A few extra pounds may be just what the doctor ordered. A survey of 39,000 Americans found that while obesity kills, there are actually advantages to being slightly overweight. Severely overweight people are far more likely to die from diabetes and kidney disease, but people who are up to 25 pounds overweight appear to have resources that help them survive infections, disease, and accidents. “The relationship between fat and mortality is more complicated than we tend to think,” said researcher Katherine Flegal. “It’s not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all situation.”
Breast-feeding makes babies smarter, said a comprehensive international study. Ninety percent of babies carry a digestive gene that allows them to reap the extra benefits of breast milk. So when fed at their mothers’ breasts instead of given formula, nine out of 10 babies experience meaningful brain growth, increasing IQ by an average of about seven points.
Napping on the job is good for your heart. A six-year study of more than 23,000 people found that three 30-minute naps per week reduced the risk of heart disease by an astounding 37 percent. That makes dozing off as effective a health strategy as exercising and pharmaceuticals. “Napping is much more pleasant than taking an aspirin,” said heart expert Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos. “And between you and me, much more pleasant than exercising.”