Health Watch: January 8th

- Educating the public about smoking dangers, raising cigarette taxes and passing smoke-free laws have helped about eight million people avoid premature deaths over the past 50 years. That is according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers says the people who benefited from tobacco control efforts gained nearly two decades of life on average. This January marks the 50th anniversary of the first surgeon general's report on smoking and health. 

The Centers for Disease Control says only about one quarter of U.S. children ages 12 to 15 are getting the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to  vigorous exercise every day. The 2012 federal government study found more boys get physical activity than girls and nearly half of U.S. boys reported playing basketball. Information for the study came from in-home interviews, physical examinations and surveys. 

Fit teenagers are less likely to have heart attacks later in life, according to researchers in Sweden. Their study looked at nearly 750,000 men and found those who were aerobically fit in their later teenage years were less likely to have a heart attack 30 or 40 years later. 

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