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Fit Fix: The Stock Market Is an Indicator of Mental Health

Plus more of today's top health and science headlines.

1) Market fluctuations may correlate with hospitalizations 

Research published in the journal Health Policy and Planning says the stock market could be a good gauge of the country’s mental health. The research found that as stocks go down, hospitalizations for mental disorders go up (in one case a 1% decrease in stock price index coincided with a .36% increase in hospitalizations). The research team suggested that people with emotional and mental problems should pay the daily whims of the market less heed, for their own sake if nothing else. [EurekAlert]

2) Better Understanding of Our Eating Habits

When you're sad, you snack on junk food. When you’re happy, you opt for smarter, healthier choices. This pattern of behavior is almost accepted as a fact. However, an article from the University of Delaware looks to refine our perspective on behavioral eating habits. Rather than focusing on the sole issue of “mood vs. food,” the research team tried to frame how we choose to eat within the context of a timeline. We eat crap not merely because we're sad, but because we've lost sight of our future goals, "in evolutionary sense, it makes sense that when we feel uncomfortable or are in a bad mood, we know something is wrong and focus on what is close to us physically and what is close in time, in the here and now," says the article's author, Meryl Gardner. [ScienceDaily]

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3) Quit smoking to improve your state of mind

A big reason smokers have a hard time quitting is that they're afraid they'll become depressed. Many feel they'll lose the outlet for stress and relaxation that they believe cigarettes offer. A new UK study suggests, however, that psychological distress is caused by withdrawal and addiction, and that smoking heightens psychological problems rather then tempering them. Quitting for good could improve one's mental health overall. [MNT]

4) California lawmakers propose soda warning labels

State officials have proposed a law to place cautionary messages on sugary soft drinks with artificial sweeteners and containing more than 75 calories per 12 ounces. Similar to the health warnings found on cigarettes and alcohol, the labels would allegedly say: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay." [AP]

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