Fall allergies are nothing to sneeze at

sneezingHere are some simple and practical allergy tips, reported by FOX News, to help you:

• Wear oversized sunglasses to block airborne pollens and molds from entering your eyes and lids.

• Wear a hat. Go for a wide-brimmed one and avoid hair gels that turn your ‘do into a pollen magnet.

• Pollen levels are highest on windy, dry and sunny days. Check your local weather reports to identify high allergy days.

• Get your seasonal allergies confirmed. Simple in-office allergy tests can pinpoint your problem.

• Start early with allergy treatment. Many medications will work better (nasal antihistamines/steroids, oral antihistamines and eye drops) if you start them even before symptoms begin.

• Consider allergy shots and/or sublingual allergy treatment. These are the only immune-based therapy that will help reduce allergy symptoms. The goal is to provide excellent long-term relief, in a large majority of allergy sufferers.

Green Surroundings Linked to Higher Student Test Scores

outdoorsThe District Administration website shared an article by Tom Jacobs  that asked “How well is your child doing academically?” Parents with concerns tend to focus on what’s happening inside the school (Are the teachers good? The class sizes small?), while also monitoring behavior at home (Is homework getting done?).

While both are important, a new study suggests there may be another, less-obvious factor at play: The walk or ride between home and school, and whether it involves immersion in the natural world.

Exposure to nature has long been linked to lower stress levels andmental alertness, but a new, first-of-its-kind study finds it is also associated with higher scores on a standardized test.

Even after controlling for factors such as race and parental income, Massachusetts third-graders with greater “exposure to greenness show better academic performance in both English and math,” reports a research team led by Chih-Da Wu of National Chiayi University in Taiwan. Its study is published in the online journal PLoS One. Continue reading

Friends Can Help You Stay Healthy

healthy_choices(1)A Year Of Being Well recently asked, Isn’t everything more fun with a friend? And the answer is YES! Wellness buddies can help you implement a healthier lifestyle, become more active and encourage you to stick to your routine. Research shows that people may be more successful at losing weight through physical activity when they have buddies or support partners.  The same is true for kids: They tend to eat healthier and be more physically active if their friends are, too. So find someone you enjoy spending time with who has similar goals – a friend, family member, colleague or neighbor – and invite them to partner with you.  Determine the activities, times and locations that work for both of you. Then get moving together! Share ideas. Motivate each other. If you stumble during your journey toward achieving your goals (and you might), don’t fret. Pick each other up. Eating better and being active with a friend is more fun.  So is celebrating success!

2013-2014 Body Mass Index (BMI) Report Released

stepping_on_the_scaleFORWARD’s latest BMI report is now available. For 2013-14, of the 31,060 kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade students included, 29.6% were overweight or obese and 14.2% were obese. While national obesity prevalence in recent years has held steady, DuPage County experienced a 1% decrease in public school BMI percentile prevalence rates in 2012-13, with the 2013-14 rates remaining stable. Comprehensive approaches to preventing childhood obesity, like those being undertaken by FORWARD, are associated with modest declines in obesity rates.

World Food Day

header-gen-email-02Today, the world puts 500 million family farmers in the spotlight in observance of World Food Day 2014. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has recognized family farmers as central to solving global hunger and malnutrition.

According to FAO, family farming includes all family-based agricultural activities. Family farming is a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production, which is managed and operated by a family and is predominantly reliant on family labor.  In addition, FAO reports that based on data from 93 countries, family farmers account for an average of 80 percent of all holdings, and are the main producers of food that is consumed locally.

“The world cannot do without the family farmer,” says Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator for FAO.  “It’s because of the family farmer that we eat a variety of healthy foods every day.  And yet, family farmers still make up the majority of poor and hungry people in the world. We must do more to incentivize, celebrate and exponentially improve the lives of family farmers to ensure all people have access to fresh, healthy food.

October is Chiropractic Health Month: Conservative Care First!

NUHSDuring National Chiropractic Health Month, National University of Health Sciences echoes the American Chiropractic Association’s call for “Conservative Care First.”

Conservative care is where physicians use the safest, most natural and non-invasive treatments first before moving on to more invasive treatment such as surgery or medications.

For example, conservative care for joint pain might include chiropractic manipulation combined with a diet that reduces inflammation. This is considered part of a conservative care approach as opposed to relying exclusively on prescription drugs such as opiates or NSAID pain relievers. In conservative care, such drugs would either be avoided, or prescribed only temporarily or in low doses, until the natural treatments had time to work.

The great news is that conservative care often works to reduce the need for drugs or helps patients avoid surgery altogether.

If conservative care appeals to you, then seeing your chiropractic physician (DC) is a smart option for your family’s health care. Today’s chiropractic physicians are licensed primary care doctors. Even in states where DCs do prescribe drugs or perform minor surgery, they are trained to employ conservative care techniques as the first line of defense for your family’s health needs. And if your case is beyond the scope of chiropractic care, your DC will be able to refer you to the appropriate medical specialist and co-manage your case.

Here are some examples of how conservative care, like what you’ll find from a chiropractic physician, can save money and possibly reduce your need for surgery:

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“Here at National University, we believe in conservative care first,” says Dr. Joseph Stiefel, president of NUHS. “We train our students how to work together with other medical professionals, such as MDs, to reduce a patient’s need for surgery or drugs whenever possible. Many patients are not aware of the many conservative options that may be available to them instead of, or in conjunction with, less conservative treatments.

“When your chiropractic physician determines that prescription drugs or surgery are your best option, they will also recommend natural therapies to make that drug therapy or surgical procedure even more effective so that you can recover more quickly.”

To explore how a conservative care approach can help you or a loved one with your health concerns, make an appointment at one of National University’s Whole Health Centers by calling 1-630-629-9664 or visiting www.nuhs.edu/patient-care.

Great Apps To Check Out

header-gen-email-02Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank, says that picking the best in-season produce with the lowest pesticide levels or purchasing the most sustainable meat can be a challenge for eaters.

Here are 11 apps (but many more great ones are out there!) that can help increase the impact of each farmers market visit for buyers and sellers alike.

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Dirty Dozen. Free. Published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research organization. This app focuses on which types of conventionally raised produce are the lowest in pesticides and which types are the highest. Lists include the Dirty Dozen, like apples, spinach, and grapes, and the Clean Fifteen, like sweet corn, asparagus, and cantaloupe. The app helps decide when finding an organic alternative is especially important. The Dirty Dozen Plus, an expanded app, includes a list of hot peppers and leafy greens.

Farmstand. Free. The app lists more than 8,700 farmers markets around the world and connects shoppers with markets for locally grown food. It supports local communities by supporting linking users to each other by allowing them to take and post pictures of markets and vendors, alert others to great finds, and browse information posted by fellow market-goers. Markets can be sorted by location and opening times.  Continue reading