Health News Roundup for March 15-21

Loneliness Can Really Hurt You

"Loneliness is an invisible epidemic that affects 60 million Americans. Everyone feels lonely at times in their lives, but chronic loneliness poses a serious health risk. New research suggests that loneliness and social isolation are as much a threat to your health as obesity. As Richard Lang, MD, chair of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, puts it, people need to attend to loneliness 'the same way they would their diet, exercise, or how much sleep they get'." (Read more here at everydayhealth.com.)

Obesity Raises Women's Cancer Risk by 40 Percent, Study Finds

Obesity takes a huge toll on health, and a new British study finds that obese women have a 40 percent higher risk for cancer than thinner women. Overall, the Cancer Research UK study found that obese women have about a one in four risk of developing a weight-related cancer in their lifetime. Those include cancers of the bowel, gallbladder, uterus, kidney, pancreas and esophagus, as well as post-menopausal breast cancers. (Read more here at nlm.nih.gov.)

Kids' Bad Diets May Mean Worse Health as Adults

Northwestern University researchers found that while most of the nearly 9,000 children they studied had healthy blood pressure levels, 40 percent did not have good cholesterol levels, almost none ate a healthy diet regularly and 30 percent were overweight or obese. These findings may mean more children will face a future that will include heart disease if nothing changes, said Dr. Sarah Samaan, a cardiologist at Legacy Heart Center in Plano, Texas. "Childhood sets the stage for life. If a child starts off with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, he or she is far less likely to develop chronic, expensive diseases that can take years off of a productive life," said Samaan, who was not involved with the study. "Obese kids and adults are far more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, so we should not accept this as the 'new normal,'" she added. (Read more here at nlm.nih.gov.)

7 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

"Unfortunately, there's no spigot you can turn on to flush excess calories out of your fat stores" and speed up your metabolism, says Gabriele Ronnett, M.D., Ph.D., the founding director of the Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore. But you can keep your metabolism stable—and maybe even give it a bit of a boost—by making gradual changes to your lifestyle. Doing so will help you maintain a healthy weight (or lose a little if you need to) while ensuring that your bodily systems keep humming along and doing their jobs well. Here, seven science-backed tricks." (Read more here at realsimple.com.)

FDA concludes Arctic Apples and Innate Potatoes are safe for consumption

"Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration completed its evaluation for two varieties of apples genetically engineered by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc., and for six varieties of potatoes genetically engineered by J. R. Simplot Company and concluded that these foods are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts." (Read more here at fda.gov.)

Some background information about the genetically modified apples and the process of genetic modification from Live Science dated November 22, 2014. (Read more here at livescience.com.)