Health & Spirit

Teasing's Terrible Twist

Scott LaFee on

Teens who said they were teased or ridiculed about their weight increased their body mass by 33% each year compared to teens who had not been teased, according to a new national study.

The study followed 110 young people for 15 years, beginning at an average age of 11. All were either overweight (a body mass index above the 85th percentile) when they began the study or had two parents who were overweight or obese.

The findings contradict the belief that such teasing may motivate behavioral changes and prompt persons to attempt to lose weight. Instead, researchers said weight-associated stigma likely caused overweight youth who were teased to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating and avoiding exercise, though they also said the stress of teasing could stimulate the release of the hormone cortisol, which may lead to weight gain.

The affected teens gained an average half-pound more per year than those in the comparison group.

Get Me That, Stat!

The latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that for all cancers combined, the death rate continues to decline. The report covered a period between 1999 and 2016. Overall cancer incidence rates, or rates of new cancers, decreased in men from 2008 to 2015, after increasing from 1999 to 2008, and were stable in women from 1999 to 2015.

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A special section suggested the picture is not quite so positive for specific demographic cohorts, notably men and women between the ages 20 to 49. In the main report, from 2011 to 2015, the average annual incidence rate for all cancers combined was about 1.2 times higher among men than among women, and from 2012 to 2016, the average annual death rate among men (of all ages) was 1.4 times the rate among women. However, when the researchers looked only at men and women ages 20 to 49, they found that both incidence and death rates were higher among women.

Stories for the Waiting Room

In the 11th revision of the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, there is a new entry for video game addictions. Known as gaming disorder, the document describes it as "impaired control over gaming" with "increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities."

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