Still looking for the secret to effortless weight loss? It may be as simple as chewing gum while walking, Japanese researchers suggested on Saturday.
In experiments, they said, the heart rate of 46 people, aged 21 to 69, increased when they were given gum to chew while walking at a natural pace.
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And while masticating caused a measurable physical difference in participants of both genders and across all age groups, it was most pronounced in men over 40, the team reported at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna.
“Combining exercise and gum chewing may be an effective way to manage weight,” the researchers said -- particularly in countries such as Japan where walking is the “most widely performed movement”.
Previous research had found that gum-chewing boosts heart rate and energy expenditure in people at rest.
This was the first study dedicated to studying its effects in people while walking, its authors said.
Volunteers completed two walking trials, each 15 minutes long.
In one, they chewed two pellets of gum that contained three kilocalories. In the other, for comparison, they walked after ingesting a powder containing the same ingredients as the gum.
The team then measured participants’ resting heart rate and walking heart rate in both legs, as well as the distance they covered at a natural pace, walking speed, and the number of steps taken.
In all participants, the mean heart rate was “significantly higher” in the gum trial, said the researchers.
In men over 40, it also boosted the distance walked, number of steps taken, and energy expended.
Though the study was not designed to explain the link, the team speculated it may have something to do with “cardio-locomotor synchronisation”, a natural phenomenon whereby the heart beats in rhythm with a repetitive movement.
Obesity has become a global scourge. It increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.
“Effective preventive methods and treatments for obesity are needed,” the researchers said.
The study was published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
Commercial flight crews show higher cancer rates: study says
Flight crews have higher than average rates of certain cancers, according to a study of more than 5,000 US-based flight attendants.
“We report a higher lifetime prevalence of breast, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers among flight crews relative to the general population,” said Irina Mordukhovich, a researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-author of a study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health.
“This is striking given the low rates of overweight and smoking in this occupational group,” she said in a statement.
Out of 5,366 flight attendants who took part in the study, just over 15 percent reported ever having been diagnosed with cancer.
Taking age into account, the study found a higher prevalence of cancer in flight crew for every type of cancer examined.
Some 3.4 per cent of the women who flew for a living had breast cancer, compared to 2.3 percent in the general population.
The flight-crew rate was 0.15 percent compared to 0.13 percent for uterine cancer; 1.0 compared to 0.70 percent for cervical cancer; 0.47 compared to 0.27 percent for stomach or colon cancer; and 0.67 compared to 0.56 percent for thyroid cancer.
The risk of breast cancer was higher in women who had never had children, as well as those who had three or more.
Having no childlen was a known risk factor, noted Mordukhovich.
- Cosmic radiation -
“But we were surprised to replicate a recent finding that exposure to work as a flight attendant was related to breast cancer exclusively among women with three or more children,” she said.
“This may be due to combined sources of circadian rhythm disruption -- sleep deprivation and irregular schedules -- both at home and at work.”
Male flight attendants were found to have higher rates of skin cancer -- 1.2 and 3.2 percent for melanoma and non-melanoma cancer, respectively, compared to 0.69 and 2.9 percent for the adult population as a whole.
This was especially true if the attendants working before smoking on planes was banned in the United States, in 1998.
Flight crews are routinely exposed to known and probable carcinogens, including cosmic radiation from space, circadian rhythm disruption, and possible chemical contaminants.
Over 80 percent of the flight attendants who took part in the study were women. On average, attendants were 51 years old and had been working in the profession for just over 20 years.