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Women's Health

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Mother Knows Best

Mom deserves a lot more credit than we give her. Here are 10 things that she got right.

Mealtimes continued...

Mom insisting we wash up before dinner is also a great idea, especially after caring for farm animals and exotic pets. These loveable critters have been linked to dangerous outbreaks of E. coli, a bacterial infection causing bloody diarrhea, fever, vomiting, kidney failure, and even death.

What about a hot bowl of chicken soup for your cold? An old wives' tale, right? Not according to Stephen Rennard, MD, a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Although Rennard has not yet tested in people the healing powers of his wife's legendary soup recipe, the 'liquid gold penicillin' is pretty impressive in the lab, preventing movement of white blood cells that leak into body tissues and cause inflammation.

"This might explain why chicken soup makes us feel better when we have a cold, because it might prevent symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, and achy joints," Rennard tells WebMD.


"Button up your overcoat! And don't forget the galoshes/mittens/muffler!" Don't you just cringe thinking about it?

Turns out that cold weather does stress the immune system and can lower our resistance to infections, especially if we're not accustomed to it. So Maree Gleeson, an exercise physiologist at the University of Birmingham in England, suggests that athletes competing in cold climates protect themselves by limiting exposure and wearing warm clothing.


Remember when Mom told you to spend less time glued to the TV and more time outside playing? A study published in the April 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry showed that exposure to TV, video games, and other media is linked to increased violent and aggressive behavior and more high-risk behavior, including alcohol and tobacco use and earlier onset of sexual activity.

"TV viewing could contribute to childhood obesity and other health problems," Jyu-Lin Chen, RN, MS, a doctoral student at the Young Children's Health Project of the University of California, San Francisco, tells WebMD. "Planning family activity with your child, such as playing sports or games, is the best way to help reduce TV-viewing time and decrease its negative impact on your children's health."

Dietz adds that TV viewing means more than a tendency for less physical activity: 25% of food consumption in children happens in front of the TV set. Listen to Mom if you don't want to be a couch potato.

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