 300 participants about the stresses in their lives and then exposed them to cold viruses to see if they got sick.

Researchers found that people whose bodies had higher levels of ongoing psychological stress were less able to dampen inflammation. Their immune cells became less sensitive to a hormone that turns off inflammation which led to sickness because inflammation leads to conditions such as heart disease, asthma and autoimmune disorders, in which the immune system turns against the body.

While a cause and effect relationship between chronic psychological stress and inflammation does not exist, researchers says but this is a concrete example of how chronic stress can affect our daily lives in a very real-world context.

Previous studies revealed that children are influenced by their peers by the time they hit preschool, but we’re now learning it’s even younger.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology and Psycholinguistics found that even at 2 years of age, children are sensitive to peer pressure.

The team built an experiment where children watched as their peers interacted with a multi-colored box. Toddlers unfamiliar with the box watched as four of their peers favored one color over the others. When the 2-year-old observers got their turn, they tended to favor the hole favored by their friends.

Researchers say majority rule has its evolutionary advantages, because children are transmitting and receiving relatively safe, reliable and productive behavioral strategies.

Managing our weight is difficult enough when we know it’s happening. If that’s the case, then it must be even more of a challenge if we’re in denial about it from an early age.

In a study published in the journal Body Image, researchers documented the height, weight and body mass index of more than 3,500 undergraduate students. They then questioned the students about their weights and found the reported poundage differed significantly from reality.

More than 33 percent of the males were overweight or obese but less than 17 percent characterized themselves as such. More than 27 percent of the women were overweight or obese and only 21 percent believed they were.
Researchers found that the heavier the student, the more likely they were to underestimate their weight. Researchers say we need to become more aware of weight gain as it’s happening or else we run the risk of going up a pant size or two each year.

That wraps up your EmpowHER HER Week in Health. Join me here at EmpowHER every Friday as we recap the latest in women’s health.

Add a Comment1 Comments

This is great post to read and very important to understand and taken precautionary measures accordingly.

April 16, 2012 - 4:02am
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