Disney princesses off the hook: Even little girls of preschool age worry about being fat. But they're not hung up on being as skinny as a Disney princess. Those were among the findings of University of Central Florida psychology professor Stacey Tantleff-Dunn and doctoral student Sharon Hayes whose research on little girls and cartoon princesses was recently published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Here's the good news for Disney — just across Orlando from UCF — and parents who rely on videos like Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella for some quiet time: "Young girls' behavior or self-esteem did not appear to be influenced by video clips of the beautiful, thin princesses in animated children's movies. That's a sharp contrast to earlier studies showing how the self-esteem of older girls and women suffers after short-term exposure to thin, beautiful models on television and in the movies," the study found. UCF's spokesman said Disney did not fund either the research or the professor's Laboratory for the Study of Eating, Appearance and Health. But he couldn't resist putting in a plug for the upcoming Disney animated feature, The Princess and the Frog, saying it will allow parents to start conversations with their kids about image issues. The new film, opening nationwide Friday, has been praised for featuring the first African-American Disney princess. News flash to kids: Princesses' tiny waists are not realistic and you don't need Snow White's complexion to look good.
answer for that high-tech stench: There's no way to put this delicately, so we won't even try. You know that high-performance sportswear that promises to wick away your sweat while you work out in splendid comfort? Some of us have noticed that it hangs onto sweat a little too well, resulting in an odor that your usual laundry detergent can't quite budge. To the rescue: WIN High Performance Sport Detergent. We recently tried it out and discovered that it actually does cut down on that high-tech stench. How does it do it? "WIN works by directly targeting the sweat molecules embedded in high tech fabrics. After several workouts, these fabrics develop an unpleasant odor caused by bacteria that are attracted to the embedded sweat,'' says a company news release. We're just glad we're not the only ones with this icky problem. Anyway, you can find WIN at Publix, Dick's Sporting Goods stores or at www.WINdetergent.com. It's $6.99 for a 21-ounce bottle.
It's not surprising that even expert insomniacs could pick up a few tips in a book called 365 Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep ($8.95, Adams Media). But we were particularly impressed that Dr. Ronald L. Kotler, medical director of Pennsylvania Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, spent a few of his tips on a seldom-discussed subject: the long-suffering partner of the insomniac. Under the heading of "Relationship Incompatibilities,'' he suggests:
• Designate a time for cuddling: Otherwise, the spoon-all-night partner is just going to annoy that insomniac.
• Resolve thermal incompatibility: If you're always hot and he's always cold, try an electric blanket with dual controls.
• Establish compatible sleep rituals: The all-night TV watcher and the partner who needs silence will either have to compromise or . . .
• Don't think separate beds means a bad relationship.
Feed that cold: Apple cider vinegar and baking soda can do more than just unclog the kitchen sink. They also can help you weather the miseries of the common cold, according to Clean Cures: The Humble Art of Zen-Curing Yourself (Sterling, $11) by eco-activist and green living expert Michael DeJong.
• Feel a cold coming? Pour a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in ½ cup of warm water. Drink this mixture several times.
• Runny nose? Add a pinch of salt to an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Dribble the mixture into one nostril, hold it as long as you can, then blow it into a tissue. Or allow the water to flow through your nose and out the other nostril. Again, clear the nose by blowing into a tissue. Do the same with the other nostril.
Staff, wire reports
Shelf life guidance: Holiday entertaining means holiday leftovers, and that means StillTasty.com could become your new best friend. The "ultimate shelf life guide," created by a Canadian mother and daughter duo, includes a database of food storage times based on official recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among other government agencies. Aside from averting food poisoning, you'll also learn handy tips. For instance: Bread stored in the refrigerator will go stale faster than bread stored on the counter. And if you've ever wondered what the difference is between those "use by," "best by" and "sell by" dates stamped on cartons of eggs, you'll get your answers here.