Discourage obesity

People who read the nutritional information on food labels are generally thinner than those who don't read labels, says an international team of researchers in Spain, whose study findings link label reading to obesity prevention, especially in women.

Data from surveys of more than 25,000 people suggest women who read nutrition information on food labels have a BMI (body mass index) score 1.49 points lower than women who never read food labels.

Lower cancer risk

A large-scale 13-year study of U.S. male physicians aged 50 or older who took a multivitamin daily reduced their risk for overall cancers by 8 percent - the equivalent of about 130,000 cancers prevented annually.

Combined with a good diet and healthy lifestyle, the findings confirm multivitamins safely and effectively fill in nutritional gaps.

Early birth savings

A whopping $3 billion could be saved if the world's highest-income countries adopted five relatively straightforward measures to reduce their numbers of premature births.

So says a report published in November to coincide with World Prematurity Day, which analyzed premature-birth records from around the world.

If 39 of the world's highest-income countries carried out the recommendations, which include encouraging women to stop smoking during pregnancy, limiting the number of embryo transfers in assisted reproductive technologies and reducing the number of caesarean births and induced labors, they could reduce by 5 percent the number of babies born prematurely.

Although this only equates to 58,000 births - a drop in the ocean compared with the 115 million babies born prematurely each year - it would translate to $3 billion in savings associated with pre-term care and estimated lost household income, say the authors of the report.

Increasing fullness

The oral stimulation of chewing food is an important factor in satiety, according to researchers in the Netherlands and Switzerland.

In order to isolate the effects of chewing on satiety, researchers conducted a study in which 26 men chewed food for between one and eight minutes without swallowing; meanwhile their stomachs were filled with food through a feeding tube.

A meal was given 30 minutes later - those with longer chewing times consumed 19 percent fewer calories, demonstrating the act of chewing impacted satiety.