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Links:      •  Self Test
                •  Print Ready Version
                 •  Chapter Index

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decorative star graphic  Adulthood:
Biosocial Development
- The Impact of Poor Health Habits -

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Tobacco & Alcohol Use

Ψ  Tobacco

•  In all its forms tobacco contains harmful drugs.
 •  Nicotine is the most addictive of the drugs contained in tobacco.
  •  Fewer people are starting to smoke.
   •  Many people quit smoking by late adulthood.
    •  Death from lung cancer is down by 20% from 1980 - 1995.

Ψ  Alcohol

Ψ  Adults who drink alcohol (wine, beer, spirits) in moderation live longer than those who never drink….reason? - Reduction in coronary heart disease. Alcohol increases "good cholesterol" (high-density lipoprotein) which in turn decreases "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoprotein).

Ψ  Small amounts of alcohol may …
•  reduce tension.
 •  aid digestion.

Ψ  Large amounts of alcohol may …
•  lead to alcohol abuse/dependence.
•  cause cirrhosis of the liver (kills 14,000 middle-aged adults in the US each year).
•  stress the heart & stomach & destroy brain cells.
•  decrease fertility & increase some forms of cancer (breast cancer).

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

•  cause Korsakoff's syndrome:  An organic disorder in which the brain fails to cope with new information, though distant memory is preserved. It is usually due to chronic alcoholism. An ultimate & tragic consequence of years of alcoholic drinking, "wet brain" (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) occurs from a thiamine deficiency due to malnutrition. In early stages, the syndrome can be partially reversed through treatment with large doses of thiamine; in late stage cases, there is no effective treatment.

Ψ  Deaths due to alcohol each year in the US - 108,000

Ψ  Worldwide, alcohol is one of the leading causes of the Global Disease Burden - combines indicators of premature death with indicators of disability worldwide.

Ψ  IMPORTANT- just because moderate consumption of alcohol has health benefits…does not mean that it is not a major health risk.

Lack of Exercise

Ψ   Adults exercise less as they age.  Low exercise rates are blamed on

•  lack of commitment.
 •  lack of support in the immediate social context.
  •  community’s failure to provide appropriate facilities.

Ψ  Activity

•  burns calories.
 •  decreases appetite.
  •  increases metabolism.
   •  reduces serious illness & death.

Ψ  Exercise not only improves an adult's physical state, it improves cognitive functioning because of improved blood circulation to the brain, this is thought to be the reason exercise decreases depression & hostility.


Ψ  Resistance to Good Nutrition

Ψ  Resistance to Good Nutrition comes from

•  misinterpreting scientific research.
 •  the existence of many high fat diet plans.
  •  heavy drinking & smoking.

Ψ  Two proven conclusions from health studies:
                     •  Avoid too much fat
                      •  Get enough Fiber

Ψ  Adults should get less than 30% of their calories from fat.

Ψ  High fiber diets make some forms of cancer less likely (colon cancer)

Ψ  Adults should get more than 30 grams of fiber a day and have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Ψ  Obesity

Ψ  Obesity is the leading cause of premature adult death.

Ψ  Obesity is a worldwide epidemic, & it will be followed by a worldwide epidemic of diabetes.

Ψ  The U.S. is the global leader in obesity & diabetes.

Ψ  Obesity is a BMI of 30 or more. Morbid obesity is a BMI of 40 or more.

Ψ  Obesity is a risk factor for:
•  heart disease
 •  diabetes
  •  stroke
   •  arthritis

       It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Ψ  Reasons for Obesity

•  genes - regulate hunger, metabolism, & fat accumulation out of step
    with modern civilization.
  •  parental attitudes & practices - cause children to be taught to overeat.
   •  environment - modern cultures encourage overeating.

Preventive Medicine

Ψ  The damage & death caused by tobacco, alcohol, & obesity make it obvious that prevention is less risky than treatment.

Ψ  Much of prevention involves choices people make every day as to diet & exercise levels.

Ψ  Of course preventive screening & medical measures are helpful.

Ψ  Social measures that protect against harm & help those who suffer from trauma like requiring seatbelt use are obvious forms of prevention.

Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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