Saturday, September 25, 2010
Myth #1: Singles are less happy than married people
Boo-hoo, poor you! That’s what friends and family sometimes think of people who are single. They are so wrong! First, most single people are not miserable — not even close. On the average, single people are always on the happy end of the scale; that’s true in every study I know of. Second, getting married hardly changes someone’s happiness at all. Some married people experience a tiny blip in happiness around the time of the wedding. (On an 11-point scale, they are about one-quarter of one point happier.) But that is just a honeymoon effect. They soon go back to being as happy or as unhappy as they were when they were single. Furthermore, only some married people enjoy the honeymoon effect. People who marry and later divorce actually start getting a bit less happy — not more happy — as their wedding day approaches.
Myth #2: Single people favor solitude
Sometimes people say that single people are “alone,” that they “don’t have anyone.” But that’s just a myth. Research shows that single people often have many people in their lives who are important to them. Often, they have a whole network of friends and relatives, and they stay connected with them for decades. After all, they have the time to forge many diverse relationships, which married sorts often don’t.
Myth #3: Elderly women live in isolation
Older women, in particular, are often painted as isolated spinsters, but in one study of 50 women who had always been single, 49 of them had close friends and usually they were in touch with those friends every single day. Sixteen of their friendships had lasted more than 40 years.
Myth #4: Single people don’t live as long as married folks
A serious, intellectual magazine recently printed a story with this headline: “Marry or die.” Seriously. Even the most prestigious publications can get their headlines all wrong when it comes to stories about people who are single. That magazine article ignored the longest-running study of longevity on record. That study started in 1921, with more than 1,000 11-year-olds. Scientists have kept track of these people for as long as they lived. The people who lived the longest were those who stayed single and those who married and stayed married. People who divorced, or who divorced and remarried, had shorter lives. It was consistency, not marriage, that mattered, and the results were the same for men and women.
Myth #5: Single people are self-centered
Married people are supposedly the ones who reach out to other people and keep families and neighborhoods connected. That’s the story we hear, but it is not what’s really true. National surveys show that single people are more likely to visit, support, contact, and advise their siblings and parents than married or even previously married people. Singles are also more likely to encourage, help, and socialize with their neighbors and friends.
Myth #6: The children of single parents are destined to live haplessly
These days, forecasts of doom and gloom are often aimed at children who are raised by single parents. To hear the commentators talk about it, you would think that only children raised by married biological parents have a decent shot at a good, healthy, successful life. In my research, though, I was struck by just how overstated those claims actually are. One example comes from the results of a National Drug Abuse Survey, a study of substance abuse among 12- to 17-year-olds. The children of single mothers had low rates of abuse — under 6 percent. And those rates were just 1.2 percent higher than the rates of the children living with married biological parents. Furthermore, two-parent married households did not always have kids with the lowest rates of substance abuse. Teens living with a father and stepmother, for example, had higher rates of substance abuse than teens raised by single mothers.
Myth #7: Single people are not as healthy as people who get married
Think singletons live an unhealthy life of vice, partying up a storm and eating junk food rather than healthy home-cooked meals? That’s not what the research says. Typically, people who have always been single are very similar in their health to people who are currently married. There is, though, one exception where single people are actually healthier than attached types: married people are more overweight! As for divorce, some research actually shows that people become healthier after they divorce than they were when they were married.
Myth #8: Single people waste money on frivolous things for themselves
So you think that singletons splurge and marrieds conserve? If so, then I have just one question for you: Do you know how much weddings cost? Even after the big splash, maybe you thought married folks save up, spend conservatively, and are occasionally called upon to support the more spendthrift single drifters in their clan who racked up credit card debt on fancy shopping sprees and vacations...not so. Coupled-up sorts are no more generous than single people when it comes to giving financial help to family members. As for friends, it is the single people who are there for them. In fact, one study showed that men were much more financially generous to their friends when they were single than they were after they married. When married men divorced, they reverted to their more giving selves. If they remarried, then they went back to being less generous to their friends.
Well, for me, I don't care what people says, I'm single and very happy.. :)
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The truth is: In a 2002 German study, researchers found that the baking process produces a novel type of cancer-fighting antioxidant in bread that is eight times more abundant in the crust than in the crumb. That said, it’s more important to serve whole-wheat bread, with or without the crust, because it’s all around higher in nutrients, such as fiber, says New York City nutritionist Keri Glassman, author of The O2 Diet ($25, amazon.com). Make sure the ingredients list “100% whole-wheat flour.” Breads simply labeled “wheat” are usually made with a mixture of enriched white flour and whole-wheat flour and have less fiber.
If You Go Out With Wet Hair, You’ll Catch a Cold.
The truth is: You will feel cold but will be just fine healthwise, says Jim Sears, a board-certified pediatrician in San Clemente, California, and a cohost of the daytime-TV show The Doctors. He cites a study done at the Common Cold Research Unit, in Salisbury, England, in which a group of volunteers was inoculated with a cold virus up their noses. Half the group stayed in a warm room while the rest took a bath and stood dripping wet in a hallway for half an hour, then got dressed but wore wet socks for a few more hours. The wet group didn’t catch any more colds than the dry. Sears’s conclusion: “Feeling cold doesn’t affect your immune system.”
If You Cross Your Eyes, They’ll Stay That Way.
The truth is: “There’s no harm in voluntary eye crossing,” says W. Walker Motley, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. But if you notice your child doing this a lot (when he’s not mimicking a cartoon character), he might have other vision problems.
You Should Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever.
The truth is: In both cases, eat and drink, then drink some more. “Staying hydrated is the most important thing to do, because you lose a lot of fluids when you’re ill,” says Sears, who adds that there’s no need for special beverages containing electrolytes (like Gatorade) unless you’re severely dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea.
Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years.
The truth is: Your Little Leaguer’s wad of Big League Chew won’t (literally) stick around until high school graduation. “As with most nonfood objects that kids swallow, fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and within days it passes,” says David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network. And even though gum isn’t easily broken down in the digestive system, it probably won’t cause a stomachache, either.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.
The truth is: A handful of blueberries a day will keep the doctor away more effectively. Blueberries are a nutritional jackpot, rich in antioxidants and fiber, and they’re also easy to toss into cereal and yogurt. That said, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important to prevent many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, down the road. (To find out how much earth-grown goodness your child should be getting, enter his or her age, sex, and level of physical activity at fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.)
You Lose 75 Percent of Your Body Heat Through Your Head.
The truth is: “This adage was probably based on an infant’s head size, which is a much greater percentage of the total body than an adult head,” says Pollack. That’s why it’s important to make sure an infant’s head remains covered in cold weather. (This also explains those ubiquitous newborn caps at the hospital.) But for an adult, the figure is more like 10 percent. And keep in mind that heat escapes from any exposed area (feet, arms, hands), so putting on a hat is no more important than slipping on gloves.
To Get Rid of Hiccups, Have Someone Startle You.
The truth is: Most home remedies, like holding your breath or drinking from a glass of water backward, haven’t been medically proven to be effective, says Pollack. However, you can try this trick dating back to 1971, when it was published in The New England Journal of Medicine: Swallow one teaspoon of white granulated sugar. According to the study, this tactic resulted in the cessation of hiccups in 19 out of 20 afflicted patients. Sweet.
Eating Fish Makes You Smart.
The truth is: For kids up to age three or four, this is indeed the case. Fish, especially oily ones, such as salmon, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). “DHA is particularly beneficial in the first two years of life for brain development, cognition, and visual acuity,” says Beverly Hills pediatrician Scott W. Cohen, the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby’s First Year ($16, amazon.com). And a 2008 study in Clinical Pediatrics showed an increase in vocabulary and comprehension for four-year-olds who were given daily DHA supplements. Omega-3 options for the fish-phobic? Try avocados, walnuts, and canola oil.
You Shouldn’t Swim for an Hour After Eating.
The truth is: Splash away. “After you eat, more blood flows to the digestive system and away from the muscles,” says Cohen. “The thinking was that if you exercised strenuously right after eating, that lack of blood would cause you to cramp up and drown.” But that won’t happen. Sears concurs: “You might have less energy to swim vigorously, but it shouldn’t inhibit your ability to tread water or play.”
Every Child Needs a Daily Multivitamin.
The truth is: Children who are solely breast-fed during their first year should be given a vitamin D supplement. After that, a multivitamin won’t hurt anyone, but many experts say that even if your child is in a picky phase, there’s no need to sneak Fred, Wilma, and company into his applesauce. “Even extremely fussy eaters grow normally,” Cohen says. “Your kids will eventually get what they need, even if it seems as if they’re subsisting on air and sunlight.”
Warm Milk Will Help You Fall Asleep.
The truth is: Milk contains small amounts of tryptophan (the same amino acid in turkey), “but you would have to drink gallons to get any soporific effect,” says Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist in Scottsdale, Arizona, who specializes in sleep disorders. “What is effective is a routine to help kids wind down,” he says. And if a glass of warm milk is part of the process, it can have a placebo effect, regardless of science.