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Like Grandma said, hand washing and breakfast are important

A study of second grade students shows that the proper washing of the hands results in a decrease of germs and leads to fewer illnesses and less time out of school. A study of second grade students shows that the proper washing of the hands results in a decrease of germs and leads to fewer illnesses and less time out of school.

There was a time when I quite regularly would quote from the simple truths our parents taught us and show how right they were. This was especially so from our mothers and grandmothers. I have often acknowledged how wise many of them were and are.

Recently, a study was done on handwashing in kids. Researchers wanted to know if hand washing affects school absenteeism. The targeted groups were second graders. The students were first taught how to wash their hands. This is a very important step as hand washing has become a lost art. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-P) recommends first wetting the hands, then turning off the water, applying soap and scrubbing the hands for 20 seconds being sure to clean the back of the hands and between the fingers and nails. They then recommend turning on the water and rinsing well then drying off with a clean towel or let air dry.

To no one’s surprise, especially so to our grandmothers and mothers, this was a positive study. The proper washing of the hands did result in a decrease of germs on the second graders hands. They had fewer illnesses and they missed less time out of school. Interestingly, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol was better. Not sure if grandma knew this.

In a second new study conducted in Spain researchers wanted to know if eating breakfast had any effect on cardiovascular health. Well, I personally do not know any grandmothers from Spain. I do know that most of the grandmothers here will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you should make sure you eat breakfast.

In the Spain study researchers looked at breakfast skippers, those who ate a so called light breakfast and those who had a traditional breakfast. The study participants ate approximately 2300 calories a day and when 20 percent of the calories or roughly 460 calories were consumed with breakfast that was considered a high energy or good, traditional breakfast. Those who consumed 115 to up to 460 carlories were the light or low energy eaters.

Dr. Valentine Fuster with Mount Sinai in New York and with the Madrid’s Fundacion Centro National de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III, reported the findings. He found that people who are habitual breakfast skippers had more hardening of the arteries, especially in the arteries of the stomach and neck.

The researchers that were the light energy breakfast eaters were also more likely to have this hardening of the arteries also but in the neck and leg arteries.

The researchers noted that this pattern of breakfast skipping led to the study participants making poor eating choices throughout the day such as eating out a lot and consuming more alcohol. The skippers were also found to be overweight. Researchers believe that skipping breakfast might be a marker of an unhealthy diet.

We all know that science must perform studies to prove theories. Grandma could have told you the answer to these theories in short time.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on North Carolina A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Email Dr. Bland at