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Keeping healthy the Barbie way
March 03, 2009

As Barbie gears up to celebrate her 50th birthday, an American researcher weighs in on what the doll with hourglass curves did to boost her health.

At 11 1/2 inches, Barbie, who turns 50 on March 9, has had more careers than most people have clothes.

According to Cindy Haines, MD, a family doctor and clinical assistant professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University, she's a poster child for what happens when you take good care of yourself.

"While Barbie probably has been blessed with good genes, she has obviously paid attention to her health and focused ahead to do what she can to prevent health problems. You can tell that she's an excellent patient and puts a health at the top of her priority list," Haines said.

"Having been a tennis player, aerobics instructor, equestrian, lifeguard, ballet dancer, and gymnast, Barbie loves to exercise and has washboard abs and a tiny waist to prove it. She knows that regular, weight bearing activity is one of the best things you can do to keep your bones strong and stave off osteoporosis," the expert added.

Barbie's been a McDonald's cashier, candy saleswoman and a soda fountain waitress, but likely rejects most food sold on the job, Haines said.

"She probably loves the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables that contain a high ratio of antioxidants to combat aging. Because she watches what she eats and exercises, her cholesterol levels likely are on target, and she probably doesn't have to take medication," the expert said.

Barbie may enjoy an occasional cocktail now and then, Haines said. And she's never smoked.

"You can tell because her skin is nice and firm, she has long luxurious hair and bright, white teeth. And on the inside, I suspect her heart is strong, her arteries plaque-free and her lungs are clear," she said.

Although Barbie never married and had children, she's surrounded herself with loved ones.

"Numerous studies show that staying socially connected and living up to your potential can help ward off dementia, so Barbie is doing what she can to stay mentally healthy," Haines said.

Barbie might have received a little plastic surgery or cosmetic assist to help her defy gravity and look her best, Haines acknowledged.

"She may have had some fillers. There are definitely things you can do to make slight tweaks in your appearance," she said.

Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

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