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Walking or running: for the same distance, which consumes more energy?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-lemineur-1529211">Clément Lemineur</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-naveilhan-1495411">Clément Naveilhan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/francois-dernoncourt-1495410">François Dernoncourt</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a></em></p> <p>It’s Monday morning, the alarm goes off and it’s already 7:30 a.m. – and you’re 30 minutes late. Normally you need 45 minutes to walk the 3 kilometres to work, but this morning you’ll be running for 20 minutes. Yes, but by lunchtime you’re feeling more tired and you have the impression that you’ve expended more energy than usual on the trip. Yet you’ve covered the same distance as on the other days. How can this be?</p> <p>The calorie expenditure associated with any activity is called the “metabolic cost”, and corresponds to the energy consumed by our organs to cover a given distance. This metabolic cost can be determined by analysing the oxygen our bodies consume and the carbon dioxide they produce, we can estimate the amount of energy expended, and thus the metabolic cost. It was using this method that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/692303/">researchers had already answered our question back in the 1970s</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps not surprisingly, running consumes more energy than walking for the same distance covered. But why?</p> <h2>Energy lost when running</h2> <p>Imagine you’re watching someone running. Now look closely at the vertical movement (up and down) of their pelvis and head. As you can see from the diagram below, when we run, the distance that our body moves up and down is greater than when we walk. To produce this vertical movement, the muscles of the lower limbs have to generate more force, and that consumes more energy, yet doesn’t bring us any closer to our destination. So when running, part of the energy expended is used to move our bodies <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16029949/">upward rather than forward</a>. The energy needed to cover those 3 km is therefore higher for running than for walking.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.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/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.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/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Illustration of the oscillations of running and walking" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Running involves much greater vertical oscillation of the centre of mass than walking. This is the main reason why running consumes more energy than walking for the same distance covered.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">François Dernoncourt</span>, <span class="license">Fourni par l'auteur</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>This difference between walking and running is not confined to what happens during the activity itself. In fact, each physical exercise causes a delayed expenditure of energy, which is added to the expenditure during the activity.</p> <p>Taking this into account, it’s once again running that uses more energy than walking. Immediately after running your 3 km, the increased energy consumption (compared with resting) lasts for several minutes, mainly because of the increase in body temperature and the replenishment of energy reserves. This additional expenditure after running is <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22446673/">more than twice that observed after walking</a>, due to the difference in intensity between the two exercises.</p> <h2>It all depends on speed</h2> <p>Running therefore involves a higher calorie expenditure than walking for the same distance covered. But this is on condition that the walking speed considered is “normal” (around 5 km/h). So, if we walk very slowly, it will take us so long to cover the 3 km that the calorie expenditure will be greater in the end. This is because the body expends a certain amount of energy per unit of time no matter what, regardless of the activity performed (known as the “basal metabolic rate”).</p> <p>The same applies if the walking speed is very fast (<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29925582/">more than 8 km/h</a>): running is more energy-efficient. Here, the coordination required to walk at such a speed means that we need to activate our muscles more, without being able to take advantage of the elasticity of our tendons, as is the case with running.</p> <p>Moreover, we have a very precise intuitive perception of the energy efficiency of a particular style of movement. If we’re on a treadmill whose speed gradually increases, the point at which we spontaneously switch from walking to running coincides with the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096663622100120X">moment when it would become more energy-consuming to walk than to run</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?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/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Modelling of metabolic cost (kilocalories expended per kilogram per kilometre covered) as a function of speed (kilometres per hour) for walking and running. The curves cross at a certain speed (purple line; around 8 km/h): this means that above this speed, walking becomes more energy-intensive than running. It’s at around this threshold speed that people spontaneously switch from walking to running.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">François Dernoncourt, Adapted from Summerside et al</span>, <span class="license">Fourni par l'auteur</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In conclusion, because of greater oscillation of the centre of mass and increased energy expenditure after exercise, running to work is more energy-intensive than covering the same distance by walking. But remember, whether you choose to walk or run to work, the most important thing is that you’re already saving energy!<!-- 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/233943/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/clement-lemineur-1529211">Clément Lemineur</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-naveilhan-1495411">Clément Naveilhan</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/francois-dernoncourt-1495410">François Dernoncourt</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</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/walking-or-running-for-the-same-distance-which-consumes-more-energy-233943">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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‘I keep away from people’ – combined vision and hearing loss is isolating more and more older Australians

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health">ageing population</a> brings a growing crisis: people over 65 are at greater risk of dual sensory impairment (also known as “deafblindness” or combined vision and hearing loss).</p> <p>Some 66% of people over 60 have hearing loss and 33% of older Australians have low vision. Estimates suggest more than a quarter of Australians over 80 are <a href="https://www.senseswa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/a-clear-view---senses-australia.pdf">living with dual sensory impairment</a>.</p> <p>Combined vision and hearing loss <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0264619613490519">describes</a> any degree of sight and hearing loss, so neither sense can compensate for the other. Dual sensory impairment can occur at any point in life but is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.004">increasingly common</a> as people get older.</p> <p>The experience can make older people feel isolated and unable to participate in important conversations, including about their health.</p> <h2>Causes and conditions</h2> <p>Conditions related to hearing and vision impairment often <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-lose-our-hearing-and-vision-as-we-age-67930">increase as we age</a> – but many of these changes are subtle.</p> <p>Hearing loss can start <a href="https://www.who.int/teams/noncommunicable-diseases/sensory-functions-disability-and-rehabilitation/highlighting-priorities-for-ear-and-hearing-care">as early as our 50s</a> and often accompany other age-related visual changes, such as <a href="https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/">age-related macular degeneration</a>.</p> <p>Other age-related conditions are frequently prioritised by patients, doctors or carers, such as <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/chronic-disease/overview">diabetes or heart disease</a>. Vision and hearing changes can be easy to overlook or accept as a normal aspect of ageing. As an older person we interviewed for our <a href="https://hdl.handle.net/2123/29262">research</a> told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t see too good or hear too well. It’s just part of old age.</p> </blockquote> <h2>An invisible disability</h2> <p>Dual sensory impairment has a significant and negative impact in all aspects of a person’s life. It reduces access to information, mobility and orientation, impacts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09638280210129162">social activities and communication</a>, making it difficult for older adults to manage.</p> <p>It is underdiagnosed, underrecognised and sometimes misattributed (for example, to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz043">cognitive impairment or decline</a>). However, there is also growing evidence of links between <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">dementia and dual sensory loss</a>. If left untreated or without appropriate support, dual sensory impairment diminishes the capacity of older people to live independently, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">feel happy and be safe</a>.</p> <p>A dearth of specific resources to educate and support older Australians with their dual sensory impairment means when older people do raise the issue, their GP or health professional may not understand its significance or where to refer them. One older person told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>There’s another thing too about the GP, the sort of mentality ‘well what do you expect? You’re 95.’ Hearing and vision loss in old age is not seen as a disability, it’s seen as something else.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Isolated yet more dependent on others</h2> <p>Global trends show a worrying conundrum. Older people with dual sensory impairment become <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">more socially isolated</a>, which impacts their mental health and wellbeing. At the same time they can become increasingly dependent on other people to help them navigate and manage day-to-day activities with limited sight and hearing.</p> <p>One aspect of this is how effectively they can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25522">comprehend and communicate in a health-care setting</a>. Recent research shows <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12080852">doctors and nurses in hospitals</a> aren’t making themselves understood to most of their patients with dual sensory impairment. Good communication in the health context is about more than just “knowing what is going on”, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/12/8/852">researchers note</a>. It facilitates:</p> <ul> <li>shorter hospital stays</li> <li>fewer re-admissions</li> <li>reduced emergency room visits</li> <li>better treatment adherence and medical follow up</li> <li>less unnecessary diagnostic testing</li> <li>improved health-care outcomes.</li> </ul> <h2>‘Too hard’</h2> <p>Globally, there is a better understanding of how important it is to <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240030749">maintain active social lives</a> as people age. But this is difficult for older adults with dual sensory loss. One person told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t particularly want to mix with people. Too hard, because they can’t understand. I can no longer now walk into that room, see nothing, find my seat and not recognise [or hear] people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Again, these experiences increase reliance on family. But caring in this context is tough and largely <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.572201">hidden</a>. Family members describe being the “eyes and ears” for their loved one. It’s a 24/7 role which can bring <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000507856">frustration, social isolation and depression</a> for carers too. One spouse told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>He doesn’t talk anymore much, because he doesn’t know whether [people are] talking to him, unless they use his name, he’s unaware they’re speaking to him, so he might ignore people and so on. And in the end, I noticed people weren’t even bothering him to talk, so now I refuse to go. Because I don’t think it’s fair.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, what can we do?</p> <p>Dual sensory impairment is a growing problem with potentially devastating impacts.</p> <p>It should be considered a unique and distinct disability in all relevant protections and policies. This includes the right to dedicated diagnosis and support, accessibility provisions and specialised skill development for health and social professionals and carers.</p> <p>We need to develop resources to help people with dual sensory impairment and their families and carers understand the condition, what it means and how everyone can be supported. This could include communication adaptation, such as social haptics (communicating using touch) and specialised support for older adults to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09649069.2019.1627088">navigate health care</a>.</p> <p>Increasing awareness and understanding of dual sensory impairment will also help those impacted with everyday engagement with the world around them – rather than the isolation many feel now.<!-- 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/232142/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/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, Senior Lecturer, Sydney Nursing School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, Lived Experience Research Fellow, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Linguistics, <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/i-keep-away-from-people-combined-vision-and-hearing-loss-is-isolating-more-and-more-older-australians-232142">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Will watching the Olympic Games make you eat more?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/birau-mia-1238429">Birau Mia</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/em-lyon-business-school-2363">EM Lyon Business School</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carolina-o-c-werle-1434243">Carolina O.C. Werle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grenoble-ecole-de-management-gem-2181">Grenoble École de Management (GEM)</a></em></p> <p>Ever wondered why you reach for a snack after hitting the gym? <a href="https://joe.bioscientifica.com/downloadpdf/view/journals/joe/193/2/1930251.pdf">Research shows</a> that physical exercise often leads to increased food consumption, whether it is treating yourself for a job well done or replenishing the energy you have burned. With countless sports events airing and our screens constantly filled with sports’ competitions, a new question arises: Can watching sports on a screen also influence how much we eat?</p> <p>The answer is yes. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0950329317300915">Our research</a> co-authored with <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/jannine-lasaleta-94504987">Jannine Lasaleta</a> reveals that watching sports’ videos can increase candy consumption. But there is more to the story: the difficulty of the sports you are watching plays a crucial role in these effects.</p> <h2>From screens to junk food</h2> <p>We first invited 112 students to the <a href="https://www.grenoble-em.com/campus-gem-labs-grenoble">Grenoble Ecole de Management experimental lab</a> to watch a video and test some candies. Half of the students watched a video with men and women <a href="https://fr.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/51706/train-barefoot/nike">playing sports</a>, while the other half watched one <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyqR5yI6boo">without any physical activity</a>. We then gave each student a 70g cup of candy and asked them to judge its quality for three minutes. The students who saw the sports’ video ate more candy than those who saw the one without physical activity.</p> <p>Our initial test thus revealed that watching sports’ videos can boost candy consumption, but here’s the twist: male students indulged in far more candy than female students, so maybe the results were triggered by males’ consumption. Plus, we were still unsure if the type of sport watched affects the candy intake.</p> <p>To learn more, we invited just the female students to watch videos portraying either easy (light running) or difficult-to-perform sports (athletics long jump, gymnastics, baseball, rugby or rock climbing). After, the students were invited to test the same candies as before. Students who watched the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMXKGE_u-Y">easy sports video</a> (showing a woman and a man running through different landscapes) ate much more candy (30.1 grams) than those who watched the <a href="https://fr.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/51706/train-barefoot/nike">difficult sports video</a> (18 grams).</p> <p>We can thus conclude that the ease or difficulty of the exercise shown significantly impacts candy consumption – watching easy-to-perform sports leads to considerably higher candy intake than watching difficult ones.</p> <h2>Why is this happening?</h2> <p>To explain our findings, we looked at research on <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/32/3/370/1867208">goal motivation</a>. When people feel they are not meeting a goal, they push harder; but once they see progress, they tend to slack off. For example, after a workout, those aiming to stay fit might feel they have made good progress and then ease up on their efforts. This can lead to a drop in motivation to pursue related goals, like healthy eating. <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-09808-003">Research</a> shows that achieving smaller goals (like exercising) can make people feel they have earned a break, which can result in indulging more in food. So completing a workout might make you more likely to reward yourself with extra food than if you had not finished your session. And why are women more susceptible to the phenomenon of eating more candy after watching an easy-to-perform sports video? Simply because it has been long <a href="https://phys.org/news/2005-04-women-weight-men.html">shown</a> that women are more concerned with their weight than men and therefore their dieting goals are more salient.</p> <p>Our research suggests that merely watching sports can lead to a sense of vicarious fulfilment of fitness goals. When people can picture themselves doing the activity they are watching, they feel as though they have already exercised, which can lead to more-indulgent food choices. If they perceive the exercise shown as easy rather than difficult, they can more easily imagine themselves doing it, leading to greater feelings of progress toward their fitness goals. This perceived achievement can make them feel they have earned the right to indulge and influence their search for a reward, often resulting in increased food intake.</p> <h2>So what?</h2> <p>This knowledge can be used by policymakers or marketers who aim to encourage healthful lifestyles. When promoting healthy activities by picturing physical activity that seems too easy, people may feel a greater sense of achievement that could backfire and lead to increased consumption. We suggest showing an easy exercise (like walking or jogging) followed by a tougher one (like sprinting or marathon running) as an alternative solution. This approach can motivate people to start with basic exercises while reminding that there is still a long way to go to reach their fitness goals. This strategy could offer an alternative to promote physical activity without giving a false sense of accomplishment.</p> <p>So what is the takeaway for us? Be mindful of how watching sports can affect our eating habits. If you are aiming to stay on track with your diet, watch more challenging sports – it might just help you resist that extra chocolate bar. Moreover, when setting dieting goals, remind yourself that real progress comes from consistent effort, not just imagining yourself doing a workout. Engage in activities that genuinely challenge you, and pair them with mindful eating habits. This way, you can avoid the trap of feeling the fitness goal to be prematurely accomplished and then overindulging.</p> <p>In conclusion, should you watch the Olympic games if you want to keep up with your diet? Of course, but it might be better to choose the physical activities you find the most difficult to perform – and watch them without moderation.<!-- 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/231199/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/birau-mia-1238429">Birau Mia</a>, Associate Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/em-lyon-business-school-2363">EM Lyon Business School</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carolina-o-c-werle-1434243">Carolina O.C. Werle</a>, Professor of marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grenoble-ecole-de-management-gem-2181">Grenoble École de Management (GEM)</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>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/will-watching-the-olympic-games-make-you-eat-more-231199">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Julian Assange was isolated for more than a decade. Here’s what that does to the body and mind

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carol-maher-217811">Carol Maher</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-badcock-995697">Johanna Badcock</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p>Anyone who lived through the COVID pandemic would likely understand that even a small period of isolation can cause <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35787541/">physical and mental stress</a>.</p> <p>WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – <a href="https://theconversation.com/julian-assange-will-be-freed-after-striking-plea-deal-with-us-authorities-233210">who will return to Australia</a> after reaching a plea deal with the US Department of Justice – is <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-affairs/his-health-is-very-risky-assange-s-brother-fears-for-his-life-20240327-p5ffjw">reported to have suffered</a> various mental and physical challenges during his almost 15 years in some form of isolation.</p> <p>Assange was first arrested in Britain in 2010 after Swedish authorities said they wanted to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange-sweden">question him over sex crime allegations</a>.</p> <p>After exhausting legal avenues to stop an extradition to Sweden, in June 2012 he entered <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/julian-assange-ecuador-london-embassy-how-he-became-unwelcome-guest">Ecuador’s embassy in London</a>, where he remained for seven years.</p> <p>In early 2019, he was <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN1S73H5/">jailed for skipping bail</a> and held at London’s Belmarsh prison where he spent most of the following five years fighting extradition to the US. Now, he’s coming home.</p> <p>While we have no idea how Assange is coping from being cooped up inside for so long with few visitors, we do know that isolation can have <a href="https://theconversation.com/my-own-prison-ordeal-gave-me-a-taste-of-what-assange-may-be-feeling-hes-out-but-the-chilling-effect-on-press-freedom-remains-233215">a severe negative impact</a> on many people.</p> <p><iframe id="qxq2l" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/qxq2l/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>How physical inactivity impacts your body</h2> <p>Physical activity is vital for <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/articlepdf/2712935/jama_piercy_2018_sc_180005.pdf">overall health</a>. It keeps your heart strong, helps manage weight, and builds muscle and bone strength.</p> <p>Regular exercise also lifts your mood, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sharpens your mind. Plus, it boosts your <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7195025/">immune system</a>, making you more resistant to infections and diseases.</p> <p>When you don’t move enough, especially in isolation, your health can take a hit. Muscles weaken and joints stiffen, making you less strong and flexible.</p> <p>Your <a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/01.CIR.102.9.975">heart health</a> suffers, too, raising the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes because your heart isn’t getting the workout it needs.</p> <p>Metabolic issues such as obesity and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6908414/">type 2 diabetes</a> become more common with inactivity, especially if you don’t have access to healthy food.</p> <p>Isolation often means less fresh air and sunlight, both crucial for good health. Poor ventilation can lead to <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/8/2927/pdf">respiratory problems</a>. Lack of sunlight can cause <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-pdf/95/6/2630/9067013/jcem2630.pdf">vitamin D deficiency</a>, weakening bones and the immune system, and increasing the risk of fractures.</p> <p>These effects fit with the reports that Assange suffered a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/mar/23/today-i-will-marry-the-love-of-my-life-julian-assanges-fiancee">mini-stroke</a> in 2021 and a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/feb/18/julian-assange-press-freedom-wikileaks-uk-high-court">broken rib</a> from persistent coughing fits while in isolation.</p> <h2>What about mental health?</h2> <p>Social disconnection comes in two main forms, both of which have serious consequences for our mental health.</p> <p>The first is social isolation. The reasons for being isolated are many and varied, including geographical distance, lack of access to transport, or incarceration.</p> <p>The end result is the same: you have few relationships, social roles or group memberships, and limited social interaction.</p> <p>The second form of social disconnection is more invisible but just as harmful.</p> <p><a href="https://psychology.org.au/for-the-public/psychology-topics/loneliness">Loneliness</a> is that subjective, unpleasant feeling of wanting but lacking satisfying relationships with others.</p> <p>You can be isolated and not feel lonely, but the two are often unwelcome bedfellows.</p> <p>Social connection is not a luxury. It’s a fundamental need, as essential to our health as food and water.</p> <p>Just as hunger reminds us to eat, <a href="https://healthymale.org.au/health-article/what-is-loneliness-and-social-isolation">loneliness acts as a signal</a> alerting us that our social relationships are weak and need to be improved if we are to remain healthy.</p> <p>The science around the health impacts of social disconnection is clear, especially when it is prolonged. So much so, the World Health Organization recently launched a <a href="https://www.who.int/groups/commission-on-social-connection">Commission on Social Connection</a> to increase awareness of the impact of social isolation and loneliness on health and have it recognised as a global health priority.</p> <p>Substantial evidence shows social isolation and loneliness are linked to poorer cognitive functioning and an increased risk of dementia, though possibly in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9995915/">different ways</a>.</p> <p>Among adults aged 50 years and over, chronic (meaning persistent and severe) loneliness and social isolation may increase the risk of dementia by <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13651501.2021.1959616">around 50%</a>.</p> <p>A lack of cognitive stimulation that naturally occurs when interacting with others, whether it’s old friends or strangers, might explain <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9995915/">the link</a> between social isolation and cognitive difficulties (think “use it or lose it”).</p> <p>On the other hand, loneliness <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9995915/">may impact cognitive health</a> through its effects on emotional wellbeing. It’s <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-13049-9">a well-known risk factor</a> for developing depression, anxiety and suicidality.</p> <p>For instance, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35583561/">studies show</a> the chances of developing depression in adults is more than double in people who often feel lonely, compared with those who rarely or never feel lonely.</p> <p>Other research examining 500,000 middle-aged adults over nine years showed living alone doubled the risk of dying by suicide for men, while loneliness <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33096330">increased the risk of hospitalisation</a> for self-harm in both men and women.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf">2023 report</a>, the US Surgeon General’s advisory concluded:</p> <blockquote> <p>Given the totality of the evidence, social connection may be one of the strongest protective factors against self-harm and suicide among people with and without serious underlying mental health challenges.</p> </blockquote> <h2>What about after release?</h2> <p>When a person leaves long-term isolation, they’ll face many challenges as they re-enter society.</p> <p>The world will have changed. There’s a lot to catch up on, from technological advancements to shifts in social norms.</p> <p>In addition to these broader changes, there’s a need to focus on rebuilding physical and mental health. Health issues that developed during isolation can <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30460-8/fulltext?cid=in%3Adisplay%3Alfhtn0&amp;dclid=CNKCgb7nle0CFVUkjwodG0YCkg">persist or worsen</a>. A weakened immune system might struggle with new infections in a post-COVID world.</p> <p>To navigate this transition, it’s important to establish a routine that includes regular exercise, nutritious meals and comprehensive medical and psychological care.</p> <p>Gradually increasing social interactions can also help in rebuilding relationships and social connections. These steps are supportive in restoring overall health and wellbeing in a changed world.<!-- 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/233214/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/carol-maher-217811">Carol Maher</a>, Professor, Medical Research Future Fund Emerging Leader, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-badcock-995697">Johanna Badcock</a>, Adjunct Professor, School of Psychological Science | Freelance Research Consultant, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Ray Tang/Shutterstock Editorial </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/julian-assange-was-isolated-for-more-than-a-decade-heres-what-that-does-to-the-body-and-mind-233214">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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Why you should expect to pay more tourist taxes – even though the evidence for them is unclear

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a></em></p> <p>In April 2024, Venice began its controversial experiment to <a href="https://www.timeout.com/news/venice-will-charge-tourists-5-to-enter-the-city-from-next-year-090823">charge day trippers</a> €5 (£4.30) to visit the city on some of the busiest days of the year. But it’s not just the lagoon city, with its <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/travel/article/20230928-venices-new-5-entry-fee-explained#:%7E:text=Over%20the%20past%20three%20decades%2C%20Venice%20has%20become,thirds%20of%20visitors%20come%20just%20for%20the%20day.">30 million visitors</a> a year which is interested in trying out new tourism taxes.</p> <p>In the UK, a council in the county of Kent <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheconversationuk.cmail20.com%2Ft%2Fr-l-tiuhhult-iukktlluuk-o%2F&amp;data=05%7C02%7Cr.a.gwilym%40bangor.ac.uk%7C39ac5db833674c1a026508dc63a24fa7%7Cc6474c55a9234d2a9bd4ece37148dbb2%7C0%7C0%7C638494795990617858%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C0%7C%7C%7C&amp;sdata=D6oVizx3pFoiwRaTcKaakQ079%2FIQx86jcbFpj2%2FS0RQ%3D&amp;reserved=0">has recommended</a> introducing a tourism tax on overnight stays in the county. In Scotland, it seems likely that <a href="https://edinburgh.org/planning/local-information/visitor-levy-for-edinburgh/#:%7E:text=The%20Edinburgh%20Visitor%20Levy%2C%20otherwise%20referred%20to%20as,would%20then%20be%20invested%20back%20into%20the%20city.">visitors to Edinburgh</a> will be paying a fee by 2026, and the Welsh government <a href="https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-government-announces-tourists-pay-26591498">plans to introduce</a> similar legislation later this year.</p> <p>Such taxes may seem new to the UK, but there are more than 60 destinations around the world where this type of tax is already in place. These vary from a nationwide tax in Iceland to various towns across the US. Some have been in place for a long time (France was the <a href="https://www.impots.gouv.fr/taxe-de-sejour">first in 1910</a>), but most were introduced during the last decade or two.</p> <p>Before the pandemic really struck (and tourism was put on hold), 2020 was described by one newspaper as the <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/tourist-tax-amsterdam-venice/">“year of the tourist tax”</a>, as Amsterdam joined an ever-growing list of destinations, which includes Paris, Malta and Cancun, to charge visitors for simply visiting.</p> <p>Introducing these tourist taxes has often been controversial, with industry bodies <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-62707152">voicing concerns</a> about the potential impacts on the tourist trade.</p> <p>And it appears that the link between such levies and visitor numbers is not simple, with several studies reaching different conclusions. For example, some have suggested that tourism levies have hindered <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0261517704000238">international tourism in the Balearics</a> and <a href="https://journals-sagepub-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1177/00472875211053658">the Maldives</a>, and that they may dissuade people from participating in <a href="https://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/35087/1/ADEDOYIN%2C%20Festus%20Fatai_Ph.D._2020.pdf">domestic tourism</a>.</p> <p>Yet in one of the world’s most popular tourism spots with a levy, Barcelona, visitor numbers have <a href="https://groupnao.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/TOURISM-TAXES-BY-DESIGN-NOV12-2020_rettet-compressed-2.pdf">consistently risen</a>, with hotel guests increasing from 7.1 million in 2013 to 9.5 million in 2019.</p> <p>In fact, the relationship between a visitor levy and tourist flow is so complex that there is no unified view, even within the same country. Italy has been one of the most studied, and results <a href="https://crenos.unica.it/crenosterritorio/sites/default/files/allegati-pubblicazioni-tes/Indagine_Villasimius_Quaderno_Crenos_ISBN.pdf">are inconsistent</a> <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jtr.2123">there too</a>.</p> <p>Another study, looking at three neighbouring Italian seaside spots finds that only in one destination has the visitor levy <a href="https://www.rivisteweb.it/doi/10.1429/77318">reduced tourist flow</a>. And a study on the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Padua shows that these cities <a href="https://link-springer-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-61274-0_23">have not experienced any negative effects</a> either in terms of domestic or international demand.</p> <p>So the impact of tourism taxes on visitor numbers is inconclusive.</p> <p>But what about other effects, such as the potential benefits of spending the revenues raised? As part of an ongoing research project, we looked at seven different destinations in which tourist taxes are levied to look at how the money raised is then spent.</p> <p>For most places, tourism tax revenues were being used to fund marketing and branding – so invested directly into promoting more tourism. The income was also commonly used to fund tourism infrastructure, from public toilets and walking or cycling paths to a multi-billion dollar <a href="https://www.occc.net/About-Us-Media-Relations-Press-Releases/ArticleID/569/Orange%20County%20Board%20Votes%20to%20Approve%20Convention%20Center%20Completion%20with%20Tourist%20Development%20Tax%20Revenues">convention centre</a> in Orange County, Florida.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.caib.es/sites/impostturisme/en/l/projects/?mcont=95762">the Balearics</a>, revenues tend to go to projects that mitigate the negative impacts of tourism on the environment, culture and society of the islands. These include waste management, conserving natural habitats and historical monuments, and social housing.</p> <p>But in general, tourism taxes have been implemented successfully across the destinations we looked at, and there is little evidence of tourists being put off from visiting.</p> <p>Research also suggests that when tourists are told what the levy is used for – and when it relates directly to <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7099/5/2/21">improving their experience</a> or <a href="https://ejtr.vumk.eu/index.php/about/article/view/2813/605">enhancing sustainable tourism</a> – <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S2212571X20301621?casa_token=HcD-yQh65XcAAAAA:GhVRo4vX9JY1E3Lcx5ZPaTr5ZHArMGNrmK_2ASJCtMPjVpdCQLdun25BmFEYquGgz8-1riOWdg">tourists are willing to accept and pay</a> the levy.</p> <h2>Day trippers</h2> <p>For many tourism destinations, the major problem is not overnight tourists, but rather <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fuming-snowdonia-visitors-demand-self-30203642">day visitors</a> who use local resources while making little in the way of a financial contribution. For these reasons, taxes might also be used to deter day visits and instead encourage longer stays.</p> <p><a href="https://www.economist.com/why-venice-is-starting-to-charge-tourists-to-enter?utm_medium=cpc.adword.pd&amp;utm_source=google&amp;ppccampaignID=18156330227&amp;ppcadID=&amp;utm_campaign=a.22brand_pmax&amp;utm_content=conversion.direct-response.anonymous&amp;gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw_qexBhCoARIsAFgBleshST3IQMYR8hONLSLnA_loj9dukAqxURhdVCn1RmGeD5iOQzw_r2caAsqrEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Venice is at the forefront</a> of this shift. And in April 2024, after long discussions between the local authority, residents and business owners, Venice started a <a href="https://cdamedia.veneziaunica.it/en/video/it-is-difficult-to-book-a-visit-to-venice/">trial</a> of a day visitor tax (a so-called <a href="https://cda.veneziaunica.it/en">“access fee”</a>).</p> <p>Back in Kent, it may take longer for any such radical plans to come to fruition. In contrast to Scotland and Wales, there are currently no national plans to <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2023-09-13/199425">introduce tourist taxes</a> in England.</p> <p>This might be considered shortsighted, given the dire need of many destinations in England to improve local infrastructure that tourists rely on, including <a href="https://www.reading.ac.uk/news/2024/Research-News/Swimming-in-sewage-Bathing-forecasts-not-keeping-people-safe">clean bathing water</a> and <a href="https://www.lancs.live/news/cumbria-news/lake-district-warning-parking-issues-27173650">public transport</a>. In <a href="https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/business/finance-strategy/manchester-acts-as-trailblazer-for-tourist-tax">Manchester</a> and <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/0e0385e6-29ec-4302-9903-6fbf63d8854a">Liverpool</a>, businesses have implemented voluntary overnight charges on visitors, in the absence of the statutory basis to implement compulsory levies.</p> <p>Many other English towns and cities will probably follow their lead. Tourism taxes are something we might all have to consider budgeting for in our future travel plans, wherever we choose to visit.<!-- 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/229134/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/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor 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/why-you-should-expect-to-pay-more-tourist-taxes-even-though-the-evidence-for-them-is-unclear-229134">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Roadside cameras set to target more infringements

<p>Millions of Aussie drivers are being warned as authorities expand the number of infringements being targeted by roadside cameras. </p> <p>The technology, initially used to detect mobile phone use, will now target new road rules. </p> <p>"The laws were brought in and this technology was brought in as a preventative measure ... to stop people getting behind the wheel and taking risks that jeopardise the safety of others," NRMA head of media told <em>Yahoo News. </em></p> <p>"The road toll is terrible nationally in Australia ... So we need to do everything we can to reduce risks on our roads."</p> <p>In NSW authorities are expanding the capabilities of their roadside mobile-detection cameras. </p> <p>From July 1 the cameras will be able to catch drivers wearing their seatbelt incorrectly. </p> <p>This comes after Queensland reportedly became the first jurisdiction in the world to roll out seatbelt-spotting detection along with mobile-detection. </p> <p>Last year, Victoria also rolled out dual mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras last year after a two year trial.</p> <p>No grace period will be granted when they issue the seatbelt fines. </p> <p>"The expansion of mobile phone detection cameras to also apply to seatbelt offences reinforces the NSW Government’s commitment to enforcing the 50-year-old seatbelt law, actively contributing to improving road safety and reducing fatalities on NSW roads," a statement read on their official website. </p> <p>The department told Yahoo that all images captured by roadside cameras are automatically reviewed by software. </p> <p>Those that do not contain evidence of an offence will have their images deleted within an hour. </p> <p>Drivers in the ACT will need to make sure they have proper insurance and registration.</p> <p>From August, the roadside cameras alongside speed cameras and red light cameras will be used to send hefty fines to those driving without proper registration or insurance. </p> <p>Those caught by the cameras will have their paperwork manually checked by transport staff. </p> <p>An infringement for driving an unregistered vehicle in the ACT is $700 while the fine for driving an uninsured car is $973. </p> <p>The mobile detection cameras could also soon be programmed to detect speeding in the ACT. </p> <p>In South Australia, authorities began testing overhead mobile detection cameras at four busy locations in April, fines are currently not being issued, but the grace period is due to finish on June 19. </p> <p>Drivers caught using their phones in Adelaide will be fined $540 and three demerit points. </p> <p><em>Image: </em><em>Stepan Skorobogadko / Shutterstock.com</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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More holidays sunk as P&O announce further cancellations

<p>Just days after P&O announced it would be <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/major-australian-cruise-line-shuts-down" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ceasing operations</a> from early 2025, travellers have been left frustrated after more voyages have been cancelled. </p> <p>After 90 years at sea, P&O Australia is set to be integrated into sister ocean travel outfit Carnival Cruise Line in March 2025, impacting travel plans for many. </p> <p>P&O’s ship Pacific Explorer will be retired under the move, prompting mass cruise cancellations for travellers scheduled to set sail after March 2nd.</p> <p>Now, the company has announced further cancellations on two other vessels in its fleet.</p> <p>Four Pacific Adventure itineraries have been cancelled, including V515, V516, V517, V518, while another four Pacific Encounter itineraries have also been scrapped, including I512, I513, I514.</p> <p>The impacted cruises were scheduled to depart from Sydney and Brisbane in March 2025, but both vessels will be out of action for two weeks while they are rebranded by Carnival and undergo a technology upgrade, a Carnival spokesperson told <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/pacific-adventure-and-pacific-encounter-cancellations-follow-news-po-cruises-brand-is-being-retired-c-14919420" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>7News</em></a>.</p> <p>Staff will be contacting impacted travellers in the coming days with information on refunds and offers of extra onboard spending.</p> <p> </p> <p>“We apologise that this change has been necessary,” the company said.</p> <p>“If you are booked on any other P&O Cruises Australia itinerary your cruise is unaffected by this announcement and we look forward to welcoming you on board soon."</p> <p>“No Carnival Cruise Line itineraries are impacted by this announcement.”</p> <p>The Pacific Explorer will be removed from P&O’s fleet at the end of February, with its final journey being an 11-night cruise to Singapore that leaves Fremantle on February 7th 2025. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Who really was Mona Lisa? More than 500 years on, there’s good reason to think we got it wrong

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/darius-von-guttner-sporzynski-112147">Darius von Guttner Sporzynski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p>In the pantheon of Renaissance art, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa stands as an unrivalled icon. This half-length portrait is more than just an artistic masterpiece; it embodies the allure of an era marked by unparalleled cultural flourishing.</p> <p>Yet, beneath the surface of the Mona Lisa’s elusive smile lies a debate that touches the very essence of the Renaissance, its politics and the role of women in history.</p> <h2>A mystery woman</h2> <p>The intrigue of the Mona Lisa, also known as <a href="https://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/artdok/4207/1/Zoellner_Leonardos_portrait_of_Mona_Lisa_1993.pdf">La Gioconda</a>, isn’t solely due to Leonardo’s revolutionary painting techniques. It’s also because the identity of the subject is unconfirmed to this day. More than half a millennium since it was first painted, the real identity of the Mona Lisa remains one of art’s greatest mysteries, intriguing scholars and enthusiasts alike.</p> <p>The painting has traditionally been associated with Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. But another compelling theory suggests a different sitter: Isabella of Aragon.</p> <p>Isabella of Aragon was born into the illustrious House of Aragon in Naples, in 1470. She was a princess who was deeply entwined in the political and cultural fabric of the Renaissance.</p> <p>Her 1490 marriage to Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan, positioned Isabella at the heart of Italian politics. And this role was both complicated and elevated by the ambitions and machinations of Ludovico Sforza (also called Ludovico il Moro), her husband’s uncle and usurper of the Milanese dukedom.</p> <h2>Scholarly perspectives</h2> <p>The theory that Isabella is the real Mona Lisa is supported by a combination of stylistic analyses, historical connections and reinterpretations of Leonardo’s intent as an artist.</p> <p>In his <a href="https://www.bookstellyouwhy.com/pages/books/51791/robert-payne/leonardo-1st-edition-1st-printing">biography of Leonardo</a>, author Robert Payne points to <a href="https://emuseum.hydecollection.org/objects/94/study-of-the-mona-lisa?ctx=760b87fd-efbf-4468-b579-42f98e9712d2&amp;idx=0">preliminary studies</a> by the artist that bear a striking resemblances to Isabella around age 20. Payne suggests Leonardo captured Isabella <a href="https://emuseum.hydecollection.org/objects/94/study-of-the-mona-lisa?ctx=760b87fd-efbf-4468-b579-42f98e9712d2&amp;idx=0">across different life stages</a>, including during widowhood, as depicted in the Mona Lisa.</p> <p>US artist Lillian F. Schwartz’s <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0097849395000317">1988 study</a> used x-rays to reveal an initial sketch of a woman hidden beneath Leonardo’s painting. This sketch was then painted over with Leonardo’s own likeness.</p> <p>Schwartz believes the woman in the sketch is Isabella, because of its similarity with a cartoon Leonardo made of the princess. She proposes the work was made by integrating specific features of the initial model with Leonardo’s own features.</p> <p>This hypothesis is further supported by art historians Jerzy Kulski and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owjJWxcnKrE">Maike Vogt-Luerssen</a>.</p> <p>According to Vogt-Luerssen’s <a href="https://www.kleio.org/de/buecher/wer-ist-mona-lisa/">detailed analysis</a> of the Mona Lisa, the symbols of the Sforza house and the depiction of mourning garb both align with Isabella’s known life circumstances. They suggest the Mona Lisa isn’t a commissioned portrait, but a nuanced representation of a woman’s journey through triumph and tragedy.</p> <p>Similarly, Kulski highlights the <a href="https://www.academia.edu/40147186/The_Mona_Lisa_Portrait_Leonardos_Personal_and_Political_Tribute_to_Isabella_Aragon_Sforza_the_Duchess_of_Milan">portrait’s heraldic designs</a>, which would be atypical for a silk merchant’s wife. He, too, suggests the painting shows Isabella mourning her late husband.</p> <p>The Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression also captures Isabella’s self-described state post-1500 of being “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1468-0424.12683">alone in misfortune</a>”. Contrary to representing a wealthy, recently married woman, the portrait exudes the aura of a virtuous widow.</p> <p>Late professor of art history <a href="https://brill.com/display/book/edcoll/9789004304130/B9789004304130_014.xml?language=en">Joanna Woods-Marsden</a> suggested the Mona Lisa transcends traditional portraiture and embodies Leonardo’s ideal, rather than being a straightforward commission.</p> <p>This perspective frames the work as a deeply personal project for Leonardo, possibly signifying a special connection between him and Isabella. Leonardo’s reluctance to part with the work also indicates a deeper, personal investment in it.</p> <h2>Beyond the canvas</h2> <p>The theory that Isabella of Aragon could be the true Mona Lisa is a profound reevaluation of the painting’s context, opening up new avenues through which to appreciate the work.</p> <p>It elevates Isabella from a figure overshadowed by the men in her life, to a woman of courage and complexity who deserves recognition in her own right.</p> <p>Through her strategic marriage and political savvy, <a href="https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85147429412&amp;origin=resultslist">Isabella played a crucial role in the alliances and conflicts</a> that defined the Italian Renaissance. By possibly choosing her as his subject, Leonardo immortalised her and also made a profound statement on the complexity and agency of women in a male-dominated society.</p> <p>The ongoing debate over Mona Lisa’s identity underscores this work’s significance as a cultural and historical artefact. It also invites us to reflect on the roles of women in the Renaissance and challenge common narratives that minimise them.</p> <p>In this light, it becomes a legacy of the women who shaped the Renaissance.<!-- 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/220666/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/darius-von-guttner-sporzynski-112147">Darius von Guttner Sporzynski</a>, Historian, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency/Shutterstock Editorial </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/who-really-was-mona-lisa-more-than-500-years-on-theres-good-reason-to-think-we-got-it-wrong-220666">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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New study reveals people who do this daily make more money over their lifetimes

<p>You’ve heard that regular exercise can help you live richly. Frequent movement, even in short bursts throughout the day, has been linked to lower all-cause mortality rates and reduced risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes and other age-related conditions, helping you age healthfully and stay independent.</p> <p>Now, new research suggests frequent exercise might help you live well in another meaningful way; in terms of income. In a recent study published in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, doctors from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), which is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), investigated whether individuals who stayed active would earn more money as a result of their active lifestyle.</p> <p>The researchers’ findings revealed that staying active not only resulted in higher present earnings, but also predicted increased future income throughout one’s life. In essence, the science was clear: Getting more exercise could make you wealthier.</p> <h2>How exercise predicted future earnings</h2> <p>The researchers set out to explore three key correlations: How mobility affected income, how mobility influenced income over time, and whether exercise could help people maintain their mobility as they aged.</p> <p>The team analysed data from the US-federally-supported Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the largest study tracking changes over time in Americans aged 50 and above. This comprehensive study takes into account various life aspects, including work, socio-economic status, health, psychology and family matters, as individuals age.</p> <p>To assess the impact of current mobility on income, the researchers examined data from over 19,000 respondents to determine how well they could perform simple tasks, such as walking several blocks, climbing multiple flights of stairs, or moving around a room. Each person received a numerical score, with 5 indicating full mobility and 0 indicating difficulties with these tasks.</p> <h2>What earnings over time revealed</h2> <p>The researchers found that for each decrease in the mobility category, individuals lost out on an average of US$3000 in annual income compared to their peers. Those who were active were also significantly more likely to remain working for longer than the other group. It appeared that engaging in exercise enabled individuals to maintain mobility and engage in professional life for a longer period of time than those who were less active.</p> <p>Looking at earnings over time revealed even more substantial benefits for those who remained active throughout their lives. Active individuals showed an overall income level that was US$6500 higher, along with higher rates of employment.</p> <p>For the third part of the study, it’s not surprising that those who engaged in exercise continued to maintain their mobility after the age of 55 and had higher employment rates. Even exercising just one day a week showed improvements in mobility outcomes.</p> <h2>Moving more benefits more than just health</h2> <p>While this study doesn’t definitively prove that leading a healthy lifestyle directly leads to higher earnings, it strongly suggests that staying healthy and mobile brings benefits beyond just lower levels of disease (which is a type of wealth in and of itself). NIAMS Director Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., underscores this point: “We have long understood that greater mobility is an important indicator of good health … The notion that mobility can have economic rewards further extends the evidence for the benefits of exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle.”</p> <p>If this science inspires you to make a healthy lifestyle change, speak with a licensed healthcare provider to determine the right exercise programme for you.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/new-study-reveals-people-who-do-this-daily-make-more-money-over-their-lifetimes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em> </p>

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Are some routes more prone to air turbulence? Will climate change make it worse? Your questions answered

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>A little bit of turbulence is a common experience for air travellers. Severe incidents are rare – but when they occur they can be deadly.</p> <p>The recent Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore shows the danger. An <a href="https://apnews.com/article/singapore-airlines-flight-turbulence-5a9a268e1a6a6fb9ece7e58b5ea9231b">encounter with extreme turbulence</a> during normal flight left one person dead from a presumed heart attack and several others badly injured. The flight diverted to land in Bangkok so the severely injured passengers could receive hospital treatment.</p> <p>Air turbulence can happen anywhere, but is far more common on some routes than on others.</p> <p>Climate change is expected to boost the chances of air turbulence, and make it more intense. In fact, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1465-z">some research</a> indicates turbulence <a href="https://theconversation.com/aviation-turbulence-soared-by-up-to-55-as-the-world-warmed-new-research-207574">has already worsened</a> over the past few decades.</p> <h2>Where does turbulence happen?</h2> <p>Nearly every flight experiences turbulence in one form or another.</p> <p>If an aircraft is taking off or landing behind another aircraft, the wind generated by the engine and <a href="https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim_html/chap7_section_4.html">wingtips</a> of the lead aircraft can cause “wake turbulence” for the one behind.</p> <p>Close to ground level, there may be turbulence due to strong winds associated with weather patterns moving through the area near an airport. At higher altitudes, there may be wake turbulence again (if flying close to another aircraft), or turbulence due to updraughts or downdraughts from a thunderstorm.</p> <p>Another kind of turbulence that occurs at higher altitudes is harder to predict or avoid. So-called “<a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023gl103814">clear-air turbulence</a>” is invisible, as the name suggests. It is often caused by warmer air rising into cooler air, and is generally expected to get worse due to climate change.</p> <p>At the most basic level turbulence is the result of two or more wind events colliding and creating eddies, or swirls of <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/what-is-turbulence-explained">disrupted airflow</a>.</p> <p>It often occurs near mountain ranges, as wind flowing over the terrain accelerates upward.</p> <p>Turbulence also often occurs at the edges of the <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/what-is-turbulence-explained">jet streams</a>. These are narrow bands of strong, high-altitude winds circling the globe. Aircraft often travel in the jet streams to get a speed boost – but when entering or leaving the jet stream, there may be some turbulence as it crosses the boundary with the slower winds outside.</p> <h2>What are the most turbulent routes?</h2> <p>It is possible to <a href="https://turbli.com/maps/world-turbulence-map/">map turbulence patterns</a> over the whole world. Airlines use these maps to plan in advance for alternate airports or other essential contingencies.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=430&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=430&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=430&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=541&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=541&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595676/original/file-20240522-21-ippmyt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=541&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map showing air turbulence." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">A map of estimated clear-air turbulence around the world, current as of 3:00PM AEST (0500 UTC) on May 22 2024.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://turbli.com/maps/world-turbulence-map/">Turbli</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>While turbulence changes with weather conditions, some regions and routes are more prone to it than others. As you can see from the list below, the majority of the most turbulent routes travel close to mountains.</p> <p><iframe id="EktuH" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/EktuH/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>In Australia, the <a href="https://turbli.com/historical-data/most-turbulent-flight-routes-of-2023/">highest average turbulence in 2023</a> occurred on the Brisbane to Sydney route, followed by Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane to Melbourne.</p> <h2>Climate change may increase turbulence</h2> <p>How will climate change affect the future of aviation?</p> <p>A <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2023GL103814">study published last year</a> found evidence of large increases in clear-air turbulence between 1979 and 2020. In some locations severe turbulence increased by as much as 55%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=253&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=253&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=253&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=318&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=318&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/595683/original/file-20240522-17-p2zdrt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=318&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="A map of the world with different areas shaded in red." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">A map showing changes in the chance of clear-air turbulence across the globe between 1979 and 2020. Darker red indicates a higher chance of turbulence.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2023GL103814">Prosser et al. (2023), Geophysical Research Letters</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In 2017, a <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL074618">different study used climate modelling</a> to project that clear-air turbulence may be four times as common as it used to be by 2050, under some climate change scenarios.</p> <h2>What can be done about turbulence?</h2> <p>What can be done to mitigate turbulence? <a href="https://safetyfirst.airbus.com/optimum-use-of-weather-radar/">Technology to detect turbulence</a> is still in the research and development phase, so pilots use the knowledge they have from weather radar to determine the best plan to avoid weather patterns with high levels of moisture directly ahead of their flight path.</p> <p>Weather radar imagery shows the pilots where the most intense turbulence can be expected, and they work with air traffic control to avoid those areas. When turbulence is encountered unexpectedly, the pilots immediately turn on the “fasten seatbelt” sign and reduce engine thrust to slow down the plane. They will also be in touch with air traffic control to find better conditions either by climbing or descending to smoother air.</p> <p>Ground-based meteorological centres can see weather patterns developing with the assistance of satellites. They provide this information to flight crews in real time, so the crew knows the weather to expect throughout their flight. This can also include areas of expected turbulence if storms develop along the intended flight route.</p> <p>It seems we are heading into more turbulent times. Airlines will do all they can to reduce the impact on planes and passengers. But for the average traveller, the message is simple: when they tell you to fasten your seatbelt, you should listen.<!-- 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/230666/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/doug-drury-1277871"><em>Doug Drury</em></a><em>, Professor/Head of Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</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-some-routes-more-prone-to-air-turbulence-will-climate-change-make-it-worse-your-questions-answered-230666">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Longer appointments are just the start of tackling the gender pain gap. Here are 4 more things we can do

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-oshea-457947">Michelle O'Shea</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-adler-1533549">Hannah Adler</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marilla-l-druitt-1533572">Marilla L. Druitt</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-armour-391382">Mike Armour</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>Ahead of the federal budget, health minister Mark Butler <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-10/endometriosis-australia-welcomes-govt-funding-for-endometriosis/103830392">last week announced</a> an investment of A$49.1 million to help women with endometriosis and complex gynaecological conditions such as chronic pelvic pain and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).</p> <p>From July 1 2025 <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/historic-medicare-changes-for-women-battling-endometriosis">two new items</a> will be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule providing extended consultation times and higher rebates for specialist gynaecological care.</p> <p>The Medicare changes <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/longer-consults-for-endometriosis-sufferers-on-the">will subsidise</a> $168.60 for a minimum of 45 minutes during a longer initial gynaecologist consultation, compared to the standard rate of $95.60. For follow-up consultations, Medicare will cover $84.35 for a minimum of 45 minutes, compared to the standard rate of $48.05.</p> <p>Currently, there’s <a href="https://www9.health.gov.au/mbs/fullDisplay.cfm?type=item&amp;q=104&amp;qt=item&amp;criteria=104">no specified time</a> for these initial or subsequent consultations.</p> <p>But while reductions to out-of-pocket medical expenses and extended specialist consultation times are welcome news, they’re only a first step in closing the gender pain gap.</p> <h2>Chronic pain affects more women</h2> <p>Globally, research has shown chronic pain (generally defined as pain that persists for <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/chronic-pain">more than three months</a>) disproportionately affects <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bja/article/111/1/52/331232?login=false">women</a>. Multiple biological and psychosocial processes likely contribute to this disparity, often called the gender pain gap.</p> <p>For example, chronic pain is frequently associated with conditions influenced by <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304395914003868">hormones</a>, among other factors, such as endometriosis and <a href="https://theconversation.com/adenomyosis-causes-pain-heavy-periods-and-infertility-but-youve-probably-never-heard-of-it-104412">adenomyosis</a>. Chronic pelvic pain in women, regardless of the cause, can be debilitating and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73389-2">negatively affect</a> every facet of life from social activities, to work and finances, to mental health and relationships.</p> <p>The gender pain gap is both rooted in and compounded by gender bias in medical research, treatment and social norms.</p> <p>The science that informs medicine – including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease – has traditionally focused on men, thereby <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/30/fda-clinical-trials-gender-gap-epa-nih-institute-of-medicine-cardiovascular-disease">failing to consider</a> the crucial impact of sex (biological) and gender (social) factors.</p> <p>When medical research adopts a “male as default” approach, this limits our understanding of pain conditions that predominantly affect women or how certain conditions affect men and women <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10921746/">differently</a>. It also means intersex, trans and gender-diverse people are <a href="https://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/news-and-media-releases/articles/world-class-centre-tackles-sex-and-gender-inequities-in-health-and-medicine">commonly excluded</a> from medical research and health care.</p> <p>Minimisation or dismissal of pain along with the <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/3467067/">normalisation of menstrual pain</a> as just “part of being a woman” contribute to significant delays and misdiagnosis of women’s gynaecological and other health issues. Feeling dismissed, along with perceptions of stigma, can make women less likely <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12905-024-03063-6">to seek help</a> in the future.</p> <h2>Inadequate medical care</h2> <p>Unfortunately, even when women with endometriosis do seek care, many <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/imj.15494?saml_referrer">aren’t satisfied</a>. This is understandable when medical advice includes being told to become pregnant to treat their <a href="https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-023-02794-2">endometriosis</a>, despite <a href="https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/24/3/290/4859612?login=false">no evidence</a> pregnancy reduces symptoms. Pregnancy should be an autonomous choice, not a treatment option.</p> <p>It’s unsurprising people look for information from other, often <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/12/1/121">uncredentialed</a>, sources. While online platforms including patient-led groups have provided women with new avenues of support, these forums should complement, rather than replace, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1460458215602939">information from a doctor</a>.</p> <p>Longer Medicare-subsidised appointments are an important acknowledgement of women and their individual health needs. At present, many women feel their consultations with a gynaecologist are <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/longer-consults-for-endometriosis-sufferers-on-the">rushed</a>. These conversations, which often include coming to terms with a diagnosis and management plan, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1496869/">take time</a>.</p> <h2>A path toward less pain</h2> <p>While extended consultation time and reduced out-of-pocket costs are a step in the right direction, they are only one part of a complex pain puzzle.</p> <p>If women are not listened to, their symptoms not recognised, and effective treatment options not adequately discussed and provided, longer gynaecological consultations may not help patients. So what else do we need to do?</p> <p><strong>1. Physician knowledge</strong></p> <p>Doctors’ knowledge of women’s pain requires development through both practitioner <a href="https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-022-00815-4/tables/2">education and guidelines</a>. This knowledge should also include dedicated efforts toward understanding the <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/02/the-neuroscience-of-pain">neuroscience of pain</a>.</p> <p>Diagnostic processes should be tailored to consider gender-specific symptoms and responses to <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(24)00137-8/fulltext">pain</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Research and collaboration</strong></p> <p>Medical decisions should be based on the best and most inclusive evidence. Understanding the complexities of pain in women is essential for managing their pain. Collaboration between health-care experts from different disciplines can facilitate comprehensive and holistic pain research and management strategies.</p> <p><strong>3. Further care and service improvements</strong></p> <p>Women’s health requires multidisciplinary treatment and care which extends beyond their GP or specialist. For example, conditions like endometriosis often see people presenting to emergency departments in <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-disease/endometriosis-in-australia/contents/treatment-management/ed-presentations">acute pain</a>, so practitioners in these settings need to have the right knowledge and be able to provide support.</p> <p>Meanwhile, pelvic ultrasounds, especially the kind that have the potential to visualise endometriosis, take longer to perform and require a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0015028223020757/">specialist sonographer</a>. Current rebates do not reflect the time and expertise needed for these imaging procedures.</p> <p><strong>4. Adjusting the parameters of ‘women’s pain’</strong></p> <p>Conditions like PCOS and endometriosis don’t just affect women – they also impact people who are gender-diverse. Improving how people in this group are treated is just as salient as addressing how we treat women.</p> <p>Similarly, the gynaecological health-care needs of culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women may be even <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/13/6321">less likely to be met</a> than those of women in the general population.</p> <h2>Challenging gender norms</h2> <p>Research suggests one of the keys to reducing the gender pain gap is challenging deeply embedded <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29682130/">gendered norms</a> in clinical practice and research.</p> <p>We are hearing women’s suffering. Let’s make sure we are also listening and responding in ways that close the gender pain gap.<!-- 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/229802/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/michelle-oshea-457947">Michelle O'Shea</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Business, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-adler-1533549">Hannah Adler</a>, PhD candidate, health communication and health sociology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marilla-l-druitt-1533572">Marilla L. Druitt</a>, Affiliate Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-armour-391382">Mike Armour</a>, Associate Professor at NICM Health Research Institute, <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/longer-appointments-are-just-the-start-of-tackling-the-gender-pain-gap-here-are-4-more-things-we-can-do-229802">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Don’t give mum chocolates for Mother’s Day. Take on more housework, share the mental load and advocate for equality instead

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-ruppanner-106371">Leah Ruppanner</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>With Mother’s Day right around the corner, many grateful and loving families are thinking about what to give mum to show their appreciation.</p> <p>Should you give her chocolate? Nope. Fancy soaps? Nope. Fuzzy slippers, pyjamas, scented candles? No, no and no.</p> <p>On this Mother’s Day, keep your cash and give your wonderful mother gifts that will actually have a long-term impact on her health and well-being.</p> <h2>1. Do a chore that mum hates and hold onto it … forever</h2> <p>Research <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13545701.2020.1831039">shows</a> men have increased the amount of time spent on housework and childcare and that mothers, over time, are doing less (hooray!).</p> <p>But, women <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00479.x">still do more housework</a> than men, especially when <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gwao.12497?fbclid=IwAR2dp04p2sFqbDqdehXmXgDSfTYwX3GRzP7ScMJhSOrMePTGQVErR2TTX88">kids are in the home</a>.</p> <p>Further, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0891243205285212">men tend to pick up the more desirable tasks</a>, like <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/3598304">cooking and playing with the kids</a>, leaving mothers to do the less pleasurable chores (think cleaning toilets and clearing out fridges).</p> <p>The chore divide in same-sex relationships is generally found to be more equal, but some critique suggests equality may suffer <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/upshot/same-sex-couples-divide-chores-much-more-evenly-until-they-become-parents.html">once kids are involved</a>.</p> <p>This year give your mum (or mums) the gift of equal housework and childcare sharing – start by taking the most-hated tasks and then hold onto them… forever.</p> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gwao.12727">Research</a> shows housework inequality is bad for women’s mental health. Undervaluing women’s housework and unequal sharing of the chores deteriorates <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-022-01282-5">relationship quality</a>, and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0038038516674664">leads to divorce</a>.</p> <p>Housework and childcare take up valuable time to keep the family happy, harmonious and thriving, often at the expense of mum’s health and well-being.</p> <p>So, skip the chocolates and show mum love by doing the worst, most drudgerous and constant household chores (hello, cleaning mouldy showers!) and keep doing these… forever.</p> <h2>2. Initiate a mental unload</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-09-14/the-mental-load-and-what-to-do-about-it/8942032">mental load</a> is all of the planning, organising and management work necessary to keep the family running.</p> <p>The mental load is often perceived as list making or allocating tasks to family members.</p> <p>But, it’s so much more – it is the <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-stress-and-worry-put-the-mental-load-on-mothers-will-2022-be-the-year-they-share-the-burden-172599">emotional work</a> that goes with this thinking work.</p> <p>The mental load is the worry work that never ends and can be done <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13668803.2021.2002813">anywhere, anytime and with anyone</a> (in, for example, said mouldy shower).</p> <p>Because the mental load is performed inside our heads, it is invisible. That means we don’t know when we or others are performing this labour unless we really tune in.</p> <p>In fact, it is often when we tune in through quiet time, relaxation or meditation that the mental load rears its ugly head. Suddenly you remind yourself to buy oranges for the weekend soccer game, organise a family movie night and don’t forget to check in on nanna.</p> <p>Women in heterosexual relationships are <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0003122419859007">shown to do more</a> of the mental load with serious consequences for their mental health. But we don’t have a comprehensive measurement of how much women do it nor how it is allocated in same-sex couples.</p> <p>So, on this mothers’ day spend some time talking about, cataloguing, and equalising the family’s mental load.</p> <p>This isn’t just making a list about what has to be done but also understanding <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-09-14/the-mental-load-and-what-to-do-about-it/8942032">how the mental load</a> connects to the emotional health of the family, and the person carrying this <a href="https://www.newamerica.org/better-life-lab/blog/making-the-mental-load-visible/">invisible labour, worry and stress</a>.</p> <h2>3. Speak up for your mum and all caregivers</h2> <p>Families alone cannot bear the brunt of the caregiving necessary to keep us thriving.</p> <p>Governments, workplaces and local communities also play a critical role. For this mothers’ day, pick an issue impacting mothers (for example, equal pay, affordable childcare or paid family leave) and do one thing to help move the needle.</p> <p>Write a letter to your boss, your local MP, or donate money to an advocacy organisation advancing gender equality.</p> <p>Or, role model these behaviours yourself – normalise caregiving as a critical piece of being an effective worker, create policies and practices that support junior staff to care for themselves, their families and their communities and use these policies.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0891243216649946">Research</a> shows men want to be equal carers and sharers but often fear what taking time off for caregiving will signal to their employer despite evidence that fathers who request flexible work are perceived more <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/94/4/1567/2461609?login=false">favourably</a>.</p> <p>Appearing to be singularly devoted to work was shown to be impossible during the pandemic with kids, spouses, partners, and pets home all day long.</p> <p>Learning to create more care-inclusive workplaces and communities is critical.</p> <p>Paid parental leave, affordable and accessible high-quality childcare, flexibility in how, when and where we work and greater investments in paid sick leave, long-term disability support and aged care are just a few policies that would strengthen the care safety net.</p> <p>We will all be called upon to care at some point in our lives – let’s create the environments that support caregiving for all, not just mum.<!-- 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/182330/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/leah-ruppanner-106371">Leah Ruppanner</a>, Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of The Future of Work Lab, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/dont-give-mum-chocolates-for-mothers-day-take-on-more-housework-share-the-mental-load-and-advocate-for-equality-instead-182330">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Dog care below freezing − how to keep your pet warm and safe from cold weather, road salt and more this winter

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p>Time outside with your dog in the spring, summer and fall can be lovely. Visiting your favorite downtown café on a cool spring morning, going to a favorite dog park on a clear summer evening or going on walks along a river when the leaves are changing color are all wonderful when the weather is favorable. But in much of the country, when winter rolls around, previously hospitable conditions can <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-winter-miserable-for-wildlife-108734">quickly turn chilly and dangerous</a> for people and pups alike.</p> <p>Winter brings some unique challenges for dog owners, since dogs still need activity and socialization during colder seasons. Studies have shown that dog owners are almost 50% less likely to walk their dogs <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113302">when the weather gets cold</a>. Knowing the basics of winter safety is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.</p> <p>I am an <a href="https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/erik-olstad">assistant professor</a> at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who weathered polar vortexes with my dog while living in Michigan early in my career. While I’ve since moved to sunny California, I’ve seen how quickly frigid temperatures can turn dangerous for pets.</p> <h2>Breed and age differences</h2> <p>Not all dogs have the same abilities to deal with cold weather. A short-coated dog like a Chihuahua is much more susceptible to the dangers of cold weather than a thick-coated husky. When the weather dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), the well-acclimated husky may be comfortable, whereas the Chihuahua would shiver and be at risk of hypothermia.</p> <p>Additionally, if your dog is used to warm weather, but you decide to move to a colder region, the dog will need time to acclimate to that colder weather, even if they have a thick coat.</p> <p>Age also affects cold-weather resilience. Puppies and elderly dogs can’t withstand the chill as well as other dogs, but every dog is unique – each may have individual health conditions or physical attributes that make them more or less resilient to cold weather.</p> <h2>When is my dog too cold?</h2> <p>Pet owners should be able to recognize the symptoms of a dog that is getting too cold. Dogs will shiver, and some may vocalize or whine. Dogs may resist putting their feet down on the cold ground, or burrow, or try to find warmth in their environment when they are uncomfortable.</p> <p>Just like people, <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">dogs can get frostbite</a>. And just like people, the signs can take days to appear, making it hard to assess them in the moment. The most common sites for frostbite in dogs are their ears and the tips of their tails. Some of the initial signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, turning paler than normal, or purple, gray or even black; red, blistered skin; swelling; pain at the site; <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ulcer">or ulceration</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">serious signs of hypothermia</a> include sluggishness or lethargy, and if you observe them, please visit your veterinarian immediately. A good rule to live by is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.</p> <p>Getting your dog a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/pets/best-winter-dog-coats-jackets">sweater or jacket</a> and <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/protect-dogs-paws-snow-ice-salt/">paw covers</a> can provide them with protection from the elements and keep them comfortable. Veterinarians also recommend closely monitoring your dog and limiting their time outside when the temperature nears the freezing point or drops below it.</p> <h2>Road salt dangers</h2> <p>Road salt that treats ice on streets and sidewalks <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ice-salt-toxic-for-pets-1.5020088">can also harm dogs</a>. When dogs walk on the salt, the sharp, rough edges of the salt crystals can irritate the sensitive skin on their paws.</p> <p>Dogs will often lick their feet when they’re dirty, wet or irritated, and if they ingest any salt doing that, they may face GI upset, dehydration, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Even small amounts of pure salt can <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-tips/my-dog-ate-road-salt-will-they-be-okay/">disrupt critical body functions</a> in dogs.</p> <p>Some companies make pet-safe salt, but in public it can be hard to tell what type of salt is on the ground. After walking your dog, wash off their feet or boots. You can also keep their paw fur trimmed to prevent snow from balling up or salt collecting in the fur. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/">paw pad balm</a> to the skin of the paw pads can also help protect your pet’s paws from irritation.</p> <h2>Antifreeze risks</h2> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antifreeze-chemical-substance">Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol</a>, is in most vehicles to prevent the fluids from freezing when it gets cold out. Some people pour antifreeze into their toilets when away from their home to prevent the water in the toilet from freezing.</p> <p>Antifreeze is an exceptionally dangerous chemical to dogs and cats, as it tastes sweet but can be deadly when ingested. If a pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, the substance causes a chemical cascade in their body that results in severe kidney damage. If left untreated, the pet may have <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owner-blog/antifreeze-poisoning/">permanent kidney damage or die</a>.</p> <p>There are safer antifreeze options on the market that use ingredients other than ethylene glycol. If your dog ingests antifreeze, please see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.</p> <p>When temperatures dip below freezing, the best thing pet owners can do is keep the time spent outside as minimal as possible. Try some <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/great-indoor-games-to-play-with-your-dog/">indoor activities</a>, like hide-and-seek with low-calorie treats, fetch or even an interactive obstacle course. Food puzzles can also keep your dog mentally engaged during indoor time.</p> <p>Although winter presents some unique challenges, it can still be an enjoyable and healthy time for you and your canine companion.<!-- 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/221709/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/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/dog-care-below-freezing-how-to-keep-your-pet-warm-and-safe-from-cold-weather-road-salt-and-more-this-winter-221709">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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How tracking menopause symptoms can give women more control over their health

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-lancastle-1452267">Deborah Lancastle</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p>Menopause can cause more symptoms than hot flushes alone. And some of your symptoms and reactions might be due to the menopause, even if you are still having periods. Research shows that keeping track of those symptoms can help to alleviate them.</p> <p>People sometimes talk about the menopause as though it were a single event that happens when you are in your early 50s, which is <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397#:%7E:text=Menopause%20is%20the%20time%20that,is%20a%20natural%20biological%20process.">the average time</a> to have your last period. But the menopause generally stretches between the ages of 45 and 55. And some women will experience an earlier “medical” menopause because of surgery to remove the womb or ovaries.</p> <p>The menopause often happens at one of the busiest times of life. You might have teenagers at home or be supporting grown-up children, have elderly parents, be employed and have a great social life. If you feel exhausted, hot and bothered, irritable and can’t sleep well, you might be tempted to think that it is because you never get a minute’s peace. But that is why monitoring symptoms is important.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2023/03000/Symptom_monitoring_improves_physical_and_emotional.7.aspx">My team recently tested</a> the effects of tracking symptoms and emotions during the menopause. We asked women to rate 30 physical and 20 emotional symptoms of the menopause.</p> <p>The physical and psychological symptoms included poor concentration, problems with digesting food, stress and itchy skin, as well as the obvious symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats. Women tracked positive emotions like happiness and contentment, and negative emotions like feeling sad, isolated and angry.</p> <p>There were two groups of women in this study. One group recorded their symptoms and emotions every day for two weeks. The other group recorded their symptoms and emotions once at the beginning of the fortnight and once at the end.</p> <p>The results showed that the women who monitored their symptoms and emotions every day reported much lower negative emotions, physical symptoms and loneliness at the end of two weeks than at the beginning, compared to the other group.</p> <p>As well as this, although the loneliness scores of the group who monitored every day were lower than the other group, women in both groups said that being in the study and thinking about symptoms helped them feel less lonely. Simply knowing that other women were having similar experiences seemed to help.</p> <p>One participant said: “I feel more normal that other women are doing the same survey and are probably experiencing similar issues, especially the emotional and mental ones.”</p> <h2>Why does monitoring symptoms help?</h2> <p>One reason why tracking might help is that rating symptoms can help you notice changes and patterns in how you feel. This could encourage you to seek help.</p> <p>Another reason is that noticing changes in symptoms might help you link the change to what you have been doing. For example, looking at whether symptoms spike after eating certain foods or are better after exercise. This could mean that you change your behaviour in ways that improve your symptoms.</p> <p>Many menopause symptoms are known as “non-specific” symptoms. This is because they can also be symptoms of mental health, thyroid or heart problems. It is important not to think your symptoms are “just” the menopause. You should always speak to your doctor if you are worried about your health.</p> <p>Another good thing about monitoring symptoms is that you can take information about how often you experience symptoms and how bad they are to your GP appointment. This can help the doctor decide what might be the problem.</p> <p>Websites such as <a href="https://healthandher.com">Health and Her</a> and <a href="https://www.balance-menopause.com">Balance</a> offer symptom monitoring tools that can help you track what is happening to your physical and emotional health. There are several apps you can use on your phone, too. Or you might prefer to note symptoms and how bad they are in a notebook every day.<!-- 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/209004/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/deborah-lancastle-1452267">Deborah Lancastle</a>, Associate Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</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-tracking-menopause-symptoms-can-give-women-more-control-over-their-health-209004">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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‘Girl math’ may not be smart financial advice, but it could help women feel more empowered with money

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ylva-baeckstrom-1463175">Ylva Baeckstrom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p>If you’ve ever calculated cost per wear to justify the price of an expensive dress, or felt like you’ve made a profit after returning an ill-fitting pair of jeans, you might be an expert in <a href="https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/girl-maths-tiktok-trend-its-basically-free-b1100504.html">“girl math”</a>. With videos about the topic going viral on social media, girl math might seem like a silly (<a href="https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/girl-math-womens-spending-taken-seriously">or even sexist</a>) trend, but it actually tells us a lot about the relationship between gender, money and emotions.</p> <p>Girl math introduces a spend classification system: purchases below a certain value, or made in cash, don’t “count”. Psychologically, this makes low-value spending feel safe and emphasises the importance of the long-term value derived from more expensive items. For example, girl math tells us that buying an expensive dress is only “worth it” if you can wear it to multiple events.</p> <p>This approach has similarities to <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/modernportfoliotheory.asp">portfolio theory</a> – a method of choosing investments to maximise expected returns and minimise risk. By evaluating how each purchase contributes to the shopping portfolio, girl math shoppers essentially become shopping portfolio managers.</p> <h2>Money and emotions</h2> <p>People of all genders, rich or poor, feel anxious when dealing with their personal finances. Many people in the UK do not understand pensions or saving enough to <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/workplacepensions/articles/pensionparticipationatrecordhighbutcontributionsclusteratminimumlevels/2018-05-04">afford their retirement</a>. Without motivation to learn, people avoid dealing with money altogether. One way to find this motivation, as girl math shows, is by having an emotional and tangible connection to our finances.</p> <p>On the surface, it may seem that women are being ridiculed and encouraged to overspend by using girl math. From a different perspective, it hints at something critical: for a person to really care about something as seemingly abstract as personal finance, they need to feel that they can relate to it.</p> <p>Thinking about money in terms of the value of purchases can help create an <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/every-time-i-use-my-card-my-phone-buzzes-and-that-stops-me-shopping-ps0fjx6nj">emotional relationship</a> to finance, making it something people want to look after.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GPzA7B6dcxc?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>The girl math we need</h2> <p>Women are a consumer force to be reckoned with, controlling <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/bridgetbrennan/2015/01/21/top-10-things-everyone-should-know-about-women-consumers/#7679f9d6a8b4">up to 80%</a> of consumer spending globally. The girl math trend is a demonstration of women’s mastery at applying portfolio theory to their shopping, making them investment powerhouses whose potential is overlooked by the financial services industry.</p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/28/women-paid-less-than-men-over-careers-gender-pay-gap-report">Women are disadvantaged</a> when it comes to money and finance. Women in the UK earn on average £260,000 less than men during their careers and the retirement income of men is twice as high as women’s.</p> <p>As I’ve found in <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Gender-and-Finance-Addressing-Inequality-in-the-Financial-Services-Industry/Baeckstrom/p/book/9781032055572">my research</a> on gender and finance, women have lower financial self-efficacy (belief in their own abilities) compared to men. This is not helped by women feeling patronised when seeking financial advice.</p> <p>Because the world of finance was created by men for men, its language and culture are <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Gender-and-Finance-Addressing-Inequality-in-the-Financial-Services-Industry/Baeckstrom/p/book/9781032055572">intrinsically male</a>. Only in the mid-1970s did women in the UK gain the legal right to open a bank account without a male signature and it was not until 1980 that they could apply for credit independently. With the law now more (<a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2023/03/02/pace-of-reform-toward-equal-rights-for-women-falls-to-20-year-low">but not fully</a>) gender equal, the financial services industry has failed to connect with women.</p> <p>Studies show that 49% of women are <a href="https://www.ellevest.com/magazine/disrupt-money/ellevest-financial-wellness-survey">anxious about their finances</a>. However they have not bought into patronising offers and <a href="https://www.fa-mag.com/news/gender-roles-block-female-financial-experience--ubs-says-73531.html">mansplaining by financial advisers</a>. This outdated approach suggests that it is women, rather than the malfunctioning financial system, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/16/women-are-not-financially-illiterate-they-need-more-than-condescending-advice">who need fixing</a>.</p> <p>Women continue to feel that they do not belong to or are able to trust the world of finance. And why would women trust an industry with a <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/genderpaygapintheuk/2019">gender pay gap</a> of up to 59% and a severe lack of women in senior positions?</p> <p>Girl math on its own isn’t necessarily good financial advice, but if it helps even a handful of women feel more empowered to manage and understand their finances, it should not be dismissed.</p> <p><!-- 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/ylva-baeckstrom-1463175">Ylva Baeckstrom</a>, Senior Lecturer in Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/girl-math-may-not-be-smart-financial-advice-but-it-could-help-women-feel-more-empowered-with-money-211780">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Good news: midlife health is about more than a waist measurement. Here’s why

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>You’re not in your 20s or 30s anymore and you know regular health checks are important. So you go to your GP. During the appointment they measure your waist. They might also check your weight. Looking concerned, they recommend some lifestyle changes.</p> <p>GPs and health professionals commonly <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-body-mass-index-cant-tell-us-if-were-healthy-heres-what-we-should-use-instead-211190">measure waist circumference</a> as a vital sign for health. This is a better indicator than body mass index (BMI) of the amount of intra-abdominal fat. This is the really risky fat around and within the organs that can drive heart disease and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>Men are at greatly increased risk of health issues if their waist circumference is <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/311/7017/1401">greater than 102 centimetres</a>. Women are considered to be at greater risk with a waist circumference of <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/311/7017/1401">88 centimetres or more</a>. More than <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/waist-circumference-and-bmi/latest-release">two-thirds of Australian adults</a> have waist measurements that put them at an increased risk of disease. An even better indicator is waist circumference divided by height or <a href="https://www.baker.edu.au/news/in-the-media/waist-height-ratio#:%7E:text=According%20to%20research%2C%20a%20healthy,the%20highest%20risk%20of%20disease.">waist-to-height ratio</a>.</p> <p>But we know people (especially women) have a propensity to <a href="https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(19)30588-5/abstract">gain weight around their middle during midlife</a>, which can be very hard to control. Are they doomed to ill health? It turns out that, although such measurements are important, they are not the whole story when it comes to your risk of disease and death.</p> <h2>How much is too much?</h2> <p>Having a waist circumference to height ratio larger than 0.5 is associated with greater risk of chronic disease as well as premature death and this applies in adults of any age. A healthy waist-to-height ratio is between 0.4 to 0.49. A ratio of 0.6 or more <a href="https://www.baker.edu.au/news/in-the-media/waist-height-ratio#:%7E:text=According%20to%20research%2C%20a%20healthy,the%20highest%20risk%20of%20disease">places a person at the highest risk of disease</a>.</p> <p>Some experts recommend <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41574-019-0310-7">waist circumference be routinely measured in patients during health appointments</a>. This can kick off a discussion about their risk of chronic diseases and how they might address this.</p> <p>Excessive body fat and the associated health problems manifest more strongly during midlife. A range of social, personal and physiological factors come together to make it more difficult to control waist circumference as we age. Metabolism tends to slow down mainly due to decreasing muscle mass because people do <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcb.25077">less vigorous physical activity, in particular resistance exercise</a>.</p> <p>For women, hormone levels begin changing in mid-life and this also <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13697137.2012.707385">stimulates increased fat levels particularly around the abdomen</a>. At the same time, this life phase (often involving job responsibilities, parenting and caring for ageing parents) is when elevated stress can lead to <a href="https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/abstract/2000/09000/stress_and_body_shape__stress_induced_cortisol.5.aspx">increased cortisol which causes fat gain in the abdominal region</a>.</p> <p>Midlife can also bring poorer sleep patterns. These contribute to fat gain with <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062">disruption to the hormones that control appetite</a>.</p> <p>Finally, your family history and genetics can <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1002695">make you predisposed to gaining more abdominal fat</a>.</p> <h2>Why the waist?</h2> <p>This intra-abdominal or visceral fat is much more metabolically active (it has a greater impact on body organs and systems) than the fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat).</p> <p>Visceral fat surrounds and infiltrates major organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines, releasing a variety of chemicals (hormones, inflammatory signals, and fatty acids). These affect inflammation, lipid metabolism, cholesterol levels and insulin resistance, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurheartjsupp/article/8/suppl_B/B4/461962">contributing to the development of chronic illnesses</a>.</p> <p>The issue is particularly evident <a href="https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(19)30588-5/abstract">during menopause</a>. In addition to the direct effects of hormone changes, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960076013001118?via%3Dihub">declining levels of oestrogen change brain function, mood and motivation</a>. These psychological alterations can result in reduced physical activity and increased eating – often of comfort foods high in sugar and fat.</p> <p>But these outcomes are not inevitable. Diet, exercise and managing mental health can limit visceral fat gains in mid-life. And importantly, the waist circumference (and ratio to height) is just one measure of human health. There are so many other aspects of body composition, exercise and diet. These can have much larger influence on a person’s health.</p> <h2>Muscle matters</h2> <p>The quantity and quality of skeletal muscle (attached to bones to produce movement) a person has makes a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrendo.2012.49">big difference</a> to their heart, lung, metabolic, immune, neurological and mental health as well as their physical function.</p> <p>On current evidence, it is equally or more important for health and longevity to <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7279">have</a> higher muscle mass and better cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness than waist circumference within the healthy range.</p> <p>So, if a person does have an excessive waist circumference, but they are also sedentary and have less muscle mass and aerobic fitness, then the recommendation would be to focus on an appropriate exercise program. The fitness deficits should be addressed as priority rather than worry about fat loss.</p> <p>Conversely, a person with low visceral fat levels is not necessarily fit and healthy and may have quite poor aerobic fitness, muscle mass, and strength. <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/6/504">The research evidence</a> is that these vital signs of health – how strong a person is, the quality of their diet and how well their heart, circulation and lungs are working – are more predictive of risk of disease and death than how thin or fat a person is.</p> <p>For example, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510687/">2017 Dutch study</a> followed overweight and obese people for 15 years and found people who were very physically active had no increased heart disease risk than “normal weight” participants.</p> <h2>Getting moving is important advice</h2> <p>Physical activity has many benefits. Exercise can counter a lot of the negative behavioural and physiological changes that are occurring during midlife including for people going through menopause.</p> <p>And regular exercise reduces the tendency to use food and drink to help manage what can be a <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2008/05000/physical_activity,_sedentary_index,_and_mental.7.aspx">quite difficult time in life</a>.</p> <p>Measuring your waist circumference and monitoring your weight remains important. If the measures exceed the values listed above, then it is certainly a good idea to make some changes. Exercise is effective for fat loss and in particular <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/16/1035">decreasing visceral fat</a> with greater effectiveness when <a href="https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-019-0864-5">combined with dietary restriction of energy intake</a>. Importantly, any fat loss program – whether through drugs, diet or surgery – is also a muscle loss program unless resistance exercise is part of the program. Talking about your overall health with a doctor is a great place to start.</p> <p><a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/Public/Searches/find-aep-withdistance.aspx">Accredited exercise physiologists</a> and <a href="https://member.dietitiansaustralia.org.au/Portal/Portal/Search-Directories/Find-a-Dietitian.aspx">accredited practising dietitians</a> are the most appropriate allied health professionals to assess your physical structure, fitness and diet and work with you to get a plan in place to improve your health, fitness and reduce your current and future health risks.<!-- 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/226019/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/rob-newton-12124"><em>Rob Newton</em></a><em>, Professor of Exercise Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</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/good-news-midlife-health-is-about-more-than-a-waist-measurement-heres-why-226019">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Elephant tourism often involves cruelty – here are steps toward more humane, animal-friendly excursions

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-szydlowski-1495781">Michelle Szydlowski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/miami-university-1934">Miami University</a></em></p> <p>Suju Kali is a 50-year-old elephant in Nepal who has been carrying tourists for over 30 years. Like many elephants I encounter through my <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2022.2028628">research</a>, Suju Kali exhibits anxiety and can be aggressive toward strangers. She suffers from emotional trauma as a result of prolonged, commercial human contact.</p> <p>Like Suju Kali, many animals are trapped within the tourism industry. Some venues have no oversight and little concern for animal or tourist safety. Between 120,000 and 340,000 animals are used globally in a variety of wildlife tourism attractions, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138939">endangered species</a> like elephants. Over a quarter of the world’s <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/7140/45818198">endangered elephants</a> reside in captivity with little oversight.</p> <p>Wildlife tourism – which involves viewing wildlife such as primates or birds in conservation areas, feeding or touching captive or “rehabilitated” wildlife in facilities, and bathing or riding animals like elephants – is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14724049.2022.2156523">tricky business</a>. I know this because I am <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=YbweA2MAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">a researcher studying human relationships with elephants</a> in both tourism and conservation settings within Southeast Asia.</p> <p>These types of experiences have long been an <a href="https://kathmandupost.com/money/2021/06/17/tourism-is-nepal-s-fourth-largest-industry-by-employment-study">extremely popular and profitable</a> part of the <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002074">tourism market</a>. But now, many travel-related organizations are urging people not to participate in, or <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2018/04/27/animal-welfare-travelers-how-enjoy-wildlife-without-harming/544938002/">calling for an outright ban on, interactive wildlife experiences</a>.</p> <p>Tourism vendors have started marketing more “ethical options” for consumers. Some are attempting to truly improve the health and welfare of wildlife, and some are transitioning captive wildlife into touch-free, non-riding or lower-stress environments. In other places, organizations are attempting to <a href="https://www.fao.org/documents/card/es/c/b2c5dad0-b9b9-5a3d-a720-20bf3b9f0dc2/">implement standards of care</a> or create manuals that outline good practices for animal husbandry.</p> <p>This marketing, academics argue, is often simply “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2017.11.007">greenwashing</a>,” <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2023.2280704">applying marketing labels to make consumers feel better</a> about their choices without making any real changes. Worse, research shows that some programs marketing themselves as ethical tourism may instead be widening economic gaps and harming both humans and other species that they are meant to protect.</p> <h2>No quick fix</h2> <p>For example, rather than tourist dollars trickling down to local struggling families as intended by local governments, many tourism venues are owned by nonresidents, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/japfcsc.v2i1.26746">meaning the profits do not stay in the area</a>. Likewise, only a small number of residents can afford to own tourism venues, and venues do not provide employment for locals from lower income groups.</p> <p>This economic gap is especially obvious in Nepalese elephant stables: Venue owners continue to make money off elephants, while elephant caregivers continue to work 17 hours a day for about US$21 a month; tourists are led to believe they are “<a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/book/10.1079/9781800624498.0000">promoting sustainability</a>.”</p> <p>Yet, there are no easy answers, especially for elephants working in tourism. Moving them to sanctuaries is difficult because with no governmental or global welfare oversight, elephants may end up in worse conditions.</p> <p>Many kindhearted souls who want to “help” elephants know little about their biology and mental health needs, or what it takes to keep them healthy. Also, feeding large animals like Suju Kali is pricey, <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010171">costing around $19,000 yearly</a>. So without profits from riding or other income, owners – or would-be rescuers – can’t maintain elephants. Releasing captive elephants to the jungle is not a choice – many have never learned to live in the wild, so they cannot survive on their own.</p> <h2>Hurting local people</h2> <p>Part of the problem lies with governments, as many have marketed tourism as a way to fund conservation projects. For example in Nepal, a percentage of ticket sales from elephant rides are given to community groups to use for forest preservation and support for local families.</p> <p>Increasing demand for <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Tourism-and-Animal-Ethics/Fennell/p/book/9781032431826">wildlife-based tourism</a> may increase traffic in the area and thus put pressure on local governments to further limit local people’s access to forest resources.</p> <p>This may also lead to <a href="https://www.worldanimalprotection.org/latest/news/un-world-tourism-organisation-urged-create-better-future-animals/">increased demands on local communities</a>, as was the case in Nepal. In the 1970s, the Nepalese government removed local people from their lands in what is now Chitwan National Park as part of increasing “conservation efforts” and changed the protected area’s boundaries. Indigenous “Tharu,” or people of the forest, were forced to abandon their villages and land. While some were offered access to “buffer zones” in the 1990s, many remain poor and landless today.</p> <p>In addition, more and more desirable land surrounding conservation areas in Nepal is being developed for tourist-based businesses such as hotels, restaurants and shops, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/japfcsc.v2i1.26746">pushing local poor people farther away</a> from central village areas and the associated tourism income.</p> <p>Some activists would like humans to simply release all wildlife back into the wild, but <a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/book/10.1079/9781800624498.0000">there are multiple issues</a> with that. Elephant habitats throughout Southeast Asia have been transformed into croplands, cities or train tracks for human use. Other problems arise from the fact that tourism elephants have <a href="https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315457413">never learned</a> how to be elephants in their natural elements, as they were <a href="https://www.pugetsound.edu/sites/default/files/file/8342_Journal%20of%20Tourism%20%282009%29_0.pdf">separated from their herds</a> at an early age.</p> <p>So tourism may be vital to providing food, care and shelter to captive elephants for the rest of their lives and providing jobs for those who really need them. Because elephants can live beyond 60 years, this can be a large commitment.</p> <h2>How to be an ethical tourist</h2> <p>To protect elephants, tourists should check out reviews and photos from any venue they want to visit, and look for clues that animal welfare might be impacted, such as tourists allowed to feed, hold or ride captive wildlife animals. Look for healthy animals, which means doing research on what “healthy” animals of that species should look like.</p> <p>If a venue lists no-touch demonstrations – “unnatural” behaviors that don’t mimic what an elephant might do of their own accord, such as sitting on a ball or riding a bike, or other performances – remember that the behind-the-scenes training used to achieve these behaviors can be <a href="https://doi.org/10.21832/9781845415051-014">violent, traumatic or coercive</a>.</p> <p>Another way to help people and elephant is to to use small, local companies to book your adventures in your area of interest, rather than paying large, international tourism agencies. Look for locally owned hotels, and wait to book excursions until you arrive so you can use local service providers. Book homestay programs and attend cultural events led by community members; talk to tourists and locals you meet in the target town to get their opinions, and use local guides who provide wildlife viewing opportunities <a href="https://nepaldynamicecotours.com/">while maintaining distance from animals</a>.</p> <p>Or tourists can ask to visit <a href="https://www.americanhumane.org/press-release/global-humane-launches-humane-tourism-certification-program/">venues that are certified</a> by international humane animal organizations and that <a href="https://www.su4e.org/">do not allow contact</a> with wildlife. Or they can opt for guided hikes, canoe or kayak experiences, and other environmentally friendly options.</p> <p>While these suggestions will not guarantee that your excursion is animal-friendly, they will help decrease your impact on wildlife, support local families and encourage venues to stop using elephants as entertainment. Those are good first steps.<!-- 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/219792/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/michelle-szydlowski-1495781">Michelle Szydlowski</a>, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Project Dragonfly, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/miami-university-1934">Miami University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/elephant-tourism-often-involves-cruelty-here-are-steps-toward-more-humane-animal-friendly-excursions-219792">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Nat Barr breaks down as more details revealed on co-star’s tragic passing

<p>Nat Barr has broken down in tears while paying tribute to Nathan Templeton after his sudden passing. </p> <p>The body of Templeton, a 44-year-old father of two and regular <em>Sunrise</em> reporter, was found on Monday evening after he suffered a medical incident while walking his dog in Geelong. </p> <p>The <em>Sunrise</em> panel confirmed the <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/sunrise-reporter-found-dead-at-age-44" target="_blank" rel="noopener">death</a> of their friend and co-host on Thursday morning, playing a montage of Templeton's time on the program, including him reporting from football games, flood zones, Covid labs and at swimming competitions.</p> <p>Barr's voice over could be heard saying, "Thank you, Tempo, for brightening our lives. We are so fortunate to have known you and worked alongside you. You will be missed."</p> <p>Following the montage, Barr cried as she paid tribute to the father-of-two and thanked him for "brightening everyone's lives". </p> <p>"We know you had more stories to tell them (our viewers). We are sorry you can't tell them. Our hearts go out to our family, your two little boys, Kate, and everyone who knew you inside this building and across the Seven Network," she said.</p> <p>"But also so many of you who have written in and just said that you felt like you knew him because of how he... How he conducted himself on-air."</p> <p>The on-air tribute comes after Templeton's family broke their silence on Nathan's tragic passing, issuing a statement saying the "adoring father and wonderful friend" will be sorely missed. </p> <p>"Our hearts are broken for an adoring father and a wonderful friend, who'll be missed by many," the statement read.</p> <p>In the wake of his untimely death, it has been revealed that Templeton had recently dialled back his time on screen to deal with personal issues. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Sunrise / Instagram</em></p>

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Drugs like Ozempic won’t ‘cure’ obesity but they might make us more fat-phobic

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-beckett-22673">Emma Beckett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Many have <a href="https://www.economist.com/leaders/2023/03/02/new-drugs-could-spell-an-end-to-the-worlds-obesity-epidemic">declared</a> drugs like Ozempic could “end obesity” by reducing the appetite and waistlines of millions of people around the world.</p> <p>When we look past the hype, this isn’t just untrue – it can also be harmful. The focus on weight, as opposed to health, is a feature of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277539521001217">diet culture</a>. This frames the pursuit of thinness as more important than other aspects of physical and cultural wellbeing.</p> <p>The Ozempic buzz isn’t just rooted in health and medicine but plays into ideas of <a href="https://butterfly.org.au/weight-bias-fatphobia-diet-culture/#:%7E:text=Weight%20bias%2C%20sometimes%20also%20called,or%20being%20around%20fat%20people.">fat stigma and fat phobia</a>. This can perpetuate fears of fatness and fat people, and the behaviours that <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/S12916-018-1116-5">harm people who live in larger bodies</a>.</p> <h2>Not the first ‘miracle’ weight-loss drug</h2> <p>This isn’t the first time we have heard that weight-loss drugs will change the world. Ozempic and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/">its family</a> of GLP-1-mimicking drugs are the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ozempic-is-in-the-spotlight-but-its-just-the-latest-in-a-long-and-strange-history-of-weight-loss-drugs-209324">latest in a long line of weight loss drugs</a>. Each looked promising at the time. But none have lived up to the hype in the long term. Some have even been withdrawn from sale due to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126837/">severe side effects</a>.</p> <p>Science does improve <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(20)30028-8/fulltext">incrementally</a>, but diet culture also keeps us on a cycle of hope for the next <a href="https://sahrc.org/2022/04/diet-culture-a-brief-history/">miracle cure</a>. So drugs like Ozempic might not deliver the results individuals expect, continuing the cycle of hope and shame.</p> <h2>Ozempic doesn’t work the same for everyone</h2> <p>When we talk about the results of studies using Ozempic, we often <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3719041/">focus on the average</a> (also known as the mean) results or the maximum (or peak) results. So, studies might <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9486455/">show</a> those using the drug lost an average of 10.9% of their body weight, but some lost more than 20% and others less than 5%</p> <p>What we don’t talk about as much is that responses are variable. Some people are “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212877820301769">non-responders</a>”. This means not everyone loses as much weight as the average, and some don’t lose weight at all. For some people, the side-effects will outweigh the benefits.</p> <p>When people are on drugs like Ozempic, their blood sugar is better controlled by enhancing the release of insulin and reducing the levels of another hormone called glucagon.</p> <p>But there is greater variability in the amount of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212877820301769#bib88">weight lost</a> than the variability in blood sugar control. It isn’t clear why, but is likely due to differences in genetics and lifestyles, and weight being more complex to regulate.</p> <h2>Treatment needs to be ongoing. What will this mean?</h2> <p>When weight-loss drugs do work, they are only effective while they’re being taken. This means that to keep the weight off people need to keep taking them long term. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9542252/">One study found</a> an average weight loss of more than 17% after a year on Ozempic became an average net weight loss of 5.6% more than two years after stopping treatment.</p> <p>Short-term side effects of drugs like Ozempic include dizziness, nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal upsets. But because these are new drugs, we simply don’t have data to tell us if side effects will increase as people take them for longer periods.</p> <p>Nor do we know if <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/why-weight-loss-drugs-stop-working-how-to-break-past-ozempic-plateau#:%7E:text=A%20lifetime%20commitment%20to%20Ozempic&amp;text=By%20these%20standards%2C%20such%20drugs,long%2Dterm%20risk%20is%20unknown.">effectiveness will be reduced</a> in the long term. This is called <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/drug-tolerance#:%7E:text=A%20condition%20that%20occurs%20when,or%20different%20medicine%20is%20needed.">drug tolerance</a> and is documented for other long-term treatments such as antidepressants and chemotherapies.</p> <h2>Biology is only part of the story</h2> <p>For some people, using GLP-1-mimicking drugs like Ozempic will be validating and empowering. They will feel like their biology has been “normalised” in the same way that blood pressure or cholesterol medication can return people to the “normal” range of measures.</p> <p>But biologically, obesity <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7202176/#:%7E:text=Obesity%20behaves%20as%20complex%20polygenic,about%2080%25%20(3).">isn’t solely about GLP-1 activity</a> with <a href="https://www.worldobesity.org/what-we-do/our-policy-priorities/the-roots-of-obesity">many other</a> hormones, physical activity, and even our gut microbes involved.</p> <p>Overall, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278977/">obesity is complex and multifaceted</a>. Obesity isn’t just driven by personal biology and choice; it has social, cultural, political, environmental and economic determinants.</p> <h2>A weight-centred approach misses the rest of the story</h2> <p>The weight-centred approach <a href="https://butterfly.org.au/body-image/health-not-weight/#:%7E:text=Health%20and%20wellbeing%20are%20multi,on%20their%20size%20or%20appearance.">suggests that leading with thinness means health will follow</a>. But changing appetite is only part of the story when it comes to health.</p> <p>Obesity often <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2667368123000335#:%7E:text=Obesity%20related%20malnutrition%20can%20also,%5D%2C%20%5B7%5D%5D.">co-exists with malnutrition</a>. We try to separate the effects in research using statistics, but focusing on the benefits of weight-loss drugs without addressing the underlying malnutrition means we aren’t likely to see the <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/ozempic-diet-exercise-healthy-43eee86c">improved health outcomes in everyone who loses weight</a>.</p> <h2>Obesity isn’t an issue detached from people</h2> <p>Even when it is well-intentioned, the rhetoric around the joy of “ending the obesity epidemic” can <a href="https://theconversation.com/ozempic-the-miracle-drug-and-the-harmful-idea-of-a-future-without-fat-211661">harm people</a>. Obesity doesn’t occur in isolation. It is people who are obese. And the celebration and hype of these weight-loss drugs can reinforce harmful fat stigma.</p> <p>The framing of these drugs as a “cure” exacerbates the binary view of thin versus fat, and healthy versus unhealthy. These are not binary outcomes that are good or bad. Weight and health exist on a spectrum.</p> <p>Ironically, while fat people are told they need to lose weight for their health, they are also <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/ozempic-shame-why-users-are-embarrassed-to-admit-using-weight-loss-wonder-drug/news-story/ee52a819c69459afe6576d25988f9bd6">shamed for “cheating” or taking shortcuts</a> by using medication.</p> <h2>Drugs are tools, not silver bullets</h2> <p>The creation of these drugs is a start, but they remain expensive, and the hype has been followed by <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023#:%7E:text=Consumer%20Medicine%20Information%20.-,Why%20the%20Ozempic%20shortage%20happened,label%20prescribing%20for%20weight%20loss.">shortages</a>. Ultimately, complex challenges aren’t addressed with simple solutions. This is particularly true when people are involved, and even more so when there isn’t even an agreement on what the challenge is.</p> <p>Many organisations and individuals see obesity is a disease and believe this framing helps people to seek treatment.</p> <p>Others think it’s unnecessary to attach medical labels to body types and <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreykabat/2013/07/09/why-labeling-obesity-as-a-disease-is-a-big-mistake/?sh=5ca95cc2103b">argue</a> it confuses risk factors (things that are linked to increased risk of illness) with illness itself.</p> <p>Regardless, two things will always remain true. Drugs can only ever be tools, and those tools need to be applied in a context. To use these tools ethically, we need to remain mindful of who this application harms along the way.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-series-154673">Ozempic series</a> here.<!-- 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/219309/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 --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-beckett-22673">Emma Beckett</a>, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Nutrition, Dietetics &amp; Food Innovation - School of Health Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/drugs-like-ozempic-wont-cure-obesity-but-they-might-make-us-more-fat-phobic-219309">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Flash droughts are becoming more common in Australia. What’s causing them?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/milton-speer-703091">Milton Speer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lance-m-leslie-437774">Lance M Leslie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.drought.gov/what-is-drought/flash-drought">Flash droughts</a> strike suddenly and intensify rapidly. Often the affected areas are in drought after just weeks or a couple of months of well-below-average rainfall. They happen worldwide and are <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377274397_Flash_drought_A_state_of_the_science_review?_tp=eyJjb250ZXh0Ijp7ImZpcnN0UGFnZSI6InB1YmxpY2F0aW9uRG93bmxvYWQiLCJwYWdlIjoicHVibGljYXRpb24iLCJwcmV2aW91c1BhZ2UiOiJwdWJsaWNhdGlvbiJ9fQ#read">becoming more common</a>, including in Australia, due to global warming.</p> <p>Flash droughts can occur anywhere and at any time of the year. Last year, a flash drought <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-20/dams-dry-up-as-drought-takes-hold-in-hunter-valley/102996364">hit the Upper Hunter</a> region of New South Wales, roughly 300 kilometres north-west of Sydney.</p> <p>These sudden droughts can have devastating economic, social and environmental impacts. The damage is particularly severe for agricultural regions heavily dependent on reliable rain in river catchments. One such region is the Upper Hunter Valley, the subject of our <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/12/4/49">new research</a>.</p> <p>We identified two climate drivers – the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=enso">El Niño Southern Oscillation</a> and <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=iod">Indian Ocean Dipole</a>) – that became influential during this drought. In addition, the waning influence of a third climate driver, the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=sam">Southern Annular Mode</a>), would typically bring rain to the east coast. However, this rain did not reach the Upper Hunter.</p> <p>Flash droughts are set to get more common as the world heats up. This year, a flash drought developed over western and central Victoria over just two months. While heavy rain this month in Melbourne ended the drought there, it continues in the west.</p> <h2>What makes a flash drought different?</h2> <p>Flash droughts differ from more slowly developing droughts. The latter result from extended drops in rainfall, such as the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/">drought affecting</a> parts of southwest Western Australia due to the much shortened winter wet season last year.</p> <p>Flash droughts develop when sudden large drops in rainfall coincide with above-average temperatures. They mostly occur in summer and autumn, as was the case for Asia and Europe in 2022. That year saw flash droughts appear across the northern hemisphere, such as the megadrought affecting China’s <a href="https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/acfe21">Yangtze river basin</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352340923000264?via%3Dihub">Spain</a>.</p> <p>The flash drought devastating the Upper Hunter from May to October 2023 developed despite the region being drought-free just one month earlier. At that stage, almost nowhere in NSW showed any sign of an impending drought.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=276&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=276&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=276&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Maps of drought conditions in NSW in April 2023 compared to the next six months" /><figcaption><span class="caption">NSW Department of Primary Industries’ combined drought indicator in April 2023 (a) and combined drought indicator for May–October 2023 (b) show how rapidly a flash drought developed in the Upper Hunter region.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024, using NSW Department of Primary Industries' data</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The flash drought greatly affected agricultural production in the Upper Hunter region, due to the region’s reliance on water from rivers. Low rainfall in river catchments means less water for crops and pasture. It also dries up drinking water supplies.</p> <p>Flash droughts are characterised by abrupt periods of low rainfall leading to rapid drought onset, particularly when accompanied by above-average temperatures. Higher temperatures increase both the evaporation of water from the soil and transpiration from plants (evapotranspiration). This causes soil moisture to drop rapidly.</p> <h2>The Upper Hunter drought is part of a trend</h2> <p>Flash droughts will be more common in the future. That’s because higher temperatures will more often coincide with dry conditions, as relative humidity falls <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377274397_Flash_drought_A_state_of_the_science_review_tp=eyJjb250ZXh0Ijp7ImZpcnN0UGFnZSI6InB1YmxpY2F0aW9uRG93bmxvYWQiLCJwYWdlIjoicHVibGljYXRpb24iLCJwcmV2aW91c1BhZ2UiOiJwdWJsaWNhdGlvbiJ9fQ#read">across many parts</a> of Australia and globally.</p> <p>Climate change is <a href="https://climate.ec.europa.eu/climate-change/consequences-climate-change_en">linked to</a> shorter, heavier bursts of rain followed by longer periods of little rainfall.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=196&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=196&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=196&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=246&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=246&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=246&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of Upper Hunter region showing drought indicators in December 2023" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Intense drought conditions continued in the Upper Hunter in December 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024</span></span></figcaption></figure> <figure class="align-right "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=376&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=376&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=376&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=472&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=472&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=472&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of NSW showing average temperature ranges recorded for May–October 2023." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The sharp drop in rainfall coincided with the Upper Hunter’s highest average maximum temperatures on record for May–October 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In south-east and south-west Australia, flash droughts can also occur in winter.</p> <p>In May 2023 rainfall over south-east Australia dropped abruptly. The much lower rainfall continued until November in the Upper Hunter. Over this same period, mean maximum temperatures in the region were the highest on record, increasing the loss of moisture through evapotranspiration. The result was a flash drought. While flash droughts occurred in other parts of south-east Australia, we focused on the Upper Hunter as it remained in drought the longest.</p> <h2>What were the climate drivers of this drought?</h2> <p>We used machine-learning techniques to identify the key climate drivers of the drought.</p> <p>We found the dominant driver of the flash drought was global warming, modulated by the phases of the three major climate drivers in our region, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode.</p> <p>From 2020 to 2022, the first two drivers became favourable for rain in the Upper Hunter in late winter through spring, before changing phase to one supporting drought over south-east Australia. Meanwhile, the Southern Annular Mode remained mostly positive, meaning rain-bearing westerly winds and weather fronts had moved to middle and higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere, away from Australia’s south-east coast.</p> <p>Combined, the impact of global warming with the three climate drivers made rainfall much more variable. The net result was an atmospheric environment highly conducive to a flash drought appearing anywhere in south-east Australia.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of Upper Hunter region showing drought indicators in December 2023" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Intense drought conditions continued in the Upper Hunter in December 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024</span></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Victoria, too, fits the global warming pattern</h2> <p>As for the flash drought that developed in early 2024 over western and central Victoria, including Melbourne, it continues in parts of <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/#msdynttrid=_ytsVsw1a3IFZ7xGCnQz8mw1Gum_n_0JUdQyt2hUVCo">western Victoria</a>. The flash drought followed very high January rainfall (top 5% of records) dropping rapidly to very low rainfall (bottom 5%) in February and March.</p> <p>It was the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/maps/rainfall/?variable=rainfall&amp;map=decile&amp;period=2month&amp;region=vc&amp;year=2024&amp;month=03&amp;day=31">driest February-March period</a> on record for Melbourne and south-west Victoria.</p> <p>At the beginning of April, a storm front <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/severe-weather-storm-warning-for-victoria-and-melbourne-easter-monday/41d5d383-b70d-4d36-a649-38632bc607de">brought heavy rainfall</a> over an 18-hour period to central Victoria, including Melbourne.</p> <p>The rains ended the flash drought in these areas, but it continues in parts of western Victoria, which missed out on the rain.</p> <p>The pattern of the 2024 flash drought in Victoria typifies the increasing trend under global warming of long dry periods, interspersed by short, heavy rainfall events. <!-- 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/227052/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/milton-speer-703091"><em>Milton Speer</em></a><em>, Visiting Fellow, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lance-m-leslie-437774">Lance M Leslie</a>, Professor, School of Mathematical And Physical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/flash-droughts-are-becoming-more-common-in-australia-whats-causing-them-227052">original article</a>.</em></p>

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