Roundup: Strength-Building vs. Cardio; No Honey for Infants; and One-third of Parents Skipping Flu Shots for Kids

Strength Building Exercises Could Benefit Heart Health More than Aerobics, Study Finds

While both aerobic activity and strength-building exercises are very beneficial to overall health, is one type of exercise better than the other for heart health?

A new study has found that exercises that build strength can benefit the heart more than aerobic activities, such as walking and cycling.

However, the researchers stressed that you benefit the most from performing a combination of both regularly, and doing any kind of physical activity is better than not doing any.

Researchers analyzed heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, overweight, diabetes and high cholesterol, as a function of self-reported “static” and/or “dynamic” activity (strength training or walking/biking) in 4,086 American adults. The researchers then adjusted for age, ethnicity, gender and smoking and classified the data by age: 21 to 44 years old or over 45 years old.

In total, 36 percent of younger and 25 percent of older adults engaged in static, or strength building, activity, and 28 percent of younger and 21 percent of older adults engaged in dynamic activity. Researchers found engaging in either type of activity was associated with 30 to 70 percent lower rates of cardiovascular disease risk factors, but associations were strongest for strength training.

“One interesting takeaway was that both static and dynamic activity were almost as popular in older people as younger,” said researcher Maia P. Smith, statistical epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s University in St. George’s, Grenada. “I believe this gives clinicians the opportunity to counsel their older patients that they will fit into the gym or the road race just fine. The important thing is to make sure they are engaging in physical activity.”

The study from St. George’s University in Grenada,was featured at the 2018 American College of Cardiology Latin America Conference that took place last week in Lima, Peru.

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FDA: Avoid Giving Honey to Children Younger Than 1 Year of Age

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety alert to parents and caregiving reminding not to give honey to infants or children younger than one year of age.

The warning follows the cases of four infants in Texas who were hospitalized with botulism. All four infants had used pacifiers containing honey, the FDA said in a statement. “These pacifiers were purchased in Mexico, but similar products also appear to be available in the U.S. through online retailers,” the FDA states.

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even death, the FDA says. Honey is a known source of the toxin Clostridium botulinum, which can multiply in a baby’s immature digestive system, and has previously been implicated in some cases of infant botulism.

The FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend not feeding honey to infants younger than 12 months. The FDA is also urging parents and caregivers to avoid giving pacifiers filled with or dipped in honey to their infants or young children.

“If you have previously purchased a pacifier filled with or dipped in honey, you should stop using it and discard it immediately,” the FDA says.

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One-third of Parents Planning to Skip Flu Shots for Their Kids, New Report Finds

Thirty-four percent of U.S. parents are not planning to vaccinate their children against the flu this season, according to a report published this week by C.S. Motts Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan.

Nearly 2,000 parents with at least one child under age 18 responded to the online survey in October. Concerns about side effects, believing the shot won’t work very well and assuming their healthy child doesn’t need to be vaccinated are the top three reasons parents gave for not getting their child a flu shot.

Four in 10 parents say they make their decision on getting their child the flu shot based on what they read and hear, as opposed to a recommendation from their healthcare provider. While the parents who do get their child vaccinated against the flu cite their child’s healthcare provider as the most influencing source, one in five parents polled said their child’s provider did not make any recommendations about the vaccination.

“Child health providers are a critical source of information to explain the rationale for annual flu vaccination and to address parents’ questions about flu vaccine safety and effectiveness,” said Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. “Without clear guidance from the provider, parents may be left with misinformation, such as the suggestion that flu vaccine causes the flu.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 179 children died from the flu last season. Hundreds more were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. Of the children who died, 80 percent were not vaccinated against the flu.

The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older.

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