Latest News & Research: 22 January 2019

This week: Personality type dictates body judgement • Exercise may halve cardiac risk in healthy • Sleep your way to better cardio health

Personality type dictates body judgement

Previous studies have shown that there is a major link between personality traits and personal body image, and now new research has illustrated a similar link between a person’s character and their attitude towards other people’s bodies.

After interviewing over 3,000 women and mapping their responses to the Five Factor model of personality, researchers from Florida State University suggested that the specific alchemy of an individual’s personality — their distinct blend of conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, neuroticism and extraversion — is directly related to their beliefs about others’ bodies and the ways those beliefs are expressed in social interactions.

‘Individuals who are higher in neuroticism hold more negative attitudes about obesity, they show more phobia toward weight, they talk more negatively about their body to their friends and around their children, and they are more likely to perceive weight discrimination’ said study co-author Angelina Sutin, associate professor in FSU’s College of Medicine.

The survey pointed to a significant association between conscientiousness and greater fat phobia: ‘One aspect of conscientiousness is following the norms of society’ Sutin said; ‘Even though two-thirds of the US population is overweight or obese, there are strong social ideals for health and fitness – even if, on average, we do not meet these ideals.’

Source: Florida State University

Exercise may halve cardiac risk in healthy

New research, appearing in the European Heart Journal, suggests that physical inactivity can drastically increase the risk of a heart attack in the long-term, even if there are no symptoms at present.

A new study by Bjarne Nes and colleagues from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has used more precise methods of measuring cardiorespiratory fitness and highlights another one of its benefits.

Higher fitness levels can halve the risk of heart attack, the new study finds. Conversely, suggest the researchers, poor fitness levels can raise future risk even in the absence of warning symptoms in the present.

Nes and his colleagues analysed the cardiorespiratory fitness of more than 4,500 people who took part in an extensive 10-year health survey. None of the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease, lung disease, cancer, or high blood pressure at the start of the study.

By the end of the study, 147 of the participants had heart attacks or had developed angina pectoris — two conditions caused by blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

‘We found a strong link between higher fitness levels and a lower risk of heart attack and angina pectoris over the 9 years following the measurements that were taken’ says Nes.

Source: Medical News Today

Sleep your way to better cardio health

New research from Spain and the US has found that there may be a link between sleep quality and the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition characterised by plaque buildup in the arteries.

The researchers analysed the medical data of 3,974 Spanish adults who averaged 46 years of age.

Essentially, PESA recorded the prevalence and rate of progression of vascular problems that were not yet clinically relevant in the participants. None of the PESA-sourced volunteers had a diagnosis of heart disease at baseline, and two-thirds of them were male.

Besides allowing doctors to assess their vascular lesions, the participants also agreed to wear a sleep actigraph — a device that helps record a person's sleep patterns — for a period of 7 days.

The study found that — after the exclusion of other risk factors for heart disease — participants who slept under 6 hours every night had a 27 percent increase in the risk for atherosclerosis when the researchers compared them with people who slept between 7 and 8 hours each night.

The study's senior author, Dr José Ordovás from the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III in Madrid, said ‘Cardiovascular disease is a major global problem, and we are preventing and treating it using several approaches, including pharmaceuticals, physical activity, and diet. But this study emphasises we have to include sleep as one of the weapons we use to fight heart disease – a factor we are compromising every day’.

Source: Medical News Today