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China banned officials from smoking in public places

China’s ruling Communist Party issued an order to ban officials from smoking in public places or while performing official duties.

According to the circular –

  • Officials are not allowed to smoke in public places viz. schools, hospitals, offices, public transport, public venues, etc. where smoking is banned.
  • They can neither use public funds to buy cigarettes, nor are they permitted to smoke or offer cigarettes when performing official duties.
  • The sale of tobacco products and advertisements will no longer be allowed in Party and government offices.
  • Notices of smoking bans must be displayed in meeting rooms, reception offices, passageways, cafeterias and rest rooms.
  • It is an effort to cut the 1.4 million deaths linked to tobacco every year.

Note: China is the world’s largest cigarette producer and consumer, with an estimated 300 million smokers. Smoking is one of the greatest health threats, which cause death of millions of people in China.

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Australian school introduces world’s first standing classroom to combat childhood obesity

As part of a novel experiment, Mont Albert Primary School in Australia has launched the world’s first standing classroom which aims to combat the menace of childhood obesity. In this experiment being conducted by  the researchers of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, a grade six class at this school has been fitted with height-adjustable desks to allow the student to sit or stand.

The researchers will monitor the standing students with an objective to know if being upright can improve their health, fitness, learning and memory. Pupils will also be fitted with devices to measure how long they spend sitting, with lesson plans revised to reduce the time students are idle.

Why this experiment?

As per scientists, prolonged sitting during the school hours poses health risk by contributing to obesity in students as during these hours children perform less physical activity. Earlier studies have shown students spent two-thirds of a school day sitting, and long hours of childhood sitting can contribute to the onset of such diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

In this experiment in which students are required to attend school hours standing they will  engage more muscles that are likely to be of great benefit for keeping the blood flowing throughout their body and reducing the level of fatigue. If researchers find this exercise beneficial for the cardiovascular health, learning and memory of the standing students compared to a traditional class, this pilot study would be expanded to a much larger trial to find if it can make an impact on lessons across Australia.

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Indians consume double the recommended salt intake: Study

As per a study, the intake of salt by Indians is nearly twice the amount recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Indians consume about 3.7 grams of sodium, corresponding to about 9.3 grams of salt per day. The positive thing is that salt (or sodium) intake has decreased slightly in India between 1990 and 2010.

As per the research by the University of Cambridge and Harvard School of Public Health:

  • The global average salt consumption in 2010 was around 10 grams per person per day, corresponding to 4 grams per day of sodium.
  • In 181 of 187 nations studied, national intakes exceeded the WHO recommended intake of 2 grams per day of sodium (about 5 grams per day of salt).
  • In 119 countries (88.3% of the world’s adult population), the national intake exceeded this recommended amount by more than 1 gram per day of sodium.
  • There are also major regional variations around this global average. Highest intakes are found in regions lying along the old Silk Road – from East Asia, through Central Asia to Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Is excess consumption of Common Salt (NaCl) harmful?

Yes.  Earlier sudies have found that high or low salt diets are both harmful. The risk of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure, and death from heart disease, increases considerably when people consume more than 7 grams or less than 3 grams of sodium a day. A recent study by the US based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had found that there is no benefit of reducing salt intake to below 2.3 g per day. The study could not find any consistent evidence to support a link between sodium intake and either a beneficial or adverse effect on health.

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