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You don’t need a doctor to get more physically active – here are 10 simple steps you can take by yourself

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nerys-m-astbury-410114">Nerys M Astbury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-oxford-1260">University of Oxford</a></em></p> <p>We all know physical activity has many <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/">health benefits</a>, including for mental health. It helps <a href="https://theconversation.com/exercise-can-reduce-stress-and-improve-sleep-particularly-for-women-with-breast-cancer-186144">manage stress</a>, ease joint or back pain, and boost energy levels.</p> <p>Exercise can also improve <a href="https://theconversation.com/exercise-and-the-brain-three-ways-physical-activity-changes-its-very-structure-150203">brain function</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/exercise-really-can-help-you-sleep-better-at-night-heres-why-that-may-be-192427">sleep</a>, and lift mood. In contrast, inactivity or spending too much time <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6308180/">sedentary</a> is a leading factor in developing a range of diseases.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240015128">World Health Organization</a> recommends we should do a weekly minimum of 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, such as swimming, jogging or an exercise class – as well as <a href="https://theconversation.com/strength-training-could-be-the-answer-to-one-of-the-worlds-worst-killers-228665">regular strength training</a>.</p> <p>However, many people <a href="https://www.who.int/teams/health-promotion/physical-activity/global-status-report-on-physical-activity-2022">fail to meet these guidelines</a>. So what to do about this <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/12/lack-exercise-inactivity-preventable-diseases/">health crisis</a>?</p> <p>There is already <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj-2021-068465">evidence</a> that when GPs give patients guidance and continued support to increase physical activity, this encourages them to be more physically active – at least in the short term. However, we don’t yet know the best way for doctors to communicate with patients to help them sustain these increased activity levels so the current guidance and support on offer to patients isn’t as effective as it could be.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vCCD1xHKpZc?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>For example, my <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/386/bmj-2023-078713">latest research</a> examines the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c1900">“motivational interviewing” (MI)</a> method GPs currently use to encourage patients to change their lifestyle. MI is a patient-centred, non-confrontational communication style that helps patients address any problem behaviour by exploring their ambivalence towards changing it. MI has been shown to help patients with a host of health problems, including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25577724/">addiction issues</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23001832/">eating disorders</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25726920/">smokers</a> and those with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33637368/">diabetes</a> to change their behaviour.</p> <p>However, I found that while MI programmes can help patients increase their total amount of physical activity – the benefits are only short term.</p> <h2>Ten simple ways to be more physically active</h2> <p>If you want more physical activity in your life, then, there are many self-directed things you can do to help yourself, without joining a programme or seeing your GP.</p> <p>Here are ten simple and effective ways to help you become – and stay – more physically active:</p> <p><strong>1) Don’t sit, stand</strong></p> <p>We <a href="https://theconversation.com/sitting-is-bad-for-your-health-and-exercise-doesnt-seem-to-offset-the-harmful-effects-225056">sit a lot</a>. In fact, it’s likely you’re sitting right now – and you needn’t be. Sitting for long periods has been <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2010.05.024">linked</a> with many adverse health outcomes, so try to stand more.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wUEl8KrMz14?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p><strong>2) Take the stairs</strong></p> <p>Being physically active needn’t mean expensive gym memberships. Try building physical activity into your daily routine. One easy way to do this is by swapping the lift or escalator for the stairs.</p> <p><strong>3) Make it fun</strong></p> <p>If you like doing something, you’re <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-shouldnt-let-guilt-motivate-you-to-exercise-220342">more likely</a> to continue doing it. Why not try an activity you liked doing as a child, or even something new? Who knows, you might enjoy it.</p> <p><strong>4) Phone a friend</strong></p> <p>Exercising <a href="https://theconversation.com/exercise-can-be-punishing-but-heres-how-to-stop-thinking-of-it-as-a-punishment-76167">with a friend</a> or loved one is a great way to stay motivated, and it can make physical activity more fun too.</p> <p><strong>5) Do less, more often</strong></p> <p><a href="https://pilotfeasibilitystudies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40814-023-01272-8">“Snacktivity”</a> – a term for breaking up your activity into shorter <a href="https://theconversation.com/forget-the-gym-in-january-exercise-snacking-is-the-way-forward-69702">activity “snacks”</a> – can help you increase activity in convenient, manageable bursts while reaping the health benefits.</p> <p><strong>6) Track your progress</strong></p> <p>Activity trackers aren’t a fad. There is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2589-7500(22)00111-X">evidence</a> that just using an activity tracker such as a pedometer to count steps or a smart watch that logs activity can help increase your activity levels, reduce body fat and increase muscle mass – and increase your overall physical fitness.</p> <p><strong>7) Get into a habit</strong></p> <p>We know it takes about ten weeks to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/">form a habit</a>. Repetition is key – so stick with it and keep going. Once you’ve formed a physical activity habit, it will be <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/habit-formation#:%7E:text=Building%20healthy%20habits%20can%20involve,listening%20to%20music%20while%20exercising">hard to shake it off</a>.).</p> <p><strong>8) Hold still</strong></p> <p>Try to incorporate <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isometric_exercise">isometric exercises</a> like the plank or wall squats into your routine. These exercises, which need no equipment, require you to tighten muscles and hold still – and have been shown to <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/20/1317">lower your blood pressure</a>.</p> <p><strong>9) Set a goal</strong></p> <p>Give yourself an achievable target to work towards – it will <a href="https://theconversation.com/three-tips-to-help-you-stay-motivated-to-keep-exercising-all-year-long-175868">motivate you</a> to reach your goal.</p> <p><strong>10) Reward yourself</strong></p> <p>And don’t forget to reward yourself when you meet that goal. You can also build in rewards to mark your progress along the way. After all, who doesn’t like to treat themselves when they’ve done well?<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231991/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nerys-m-astbury-410114">Nerys M Astbury</a>, Associate professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-oxford-1260">University of Oxford</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/you-dont-need-a-doctor-to-get-more-physically-active-here-are-10-simple-steps-you-can-take-by-yourself-231991">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Wild reason why woman divorced her husband

<p>A woman has asked for advice online after she explained the wild reason why she is divorcing her husband. </p> <p>Taking to Reddit's popular "Am I The A**hole?" thread, the mother explained that after her husband sat in the car for too long, she decided to end her two-year marriage. </p> <p>As she began to recall the situation, she prefaced the story by saying that for many years, her partner always liked to stay in the car five to 10 minutes after he got home.</p> <div> <div id="sda-INARTICLE"></div> </div> <p>“I don’t know why he does it, but he talked about a past traumatic experience he had when he came home and caught his ex cheating on him,” the Redditor wrote. “Because of that he’d just spend few minutes in his car before he enters his home as response to his trauma.”</p> <p>While the woman is understanding of her husband's unusual car quirk, she said he does not take into account how it negatively impacts her and their family. </p> <p>According to the Reddit writer, his prolonged period in the car makes her “uneasy” and has caused several arguments, especially when he’s sat in the driveway when guests are inside, or "when dinner is waiting on him and he’d take 10 minutes silently sitting in the car.”</p> <p>She went on to share that her biggest concern was finding her husband sitting in the car during a crisis, which was realised when a family emergency unfolded at home. </p> <p>The woman explained that her eight-year-old son fell and tripped when walking down the stairs, breaking his ankle as a result and needed to be taken to hospital.</p> <p> She then called her husband and asked if he could leave work to take him to the emergency room, saying, “Then I called and called and then I was stunned when I looked out the window and I saw him sitting outside the house in his car. I was both shocked and angry.”</p> <p>According to her husband, he had been sitting in the car for eight minutes and said that he wouldn’t come inside to help until his 10 minutes lapsed because he didn’t feel “comfortable.”</p> <p>The original poster noted, “He told me to get my son ready to take him to the hospital, but I started screaming at him nonstop telling him this was a family emergency and that he was out of his mind to behave like that.”</p> <p>The mother took her son to the hospital with the help of a neighbour and refused to answer her husband's calls when he finally emerged from the car. </p> <p>Later, she decided his response was so uncalled for that she took herself and her son to her mother's place and said she wanted a divorce from her husband of two years. </p> <p>“He tried to rationalize and justify what he’s done saying he could not help it and that he was nervous and wanted to help my son but felt stuck,” the Redditor said.</p> <p>She continued, “I refused to reply to his messages and days later his family literally harassed me saying I was making my husband’s trauma more severe and that I disrespected his boundaries.”</p> <p>After time had passed from the situation, the woman wondered if she had been too rash in her decision, and asked those online for their advice. </p> <p>Her post was met with hundreds of comments, with many saying they believe her husband is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). </p> <p>“It sounds like some form of OCD to me,” one person commented, while another agreed: “It sounds like he is stuck in a compulsive behavior.”</p> <p>The original writer confessed she had asked him to seek professional help for his behaviours, but he wasn’t up for it, saying, "He had refused professional help and his family sided with him.”</p> <p>To this, one reader added, “The fact that he has refused to seek help for it. Peak selfishness. Leaving is warranted. Best luck to you and your boy.”</p> <p>“If he refused professional help then you have your answer. You need to be able to rely on your husband in case of an emergency and he proved to you that you can’t. You’re definitely NTA (not the a**hole,” another argued.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Legal

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Why Greg Lynn could walk free from prison

<p>Greg Lynn has applied to be freed from jail until his sentencing hearing over the murder of Carol Clay. </p> <p>The former Jetstar pilot, who was found guilty of murdering the 73-year-old while she was camping with her secret partner Russell Hill in March 2020, is appealing the guilty verdict which the jury came to after a weeks-long trial in June. </p> <p>The 57-year old appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday where Justice Michael Croucher heard the convicted killer had been the victim of prison attacks during his six-week trial. </p> <p>The court heard Lynn's barrister Dermot Dann KC is in the process of compiling submissions calling on Justice Croucher to hold of on sentencing his client until an appeal over his conviction can be heard by the Court of Appeal. </p> <p>If granted, the "stay" of sentence could allow Lynn to apply for bail while his appeal goes through the court. </p> <p>The court also heard that Lynn had been placed in isolation within the Metropolitan Remand Prison for his own safety since the guilty verdict was read, but now fears he will be targeted by inmates at whatever prison he ultimately ends up in. </p> <p>Mr Dann said a successful appeal could result in Lynn being set free altogether without the possibility of a re-trial, due to doubts over whether he could obtain a fair trial because of the significant publicity surrounding the case and the murder conviction. </p> <p>"The chances of a fair re-trial are non-existent," Mr Dann said. </p> <p>The experienced barrister said any potential jurors would have been "polluted or poisoned" by the "inadmissible evidence" that has "flooded" news sites since the guilty verdict was delivered.  </p> <p>The court heard Mr Dann believed his client had multiple reasons to push for an appeal over his verdict, including the "unfair" way in which he claimed the Office of Public Prosecutions carried out the trial. </p> <p>Mr Dann reiterated to the court that his client has always maintained his innocence, saying, "He maintains that he's never killed any person at any time, at any place, anywhere, ever."</p> <div data-component="EmphasisedText"> <p>"The long-term future of that guilty verdict must be seen as being in grave doubt."</p> <p><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">The case was adjourned until a pre-sentence hearing on September 12th. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif;">Image credits: Facebook</span></em></p> </div>

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Cheeky diet soft drink getting you through the work day? Here’s what that may mean for your health

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p>Many people are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230225/">drinking less</a> sugary soft drink than in the past. This is a great win for public health, given the <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2749350">recognised risks</a> of diets high in sugar-sweetened drinks.</p> <p>But over time, intake of diet soft drinks has <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230225/">grown</a>. In fact, it’s so high that these products are now regularly <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412020319188">detected in wastewater</a>.</p> <p>So what does the research say about how your health is affected in the long term if you drink them often?</p> <h2>What makes diet soft drinks sweet?</h2> <p>The World Health Organization (WHO) <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/04-03-2015-who-calls-on-countries-to-reduce-sugars-intake-among-adults-and-children">advises</a> people “reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (six teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.”</p> <p>But most regular soft drinks contain <a href="https://www.actiononsugar.org/surveys/2014/sugar-sweetened-beverages/">a lot of sugar</a>. A regular 335 millilitre can of original Coca-Cola contains at least <a href="https://www.coca-cola.com/ng/en/about-us/faq/how-much-sugar-is-in-cocacola-original-taste">seven</a> teaspoons of added sugar.</p> <p>Diet soft drinks are designed to taste similar to regular soft drinks but without the sugar. Instead of sugar, diet soft drinks contain artificial or natural sweeteners. The artificial sweeteners include aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. The natural sweeteners include stevia and monk fruit extract, which come from plant sources.</p> <p>Many artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar so less is needed to provide the same burst of sweetness.</p> <p>Diet soft drinks are marketed as healthier alternatives to regular soft drinks, particularly for people who want to reduce their sugar intake or manage their weight.</p> <p>But while surveys of Australian <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551593/">adults</a> and <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/adolescents-knowledge-and-beliefs-regarding-health-risks-of-soda-and-diet-soda-consumption/32F3E0FD6727F18F04C63F0390595131">adolescents</a> show most people understand the benefits of reducing their sugar intake, they often aren’t as aware about how diet drinks may affect health more broadly.</p> <h2>What does the research say about aspartame?</h2> <p>The artificial sweeteners in soft drinks are considered safe for consumption by food authorities, including in the <a href="https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/aspartame-and-other-sweeteners-food">US</a> and <a href="https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/additives/aspartame">Australia</a>. However, some <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4899993/">researchers</a> have raised concern about the long-term risks of consumption.</p> <p>People who drink diet soft drinks regularly and often are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446768/">more likely</a> to develop certain metabolic conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) than those who don’t drink diet soft drinks.</p> <p>The link was found even after accounting for other dietary and lifestyle factors (such as physical activity).</p> <p>In 2023, the WHO announced reports had found aspartame – the main sweetener used in diet soft drinks – was “<a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/14-07-2023-aspartame-hazard-and-risk-assessment-results-released">possibly carcinogenic to humans</a>” (carcinogenic means cancer-causing).</p> <p>Importantly though, the report noted there is not enough current scientific evidence to be truly confident aspartame may increase the risk of cancer and emphasised it’s safe to consume occasionally.</p> <h2>Will diet soft drinks help manage weight?</h2> <p>Despite the word “diet” in the name, diet soft drinks are not strongly linked with weight management.</p> <p>In 2022, the WHO conducted a <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/15-05-2023-who-advises-not-to-use-non-sugar-sweeteners-for-weight-control-in-newly-released-guideline">systematic review</a> (where researchers look at all available evidence on a topic) on whether the use of artificial sweeteners is beneficial for weight management.</p> <p>Overall, the randomised controlled trials they looked at suggested slightly more weight loss in people who used artificial sweeteners.</p> <p>But the observational studies (where no intervention occurs and participants are monitored over time) found people who consume high amounts of artificial sweeteners tended to have an increased risk of higher body mass index and a 76% increased likelihood of having obesity.</p> <p>In other words, artificial sweeteners may not directly help manage weight over the long term. This resulted in the WHO <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/15-05-2023-who-advises-not-to-use-non-sugar-sweeteners-for-weight-control-in-newly-released-guideline">advising</a> artificial sweeteners should not be used to manage weight.</p> <p><a href="http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(16)30296-0">Studies</a> in animals have suggested consuming high levels of artificial sweeteners can signal to the brain it is being starved of fuel, which can lead to more eating. However, the evidence for this happening in humans is still unproven.</p> <h2>What about inflammation and dental issues?</h2> <p>There is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10817473/">some early evidence</a> artificial sweeteners may irritate the lining of the digestive system, causing inflammation and increasing the likelihood of diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and other symptoms often associated with irritable bowel syndrome. However, this study noted more research is needed.</p> <p>High amounts of diet soft drinks have <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-023-17223-0">also been</a> linked with liver disease, which is based on inflammation.</p> <p>The consumption of diet soft drinks is also <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40368-019-00458-0#:%7E:text=Diet%20soft%20drinks%20often%20have,2006">associated</a> with dental erosion.</p> <p>Many soft drinks contain phosphoric and citric acid, which can damage your tooth enamel and contribute to dental erosion.</p> <h2>Moderation is key</h2> <p>As with many aspects of nutrition, moderation is key with diet soft drinks.</p> <p>Drinking diet soft drinks occasionally is unlikely to harm your health, but frequent or excessive intake may increase health risks in the longer term.</p> <p>Plain water, infused water, sparkling water, herbal teas or milks remain the best options for hydration.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233438/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, Professor of Community Health and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cheeky-diet-soft-drink-getting-you-through-the-work-day-heres-what-that-may-mean-for-your-health-233438">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Huge news for Molly the Magpie

<p>The story of the unlikely friendship between Molly the Magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire terrier is set to be immortalised in an adorable new animated series. </p> <p>The wholesome news was announced on the duo's shared Instagram account on Thursday, revealing the first look at their animated characters. </p> <p>“We are so excited to announce Xentrix studios are going to bring to life a wholesome heartwarming animated series about a kind-hearted, animal loving couple and their beautiful staffy girls, a magpie & their friends,” the post read.</p> <p>“We are so grateful they are bringing to life this special friendship, for people of all ages to enjoy around the world”. </p> <p>The animated series will showcase the “heartwarming tales” and “playful escapades” of pair’s unique friendship short 11 minute episodes tailored for children between aged five and 11.</p> <p>An Instagram account dedicated to the series debuted a first look at the additional characters who will be joining Molly and Peggy on their animated adventures, including a trio of alley cats named Jinx, Rascal and Bandit, twin female border collies, Matilda and Tobi and a "big, fat cat" named Shelly. </p> <p>The series is expected to remain in development for the next year.</p> <p>Molly and Peggy first made headline in March after Molly was surrendered to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation officials following allegations the bird was not being “kept unlawfully”. </p> <p>However, after 42 days in a wildlife reserve and a campaigns led by Premier Steven Miles, Molly was returned to her owners, Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, under a series of strict conditions, including that there is no ongoing commercial gain from the bird or its image.</p> <p>Following questions raised about the owners and commercial gain from the series, Xentrix chief executive officer Chelsea Bonner said the Queensland couple have “simply allowed Xentrix to develop an animated series using the pet names of their animals”.</p> <p>“No payments have exchanged hands for this. The series isn’t funded yet and is likely in development for at least another year,” she said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Family & Pets

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We have too few aged care workers to care for older Australians. Why? And what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>In a country like Australia, we all expect that when we get old, we’ll be able to rely on a robust aged care system. But aged care providers can’t find staff and a crisis is brewing.</p> <p>If the problem isn’t fixed, there are serious risks to quality and access to services for older people who need support. There are also broader social, economic and political consequences for undervaluing the rapidly expanding health and social assistance workforce.</p> <p>Aged care <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/10/2020-aged-care-workforce-census.pdf">employs</a> around 420,000 people. Around 80% of those are front line staff providing care and demand for them is increasing rapidly.</p> <h2>Australians are ageing</h2> <p>The number of people aged 80 and over is <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/IGR_2010_Overview.pdf">projected to double</a> by 2050. At the same time, informal family care is becoming less available. In the next 25 years, <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/executive/shortfall-of-400000-aged-care-workers-predicted-by-2050/">twice as many</a> aged care staff will be needed.</p> <p>Currently, about 1.4 million older people <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/aged-care">receive</a> aged care services, including basic and more intensive home care and residential care.</p> <p>Health care and social support job vacancies and ads are the highest of any industry. Between 30,000 and 35,000 additional direct aged care workers a year are already needed. By 2030 the <a href="https://cedakenticomedia.blob.core.windows.net/cedamediacontainer/kentico/media/attachments/ceda-duty-of-care-3.pdf">shortfall</a> is likely to be 110,000 full time equivalent workers.</p> <h2>Why don’t enough people want to work in aged care?</h2> <p>Despite recent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/aged-care-workforce/what-were-doing/better-and-fairer-wages">pay increases</a>, it is difficult to attract and retain aged care workers because the work is under-valued.</p> <p>The Australian workforce is undergoing profound change. A generation ago, manufacturing made up 17% of the workforce. Today it has fallen to 6%. By contrast, the health care and social assistance workforce has doubled from 8% to 16%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The manufacturing workforce has declined, while health, aged care and social assistance has risen.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">ABS 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Manufacturing jobs were <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Manufacturing-Briefing-Paper-FINAL.pdf">mainly</a> secure, full-time, reasonably paid jobs dominated by male workers.</p> <p>By contrast, jobs in aged care are often insecure, part-time and poorly paid, dominated by women, with many workers coming from non-English speaking backgrounds.</p> <p>Since moving to take over aged care in the 1980s, the federal government has over-emphasised <a href="https://arena.org.au/a-genealogy-of-aged-care/">cost constraint</a> through service privatisation, activity-based funding and competition, often under the cover of consumer choice.</p> <p>The result is a highly fragmented and poorly coordinated aged care sector with almost 3,200, often small and under-resourced providers centrally funded and regulated from Canberra.</p> <p>This has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/a-matter-of-care-australia-s-aged-care-workforce-strategy.pdf">led to</a> high levels of casualisation, low investment in training and professional development, and inadequate supervision, particularly in the home care sector.</p> <p>Aged care is facing a perfect storm. Demand for care and support staff is increasing dramatically. The sector is poorly coordinated and difficult to navigate. Pay and conditions remain poor and the workforce is relatively untrained. There are no minimum standards or registration requirements for many front-line aged care staff.</p> <h2>What are the consequences?</h2> <p>An understaffed and under-trained aged care workforce reduces access to services and the quality of care and support.</p> <p>Aged care providers <a href="https://www.agedhealth.com.au/content/compliance-and-governance/news/troubled-outlook-for-aged-care-reforms-1224428737#:%7E:text=Its%20report%20found%20that%2053.8,was%20%22impossible%20to%20achieve%22.">routinely report</a> it is difficult to attract staff and they can’t meet the growing demand for services from older people.</p> <p>Staff shortages are already having an impact on residential care occupancy rates falling, with some regional areas now down to only 50% occupancy.</p> <p>That means older people either don’t get care or they are at increased risk of neglect, malnutrition, avoidable hospital admissions and a poorer quality of life.</p> <p>Inevitably, lack of aged care workers puts pressure on hospital services when older people have nowhere else to go.</p> <h2>What needs to be done?</h2> <p>Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach. Australia will need a massive increase in the number of aged care workers and the quality of the care they provide. Wages have to be competitive to attract and retain staff.</p> <p>But better pay and conditions is only part of the story. Unless aged care becomes a career the community recognises, values and supports, it will continue to be difficult to train, attract and retain staff.</p> <p>The recent <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care">Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety</a> highlighted the need for a more skilled workforce, emphasising the importance of ongoing professional development for all staff.</p> <p>To date the federal government’s aged care workforce initiatives have been underwhelming. They are a limited and piecemeal rather than a coherent workforce strategy.</p> <p>In the short term, skilled migration may be part of the solution. But progress to bring in skilled aged care workers has been glacial. Currently only about 1% of providers <a href="https://theconversation.com/overseas-recruitment-wont-solve-australias-aged-care-worker-crisis-189126">have agreements</a> to bring in staff from overseas. At best, overseas migration will meet only 10% of the workforce shortfall.</p> <p>Registration, qualifications and training for direct care work have to become mandatory to make sure care standards are met.</p> <p>Much more significant and systematic incentives and support for training will be needed. Supervision, career progression and staff development will also have to be dramatically improved if we are to attract and retain the workforce that is needed.</p> <p>“Learn and earn” incentives, including scholarships and traineeships for aged care, are needed to attract the future workforce.</p> <p>At the same time, a much broader investment in upskilling the entire workforce through continuing professional development and good quality supervision is necessary.</p> <p>Like manufacturing a generation ago, aged care needs to become valued, skilled, secure and well-paid employment if it is going to attract the staff that are needed to avoid a looming crisis.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232707/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-too-few-aged-care-workers-to-care-for-older-australians-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-232707">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Are you up to date with your COVID, flu and other shots? It might depend on who your GP is

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-breadon-1348098">Peter Breadon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anika-stobart-1014358">Anika Stobart</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p>Too many older Australians are <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/A-fair-shot-How-to-close-the-vaccination-gap-Grattan-Institute-Report.pdf">missing out</a> on recommended vaccinations for COVID, flu, shingles and pneumococcal that can protect them from serious illness, hospitalisation and even death.</p> <p>A new <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/">Grattan Institute report</a> shows vaccination rates vary widely from GP to GP, highlighting an important place to look for opportunities to boost vaccination.</p> <p>Many people get vaccinated at pharmacies, and those vaccinations are counted in our analysis. But we looked at GPs because they have a unique role overseeing someone’s health care, and an important role promoting vaccination.</p> <p>We found that for some GPs, nine in ten of their older patients were vaccinated for flu. For others, the rate was only four in ten. The differences for shingles and COVID were even bigger. For pneumococcal disease, there was a 13-fold difference in GPs’ patient vaccination rates.</p> <p>While some variation is inevitable, these differences are large, and they result in too many people missing out on recommended vaccines.</p> <h2>Some GPs treat more complex patients</h2> <p>A lot of these differences reflect the fact that GPs see different types of patients.</p> <p>Our research shows older people who aren’t proficient in English are up to 15% less likely to be vaccinated, even after other factors are taken into account. And the problem seems to be getting worse.</p> <p>COVID vaccination rates for people 75 years and older fell to just 36% in May 2024. But rates were even lower – a mere 11% – for people who don’t speak English proficiently, and 15% for those who speak a language other than English at home.</p> <p>Given these results, it’s no surprise that GPs with fewer patients who are vaccinated also have more patients who struggle with English. For GPs with the lowest vaccination rates, one-quarter of their patients aren’t proficient in English. For GPs with the highest vaccination rates, it is only 1%.</p> <p>GPs with fewer vaccinated patients also saw more people who live in rural areas, are poorer, didn’t go to university, and don’t have regular access to a GP, all of which reduce the likelihood of getting vaccinated.</p> <p>Many of these barriers to vaccination are difficult for GPs to overcome. They point to structural problems in our health system, and indeed our society, that go well beyond vaccination.</p> <p>But GPs are also a key part of the puzzle. A <a href="https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(14)01379-4/fulltext">strong</a> <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645515.2020.1780848">recommendation</a> from a GP can make a big difference to whether a patient gets vaccinated. <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/general-practice-allied-health-primary-care">Nearly all</a> older Australians visit a GP every year. And some GPs have room for improvement.</p> <h2>But GPs seeing similar patients can have very different vaccination rates</h2> <p>We compared GPs whose patients had a similar likelihood of being vaccinated, based on a range of factors including their health, wealth and cultural background.</p> <p>Among the GPs whose patients were least likely to get a flu vaccination, some saw less than 40% of their patients vaccinated, while for others in that group, the rate was over 70%.</p> <p>Among GPs with patients who face few barriers to vaccination, the share of their patients who were vaccinated also varied widely.</p> <p>Even within neighbourhoods, GP patient vaccination rates vary a lot. For example, in Bankstown in Sydney, there was a seven-fold difference in COVID vaccination rates and an 18-fold difference for pneumococcal vaccination.</p> <p>Not everything about clinics and patients can be measured in data, and there will be good reasons for some of these differences.</p> <p>But the results do suggest that some GPs are beating the odds to overcome patient barriers to getting vaccinated, while other GPs could be doing more. That should trigger focused efforts to raise vaccination rates where they are low.</p> <h2>So what should governments do?</h2> <p>A comprehensive national reform agenda is <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/A-fair-shot-How-to-close-the-vaccination-gap-Grattan-Institute-Report.pdf">needed to increase adult vaccination</a>. That includes clearer guidance, national advertising campaigns, SMS reminders, and tailored local programs that reach out to communities with very low levels of vaccination.</p> <p>But based on the big differences in GPs’ patient vaccination rates, Australia also needs a three-pronged plan to help GPs lift older Australians’ vaccination rates.</p> <p>First, the way general practice is funded needs to be overhauled, providing more money for the GPs whose patients face higher barriers to vaccination. Today, clinics with patients who are poorer, sicker and who struggle with English tend to get less funding. They should get more, so they can spend more time with patients to explain and promote vaccination.</p> <p>Second, GPs need to be given data, so that they can easily see how their vaccination rates compare to GPs with similar patients.</p> <p>And third, Primary Health Networks – which are responsible for improving primary care in their area – should give clinics with low vaccination rates the help they need. That might include running vaccination sessions, sharing information about best practices that work in similar clinics with higher vaccination rates, or offering translation support.</p> <p>And because pharmacies also play an important role in promoting and providing vaccines, governments should give them data too, showing how their rates compare to other pharmacies in their area, and support to boost vaccination uptake.</p> <p>These measures would go a long way to better protect some of the most vulnerable in our society. Governments have better data than ever before on who is missing out on vaccinations – and other types of health care.</p> <p>They shouldn’t miss the opportunity to target support so that no matter where you live, what your background is, or which GP or pharmacy you go to, you will have the best chance of being protected against disease.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234175/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-breadon-1348098"><em>Peter Breadon</em></a><em>, Program Director, Health and Aged Care, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anika-stobart-1014358">Anika Stobart</a>, Senior Associate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-you-up-to-date-with-your-covid-flu-and-other-shots-it-might-depend-on-who-your-gp-is-234175">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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So when should you book that flight? The truth on airline prices

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yuriy-gorodnichenko-144556">Yuriy Gorodnichenko</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-berkeley-754">University of California, Berkeley</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/volodymyr-bilotkach-145437">Volodymyr Bilotkach</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/newcastle-university-906"><em>Newcastle University</em></a></em></p> <p>How airlines price tickets is a source of many <a href="http://airtravel.about.com/od/travelindustrynews/a/mythticket.htm">myths</a> and urban legends. These include tips about the best day of the week to buy a ticket, last-minute discounts offered by the airlines, and the conspiracy theories suggesting that the carriers use cookies to increase prices for their passengers. None of these three statements is entirely true.</p> <p>Studies have suggested that prices can be higher or lower on a given day of the week – yet, there is no clear consensus on which day that is. Offered prices can in fact drop at any time before the flight, yet they are much more likely to increase than decrease over the last several weeks before the flight’s departure. Further, the airlines prefer to wait for the last-minute business traveler who’s likely to pay full fare rather than sell the seat prematurely to a price conscious traveler. And no, the airlines do not use cookies to manipulate fare quotes – adjusting their inventory for specific customers appears to be beyond their technical capabilities.</p> <p>What is true about pricing in the airline industry is that carriers use complex and sophisticated pricing systems. The airline’s per passenger cost is the lowest when the flight is full, so carriers have incentive to sell as many seats as possible. This is a race against time for an airline and, of course, no company wants to discount its product more than it has to. Hence, the airlines face two somewhat contradictory goals: to maximize revenue by flying full planes and to sell as many full-fare seats as possible. This a process known in the industry as yield or revenue management.</p> <h2>Airlines and their bucket lists</h2> <p>Here is how <a href="http://commons.erau.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1522&amp;context=jaaer">yield management</a> works. For each flight or route (if we are talking about multi-segment itineraries), the airline has a set of available price levels – from the most expensive fully refundable fare to the cheapest deeply discounted non-refundable price. The industry jargon for these prices is “buckets.” Then, seats can be interpreted as balls that are allocated among these buckets.</p> <p>Initial allocation of seats between the price buckets is determined by historical data indicating how well a certain flight sells. For example, fewer deeply discounted seats will be offered on a flight on Thanksgiving week than on the same flight during the third week of February. As the seats on a flight sell, yield managers monitor and adjust the seat allocation. If, for instance, the sales are slower than expected, some of the seats might be moved to lower-priced buckets – this shows up as a price drop. As noted above, such price drops can occur at any time before the flight. However, the general trend of price quotes is upward starting from about two to three weeks before the flight departure date.</p> <p>Of course, an average traveler wants to know when he or she should buy the tickets for the next trip. Another important question is where to buy this ticket. Airlines distribute their inventory on their own websites and on several computer distribution systems, meaning that prices can sometimes differ depending on where one looks. We are not entirely sure what precipitates this phenomenon – likely explanations include differences in contracts between the airlines and the distribution systems/travel agents, implying that different travel agents may not have access to the airline’s entire inventory of available prices.</p> <h2>When to book</h2> <p>The airlines’ yield managers start looking at flight bookings about two months before the departure date. This implies that it generally does not pay to book more than two months in advance: studies show that initially the airlines leave the cheapest price buckets empty, and yield managers may move some seats into those buckets if a couple of months before the departure date the flight is emptier than expected. Between two months and about two to three weeks before the flight date, the fare quotes remain mostly flat, with a slight upward trend. However, and perhaps paradoxically, there is a good chance of a price drop during this period. We tend to monitor prices for several days – sometimes up to a week – hoping for a potentially lower quote. It does not always pay off, but sometimes we do manage to save a considerable amount of money.</p> <p>Two to three weeks before the flight date, the price quotes start increasing. This is the time when business travelers start booking. While price drops are still possible, a chance of a price increase is much higher if you wait to book within this time period. This is also the time when one can find significant differences between price quotes, depending on where one looks and what contract they have with the airlines.</p> <p>Thus, if we book a trip earlier than three weeks before the flight date, we tend not to delay the purchase. At the same time, we check quotes from multiple travel agents, or go directly to a site that allows for a quick comparison of prices (such as <a href="https://www.kayak.com">kayak.com</a> or <a href="http://www.skyscanner.net">skyscanner.net</a>). Or check the airline itself.</p> <p>As for answering the original question we posed, here are some simple tips. First, if you have to travel during a peak period, such as Thanksgiving week, it is generally best not to delay buying that ticket. Otherwise, it might pay to monitor the offered prices for some time before committing. The best strategy for booking within the last couple of weeks before the flight, however, is not to delay the purchase, but to try getting quotes from several agents, which is easy to do in the internet age.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/34033/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yuriy-gorodnichenko-144556"><em>Yuriy Gorodnichenko</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-berkeley-754">University of California, Berkeley</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/volodymyr-bilotkach-145437">Volodymyr Bilotkach</a>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/newcastle-university-906">Newcastle University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/so-when-should-you-book-that-flight-the-truth-on-airline-prices-34033">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Rest in love": All Blacks legend and Dancing with the Stars winner dies at 55

<p>The sports and entertainment communities are mourning the loss of former All Blacks hooker and <em>Dancing with the Stars</em> winner Norm Hewitt, who has passed away at the age of 55.</p> <p>Hewitt, a beloved figure both on and off the rugby field, succumbed to a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease, as confirmed by his family in a heartfelt statement.</p> <p>"Although rugby dominated his early life, he established a thriving human relations consultancy after retirement, and his services were much in demand both nationally and internationally," his family shared. "He walked confidently in both Māori and Pākehā worlds and was a particular role model for troubled youth, citing his own background, and offering inspirational teachings that one’s present life need not be one’s future."</p> <p>Hewitt leaves behind his wife Arlene and their two children, Elizabeth and Alexander. Born and raised in Pōrangahau, southern Hawke’s Bay, Hewitt's rugby career was nothing short of illustrious. Over 13 seasons, he played 296 representative matches for Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Wellington, earning 23 caps for the All Blacks. Hewitt was also a pivotal member of the Hurricanes during the formative years of Super Rugby, missing only one match in the first five years.</p> <p>The rugby community has been profoundly affected by Hewitt's passing. Former teammate Ofisa Tonu’u posted a touching tribute on Facebook: "I’m just devastated finding out the news today. I will never forget how you always stuck up for me during the Black Tracker days when no one else would, you always look after all the players and we always followed you into battle. No more pain, brother, you can now rest in Love. Fa’afetai tele lava my uso for having my back as I did yours. I know the other boys will be welcoming you with open arms at the gates. Rest in Love, Normy."</p> <p>Beyond his rugby career, Hewitt transitioned into a public speaker and mentor, focusing heavily on violence prevention programmes and advocacy. He worked with the SPCA as an animal cruelty and anti-violence publicity officer, visiting schools to spread his message. In 2005, Hewitt showcased his versatility by winning the first season of<em> Dancing with the Stars</em> alongside professional dancer Carol-Ann Hickmore.</p> <p>Hewitt's life was not without its struggles. In 1999, he made a public apology for a drunken incident in Queenstown, marking a turning point as he renounced alcohol and dedicated himself to helping others facing similar challenges.</p> <p>The outpouring of tributes was immediate, with The All Blacks expressing their sorrow: “We are saddened by the loss of All Black #938 Norm Hewitt who passed away yesterday in Wellington. Hewitt played 9 Tests and 14 Games between 1993 and 1998. Our thoughts are with Norm’s family and loved ones at this time.”</p> <p>Podcaster Martin Devlin shared his personal experience: “RIP Norm Hewitt. Not a lot of people know how kind & generous this man was. A truly wonderful person. Reached out to me and helped me considerably a long time ago when things were very rough. Love & respect.”</p> <p>Richard Hills echoed the sentiments of many: “This is bloody sad. A sad way to lose a kiwi icon so young. He had a really rough childhood and upbringing and faced it and turned his life around to become not only a rugby legend but also helped others who’d been through similar issues.”</p> <p>Norm Hewitt’s legacy will endure through the lives he touched and the positive change he inspired. His story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the profound impact one individual can have on the world.</p> <p><em>Image: Radio New Zealand</em></p>

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Can you change your mind after you buy a house?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosemary-gibson-1544081">Rosemary Gibson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>In the Bluey episode “<a href="https://iview.abc.net.au/show/bluey-the-sign">The Sign</a>”, the Heeler family enters a contract to sell their family home to a pair of English Sheepdogs, or as Bluey calls them, “the dogs with no eyes”.</p> <p>But towards the end of the episode, the Sheepdogs spy another house that they prefer. Unlike Bluey’s house, the new place has a pool.</p> <p>They telephone Bandit and tell him that they have changed their mind. Happily for Bluey’s family – and let’s face it, most of Australia – Bandit decides not to press ahead with the sale and the Heelers end up staying put in their family home.</p> <p>But aside from the fact that the contracting parties are all cartoon dogs – how realistic is this scenario? Is it possible to end a contract to purchase or sell a house simply because you’ve changed your mind?</p> <p>The reality is that once a contract of sale is signed, there are only limited circumstances in which buyers and sellers can bring the contract to an end.</p> <h2>What do you sign when buying or selling a house?</h2> <p>In Australia, each state and territory has its own standard form contract for the sale of land that buyers and sellers must sign.</p> <p>The terms of these contracts mirror relevant state or territory laws, meaning they differ throughout Australia. It is important for parties to obtain advice from a property lawyer with experience in a particular jurisdiction’s contract.</p> <h2>Can you change your mind after signing?</h2> <p>Once a contract has been signed, a buyer may only end it for a “change of mind” during the “cooling off period”. The cooling off period is a short period of time – usually between two and five business days – after the contract is signed.</p> <p>During this time, the buyer can end the contract, “no questions asked”. But there are usually financial consequences for terminating during the cooling off period.</p> <p>For example, in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, a buyer who ends the contract during the cooling off period must pay the seller 0.25% of the purchase price. For a house purchase of A$1 million, this termination penalty would be $2,500.</p> <p>But not all states and territories guarantee a cooling off period for buyers. And in such a hot property market, an individual seller may be unlikely to agree to include such a term in a contract.</p> <h2>What if something goes wrong down the track?</h2> <p>When negotiating the contract terms, the parties may agree that the sale is subject to certain conditions. Typically, these conditions are in the purchaser’s favour. If one of the conditions is not satisfied in time, then the contract can be brought to an end.</p> <p>It is up to the parties to negotiate which conditions (if any) are included in the contract, and the time by which the conditions must be satisfied. The most common conditions of sale are:</p> <ul> <li>the buyer obtains finance by a certain date (a finance clause)</li> <li>the buyer obtains satisfactory building and pest inspection reports by a certain date (a building and pest clause).</li> </ul> <p>The buyer may also want the sale to be subject to the buyer first selling an existing property.</p> <p>Once all of the conditions of sale are satisfied, the contract is said to be “unconditional”. From this time, there are no express circumstances in which either party may bring the contract to an end.</p> <p>When the Sheepdogs telephoned Bandit, the Heelers had already moved all their furniture out of the house. Clearly, the sale had already gone unconditional. There was no express basis on which the Sheepdogs could have terminated the contract.</p> <h2>Could the Heelers have sued for breach of contact?</h2> <p>A party who ends a contract without justification is liable to pay compensation to the other party.</p> <p>A house purchaser who wrongly terminates a contract would almost certainly lose their deposit. They may also be liable for additional losses the seller suffers as a result of the breach, including any deficiency in price on a resale of the property.</p> <p>But a buyer and seller may bring a contract to an end by “mutual agreement”, which seems to be what happened in Bluey. The Sheepdogs sought to end the contract and – to the relief of all Australians – the Heelers agreed.</p> <p>This is, however, unlikely to occur “in real life”, especially in today’s highly competitive property market.</p> <p>At the very least, the seller would be entitled to retain the purchaser’s deposit. There would also be the issue of who bears the costs incurred in advertising and agency fees.</p> <p>It seems Bandit followed his heart rather than the strict terms of the contract — and Australia is the better for it.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234659/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosemary-gibson-1544081">Rosemary Gibson</a>, Lecturer in Contract Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-you-change-your-mind-after-you-buy-a-house-234659">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Second marriage asset protection: What you need to know

<p>Of paramount importance for many people in a second marriage is how to protect their assets if their relationship breaks down, or in the event of their death. Although second marriages bring a level of complexity, there are a number of strategies that you can implement to ensure that your assets are protected.</p> <p>Let’s explore some of the options available to you and what you need to know to protect your assets.</p> <p><strong>Binding Financial Agreement</strong></p> <p>A Binding Financial Agreement, often referred to as a pre-nup, allows you and your spouse to put in place a legal agreement which outlines how your assets will be dealt with in the event that your relationship breaks down. Should you wish, it can also extend to the provision of financial support for either party. The intention is for each party to protect their own assets, and such agreements can be put in place prior to a marriage or during a marriage if both parties consent.</p> <p>Like any legal document, a Binding Financial Agreement needs to be well drafted to ensure that it encompasses all relevant information, and it is important that you seek the advice of a family lawyer to assist you with putting this important document in place.</p> <p><strong>Joint Assets v Individual Assets</strong></p> <p>The manner in which you hold your assets is of paramount importance. All joint assets pass to the surviving party. If you and your spouse own a property as joint proprietors upon your death this property will automatically pass to your spouse. By changing the manner in which you hold the property from joint proprietors to tenants in common allows you and your spouse to deal with your individual interest in the property in your respective Wills.</p> <p>Additionally, you need to be mindful of any bank accounts or other investments that you hold jointly with your spouse as these are not individual assets that you can make provision for and will pass to your spouse upon your death.</p> <p><strong>Your Will</strong></p> <p>It is imperative that you put a Will in place that is reflective of your current circumstances and adequately provides for both your spouse and your children from a previous relationship in the manner that you desire. For many parents in second marriages with children from a previous relationship, protecting their children’s inheritance is of paramount importance.</p> <p>Discretionary Testamentary Trusts which are created in accordance with the provisions of your Will, can make provision for your spouse during their lifetime, whilst also ensuring that most of your assets go to your children. </p> <p>If you are the sole registered proprietor of your residence in which you and your spouse reside you may make provision in your Will providing a life interest in your residence to your spouse subject to some conditions being adhered to. This will allow your spouse to reside in your residence for the duration of their life then subsequent to their death the property may then pass to your children.</p> <p>Dying without a valid Will in place deems that you died intestate, and your assets will be distributed in accordance with a government formula and may not end up with the people who you would like to receive them. Your spouse would be entitled to a share of your assets, however this may not have been your intention, or the share that they would receive may be significantly more than you would like them to receive.</p> <p>It is therefore crucial that you take the time to put a well drafted Will in place so that your assets pass to those who you would like to receive them upon your death.</p> <p><strong>Mutual Wills Agreement</strong></p> <p>A Mutual Wills Agreement is a separate document to your Will and essentially is an agreement between you and your spouse that both of you will not change your Will without the consent of the your spouse or their legal personal representative upon their death. </p> <p>This document is intended to prevent the remaining spouse from altering their Will and disinheriting step-children or making other adverse changes to their Will.</p> <p><strong>The Right People in Key Roles</strong></p> <p>The roles of executor of your Will and your attorney in respect to your Power of Attorney documents are important roles and it is paramount that you appoint trusted people to undertake these roles as essentially you are handing control of your assets to those who assume these roles.</p> <p>Your attorney is entrusted to look after your finances and provide the best care for you in the event that you become incapacitated so you need to choose wisely.</p> <p><strong>Communication is Crucial</strong></p> <p>It is important that there is transparency for you and your family. By having important conversations with your spouse and children you can openly discuss your intentions and expectations so that all parties are relevantly informed and fully understand what your wishes are and what you have put in place. </p> <p>In order to evaluate the best options for you it is important that you obtain the appropriate professional advice to determine which is the best strategy for your own individual circumstances so that the relevant documents are put in place which offer you the best asset protection possible.</p> <p><em><strong>Melisa Sloan is principal of Madison Sloan Lawyers and author of Big Moments: Expert Advice for Conquering those moments that define us. www.melisasloan.com.au</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Think you’ve decided what to buy? Actually, your brain is still deciding – even as you put it in your basket

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tijl-grootswagers-954175">Tijl Grootswagers</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/genevieve-l-quek-1447582">Genevieve L Quek</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/manuel-varlet-156210">Manuel Varlet</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>You are standing in the cereal aisle, weighing up whether to buy a healthy bran or a sugary chocolate-flavoured alternative.</p> <p>Your hand hovers momentarily before you make the final grab.</p> <p>But did you know that during those last few seconds, while you’re reaching out, your brain is still evaluating the pros and cons – influenced by everything from your last meal, the health star rating, the catchy jingle in the ad, and the colours of the letters on the box?</p> <p>Our recently published <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-024-62135-7">research</a> shows our brains do not just think first and then act. Even while you are reaching for a product on a supermarket shelf, your brain is still evaluating whether you are making the right choice.</p> <p>Further, we found measuring hand movements offers an accurate window into the brain’s ongoing evaluation of the decision – you don’t have to hook people up to expensive brain scanners.</p> <p>What does this say about our decision-making? And what does it mean for consumers and the people marketing to them?</p> <h2>What hand movements tell us about decision-making</h2> <p>There has been <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-psych-010419-051053">debate within neuroscience</a> on whether a person’s movements to enact a decision can be modified once the brain’s “motor plan” has been made.</p> <p>Our research revealed not only that movements can be changed after a decision – “in flight” – but also the changes matched incoming information from a person’s senses.</p> <p>To study <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-62135-7">how our decisions unfold over time</a>, we tracked people’s hand movements as they reached for different options shown in pictures – for example, in response to the question “is this picture a face or an object?”</p> <p>When choices were easy, their hands moved straight to the right option. But when choices were harder, new information made the brain change its mind, and this was reflected in the trajectory of their hand movements.</p> <p>When we compared these hand movement trajectories to brain activity recorded using neuroimaging, we found that the timing and amount of evidence of the brain’s evaluation matched the movement pattern.</p> <p>Put simply, reaching movements are shaped by ongoing thinking and decision-making.</p> <p>By showing that brain patterns match movement trajectories, our research also highlights that large, expensive brain scanners may not always be required to study the brain’s decision evaluation processes, as movement tracking is much more cost-effective and much easier to test on a large scale.</p> <h2>What does this mean for consumers and marketers?</h2> <p>For consumers, knowing our brains are always reevaluating decisions we might think of as “final” can help us be more aware of our choices.</p> <p>For simple decisions such as choosing a breakfast cereal, the impact may be small. Even if you have preemptively decided on a healthy option, you might be tempted at the last minute by the flashy packaging of a less healthy choice.</p> <p>But for important long-term decisions such as choosing a mortgage, it can have serious effects.</p> <p>On the other side of the coin, marketers have long known that many purchase decisions are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969698912000781">made on the spot</a>.</p> <p>They use strategies such as attractive packaging and strategic product placement to influence people’s decisions.</p> <p>New ways of studying how people’s brains process information – right up to the last minute – can help marketers design more effective strategies.</p> <h2>Opportunities for further research</h2> <p>Further research in this area could explore how different types of information, such as environmental cues or memories, affect this continuous decision evaluation process in different groups of people. For example, how do people of different ages process information while making decisions?</p> <p>Our finding – that hand movements reflect the inner workings of the brain’s decision making process – could make future studies cheaper and more efficient.</p> <p>The ability to fine-tune marketing in this way has implications beyond just selling products. It can also make public strategic messaging far more effective.</p> <p>This could include tailoring a public health campaign on vaping specifically for people aged under 30, or targeting messaging about superannuation scams more effectively at those of retirement age.</p> <p>The act of reaching for a product is not a simple consequence of a decision already made; it’s a highly dynamic process. Being aware of what influences our last-minute decision-making can help us make better choices that have better outcomes.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234167/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tijl-grootswagers-954175">Tijl Grootswagers</a>, Senior Research Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/genevieve-l-quek-1447582">Genevieve L Quek</a>, Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/manuel-varlet-156210">Manuel Varlet</a>, Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/think-youve-decided-what-to-buy-actually-your-brain-is-still-deciding-even-as-you-put-it-in-your-basket-234167">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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"I love you forever": Novak Djokovic celebrates 10 year anniversary

<p>Novak Djokovic has celebrated his 10-year wedding anniversary with Jelena Djokovic. </p> <p>The tennis star took to Instagram to share an adorable tribute honouring their anniversary, with a video of the couple dancing, singing and laughing together set to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' <em>Islands In The Stream</em>. </p> <p>"Ten years of joy," Novak began in the caption. </p> <p>"Ten years as parents. Ten years as one. Ten years of dancing. Ten years of fun," he wrote.</p> <p>"Ten years of flying. Ten years at sea. Ten years of you. The best part of me."</p> <p>"Ten years of tennis. Ten years of balls. Ten years of triumph. Ten years of falls.</p> <p>"Ten years as teammates. Ten years together. Ten years Jelena. I love you forever."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9O8uaeoMZF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9O8uaeoMZF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple first met in high school in the 90s but didn't start dating until a few years later, when Novak finally kicked off his professional tennis career. </p> <p>The high-school sweethearts tied the knot in a ceremony held at Aman Sveti Stefan resort almost a decade later in July 2014, and they were also expecting their first child at the time. </p> <p>The couple now share two children together, Stefan, nine, and Tara, Six. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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“Don’t marry him”: Bride-to-be shares wild altercation with her future in-laws over her wedding dress

<p dir="ltr">A woman has been told to “run” from her fiancé after sharing a wild conversation she had with her future in-laws about her wedding dress. </p> <p dir="ltr">The bride-to-be shared that ever since she was a child, she wanted to wear her mother’s wedding dress on her own big day. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, the woman was then confronted by her soon-to-be in-laws, with drama ensuing over her wedding dress.</p> <p dir="ltr">Taking to Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole?” page, the woman explained, "My mother's wedding dress has been passed down for generations and I remember being a little girl dreaming of walking down the aisle in it."</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite her wishes to wear the family heirloom on her big day, she said things went south at a dinner at her sister-in-law’s (SIL) house when she  "tapped her spoon against the glass and said that she had to make a toast."</p> <p dir="ltr">"She then said she would be right back before going into another room and returning with a large plastic bag," the bride continues.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Everyone seemed to be excited but I just felt confused."</p> <p dir="ltr">As she "awkwardly smiled", her SIL opened the bag to reveal her wedding dress from her wedding two years earlier as her in-laws began clapping, as her future sister-in-law announced she wanted the bride to wear her dress at her upcoming nuptials.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I tried to smile but I guess I didn't do a good job of hiding my disappointment and everyone began asking me what was wrong," the bride-to-be continues, adding that she tried to explain that she wanted to wear her mother's wedding dress.</p> <p dir="ltr">At this point, her SIL began to cry and her in-laws began berating her, causing the bride to burst into tears and run outside.</p> <p dir="ltr">"My fiancé didn't even come after me and after crying my eyes out on the steps for what felt like hours, he finally came outside and yelled at me to get into the car," she says.</p> <p dir="ltr">Confused, she got into the car only for her fiancé to berate her for making "such a big scene" leaving him feeling "embarrassed in front of his family."</p> <p dir="ltr">"He sounds so mad and he even said he couldn't believe he chose to marry such a 'bitchy c--t' (his exact words)."</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman tried to explain how important it was to her to wear her mother's dress and that she had already promised her mother she would be wearing it on her big day.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I felt like my fiancé's family planned this and put me on the spot thinking I wouldn't stand up for myself and just agree to wear SIL's dress," she continues.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think I did anything wrong but a part of me thinks I should have just gone along with it and then told SIL in private that I wouldn't be wearing the dress."</p> <p dir="ltr">Hundreds of people were quick to comment on her post, suggesting that she “run” not only from her in-laws, but from her partner as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Ma'am you need to leave that whole family behind including your fiancé," one said. "You just had a peek into your future if you carry on with this relationship."</p> <p dir="ltr">"Don't you dare marry that man!!!" another said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The problem doesn't exist as the wedding shouldn't be happening anymore," another added.</p> <p dir="ltr">One Redditor suggested she "be thankful that he is showing you who he really is before you marry him."</p> <p dir="ltr">"You have just had a glimpse of what your future is going to look like if you go through with your wedding."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Why do dogs have different coats? Experts explain – and give grooming tips for different types

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Dog hair comes in many varieties, from shaggy to short, curly to straight. If you live with a dog, you live with their hair – on your couch, in your clothes, it’s everywhere!</p> <p>Beyond colour, have you ever wondered what’s behind the differences in coat type?</p> <p>We actually know quite a lot about why dogs have different coats, and it comes down to their genes.</p> <h2>What are the main coat types in dogs?</h2> <p>The three main features of dog coats are how long the hairs are, whether they are curly or straight, and whether they have extra flourishes. The flourishes are called “furnishings”, and can include a hairy moustache and shaggy eyebrows.</p> <p>Combinations of these three features result in seven different coat types in dogs: short, wire, wire and curly, long, long with furnishings, curly, and curly with furnishings.</p> <p>We know from a <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.1177808">study of more than 1,000 dogs with varying coats</a> that differences in only three genes are responsible for this variety.</p> <p>The gene responsible for long hair (called FGF5) is <a href="https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/patterns">recessive</a>, meaning dogs must have two copies of the mutated gene to have long hair. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1402862111">In humans</a>, the same gene has been identified in families with excessively long eyelashes.</p> <p>Curly coats in dogs are related to a gene called <a href="https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/173/">KRT71</a>, which affects keratin, a protein involved in hair formation. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2974189/">Mutations in this gene</a> in cats result in hairless (Sphynx) or curly-haired (Devon Rex) breeds.</p> <p>The gene responsible for furnishings (<a href="https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/rspo2/">RSPO2</a>) is involved in establishing hair follicles. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-follicle">Hair follicles</a> are small pockets in the skin that grow hair.</p> <p>Variations in these three genes could explain the coat type in most (but not all!) of the dogs tested. For example, the long coat of the Afghan hound is not explained by these three genes. Further study is needed to identify less common mutations and genes controlling the coat in these dogs.</p> <p>The earliest dog breeds would have been short-haired, as a result of the “wild-type” genes. Later changes would have arisen through mutation and deliberate selection <a href="https://theconversation.com/managing-mutations-of-a-species-the-evolution-of-dog-breeding-96635">through modern breeding practices</a>.</p> <p>If all three mutations are present, the dog has a long, curly coat with furnishings. An example is the Bichon Frisé.</p> <h2>What else varies in dog coats?</h2> <p>Dog coat types can also be single or double. In a double-coated breed such as a Labrador, there is a longer coarse layer of hairs and a softer and shorter undercoat. Wolves and ancestral dogs are single-coated, and the double coat is a result of a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4425/10/5/323">mutation in chromosome 28</a>.</p> <p>In the Labrador, the mutation was probably selected for as they were bred to <a href="https://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2023/exec/0525n07/">retrieve fishing nets in Canada</a>. The double coat is a great insulator and helps them to stay warm, even in icy water.</p> <h2>Why does it matter what kind of coat a dog has?</h2> <p>We know with climate change our world is going to get hotter. Dogs with a double coat are less able to tolerate heat stress, as their hair prevents heat loss.</p> <p>In a study of dogs <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/avj.13296">suffering heat-related illness</a>, most of the 15 breeds at higher risk had double coats. The death rate in these dogs was 23%. We can only imagine how it must feel going out on a 40 degree day wearing a thick fur coat.</p> <p>Dogs with a double coat shed more hair than dogs with a single coat. This means even short-haired breeds, like the Labrador retriever, can shed an astonishing amount of hair. If you can’t tolerate dog hair, then a dog with a double-coat may not suit you.</p> <p>When we think of wool we think of sheep, but in the past <a href="https://www.si.edu/stories/woolly-dog-mystery-unlocked">woolly dogs were kept for their wool</a> that was <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adi6549">woven by Indigenous groups</a> and used to make blankets.</p> <p>A dog’s coat also affects how much time and effort is needed for grooming. Dogs with long or curly hair with furnishings are likely to need more time invested in their care, or visits to a professional groomer.</p> <p>Designer dogs (cross-bred dogs often crossed with a poodle, such as groodles), are likely to be curly with furnishings. In a US study, people with designer dogs reported meeting their dogs’ maintenance and grooming requirements was <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/12/23/3247">much harder than they expected</a>.</p> <p>It’s not just bank balances and the time needed that can suffer. If people are unable to cope with the demands of grooming long-haired dogs, lack of grooming can cause welfare problems. A study of animal cruelty cases in New York found <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.827348/full">13% involved hair matting</a>, with some hair mats causing strangulation wounds and 93% of affected dogs having long hair.</p> <h2>How can you prevent problems?</h2> <p>If you have a curly- or long-haired breed of dog, it will help to train them to like being brushed from an early age. You can do this by counter-conditioning so they have a positive emotional response to being groomed, rather than feeling anxious. First show the brush or lightly brush them, then give them a treat. They learn to associate being brushed with something positive.</p> <p>If you take your dog to the groomer, it’s very important their first experience is positive. A scary or painful incident will make it much more difficult for future grooming.</p> <p>Is your dog difficult to groom or hard to get out of the car at the groomers? It’s likely grooming is scary for them. Consulting a dog trainer or animal behaviourist who focuses on positive training methods can help a lot.</p> <p>Keeping your dog well groomed, no matter their hair type, will keep them comfortable. More important than looking great, feeling good is an essential part of dogs living their best lives with us.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232480/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, Associate Professor, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, Research Fellow, Animal Welfare Science Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-dogs-have-different-coats-experts-explain-and-give-grooming-tips-for-different-types-232480">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Why Ray Martin is planning his own funeral

<p>Ray Martin is planning his own funeral as he prepares for his 'Last Goodbye', as part of an eye-opening new series. </p> <p>The veteran journalist will be planning his memorial service for an upcoming SBS documentary series which explores cultural traditions surrounding death.</p> <p>The three-part series, called <em>Ray Martin: The Last Goodbye</em>, will explore various taboos surrounding death with comedic and witty anecdotes. </p> <p>The series will investigate various funeral trends and rituals around the world and will address some deep questions, including why people choose certain ceremonies, songs and resting places, and how geography, religion and social class impacts these choices. </p> <p>At 79 years old, Ray said in a statement that statistically he is only four years away from his own death and wants to explore the topic with a serious yet funny nature. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9QoU-goAtY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9QoU-goAtY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by SBS Australia (@sbs_australia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Martin will also have a range of special guests on the show, including veteran presenter Gretel Killeen, 61, and comedian Alex Lee.</p> <p>SBS Commissioning Editor Bethan Arwel-Lewis said, "At SBS we aren't scared to tackle those subjects that are sometimes provocative or difficult in our programming."</p> <p>"So an exploration of death – one of our last taboos is the perfect subject for us to lift the lid on, and who better to take us into this world and get us talking and even laughing about death, than Ray Martin."</p> <p>Last year, Martin insisted that he still has a lot of life left in him, as he grows older gracefully and continues to work. </p> <p>"I'm never going to retire. David Attenborough is in his 90s and he's my role model. He says you've got to keep doing what you love," he told <em>Woman's Day</em> magazine.</p> <p><em>Ray Martin: The Last Goodbye</em> will premiere on Wednesday, August 14 at 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand.</p> <p><em>Image credits: SBS</em></p>

TV

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Heading to Bali or somewhere tropical these holidays? Here’s what you need to know about dengue fever

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cameron-webb-6736">Cameron Webb</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>If you’re looking to escape the Australian winter for your next holiday, don’t forget where there’s warmth, there will also be mosquitoes.</p> <p>In turn, tropical destinations can be hot spots of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue. In fact, Australian health authorities have warned travellers to Bali <a href="https://www.health.wa.gov.au/Media-releases/2024/May/Dengue-fever-warning-for-Western-Australian-travellers">to be aware</a> of the risk of dengue, with cases surging in the region.</p> <p>So here’s how to protect yourself and your family on holidays.</p> <h2>What is dengue?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue">Dengue virus infection</a> (commonly known as dengue fever, or just dengue) is caused by viruses spread by the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito species that typically transmit dengue are <em>Aedes aegypti</em> and <em>Aedes albopictus</em>.</p> <p>There are four strains of dengue virus. Each has the potential to cause illness that can range from <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/signs-symptoms/index.html">mild to severe and potentially life threatening</a>.</p> <p>Symptoms <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/dengue.aspx">typically include</a> rash, fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue. People also often report abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.</p> <p>While infection with just one of these viruses can make you sick, subsequent exposure to other strains can have more <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-are-antibodies-and-why-are-viruses-like-dengue-worse-the-second-time-68227">serious health implications</a>. In these cases, symptoms can also include the presence of blood in vomit, bleeding gums and breathing difficulties.</p> <p>Dengue infection must be confirmed via a blood test, but there are <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dengue-fever">no specific treatments</a>. Most people will recover on their own however <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/treatment/index.html">staying hydrated is crucial</a> and pain relief can help with symptoms. If more severe illness occurs, seek urgent medical care.</p> <h2>Are travellers at risk?</h2> <p>The disease is now endemic in around 100 countries and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/areas-with-risk/index.html">an estimated 4 billion people</a> are considered at risk. Asian countries represent <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue">around 70%</a> of the global disease burden. Even <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-paris-olympics-could-become-a-super-spreader-event-for-dengue-231853">Europe is at risk</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2023-DON498">One of the worst years</a> on record was 2023, but the burden of dengue continues to grow. In the first four months of 2024, Indonesia reported <a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2024-DON518">three times as many cases</a> of dengue compared to the same period in 2023.</p> <p>Dengue is not a new risk to Australian travellers. Before COVID disrupted international travel, the number of Australians returning from tropical destinations with dengue <a href="https://europepmc.org/article/med/23692160">was steadily increasing</a>.</p> <p>For example, between 2010 and 2016, there was an average <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2414-6366/3/1/9">annual increase of 22%</a> of travellers returning to Victoria with dengue. Almost half of these people contracted the illness in Indonesia. Bali is well documented as posing <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/25/1/tay061/5065180?login=false">a risk of dengue</a> to travellers.</p> <p>International travel restrictions due to COVID <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/31/2/taae014/7577676">abruptly stopped this trend</a>. But now Australians are again embracing international travel, <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13303747/Worrying-reason-Aussie-travellers-Bali-coming-sick.html">cases are rising once more</a>.</p> <p>Bali isn’t the only destination with <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2024/06/30/dengue-puerto-rico-mosquito-climate-change/">a surge in dengue</a>, but we know it’s a popular holiday destination for Australian travellers. There’s little doubt plenty of families will be heading to Bali these school holidays.</p> <h2>How about the risk in Australia?</h2> <p>Not all mosquitoes can spread dengue viruses. This is why the risk is different in Bali and other tropical regions compared to Australia.</p> <p>Although there are more than 40 Australian mosquito species known or suspected to be transmitting local pathogens, such as <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005070">Ross River virus</a>, Australia is generally free of local dengue risk due to the limited spread of <em>Aedes aegypti</em> and <em>Aedes albopictus</em>.</p> <p>While <em>Aedes aegypti</em> is found in <a href="https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/diseases/mosquito-borne/dengue/virus-fever">parts of Queensland</a>, thanks to interventions by the <a href="https://www.worldmosquitoprogram.org/en/global-progress/australia/cairns-and-surrounds">World Mosquito Program</a> and local authorities dengue risk is low. These interventions include the release of laboratory-bred mosquitoes that prevent mosquitoes in the environment <a href="https://www.worldmosquitoprogram.org/en/work/wolbachia-method">spreading viruses</a>, as well as <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115309096">community education</a>. But <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-decades-away-dengue-returns-to-central-queensland-117821">local cases</a> occasionally occur.</p> <p><em>Aedes albopictus</em> is not currently found <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-we-kept-disease-spreading-asian-tiger-mozzies-away-from-the-australian-mainland-72873">on the Australian mainland</a> but is present in the islands of the Torres Strait. A dengue outbreak <a href="https://www.torres-cape.health.qld.gov.au/about-us/news/further-cases-of-dengue-fever-on-mer">has occurred</a> there this year.</p> <h2>Keep mozzies away during the day, not just at night</h2> <p>While there is a vaccine available, it’s not recommended for <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.5694/mja2.50471">short-term travellers</a>. There are <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/atagi-advice-on-the-use-of-dengvaxiar-for-australians">strict eligibility criteria</a> for its use, so speak to a health professional for advice.</p> <p>For the majority of travellers, preventing mosquito bites is the only way to prevent disease.</p> <p>But there are differences in the behaviour of dengue mosquitoes that mean the normal measures to avoid mosquito bites may not be as effective.</p> <p>During the Australian summer, mosquitoes found in local wetlands can be <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-worst-year-for-mosquitoes-ever-heres-how-we-find-out-68433">incredibly abundant</a>. We tend to need to reach for the repellent and cover up to stop bites as soon as the sun starts going down.</p> <p><em>Aedes aegypti</em> and <em>Aedes albopictus</em> <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0010818">can aggressively bite people</a> but they’re not as abundant as the swarms of summer mosquitoes back home.</p> <p>They also bite during the day, not just at night. So for those travelling to Bali or other areas at risk of dengue, putting insect repellent on <a href="https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/global-dengue-fever-outbreaks">throughout the day</a> is recommended.</p> <h2>What to pack for protection</h2> <p>If you’re staying in a major resort, there’s likely to be a mosquito control program in place. This may include minimising available water for mosquito breeding in combination with insecticide use. Mosquitoes are also less likely to be an issue in air-conditioned accommodation.</p> <p>But if you’re planning to spend time out and about visiting local villages, markets, or in nature, it’s best to protect against bites.</p> <p>Light coloured and <a href="https://www.health.wa.gov.au/Media-releases/2024/May/Dengue-fever-warning-for-Western-Australian-travellers">loose fitting clothing</a> will help stop mosquito bites (and help keep you cool). Covered shoes can help too – dengue mosquitoes <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/02/22/465594861/why-zika-spreading-mosquitoes-love-ankles">love smelly feet</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it’s best to take some insect repellent with you. There may not be any available at your destination, and formulations on sale might not have been through the same thorough testing as products <a href="https://www.apvma.gov.au/">approved in Australia</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233670/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cameron-webb-6736"><em>Cameron Webb</em></a><em>, Clinical Associate Professor and Principal Hospital Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/heading-to-bali-or-somewhere-tropical-these-holidays-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-dengue-fever-233670">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Tips

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We know what to eat to stay healthy. So why is it so hard to make the right choices?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nina-van-dyke-822557">Nina Van Dyke</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria University</a></em></p> <p>A healthy diet <a href="https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/healthy-diet">protects us</a> against a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.</p> <p>From early childhood, we receive an abundance of <a href="https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/healthy-diet/healthy-diet-fact-sheet-394.pdf?sfvrsn=69f1f9a1_2&download=true">information</a> about how we <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating">should eat</a> to be healthy and reduce our risk of disease. And most people have a <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/1479-5868-11-63.pdf">broad understanding</a> of what healthy eating looks like.</p> <p>But this knowledge <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001209216310584?casa_token=6CZgCmT1RMgAAAAA:sSRsj2o6swVfvoBxMIVrMTxqdczSAiFwfTCYzYQ8U3z4ey_WLQ6knpmk8WRH77zugAS3wEAQrA">doesn’t always result</a> in healthier eating.</p> <p>In our new research, we set out to <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s12889-024-18432-x.pdf">learn more</a> about why people eat the way they do – and what prevents them from eating better. Lack of time was a major <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/obr.12472?casa_token=1D1mi-l0TR0AAAAA:dgebTQx-wgw7jbREfdawxZ5AZSDRztvrt8t1tuKyDy1x2mmXlyLDY8z9NbUf0v4hnh80HY_RbAk08Q">barrier</a> to cooking and eating healthier foods.</p> <h2>How do you decide what to eat?</h2> <p>We spoke with <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s12889-024-18432-x.pdf">17 adults</a> in a regional centre of Victoria. We chose a regional location because less research <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s40900-020-0179-6.pdf">has been done</a> with people living outside of metropolitan areas and because rates of obesity and other diet-related health issues are <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/rural-remote-australians/rural-and-remote-health">higher</a> in such areas in Australia.</p> <p>Participants included a mix of people, including some who said they were over their “most healthy weight” and some who had previously dieted to lose weight. But all participants were either:</p> <ul> <li>young women aged 18–24 with no children</li> <li>women aged 35–45 with primary school aged children</li> <li>men aged 35–50 living with a partner and with pre- or primary-school aged children.</li> </ul> <p>We selected these groups to target <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022318212803669">ages and life-stages</a> in which shifts in eating behaviours may occur. Previous research has found younger women <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1470-6431.2007.00642.x?casa_token=33QKWwhc2ogAAAAA:ZvJ6wfXiRC_6eoqvoxD121JOSKSPmIRHcrdiGl2uHzkq5pY6VVPL6WI2DhmxQ2q9i6bBGvLiFl8afQ">tend to</a> be particularly concerned about appearance rather than healthy eating, while women with children often shift their focus to providing for their family. Men <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/obr.12472?casa_token=KakMB6hAOQ0AAAAA:fLnpoxZQiiJIdEkg_TOcCq8hBwZef1iZETZKTiG5W6zW2x_PYzK0oLeOg5F9arKThq9RzMWEi4x4Xw">tend to be less interested</a> in what they eat.</p> <p>We asked participants about how they decided what food to eat, when, and how much, and what prevented them from making healthier choices.</p> <h2>It’s not just about taste and healthiness</h2> <p>We found that, although such decisions were determined in part by taste preferences and health considerations, they were heavily influenced by a host of other factors, many of which are outside the person’s control. These included other household members’ food preferences, family activities, workplace and time constraints, convenience and price.</p> <p><a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2767106">Healthy eating</a> means consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, while limiting processed foods, added sugars and excessive salt. Healthy eating also includes how we eat and <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244292">how we think about</a> food and eating, such as having a positive relationship with food.</p> <p>One 35- to 45-year-old woman, for example, said that time constraints and family preferences made it difficult to prepare healthier food:</p> <blockquote> <p>I love the chance when I can actually get a recipe and get all of the ingredients and make it properly, but that doesn’t happen very often. It’s usually what’s there and what’s quick. And what everyone will eat.</p> </blockquote> <p>One of the 35- to 50-year-old men also noted the extent to which family activities and children’s food preferences dictated meal choices:</p> <blockquote> <p>Well, we have our set days where, like Wednesday nights, we have to have mackie cheese and nuggets, because that’s what the boys want after their swimming lesson.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/joss.12649?casa_token=gsnU9O_G2GQAAAAA:mV2vtHlnEd0jqBGJPFkfml_ecLIDqwSlH5xksSwt4eQb_FP_UShyAKm9sLNnKy6Mkf2q9aKAlDEixA">Research shows</a> that children are often more receptive to new foods than their parents think. However, introducing new dishes takes additional time and planning.</p> <p>An 18- to 24-year-old woman discussed the role of time constraints, her partner’s activities, and price in influencing what and when she eats:</p> <blockquote> <p>My partner plays pool on a Monday and Wednesday night, so we always have tea a lot earlier then and cook the simple things that don’t take as long, so he can have dinner before he goes rather than buying pub meals which cost more money.</p> </blockquote> <p>Despite popular perceptions, healthy diets are not more expensive than unhealthy diets. A <a href="https://preventioncentre.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1702_FB_LEE_4p_final_lr.pdf">study</a> comparing current (unhealthy) diets with what the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/the-australian-dietary-guidelines">Australian Dietary Guidelines</a> recommend people should eat found that the healthy diet was 12–15% cheaper than unhealthy diets for a family of two adults and two children.</p> <p>However, learning and planning to prepare new types of meals <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/3/877">takes effort and time</a>.</p> <p>Simply educating people about what they should eat won’t necessarily result in healthier eating. People want to eat healthier, or at least know they should eat healthier, but other things <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00394-017-1458-3.pdf">get in the way</a>.</p> <p>A key to improving people’s eating behaviours is to make it easy to eat more healthily.</p> <p>Policy changes to make healthy eating easier could include subsidising healthier foods such as fresh produce, providing incentives for retailers to offer healthy options, and ensuring access to nutritious meals in schools and workplaces.</p> <h2>So how can you make healthier food choices easier?</h2> <p>Here are five tips for making healthy choices easier in your household:</p> <ol> <li> <p>If certain days of the week are particularly busy, with little time to prepare fresh food, plan to cook in bulk on days when you have more time. Store the extra food in the fridge or freezer for quick preparation.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you’re often pressed for time during the day and just grab whatever food is handy, have healthy snacks readily available and accessible. This could mean a fruit bowl in the middle of the kitchen counter, or wholegrain crackers and unsalted nuts within easy reach.</p> </li> <li> <p>Discuss food preferences with your family and come up with some healthy meals everyone likes. For younger children, <a href="https://healthykids.nsw.gov.au/downloads/file/campaignsprograms/NewFoodsFussyEaters.pdf">try serving</a> only a small amount of the new food, and serve new foods alongside foods they already like eating and are familiar with.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you rely a lot on take-away meals or meal delivery services, try making a list ahead of time of restaurants and meals you like that are also healthier. You might consider choosing lean meat, chicken, or fish that has been grilled, baked or poached (rather than fried), and looking for meals with plenty of vegetables or salad.</p> </li> <li> <p>Remember, fruit and vegetables taste better and are often cheaper when they are in season. Frozen or canned vegetables are a <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-cost-of-fresh-fruit-and-veggies-is-rising-is-canned-or-frozen-produce-just-as-healthy/tzuhnfrnr">healthy and quick alternative</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231489/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ol> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nina-van-dyke-822557">Nina Van Dyke</a>, Associate Professor and Associate Director, Mitchell Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-know-what-to-eat-to-stay-healthy-so-why-is-it-so-hard-to-make-the-right-choices-231489">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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How much do you need to know about how your spouse spends money? Maybe less than you think

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/scott-rick-1534612">Scott Rick</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-michigan-1290">University of Michigan</a></em></p> <p>Love is in the air, and wedding season is upon us.</p> <p>Like many elder millennials, I grew up watching sitcoms in the 1980s and ‘90s. Whenever those series needed a ratings boost, they would feature a wedding. Those special episodes taught me that weddings usually involve young lovebirds: think Elvin and Sondra from “The Cosby Show,” Cory and Topanga from “Boy Meets World,” or David and Darlene from “Roseanne.”</p> <p>But those were different times. People are getting married later in life than they used to: In the United States, <a href="https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/visualizations/time-series/demo/families-and-households/ms-2.pdf">the median age of newlyweds</a> has grown to 28 for women and 30 for men.</p> <p>This trend means that many Americans now enter marriage after being self-reliant for several years, including managing their own money. Will they be eager to change that once they get married? Don’t count on it. A 2017 <a href="https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/content/dam/bmh/pdf/ar6vnln9-boa-bmh-millennial-report-winter-2018-final2.pdf">Bank of America survey</a> suggests that millennial married couples are around 15 percentage points more likely than their predecessors to keep their finances separate.</p> <p>This is not necessarily a good development. As a behavioral scientist <a href="https://michiganross.umich.edu/faculty-research/faculty/scott-rick">who studies money and relationships</a>, I find that joint accounts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucad020">can bring partners closer</a>.</p> <p>There are some risks, however. Joint accounts create transparency, and intuitively, transparency feels like a good thing in relationships. But I argue that some privacy is important even for highly committed couples – <a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250280077/tightwadsandspendthrifts">and money is no exception</a>.</p> <h2>The newlywed game</h2> <p>Behavioral scientists <a href="https://kelley.iu.edu/faculty-research/faculty-directory/profile.html?id=jgolson">Jenny Olson</a>, <a href="https://som.yale.edu/faculty-research/faculty-directory/deborah-small">Deb Small</a>, <a href="https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/directory/finkel_eli.aspx">Eli Finkel</a> and I recently conducted <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/50/4/704/7077142">an experiment with engaged and newlywed couples</a>. Each of the pairs had entirely separate accounts, but they were undecided about how they wanted to manage their money moving forward.</p> <p>We randomly assigned each of the 230 couples to one of three groups. One group kept their money in separate accounts; one merged their cash into a joint account and stopped using separate accounts; and one managed their money however they liked.</p> <p>We followed couples for two years, periodically asking them to complete surveys assessing their relationship dynamics and satisfaction. Our relationship quality measure included items such as “I cannot imagine another person making me as happy as my partner does” and “Within the last three months, I shouted or yelled at my partner.”</p> <p>Among the couples who could do whatever they wanted, most kept things separate. They and the couples assigned to keep separate accounts experienced a steady decline in relationship quality over time.</p> <p>This is a fairly typical pattern. For instance, in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/79/4/1313/2234046">a large study that tracked U.S. couples’ marital happiness for 17 years</a>, <a href="https://www.unk.edu/academics/social-work/faculty_staff/van_laningham.php">sociologist Jody Van Laningham</a> and colleagues found that “marital happiness either declines continuously or flattens after a long period of decline.”</p> <p>Declines during the first two years of marriage are particularly important. Social scientist <a href="https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/prc/faculty/hustontl">Ted Huston</a> and colleagues call those first two years <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.80.2.237">the “connubial crucible</a>.” They find that relationship dynamics that develop during that crucial period can foreshadow relationship quality for many years to come.</p> <p>Couples in our study who were prompted to take the plunge into a joint account, however, maintained their initial level of relationship satisfaction over the course of the two-year experiment.</p> <h2>Tit-for-tat</h2> <p>Our survey results suggest that, by turning “my money” and “your money” into “our money,” a joint account can help to reduce scorekeeping within a relationship. For example, we found that couples with joint accounts were more likely to agree with statements such as “When one person does something for the other, the other should not owe the giver anything.”</p> <p>Relationships usually don’t start with a scorekeeping orientation. In the 1980s and ‘90s, psychologist <a href="https://psychology.yale.edu/people/margaret-clark">Margaret Clark</a> and colleagues conducted experiments where partners had the option of keeping track of each other’s contributions to a shared task. <a href="https://clarkrelationshiplab.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Resource%20allocation%20in%20intimate%20relationships.pdf">They observed</a> that intimate relationships often begin with a “communal” orientation, where partners help one another without keeping careful track of who’s doing what.</p> <p>Eventually, however, they take on more of an “exchange” orientation – where inputs are tracked and timely reciprocity is expected. Couples that manage to stave off a tit-for-tat mindset <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610373882">tend to be happier</a>.</p> <h2>Too much of a good thing?</h2> <p>The data from our experiment with young couples clearly suggests that using only a joint account is better than using only separate accounts. However, I argue in my new book, “<a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250280077/">Tightwads and Spendthrifts</a>,” that just a joint account is probably not optimal.</p> <p>When partners use only a joint account, they get an up-close-and-personal view of how the other person is spending money. This kind of transparency is <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/money-habits-successful-married-couples-avoid-2016-11">normally viewed</a> as a good thing.</p> <p>Some commentators argue that a healthy marriage should have no secrets whatsoever. For example, Willard Harley, Jr., a clinical psychologist who primarily writes for Christian audiences, argues that you should “reveal to your spouse <a href="https://www.marriagebuilders.com/the-policy-of-radical-honesty.htm">as much information about yourself as you know</a>: your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities, and plans for the future.”</p> <p>In addition, if your goal is to minimize optional spending, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jcpy.1083">research suggests</a> that the transparency that comes with a joint account can be helpful. We spend less when someone is looking over our shoulder.</p> <p>Still, there are reasons to believe that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407500172005">complete transparency can be harmful for couples</a>.</p> <p>Many people have become convinced that if they could just stop buying lattes and avocado toast, they could invest that money and become rich. Unfortunately, the underlying math is highly dubious, as journalist Helaine Olen points out in <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/308568/pound-foolish-by-helaine-olen/">her book “Pound Foolish</a>.” Still, many people view small indulgences as their primary obstacle to wealth. Complete transparency around these financially inconsequential “treats” <a href="https://slate.com/business/2021/09/partner-hates-retail-therapy-money-advice.html">can lead to unnecessary arguments</a>.</p> <p>Also, spouses may have different passions that their partner does not fully understand. Expenses that seem perfectly reasonable to another hobbyist may seem outrageous <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/19/2/256/1929895">to someone without the proper context</a> – another source of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352250X21000750">avoidable disagreements</a>.</p> <h2>'Translucent,’ not transparent</h2> <p>I propose that many couples may benefit from a combination of joint and separate accounts.</p> <p>A joint account is essential for ensuring that both partners have immediate and equal access to “our money.” Ideally, all income would be direct-deposited into the joint account, which would help to blur the gap between partners’ earnings. Conspicuous income differences <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/432228">can jeopardize relationship quality</a>.</p> <p>Separate accounts attached to the joint account can allow some privacy for individual purchases and help partners maintain a sense of autonomy and individuality. Each person gets to spend some of “our money” without their partner looking over their shoulder. Spouses would have a high-level understanding of how much their partner is spending per week or per month, but avoid the occasionally irritating details.</p> <p>This kind of partial financial transparency – <a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250280077/tightwadsandspendthrifts">what I call “financial translucency</a>” – could help couples strike the right balance between financial and psychological well-being.</p> <p>Of course, this approach requires a lot of trust. If the relationship is already on thin ice, complete financial transparency may be necessary. However, if the relationship is generally in the “good, but could be even better” category, I would argue that financial translucency is worth considering.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230070/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/scott-rick-1534612">Scott Rick</a>, Associate Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-michigan-1290">University of Michigan</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-do-you-need-to-know-about-how-your-spouse-spends-money-maybe-less-than-you-think-230070">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Julie Goodwin's next move following injury on Dancing With The Stars

<p>Julie Goodwin's highly anticipated debut on Dancing With The Stars has been postponed, following an injury. </p> <p>The 53-year-old was forced to withdraw from the first round on Sunday night after suffering two serious tears to her calf muscles during rehearsal with her dance partner, Andrey Gorbunov. </p> <p>She was taken to hospital and immediately treated. </p> <p>"I was jumping on poor Andrey here and something snapped. Fortunately, it was my leg and not his back," she told DWTS show hosts Sonia Kruger and Dr Chris Brown during the premiere. </p> <p>But on Monday, she appeared in good spirits and vowed to hit the dance floor again. </p> <p>“Despite being told that I probably should withdraw, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, so I don’t quit easy,” Goodwin told <em>The Morning Show </em>hosts<em>. </em></p> <p>“And the beautiful thing about this production is that they’ve got some marvellous people. They’ve got the dance doctor in Bondi, who is all over this.</p> <p>“So I’m getting acupuncture, homeopathic treatment, massage. I’m swimming, I do healing meditations and listen to healing tones in my headphones.</p> <p>“So, I’m absolutely going hell for leather to get as well as I can in the hope that I can be up and dancing again very soon.”</p> <p>Goodwin is rumoured to return on the show in the third episode. </p> <p>In the interview, she also praised her dance partner, saying: "He’s amazing and he’s also very patient. He’s also very strong. And he’s also just so capable."</p> <p>“He would just be so patient and I’ve loved it. He got me sort of doing steps that I never, ever thought I would do. As you can see from the footage, we have laughed and laughed.”</p> <p><em>Images: Seven</em></p>

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