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Nov 11, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- CONSIDER A PNEUMONIA VACCINE

Dr. Paul Pepe of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas advises those at-risk should consider a pneumonia vaccine. Pneumonia bacteria kill more than 40,000 people each year -- more than the estimated 36,000 who die from influenza. "In a way, the same group of people we need to target for influenza vaccination, the very young, the very old and those with chronic lung and heart disease or compromised immune systems, should also receive pneumococcal bacteria vaccines," says Pepe. "What's great about this immunization, is that most people will not need additional shots after the first one."


Sitting down to dinner as a family helps steer adolescent girls from eating disorders, finds University of Minnesota researchers. The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, finds girls who ate regular family meals in a structured and positive environment were less likely to exhibit extreme weight control behaviors such as diet pill use, vomiting and chronic dieting. Girls who ate three to four family meals per week were at about one-third the risk for extreme weight control practices. Sometimes scheduling a family breakfast is easier than a dinner. "It doesn't have to be a home-cooked meal -- the idea is to bring people together," says study leader Dianne Neumark-Sztainer.


The elderly who self-restrict driving to daytime hours, stay away from U.S. highways and plan around rush hour also might consider giving up driving. Most seniors don't want to give up the independence of driving but the fatality rate per mile of drivers 85 years and older is nine times higher than the rate for drivers ages 25 to 69 years, according to Paula Kartje of the University of Michigan Health System. She says the decision to stop driving is different for each person, but her UMHS Drive Ability Program may help. Signs that it's time to quit driving include: feeling fearful driving; not staying in the lane; having close calls; dents or scrapes on the car, fence, mailbox, garage door or curb; and getting lost more often. "Driving capability cannot be based solely on age," says Kartje. "I have seen some 85-year-olds that have functioned better than 60-year-olds."


Dr. John Kelly, a sports medicine specialist at Temple University in Philadelphia says there are common myths even his healthiest patients believe. Kelly suggests forgetting the "no pain, no gain" idea. In fact, any activity that uses major muscles, even walking and gardening, is sufficient, he says. "As far as the 30-minute workout, you can just was easily spread that time over two or three separate intervals." Weightlifting is better than aerobics at reducing body fat because muscle burns calories, according to Kelly. "Muscle outweighs fat, but it looks better."


(EDITORS: For more information on DINNER contact Sara E. Buss at (612) 624-2449 or For DRIVING, Paula Kartje at (734) 998 7911 or For EXERCISE, Jordan Reese, (215) 707-5083 or

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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