Vital Statistics: Thanksgiving Edition

A roundup of some unusual studies making news. As always, a mention here doesn’t mean an endorsement.

Giving thanks is good for your health?

A new Wall Street Journal article by Melinda Beck examines the growing amount of research that suggests a gratuitous attitude can improve one’s overall psychological, emotional and physical well-being.

Studies conducted over the past ten years have suggested that adults who maintain a gracious attitude generally have increased levels of energy, optimism, happiness and more social connections. Research has also shown that these adults tend to earn more money, sleep better, maintain a regular exercise routine, and have greater resistance to viral infections.

Studies are also finding that gratitude benefits children and adolescents, who are more likely to do better in school, set higher goals, be less materialistic and be more satisfied with friends and family.

This Thanksgiving, don’t forget the sweet potatoes.

New research released by the CDC has revealed that consuming high levels of the antioxidant alpha-carotene may reduce the risk of death by up to 39 percent.

The 14 year study consisted of more than 15,000 adults in the U.S. The researchers reported significant associations between alpha-carotene levels and the risk of death from all causes, including heart disease and cancer.

Alpha-carotene is found in high concentrations in yellow/orange vegetables, including the Thanksgiving staples, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. It can also be found in dark green vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach. This study is published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Even Thanksgiving can’t keep people away from their work e-mail

A new survey conducted by Harris Interactive has found that 59 percent of U.S. working adults will be checking their work e-mail over Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.

The survey polled 2,179 adults in the U.S., ages 18 and older. Of the 59 percent who check their e-mail, 55 percent said they will check their work inbox at least once a day and 28 percent will look at their work e-mail multiple times throughout the day.

79 percent say that have been sent work related emails over a holiday. 41 percent said that they get frustrated when receiving work related e-mails over a holiday, while 15 percent admitted that they were thankful to be distracted by work e-mail during the holidays.

10 percent of those who said they check work e-mail during a holiday, admitted that they did so while at holiday parties or meals.

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