Weekly Health Watch with ways to avoid acid reflux, how music helps in your workout, news on memory foam mattresses and more.

Nearly 19 million Americans are affected by acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is characterized by heartburn occurring two or more days a week despite treatment and diet changes.


Here is some helpful information about acid reflux disease:


- Acid reflux disease can occur in both men and women, with varying severity of the disease among patients.


- Lifestyle modifications are part of a treatment plan to help manage a patient's acid reflux disease.


- Avoid common trigger foods, such as fried or fatty foods, citrus foods, onions and tomato-based foods as well as alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, chocolate, peppermint and spearmint.


- Maintain a healthy body weight.


- Eat small, frequent meals rather than large amounts of food at one time.


- Try not to wear tight-fitting clothing around your waist.


- Elevate the head of your bed 6-8 inches.


- Be smoke-free.


- Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional.


-- ARA


New Research: Higher education equals better health?


People with higher levels of education and higher income have lower rates of many chronic diseases compared with those with less education and lower income levels. For example, in 2007 through 2010, in households where the head of household had less than a high school education, 24 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls were obese. In households where the head had a bachelor’s degree or higher, obesity prevalence was 11 percent for males and 7 percent for females.


-- CDC


Did You Know?


Families should engage in physical activity each day for a total of 60 minutes for children and 30 minutes for adults.


Health Tip: Use the power of music


Music can be a powerful tool for uplifting your mood and relaxing your stress level. The right music can make you run faster, pedal harder or get fired up to take on higher intensity levels. Having the right music for your individual taste is the best way to maximize tunes to better your workouts, so pack playlists with your absolute favorite songs.


- Life Fitness


Number to Know


3: One in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure, a condition that causes around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease.


Children’s Health: Folic-acid fortified foods


Fortification of foods with folic acid has been mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1998. While fortification has been shown to reduce the prevalence of neural tube defects by 31 percent, a recent study investigated whether the same fortification has reduced the risk of childhood cancers. In studying data from 1986 to 2008 for 8,829 children ages birth to 4 years who have been diagnosed with cancer, the authors found that folic acid fortification of foods may have reduced rates of Wilms tumors and possibly primitive neuroectodermal tumors in children.


-- American Academy of Pediatrics


Senior Health: Is memory foam too squishy?


Many baby boomers are experiencing the luxury of a memory-foam mattress. But, according to an article on Barrons.com, many boomers are choosing good sleep over good sex because of the squishiness that allows you to sink into the bed. SleepLikeTheDead.com reports that about 40 percent of memory foam mattress owners said the sex is less than ideal, but 80 percent said they are satisfied with their bed, which is the highest rate among the market, said the site's editor.


-- AARP


GateHouse News Service