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Health Bulletin Spring 2008

Do You Want to Be A Loser?

Do you want to lose weight? Most likely the answer is yes, since two out of three of us weigh more than we’d like to. But how do we get rid of these extra pounds without starving ourselves?

Having a plan can help. People who have success losing weight do not skip meals—they eat three meals a day and often one small snack. This takes planning in advance. It means knowing when you will be eating and sticking to it like a schedule. For example, you can eat breakfast at 7–8 am followed by lunch between 12–1 pm, with a small snack in the late afternoon and dinner at 6–7 pm. A schedule like this one has you eating every few hours so you will never get too hungry.

Then there is the question of what to eat. Most people know what it means to eat healthy–less fatty foods and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But the real key to losing weight is how much (portion size) we eat. For example, a handful of grapes (about 30) has only 120 calories, but a pound of grapes has a whopping 320 calories. So eating large amounts of even a healthy food is not a good idea.

An easy way to know a healthy portion size is to use your hand. The amount of food you can hold in the palm of your hand is a good measure of a healthy portion. Using your hand as a measuring tool can also be helpful when you eat treats like chips or cookies.

Of course, using the palm of your hand does not work with liquids. Here are a few tips for beverages:

  • 100% fruit juice – ½ cup is a portion; avoid those 12 – 16 oz bottles
  • Sodas, fruit punches, sport drinks, sweetened ice tea – all are loaded with sugar and calories
  • Water – always the best choice! If you don’t like water, try diet drinks

Spring Cleaning for the Environment!

Spring is here! It’s time to think about spring cleaning your home AND environment!

Many people are starting to understand that our Earth’s environment is changing. So is our climate. In Philadelphia our summers are getting hotter. This means that more people will get heat stress and heatstroke. Because of high temperatures and pollution, people with allergies are having worse symptoms.

So what can we do? All of us can make choices that are better for the environment and better for our health. Here are some steps to try:

  • Travel differently -instead of driving your car, try to walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation.
  • Eat differently – try to eat less meat and buy fruits and vvegetables that are grown nearby.
  • Green your home and work – use less water, recycle your trash, and turn lights off when you’re not using that room.

Breathe Easier

Pollen. Dust. Fur. Cigarette smoke.

Do you breathe these in every day? Well, for some of us, this may not be a major health problem. But for someone with asthma, any of these things can cause an asthma attack.

Since one in eight children in Philadelphia have asthma, this is an issue that is important to all of us.

Asthma is a lung disease. It is often seen in children, but adults have asthma too. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled. People who have their asthma under control can live a healthy and active life.

If something bothers their lungs, a person with asthma will cough, wheeze, and have chest tightness. This is why you may see someone with asthma holding their chest as they cough.

Some things that may cause an asthma attack are dust mites, cigarette smoke, pets with fur or feathers, hard exercise, changes in weather, pollen and fresh cut grass, and roaches.

If you have asthma, you should try to stay away from these things. If you spend time with someone with asthma, try to help them avoid some of these things.

If you or your child has asthma – think about the things that cause your asthma attacks. Ask your doctor for an Asthma Action Plan. Your doctor can give you ideas on how to stay away from these things.