Fremont Area Medical Center

SUM 2013

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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H E A L T H C E N T R A L N E W S New baby, new shoes I f you've given birth, science is now confirming what you've probably suspected: Your feet grew. Pregnancy may permanently change the size and shape of a woman's feet, suggests a recent study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Following 49 women from the start of their pregnancy to five months after delivery, researchers discovered that 60 to 70 percent of the women had longer and wider feet afterward than when their pregnancies began. First pregnancies may account for most of these alterations, the study suggests. Women gain weight and experience increased looseness of the joints while pregnant, which often causes the arch of the foot to flatten out. So the next time someone says baby needs a new pair of shoes, remind them that Mom may need some new footwear too. • Kids in motion Along with enjoying improved health, physically active children may be better able to cope with stressful situations. Keeping it real SHUTTERSTOCK Forget about always looking at the sunny side of life as you age. When you're older, having lower expectations for your future may actually lengthen That's the conclusion of a recent study accepted for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. When children who are sedentary face such everyday pressures as speaking in front of their class at school, they may have surges of cortisol, a hormone that is linked to stress. Active children, however, have little or no increase in cortisol levels when they are stressed. Researchers in Finland, who studied about 250 8-year-olds, suggest that physical activity protects children from the effects of stress. • your life, according to recent research published online in the journal Psychology and Aging. The German researchers, who examined 10 years of data from 40,000 adults who were between ages 18 and 96, say that you may end up taking better care of your health when you have more realistic expectations about changes in physical limitations as you grow older. But the researchers add that being unrealistically optimistic can help you feel better when you're facing a terminal diagnosis. • Meditation and inflammatory conditions Mindful meditation techniques, including conscious breathing and body focus, may provide benefits to people experiencing chronic inflammatory conditions, which are linked to stress. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or asthma, you may be able to alleviate some of your symptoms through mindful meditation, report researchers in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. Studies at the University of Wisconsin compared two methods of stress reduction: the meditation approach and a general routine of health enhancement that included nutrition education and physical activity. While both strategies reduced stress, the mindful strategy was more effective at decreasing inflammation, according to researchers working with volunteers. • w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m S U M M E R 2 013 SPI RIT O F WOM EN 5

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