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Women at par with men in taking risks

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London, Oct 7: Women can be just as risk-taking as men or even more so when the conventional macho measures of daring, such as betting money at a high stake poker game or riding a bike without a helmet, are replaced by less stereotypical criteria, reveals a new study.

Assessment of heroism, bravery or audacity often focus on traditionally masculine behaviours such as gambling or skydiving.

However, when this bias is addressed, women and men tend to rate themselves as equally able to take risks, revealed the study.

“Traditional measures of risk-taking tend to overlook the fact that women take risks,” said Thekla Morgenroth, a researcher at the University of Exeter in the UK.

“When people imagine a risk-taker, chances are that the person they picture will be a man. In other words, in our culture, risk is strongly associated with masculinity.”

In the study, published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, the researchers analysed 238 people in two experiments.

When stereotypically masculine criteria such as gambling at a casino or going white-water rafting were used, men rated themselves as more likely to engage in risk-taking.

Conversely, when new behaviour was included, such as taking a cheerleading class or cooking an impressive but difficult meal for a dinner party, women rated themselves as equally or more likely to take risks.

“Understanding the nature of gender differences in risk taking is particularly important as the assumption that women are risk averse is often used to justify ongoing gender inequality — such as the gender pay gap and women’s under-representation in politics and leadership,” noted co-researcher Michelle Ryan, a professor from the varsity.

IANS

Health

Walking just 35 minutes daily can reduce stroke risk in elderly

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Walking old elderly
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New York, Sep 20: Older adults can prevent their risk of strokes by taking a daily stroll for just 35 minutes a day or four hours a week, say researchers.

Indulging in moderate physical activity, such as swimming, brisk walking, or running two to three hours a week may also reduce the severity of strokes than people who are physically inactive.

“Stroke is a major cause of serious disability, so finding ways to prevent stroke or reduce the disability caused by stroke are important,” said Katharina S. Sunnerhagen, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“While exercise benefits health in many ways, our research suggests that even simply getting in a small amount of physical activity each week may have a big impact later by possibly reducing the severity of a stroke,” she added.

For the study, published in the journal Neurology, the team identified 925 people with an average age of 73 who had a stroke.

Of the 481 people who were physically inactive, 354 or 73 per cent had mild stroke. Of the 384 who engaged in light physical activity, 330 or 85 per cent had mild stroke. Of the 59 people who engaged in moderate physical activity, 53 or 89 per cent had mild stroke.

People who engaged in light to moderate physical activity before their stroke were twice as likely to have a mild stroke rather than a moderate or severe stroke when compared to people who were physically inactive, the researchers said.

“There is a growing body of evidence that physical activity may have a protective effect on the brain and our research adds to that evidence,” Sunnerhagen said.

The study does not prove that physical activity reduces stroke severity; it only shows an association, she noted.

IANS

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Opinionated women not easily accepted in our country: Jwala Gutta

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Jwala Gutta

New Delhi, Sep 18 : She remembers the time when some of her seniors gave statements that she can’t play badminton but that made Jwala Gutta more determined and she went on to win both Junior and Senior Nationals in the same year.

The former Badminton player Jwala Gutta says that she always spoke her mind and that it didn’t go down well with some sections of the society. She also feels that the country is still very reluctant to accept an opinionated woman.

Gutta is one of the seven influences who is part of fourth edition of Levi’s #IshapeMyWorld movement that celebrates unstoppable women who have shaped their lives on their own terms.

In the video, the retired left-handed Indian badminton player can be seen expressing how some of her seniors gave statements that was not in her favour. When asked about it, she told IANS over an e-mail, “My focus was always on my goals and I never got affected by the things they said. My game and performance answered for me. The same year I did not only win the junior nationals but also won the senior nationals.”

She feels that #IShapeMyWorld is all about living on your own terms and being unstoppable, which she believes in too.

“I have never compromised on my principles or changed for anyone. I never wasted time getting affected by the negative things people had to say and rather used all my energy and focus to better my game,” said Gutta, who was also awarded the Arjuna Award, India’s second highest sporting honour for her achievements.

So is a woman with opinion not taken well in sports as well?

“The scene in sports is getting much better these days. The players are being recognised and appreciated for their performance in various sports. As for woman raising voices, I think an opinionated woman is still not very easily acceptable in our country,” she said.

Gutta started playing badminton at the age of six. In 2000, aged 17, she won the Junior National Badminton Championship and in the same year she also won the Women’s Doubles Junior National Championship and the Senior National Badminton Championship, both in partnership with Shruti Kurien.

Her other achievements include bronze medal at 2011 BWF World Championships in London, and a gold and silver at 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games respectively in the women’s doubles event which were the first for the country in the discipline.

She also won the historic bronze medal at the 2014 Thomas & Uber Cup held at New Delhi, a bronze medal at Badminton Asia Championships in the same year and final and semi-final appearances in many big international events.

Talking about the hurdles intially, she said: “When I took up doubles, I was surrounded by a lot of criticism. Even my parents thought that I wasn’t making the right choice, but like I said before, I believe in myself and my skills and it was important for me to make a difference.”

Gutta says that she is a straight-forward person and does not believe in manipulating an individual in any way.

“Sports was never just a hobby for me, it was a profession from the very beginning. I don’t believe that I have made any sacrifices. I gave up on certain things for something that I enjoyed the most…. I don’t think there is anything wrong in speaking your mind. Every individual should be free to express their opinions. I think what should be looked at is the medals I have won for my country,” she said.

In the video, Gutta is also seen talking about the “hypocritical society”.

“If there is a sportsman and he is stylish and glamorous, nobody asks him, but if a sports woman is stylish or glamorous, she is questioned. Why can’t we just be looked at as a sports person,” said Gutta who has also supported some social causes, including women empowerment issues, anti-tobacco and anti-zoo campaigns.

She has also been involved in many other campaigns including Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and has also launched the Indian Badminton League’s (IBL) school programme ‘Shuttle Express’ in Pune, for school children.

Finally her take on female badminton players?

“I want to wish them all the best because this is the golden time for women in sports, especially badminton. Our players are shining through and doing a great job. They just need o focus on their game and not think of external factors that distract them from putting on the best performance they can,” said Gutta who is currently enjoying her time spent with family and friends along with a lot of travelling.

(Nivedita can be contacted at [email protected])

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Health

Late-night use of gadgets leaves kids sleep-deprived: Study

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Late night smartphone gadget kid
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New York, Sep 18: Most parents believe that an excessive late night use of gadgets has significantly hampered the sleep patterns of their teenaged children, leading to poor academic performance, researchers warn.

According to them, 56 per cent of parents fall in this category.

In the study, published by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan, 43 per cent of parents said their teenage children are struggling to fall asleep or wake up.

“The poll suggests that sleep problems are common among teenagers and parents believe late-night use of electronics are a main contributor,” said Sarah Clark, poll co-director at M.P.H.

For the study, the researchers included responses from 1,018 parents with at least one child who are aged between 13-18 years of age.

Teenagers’ hectic schedules and homework load — as well as anxiety about school performance and peer relationships — are also seen by parents as contributing to sleep problems.

Some parents also reported that their child experienced occasional sleep problems (one to two nights per week) while 18 percent believe their teenage kids struggle with sleep three or more nights per week.

In addition, 10 per cent of parents believe their teenage kids’ sleep problems are associated with their health conditions or medication.

“Other reasons of sleep disturbances included irregular sleep patterns due to homework or activities which accounted for 43 per cent, worries about school (31 per cent) and concerns about social life (23 per cent), the study noted.

The parents have encouraged their children to try different strategies at home to help them cope up with sleep problems, including limiting caffeine in the evening (54 per cent), turning off electronics and cell phones at bedtime (53 per cent), having a snack before bed (44 per cent) and natural or herbal remedies, such as melatonin (36 per cent).

IANS

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