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Super-Sized Soda Consumption: My parents tell stories of the once-a-week (if that) treat that soda was for them growing up, but by the time I reached childhood, there was an extra icebox in the basement just for Pepsi, Coke and Country Time Lemonade. Sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks have become the go-to beverages for many of us—according to the CDC, about half of Americans consume them on any given day. Diet drinks weren’t included in the study (while diet beverages might not have the calories and sugars of ‘the real thing,’ they’re associated with their own health risks), but as it stands, the average grown man gets an extra 175 calories per day from sugary drinks; the average woman, 94 calories.

Sugary drinks became ingrained in American daily life because of effective ad campaigns, fast-food restaurants and increased serving sizes,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. But the tides are turning. “There’s pretty much a consensus among health officials that soft drinks are a major cause of obesity.”

Arthritis and Exercise: Obesity may be to blame for the growing number of Americans with gout, researchers say. Gout, a painful form of arthritis, has gone from affecting 1 to 4 percent of the population since 1988. Those with arthritis aren’t doomed to inactivity, though—at least that’s the message being put forth by tennis star Billie Jean King. King, 67, has been campaigning for the Arthritis Foundation about how exercise can help arthritis sufferers. ”Tennis is my weapon of choice against arthritis,” she says.

And while keeping active might not be the fountain of youth, maybe it’s at least, like, a cup of it? The Los Angeles Times explores the many (science-backed) ways that exercise can stave off the ravages of time.

“A lot of things that we thought were just inherent to the aging process and were going to happen no matter what don’t really have to happen if you maintain an appropriate lifestyle,” University of Maryland kinesiology professor Jim Hagberg says.

Quick Hits:  Vivian Diller, a 58-year-old author and former model/ballet dancer, discusses ways that women can keep a positive self-image as they get older (without resorting to Botox injections or orthopedic shoes) …Scientists yesterday announced that people with extra copies of certain genes are much more likely to be very skinny—the first finding of a genetic cause for thinness (one in around 2,000 people carry these extra genes) … And can you be both unemployed and ‘retired?’ “Collecting two income streams from the government appears to be perfectly legal,” writes Time’s Dan Kadlec. “But if you pull it off I wouldn’t shout too loudly about it.”

(Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

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