Unhealthy Checkout

It seems everywhere you shop these days, there is junk food, soda, and other sugar-sweetened beverages at the checkout. Candy at the home furnishing store? Soda at the office supply store? Munchies at the home improvement store? Yes, most retail stores are pushing extra calories on their customers. The Center for Science and Public Interest conducted a field study of checkout aisles in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area in 30 retail stores across 14 store types, from grocery and convenience stores to hardware, toy, and electronic stores. They assessed the presence and type of food, beverages, and non‐food merchandise at each checkout.

Across 30 grocery stores and other retailers, they found that candy, gum, energy bars, chips, cookies, soda, and other sugar drinks comprise the majority of food and beverages at checkout. The widespread availability of junk food and sugary beverages means that even shopping for clothes or books has become yet another occasion for food companies to push (unhealthy) products on people. This is a powerful form of food marketing that contributes to unhealthy eating. Just as the natural environment is polluted by chemical emissions, our food environment is polluted by a glut of sugar, salt, and fat—and checkout contributes to this unhealthy food environment. Despite high levels of obesity, retailers and food and beverage manufacturers push extra calories on people at every turn.

Check out the one-page summary “Sugar Overload: Retail Checkout Promotes Obesity”

The Get Healthy Holiday Challenge!

The holiday season is almost here, and we all know what that means— temptation! As much as we look forward to holiday parties and dinners, many of us fear enjoying it too much – and packing on the pounds.

The average American consumes approximately 4,500 calories and 229 grams fat from eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And that doesn’t include breakfast, lunch, or late-night snacking on leftovers, or the bounty of holiday sweets that are consumed in December!

Studies show that the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. And, those extra pounds tend to become permanent baggage. Year after year, those pounds can add up, and contribute to overweight or obesity later in life.

Although we may not all gain weight over the holidays, there is no question we tend to eat and drink more — and exercise less. With the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, parties and festive traditions, healthy eating and exercise are usually the first things to go.   No one wants to be on a strict diet during the holidays. We want to enjoy the bounty of traditional favorite foods. How can you enjoy the holidays and still maintain those healthy habits?  Join the Get Healthy Holiday Challenge!!  It begins Monday, October 13 and will challenge you to adopt new healthy behaviors during the holiday season.

Each week you will be emailed a ‘health challenge’ on Monday.  Each challenge encourages healthful living, such as a daily 15-minute walk or eating three servings of vegetables each day.   You can track your weekly progress by using the online tracker on the website and be eligible for prizes!   We’ll also provide lots of tips, resources and motivation to help you meet the challenge. To register or sign in: http://www.gethealthyclarkcounty.org/hhc/.

Get Outdoors Nevada Day 2014!

Southern Nevada has lots of great ways for you to get out and be active!!  On Saturday October 25, 2014 you can come and celebrate all the recreation opportunities that we have at Get Outdoors Nevada Day.  Get Outdoors Nevada Day is presented by The Outside Las Vegas Foundation in partnership with the City of North Las Vegas. This celebration will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Craig Ranch Regional Park located at 628 W Craig Rd, North Las Vegas. The Get Healthy team will have a booth promoting healthy eating and encouraging physical activity. Feel free to stop by and say hi!

Attendees will find out the “how to’s” and “where to’s” for outdoor recreation in our Southern Nevada.  Learn about the many ways you can enjoy the outdoors in new, fun and accessible ways. Participants at Get Outdoors Nevada Day can try out sporting demos, try out the latest sporting equipment, see recreation demonstrations, and enjoy an outdoor picnic and more.
For more information about Get Outdoors Nevada Day, call 702-997-3350 or visit
www.getoutdoorsnevada.org/day.

Exercise can help reduce stress

Many people are starting to recognize the ill effects of stress and use exercise and getting active as a way to help reduce the effects that stress can have in our lives. Often times we think we are too busy and stressed to make time for exercise but when we do we can reap the many benefits that come from moving our bodies.

Being active is often thought of meditation in motion. It can also boost the production of those feel good endorphins. Moving your body creates opportunity to release energy and it can help you feel less tired and sleep better. When we are stressed often times the first thing effected in our life is our sleeping habits. Being active is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep. Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re downright out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Make the time for a little physical activity in your busy life. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress!

Are e-cigarettes better for me?

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes or vapors as they are more commonly known, are nicotine-delivery devices that sometimes look like cigarettes in shape, size and general appearance. They have become very popular in the past few years and are often thought to be safer than conventional cigarettes.

Some recent studies indicate that e-cigarettes may not be as safe as some think. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested the ingredients in a small sample of cartridges from the two leading brands of e-cigarettes. They found that the samples contained detectable levels of known cancer-causing agents and other toxic chemicals. The tests also found that there was no consistency in the amount of nicotine between different products with the same label. Some of the e-cigarette products labeled “no nicotine” still contained low levels of nicotine. Because these products are not regulated, there is real concern that users do not always know what levels of nicotine they are consuming or what other chemicals they may be exposing themselves to.

There is also cause for concern related to the secondhand e-cigarette aerosol that comes from e-cigarettes (incorrectly called water vapor by the industry), because it has been found to contain nicotine, ultrafine particles and low levels of toxins that are known to cause cancer. People exposed to e-cigarette aerosol can absorb nicotine (measured as cotinine), with one study showing levels comparable to passive smokers. FDA scientists have also found detectable levels of cancer-causing tobacco-specific nitrosamines in e-cigarette aerosol.

Do not be fooled into thinking the aerosol from e-cigarettes is safe just because it doesn’t smell like conventional cigarette smoke.

While more studies are currently being conducted on the safety, efficacy, and integrity of e-cigarettes, most public health professionals agree it is too soon to call e-cigarettes a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. Additionally, the dramatic increase of e-cigarette usage by youth and the ever present marketing of e-cigarettes to all populations have created concern with public health leaders.

To find out more information and the sources of the research discussed please visit our website.

Back to School!

Check out our Back to School page for information on how to keep your kids healthy from kindergarten to college!

http://www.gethealthyclarkcounty.org/spotlights/healthy-back-to-school-resources.php

Start the school year off healthy!

With the sound of school bells just around the corner, it’s important to refocus your efforts to ensure healthy eating with our kids. Providing healthful meals and encouraging physical activity are essential for your child’s growth and development, and will help your child build healthy habits for the rest of his or her life and improve their academic achievement.

Not sure how to keep your child excited about eating healthy and moving more? Here are some tips to get on the right track.

Start the Day Off Right
Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show breakfast eaters tend to have higher school attendance, less tardiness and fewer hunger-induced stomachaches. They also score higher on tests, concentrate better, solve problems more easily and have better muscle coordination. If you are pressed for time, quick options include instant oatmeal topped with nuts or raisins, low-fat yogurt with sliced fruit or whole-grain toast with peanut butter.

Keep Lunchtime Interesting
•Plan lunch together. Encourage kids to pack their lunch with items they enjoy so they are less likely to throw their lunch away or swap with classmates.
•Try new foods. Pack exotic fruits such as kiwi, or allow them to pick fruits and vegetables they want to try at the grocery store.
•Celebrate special days. Plan lunch around special events. For example, pack an all-red lunch for Valentine’s Day or include a fortune cookie to celebrate Chinese New Year.
•Offer choices. Vary protein sources — tuna, peanut butter, turkey or beans — and offer different whole-grain items such as whole-grain bread, tortillas or crackers. Rotate whole pieces of fruit (banana, orange or grapes) and cut-up vegetables (celery, carrots or broccoli).

Get Moving
Regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Kids are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes per day. Involving the family is a great way to spend time together. Hike together as a weekend outing, ride bikes after dinner, play catch after work or take the dog for a brisk walk.

Being Healthy at Work

Sometimes the biggest barrier to eating healthy is the people around us, especially our co-workers. Even though they might want the best for us, they can sometimes feel put off by our decisions to eat healthy or bring our lunch to work. Here are some tips to help you

Be open. Tell your co-workers your plans to eat healthier and exercise. Ask for their support and help.  By involving them they might be more likely to encourage and not discourage you. They will feel part of your plans and want to help you along your journey.

Make a plan. Start the day off knowing what you plan to eat for lunch and snacks. Stick to it! Don’t let others talk you out of your plans, instead invite them to join you.  Visualize following through with your plans and the conversations you might have with others to let them know you are not going out to lunch today. By practicing it in your mind, you will be ready to respond when the time comes.

Take it home. You don’t want to seem rude by refusing to eat the treats in your office. Instead of saying no, say Thank you, I will take it home and share it. That way nobody is offended and you don’t have to eat it right then and you don’t seem judgmental.

Skip it. In the office there always seems to be treats or candy around. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. We often get into a habit of thinking we must eat whatever is brought in. Just because there is candy in a dish on your boss’s desk doesn’t mean you have to eat it whenever you go into their office. Skip it! Bring your own healthy snacks from home to eat instead.

Don’t let other people or your environment get in the way of your goals! Make a plan and stick to it. Be sure and let others know that your health goals are important to you and that you want to be successful. Chances are you will find your co-workers to be the best support of all!

Be active and feel better!

Being active is not just about burning calories. Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits. Some scientific evidence has also shown that even lower levels of physical activity can be beneficial.

Improving your mental health can help support a positive outlook on life. Research also shows that physical activity helps to relieve symptoms of depression & anxiety and leads to improvement of mood. Being active gets your blood flowing and releases neurotransmitters which are responsible for our energy levels and emotions.  Physical activity can leave you feeling invigorated sharp and full of energy. By making fitness activities social like taking a class with others, it can add another layer of benefit that can also improve your mood. Social interaction while performing the same activities is a great way to connect with like minded-people.
Don’t just think of exercise as a way to lose weight and look great—it can help you feel great on the inside too. Be active it just might change the way you feel!

Smoothies for Summer

Smoothies are a great way to add fruits & veggies and enjoy a refreshing treat! Check out these recipes below.

Choco-Banana Smoothie
Ingredients:

1 cup fat-free chocolate milk or low-fat chocolate soy milk
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter
4 to 6 ice cubes

Directions
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or a food processor; blend until smooth.
Tropical Breeze Smoothie

Ingredients
6 ounces passion fruit, guava, or other fruit-flavored fat-free yogurt *
1 Cup of berry fruit, frozen, canned or fresh.
1 small banana
1/3 cup uncooked, rolled oats
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup pineapple or orange juice
1/2 cup fat-free milk

Directions
1. Put yogurt, berry fruit,  banana, oats and ginger in a blender jar. Add juice and milk.
2. Whirl in the blender for about 30 seconds, or until mixture is smooth.
3. If the smoothie is too thick, add juice or milk to desired consistency.

Cooking Notes
* If using Greek yogurt, you might add more juice or milk. Another option: For less sugars, use plain, fat-free yogurt and sweeten with additional fruit if desired.