These Pregnant Women Are Taking Bleaching Pills in the Quest for Lighter-Skinned Babies


Published: March 2, 2018

RH Weekly News Roundup – 2 March 2018

Questing for Lighter-Skinned Babies

As many as 75 percent of Nigerian women use skin lightening products in the hopes that they won’t be the one to suffer the negative side effects, but instead reap the supposed (and sometimes very real) benefits of lighter skin. It’s become such a norm, a rite of passage for many, that they’re willing to overlook the potential consequences, including hyperpigmentation, kidney failure, and skin cancer. And, that’s if it doesn’t directly scar the skin.

Now it seems that mothers don’t want to wait for their children to reap the benefits of lighter skin; in Ghana, pregnant women have begun taking medication designed to lighten their baby’s skin inside the womb. But, there is no safe or approved drug capable of achieving these results; the pills women are taking are illegal and can cause birth defects, undeveloped organs, and limb deformities. Instead of offering their children a better life, most women are, instead, hindering their children’s chances. As we work to alleviate the belief that lighter skin is somehow superior, be sure to pass along the information regarding these fake medicines to anyone you know who might be tempted to take them.


You Might Want a Coffee before Your Workout, Not After

There’s been a lot of data collected about the effects of caffeine on sports and exercise performance in professional athletes. But, these studies have always focused on the role of caffeine taken in pill form as this is how the pros often take it. But, if you’re just an average person trying to make the most of your workout, you’re unlikely to go through such lengths. Thankfully, you don’t need to – new research suggests that a cup of coffee before your workout does more than make you more alert. It’s also shown to increase anaerobic performance and may dampen your brain’s ability to feel pain during exercise.

The study stresses that the type of coffee consumed, your body’s ability to process it, and perhaps even your ability to otherwise abstain from caffeine all play a role in the efficacy of a cup of coffee before your workout. That said, ongoing research reveals that coffee may also play a role in extending your life. But, while it may make you temporarily more alert, it doesn’t seem to prevent dementia. On the other hand, exercise might; perhaps this is one of those chicken or egg situations, but at least it comes with coffee.



Could Too Much Standing Be As Bad As Too Much Sitting?

For the past couple of years, we’ve been hearing reports that too much sitting can be as dangerous for your health as smoking. If you sit in an office all day, it’s probably motivated you to get back to the gym or maybe even take the stairs instead of the lift. (And, those definitely aren’t bad things to be doing.) And, you may have considered a standing desk – or convincing the powers that be to offer them for the office.

But, a new (though we will say, very limited) study has shown that there are some drawbacks to too much standing. Not only did the participants report increased discomfort, but they also experienced delayed mental reaction times. We want to stress that the research only included 20 participants – and the benefits of more standing tend to be stronger than just heading to the gym to counteract the long sitting periods. More than that, though, it appears that fidgeting and keeping your legs active while sitting may be even more effective than standing for a couple of hours a day. It may take some time for science to determine the best positions for working, we suggest balancing activity with rest – and while you can push your body sometimes, you should also listen if you really need to take a seat.


Could a New Treatment Stop Stunting in Africa?

While many people associate obesity with Western fast food diets and a lack of exercise. And the correlation is valid; it’s one of the reasons Africa is beginning to experience increasing obesity. But, it’s not as if the problems of food scarcity, wasting, and stunting have disappeared. Compared to the most advanced economies which have low stunting rates (the US has a two percent stunting rate, for example), Africa has a regional average of 40 percent.

Traditional methods of combating stunting have focused on increased nutritional intake for children under five. In addition to the limited food varieties available to rural and marginalised communities, research has shown that growth begins during the foetal period; it’s often too late by the time children are born. While maternal nutrition can improve a child’s chances, newly released research from a clinical trial in Malawi shows that combating maternal infections (through doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and azithromycin) can reduce stunting by six to 11 percent. Additional research in this direction may just offer hope for a healthier generation.


More Benefits Seen in Fasting Diets

It seems as though intermittent fasting is the diet choice du jour. The principle behind it seems entirely logical: your body is forced to burn reserved fats when it doesn’t receive new energy sources. But, as you can imagine, it can also be dangerous when taken to extremes. Many people develop unhealthy relationships with food when forced to go without for some time. It appears that controlled, intermittent fasting may actually be good for brain activity.

Moreover, it’s actually proving to be an amazing tool when building endurance levels. Laboratory tests suggest it can extend the average person’s ability to exercise by 20 or 30 percent. But, it’s not just going to happen overnight; endurance doesn’t just happen. That means you’ll need to take it slow if that’s your aim – and you shouldn’t ever undertake drastic dietary changes without consulting a dietician or health care provider; celebrity fasters aren’t experts on your body – sorry.

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