1. Walker, Cathy

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Friendship Factor for Health

Part of the prescription for staying healthy includes making and keeping healthy friendships. Studies indicate that loneliness and isolation may increase the risk for physical and mental health problems.


How can you recognize a good friend? Healthy friendships allow others to feel good about themselves, permit differences of opinions, and include trust, listening, sharing, and respecting confidentiality. Healthy friendships also allow you to feel at ease.


Nurture old friendships and be sure to create some new ones too. It's good for your health.-Notables, Fall, 2008, Dean Health Plan.


Birth Certificates Go Digital

Some of Tampa's largest hospitals are modernizing a first milestone in a baby's life: getting a birth certificate. Hospitals are using a portable computer system to generate a birth certificate in the mother's hospital room, greatly reducing the bureaucratic process. The day after a birth, hospital staff wheel a special computer to the new mom's room and enter the baby's name, along with key information. Parents preview the information on screen - showing exactly how the birth certificate will look, thus helping prevent errors such as a misspelled name. Moms sign the form on a digital touchpad. The system can also automatically generate a Social Security number, a key piece of information for parents adding new children to health insurance plans. In minutes, parents can pick up the birth certificate at a special printer in the hospital building.-


It's Elementary

Pupils at schools in Bloomfield, New Jersey, are excited "when the nurses come." The "nurses" are students from the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing in Montclair, New Jersey. As part of their pediatric rotation, the nursing students are assigned to a fourth-, fifth-, or sixth-grade class to teach a health aspect of the musculoskeletal, respiratory, or central nervous system.


Nursing students tailor their knowledge and use hands-on learning to make their presentations interesting and age-appropriate for the 9 to 11-year-old children. One student taught about the poisons produced from a lit cigarette by creating a large model cigarette that opened to reveal the harmful substances found in cigarettes. She constructed mini-samples of harmful substances using modeling clay. Examples of poison generated by a lit cigarette included a bottle of nail polish to demonstrate acetone; a can of barbecue lighter fluid to show the poison hexamine; and a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner to illustrate ammonia. When nursing students ask the class, "How would you like to inhale toilet bowl cleaner?" the class erupts into giggles. The children in the community are taught health promotion in a creative, invaluable, and memorable way, and the Mountainside nursing students benefit by teaching others in the community. And who knows how many of the children might begin considering a career in nursing!! - Accessed 10/28/2008.


Move for Health

Just keep moving. The Federal Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense activity per week. Guidelines include age specific recommendations. Sustained aerobic activities are the foundation, but muscle-building and flexibility-enhancing activities are also important.


Don't have 5 days a week to exercise? Work out 3 days instead, but pick up the pace. Try a Wednesday-Saturday-Sunday routine. This approach takes only one of your weekdays, but doesn't allow more than 2 days off at a time. Have even less time? Exercise 30 minutes 3 times a week at higher intensity using interval training. Here's how: After a 5 minute warm-up (on a treadmill, stationary bike, pool, or walking or jogging around a park), pick up the pace for 5 minutes, then go easier for 3 minutes. Repeat pattern for the remainder of the 30 minutes. End with an easy-effort, 3-4 minute cool-down. On an intensity scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the easiest effort, and 10 being all-out), your hardest intervals should be 7 to 8, and recoveries 5 to 6.


The same is true with strength training. Work the major muscle groups during at least 2 sessions a week. For details on the program, visit Look for the Basic Bodyweight Strength Plan under "Keep It Simple."


Older adults should do exercises to maintain or improve balance and to help avoid falls. Walk backward or on your toes to increase balance. In her forthcoming book, "Fitness After 40" (Amacom), Dr. Vonda Wright recommends a body movement called "the stork." Stand with your feet slightly apart. Raise one knee, while keeping your arms to the sides or your hands on your hips. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat. If you have trouble at first, place your fingertips on a hard surface until you can balance. - Accessed 10/28/2008.


Religious Spirit

"The heart characterized by a religious spirit is vulnerable to toxic faith. Satan loves to hide in religion, one of his most insidious inventions. The religious spirit robs true faith of it credibility and misrepresents Christ and, his Gospel of grace. If you're 'religious,' get over or it and become a true disciple in relationship with Jesus Christ." James 1:26-27 states, If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."- From 365 Days of Total Heart Health, p. 241, Ed and JoBeth Young, et al., 2005.