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Jumbo Warning

January 05, 1998

Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, but it may also mean more pounds on you. This according to the University of Pennsylvania, which found the larger the package, the more a person will eat in a single sitting. If you're concerned about your waistline, researchers recommend purchasing food in smaller packages or transferring food bought in bulk to smaller plastic containers. If not, that "jumbo size" Frosted Flakes you buy may soon describe more than just the box.

Stomachache

If Santa dropped off one of those super-duper abdominal exercisers for Christmas, this shouldn't hurt too much. If, however, you bought one, you might want to get in a fetal position (which counts as a stomach crunch). Advertised as a product that will give you the world's greatest abs, TV- and store-bought crunchers may work--but no better than doing the crunch without the contraption. An ab trimmer's only benefit may be providing an additional motivator to the user, according to the study's authors from the department of kinesiology at Cal State Northridge. So, if you paid for your cruncher, you'll have even more incentive now.

Backache

It's fine to wear a weightlifter's belt--just don't keep it on while lifting heavy weights. That's the conclusion of an Ohio State University study, which found that the so-called back belts do nothing to reduce back strain. In fact, the danger is that the belts provide a false sense of security to wearers who then might try to lift more weight than they would normally try. However, the back belts do help people who are recovering from a back injury, according to the study. But if you lift wisely, you won't have to test that finding.

Of Mice and Boys and Girls

Are jocks just a bunch of dummies? They might be, but according to a recent study by the Salk Institute, kids who play sports could be developing significantly more brain cells than kids who don't. Researchers found that mice which ran on exercise wheels and navigated plastic tubes and tunnels logged a 15% increase in brain cell production compared to mice that did little. The study suggests the same could hold true for active kids into their high school years. Maybe that's why teenagers think they know everything.

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