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Life in Brief — week of Aug. 18

Study finds weight bias
increases risk of obesity

Discriminating against someone for being fat isn’t real helpful. But a new study says it also seems to make people gain weight.

“Rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, weight discrimination increases risk for obesity,” the researchers wrote in the journal PLOS One.

It seems logical that calling someone names — or worse — for being fat would discourage them from taking part in gym class or other physical activities, and that happens, the researchers said. They said such discrimination seems also to lead to “coping behaviors including problematic eating.”

The researchers from the Florida State University College of Medicine looked at 6,157 people from the Health and Retirement Study in 2006 and 2010 to see what happened both to people who already were obese and to others who said they faced discrimination for their weight.

Participants who experienced weight discrimination were about 2.5 times more likely to be obese by the follow-up survey and participants who were obese in 2006 were three times more likely to still be so in 2010, the researchers wrote.

— Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Laundry basket helps
to plan ahead for a trip

Joan D. in Virginia writes: About two weeks before I leave on a trip, I place a laundry basket in my bedroom. Then, when I think of something I want to take or wear on my trip, I put that item in the basket. (I can always edit later!) When it comes time to get out the luggage, I never fear leaving important items behind.

— King Features

Glow app applies data 
to aid in fertility issues

When it comes to getting pregnant, the size of your data does matter. That’s the premise behind Glow, an app for the iPhone and iPad to figure out the best time to try to get pregnant.

The app predicts a woman’s chances of conception on a particular day based on a survey the user takes each day. Among those behind the free app is PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

According to the company, some of Glow’s co-founders have had fertility challenges of their own or have seen friends struggle with conception. The company wanted to apply big data toward fertility as well as make it easier for couples to have access to fertility treatments.

“Our emerging ability to crunch and analyze vast quantities of data will be specifically used to help get you pregnant,” the app website said.

The app will send women daily recommendations for increasing their chances. And men who download the app can also receive recommendations and alerts on how best to help in the effort.

Additionally, users of the app can apply to join Glow First, a community fund for infertility treatment.

When a couple joins the program, they pay $50 a month for 10 months or until they get pregnant. The money is pooled together into a nonprofit fund that includes money from other couples that joined Glow First in the same month. At the end of the 10-month period, the fund is divided equally among the women who could not get pregnant. The money is sent directly to the fertility clinics of the women’s choice and can be used for treatments.

— Salvador Rodriguez

Los Angeles Times


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