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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.

Overcoats

"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.

Television

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.

Husbands

"So when are you going to settle down and get married?" some moms ask their daughters whenever an eligible male walks by -- that is, one with a strong pulse and no wedding band. Besides pleasing Mom, marriage may actually be good for your physical and mental health and even add a few years to your life.

"Healthier people marry sooner and married people live longer," John E. Murray, PhD, a professor of economics at the University of Toledo in Ohio, tells WebMD. After studying life span in a large group of male college graduates, Murray concluded that married men did live longer than bachelors, even when their health in early adulthood was taken into account.

"A spouse tends to tone down the other spouse's self-destructive behavior, like drinking, smoking, and carousing at night," Murray says, "as well as caring for one another when sick and the knowledge of security that brings."

Eyes and Ears

Yes, carrots are good for your eyes -- and so are spinach and collard greens. A 2000 review in the International Ophthalmology Clinics reports that these vegetables, high in beta-carotene, vitamin A, and other helpful vitamins and minerals, may help prevent or even slow down night blindness, the genetic eye disease retinitis pigmentosa -- which gradually leads to blindness -- and other progressive eye diseases.

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