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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

All Pain and a Little Gain

Middle-aged spread is a fact of life for men


CANCEL THAT SUBSCRIPTION TO GQ and give up trying to fit into your old college jeans -- that middle-aged spread is predestined. This latest bit of bad news comes from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the U.S., which studied 7,000 American men to see if exercise prevented the centimeters and kilograms from collecting around their middles.

It didn't. Even men who maintained a constant jogging schedule between the ages of 20 and 50 still gained an average of 1.5 kg and added almost 2 cm to their waistlines. The only way to stay slim and trim, say researchers, is to continually increase the amount of exercise with age. To keep his youthful figure, a man who ran 15 km every Saturday in his twenties, would have to run a weekly 80-km marathon in his fifties.

Sound dispiriting? Even if regular exercise does not keep the spare tire off, it does benefit the heart and lungs. But be sure to take care of your joints -- especially knees. Wear proper running shoes, run on soft ground when possible and see a doctor if aches and pains persist.


IN BRIEF

CRACKING COLD SORES COLD SORES CAN PLAGUE sufferers at any time of the year. The lesions that form around the corners of the mouth often strike when you are tired, stressed or chilled. Caused by the common herpes simplex, the virus can remain in the body for a lifetime, but the sores can be treated with good results at home.

A tingling sensation around the mouth is a clue that cold sores are on the way, so at the first sign of an itch, slap a wet tea bag on the area. Tannic acid, a natural astringent found in tea, has anti-viral properties that help slow the onslaught. Ice cuts swelling and itching, while petroleum jelly prevents cracking and bleeding.

Use straws when drinking to avoid stretching the skin around your mouth and resist the temptation to scratch -- it will only spread the virus. If the malady persists more than two weeks or eye pain develops, visit your doctor -- it could mean the virus is spreading.

Better red Environmentalists have long been urging us to "think green" and now dietitians are telling us to "pick red." Red bell peppers, also called capsicums, are more nutritious than their green cousins, say the experts, because they spend longer on the vine gleaning more goodness from the soil and sun. The result? Twice as much vitamin C, nine times more vitamin A and beta-carotene, a valuable antioxidant. Another reason to go scarlet: some people claim red peppers are less gaseous than green.

-- By Catherine Shepherd


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