Monday, October 16, 2017

Paving The Way to A Healthy Weight in Children

Obesity continues to be a priority health challenge in the US which it is putting children at jeopardy for poor physical, social and emotional outcomes throughout their lifetime.  Despite recent declines in the prevalence among preschool-aged children (according to the CDC children aged 2 to 5 years decreased from 13.9% in 2003-2004 to 9.4% in 2013-2014) , obesity among school aged children (6- 19) is still too high. In that age group 1 in 5 are overweight or obese. It is a frightening reality that "today's children may live a shorter life than their parents".
Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term impacts. Obese children are at higher risk of chronic health conditions (sleep apnea, joint problems, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease) often once only seen in the older population. Obese children are teased and bullied more than their healthier weight peers leading to social isolation, depression and low self-esteem.
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight begins early in life. Parents must set good example of what healthy eating, hydration, exercise, stress management and daily rest & rejuvenation looks like. Parents should also seek the assistance of their children's physician for programs that focus on lifestyle behaviors that help maintain a sense of well being for the entire family. One such program is the care process model (CPM) which was created to promote proven approaches to lifestyle and weight management that can be implemented in routine primary care.
Check out "Rx to Live Well" as an example of where you as parents can begin. 
We must all learn to develop a healthy relationship with food which uses food for what it was intended for...nourishment for the body. There is a lot to be gained from the saying..."we should eat to live and not live to eat".

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hidden Danger in Your Car

The season for the family trip to mom's/grandma's house for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas is just around the corner. Before hitting the road, most seasoned drivers know it is always a smart idea to get your vehicle road ready. This often includes getting a tune-up, tire pressure check, rotation or new tires if needed, fluid level checks and topped off, and often replacement windshield wipers. But wait...there is a hidden danger that before today I never considered a risk...carbon monoxide leaks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 50,000 people are hospitalized each year, and 430 die from carbon monoxide. Drivers suffering from carbon monoxide intoxication think slow and irrational, become confused and are not able to safely operate a motor vehicle. Within minutes of exposure, severe neurological damage can occur. Since carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless by the time you feel its' effects it may be too late.
There are recommendations to help avoid vehicular carbon monoxide exposure:
  • Include periodic exhaust system checks and never operate a car with a defective exhaust system.
  • Maintain the suggested vehicle maintenance scheduling to maintain a tuned engine and emission system
  • Avoid driving your vehicle with the trunk lid or rear tailgate open.
  • Avoid driving a vehicle with holes in the car body.
  • Never allow children to ride under a topper on a pick-up truck.
  • Avoid warming the car in a garage
  • During snow storms...before starting the engine be sure the exhaust tail pipe is free of packed snow covering it
  • Consider investing in a car carbon monoxide detector designed for use in a vehicle 
Wishing you safe passage!!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Maintaining Your Balance

Have you ever thought of yourself as being accident prone or a klutz. You are not alone. At some point in life we all take a tumble with the worst outcome being a bruise or sprain. But it is important to be aware, falls can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, unintentional falls cause more than 18,000 deaths and nearly 450,000 hospitalizations per year in the United States. The vast majority of these falls take place among people over the age of 65, but it is incorrect to assume younger people aren't at risk too.
Most of our everyday normal activity is achieved by having good balance. It is something we often never think about until there is a problem. The motor skills needed for good balance can be maintained or even improved with exercises which help keep the hips, knees and ankles strong. Check out "6 Simple Ways to Regain Your Balance and Prevent Falls".

Monday, September 11, 2017

Out With The Summer...In With The Flu

While many of us are holding on to our memories of summer's warmth as long as possible, my local pharmacist has already begun to warn us...we are on the cusp of the flu season. For many people the flu is a nuisance inconvenience, but for the young, elderly and individuals with a compromised immune system, the flu can be much can be deadly. According to the CDC, in 2015 influenza and pneumonia were the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 55,200 people. So the question that struck me is "what accounts for such a high number of fatalities"? The answer...on average only 40-50% of people get the flu vaccine. The reason for this low number varies...with the prevailing reasons being...the shot does not work or getting the shot will cause you to get the flu. Until recently, I did not know the intent of the flu shot is not to prevent you from getting the flu but to help lessen the severity of the flu and associated hospitalizations and to help boost the immune system of younger people and healthy adults.
After having to be hospitalized for 7 days the year I did not get the flu shot, I am a proponent of getting it every year now. I respect everyone's right to choose what they feel is best for them and their family but all of us can begin now to do things which will help boost our immune system. To learn ways to burst your immune"5 Fast Ways to Boost Your Immune System".
Because the flu virus mutates it is important to get the flu shot annually.
Keep up to date on this years flu activity on the CDC's Weekly US Map. Whether you decide to get the shot or take other measures to boost your immune system...remember thorough hand washing and practicing good health habits will help prevent and spreading the flu.