Friday, December 18, 2015

Twelve ways to have a healthy holiday season

US CDC offers 12 simple tips for staying health this holiday season and all year long:

  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It's flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially and get plenty of sleep.
  3. Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.
  4. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots.
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
  6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
  7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history. Get insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace if you are not insured.
  8. Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year.
  9. Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other objects out of children's reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls and other potential accidents.
  10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don't leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly.
  12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Youth fitness reduces middle age death risk

A recently-published study in the JAMA Internal Medicine shows that fitness in youth may reduce the risk of heart-related death in middle age.
The study included nearly 5,000 adults who were between 18 and 30 in the mid-1980s when they completed baseline treadmill tests. Over 26 years, data showed that higher levels of fitness and improvement in fitness early in adulthood are associated with lower risks for heart disease and mortality.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Maine ranked 15th healthiest state

The United Health Foundation released America's Health Rankings last week. Maine ranked 15th overall, up five spots from last year. 
Highlights noted by the foundation include:
  • In the past year, immunizations among children aged 19 to 35 months increased 25 percent from 68.0 percent to 84.7 percent.
  • In the past year, physical inactivity decreased 15 percent from 23.3 percent to 19.7 percent of adults.
  • In the past five years, low birthweight increased 13 percent from 6.3 percent to 7.1 percent of live births.
  • In the past 20 years, infant mortality increased 13 percent from 6.2 to 7.0 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Since 1990, cardiovascular deaths decreased 46 percent from 408.0 to 218.7 per 100,000 population.

For more information, visit