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Health warnings over salt, obesity … and weekend lie-ins

A round-up of the health news headlines on Monday 23 July

The Guardian is among the papers warning this morning that better ‘traffic light' food labelling is needed to reduce the number of stomach cancers linked to salt.

Too much salt is believed to promote cancer by damaging the stomach lining. An estimated 14% of stomach cancers in the UK – one in seven cases – could be avoided by reducing salt intake to recommended levels, the paper says.

People in the UK consume an average of 8.6 grams of salt each day, much of it hidden in processed food. This is 43% higher than the maximum recommended amount of six grams - equivalent to one level teaspoonful.

A standardised form of colour-coded ‘traffic light' food labelling would help consumers monitor their consumption of salt, sugar and fat, according to a World Cancer Research Fund spokesman quoted in the paper.

More than half of over-50s know that they are overweight yet one in three does no exercise at all, according to a survey picked up in the Daily Mail.

The Populas survey commissioned by Saga health insurance found that while 37% said they were physically unable to exercise, for a third the problem was simply that they had 'no motivation'. 

But the survey did find that the over-50s eat more healthily than later generations, with a third getting their five-a-day compared to just a fifth of younger adults.

And in case you´re suffering from that Monday morning feeling today, the Daily Mail is on hand to explain that you may be experiencing ‘social jet lag'.

Researchers say sleeping in at the weekend can leave us too tired for the start of the working week, with many remaining groggy until Wednesday.

The immediate effects include poorer memory and reaction times, which would explain that familiar Monday morning feeling of sluggishness, according to the Mail.

A study carried out at Rush University in Chicago into how changes in sleeping patterns affect reaction times suggests that a shift of just two hours can leave you worse off in the week.

Test subjects were asked to hit a button when they saw a bullseye appear on a screen. Unsurprisingly, they were slower in the mornings than in the evenings – but they were also far slower after a pattern of sleep similar to getting up early on a Monday morning after a weekend of late starts, results published in the journal Applied Ergonomics showed.

 

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