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A University of Melbourne literature review shows an increasing trend of young adults staying at home well into their adulthood, as well as returning home years later, often with their children in tow.
Associate Professor Cassandra Szoeke and Katherine Burn, from the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, analysed 20 studies involving 20 million people worldwide using data from PubMed and PsycInfo and professional archives gathered by the Healthy Women’s Ageing Project.
They found that
The research also showed wealthier parents and those who are still married are more likely to have children living at home for longer, whereas parents in poor health were much less likely to have children living with them, unless the child was a carer.
“Starting university, saving for a house, or getting a new job can encourage people to stay at home longer and of course it’s a beneficial arrangement for them,” Ms Burn says. “Whereas early high school leavers from families with a step-parent tend to leave earlier and are also less likely to come back.”
As for the boomerangs – it’s usually unpleasant, unplanned events like unemployment or divorce that often prompt a return home. They are more likely to be in financial dire straits and sometimes come back with children of their own.
The old-fashioned notion that “empty nest” mothers pine for their departed children as they take flight into adulthood is not entirely true. “Professor Lorraine Dennerstein, founder of the Melbourne Women’s Midlife Health Project, studied this back in the 1990s. She found that an empty nest actually leads to a significant increase in positive mood and wellbeing for parents, but only once the last child has left home,” Associate Professor Szoeke says.
“Even when children do make financial contributions, the parents remain out of pocket,” Ms Burn says. “This can often cause resentment and conflict. The key to success is open communication and defining relationship and household roles early on, Associate Professor Szoeke says.
“Most parents genuinely enjoy spending time with their children and as people get older they can become more socially isolated. We know that loneliness scores are way down when kids come home. And children who leave home later are more likely to have regular contact and provide help to their parents."
“We see negative experiences when roles and expectations mismatch. If you look at cultures where it’s usual to have co-residence of adult children and parents, those conflicts don’t exist," Associate Professor Szoeke says.
We all know vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin, and that it is important for bone and muscle development and helps prevent osteoporosis. However, it has multiple functions beyond its widely recognized role in regulating calcium levels and bone metabolism.
Vitamin D receptors are found in more than 30 cell types and the research focus recently has shifted from bone health to vitamin D’s effect on cancer, cardiovascular health and weight loss, among other health issues. Latest studies reveal the close link between adequate vitamin D levels and chronic pain.
One such study compared vitamin D levels in patients with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. These patients were found to have lower levels of vitamin D than the normal population. In addition, patients with fibromyalgia had the lowest levels compared to the other two groups.
To test their theory that a vitamin D deficiency contributed to pain and fatigue, researchers gave the three groups 3 intramuscular injections of cholecalciferol every four weeks. After treatment, patients in all three groups reported lower levels of fatigue and pain.
In another study, researchers found that vitamin D supplementation, along with weight loss, has a greater effect on reducing chronic inflammation than weight loss alone. Chronic inflammation is known to contribute to the development and progression of several diseases, including some cancers.
Lead author Dr Catherine Duggan. from the Fred Hutchininson Cancer Research Centre in the US, said: "We know from our previous studies that by losing weight, people can reduce their overall levels of inflammation, and there is some evidence suggesting that taking vitamin D supplements can have a similar effect if one has insufficient levels of the nutrient."
This time, they looked at more than 200 overweight, postmenopausal women who had insufficient levels of vitamin D. The women then took part in a 12-month diet and exercise program (including 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise five days a week). Half of the study participants were randomly selected to receive 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily for the duration of the year-long trial, and the other half received an identical-appearing placebo.
At the end of the study, all of the participants had reduced levels of inflammation, regardless of whether they took vitamin D, “which highlights the importance of weight loss in reducing inflammation,” Dr Duggan said. However, those who saw the most significant decline in markers of inflammation were those who took vitamin D and lost 5 to 10 percent of their baseline weight.
Vitamin D: How to get enough naturally
Vitamin D is found in small amounts in foods like fish, eggs and mushrooms. During summer time, you need just 5 minutes - 15 if you have dark or olive skin tones - of sun exposure to your face, arms and hands (or equivalent) to get your dose of vitamin D. Over winter, you need 2 to 3 hours of sun exposure for those with fair skin and triple that for those with darker complexions.
Most parents and teachers believe that children and teenagers who are able to stay focused, sit still, and pay attention longer, are likely to do much better in school.
A recent Danish study found that delaying kindergarten enrollment for one year dramatically reduces hyperactivity and inattention when they are 7. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been on the rise and affects more boys than girls. Sufferers have a lower level of self-regulation and ability to control impulses and adjust his or her behavior in attaining goals.
The study, The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health, was written by Professor Thomas S. Dee and Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Center for Social Research,
Professor Dee said: "We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11, and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure."
In Australia, children start their school life at either 5 or 6. Children in Denmark are enrolled in kindergarten the calendar year that they turn 6, which means that those born on December 31 have started kindergarten earlier that year and will be the "babies" of the year, while those who celebrate their birthdays in January will be the oldest in their batch .
The study’s findings also align with other research that has shown an extended period of early childhood play – such as in preschools – yields mental health developmental gains. Both girls and boys benefited equally from delayed kindergarten entry.
In a separate piece of news, 4 Corners looked at 3 young Australians affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This is caused by the mother drinking during pregnancy, and the children experience a devastating range of problems, from lifelong behavioural issues to learning difficulties.
Specialists currently diagnosing and tackling the disorder warn that some children diagnosed with ADHD are actually suffering the effects of foetal alcohol exposure. More than half a million Australians could be affected and there is no known safe threshold of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
"We regard foetal alcohol spectrum disorder as being the driver for ADHD." - Paediatrician on 4 Corners
For more on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, see the FASD website.
Walking is a great way to exercise, we know that just walking 10000 steps daily or roughly 30 minutes a day is the bare minimum for a healthy lifestyle. Here's a great tip to make walking even more efficient at burning the calories: Change your pace, do unusual things while walking.
Varying your speed while out on a stroll can burn as much as 20 percent more calories than if you were just maintaining a constant pace, says a study by Ohio State University.
"Measuring the metabolic cost of changing speeds is very important because people don't live their lives on treadmills and do not walk at constant speeds. We found that changing speeds can increase the cost of walking substantially," said Manoj Srinivasan, co-author of the study and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Ohio State University.
Srinivasan gave more examples: "How do you walk in a manner that burns more energy? Just do weird things. Walk with a backpack, walk with weights on your legs. Walk for a while, then stop and repeat that. Walk in a curve as opposed to a straight line."
All entries complied by osteopath Dr Wei Chua unless otherwise stated.