iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two brains are better than one when it comes to tackling certain things, but a new study indicates that when it comes to weight loss, a person’s chance of shedding pounds is greater when they don’t team up with a partner.

In a study published in the journal Eating Behaviors, researchers assessed 50 overweight duos who made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, and found those who dieted together generally failed separately.

The researchers found that when a person was successful in regulating his or her diet and was able to eat healthier, that made their partner less confident in controlling his or her own food portions.

According to study author Jennifer Jill Harman, people “feel less confident achieving their goals when they see others succeeding at the same goals.”

For heterosexual couples, comparing weight loss can be even more frustrating, especially for women. Research at the Mayo Clinic has found that men tend to lose weight and keep it off easier than women because guys have more muscle, which helps burn off more calories and increase their metabolism.

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dolgachov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents buying their teenage children cars should open up their wallet and opt for a new car instead of a used one, researchers say.

A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and published in the journal Injury Prevention, looked at national data on drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 and drivers aged 35 to 50 who were killed in car accidents. The biggest difference, the study found, was the age of the cars.

An overwhelming majority — 82 percent — of the teenagers killed in crashes were driving vehicles that were more than six years old. Even more striking, 48 percent were driving vehicles 11 years old or older.

Those older cars, researchers say, were less likely to have safety features, such as electronic stability control and side air bags, which might have cut the rate of teens killed in crashes. In fact, researchers say, the rate of fatal crashes for teens is about three times that for adult drivers.

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Spotmatik/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new report named the most and least prepared states in the country when it comes to infectious disease.

The report, put out by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, used ten indicators of preparedness to judge the states. At the top of the list of best prepared states? Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. On the other end of the spectrum, Arkansas finished at the bottom of the list.

Among the indicators used in the report are preparation for emerging threats, vaccinations, healthcare-associated infections, sexually-transmitted infections, food safety, core capabilities, integration of health care and public health and leadership and accountability. A state successful in a given indicator would receive one point.

The top five states, TFAH said, received just eight out of 10 possible points, while Arkansas received just two.

Among the biggest problems, the report indicated, were that just 14 percent of states vaccinate at least half of their population and only 16 states performed better than the national standardized infection ratio for central-line-associated bloodstream infections.

The full report can be found here.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Europe’s highest court ruled on Thursday that obesity can, under certain circumstances, be considered a disability, taking a step forward against obesity discrimination, experts say.

The European Court of Justice heard the case of a child-care worker identified in the ruling as “Mr. Kaltoft,” who claimed he had been fired from his job because of his weight. The court ruled that although obesity was itself not a disability, it can cause certain hindrances that can be considered a disability.

“In the past, employers have said with respect to obesity, ‘Well, this is their fault,'” said Ted Kyle, chairman of the nonprofit Obesity Action Coalition, which is headquartered in Florida. Until now, employers did not feel obligated to accommodate obese employees in the workplace because they deemed that being obese was a personal choice, Kyle noted.

He said various genetic and environmental factors are at play when it comes to obesity, and that employers are realizing they can’t discriminate people based on weight.

The European Court of Justice ruled that it was for the national court to determine whether Kaltoft’s obesity qualifies as a disability — analogous to the U.S. Supreme Court tossing a case back to a lower state court to hash out the details.

Though we have the Americans with Disabilities Act in the United States, Rebecca Puhl, deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, said obesity only meets the definition of disability in some cases. In most cases, it does not meet the definition and the legal cases that hinge on obesity as a disability are generally not successful.

“The plaintiff must prove that his or her obesity is disabling or perceived to be disabling by others,” Puhl said.

Kelly Brownell, a professor at Duke University’s Stanford School of Public Policy, said although some people may not want to be labeled as having a disability, he thinks the move is positive and puts Europe ahead of the United States.

“My perspective on this is that it’s a good idea because there’s very clear research showing that overweight people are discriminated against in most settings where there have been studies,” Brownell said, pointing toward studies in education, health care and employment.

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Second Sight(NEW YORK) — Modern medicine has always been capable of amazing things, but 2014 was an especially remarkable year.

Much of what happened over the past 12 months wasn’t even possible just a few short years ago. Some occurrences, like the ones that follow, might even qualify as miracles:

Bionic Eyesight

In October, a North Carolina man became one of the first people in the world to receive a bionic prosthetic eye implant. After being blind for over 30 years, doctors were able to restore a limited amount of his sight.

The wireless device works by picking up light through a tiny camera and transmitting the light into the nerves of the retina which then send signals to the brain. The University of California researchers who developed the technology call it basic but “a huge leap forward.”

Robokick

The 2014 World Cup soccer tournament began with a kick by a paraplegic man in a mind-controlled exoskeleton.

“As we go after the world cup, we would like to examine a number of other movements,” said Miguel Nicolelis, one of the 100 researchers who helped develop the robotic suit as part of the Walk Again Project.

3D Printed Body Parts

This was the year print-on-demand body parts became a viable reality. From the prosthetic hand printed for under $10 by high schoolers to the custom “bionic arm” 3D printed for a 6-year-old boy, scientists and citizens alike printed up a substitute for just about every joint in the body. Scientists also experimented with bio-printing organs as well.

Miracle Babies

This was a banner year for miracle babies. Conjoined twins survived and thrived in Dallas, a rare “Ghost Baby” born without 80 percent of her blood was saved, and there was a breakthrough stem cell treatment in the so-called “bubble baby disease,” a rare condition that leaves its young victims without a workable immune system.

Miracle Moms

When a 40-year-old woman’s heart stopped beating for 45 minutes during labor, doctors were about to call her time of death. Suddenly they spotted a blip on the heart monitor.

“I remember seeing a spiritual being who I believe was my dad,” Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro said of the incident which happened in November. “I remember the light behind him and many other spiritual beings.”

Incredibly, her heart started again on its own, doctors said. She successfully delivered a healthy baby girl, Taily, by cesarean.

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Second Sight(NEW YORK) — Modern medicine has always been capable of amazing things, but 2014 was an especially remarkable year.

Much of what happened over the past 12 months wasn’t even possible just a few short years ago. Some occurrences, like the ones that follow, might even qualify as miracles:

Bionic Eyesight

In October, a North Carolina man became one of the first people in the world to receive a bionic prosthetic eye implant. After being blind for over 30 years, doctors were able to restore a limited amount of his sight.

The wireless device works by picking up light through a tiny camera and transmitting the light into the nerves of the retina which then send signals to the brain. The University of California researchers who developed the technology call it basic but “a huge leap forward.”

Robokick

The 2014 World Cup soccer tournament began with a kick by a paraplegic man in a mind-controlled exoskeleton.

“As we go after the world cup, we would like to examine a number of other movements,” said Miguel Nicolelis, one of the 100 researchers who helped develop the robotic suit as part of the Walk Again Project.

3D Printed Body Parts

This was the year print-on-demand body parts became a viable reality. From the prosthetic hand printed for under $10 by high schoolers to the custom “bionic arm” 3D printed for a 6-year-old boy, scientists and citizens alike printed up a substitute for just about every joint in the body. Scientists also experimented with bio-printing organs as well.

Miracle Babies

This was a banner year for miracle babies. Conjoined twins survived and thrived in Dallas, a rare “Ghost Baby” born without 80 percent of her blood was saved, and there was a breakthrough stem cell treatment in the so-called “bubble baby disease,” a rare condition that leaves its young victims without a workable immune system.

Miracle Moms

When a 40-year-old woman’s heart stopped beating for 45 minutes during labor, doctors were about to call her time of death. Suddenly they spotted a blip on the heart monitor.

“I remember seeing a spiritual being who I believe was my dad,” Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro said of the incident which happened in November. “I remember the light behind him and many other spiritual beings.”

Incredibly, her heart started again on its own, doctors said. She successfully delivered a healthy baby girl, Taily, by cesarean.

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Craig Barritt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Rapper Rick Ross is a music industry heavyweight who has been known as much for his big hits as his imposing size. But he’s sporting a far slimmer physique these days.

In an interview with ABC News’ Sara Haines, the “Hustlin’” rapper who was born William Leonard Roberts II said he’d lost about 85 pounds in the past year through lifestyle changes and CrossFit workouts.

“I just feel like I was at the point in my life where, you know, so many other positive things were happening in my career, my life. And, you know, two years ago I suffered two seizures,” the 38-year-old said. “And, you know, I woke up from that. And I was like, ‘Wow.’”

He added: “I was just like, ‘I really need to, you know, re-evaluate what I’m doing.'”

The rapper had embraced his more rotund shape. He famously appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone showing off his large bare belly.

He told Haines he had to change.

“You know, I feel I’m fat boy forever. I’m going to always be a fat boy. But it most definitely was just something I had to do, you know, for the better, you know. And I always enjoy my size. I love taking my shirt off, running around, you know … it was really a health issue for me,” he said.

He made some drastic changes, cutting back on his drinking, sleeping more and watching what he ate.

“Sodas was the first thing I cut out. Most definitely. That was, majority of my sugar. The way I ate, you know, fast food,” he said.

Now, on a typical day, he’ll have three eggs with turkey bacon for breakfast, then he’ll do a workout.

“That’s RossFit, you know. I put a twist on that CrossFit,” he said, laughing.

Ross said he gets in three to four CrossFit workouts per week, and admits that some people have questioned the change, which can go against the stereotype of rappers always living the high life.

To those detractors, Ross has an answer.

“I say, ‘Baby, you already know … I still got it. Ain’t nothing went nowhere. You just better with it, you know what I mean? And you know, everything really been going well,” he said.

Ross is forging full-steam ahead musically, churning out album after album. His latest is Hood Billionaire, his second in seven months.

He said it’s a result of his passion for music.

When Haines asked him whether the weight loss affected his music or his life, he replied:

“Not at all, you know. My music just comes … from the heart,” adding that he drew inspiration from all aspects of life, including the interview with Haines.

He jokingly told Haines he might rap about her.

“I may actually put your name, you never know, in a verse,” he said. “But, you know, every day I wake up, there’s something new for me to feed on, or I see something new that’s going on around me that I could make not just a punch line, but an actual topic for an incredible record.”

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Mark Davis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Drew Barrymore and her husband Will Kopelman welcomed their second child, a daughter Frankie, this past April and only now is she starting to worry about shedding the extra baby weight.

“It took nine months to build. It should take nine months to get off,” she told People magazine of waiting to focus on dropping the weight. “I wanted fettuccini alfredo. I didn’t want a barbell.”

As for those mothers that immediately get in the gym right after giving birth, Barrymore doesn’t want to hear it.

“I was like, ‘Don’t talk to me about how fast and fabulous you are or it came off.’ That was not my experience. I’m having to work my ass off until I even think about getting it off,” she added.

Frankie joins big sis Olive, 2, and with the family growing, the actress, 39, says she is working less and less.

“The acting has to be less and less because it’s too time-consuming. I love it and I don’t want to abandon it, but it can’t be at the forefront right now,” she said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(GRENOBLE, France) — A manly man likes spicy foods, true or false?

While it seems a bit preposterous, researchers at France’s University of Grenoble say that a man’s liking of hot and spicy grub may actually prove that he has higher levels of testosterone than guys who regularly pass on fiery foods.

The proof, as it were, was in the mashed potatoes or rather, what the researchers offered participants to put on their potatoes.

Some of the 114 men in the study, ages 18 to 44, opted for spicy pepper sauce while others chose table salt. Upon measuring their saliva, the researchers discovered that men with more testosterone were the generally the ones who favored the spicy sauce.

In one way, it appeared to make sense since the hormone is often associated with risk-taking and what could be more risky than food that burns your mouth?

However, the researchers weren’t ready to jump to the conclusion that spicy food also causes men’s testosterone levels to spike even though it seemed to happen when they conducted tests on rats.

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iStock/Thinkstock(JONESUU, Finland) — Breakfast lunch dinner. Breakfast lunch dinner. Breakfast lunch dinner.

By now, you know the drill that three meals a day are important for optimum health, especially when it comes to children. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, many youngsters aren’t getting three squares daily.

That’s the finding of University of Eastern Finland PhD candidate Aino-Maija Eloranta who studied the eating habits of more than 500 children between the ages of six and eight.

Only 45 percent of the boys and a third of the girls ate breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and the meal that they tended to skip the most was dinner, considered the one with the most calories and nutrients.

The study also involved measuring the youngsters’ body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure and other important data. As it turns out, those children who ate three meals had smaller waists and were far less prone to being overweight than others who didn’t eat major meals.

However, regardless of how many meals they consumed, snacks were regularly consumed by all children, providing more than 40 percent of their daily calories in some cases.

Eloranta doesn’t completely disparage snacks although she worries that they are often high in sugar and low in important stuff like fiber.

In general, she says that parents should try to feed their kids three meals daily, which can help them to avoid obesity and heart problems later in life.

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