Apr 25 2014

Smoking Affects Your Brain. Secondhand Smoke Is Affecting Your Child’s Brain. Isn’t It Time To Quit!!

Even if you don’t smoke, a new study shows, secondhand smoke affects your brain much as it does a smoker’s. It’s one more reason to steer clear of secondhand smoke in cars and other enclosed spaces. We know a lot more than we used to about the dangers of tobacco smoke. “When you smoke, you inhale thousands of hazardous chemicals,” explains Dr. Michele Bloch, a tobacco control expert at NIH. “They travel all around inside your body and cause damage to numerous parts.” Cigarette smoke can quickly damage delicate lung tissue. It doesn’t have a chance to heal when it’s exposed to smoke day after day. The result can be a wide range of deadly lung conditions, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The chemicals from tobacco smoke travel from the lungs into the bloodstream. They damage your heart and blood vessels to cause cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease kills over 800,000 people a year nationwide. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death nationwide. People who smoke are up to 6 times more likely than nonsmokers to have a heart attack. Tobacco also causes cancer. Up to 90% of lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking. But the smoker isn’t the only one harmed by tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke can make it more likely you’ll get heart disease, have a heart attack or die early. Bloch says. ...

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Dec 01 2012

How much physical activity do children need?

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day. This may sound like a lot, but don't worry! Your child may already be meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. And, you'll soon discover all the easy and enjoyable ways to help your child meet the recommendations. Encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety! Just make sure your child or adolescent is doing three types of physical activity: Aerobic Activity Aerobic activity should make up most of your child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week. Muscle Strengthening Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes. Bone Strengthening Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes. How do I know if my child's aerobic activity is moderate- or vigorous-intensity? Here are two ways to think about moderate- and vigorous-intensity: Want examples? As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a ...

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Feb 12 2012

February is American Heart Month: A Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

February is American Heart Month; a month to spread awareness about the importance of heart health. Each year, countless American families are impacted by heart disease and stroke. Although its risk factors can be prevented or controlled, it is still the leading cause of death for all Americans, and accounts for $1 out of every $6 dollars spent on health care.  Fortunately, there are many simple steps we can take to prevent heart disease such as eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and not smoking. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working with both public and private partners to raise awareness of heart disease through vital research investments and public health programs. The Million Hearts Initiative takes aim at this disease, with a goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years. Other efforts, like the HeartTruth, which addresses women’s heart health, and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, which confronts childhood obesity by helping children choose healthy foods and stay active, work to provide people with resources and ways to make heart healthy changes in their everyday lives . And thanks to the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, new health plans must now cover recommended preventive services, including blood pressure screening for all adults and cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk, cost-free. This month, as we take time to ...

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Mar 28 2011

Take the Million PALA Challenge!: Graehm Gray

As you all know, my pal Nerdel and I are big supporters of the Presidents Challenge and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move programs. The intent of both of these fantastic programs is to get all Americans, young and old, into better shape. Both programs encourage you to eat healthier meals and snacks at school, at home, at work and whenever you go out to eat! And both programs emphasize the need to perform some type of physical fitness activity each and every day.  The Presidents Challenge program has many individual activity categories based on age and lifestyle and you can earn many cool awards and medals by registering your fitness performance. Here’s a little history: On September 14th, 2010, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius along with the co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition-Dominique Dawes and Let’s Move Executive Director Robin Schepper, launched the Million PALA (President's Active Lifestyle Award) Challenge. The goal of the Million PALA Challenge is to get 1,000,000 youth and adults, from all over the United  States, to sign up and participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) over the year.  The ending date is slowly approaching-September 2011. How does the Million PALA Challenge work? “The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, or PALA, can be earned by taking part in 60 minutes of physical activity for kids ...

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Jul 14 2010

Graehm Gray: The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010-Part 2-SoFAS, Salt, Milk, Fiber, Whole Grains, Vegetables and Fruits

As you read in my article on The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) Part 1, the new guidelines offer many differences and some similarities to the 2005 DGA. There are encouragements to eat more good mono and poly unsaturated fats (e.g. fish and plant varieties) over their bad cousins-the saturated fats (meats, poultry and dairy). There is more emphasis on eating whole grain products (e.g. brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas) over the refined and processed white starches. There is a new buzz word that has emerged from these guidelines-the SoFAS-solid fats (animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils) and added sugars (sugars and syrups and other caloric sweeteners added to foods during processing, preparation or consumed separately), which according to the statistics, have contributed to 35% of the total calorie (energy) intake of all Americans. These SoFAS are said to be responsible for the overconsumption of saturated fats, cholesterol, and added sugars and have taken the place of the important dietary fibers and nutrients (like vitamin D, calcium, potassium and unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3s) in the diet. There is a recognition that portion control in the home and at restaurants needs to be monitored and is responsible for the overconsumption of calories. In fact, restaurants and the food industry are being encouraged to offer lower calorie, foods with lower SoFAS, portion ...

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Jul 06 2010

Graehm Gray: The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010-Part One.

I can’t believe how quick five years has been. The last Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 (DGA 2005) came out five years ago. And now here comes the 2010 report. Does everyone reading this article know what I am talking about? Okay-let’s review. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a joint project between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to provide advice for people (two years and older), on how and what to eat, and how good nutrition and fitness (physical activity) can help promote good health and reduce the risk of major diseases. Information about choosing a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, achieving adequate exercise (part of the Physical Activity Guidelies for Americans), and food safety were all included in the 2005 report. The committee that makes these recommendations is composed of experts in the fields of nutrition, exercise, medicine and science. The committee takes into consideration many factors including the current status of chronic diseases in our society like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and bones loss. The current levels of physical activity, obesity, food insecurity and nutrient ...

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Mar 01 2010

Childhood Obesity: Prevention With Nutrition and Exercise Guidelines

By John E. Lewis, Ph.D. Today, children face more challenges than ever in trying to achieve and maintain their health. The prevalence of the internet and video games negatively affects kids' desire to play outside and participate in physical activities, and the preponderance of fast food restaurants and processed foods at our grocery stores, along with their appealing advertising campaigns, results in an over-reliance of poor dietary choices that are too high in calories and too low in nutrition. Childhood obesity is dramatically rising and is now the most significant health crisis affecting children today. Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are the principle causes of obesity, according to the US Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA). In addition, children are now dealing with rates of Type II Diabetes and cardiovascular disease previously only seen in adults. So what can we do to help our children? In addition to proper rest and sleep, stress reduction, avoidance of toxins, such as second-hand cigarette smoke, and drinking plenty of water, health begins and ends with proper nutrition and exercise. Eating properly should consist of a reliance on a plant-based, whole food diet. Eating plants in their most natural state, looking as much like when they came out of the ground or off the tree, should be the goal. Eating a plant-based, whole food diet will give us the vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids, and the thousands of other ...

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Mar 01 2010

Childhood Obesity: Prevention With Pedometers,Technology And Exercise

By John E. Lewis, Ph.D. Childhood obesity is dramatically rising and is now the most significant health crisis affecting children today. Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are the principle causes of obesity, according to the United States Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA). Thus, children should be made aware of the severity of the problem that their generation faces, and they also need to understand that being active, which was taken for granted by so many prior generations, is one of the principal keys to being in good health. As the electronics age has consumed so many aspects of daily life in the last couple of decades, children of today are indoctrinated into the technological craze at a very early age. Popular electronics are readily affordable by most families, so children grow up learning how to operate everything from televisions to computers to video games to PDAs and cell phones. While the use of technology provides our society with enormous advantages in access to information and convenience, with such freedom at least partially comes the price of good health due to the sedentary lifestyle that such electronic equipment promotes. In considering how electronic equipment can help to promote a more active lifestyle in children, one of the obvious appliances is the pedometer. Pedometers, like most electronics, come in a wide variety of models, styles, features, and options, but a simple pedometer that accurately measures steps ...

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