Wednesday, February 27, 2013
February 25th marks the start of Eating Concerns Awareness Week. This program is provided to UNH students by the Office of Health Education and Promotion. The program is running Monday, February 25th through Thursday, February 28th. This program is developed for any student who has an eating concern or is having difficulties with their body image. Eating Concerns Awareness week also encourages students to reach out for help if they have a friend or family member coping with an eating disorder. Eating Concerns Awareness Week’s mission is to provide support for these students, to help them acquire love for themselves and to accept their flaws and see them as perfect.
Eating Concerns Awareness Week consists of Inspiration Stations! These are booths that are run by the Eating Concerns Mentors that will be set up for each specific day of the week in the Memorial Union Building. These booths consist of Mirror less Monday, Trash Fat Talk Tuesday, What Inspires You Wednesday and Thankful Thursday. There will also be an online chat with an Eating Concerns Mentor. This chat is set up so students can anonymously talk to an Eating Concerns Mentor about their body image issues. If you are concerned about a family member or friend on campus who needs assistance, the Eating Concerns Mentors urge you to reach out to them via this chat as well. An Eating Concerns Mentor is a UNH student who is dedicated and extensively trained to help their fellow students with any eating concerns they may have about themselves, a friend or family member. They will provide you with information and support on how to get help for yourself or your loved one. This program will also be offering a special lecture called, “A Hunger So Wide & So Deep: Eating Problems and Recovery From a Multicultural Perspective”. This lecture talks about the different array of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive eating. Becky Thompson, an activist will be hosting and will talk about the different anxieties that could affect your body image.
For more information on this program at UNH, visit the Office of Health Education and Promotion’s Eating Concern page. If you are interested in connecting to an Eating Concerns Mentor, fill out this questionnaire and you will be paired up with a mentor within 48-72 hours.
Remember that asking for help is incredibly admirable and requires great strength. You will be an inspiration to others and by asking for help, you are an example to others who may be dealing with the same stresses. You are your own unique individual. You are perfect exactly way you are. Just because someone else may be thin and slender, does not make him or her healthy. It is important to accept your flaws and see them as perfect. They make you, you. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
Monday, February 25, 2013
Returning to school in the spring semester can be quite draining for any student. Going from a cozy house, filled with family and friends to waking up at early hours and trekking across campus in below freezing temperatures can tire even the most active person. To even hold your head up you might buy two or three coffees a day. Before you go and purchase that fourth cup, think twice about what other healthy alternatives are out there to help wake you up! There are many foods available that will give you the same boost as coffee, minus the artificial sweeteners, fatty cream and caffeine! Livestrong provides us with a list of healthy options to lift you up out of that morning slump.
Grab a handful of almonds. Almonds will help boost your blood sugar to wake you up and lift your spirits in the early morning. If almonds aren’t for you, try walnuts; they will help put you in a more positive mood and help sharpen your mind for all the classes your have to face during the day. Have you ever tried an avocado? Hunger can make you feel sleepy and unmotivated. Add one to your sandwich to help ease those hunger pains. The mono-unsaturated fats and oleic acids in avocado slow down the rate in which your stomach empties. Try packing an orange in your backpack to help wake you up during a class, just the smell will heighten your senses and the natural sugars in the fruit will raise your blood sugar to wake you up. Some other foods on the list include blueberries and dark chocolate. The dark chocolate will release endorphins, the same hormones released during exercise. If you are not ready to give up your morning coffee, try adding low fat dairy milk to it. The sugar lactose in it will raise the sugar in your blood as well. You can also get this sugar from yogurt or certain cheeses. These quick fixes are great but it is important to remember to always get a good nights sleep, exercise, do not skip meals, avoid saturated fats and sweets and make sure you are not eating too many carbohydrates during the day without lean protein.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Losing weight, working out consistently, eating healthy foods, spending less money and making sure to floss are all very popular New Year's resolutions. Ever since the calendar struck January every magazine features some new way to help you drop pounds, clothing stores move their workout gear to the front entrance and every other commercial is about some new diet pill that will transform your body. Instead of feeding into these traps and fads that set you up for failure (whether it is with your body goals or your wallet) why not transform yourself the right way.
I'll admit I have bought a magazine or two to check out their articles and I came across a great one from Women's Health and Fitness. They showcased a workout known as HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. In a nutshell, it is a 15-20 minute workout where you give it all you've got for a short period of time (20-60 seconds) and then slow it down for a short period of time (about 2 minutes). It can be done on any equipment like a bike, rowing machine or even outside and is super convenient. The best part about this workout is that you get maximum results in a short amount of time. Short workouts, maximum results, that sounds like a dream to me. If this is something that interests you, Women's Health and Fitness put together a list of tips to help get you started that you should check out here.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Young people have always clarified the morality of our times. This sentiment was echoed throughout this past weekend as the student organization, Get Real! UNH, had the opportunity to attend the Second Annual Real Food Challenge “Breaking Ground” National Summit. The Real Food Challenge is a growing student movement working toward changing institutional purchasing power to create a more just and sustainable food system. I’m sure at this point you are wondering what “real food” equates to. Real food is food that truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities, and the earth. The Real Food Challenge has more in-depth standards for evaluation comprising of four categories: local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane. Get Real! and our peers across the nation are using these categories to evaluate the food served in Dining Halls and work with Dining Administrators to explore different options.
I’m sure you may be wondering how college students could possibly change the food system? Students have the power to make real change through their University’s institutional buying power. Let me provide some perspective: nearly two-thirds of all universities outsource their Dining services (UNH is lucky to be self-operated!). Of this 2/3, 93% are operated by one of the top three service providers: Compass Group, Sodexho, or Aramark. All three of these corporations operate internationally and make billions of dollars of revenue annually. Compass Group makes $20 billion, Sodexho makes $19 billion, and Aramark makes $12 billion. With these numbers in mind, you may be surprised to learn that McDonald’s only generates an annual revenue of $24 billion globally. Most people generalize that McDonald’s purchasing power has immense control of the food system around the world. When observed from this perspective, however, it astonishes that only the top three institutional providers generate over twice as much in revenue. This realization indicates the incredible purchasing power and influence on supply chains that colleges and universities are part of.
The University of New Hampshire is proud to be a self-operated school and a leader in sustainability. We are proud to share our inspiring initiatives with our peers across the nation. Many schools are unable to talk with their Dining Administration, do not have any locally sourced foods, and are completely foreign to the concept of composting food waste to use in University agriculture. We are very proud of our University’s efforts and recognize how well we compare to other schools. The Sustainability Institute has a large presence on campus and works with Dining to assess purchases. Through the Sustainability Academy, UNH has evaluated our Dining purchases and assessed that we have 26% of our food locally sourced within a 250 mile radius. Get Real! and the Real Food Challenge would like to do further analysis beyond what is local to find out where we stand with national standards. It is exciting to have a national standard for institutions to be held to. A standard is meant to be a benchmark of quality. Too many schools and institutions claim to be “going green” or to have their own standard of sustainability. The implication of following one’s own standard is completely contrary to the definition of a standard. UNH is proud to be part of the movement to hold institutions accountable to national standards.
Our generation will bear the brunt of the current food system. Many groups on campus recognize this and are involved with food in some way; SlowFood works to preserve and revitalize food culture, Oxfam works to address poverty and women’s rights in agriculture, the Student Environmental Action Coalition works toward changing environmental policies that are often intertwined with food policy, the Organic Garden Club works to grow real food on campus, the Freedom Café works toward raising awareness of human trafficking through serving quality coffees and teas, the Student Nutrition Association works toward educating peers on healthy food choices, and many students are studying aspects of the food system every day through UNH’s academic programs such as EcoGastronomy, Nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental Conservation, or Resource Economics. Get Real! UNH is all-encompassing of these issues and works to spread awareness of the great complexities and intertwined values of the food system. Our overarching message is that every aspect of society can be connected to the food system.
Join the fight toward a more equitable world and check out one of our meetings on Mondays from 5:30- 6:30pm in MUB 114F. The food movement is here and gaining power every day. As Carlo Petrini, Founder of the SlowFood movement states, “We are the fastest growing peaceful army in the world. The politicians don’t understand yet.”
Monday, February 18, 2013
It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine. Although this statement might be a bit of a stretch, laughter does have several proven health benefits. An article was released by helpguide.org explaining the health benefits of laughter. According to the article Laughter is the Best Medicine, laughing relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins and helps protect the heart. Even at the start of the semester, the obligations that come along with school or work can be stressful. Being stressed or busy can also cause a person to become sick more easily. While finding time to get everything done in a day can feel challenging it’s important to make time for laughter and fun in order to stay happy and healthy.
You might be wondering how you are supposed to find laughter in the midst of all the stress. Each week the MUB screens popular movies at a discounted rate to members of the UNH community. Some of the upcoming films include, “This is 40”, “Wreck It Ralph” and “Silver Linings Playbook”. The movies take place in the MUB Theatre and each is screened on several different days and times. Tickets cost $2 with a valid student ID and $4 without an ID. Take a break from studying, work or anything else that may be increasing your stress and come enjoy some comic relief! Checkout the full MUB Movies screening list for a list of upcoming films and their screening times.
Friday, February 15, 2013
On Tuesday, the 22nd I went to the Soho NHS Walk-In Clinic of London and was able to experience the difference between the US healthcare and that of London first-hand. Since my arrival in London I have had this cold that I just could not kick. It seemed to be getting worse and I feared a sinus infection, so I eventually went to the Soho NHS Walk-in Medical Clinic. First, let me note that Soho is a fantastic part of the city; my favorite part thus far. I like to think of it as a combination of Times Square and the North End of Boston. The clinic I visited was at the end of this narrow side street by a little park called Soho Square.
The clinic was exactly how you would imagine a clinic to look. You walk into a large waiting room of sick people and a line, or “queue” as they call them here in the UK, along the back wall leading up to the reception desk. This clinic is for individuals that have not registered with a General Practitioner (GP) (a Primary Care Physician as we call them,) or are here for “holiday” that is less than 6 months. Before this clinic, I visited the clinic that I am supposed to go to just outside of the Regent’s College campus. I am supposed to register with a GP there and complete paperwork before-hand so I can make an appointment. I had not done this ahead of time so I was forced to go to this clinic in Soho.
All residents of England receive healthcare coverage from the National Health Service (NHS). This service is run by two divisions of Parliament, the Secretary of State for Health and the Department of Health. The NHS covers preventative services including physician visits, screenings, immunizations, vaccinations, and inpatient and outpatient care. It also covers inpatient and outpatient drugs, some dental care, some eye care, palliative care, rehabilitation, some long-term care and mental health care including most care for those with learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are not taken lightly here since the Equality Act of 2010. Even at Regent’s College the disability services are much more involved than at UNH. The paperwork for UNH’s disability services is quite invasive which is to be expected, but here at Regent’s there are just a couple papers that need to be filled out. Plus there are specialists on campus that hold tutoring sessions to help individuals with dyslexia for example. They are very accommodating.
Some things are not covered by the NHS. Outpatient prescription drugs cost 7.65 pounds which is what I ended up paying for the amoxicillin that the doctor ended up giving me. Dentistry costs 209 pounds per course of treatment. Individuals such as myself, who are not covered by the NHS obviously do not have these services available to them, however emergency services and some infectious disease treatments are free. Wealthier people can opt out of the NHS coverage and get private healthcare usually from their employers. Only about eleven percent of the UK opts out and is covered privately. This private insurance is not regulated by divisions of parliament like the NHS is.
Financially the system is more cost-effective than the US healthcare system. In 2010 England spent 9.6% of their GDP on healthcare while the US spent a whopping 15.2% in the year prior. Today the US spends closer to 18% of our GDP on healthcare. The English NHS receives 76% of their funding from general taxation, 18% from payroll taxes and some from copayments and privately insured patients.
From a patient’s point of view, not a tax payer’s point of view, I thought the system was great! You wait in a short line to speak to the receptionist who takes down your information and sets you up to speak with what they call a triage nurse. These nurses are there to speak with you to determine what the next step should be. I assume this is a type of gatekeeper to be sure that you indeed should speak with a doctor as to not waste the doctor’s time and tax payer’s money. After they decide the best course of action you wait in the waiting room for a short while and the doctor calls you in. From here no time is wasted. The doctor immediately asked me what my symptoms were. She determined right away that I had a bacterial infection in my sinuses. She then explained that she would give me an antibiotic, amoxicillin, to treat the infection. In America when I went in for a cough and the physician offered to give me an antibiotic which is ridiculous because the common cold is caused by a virus therefore an antibiotic would be completely useless. This is a perfect example of how doctors in America just want to give you a pill and send you on your way, even if it doesn’t help. This is not the case in England. Also, in England the doctor physically gives you the medication. You do not need to go to a pharmacy to pick it up which is nice. She also explained what medications and foods I should be cautious of when taking this antibiotic, (another thing American doctors are not very good at doing). She then gave me some home remedies of how to limit my coughing so I would get better. One time my doctor in America prescribed me steroids for a cough I’d had, and after taking them I still had the cough. She never mentioned anything that the English doctor had mentioned. Upon noticing how thorough and helpful she was I asked her if she and most of her colleagues treated their patients this way. She affirmed that many but not all doctors share the same idea that “patients are not like potatoes” they are all different and require attention. She told me that she would rather have someone else in the waiting room wait an extra five minutes than have me come back in a week still feeling lousy.
Visiting this clinic was one of the most interesting things I have done thus far. I learned a lot, not only about their healthcare but about the healthcare of the United States as well. If you would like to learn more about England’s National Health Service, this website is exceedingly helpful. Nothing compares to first-hand experience though!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
As I was sitting in my apartment, cooped up during the crazy snowstorm we had this weekend here in Durham and I started thinking about how I can get a workout without having to trek across campus to the gym. I also did not have the tools to ski or snowshoe, so how could I exercise at all? Weightwatchers came up with an awesome workout called “The Snow-Day Workout” that anybody, of all ages can do, and the great part of this is that you will have no idea you are working out at all!
Playing in the snow works every part of your body! Not only is it fun, but you are also burning a ton of calories! The difference between working out in the summer and working out in the winter, is in the summer, your body does not have to work hard to keep your body warm because it is already warm. In the winter, your body has to work much harder to keep your body temperature up, so your body will expend a lot of calories to do this. The exercise physiologist at Weightwatchers, Bill McArdle says that the amount of calories you expend during the winter increases by about 60%! The calories burned triples if the snow is still powdery and not packed down! “The Snow-Day Workout” consists of different exercises such as, military march, plank walk, snow shuffle, frozen lawn lunges, snow ball target practice, feet drag, and angel abs.
Being at the gym, or running on your own can get boring and dull. When you are outside in the snow, making snowmen, climbing up hills to sled, and making snow angels, you are surrounded by the ones you love; friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, family. It will never get old. You will lose track of time and forget how long you were actually outside playing! Check out “The Snow-Day Workout” on Weightwatchers to learn details on how to complete the full workout and how to stay safe while doing so in the cold weather! After doing this workout, go inside and reward yourself with a cup of cocoa!
Monday, February 11, 2013
The cost of healthcare is a huge issue on the national stage as the United States tries to come to terms with its overwhelming state of national debt. Concern is growing especially among young people who will be given the task of dealing with the mounting debt. The nation’s debt comes from many sources, but healthcare is a big contributor. Healthcare costs exceed nearly 20% of U.S. GDP; a staggering estimated $2 trillion annually. The US Council on Foreign Relations reported in 2012 that the US spends the greatest percentage of GDP on health care than any other developed nation. One may expect such high costs to be responsible for a successful health care system and high rates of good health. Unfortunately, this is not the truth. So why is our country spending so much and not yielding top results? It makes sense to look to other countries to discover how their health systems work.
I had the opportunity to study abroad last semester in Italy with the UNH EcoGastronomy program. The World Health Organization has ranked Italy’s healthcare system second best in the world, after France— so what is Italy doing right? Italy operates a government sponsored healthcare system, where all citizens are granted equal access to healthcare. The Ministry of Health’s official website states, “The Italian Republic safeguards health as a fundamental right of the individual and as a collective interest, and guarantees free medical care to the indigent.” With a national health care card, citizens are able to visit a doctor without paying any fees. Granted, the funding comes from higher taxes among the populace compared to the average U.S. citizen.
One of the core-founding principals of Italy’s health care is human dignity. This alone may exemplify a key difference from Italian society to ours; Italians are very proud of their culture and value their community. I noticed a huge sense of pride and honor among Italian citizens, to themselves and to their fellow citizens. As I am back in the U.S., I question how our nation’s values compare. The U.S. does not have a comprehensive national health care system, nor do we have any legislation in place that defines a citizen’s right to healthcare. Barack Obama told Tom Brokaw that he thought health care should be a right for all Americans in a 2008 presidential debate. A recent article by Micah Uetricht in The Nation, highlights the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer conference, where activists gathered to discuss health care reform. Dudzic stated, “In the US, health care is not a right, it’s a business—the biggest, most profitable business in the history of capitalism.” Is our nation too concentrated on capitalism to address the core issue of health and well being for all citizens, regardless of their ability to pay?
Friday, February 8, 2013
Roses are red, violets are blue, Valentine's Day is coming, in only a few! Excuse my lame attempt at a poem, but whether you like it or not Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Some people are excited to take their significant others out for a special date and others are sitting in their room stewing over how this is the world's stupidest holiday. Whether you are pro-Valentine's Day or completely against it, there is no denying that it takes a toll on your mental health in some way.
In an article written by Healthews Daily, the mental tolls of being single vs. in a relationship are weighed. A study done by Florida State University showed that people in committed relationships have significantly fewer mental health problems than those that are single. People who are single have more issues with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, suicidal behavior, etc. Now, I am not saying that you have to go find yourself a boyfriend or girlfriend right this second in order to be mentally sane, but if you're one of those people who shies away at the thought of relationships, maybe you should give it a try. If not, at least there is a ton of chocolate around that has known benefits to your mental health!
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
UNH Health Services
Do you want to connect with other UNH students and help discover your inner self? UNH created the empowering Be Fierce and Fabulous Women’s Group in 2007, and since then has successfully helped encourage and inspire over 100 individuals. College is a big transition in life, and can cause many mixed emotions for students. This motivational group serves the purpose of improving the confidence of young women and leads them on their way toward living a fulfilling life. Group participants will have the chance for self reflection while connecting with their fellow students in a safe and private environment. This is a great opportunity to make new friends that could last a lifetime! Learning to love, appreciate, and have compassion for the person you are and all you are capable of is a lesson we can all aspire to. Studies from the Mayo Clinic reveal that having a positive outlook on life and being optimistic is a key part of your overall health!
The group facilitators for Be Fierce and Fabulous will be Dawn D. Zitney and Kathleen Grace Bishop. They are both passionate about encouraging women to discover their personal power, and want to help women at UNH feel inspired. The group for this semester will start on February 8th and will run for nine weeks. You can find all of the details about this group on the Health Services website. The program is FREE to all undergraduate students, but space is limited and time is running out so make sure to hurry and reserve your seat now!
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