Originally created 09/21/00

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Anxious children

One out of eight children ages 9 to 17 suffers from an anxiety disorder, but few are diagnosed and those who are are often under-treated.

Although adult anxieties have been well studied, childhood anxieties - including panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder - have been ignored, according to a report prepared by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and the National Institute of Mental Health.

"Clearly, we do not yet have the solid scientific evidence we need to make recommendations to clinicians, educators and parents on how to prevent and treat these illnesses," said Jerilyn Ross, the association's president.

Weighty issue

Most women probably would agree with the findings of a Harvard study indicating that women feel better when they lose weight and worse when they gain weight.

In a study of more than 40,000 women, 43 percent gained 5 or more pounds and 19 percent lost 5 or more pounds over four years. "We found that when women gained weight they were more likely to see a decline in their physical function and vitality while at the same time they were more likely to experience an increase in bodily pain," Dr. Ichiro Dawachi reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

On-the-job health

Many people believe that someone with a serious mental problem has little chance of a good career or job. But they are wrong.

A Boston University study of 500 professionals and managers who have had a serious mental problem found that 73 percent were able to achieve full-time employment in occupations that ranged from semi-professionals, such as nurses, case managers and administrators, to executives and professionals, such as lawyers, professors and CEOs.

Their disorders included bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Eighty-four percent of the participants were taking psychotropic medications, and 64 percent had been hospitalized.

Fool the body

Hit a plateau in your diet plan? Consider adding more air. Increasing the volume of foods by pumping them up with air can help reduce how much you eat without reducing satisfaction, according to Barbara Rolls, professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Rolls and her team of researchers recently conducted a test that involved giving strawberry smoothies - a kind of fruity milk shake - to lean subjects 30 minutes before they were served lunch. They used three sizes of smoothies but kept the calories and basic nutrients constant. But some were whipped in the blender for a longer time, filling them with more air and producing drinks of higher volume.

The more whipped the smoothie - that is, the bigger the volume - the less food was eaten later at lunch. Dr. Rolls found that subjects who drank the largest smoothies reduced lunch calories by as much as 12 percent, or roughly 100 calories. This despite the fact that all the smoothies had the same number of calories.

But it's not only whipped foods that help fill the stomach without adding calories. Irregular-shaped foods that look big send a strong visual message to the brain, too, Dr. Rolls says. Among these foods are salads, reduced-calorie bread (secret revealed: they are often filled with air) and flaky or puffed cereals or snacks.