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About John Thompson

Here are my most recent posts

New study: Experts stand behind health benefits of circumcision

The debate over whether there are more pros than cons to circumcision has been going on for decades, and earlier this year there were a number of studies that seemed to reignite the discussion on the issue, The Washington Post reports.

Among the leading studies to come out in favor of the common surgical procedure was one which found that men who were circumcised had less chances of infection, and were less likely to contract AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease. Still, there are some opponents who feel that the surgery is an unethical procedure to perform on young children.

Despite the revelation of health benefits, the rate of circumcision has dropped considerably over the past several decades. According to the news source around 56 percent of male newborns are circumcised, down from around 80 percent in the 1960s.

Health benefits or not, many experts say it comes down to personal preference and is ultimately up to the moms and dads whether or not they want the surgery performed on their sons.

"It could end up being anything from: It ought to be done on every male; on only some males; or only if the parents want it to be done," said Susan Blank of the New York City Department of Health and Human Hygiene told the news source. "It could fall anywhere along the spectrum."

Stay healthy: The top supplements for dads

For many dads, getting enough nutrients can be a daily struggle. Between workingand taking care of one's kids, it might seem like there isn't enough time in the day to cook a nutritious, healthy meal. Times like that are when supplements come in handy. Though some are less effective than others, there are several supplements that have proven to yield numerous benefits for men.

One of the best supplements for men is the aminio acid Acetyl L-Carnitine. Men's Health reports that this nutrient has shown to protect gray matter in the brain from the damage caused by alcohol and stress. Additionally, studies have shown that it can reduce mild depression as well.

Living a stressful lifestyle can typically wreak havoc on a dad's blood pressure, but luckily there are supplements to help combat the condition. Conenzyme Q-10 has been proven to protect blood vessels from damage and increase results of exercise, the publication reports.

Among the most widely used supplements is fish oil, and for good reason. The nutrient has been shown to boost levels of good cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease as well as reduce one's chances of developing colon and prostate cancer.

The last benefit of fish oil is especially important. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men, behind only lung cancer.

Reduce your stress levels with some OJ and easy listening, research suggests

Nobody likes being stressed out, but for dads who have to juggle parenting, a job and the rigors of everyday life, it can be difficult to avoid. However, there are numerous way to curtail anxiety. Fathers who are stressed can take a number of small steps to improve their mood and mindset.

Research performed at the University of Alabama revealed that rats secreted less stress hormones when they had enough vitamin C. Drinking orange juice is one of the best ways to obtain the nutrient, and two 8-ounce glasses contains enough vitamin C to help alleviate stress.

For those who prefer grape juice, there are other easy ways to reduce stress. Work can be among the most stress inducing aspects of one's life, but listening to music at work has shown to be an effective stress reduction technique (though it has to be soft listening). Surprisingly, death metal and gangsta rap don't help dads chill out.

According to The American Institute of Stress, 40 percent of workers reported that their job was very or extremely stressful. Tension and anxiety can be tied to numerous health, financial and family issues.

Top 5 gifts dads will hate

With Christmas approaching, many dads are eagerly awaiting the gifts their wives and kids have come up with this year. While it is obviously the thought that counts, there are still some presents that will make the day just a little bit better, and others that may make you hit the egg nog a little bit harder.

With that in mind, we've put together the top five worst Christmas presents to get a dad this year.

1. Another new tie. Or any clothing really. Guys typically do not like being told what to wear, and getting clothes is always hit or miss. The gift also has the implication that what you are currently wearing just isn't cutting it.

2. Hardware. The problem with this present is that it implies that work needs to be done. Getting a dad something like a new rake, shovel or anything along those lines only reinforces that he has a lot of work to do around the house. (Or a lot of work to procrastinate doing).

3. Scale. This gift says a lot without talking. It may be a not-so-small reminder that you are overweight and need to go for a jog. Actually, nevermind, that's exactly what it is.

4. Novelty appliances. Although it may seem like that gadget from Sharper Image would be a good idea, the usefulness generally runs out after a few weeks. And then you are left with a weird pseudo-modern combination snuggie book light.

5. Grooming tools. Nothing says "I love you" like a nose hair trimmer, but these items are generally better purchased at one's own discretion.

Want healthy kids? Be a healthy dad

Living a healthy lifestyle requires more than just eating right and going for a run every now and then. Dads who engage in healthy habits will likely pass their practices down to their kids and in turn, have healthy and happy offspring. There are a few things in particular that fathers should do when they're hoping to set a good example, Men's Health reports.

Childhood obesity is a serious concern, so dads should be sure to focus on their children's diets. However, it's important to create positive associations with food. Experts suggest offering a wide variety of healthy fare rather than forbidding junk food. The process of selecting colorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables will impart healthy choices later on.

Additionally, dads should be sure to let their actions speak louder than words. Encouraging activities while lounging on the couch will not convey the right message. Going outside with one's kids will help them stay healthy while also strengthening father-child relationships.

Sleep is perhaps the most crucial aspect of a child's well-being between the ages of 3 and 12, and experts suggest that instilling regular sleep habits in children is among the most important things a parent can do. Turning off the TV when the kids are in bed and following a regular sleep schedule will encourage kids to do the same.