Today’s Headlines: Weight Loss, Happiness and Lung Cancer

For weight loss, every extra minute of physical activity can help: When it comes to losing weight through exercise, the activity’s intensity may be more important than its duration. Even very brief periods (less than ten minutes) of intense physical activity can help prevent weight gain, a new study shows. According to researchers, “every minute spent engaging in high-intensity, short bouts of exercise was linked to a .07 decrease in body mass index (BMI).” Consequently, “each minute of high intensity exercise was associated with a 5 percent decreased chance for obesity in women and a 2 percent decreased chance for obesity in men.” (Fox News)

United Nations report: U.S. 17th happiest country in the world: Are you happy, America? A new report from the United Nations shows that the U.S. ranks 17th out of 156 countries when it comes to happiness. The results came from “survey takers’ self-reported evaluations of their own lives” between 2010 and 2012. “The happiest countries in the world this time around were Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden. The saddest places were Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo.” According to the report, variables that were linked to happiness included “real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity.” (CBS News)

Breath tests could be used to diagnose lung cancer: New research suggests that “collecting samples of exhaled breath from people at a high risk of lung cancer could be a cheap and non-invasive method of diagnosing the disease.” Scientists have been working on an “electronic nose” technology “which works by detecting different profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in breath samples.” The study showed that this technology was surprisingly accurate at detecting lung cancer, yielding few misdiagnoses. (EurekAlert!)