All posts filed under “Children’s Health

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Think inside the bento box for healthy lunches

What is Bento?  The official definition is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine.  A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquer ware.  Although bento lunches are readily available in many places throughout Japan many Japanese homemakers often spend time and energy on a carefully prepared lunch box for their spouse, child, or themselves.

Why bento?  Portion sizes can be the stumbling block for adults and children when it comes to eating healthy.  The pre-formed size of the food spaces in the bento boxes make it easy to keep the portions small and within the USDA MyPlate.gov standards.

Be careful not to stress portion sizes to kids. Just pack their lunches and let them enjoy their new bento box.

Building a bento – don’t confuse bento with a box of snacks. 

  • Protein (eggs, yogurt, low fat cheese, low sodium deli meat, chick peas, edamame, chicken, turkey,)
  • Grain (muffin, pita bread, crackers, pasta salad, quinoa, tortilla)
  • Vegetables (baby carrots or carrot sticks, cucumbers, celery, peppers, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, radishes)
  • Fruit (grapes, apple, water melon, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries, orange slices – mandarin oranges, pear slices)
  • Snack (dried fruit, pretzels, popcorn, small cookie, chocolate covered raisins, gold fish crackers, nuts, seeds, fig newtons, bunny grahams)
  • Olives, pickle

Enjoy the process and have fun thinking inside the box.

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A mother and child fast asleep.
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The connection between sleep and sickness

Sleep leading to sickness

Recent studies have confirmed what most people kind of already knew; sleep is good for you. Too little sleep can be directly related to cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune function as well as a lot of other health issues related to a lack of sleep. In a long term sleep study, over 22,000 participants reported their sleeping patterns in parallel with their health from 2005 to 2012. This study found that getting six or less hours of sleep per day had a direct correlation with experiencing sickness of flu-like symptoms and that the more sleep people got, the less they faced these negative health outcomes.

Sleep should be on the agenda

A lack of sleep isn’t just important to bodily functions, it also sets the tone for the rest of the day and many people don’t realize how much sleep may determine their plans and activities. As mentioned earlier sleep can cause a plethora of negative health issues but even more so is the lifestyle that usually comes with not sleeping enough. Turns out, short sleepers are also more likely to have negative health behaviors like not exercising and poor nutrition which in the long run can be detrimental to health. Creating good sleeping habits can translate into other positive health behaviors because of the increased energy and productivity that accompanies being well-rested.

Sleep is serious business

An interesting point Dr. Sanjay R. Patel of the Center for Sleep and Cardiovascular Outcomes at the University of Pittsburgh makes is that “society does not stigmatize the person getting in their car and driving after only four hours of sleep the way it does the person driving after drinking, even though the risk to others on the road may be the same.” Meaning that a lack of sleep can be just as detrimental to motor function and cognitive skills as drinking, but is largely overlooked and the seriousness of the matter is rarely emphasized. He goes more in depth about just how neglected the science of sleep is by mentioning how little physicians usually discuss sleep with their patients due to the lack of training and attention given to sleep in medical school.

While sleep may still be a little bit of a mystery it is clear that adequate sleep is closely related to good health. Not getting enough sleep is not only bad for the body, but also makes it harder to create and sustain other healthy habits, so get those Z’s!

For the full article, click here.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Sima Dimitric

 

Sprinkler
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Fun in the sun

Windows down and music up, there is nothing like cruising around on a sunny day. Unfortunately, there is also nothing like the feeling of the summers first sunburn. As the sun starts to shine through don’t forget to take proper care of your skin. A sunburn is more than just a change in skin color. When viewed under a microscope, visible damage to the cells and blood vessels can be seen.  This is true whether the burn turns in to a tan or you peel.

Today, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Constant sun exposure without proper protection greatly increases your chances of developing skin cancer over time.

What benefits does the sun have?

Exposure to sunlight increases the body’s vitamin D production. This is important because vitamin D is not found naturally in most foods.  However, as food production methods have changed, vitamin D found in the foods you eat has increased. Many foods are now fortified with enough vitamin D to help you sustain proper levels. That being said, barbecuing with family, playing a sport or hiking in the sun, is still better for you than watching television inside. Don’t forget that you can still protect your skin while enjoying your time in the sun.

How to limit the harmful effects of sunlight

Of course, staying out of the sun is the best way to stay protected, but who doesn’t want to enjoy the sun when it makes an appearance? Try to take the following steps when exposed to sunlight to keep your skin healthy and looking its best:

  • Don’t leave the house without wearing sunscreen. Apply it every day and make sure it’s a habit, just like brushing your teeth!
  • Between the hours of 10am and 3pm be extra cautious; avoid the sun when you can, and apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming, getting wet or sweating. (Ultraviolet rays are strongest between 10am and 3pm).
  • Long sleeves and slacks help protect from the sun, especially when in the sun for long periods of time.
  • Don’t forget your shades! Wear sunglasses that can filter UV light.

Three little letters; SPF

Everyone has seen them, but what does it really mean? SPF stands for sun protection factor. The greater the SPF number, the greater protection one will get from UVB rays (the burning rays). Choose an SPF that is 30 or higher no matter your complexion. If you have had skin cancer or precancer, it is recommended to increase the SPF to 45 or higher.

Sunscreen is important for everyone, regardless of age, sex, complexion or profession. Protection from the sun and the damage harmful rays can do to your skin makes applying sunscreen very important; whether or not you burn. Remember to check the label in order to determine the proper amount to apply.

See the full article here

 

caption-arrow Feature photo by  echoroo

Hiking in nature can be very beneficial both physically and mentally.
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How hiking helps the brain

Hiking kicks out negative thoughts

Rumination is defined as the tendency to continuously think about upsetting situations, causes, and consequences that might be burdening an individuals mind. Luckily, the National Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study which found that going on nature-filled hikes can significantly curb these thoughts, encouraging not only physical well being but also mental prosperity. By measuring neural activity and levels of rumination in the two different groups, researchers found that urban environments have distinct correlations with depression and negative disposition while the natural environments show to lower levels of rumination as well as neural activity in the part of the brain that is intimately linked to mental illness.

Hiking can boost brain power, and help keep you focused

Other studies contrasting urban vs. natural environments have found that not only can hiking in nature prevent negative thoughts, it can also greatly improve cognitive performance! Researchers realized that a nice long hike away from urbanization and technology can reduce mental fatigue, boost creative thinking, improve memory, and even remarkably reduce symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Along with all of these incredible benefits, it is proven that people who work out outside are much more likely to continue their routine rather than quit shortly after starting. Whether it’s for a minute or an hour, everyone should make an effort to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the tranquility of nature whenever possible. Good for the mind, body, and soul, hiking in nature is an excellent way to stay healthy and happy.

 

For the full article, click here.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Loren Kerns

 

 

diabetes
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Type 1 and type 2 diabetes – what’s the difference?

Diabetes occurs in two forms: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 usually develops at a young age. It’s caused by a damaged pancreas that produces very little or no insulin – the hormone your body needs to carry glucose to your cells. Only about 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed later in life. With this type, it becomes harder and harder for your body to use the insulin it produces. Type 2 is much more common than type 1 – at least 90 percent of people with diabetes have this form.

Prevention and treatment

Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented or cured. Genetics most likely play a role – its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin and follow other measures to manager their blood sugar.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented or delayed through a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. For some people with type 2, these practices may be enough to keep their blood sugar under control. Others may need to take medication or insulin.

Sources: American Diabetes Association

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by : Alden Chadwick

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Things your dentist doesnt tell you

If you are an adult you don’t really want the tooth fairy to visit you. If you keep your mouth healthy today and you will be thanking yourself tomorrow. Poor oral health has been linked to chronic diseases including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Prevent teeth and mouth problems before they start. Below you will find information as well as tips and tricks on how to have a happy and healthy mouth.

  • Taking care of your oral health means brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing a dentist regularly.
  • Good oral health can prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Chewing tobacco and cigarettes can cause serious mouth problems.
  • 500+ species of bacteria live in your mouth.
  • Those who have diabetes have an increased risk for gum disease.
  • Bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation throughout the body.
  • Good oral health plays an important role in overall health.
  • Green tea has antiseptic properties that help keep gums healthier.
  • Without saliva you wouldn’t be able to taste anything.
  • Flossing is the most effective way to reduce plaque.
  • Good oral hygiene is essential during pregnancy.
  • You have taste buds on the insides of your cheeks, lips, under the tongue and roof of the mouth.
  • Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your entire body
  • You will spend 38.5 days brushing your teeth during your lifetime
  • Most common childhood disease is tooth decay.

The more you know about oral health the better you can take care of yourself.  Also if you have any health concerns regarding oral health it is best to get seen by a professional. January is a great time to start new beneficial habits, so let us know in the comments below how you plant to increase your oral health.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Rudy Eng

 

Hand Washing. Sept 2009Photo by Stephanie Schupska
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How to stay flu free in 11 simple steps

Chances are you know somebody with a cold or a flu right now. Find out how you can protect yourself and others with these simple tips below.

Tips on how to stay healthy

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Don’t share personal products (lip balm, eating utensils, etc.)
  • Try not to touch your face
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Avoid large crowds of people
  • Use tissues and dispose of them properly
  • Wipe down commonly used items (door knobs, computer mouse, etc.)

Even if you are feeling a bit run down it is best to keep your distance from loved ones and take time to rest. The flu is contagious up to 1 day before symptoms occur and up to 7 days after becoming sick. If you have a cold you are contagious the first 3 days you have symptoms. Also if you know somebody who is sick make sure to take the necessary precautions such as those listed above so you stay healthy and happy.

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences

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Cold vs the Flu

It is the middle of the week and you’re looking forward to going to the Blazer game on Saturday night. You’re feeling a little tired but maybe it’s because you didn’t sleep well. You continue your day and by lunch you notice that your throat is also a little scratchy and your nose is a little stuffy. You think you maybe it’s a cold but the flu has been sweeping through the office. So how can you tell if you are coming down with a cold or with the flu? The chart below might help you out.

Cold Symptoms

  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Lasts 7-10 days

Flu Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Last 5-7 days

Whether you have a cold or the flu it is important to take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough rest, drink plenty of fluids, and stay home from work so that you don’t get anybody else sick. One of the best ways you can prevent getting the flu is by getting a flu shot. If you have any concerns it is best to talk with your doctor. Stay healthy and have fun this winter.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Laura Taylor

fall fun
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It’s the first day of fall! What’s your favorite fall activity?

Welcome to fall. The days are slowly getting shorter, colder, and darker. You leave the house in the morning wearing a sweater and by the afternoon you may turn on the A/C but by the evening your lighting a fire in the fireplace. Halloween candy is showing up at the grocery store and thoughts of pumpkins and holidays are starting to creep in to your long term plans.

Fall is a wonderful time of year for you and your family. There are so many indoor and outdoor activities that families can do together. Here is a quick list of links to fall family activities.

  1. Guide to Oregon – festivals and events
  2. Oregon Live – things to do with the kiddos
  3. Northwest including Washington
  4. Seattle area

From football games to raking leaves there are plenty of fun things families can do together this fall. Take a few moments to share your favorite fall activities in the comment section. We’d love to know what memories you’re making with your family.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by:  Mt. Hood Territory

 

 

 

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7 facts about HPV for parents

Hey parents, did you know that your child is at risk of getting an STD (sexually transmitted disease)? It is estimated that nearly all sexually active individuals will get HPV (Human Papillomavirus) at some point in their lives.

Now we know what you are thinking… “My child isn’t sexually active yet!”

That may be true, but HPV is so common that the best protection is to get your child  vaccinated before they become sexually active. This will allow the vaccine to develop an immune response within the body. Currently there is a FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved series of vaccines (3 shots total) that are available for both preteen girls and boys around the ages 11 and 12.

It is important to note that a person with HPV has no symptoms. Studies also show that individuals with HPV also have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. But keep in mind, prevention is possible!

Here are 7 facts about the HPV vaccine:

  1. There are 3 vaccines approved by the FDA to prevent HPV infection.
  2. The HPV vaccine can help prevent many types of cancer (such as vaginal, cervical, anal and throat).
  3.  The HPV vaccine can be given to females until they are 27 years old.
  4. Males can get the vaccine as well, up to age 22.
  5. Two of the HPV vaccines can protect against genital warts.
  6. No serious side effects have been shown to be caused by the vaccines.
  7. Protection from the HPV vaccine is long lasting.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and FDA continue to carefully study and monitor the HPV vaccine; these studies have continued to show that the HPV vaccines are safe and effective. Parents are encouraged to talk to your child’s doctor about the HPV vaccine and what they can do to make sure their child is protected.

Moda Health offers members with a pharmacy benefit HPV immunization services at select network pharmacies. For a complete list of network pharmacies or for questions, call Moda Health Pharmacy Customer Service at 888-361-1610.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by By: Agência Brasília