Healthy UNH Blogger: Julie Hurlbut, All Entries

Should you frequent the walk-In clinic?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

Currently in the US, there are roughly 1,600 walk-in medical clinics that reside in drugstores and supermarkets such as CVS, Walgreens, and Target. This number is projected to double within three years due to higher demands of newly insured patients under the Affordable Care Act. Walk-in medical clinics are so popular because no appointment is necessary, they accept a wide range of insurance, and they are open seven days a week, including evening hours. The services at the walk-in clinics are provided by nurse practitioners or physician assistants who are qualified to write prescriptions, and aid with flu vaccines, urinary-tract infections, diabetes screening, and much more.  Costs per visit to the walk-in clinics range from $79 to $89, which does not include the charge for lab tests. For example, a strep throat test costs $30 at CVS.

People are choosing walk-in clinics over their doctors’ offices because they can avoid setting appointments and the lengthy wait time. A study in 2009 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine discovered that retail clinics provide less costly treatment than urgent-care centers and physician offices while offering comparable quality of care by looking at 700 of the most common conditions: inflammation of the middle ear, urinary tract infections, and pharyngitis. The results of this study showed that the cost of care for each episode averaged at $110 at retail clinics, $156 at urgent care centers, $166 at doctors’ offices, and $570 in emergency departments. By examining the different prices for basic medical examinations, people can shop smarter to find the best care at the most cost-effective price. 

Tagged In: appointments, cost comparison, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, healthcost, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlbut, medical, physician, retail clinics, urgent-care centers, walk-in clinic

Do You Pursue Perfection?

Friday, June 27, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

College students (and all of us) are burdened by the idea that we have to succeed in all areas of our lives to be as well balanced as we can, but when does the idea of being perfect go too far?
At times, there is a lot of pressure to get the best grades possible on our finals. There are many people that struggle with perfectionism, whether it is realized or not. Perfectionism is described as the belief that making mistakes us unacceptable, and everything must be error-free. Perfectionists believe that making mistakes makes them less worthy, and less successful. Wanting to achieve academic success and to live up to your full potential is admirable, but achieving perfection is often impossible. Expecting yourself to be perfect can lead to the following mental health stressors:

  • Frustration: Wanting to have everything done perfectly allows you to never be satisfied with your work.
  • Procrastination: Perfectionism is one of the major causes of procrastination. The fear of work not being done perfectly may prevent you from doing the work all together.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Perfectionists are their own worst critics, and are hard on themselves by telling themselves they are not trying hard enough or doing well enough, which leads to low self-esteem.
  • Anxiety or Depression: Someone who struggles with extreme perfectionism may also struggle with depression or anxiety since they are constantly feeling unsatisfied and pressured.

If you struggle with perfectionism, try setting realistic, achievable goals, as well as goals that celebrate personal accomplishment when they are achieved. Getting a grade that upsets you in a class can be very frustrating, but remember that a letter grade does not make you a failure. College comes with a lot of stress, and it’s important to step back and remember we can only do what we are capable of. For more information on how to help yourself or a friend, visit this page by the University of Minnesota Counseling & Consulting Services.

Are you a perfectionist? Find out how the strive to be perfect may be more harmful than beneficial.

Tagged In: achievable, anxiety, celebrate, Depression, goals, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlut, Mental Health, mental wellness, Perfection, Perfectionism, realistic, self-esteem, Stress

Shop for a Safer Hospital

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

It’s important to be familiar with your go-to hospital when a family or friend or yourself isn’t feeling well or has an emergency. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a report that stated one in twenty-five patients who are admitted to a hospital develop a hospital-acquired infection. Most people go to the hospital to avoid further sickness, but this cannot be guaranteed. TIME released an article containing information that Consumer Reports released reports on safety and other health topics of 2,591 hospitals around the U.S. They released over all ratings for each hospital with specific categories such as morality, communication with patients, overuse of CT scans, hospital infections, and more. The researchers used this information to create a scale of scores from 1 to 100. The researchers discovered the average hospital score to be 51; however, the number of low-rated hospitals outnumbered the higher-rated ones. This information is helpful for hospitals to adjust what they need to fix in order to be more appealing and a more effective hospital. These ratings are great for the consumer who wants to make sure they are making informed decisions to receive the best care possible, and to get their money’s worth out of their hospital visit. Check out the consumer report website to look into hospitals near you so you can make sure you’re making the most informed decision possible to lower your health cost while increasing your patient care experience.

Tagged In: @UNHStudent, Consumer Reports, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Healthy UNH, hospital, informed, Julie Hurlbut, research

UNH Outing Club

Friday, June 6, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

New Hampshire boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in New England, so why not take advantage of it? The New Hampshire Outing Club (NHOC) is the oldest and largest organization at UNH that offers off-campus trips to undergraduate students every weekend. Some of the activities that they offer include, backpacking, camping, canoeing, white water rafting, and many more in the White Mountains and throughout other areas of New England.  This club is mostly funded by the Student Activity fee that is paid with undergraduate tuition, and prices for the trips include $5 for day trips, $10 for overnight trips, and $15 for weekend (Friday through Sunday) trips. This club is versatile to the needs and experiences of the members. Additionally, most of the gear can be borrowed for free.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining, show up to the signups that are held on the first Tuesday of every month in the Strafford Room in the MUB. If you have questions or would like to speak to someone, the NHOC has an office in room 151 in the MUB. Spending time outdoors ensures not only that you’ll get more exercise, but the sunlight and extra vitamin D will lift your spirits and have you feeling great. Take advantage of this great program offered by UNH and explore what the outdoors of New England has to offer!

Enjoy the outdoors by joining the UNH Outing Club!

Tagged In: active, camping, canoeing, Fitness, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlbut, Physical Activity, rafting, student activity, UNH Outing Club

How to Enhance Your Work Out

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

Fitting in a good workout during the work day isn’t always easy; so why not make sure it’s worth it? I try and fit in workouts every other day at the Hamel Recreation Center in between my class schedule. Published in TIME magazine, Jennifer Cohen, a health and fitness expert lists seven workout habits that make your workout more ineffective, and how to fix them. Fixing the following habits will allow you to be a more efficient exerciser:

  1. The elliptical – This machine does not flow with the body’s natural motions, and it is also easy to start off at a good place and then before you know it you’re slacking off. With the treadmill, you use a natural body motion and have to keep up with the pace you set.
  2. Working out for long periods of time at a moderate pace - Slow and steady does not win the race. Cohen suggests giving it 100% for 30 minutes instead of 75% for an hour.
  3. Lollygagging – Come to the gym or wherever you work out with a time frame and a plan. Come with a set workout to complete, and limit water breaks and time you spend texting or checking social media apps on your phone. Make the most of your time by planning ahead, so you can keep that heart rate up while you are working out.
  4. Too much cardio too little strength training – A quick strength training or cross training session with get your heart rate up, burn calories, and develop your lean muscle mass, which works throughout the day to burn calories even after your workout session.
  5. Hydrating with sports drinks - Sports drinks provide an energy boost, but are saturated with sugar and calories. In most cases, water will suffice. If you feel you might need a boost during your workout, try eating healthy snack 45 minutes before your workout. An example would be almond butter on toast.

Visit the article to read all that Jennifer Cohen had to say to enhance your workouts, including her last two tips. With all the various workout equipment and cardio machines at the gym, it can be difficult and challenging to decide what you should do to get the most out of your workout. Try out these tips and discover what works best for you.

Tagged In: cardio, Fitness, habit, Healthy UNH, hydrate, Julie Hurlbut, Lollygagging, Physical Activity, strength training, work out

Bike for Better Health

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

May is National Bike Month, and what better way to celebrate the warm weather than enjoying a bike ride in the sun? Here at UNH, we are lucky to have a bike-friendly campus, which is demonstrated by the bike lanes that are provided on the roadways. In addition to the roads, College Woods is a large, popular outdoor spot on campus for biking, along with Kingman Farm which is located on Route 155 in Madbury. This farm contains 234 acres of woodland, and boasts an extensive trail system that is ideal for mountain biking, hiking, or running. Bicycling is an easy way to get daily physical activity, and over time, increases muscle tone, builds stamina, and improves cardiovascular fitness. The following are some reasons provided by the International Bicycle Fund as to why recreational bicycling and bicycle commuting are beneficial for everyone:

  • Regular bicycling is therapeutic for the mind and spirit, as well as the cardiovascular system
  • Bicycling can become a life-long activity for those who get involved with it, and it is a great activity to bond with family or friends
  • Cycling is low impact on the body, as well as the environment
  • Bicycling is a great way to get physical activity without spending money at the gym
  • Bicycling is the most energy efficient form of transportation
  • Bicycling is a great way to reduce stress

There are numerous advantages for those looking into bicycling. Along with getting physical activity, bicycling is a great way to reduce stress and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight. To celebrate National Bike Month, grab a friend and take a bike ride through beautiful College Woods!

Healthy UNH is celebrating National Bike Month with Bike/Walk to Work Day on Friday, May 16.
Join us at Murkland Courtyard, from 7:30-9:30am with a continental breakfast!

Tagged In: active, bicycle, bike, cardiovascular, College Woods, cycle, Fitness, Healthy UNH, International Bicycle Fund, Julie Hurlbut, Kingman Farm, low impact, Mental Health, National Bike Month, Physical, Physical Activity, Stress, trails

Academic Assistance

Monday, April 28, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

               As college students, we are familiar with the hefty workload of classes, and the negative consequences of not keeping up with school work. Being unorganized and falling behind in class can lead to nervous breakdowns, feeling burnt-out, increased stress levels, and physical illness. With the amount of freedom and independence that being in college comes with, it could be easy for any student to let their grades slip. Here at UNH, there are a variety academic resources available on campus, and it is never too late to seek them out for help. The following are examples of academic resources available to UNH students on campus:

  1. Academic Mentors – These undergraduate students are trained to coach their peers on reaching their academic goals. They also assist in a “Study Skills Drop-in Clinic” where students can drop by and receive help with how to enhance study strategies and skills by a trained mentor. No appointment is necessary; simply drop by Smith Hall room 201 on Monday through Wednesday from 4-5:30pm.
  2. Math Assistance Center – Located in G33 (B tower basement of Christensen Hall), this center offers assistance by staff members for 300 and 400 level Math courses. The hours are Monday and Wednesday 1-9 PM, Tuesday and Thursday 9 AM–5 PM, Friday 1-5 PM, and Sunday 2-5 PM.
  3. Robert J. Connors Writing Center – Located in Room 329 in Dimond Library, this is a great resource to utilize for assistance on writing papers from brainstorming to the final draft.
  4. Society of Physics Students- Offered for spring 2014, this service provides help to students primarily for Physics 401, 402, 407 and 408. They are located on the third floor of DeMeritt and are available Mondays 4-5:30 PM, and Thursdays 12:30-2 PM.

There are many additional services offered to students who wish for help in succeeding academically. Allowing the stress of classwork and exams to build up is unhealthy can be avoided with good organization skills and seeking help. Check out these tips provided by the Center for Academic Resources on ideas and services that may best fit your needs. 

Tagged In: Academic Assistance, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlbut, Math Assistance Center, Mental Health, mental wellness, mentors, Robert J. Connors Writing Center, Society of Physics Students, UNH programs, Writing Center

Eating Well for Public Health Week

Thursday, April 10, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

Public Health Week is recognized as April 7th to the 13th. One of the themes for this movement is eating well, which is being recognized on April 10th. The National Public Health website contains information on what government agencies are working on to improve food choice and eating habits among Americans. There are many ways that UNH has tried to encourage students and staff to make healthier choices. The following are resources and programs provided by UNH to create a healthier campus in terms of eating well:

  • Health Services – Health Services is located on campus at 4 Pettee Brook Lane, and offers many resources on nutrition and wellness. As seen on their website, The Office of Health Promotion provides a variety of options for those looking for assistance with food and nutrition. Eating concerns education and counseling is available to UNH students who have paid their health fee, and want to talk to fellow trained students about an eating concern or disorder. Health Services lists other educational programs such as the YUMEE, Nutrition Lecture Series, Cooking Classes, and information on the SPIN Peer Education. Check out the website for full information on what Health Services offers, and how you can get involved.
  • UNH Dining ServicesUNH Dining Services are heavily involved in promoting good nutrition and healthy choices on campus. Rochelle L’Italien is a registered dietitian who works for UNH Dining Services. Rochelle is available to students or staff who have concerns with making better choices in the dining hall, or with special diets or intolerances. The dining hall also contains foods with food labels containing Guiding Stars so people can see if the food they select has been rated as nutritious.
  • Healthy UNH – Located on the second floor of Hewitt Hall, Healthy UNH is an initiative on campus working to making UNH the healthiest campus community in the country by 2020. The Healthy UNH website contains numerous resources to students and staff on mental health, nutrition, physical activity, programs run by UNH and health cost. Healthy UNH partnered with UNH Dining Services to launch the Wildcat Plate. This new plate is found in all of the dining halls, and is based off of My Plate. This portion controlled plate attracts students to think about the different food groups they can put on their plate, specifically fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein.

We are lucky at UNH to have programs that are designed to help students and employees make better choices when it comes to eating well. With the large variety of food options, it is not always easy to make the right decisions. However, knowing how to make better food choices makes all the difference, and Health Services, UNH Dining Services, and Healthy UNH all have numerous resources available to help with that. Celebrate Thursday, April 20th by trying a new way to make more nutritious choices!

Tagged In: choices, Eating Well, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlbut, National Public Health Week, Nutrition, portion sizes, registered dietitian, UNH Dining Services, Wildcat Plate

Sleep is the Best Medication

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

March 7th through the 13th was National Sleep Awareness Week. As busy college students, we tend to neglect sleep. After all, we have so much to get done in a day that sleep is usually put on the back burner. People who sleep poorly are significantly more likely to develop mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, and are more susceptible to have changes in mood and stress levels. For our mental, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing, it is important that we are all getting the recommended amount of sleep a night, which is approximately eight hours. The following are seven tips by Mayo Clinic to help us gain a more restful night’s sleep:

    • Stick to a sleep schedule. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and even making an effort to do so on weekends and holidays.
    • Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Try and avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol hours before you plan on going to bed. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants which take hours to wear off depending on the individual.
    • Create a bedtime ritual. Do the same things each night so your body knows it is time to wind down. Some examples are listening to soft music, taking a bath, or reading a book.
    • Get comfortable. Try and keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Room-darkening shades, earplugs, and a fan may help you get comfortable.
    • Limit daytime naps. If you need a nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes during the midafternoon. Long naps can interfere with sleep, especially for someone struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality.
    • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can promote better sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
    • Manage stress. Stress greatly impacts how much sleep we get. Become organized, set priorities, and take breaks to laugh or do something you enjoy so you do not feel over worked. 

Celebrate National Sleep Awareness Week by trying one or all of these approaches to get a better night’s sleep and therefore, improve your overall mental health status and wellbeing. 

Tagged In: active, alcohol, anxiety, caffeine, Depression, emotion, Exercise, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlbut, Mayo Clinic, Medication, Mental Health, mental wellness, National Sleep Awareness, nicotine, Physical Activity, routine, Sleep

Eating Healthier When Eating Out

Monday, March 24, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

As spring approaches it is nice to spend some time outdoors enjoying the warm weather. I often find myself walking around Durham or Portsmouth with some friends where we like to catch up at our favorite restaurants. Eating out at a restaurant can be challenging for someone who is trying to eat healthier because of the large portion sizes and the added condiments and dressings. However, there are many ways to maintain healthy eating habits while enjoying time with friends or family at a restaurant. The following are some helpful and simple tips provided by the USDA to make your meals healthier:

  • Substitute white for whole-wheat bread
  • Start your meal with a salad to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of fried or sautéed
  • If you’re with friends, share appetizers instead of ordering entrees
  • Ask the waiter or waitress for a takeout box with your meal

Visit the USDA website for more tips on healthy eating while at restaurants. After practicing some of these suggestions you will no longer have to worry about sacrificing your healthy eating habits when going out to eat!

Tagged In: broiled, Dining out, Eating Out, grilled, healthy eating habits, Julie Hurlbut, Nutrition, portion, restaurant, salad, steamed, Substitute

Health Cost and Assistance Programs

Friday, March 14, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

Health care is a hefty expense in the United States, and over the years has contributed greatly to our nation’s debt. According to the article written by John Ydstie, the Congressional Budget Office recently stated that the deficit is about to be one-third the size in 2014 than it was in 2009, which prompted the Great Recession. The high cost of health care also threatens funding to government assistance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. This poses a huge problem because in a country with a troubled economy, many people depend on government programs that provide them with services such as doctor and dental visits and food stamps at minimal to no cost.

So as college students, why should we care about high health costs or government assistance programs such as Medicare? Medicare is a program that provides health insurance for Americans adults 65 and older and as well as others. So thinking about our parents and grandparents, we hope that they will always have the opportunity to see a doctor or medical personnel if need be, and Medicare has the ability to provide just that. Thankfully, due to the recent decrease in health cost, the cuts to Medicare and other government assistance programs were not as deep as predicted. Maintaining a low health cost is essential to the growth and stability of these programs. There are many working individuals whose employers don’t offer a health care plan and are therefore stuck paying high costs for medical and dental visits. Overall lower health costs allows for a steady flow of funding to government assistance programs for those who would otherwise go without doctor visits when they need them. We all need to stay informed, because health care costs effect everyone.

Tagged In: Debt, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Julie Hurlbut, Medicare

Succeed like an Olympian

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

It has been quite amazing to watch the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. These athletes from all over the world demonstrate a great deal of enthusiasm, dedication, and desire. However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy physical activity.  Below are some tips in example of Olympic athletes on how the average individual can learn to succeed like the ultimate professionals.

  1. 1.      Set goals

In the words of Gracie Gold, a 2014 first time US Olympic Figure Skater after she didn’t qualify for the US Championships, “With the help of family and friends, I took a hard look at myself and situation. It was a time of reflection, defining, redefining goals, and then formulating a new plan to reach them.” Setting goals is important to triumph in whatever you want to accomplish. Whether it’s competing in the Olympics for Figure Skating, running a mile straight, or completing a spin class without stopping, setting specific, timely, realistic, goals will help you succeed.


  1. 2.      Practice, practice, practice

Shaun White is currently competing in his third Olympics, and demonstrates great athleticism in snowboarding as well as skateboarding. Whether it’s snowboarding, skateboarding, or both, Shaun is constantly practicing. Frequent training has allowed him to accomplish his goal of competing in the Olympics. If you want to improve at your favorite physical activity you should try to practice as often as possible. This will allow you to learn your strengths and weaknesses so you can rise to your full potential.

  1. 3.      Listen and take care of your body

 US speed skater Eddy Alvarez was told he may not be able to skate again after a painful knee surgery, but due to his passion and hard work he is now competing in Sochi. Pay attention and trust your body when you feel over worked or need a day or two off. When your body feels 100% is when you will gain the most enjoyment out of the activity you love. 

By setting goals for yourself, practicing hard, and taking care of your body, you will thrive in your physical activity of choice, just like these Olympic athletes. 

Tagged In: Eddy Alvarez, Fitness, goals, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlbut, Olympian, Olympics, Physical Activity, Snowboarding

The Sweet Truth

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
By: Julie Hurlbut

February is notorious as the month of Valentine's Day, but it is also Chocolate Lover's Month! Whether you love or hate Valentine's Day, there is always an abundant amount of chocolate lining the walls of grocery stores and convenience stores dedicated to this one day. However, there may be no reason to feel bad about indulging in some chocolate. Over the past few years, research studies have proven that small to moderate chocolate consumption is linked to lower risk of heart failure.

 A study in 2010 produced by the American Heart Association looked at middle-aged elderly Swedish woman and discovered that women who consumed an average of one to two servings of high-quality (defined as darker or containing more cocoa) chocolate per week had a 32% lower risk of developing heart failure. Chocolate is known to be high in flavonoids, which contain antioxidants and may lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. Antioxidants are important because they are believed to help the body's cells resist damage from free radicals.

Ever since research studies have concluded on the health benefits of dark chocolate, more media sites have jumped on the chocolate bandwagon. Popular magazines such as Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and Her Campus have also written about the many health benefits from eating some dark chocolate. Improved skin and eye sight, reduced stress, and sun protection are a few examples that they list. So for those of us who have sworn off chocolate or sweets for the New Year, we may be better off eating a little more chocolate. Enjoy!

Tagged In: antioxidants, chocolate, Chocolate Lover's Month, dark chocolate, flavonoids, Healthy UNH, Julie Hurlbut, Nutrition, Valentine's Day