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Picky eaters are the bane of many parents’ existences. Chicken fingers, French fries, and pizza are all well and good, but healthy eating habits are important to develop. When humans are young, our bodies can handle unhealthy foods, but for older humans, healthy eating is immeasurably important. Yet, healthy eating doesn’t materialize out of nowhere, it is a habit that must be developed. So how do parents walk the line of letting kids be kids and developing healthy eating habits? Read on to learn some tips for how to encourage kids to eat healthy without having to force them.
Everyone has seen the sitcom mom scolding “Eat your vegetables!” Turns out, forcing kids to eat a certain way is not how to develop healthy eating habits. Avoid commenting on what kids are eating or the quantity that they are eating. This can have two negative consequences. First, commanding kids may work for a little bit, but eventually they will push back. Children will eventually become obstinate and refuse to eat anything healthy as a form of rebellion. Secondly, constant commentary about food can lead to mental complexes about weight and eventually an eating disorder.
Provide Balanced Options.
No matter who is doing the cooking in the house, children will pick up balanced eating habits naturally if the meals that are served are balanced. Modern parents are very concerned about sugars and fats. However, humans need those to survive. Unless a child has some sort of dietary issues, they should be allowed to indulge in unhealthy foods every once in a while.
Experts suggest cooking one meal for the family and serving it “family style”. This allows kids to pick what they want to eat and how much of each food they want. Parents or other adults should eat a balanced plate. Anybody that has children knows that they learn by mimicking adults. Even if broccoli looks unappetizing, a kid may try a piece or two if they see adults eating it. This format also allows for sampling. If a picky eater is nervous about a new food, they can give themselves a small serving and try it. If an adult serves them a large portion, it may seem overwhelming and they’ll avoid even trying it.
Get Kids Involved In Their Food
If your family plans meals, let kids have some input. For example, give them two or three options for vegetables and let them choose which one sounds best to them. Another good way to do this is to take children grocery shopping with adults. If a new fruit or vegetable catches their eye, try it out with them.
A great option for involving kids is to have them help cook dinner, and allow them to experiment in the kitchen. If children help cook a dinner, they are much more likely to eat it because they are proud of what they made. Experimenting may want to be reserved for their own lunches or snacks. However, letting a kid play with food will lead to more interest and they may find new flavors to love.
Fortunately, discussions of health and wellness nowadays nearly always includes mental health. That’s for good reason. Mental health and physical health have been linked time and time again. Mental health is a spectrum with a wide variety of possibilities on both the good and bad side. No two mental illnesses look the same, even when two people have the same diagnosis. Join us as we break down the most common symptoms of mental illness.
A few notes before we start. This is by no means a comprehensive list of symptoms; every form of mental illness has different warning signs. If you or someone you love needs assistance, please reach out to a mental health care professional. There is a comprehensive list of helplines, crisis lines, online chats, and text messaging for a variety of issues here. All of these resources are free and most are operational 24/7.
It is normal for humans to experience sadness occasionally. However, the sadness of mental illness is unmistakably different. It is a deep sadness that is almost like a cloud over people who are affected. From the outside, the sadness may seem illogical or excessive. Inside, the person is suffering greatly, and the melancholy feels inescapable.
Extreme Mood Swings.
Mental illness often pushes emotions to their extreme. Those who are suffering either experience emotion at its extremes or have a complete absence of emotion. When dealing with the extremes, the mind often switches rapidly through despair, anger, and euphoria.
Aversion To Socializing
Oftentimes, people with mental illness struggle to make it through the day while completing the bare minimum required of them. The sufferer is left with no social energy at the end of the day. This mental and emotional exhaustion means that they do not want to spend much time with other people. They will often disconnect from people entirely. If they do socialize, it is irregularly and often for short periods of time.
Changes In Schedule
Changes in schedule include changes in appetite, sleeping habits, and sex drive. For appetite, the mental illness returns again to extreme. Either the individual loses all of their appetite, or they turn to binge eating. The same happens with sleep schedules. Insomnia is a common symptom of many mental illnesses, as is sleeping all day. Even if the person is getting the proper amount of sleep, it may be on the wrong schedule.
Abusing drugs and alcohol is a fairly common way to cope with mental illness. The process is commonly referred to self-medicating. Substance abuse allows the individual to escape their problems, or at least distract themselves from them.
In psychology, there is a term for the physical side effects of a mental illness; psychosomatic symptoms. There is not one specific type of psychosomatic issue. It often presents as headaches, stomachaches or other vague pains. Some people may use the terms “run down” or “sore
Last week, we explored the most common health concerns for women. Men have their own unique set of health challenges that originate from perceived masculinity. People learn very early that women outlive men. However, as the years pass, the time span that women outlive men by is ever increasing. It shifted from about a one-year gap in the 1920s to over five years today. When the most common causes of death are considered, men’s’ health concerns are thrown in a harsh light. Of the top ten rates of death in the United States, men die at higher rates for all of them.
Men face a unique problem when it comes to health issues. After being told to “man up” all their lives, men have a tendency to try and “tough it out”. As a result, they ignore symptoms, or simply wait for them to go away. Due to this, men tend to be underdiagnosed and do not receive life saving treatment that is readily available. Some men go years, or even decades without seeing a physician or other medical professional.
Society teaches men to hide their emotions and limit any positive emotional release. This leads to much higher rates of mental illness, particularly depression. It is probably one of the main reasons that males die earlier than females. It also leads to boys dropping out of school at a higher rate than girls, and when they stay in school, they have more difficulty staying organized and completing work. The most troubling statistic, however, is that men are four times more likely to fall victim to suicide than women. Depression presents in many different ways for men.
- Anger and aggression issues cause them to lash out at the people closest to them.
- Substance abuse and alcoholism develop as a way to suppress or escape difficult emotions.
- Increased risk-taking behavior, commonly referred to as a “midlife crisis”. Usually stems from their life feeling empty or meaningless.
Prostate cancer, much like breast cancer in women, is the most common cancer found in males. It is the second deadliest cancer, placing only behind lung cancer (which is the deadliest type of cancer for men and women). Prostate cancer can be extremely dangerous because it is a silent killer. Patients typically do not show signs of prostate cancer until it has spread through a significant portion of the body. This is why regular prostate exams are so important for men, particularly as they get older. Prostate cancer is more usual in older males, but the younger a man is, the more aggressive the tumor is.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to diagnose prostate cancer. One of the reasons is the exam to check the prostate is considered embarrassing for most men. Additionally, the symptoms of prostate cancer may be considered humiliating or “unmanly”.
- Blood in urine or seminal fluid
- Issues with urination; needing to go frequently or struggling to empty the bladder entirely.
- Problems performing sexually, primarily erectile dysfunction.
Women typically are pretty good about going to the doctor when they are supposed to. The snag happens when it comes to communication. Women have more of a tendency to be shy about what they are actually experiencing. As a result, they downplay symptoms or don’t communicate a full family history with their doctor. It is important that women find a doctor that they feel comfortable communicating with. The more comfortable a patient is with their health care provider, the easier it is to talk about uncomfortable subjects.
On the flip side, women, more often than men, experience issues with medical professionals not believing them, or dismissing symptoms. This is a dangerous trend that puts women at risk. Medical personnel must work to confront unconscious bias that they have against non-male patients. However, as a patient, if you feel your physician is not taking you seriously, you have the right to go get a second or third opinion.
Men and women experience different health problems at different rates. In this article, we explore the top health concerns for women. Read on to learn what issues to look out for, and what may help prevent these all too common problems.
Heart disease is the leading killer in America, for both men and women. More men than women die of heart disease, but females are severely under-diagnosed. It all circles back to the lack of communication with medical professionals. Women experience the symptoms of heart disease and just assume that it is part of the aging process. Symptoms include:
- A shortness of breath that may arrive even from simply standing up.
- Movement, even around the house, results in exhaustion.
- Physical activity, even basic activity, such as walking up a flight of stairs requires immense exertion.
- Difficulty moving around, limited mobility.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. Modern medicine pushes hard for women to get regular screenings, and there are more treatments than ever. However, for some women, especially older adults, this is actually a bad thing. The anxiety or fear of something being found during a screening leads many women to put off the screening for as long as possible. There are a few risk factors that the American Cancer Society has listed.
- Increase in age, particularly hitting menopause.
- Genetics and family history with cancer, specifically breast cancer.
- Race may play a role. White people have a higher risk of breast cancer than black people.
- Early menstruation or late menopause. This is linked to abnormal hormones, which is probably the true underlying cause.
Osteoporosis is the degeneration of bone tissue, which leads to frail and brittle bones. It can be quite a painful condition, and lead to a hunched stature. Osteoporosis normally develops later in life. A good way to prevent osteoporosis is by making sure that you ingest enough calcium when you are young. Additionally, physical activity can help strengthen the body. While genetics play a role, conditions such an anorexia or malnutrition increase risk of osteoporosis.
Recently there has been a rash of deaths that medical professionals have linked to e-cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are new enough that physicians cannot be certain of the long-term ramifications of using them. However, the outlook is currently rather negative. Read on to learn all about e-cigarettes, as well as how medical personnel are handling the current endemic.
Electronic cigarettes go by many names: e-cigarettes, vapes, vape pens, or e-hookahs. Currently, there are almost 500 electronic cigarette companies registered in the United States. Different brands vary widely in appearance. Some can look like a traditional cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Certain companies design their product to look more like an everyday object. The widely known brand JUUL famously designs vape pens that look like a USB drive.
E-cigarettes have three main components on the inside of the device. The vape pen’s innards break down to reveal a heat source – known as an atomizer – and a power source – typically a battery. E-cigarette companies focus on the inner cartridge, also known as a flavor pod or reservoir. These cartridges hold the nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals that smokers actually ingest. When a user pulls a hit from the mouthpiece of the vape, the battery powers up the heating device. The heat source vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge and this vapor is inhaled by the user.
Customers are intended to use vape pens for nicotine products. However, some people use e-cigarettes that accommodate, or can be modified to accommodate marijuana. Due to vape pens’ popularity with young adults, there are concerns about how smoking nicotine or marijuana products impacts them.
Within the last few months there have been multiple cases of mysterious respiratory diseases in teenagers across the country. When the first case came in, doctors and other medical professionals were at a loss as to what was happening. As medical professionals examine more cases, they have linked the mysterious illness to vaping.
The illness begins with vomiting, fever, and fatigue. These symptoms build over days until the patient is miserable and needs assistance constantly. Oftentimes, the catalyst for a hospital trip is the trademark symptom of this illness – shortness of breath. Shortness of breath on its own is cause for concern – particularly in otherwise healthy teenagers and young adults. Once you look at the other symptoms, and the chest x-rays of the afflicted, it’s evident that something is wrong.
Purportedly, electronic cigarette companies design products for people already hooked on cigarettes. So why do they seem to appeal to teenagers?
The main concern of watchdog groups and parents across the country is how broadly e-cigarettes appeal to young people. Some states have considered banning vape pens altogether. However, states eliminating e-cigarettes altogether is not the best option. Electronic cigarettes do have the potential to help people who already smoke. Cigarettes contain tobacco, tar, and many carcinogenic products that vape pens do not.
The real goal is not to stop vaping entirely, rather, to stop teenagers from picking up smoking from vape pens. The general agreement is that the flavoring in the cartridges is what’s appealing to young people. To this end, both the federal government and many state governments (including Florida) are considering legislation that bans the flavored pods or liquids.
Measles was an illness that the United States believed that it had largely eradicated. With the rise of the anti-vaccination movement, there have been repeated outbreaks against multiple states. This week, we explore the reemergence of measles and why some adults should consider re-vaccinating.
What Is Measles?
Measles is a viral disease that most heavily impacts children. It is an air-borne pathogen that spreads when an infected person sneezes and/or coughs. The first symptoms are cold-like. The patient usually starts coughing, followed by a runny nose, red eyes, and fevers. The trademark symptom for measles however, is a rash of tiny red spots that starts on the head and eventually covers the rest of the body.
Without vaccines, measles spreads rapidly and impacted as many as 4 million people a year, with about 50,000 hospitalized. Every year, 400 to 500 people died from measles. As with many illnesses, the deaths were disproportionately children and older adults.
The Measles Vaccine
For the measles vaccines, there are two options. The most common choice is the MMR vaccine, which protects people against measles, mumps, and rubella. There is a second vaccine called the MMRV, which adds in protection against the flu. However, this vaccine is only for children from 1 year old to 12 years old.
The CDC recommends that kids get two doses of the vaccine to increase the effectiveness. Children get their first dose between 12 and 15, and the second one from 4 to 6 years.
The measles vaccine was introduced in the 1960s. It reduced the number of measles cases in the United States by 99%. Unfortunately, while the vaccine is widespread in the United States, that is not the case in every country. With the growing movement against vaccination, the low rate of vaccination in other countries is impacting Americans.
Measles was nearly eradicated in the United States, however, in recent years, there has been a growing movement against vaccination. When unvaccinated people travel, it opens them up to infection. If an unvaccinated American citizen gets measles while they’re abroad, they can cause an outbreak when they’re back stateside.
The original vaccine was introduced in 1963. In 1967, the form of the vaccine that is still used today became the standard. The modern vaccine is highly effective. However, there was a version of the vaccine in use from 1963 to 1967 that essentially does nothing against measles.
Due to this, there are at-risk adults who should discuss revaccination with their physician. This group includes those vaccinated with the ineffective shot, and those unsure of which vaccine they received 1963 to 1967. Adults who have never been vaccinated are also at risk. The CDC suggests that these individuals receive at least one dose of the shot.
Protecting yourself against measles is especially important for adults who live near outbreak centers. Other at-risk areas include cities that are big port cities, or with international airports.
Ultimately, your best option is to discuss vaccination or revaccination with your physician. They can conduct blood tests to see what your immunity level is. Physicians will also be more knowledgeable about the risk of outbreaks.