Health & Fitness

Bad eating habits in young adults have a long-term reach

Young adults out there, take note: The occasional Big Mac, slice of pizza or ice cream cookie binge may be fine — but you'd be wise not to make a habit out of it. Consistently high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol throughout early adulthood can do more harm to your future health than to your current figure, according to a new study. They're a leading risk factor for coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco examined the extent to which bad cholesterol profiles in early adulthood are linked to later development of heart disease.

The researchers found that study participants with histories of high levels of the "bad" LDL cholesterol were five and a half times as likely to have a buildup of calcium in their coronary arteries (an early indicator of heart disease) than those who had optimal LDL cholesterol levels.

Rates of coronary calcium buildup were also higher in those who had suboptimal levels of the so-called "good" cholesterol, high density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol, although this association was weaker.

The study's message? You may feel immortal when you're young, but bad habits could come back to bite when you're older.

—Los Angeles Times

Practical ideas may work on cellulite

You can't do much about these deposits of fat and waste products that dimple the skin on your thighs and buttocks, but you can do something:

* Lose extra pounds. Yes, thin people can get cellulite. But extra fat in the body tends to increase dimpling and lumpiness.

* Eat well. Along with plenty of water, a low-fat diet that's high in fiber and complex carbohydrates — fruits, vegetables and whole grains — helps flush out waste (unlike fatty, salty products). Your body also won't produce more fat from the foods you eat.

* Try massage. Some people say kneading cellulite for a few minutes a day can stimulate the flow of blood and other fluids that break down waste. It may not work, but it also won't hurt you.

* Be wary of "miracle" products. There is little to no scientific evidence that cellulite creams are effective. Instead, they can drain your wallet and sometimes cause skin rashes. A regular lotion fortified with vitamin E may help soothe skin and improve blood flow.

* Exercise problem spots. All workouts are great, but ask a trainer about leg curls, squats and other specific moves that target your legs and butt.

* Stop smoking. Studies have found a link between cigarettes and cellulite; one reason is that smoking weakens skin. You can also try cutting down on alcohol, coffee and soda.

—Newport News Daily Press