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Life in Brief — week of Dec. 22

Screaming kids top list

of annoyances on planes

If you are a parent who lets your children scream and go nuts on a plane, congratulations — you top the list of most annoying etiquette violators in the air.

Parents who travel with loud children are considered more annoying than passengers who kick the seat in front of them and travelers with foul odors. Even fliers who take off their shoes and socks in the air-tight cabin are less offensive, according to a survey of 1,001 Americans by the travel website Expedia.

Annoying children and their parents were ranked by 41 percent of those surveyed as the most annoying airplane etiquette violators. So it was no surprise that 49 percent of Americans surveyed said they would pay extra to be seated in a designated “quiet zone,” free of screaming children, the survey found.

But the survey pointed out some hypocrisy: Travelers who fully recline their seats were ranked as the 7th worst violation even though 80 percent of travelers admitted they fully recline their seat at some point in the flight.

“Most of us, when we look at the list of offending behaviors, can admit to having committed one or more of these violations,” said John Morrey, general manager of Expedia.

— Hugo Martin

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Keychains can become ornaments for trees

Phyllis W. in California writes: When I travel, I look for Christmas ornaments to put on my tree. They were impossible to find in some places. While at Niagara Falls, I noticed a key chain decorated with a boatload of passengers dressed in rain gear — so cute!

I bought a small artificial Christmas tree. The key chains slip easily on the branches. My little tree is now covered with key chains from Italy, London, India, etc., and it gets more attention than my large tree!

— King Features

Vitamin D supplements
may not help disease

A large review of studies has found that vitamin D supplements have little or no benefit beyond the low levels required for bone health.

The meta-analysis, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, combined data from 290 observational studies and 172 random trials. All of the studies used blood levels of vitamin D to measure outcomes. Dosages varied, but most trials used 800 units or more.

The studies generally found that lower vitamin D levels were associated with increases in cardiovascular disease, lipid concentrations, glucose levels, weight gain, infectious diseases and mood disorders. But random trials showed little or no effect of vitamin D supplements on any of these problems. The authors concluded that low vitamin D levels were almost surely an effect of these diseases, not a cause.

Current guidelines recommend supplements for anyone with a blood level of vitamin D under 30 nanograms per milliliter, but the lead author, Dr. Philippe Autier, said that only at levels of 10 or less would there be a risk to skeletal health. He estimated that less than 10 percent of Americans fall into this category.

— Nicholas Bakalar

New York Times


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