Healthy UNH Blogger: Madeleine Gould, All Entries

Explorations in Nutrition and Culture

Monday, January 28, 2013
By: Madeleine Gould

Are you a nutrition student who is itching to go abroad, but can’t seem to find a place for it in your busy schedule? This is a problem many nutrition students run into. Class scheduling is rigorous with the amount of classes nutrition majors have to take, and many times, students miss out on studying abroad because they feel like they have limited time.  

However, Explorations in Nutrition and Culture is just what you might be looking for. This study abroad program is short, sweet and to the point. Students leave in June, stay in Italy for 4.5 weeks, and head home at the end of July. The program begins in Venice, travels to the Italian Alps, and the students end up studying at Ascoli Piceno, a school with which UNH has a partnership where students take classes. In Summer 2012, students will be able to take a Mediterranean Diet and Culture class (NUTR 595), Intro to Italian studies (ITAL 425), and an Interdisciplinary Field Seminar in Italian Culture (ITAL 681). These classes can satisfy the Discovery World Culture or foreign culture Gen. Ed. So if you find the romance of beautiful, ancient Italy appealing and want to learn more about its quirky culture and delicious food, check out this program. Information meetings are scheduled, and applications for 2013 are due November 30th. Visit UNH in Italy Study Abroad Program for more information!

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Italy, Madeleine Gould, Nutrition, Study Abroad

Exercise More, Live Longer!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
By: Madeleine Gould

Physical activity’s importance has been drilled into our minds since elementary school. There are so many reasons to fit it into our busy schedules; stress relief and weight management being just a couple of those reasons. However, recently, researchers have found even another motivation for us to engage in regular physical activity.

Research done at the National Cancer Institute found that people who regularly exercise (at least 1.25 hours a week of vigorous physical activity) can lengthen their life expectancy by up to 4.5 years. The researchers said that even more health benefits are attained by exercising for 5 hours each week. The report found that there is a correlation between the amount of time each week spent exercising and the average length of life expectancy gained. So the more you exercise, the longer your life can be. The researchers also found that if one has heart disease or another chronic condition, the association between physical activity and lengthening life expectancy was even better.

In conclusion, it’s safe to say that with its plethora of benefits, physical activity is something we should all try to get enough of.  Check out the article here

Tagged In: cancer, Healthy UNH, life expectancy, Madeleine Gould, Physical Activity

Health Insurance Costs Increasing?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013
By: Madeleine Gould

In these economically harsh times, sometimes the feelings we get when we look ahead to graduation from college and entering the job force border on dread, rather than excitement.  One of the issues that 20-somethings who are just getting on their feet in the career market is the fact that once we hit 25, we can no longer stay on our parents’ health insurance. And things aren’t happening to make this easier for us. In fact, new reports have recently been released, saying that the out of pocket deductibles for health insurance are on the rise. This is more prevalent in the small business market.

According to a New York Times post, deductibles for the average employee who is insured through an employer have almost doubled in the past 6 years. This fact alone is enough to make anyone on the brink of graduation a little bit nervous when considering the future. We can only hope that these costs don’t keep rising, and begin to take a downward dip before our graduating classes are loosed from family insurance plans.

Tagged In: deductibles, health costs, health insurance costs, Healthy UNH, insurance costs, Madeleine Gould, rising costs

Bullying: It doesn’t stop in high school

Friday, December 21, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

Middle and high school are notorious for being difficult. Changing bodies and expectations have been the inspiration for many books, movies and TV shows. These tough times of life have been stereotyped and turned humorous. Bullying in middle school and high school has been considered normal- almost a rite of passage in modern America.

However, in recent decades, the truth about bullying has been pulled forward into our social viewpoints. Bullying is not funny, and it is not okay. It affects everyone involved negatively. Most of this effort has been focused on elementary, middle school and high school bullying. However, what about college?

Bullying in college is a very real issue, though it is not necessarily called bullying. Terms such as hazing, harassment and stalking are used to describe some bullying in campus settings. Cyber bullying is a very prevalent issue recently. However, it doesn’t matter how it is termed- bullying in any setting isn’t okay. In fact, most of these types of harassment are illegal and can lead to police action.

If you feel like you are being bullied, be sure to tell someone you trust- although your parents may not be around, talk to a mentor or professor. They will be able to help you find the best way to deal with the situation. You should never be bullied without taking action- no one deserves such treatment. 

For more information, check out Stop Bullying and other resources about bullying on college campuses.

Tagged In: Bullying, cyber bullying, Healthy UNH, Madeleine Gould, Mental Health

Can Stress Levels Affect Your Health?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

Do people describe you as an over-achiever? Do you strive for perfection? Are your friends amazed by your organizational abilities and timeliness? These traits describe people with “Type A” personalities. People who exhibit type A personalities tend to be very well on top of things, but having this sort of personality actually raises your risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease later in life, as proven by research done a few years ago. 

New research also shows that people with lots of stress in their lives and type A personalities also are at higher risk of stroke- double or even quadruple the risk of someone who is more easygoing.  

It’s not all bad news for us Type A’s, though. Fortunately, as long as there is an outlet for stress such as exercise or meditation, the risk of these harmful events is greatly reduced. So grab those running shoes or your yoga mat and work that stress away. 

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, heart attack, Madeleine Gould, Mental Health, personality traits, Stress, stroke, Type A

Group Exercise for a Fitter You

Monday, December 10, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

It’s tough to stay in shape. As college students, we are committed to our education and clubs, and we want to spare some time for fun too.  Even when we find the spare minutes to fit in some physical activity, it’s incredibly easy to come up with any excuse not to work out. It’s cold, it’s early, it’s raining, my knee hurts… Well, you know. The list goes on. But what if your workout was actually fun, and you were surrounded by your friends the whole time? That’s one reason why group fitness classes are superbly beneficial in helping busy people stay in shape.

Group fitness classes are generally held at gyms and led by well-trained professionals. They’re scheduled conveniently early in the morning, during the day or after dinner. Other benefits of group fitness classes include encouragement from friends, adherence to a routine (classes are generally at the same time each week), and the fact that you’re getting guidance and a well-rounded workout from a fitness professional. There’s no denying the good qualities of working out in a class. Check out all the classes available to you at the Hamel Rec Center  for free as a UNH student. And even if you can’t make it to a group fitness class, exercising with a partner has many of the same benefits to making you more motivated!

Tagged In: encouragement, Fitness, group exercise, Hamel rec center, Healthy UNH, Madeleine Gould, Physical Activity

In Praise of Yogurt

Friday, November 16, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

Yogurt is delicious. You can find it in many different flavors. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It can be used as a lower-calorie substitute for sour cream. It can be used to make smoothies. Yogurt is a versatile, tasty, and also healthful food. Other than its deliciousness and usefulness in different dishes, it exhibits some serious health benefits. Every year, more studies are released on the benefits of yogurt. Let’s examine the nutritional science behind these health benefits.

When you buy yogurt, look for the little words on the label saying it contains “live and active cultures”. Yogurt is a special food made from milk, and can be grouped with alcohol and pickles in that it is fermented. Milk contains a sugar called lactose. When certain bacterial cultures are added to milk, the bacteria will break down the lactose to produce lactic acid. The acid then causes the texture we associate with yogurt. Since these bacteria have been added to produce the yogurt, they can still be in yogurt when we eat it. They travel into our intestines, and aid in the digestion of food- this is what people mean when they talk about “probiotics”. Probiotic yogurts have also been shown in recent years to reduce the incidence of depression in yogurt-eaters. It also is a milk product, so it contains protein to keep you feeling full, calcium for strong bones, and B-vitamins.

If you didn’t already have enough reasons to love yogurt, here are some more. I know I will be frequenting the dairy aisle much more knowing these facts. To learn more about yogurt, check out these articles in Today and WebMD.  

Tagged In: calcium, Healthy UNH, live and active cultures, Madeleine Gould, Nutrition, probiotics, Yogurt

Lower Your Insurance Costs With Diet and Exercise

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

We all are aware that eating right and exercising regularly contribute to a healthier body and mind. But did you know that the better you eat and the more you exercise, the lower health care costs may become?  If you eat healthier and exercise more, you will be a healthier individual, and therefore needing to use medical services less.

                1. Lower premiums.

If you are healthier, you get sick and hurt less often. This means you go to the hospital/doctor/pharmacy less often and use insurance money less. You don’t need to see your doctor if, due to your healthy diet and strengthened immune system, you’re not sick. And since you’re not sick, you don’t need a prescription for antibiotics. If you’re a low-liability customer who takes care of him or herself, an insurance company may lower your premium for good behavior and less investment.  

                2. Rewards.

Some insurance companies are so desperate for you to practice healthy habits that they will actually pay for you to do healthy things. The new trend is for insurance companies to reimburse for gym memberships. Their reasoning is that the more you work out, the stronger you’ll be. That way, when you fall down, instead of snapping your humerus, your strong muscles will support you, and suddenly a mere $300 a year for a gym membership is less money out of their pockets than $3,000 in one month for medical treatment of a broken arm.

As if you didn’t have enough incentive to be healthy already. So go, be healthy, and pay less insurance dollars. Learn more about lowering health costs by staying healthy here

Tagged In: exercises, health costs, Healthy UNH, Insurance, lower premiums, Madeleine Gould

Know Your Food with EcoGastronomy

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

EcoGastronomy is a word coined by the University of New Hampshire itself, just like EcoGastronomy is a program available only at UNH. Break the word “EcoGastronomy” down, and it basically means environmental eating. But what is that? There are a thousand ways to interpret it, and most of them describe the EcoGastronomy dual major.

Food is an integral part of our life- we kind of need it. Why do people interact with their food the way they do?  That’s one of the focuses of EcoG. If the food we eat can cause pleasure or disgust, make us healthy or introduce toxins into our bodies, why do some of us eat so mindlessly? Our culture no longer allows us to easily know where our food is coming from. What can we do to change this? EcoGastronomy explores these questions and many more through active classroom time, assigned reading and exploration. The program requires participation in the student’s choice of a fantastic, food-focused study abroad, semester in Italy or France. As a dual major, EcoG allows students from almost any major to add a new field of interest into their lives and resumes and further their opportunities after graduation. To learn more about the program, follow the link to EcoG’s website and attend an information session:  http://www.unh.edu/ecogastronomy/

Tagged In: EcoGastronomy, environmental eating, Healthy UNH, Madeleine Gould, Nutrition

Brain Health Matters Too!

Friday, October 5, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

October 7th through 13th, 2012 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, when mental health advocates spread awareness about their causes. This is a great time for a reminder to think about our own mental health, and that of those around us.

College is a very important experience in our lives.  Later in life, some people refer to their college years as holding some of the best memories of their lives. However, this great time in our lives also can create a lot of stress. Social stress such as dating and breaking up and making new friends, is a huge factor. So is the fact that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it’s really difficult to finish the large amount of work expected out of us. There are many exams, papers, clubs to join, meetings to attend, and deadlines to meet. No matter our background or major, we encounter stress during college. And for everyone, stress is a hard barrier to face down. Sometimes our minds and bodies simply can’t handle the stress. At this point, mental health can become an issue. There are hundreds of mental health issues in the spectrum. Anything from depression to schizophrenia can be a problem for any single person. While having issues like this can seem scary and overwhelming, always know that there is help nearby. UNH Health Services has doctors and psychologists at the ready to talk to students and assist them with issues in their lives. It is always important to try and get help as soon as a problem presents itself. If need be, the physicians at Health Services can help students to make appointments at hospitals and clinics in the area. For some issues, the Office of Health Education and Promotion can help out.  Don’t let the stress get you down! Health Services also has many stress management programs and initiatives (like massages) to help us with stress so it doesn’t get to unmanageable levels.

Click here to learn more about Mental Health Awareness Week!

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Maddie Gould, Madeleine Gould, Mental Health Week

Skip the Bus and Become More Buff

Wednesday, October 3, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

Physical activity. If you’re as busy as me, the thought alone can be daunting, bringing on feelings of guilt and stress. Managing your time gets hard in college, especially if you’re still adjusting as a freshman or a transfer student. Exercise for 60 minutes each day? You can’t even finish your homework. How the heck are you going to fit an entire hour of physical activity in there? And frankly, sweating it out at the gym in front of all the other gym-goers doesn’t seem very tempting to many of us. However, exercise really is important. There are so many reasons that exercise is great that it almost seems crazy not to fit physical activity in- click on this link to get inspired by all those benefits:

7 Mind Blowing Benefits of Exercise

So, if you’re feeling extra sedentary these days (sitting around doing homework doesn’t burn a whole lot of calories), it’s time to think outside of the box-like room that we call the gym. There are a million different ways to add more activity into your life. They’re hiding in every little crevice on campus. What about that bus? On a cold winter’s day, it may seem tough to get from your accounting class at one end of campus to your management class at the other without grabbing the bus, but if you take the time to walk there at a rapid pace that raises your heartbeat. That’s 10 minutes out of that 60 taken care of. Living in the Sercs or the Gables? Take the stairs, not the elevator! Walk into Durham to get your groceries, and carry them back to build strength in your arms. If you get to class a little early, walk up and down the stairs a couple of times. When you add up these little pieces of physical activity-and they do add up- they are incredibly beneficial to you, your self-esteem, and your health. 

Tagged In: Benefits of Exercise, Exercise, Healthy UNH, Madeleine Gould, Physical Activity

Vitamin D is an A-List Vitamin

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

Let’s face it- autumn is almost here. It’s a sad realization that no longer will we be able to spend our days lying in the sand at the beach (slathered in SPF 50, of course, right?). Ahead are days of sitting in the library until all hours of the morning, squinting at notes under a fluorescent light. That certainly is not conducive to a great tan. While we can’t condone toasting yourself in the sun- which can lead to skin cancer, which can be deadly - there is one health benefit to sunny days spent outside. It is very hard to get enough Vitamin D without spending at least some time in the summer sunlight each week. Nature works against us here in New England. During the fall, winter, and early spring months, the sun is not nearly as strong as it is in the summer. And people are also indoors a lot more due to the chilling quality of the weather outside. Studies have shown that 42% of American adults are deficient in Vitamin D, and the highest rates among those were in Hispanics and African Americans. Vitamin D is necessary for us to stay healthy. It is
important for strong bones, even in adulthood, and also has a benefit of calcium absorption throughout the body1 . Vitamin D is a tough vitamin to get through food intake, since so few foods contain high amounts of it. This is a vitamin we have to be concentrate on getting enough of through the winter months.  If you like fish, eating a serving of swordfish, salmon or tuna will give you about enough Vitamin D for a day. Milk and yogurt are fortified with Vitamin D, and eggs contain a passable amount. Mushrooms also contain it, and growers have a new technique for enhancing the amount of Vitamin D in mushrooms by exposing them to UV light.
Look for these mushrooms in the grocery store as a great source of Vitamin D2. Your bones will thank you.
To read more information on the importance of getting enough Vitamin D, see this Washington Post article.

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Madeleine Gould, Vitamin D, vitamin deficiency

But What Is the Cost of Health?

Friday, September 7, 2012
By: Madeleine Gould

It seems much of the political buzz these days centers around the quickly rising costs of health care. There is a good reason so many politicians are basing their campaigns around this issue- healthcare costs for the United States are expected to rise 7.5% in 2013, and that is up from the $ 2.6 trillion health care system we are facing in 20121. “What does this have to do with me and HealthyUNH?” you may be puzzling to yourself. You are more connected to the health care system than you might realize. Though most people head to the doctor when they feel ill or are in pain and take his or her prescriptions without hesitation (Doctors are the experts, after all) evidence is mounting to support that simply being aware of the costs of the services your doctor is providing and prescribing can help Americans reduce health costs in the future.

Simply put, health care costs are the sum of every test, physical, drug prescribed, blood sample taken, MRI and everything else health care related that each and every person in the United States has every year. A great way to keep your own health care costs down when you are in New Hampshire is by heading to www.nhhealthcost.org and checking out the service they have to offer. You can type in some simple information about your insurance plan, and the website will generate different prices at health care providers around the state that are available to you to use. It also shows you costs for if you are uninsured. That way, you can be sure to choose the best price option for your plan. Also, follow the link below to see some great tips on how to keep your health care costs down.
http://www.bcbsil.com/getting_started/how_to_shop/keeping_costs_down.html

Tagged In: Health, health costs, Healthy UNH, Insurance, Madeleine Gould, medical costs, prescription