Aug. 10, 2006
-- MARRIED PEOPLE LIVE LONGER A new study finds that people who have never married have the highest risk of death in the United States, contrasting with other studies that have found the highest risk in divorced, separated or widowed populations. There are many reasons married people tend to be healthier, not the least of which is they tend to be wealthier. Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the new study finds that, compared with married people, people who are widowed are 40 percent more likely to die, people who are divorced or separated are 27 percent more likely to die, and people who have never married were 58 percent more likely to die. Authors believe that social isolation in never-married people may play a role in increasing their relative risk. However big these differences in death risk sound, they are actually quite small compared with some other more important factors. For example, people in their 50s are more than 1,500 percent more likely to die compared with people in their early 20s.
MORE THAN 3 PERCENT OF U.S. TEENS HAVE EXCHANGED SEX FOR MONEY OR DRUGS A surprising number of teenagers say they have traded sex for money or drugs at least once in their lives, according to a new study from Sexually Transmitted Infections. Scientists from the Pacific Institute for Research Evaluation analyzed a national sample of 13,000 adolescents. Overall, 3.5 percent of teens said they had exchanged sex for drugs or money, and two-thirds of those who had done so were boys. Kids who engaged in this behavior were more likely to be African-American, live in a nontraditional family, and have parents who had no higher education. These teens were also more likely to have run away, had a same-sex experience and been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.
FAT BABIES Even newborn babies are fat nowadays, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity. It's controversial to label young children as overweight because they still have so much to grow, but Harvard School of Public Health researchers say their study shows that the obesity epidemic extends even to infants. Over 22 years, the prevalence of overweight children under age 6 increased from 6 to 10 percent, and the authors say infants from birth to 6 months had the greatest jump -- the number of overweight infants increased 74 percent. Researchers say this isn't reason to put babies on diets but more a caution to parents about the dangers of overfeeding.
STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.