In this time of emphasis on the culture of health, there are many environmental affects that can determine the health of consumers.
To help track data related to environmental public health, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has a tracking network that brings together data concerning some health and environmental problems. The bottom line goal is to improve where all Kansans live, work, and play.
This tracking network is a part of the CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking program. The CDC provides funds to 26 state and local health departments to feed date into the National Tracking Network.
Some of the topics addressed by this network in Kansas include:
- Air quality
- Lead exposure in children
- Asthma hospitalizations
- Cancer incidence rates
- Carbon monoxide poisoning hospitalizations
Learn more at https://keap.kdhe.state.ks.us/Ephtm/Default
Nuts have been touted as beneficial with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. New research from the University of South Australia shows that they can also help adults have better mental function, improved thinking, reasoning, and memory.
The study followed 4,822 Chinese adults aged 55-plus from 1991-2006. They consumed 10 grams (two teaspoons) of nuts a day. They mostly ate peanuts. The results showed an improvement in cognitive function up to 60% compared to those who did not eat nuts.
Age is the biggest risk factor for cognitive health. Eating a few nuts each day is worth the effort!
Do you struggle with making good food choices? Healthy eating can happen with one step at a time. It can be simple!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new initiative to help consumers meet their health goals. It is called Start Simple with MyPlate.
Focus on whole fruits. Add fruit to a bowl of cereal for breakfast or grab one for an easy snack. Don’t forget that canned and frozen fruits are great choices when your favorite fresh fruit is not available.
Vary your veggies and think colorfully! Dark green, red, orange, yellow and other colorful veggies add lots of good nutrients to any meal or snack. Prepare extra veggies for a side dish or to use in soup or pasta.
Make half your grains whole grains. This message still holds true! Choose 100% whole grain bread, pasta, crackers, or cereal.
Vary your protein routine. Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, legumes are beneficial. Don’t forget to serve veggies and whole grains with your protein choice!
Low-fat or fat-free dairy foods compliment any meal. Be a role model for kids to show dairy foods are healthy!
Learn more at www.choosemyplate.gov/start-simple-myplate.
Sometimes putting dollars behind the message can really motivate people to change behaviors. That’s what a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found regarding the reduction of health costs when eating a quality diet. This study is the first of its kind to associate cost savings to healthy eating.
They study looked at two eating patterns recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They included the Healthy US-Style and the Healthy Mediterranean-Style diets. Health issues evaluated included reductions in cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and hip fractures.
The overall results showed cost savings ranged from $16.7 billion to $31.5 billion. This is based on a 20 percent increase in following the Mediterranean diet and Healthy US-Style respectively. That increase reduced cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes when following a Healthy US-Style diet and these same diseases plus Alzheimer’s disease and hip fracture reductions when following the Mediterranean diet.
I think we all can use a little extra money in our pockets!
The news comes at us from many sources, so confusion can occur quickly. Use the “ABC” approach to identify good information.
Authority—Look for experts from reputable organizations or in publications that specialize in a specific field. Authors and reviewers should be listed and easily found. References also increase validity of information.
Bias—Whether blatant or not, look for personal bias or a slant on the topic. Inconclusive or “cherry picked” information can be problematic. Look for the funding source. While industry and trade groups offer funding, research must remain unbiased.
Complete and Current—Science evolves to show direction of research. A single study rarely gives a dramatic breakthrough. Websites should show updates and when information was last reviewed. Expect quality in spelling and grammar to increase professional merit.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2019
Playing sports or general exercising can cause pain and inflammation. Many reach for a sports drink or an over-the-counter drug for relief. But, what if there was a food that can help both issues?
Initial research conducted at the North Carolina Research Campus has found that bananas can relieve pain and inflammation just as well. Bananas eaten during exercise are equal to sports drinks and they contain metabolites that function like ibuprofen. Dopamine is one primary molecule that acts like a COX-2 inhibitor, but there are other compounds that are adding to this effect. They also found that banana peels contains 50 times more dopamine and could be incorporated into food products. More research is needed to verify these results.
Research has shown that students need physical activity to improve classroom concentration and attention, reduce classroom behavior issues, become more engaged in learning, and above all boost grades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Springboard to Active Schools has released new educator resources to add physical activity in the classroom each day. Incorporate physical activity into academic instruction so that there are several activity breaks during the day. Physical activity can be added into all grade levels. These activities can also be used in other organizations such as 4-H and Scouts.
The program has many resources available at www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/classroom-pa.htm.
The NIH Body Weight Planner (BWP) has moved from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) SuperTracker webpage to the NIDDK website at the new link www.niddk.nih.gov/bwp.
The BWP is a free, interactive tool developed by NIDDK researchers that can help people create physical activity and calorie plans to reach their goal weight and maintain it afterward. The tool uses science-based technology to tailor recommendations to individual users and accurately calculate how their bodies adjust to changes in diet and physical activity.
If you have not yet tried the Body Weight Planner, we invite you to visit the new page to practice using the tool. A short instructional video can be found at https://youtu.be/v1gluQwieog.
Here’s something to ponder. Oral cancer kills one person ever hour of every day in America. Many people have never heard of oral cancer and just how deadly it can be. Other names include mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer.
How can you prevent oral cancer? Some daily simple steps include brushing and flossing your teeth, don’t smoke or chew tobacco. Check your mouth and throat by looking in a mirror with a flashlight shining into your mouth. Look for lumps, swelling, anything unusual.
For more information, check out the Oral Cancer Foundation and checkyourmouth.org.
Want to learn more about building up health in your community? The 2018 Kansas Health Foundation Symposium is just for you!
Registration is now open for this symposium to be held June 7-8, 2018 in downtown Wichita, KS. The theme for the symposium is “It’s All Health: Steps to Build Vibrant Communities.” Speakers include education expert Geoffrey Canada, Citizen University president Eric Liu, and CBS News journalist Steve Hartman, among others. The focus is on key aspects needed to have strong, healthy and prosperous communities in the future.
The symposium is open to those in education, business, health care, community leadership , government, or if you just simple care about your community. Register now as attendance is capped at about 200 for space reasons.
Learn more at https://kshealthsymposium.blog/ and see links for the agenda and registration.