5 Things to Read on Improving Health

In this week's roundup, we bring you suggestions on rethinking dieting and weight loss, aging well, and the right way to cough and sneeze.

Want to lose weight? Give up counting calories, new study says …

A new study suggests what you eat, not how much you eat, has the biggest effect on your waistline. Researchers split participants into two groups: reducing fats and reducing carbohydrates. But that didn’t appear to matter. Instead, those who ate more fruits and vegetables while reducing processed foods lost weight. PBS News Hour dives deeper into the findings.

… Or just focus on fitness

Perhaps it’s time for Americans to drop the weight-loss message and instead focus on encouraging physical fitness, a column in The New York Times argues. Obesity is becoming normalized, according to experts cited in the column, so people who are overweight increasingly ignore messages about weight loss. Meanwhile, studies have shown being out-of-shape — regardless of weight — increases risk of death. Read more here.

How to grow old well, from two ‘rock stars’ of aging

Growing old gracefully and healthily takes work. “I don’t think we give enough respect to what it takes to age well,” one professor told Kaiser Health News. The publication interviewed two so-called “rock stars” of aging — two active women aged 80 and 91, respectively — on how they’ve found success. Read the full piece to find out their keys to growing old well.

Overdose deaths decline in 14 states

Public health experts are hopeful that policies aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic are working.  New data show the number of overdose deaths fell in 14 states during a 12-month period ending July 2017. “If we’re truly at a plateau or inflection point, it would be the best news all year,” one expert told FierceHealthcare. However, five states and Washington, D.C., saw their overdose deaths jump 30 percent in the same time period. Gain more insight from the full piece.

When it comes to sneezing, style matters

It’s important to cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges us to aim for the elbow, not the hand. That’s because sneezing into the hand makes it more likely that germs will spread via door knobs and other things that many people touch. Sneezing into your elbow has been standard advice from CDC and other groups for at least a decade, and The New York Times gives us this much-needed reminder.

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health care system work better?

Interested in ways we can make the health care system work better?