Washington, D.C., Is Most Fit City For 3rd Consecutive Year

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seniorcoupleexercisesmallThis article is courtesy of ACSM, please share your comments below…..

Washington, D.C., closely followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver, are the three fittest of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to the ninth annual American Fitness Index (AFI) released today by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. View the rankings and individual metro data here or in the chart below.

The nation’s capital leads the pack for the third straight year, Minneapolis-St. Paul came in second, and Denver moved up from sixth to third in 2016. The three top metro areas showed increased walking by residents using public transportation; more parkland for exercise; and lower cardiovascular and diabetes issues. The Washington, D.C., region’s lower rate of smoking tipped the scales in its favor. Midwestern metro areas Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Louisville rank last in the index.

Nationally, there were some remarkable positive shifts in a few measures comparing values between the 2016 and 2015 reports:

* total scores increased for 30 MSAs (60%)

* 11.8% increase in the percentage of individuals who indicated they exercised in the last 30 days

* 4.7% drop in the percentage who smoked

* 7.4% drop in the diabetes death rates overall

* 5.2% increase in total park expenditure per resident

* twice as many states had policies in 2016 that required teaching physical education at the elementary, middle or high school level

Conversely, the 2016 AFI found that scores slipped for 19 MSAs from 2015 to 2016. MSAs experiencing the largest drop in scores included Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Sacramento and San Diego. The report also found a 7.7 percent increase in the percentage of the MSA population reporting a diagnosis of angina and a 7.0 percent increase in the percentage reporting a diagnosis of diabetes.

There were also some notable shifts in the rankings for individual MSAs. The rank changed five positions or more for nine MSAs (Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, Providence, Sacramento and San Diego).

To aid cities of all sizes and metro areas in enhancing healthy lifestyles and promoting physical activity, ACSM and Anthem Foundation developed and released in late 2015 an AFI Community Action Guide offering an overview of the critical decisions and factors related to effective community action: http://americanfitnessindex.org/community-action-guide/

“The AFI has continually proven its value as a trusted measurement of the health of our metro areas, and it has also become a catalyst for urban and suburban leaders to shape infrastructures that promote healthy lifestyles and create positive outcomes,” said chair of the AFI Advisory Board Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FASCM. “Our overarching goal is to offer communities and residents resources that can help them assess, plan and implement measures for a quality, healthier life.”

According to Anthem Chief Clinical Officer Craig Samitt, MD, promoting a healthy lifestyle begins with each individual. Samitt encourages all Americans to exercise for at least 30 minutes and participate in 10 minutes of stretching and light muscle training five days a week. “Modeling healthy behavior by incorporating activity into the weekday schedule and practicing good nutrition can improve fitness,” said Samitt. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with ACSM on an initiative that is providing actionable data for communities to create a culture of healthy lifestyles.”

At the community level, the AFI data report has been used as an assessment and evaluation tool to educate community leaders on the importance of key indicators of physical activity. Leaders can then focus on policy, systems and environmental change (PSE) strategies that are evidence-based and create sustainability for the community.

Have Great Relationships In The Year 2015

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Thank you to PRWeb for supplying this article by Dr. Joanne Wendt. What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments section below…..

familywalkAs a clinical psychologist, Joanne J. Wendt knows that many people are struggling with romantic and interpersonal relationships. She recently made news by launching her list of the top things women do to sabotage their relationships with men and now she is turning the tables by giving advice to men about their sabotaging behaviors as well.

Clinical psychologist Joanne J. Wendt educates men and women on ways to improve their interactions and build better relationships with each other. In anticipation of New Year’s resolutions regarding relationships, she began by releasing new recommendations regarding women. But now she is targeting men who may be unknowingly sabotaging their relationships as well.

Dr. Wendt approaches the topic by saying that knowing what to say and how to say it can have a profound effect on the quality of one’s relationship. She also believes that many of the most harmful behaviors are done unintentionally. “One of the worst things a man can do is say or do things that make a woman feel alone in the relationship by not giving her the kind of support and attention she needs,” says Dr. Wendt.

Dr. Wendt says that although this is usually done unintentionally, the effects can be devastating to the viability of maintaining a partner’s love and affection. For example, sometimes men fail to share in the burden of housework. Women not only need to know that they are appreciated, they also need to know that they are not alone in doing all that needs to be done.

“Do you know your partner’s dreams?” Dr. Wendt says many men do not. Or even if they do, they may not fully honor their partner’s aspirations. “When a man is in a relationship with a woman, it is important for him to listen to her talk about what she ultimately wants from her life. It is also important to listen to her explain how she hopes to achieve her goals,” says Dr. Wendt. In not doing this, Dr. Wendt says men have the power to make their romantic partners deeply unhappy.

Breaking a woman’s trust is another way to sabotage a relationship, according to Dr. Wendt, especially since trust is critical for women to feel safe to express themselves to their partners. Angry responses or critical voice tones from men toward women tend to make them feel afraid of sharing their feelings. Therefore, men need to be mindful of making sure they are a “soft pillow to fall on.” But once trust is compromised or even threatened, women may feel alone in the relationship and it will take time and work to regain it.

In many families, men work long hours to provide safety and security for their families. But, unfortunately, the lack of time for connecting may inadvertently make some wives feel abandoned and alone in the relationship. Maintaining a healthy balance between home and work life is essential. Dr. Wendt says other ways of preventing a woman from feeling alone in her relationship involve including her in extracurricular activities, being affectionate and compassionate at all times (not only when wanting to be intimate) and complimenting her in different ways to shows how much she is appreciated.

“Only when men do these things in a consistent and ongoing pattern, will the woman trust that he is truly there for her and not feel alone in the relationship,” says Dr. Wendt. Resources for improving one’s relationship can be found in the “I Recommend” section of Dr. Wendt’s website.

About Joanne J. Wendt, Ph.D.:

Dr. Wendt is a Clinical Psychologist who for 28 years has been helping individuals, couples, and families find peace and harmony in a respectful and caring atmosphere. She specializes in relationship issues, depression, and anxiety. Dr. Wendt’s goal is to help her clients discover the strength within them to achieve their highest possible potential. Her approach to the therapeutic setting is one of optimism and great respect for an individual’s readiness to meet difficult challenges and gain a greater understanding of who he/she aspires to be. To find out more, visit http://drjoannewendt.com.

Keeping Kids Safe In The New Year

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kidsSpectrum Health Announces Top 10 Household Dangers for Children

Spectrum Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is thinking ahead to keep kids safe in the New Year.

Jennifer Hoekstra, Injury Prevention program coordinator with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, has put together a list of the “Top 10” safety concerns that families should consider to keep their children safe.

“These are the most common dangers to children that parents always need to remember – and not just with the start of a new year,” explained Hoekstra. “It’s an important reminder for this time of year, however, because everyone is busier than normal with the holidays, maybe with different routines, visiting friends and family. It’s easy to get lulled into forgetting to check for a safe environment.”

In the favored style of late night television hosts, Hoekstra works her way up the “Top 10” list:

10. TV Tip-Over

Once every three weeks, a child in the United States dies after being hit and hurt by a unsecured television set that tips over. Nearly 13,000 children are injured each year by falling TVs. Parents are urged to strap or bolt all TVs and heavy furniture to the wall to prevent them from tipping and falling.

9. Bicycle Injuries

Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except automobiles. Bicycle injuries jump significantly during the summer; the death rate jumps nearly 45 percent higher than the non-summer monthly average. A helmet is the single most effective safety device for reducing the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death following a bicycle crash.

8. Distracted Pedestrians

In a recent report done by Safe Kids Worldwide, one in five high school students and one in eight middle school students were observed crossing the street distracted. Students were most often texting on a phone (39 percent) or using headphones (39 percent). Distraction while crossing the street is a serious problem that many parents don’t think about.

7. Water Dangers

The risk of drowning increases more in the summer than any other unintentional injury – 89 percent over the rest of the year – because more children are playing in pools and in open bodies of water. Drowning can happen so quickly. It is critical that parents actively supervise young children and those who do not swim well in every body of water.

6. Unsafe Sleep Practices

The results of placing a baby younger than one year in an unsafe sleeping environment can be deadly. Parents are encouraged to remember the “ABC’s” of safe sleep: babies should sleep alone (A) – no blankets, pillows, or other people – on their back (B) and in a crib (C) with a tight fitting sheet.

5. Medication Safety

Every parent knows to keep medicine up and away from children, but kids are still getting into medicine at an alarming rate with 500,000 calls to poison control centers last year alone. Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning. Every year, more than 67,000 children go to an emergency room for medicine poisoning. That’s one child every eight minutes.

4. Button Batteries

Each year in the United States, more than 2,800 kids are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries. That’s one child every three hours. The number of serious injuries or deaths as a result of button batteries has increased ninefold in the last decade. Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. Remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, tealight candles, flashing holiday jewelry and decorations all contain button batteries.

twokidsun3. Protecting Young Athletes

Many coaches and parents don’t understand how much rest young athletes need from sports, how much water kids should drink during sports/play or the signs of a concussion. Sports injuries make up 20 percent of all injury-related emergency department visits for children ages 6-19. Last year, 163,670 children were seen in emergency departments for sports-related concussions – that’s one child every three minutes.

2. Improper Car Seat Use and Installation

Properly used, child safety seats decrease the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. It is very important for parents to take time to read both the instructions for their child’s car seat and for their vehicles in order to use the child’s car seat properly. Other issues surrounding children who are in and around the vehicle are also big risks for kids. Parents are reminded to never leave their children alone in the vehicle and never allow kids to play in the trunk of the car.

And, finally, the top concern for parents:

1. Falls

Unintentional falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children in the United States. In 2010, unintentional falls resulted in nearly 3 million injuries requiring treatment in an emergency room. These injuries resulted from activities such as climbing on furniture, playing near an unsecured window, falling down stairs or playing on playgrounds.

– For more information about the Safe Kids program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, visit www.helendevoschildrens.org/injuryprevention.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 11 hospitals including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 173 ambulatory and service sites; 960 advanced practice providers and employed physicians including members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group and West Michigan Heart physician groups; and Priority Health, a health plan. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer with 20,800 employees. The organization provided $250 million in community benefit during its 2013 fiscal year.

– Submitted by Angela Zito

2014: An Introspective Year – Part 2

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By Elizabeth Summers, Esoteric Numerologist

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

brainExpect further development in the understanding of mental health issues. Depression caused by economic fears may become more of a public issue to be dealt with. Movement away from chemicals to more holistic approaches for medical treatments may become more popular and written about. More emphasis will be given to organic foods, as the Number Seven has a strong instinct for purity of health through foods. This enthusiasm is similar to a Virgo health fetish.

The Number Seven is a code for the intellect, inventiveness and research. Expect advances in technology to surge in 2014 as science, technology and research will become optimum. New appliances, medicines, gadgets and widgets will come to the fore, boggling the mind for sure.

A need to uncover hidden answers will become a joy to many; cold case answers will be discovered by detectives, fossil forms with hidden treasures will be unearthed by archaeologists and anthropologists. Secrets in relationships that have never before been revealed may become unmasked.

A sense of the past becomes a curiosity to Number Seven energies. People will want to enjoy ‘the good ole days’ when there was not as much fear and all were ‘happy days.’ Businesses that focus on nostalgia- antiques, recipes from our childhood and retro fashion may show themselves yet again over 2014.

Discernment will be a key word in 2014, physically, financially and governmentally. More will be revealed as to the ethics (or lack thereof) of our elected officials, and a “push” to remove them will resound in the ethers. There will be a sense of retreat and re-evaluation in people’s lives throughout 2014. It will become blatantly obvious that the truth has not been provided to them by those they have trusted, and the populace will begin to understand that they should no longer give their power away to others. The year of 2014 is about “personal regrouping.” As Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” The introspective year of 2014 is about finding one’s own truth, not ‘the other guy’s,’ in order to be happy, content, and in one’s own power in life.

To move forward in one’s personal life in 2014, we must come from our hearts, not our heads and egos. Number Seven is about trust and acceptance. Stay with heart based approaches. Trust that heart-based choices will guide you where you are to go and be, doing what you need to do in any moment. Know that your soul will take as long as it needs in order to move you forward in blessings and that when you surrender (which is different than giving up), what comes into your life next will be better and for your highest good and your greatest joy.

When we choose fear, whether in our career, relationships or finances, physical ailments may arise. When we choose faith and trust in a Universe that can keep the stars in the sky, surrender to the Divine and let go of control, all will be well, slowly but surely.

– Esoteric Numerologist Elizabeth Summers is adept at combining Numerology, an ancient system of codes based on the Western Pythagorean System, with astrology and the Chaldean/Quabala interpretations of the Tarot to decode an individual’s temperament and personality, their attitude towards life, emotional reactions, best career choice, deepest desires, and the general issue they are meant to deal with in this life. To enjoy a personal reading with Elizabeth, please email: elizabeth@elizabethsummers.com or call 303-702-5420

2014: An Introspective Year – Part 1

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By Elizabeth Summers, Esoteric Numerologist

numbersSeveral prominent themes will move through the filaments of life in 2014. To find the predominant theme for 2014 year, we add 2+0+1+4=7. The Number Seven can be a bit difficult to grapple with, as it is like holding a cloud in one’s hands.

Certain buzz words need to be kept in mind as we travel through this rather unusual energy of 2014. Choice, discernment, silence, spirituality and ethics will show themselves as guideposts to be aware of and put into practice.

From a human perspective, the Number Seven influence branches out in many directions, ranging from a focus on mental health, to the environment and spirituality. This energy ruled by Pisces can bring a strong interest in the occult and the metaphysical. However, it can also attract skeptics who doubt all that is not pragmatic and self-evident.

Spiritual practices will become more mainstream. People will become more discerning in choosing between those preachers and teachers that are not for their highest good and greatest joy. Listening to and trusting one’s hunches will become more imperative in decision making.

The Number Seven is an inner vibration prompting one to silence, philosophical contemplation and analytical thinking, all in a space of reflection, rest, and solitude. The pressures of everyday life will bring forth a desire to get away from it all, and the best place for that will be nature. National parks will become even more popular as Mother Earth’s energy becomes a healing balm in people’s lives.

The Number Seven is an inner vibration prompting one to silence…..

The environmental protection of trees and water will become a more popular issue as people become reacquainted with the calming aspects of nature. This will lead to an increase in businesses like camping gear, mobile homes, nature tours, and river rafting that bring us back to a simpler lifestyle within a natural habitat.

This contemplative and private vibration will cause many to withdraw and spend time in solitary activities often brought on by electronics, thus causing relationships to suffer. One might notice the divorce rate increasing in a Number Seven year as couples find they do not have much in common and withdraw emotionally and sexually, as a consequence. A desire to be alone, not necessarily lonely, can become intense, thus moving the couple apart.

Writing of all kinds will increase, including personal journaling. Because people will not be verbalizing many of their thoughts, journaling will become a more popular form of self-expression.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Esoteric Numerologist Elizabeth Summers is adept at combining Numerology, an ancient system of codes based on the Western Pythagorean System, with astrology and the Chaldean/Quabala interpretations of the Tarot to decode an individual’s temperament and personality, their attitude towards life, emotional reactions, best career choice, deepest desires, and the general issue they are meant to deal with in this life. To enjoy a personal reading with Elizabeth, please email: elizabeth@elizabethsummers.com or call 303-702-5420

Typical Immunization Schedule For The Babies First Year

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babyDuring your baby’s first year, the pediatrician’s office can begin to feel like a second home. It seems that even if your baby is perfectly healthy all the time, you still have to be there quite often for well visits. During these check-ups, parents are often told their babies will be receiving shots. Typically, pediatricians hand the parents some literature on the vaccines scheduled to be given at the beginning of the visit and send a nurse in at the end to administer them. This does not allow much time to go over the paperwork and obtain a good understanding of the shots or the diseases they’re meant to prevent. It also does not allow much room to mentally prepare for the baby’s inoculations and the cries that will surely follow.

In order to feel better prepared and to ensure you are on track with your baby’s shots, here is a typical immunization schedule for your baby’s first year.

* Birth – The first immunization is generally given at the time of birth, and this first shot contains the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis is a serious illness that affects the liver and can be fatal if contracted. This vaccine contains thimerosal, also known as mercury. Your baby will eventually need another dose at one or two months of age.

* Two Months – This well visit usually contains a high number of vaccines being administered. Sometimes, doctors will combine more than one vaccine into one shot in order to reduce the number of injections. At this age, you can expect your child to receive the second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. Additionally, the first dose of the rotavirus vaccine will be administered. Rotavirus is an illness that most people refer to as a stomach flu that causes of severe diarrhea. While not usually fatal, rotavirus is more dangerous to infants and the elderly. Next, the first dose of the Hib to prevent haemophilus influenzae, a disease that typically affects children under the age of five that can cause meningitis, pneumonia and infections of the blood, bones and joints, is given. This injection contains trace amounts of formaldehyde. An initial dose of DTaP for Diphtheria and Tetanus is also administered. Diphtheria is an upper respiratory infection that can be deadly, while tetanus is a bacterial disease that affects the nervous system. This vaccine contains aluminum hydroxide and thimerosal. IPV is given for Polio, a disease that can cause paralysis and even death. This vaccine also contains trace amounts of formaldehyde. Finally, an initial dose of PCV13 for pneumococcal will be given. Pneumococcal is known as the number one preventable cause of death in infants and children under five, according to the World Health Network. This disease can cause pneumonia, infection of the blood (bacteremia/sepsis), middle-ear infection (otitis media) and bacterial meningitis.

* Four Months – At four months, your baby will receive the second doses for all the first dose shots she was given at two months. These include rotavirus, diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP), haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and polio.

* Six Months – Yet a third round of immunizations is given when your baby is six months old. Your child’s doctor will probably also suggest an annual flu shot. If you opt for her to receive the flu vaccine, it is often split into two shots because it is the first time the child is receiving it. You can usually request this shot in the thimerosal-free version, which has much less mercury in it than the regular vaccine. So again, your child will be receiving Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, PCV13 and IPV.

* One Year – When your baby turns a year old, she will be due for the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Var (Varicella or chickenpox), PCV and Hib vaccines. Measles, mumps and rubella were once quite common childhood illnesses, and all three can lead to serious and potentially fatal complications. Chickenpox, also known as varicella, was also very common until fairly recently. While most recovered fully, this disease could occasionally lead to severe skin infections, scars, pneumonia, brain damage or death. The varicella vaccine contains aluminum.

Now that you have a brief overview of what vaccines you can expect to be given to your baby during her first year, you can prepare by doing further research into the vaccine, its ingredients and the disease it protects against. You can also write down any questions you have for your doctor before heading into the appointment. Don’t ever feel bad about asking questions or obtaining second opinions when you visit a medical professional; after all, your child’s health and wellbeing are at stake. Ultimately, your child’s well-being is in your hands, and obtaining objective information on your child’s health is one of the best things you can do as a parent.

Submitted by Kaitlyn Johnson of Newborn Care

Back To School….It’s That Time Of Year Again!

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By Diane Lang

groupkidswbgIt’s always a struggle to get myself and my kids ready for school especially after having the summer off from routine and schedule. Here are some tips to make it a smoother start to the school year.

1. Are their basic needs met – make sure to start their day off right ( and yours) with a great breakfast. Breakfast is so important its helps kids with focus and concentration so they can do well in class. Here are some easy breakfast suggestions:

Cereal with low fat milk and add some fruit. Its easy to throw some blueberries or strawberries in with the cheerios. Check that the cereal is low in sugar and high in fiber.

Multi grain or whole wheat toast with peanut butter

A piece of fruit with peanut butter like an apple or banana

Make a fruit salad on Sunday evening and give them a bowl fro breakfast with yogurt or cottage cheese on the side.

If in a rush look in the fridge for any leftovers with a glass of fruit juice. Its not the norm but its better then NO breakfast!!

2. Stay in contact with your teacher – you can email before school starts to introduce yourself and discuss any needs your child has or concerns you have. Stay in touch through out the year not just at parent-teacher conferences. If you don’t have the email address just go to your school’s website and you can find all the emails. Its a good way to stay involved even if your a working mom.

Involved parent = successful child

3. Sleep – a few weeks before school starts get your kids and yourself back on a sleep schedule. If kids don’t get enough sleep their academic careers will suffer. This includes parents too – we all need around 8 hours of sleep, if we dont get it we will feel fatigues, irritable, cranky and eat unhealthy. So, try to go to bed around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning.

Make sleep and eating a healthy breakfast a top priority

twokidsun4. Physical fitness – this is necessary for all kids. They need to burn off steam during the day. Kids do no get enough physical activity at school so we must do more at home. As adults we tend to live a sedentary life especially if we have a job where we sit all day. So, make physical activity a family event. Set up activities for a few times during the week and weekends. Some ideas: Biking, Hiking, Karate, pumpkin or apple picking, join the local YMCA and take swimming lessons, etc.

5. Homework – set up a homework schedule and make it the same time everyday so they get into the routine. It could be right after school or dinner, whatever works best. Set a place they always work on homework such as the kitchen table or dinning room table. Be available so if they have questions you are there for help.

6. Good Habits – make some great new habits or continue the old ones such as reading before bed, gratitude or prayers at the kitchen table, etc. If you start young ( even as young as pre-school) they will continue these good habits until adulthood and longer

Have a great school year!!

Diane Lang is a therapist, author, and positive psychology educator Diane Lang. Ms. Lang is the author of “Baby Steps: the Path from Motherhood to Career” and “Creating Balance & Finding Happiness.” She has been featured in many publications and shows, including the Daily Record, Family Beautiful Magazine, Health & Beauty NJ, Family and Working Mother Magazine, Good Morning Connecticut, and Fox & Friends. She has counseled patients with different forms of mental illness, physical and emotional abuse, and relationship issues, and is a much-sought-after expert for positive parenting.