A recent study has shown that more and more young people are smoking e-cigarettes. Now, this may not be leading more young people to start smoking regular cigarettes or stop smoking regular cigarettes, but generally we know that smoking e-cigarettes is not healthy. If you don’t smoke, please don’t start smoking. If you do smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes, talk to your healthcare provider about how to quit.
“There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”
Eldridge Cleaver, b. 1935 d.1998, Black Panther Party leader, author.
“Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.”
Hubert Humphrey, b.1911, d.1978, 38th Vice President of the United States
Flu season has begun and some of the cases of the flu are types of flu not covered by this year’s flu vaccine. However, the flu vaccine does provide protection against some flu strains that could cause illness and, if you are unlucky enough to get the flu despite the flu vaccine, the vaccine may help keep your illness mild. So, get your flu vaccine even though it may not keep you from getting the flu.
I heard someone say the other day that the opposite of poverty is not wealth, it’s justice. Today, on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for all people working for justice, and I’m thankful for those who serve those in need.
What a bummer! Cigarette smoking by teens in my state of Minnesota has declined, but almost 13% of high schoolers have tried e-cigarettes. Now, if you’re like me you are hoping that the rate of adolescent e-cigarette use is high because teens are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. But, no such luck-many students who tried e-cigarettes never used any tobacco product before.
It is illegal in Minnesota to sell e-cigarettes to minors, but that hasn’t kept e-cigarette companies from marketing e-cigarettes to teens. Let’s push for more control of e-cigarette advertising to adolescents. It would have been great if e-cigarette companies used their product for good and not evil-no such luck.
I recently found out that people don’t move as much when it’s really warm or cold. It would be great if the temperature was always perfect, but it isn’t. For your health, you need to get out and move. On my way to work today, a cold day, I saw a young man who seemed to be heading to school. Not only was he getting exercise by walking to school, he was bouncing a basketball at the same time. What a good example for all of us.
From Choose My Plate, information about whole grains and how to eat more of them.
I’ve written about the Circle of 6 app before, but more young people need to use this anti-violence app, so here’s more about it.
Almost 100 percent of people agree that texting while driving is dangerous, but 75 percent of drivers say that they read or compose a text, or they check a phone for messages while driving. This does not compute. What also doesn’t compute-that a 15 month-old suffered a traumatic brain injury when the car he was in was hit by a car driven by a 17 year-old who was texting. You know texting while driving is dangerous for you and those around you-don’t do it.
There was a recent article in the Atlantic on-line that had advice about the risks of heavy drinking from recent female college graduates to current students. Here’s one quote:
I’ve written about the importance of sleep for athletes and today I read another article about this. Here it is and I hope it will convince all of you, athletes or not, to get the sleep you need.
I’ve written previously about Cookie Cart a youth organization in Minneapolis that makes and sells cookies, and tonight I met many of those involved with this great group. Cookie Cart is gearing up for the upcoming holiday orders which made me think about what great gifts cookies from Cookie Cart would make. Learn more about ordering cookies from Cookie Cart here, http://shop.cookiecart.org. Yum!
Here’s a question for you-when should a young person start on birth control, before or after they first have sex? So, this isn’t really a hard question, but it’s amazing how often I have to discuss this with young people. We talk about how it’s okay to begin contraception even if they are only sort of thinking about having sex. It’s better to be safe, then pregnant and sorry.
There has been a lot written about Ebola, but just in case here is an article about it, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/03/ebola-ask-well-spread-public-transit/?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=b-lede-package-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news. It’s a deadly infection that has killed many people in several African countries, but for most of the rest of the world the risk of getting Ebola is low. If you haven’t travelled to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea recently, you are luckily at low risk.
Ebola really is an ugly virus.
It takes only 5 steps to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Curious? Find out more at http://teenshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/dieting/weight_tips.html.
There was a great article in the New York Times recently about the importance of sleep for teens. Did you know that 2 out of 3 teens are sleep deprived? I’ve written previously about the effect of sleep deprivation on IQ and grades, but if you don’t get enough sleep you are at higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It is also linked to depression, suicidal ideation, and car accidents. Small changes can help with this. For example, starting school a half-hour later allowed a group of students in Minnesota to get more sleep, better grades and better standardized test scores. I may irritate young people when I stress the importance of sleep, but getting enough sleep is so important to success and health.
“All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.”
The other day someone told that Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and Washington state has an app that is like a “nurse in your purse”. With this app and $45 you can have a video visit with a Planned Parenthood provider and then get the birth control pill, patch, or ring in the mail. This is amazingly simple and convenient. Now that you have a “nurse in your purse” there is no reason that young women in Minnesota and Washington state who could get pregnant but wouldn’t want to, should get pregnant.
I was reading a newspaper article and saw a picture of something wearing a Girls Inc. t-shirt. Here’s a video about this wonderful organization.
The Ebola epidemic in Africa is concerning, as are the isolated other cases around the world. Wow, the amount of media coverage of the two Ebola cases in the US is amazing. I know we will be able to contain this Ebola problem because we are going to do what is needed to keep people safe and limit the spread of Ebola. But, I wonder why we can’t do something to address a more serious problem-the gun violence problem in the US? Did you know that everyday 32 people are murdered with guns and 51 people kill themselves with guns? If you’re worried about Ebola, you should be absolutely terrified of gun violence.
I literally saw someone drive up onto the curb and almost hit a pole today while going 40 mph because they were doing something with their phone while they were driving. The person with me said that it was a good thing that no one was in the bike lane because the texting driver would have plowed into them. I wonder what was so important on the phone?
I meet young people with asthma who have trouble with their breathing because someone smokes around them or because they themselves smoke. It can be hard to stop smoking, but help is out there. Smokefree TXT is a mobile text messaging program that sends you tips all day along with advice and encouragement. I don’t smoke, so I can’t tell you whether Smokefree TXT works, but I know it can’t hurt. Plus, since it can be hard to quit smoking-it makes sense to get all the help you can.
“. . . gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
A couple of days ago I wrote that I got my flu vaccine, but I didn’t write about the experience. It was a pretty easy experience. I’m lucky because I was able to go down to a clinic where I work for the vaccine. After I signed in, the nurse took me back pretty quickly and I as I rolled up my sleeve the nurse told me to relax and not tense my arm. That’s when I realized my arm was tense and as I relaxed I tried to remember whether the flu shot hurts. For various reasons I can’t get the flu mist which is the nasal form of the flu vaccine, so I have to get a shot. Just as I was thinking about my previous experience with the flu shot, the nurse gave me the shot and guess what? I barely felt it! My arm was a little sore the next day, but that’s about all. The smallest amount of pain for a huge gain-I’m ready for flu season.
It is so sad to hear of young people injured or killed by gun violence. There is so much we need to do to fix this problem, but one thing that would help would be for parents to make sure that their child has no access to guns. I know that parents can’t watch young people every moment, but parents do need to know who their child’s friends are, who the parents are, and whether these are people who are good influences or are they ones who will lead a young person into trouble-maybe death.
See how much more processing (the red, yellow, green colors) your brain is able to do if you have regular exercise. Studies are showing that young people who exercise do better academically than those who don’t exercise. Exercising students have better math test scores, reading test scores, and they can more easily sit in class without getting distracted. Exercise has also been shown to make it easier for someone with ADHD to do well in school. So, this is your brain on exercise-ready to do really well in school.
I saw someone today that I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. She looked completely different-better. I asked her if she had lost weight and she told me she had; she has lost 60! pounds. She said that she lost weight by primarily cutting out sugary drinks. What she did proves that it is possible to lose a lot of weight. It also shows how bad sugary drinks are. I suppose if you are really thirsty and there is nothing else to drink, than drinking a sugary drink makes sense. But how often does something like that happen?
It really is true-if you push yourself to exercise even when you’re tired you do feel better, energized. In my experience, I often don’t want to exercise after a busy day, but when I do exercise I feel good and proud of myself. It helps to have an exercise partner because it’s hard to say that you won’t exercise when you’ve arranged to do it in advance with someone. You should try it yourself. Arrange a schedule of exercising with someone and see if this helps you exercise more often and if you feel better.
I don’t want to keep talking over and over again about the effects of drugs of abuse, like marijuana, on the brain-but it’s a concern. As I wrote about yesterday, the brain keeps developing until someone is in their late 20s. This means that the brain can be more easily affected than it would be when it is older. The brain changes from being like plastic to being fixed like stone as it ages. So, you don’t want to do anything that could harm your developing brain-and really, you don’t want to harm it at any time in your life. Protect your developing brain by staying away from drugs.
Our brains develop until our mid to late 20’s. This means that young people should engage in new experiences, experiment but remember to not take too many risks. For example, see the world, meet new people, and try new things-but don’t do things like experimenting with drugs. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you’re young you should be daring, but not reckless.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that someone with asthma not be exposed to tobacco smoke of any kind. This means that they shouldn’t smoke, shouldn’t be around someone who is smoking, or even be around someone who has been smoking. People sometimes think that if someone smokes in another room or outside than their asthma won’t be affected. The truth is that smoke stays on clothes. So, what’s the solution if someone with asthma lives with someone who smokes? The best solution is for the smoker to get help to quit. It’s the healthiest way for everyone involved.
I just read about California’s “yes means yes” bill. It calls for shared responsibility so that sexual consent isn’t implied if someone is quiet or doesn’t say “no”. Consent means that someone has to say “yes”. By the way, this goes for both males and females because rape can happen to anyone. So, unless there is an active “yes”, it is “no” to sex.
I hope all of you student athletes who have begun your sports are finding success. I am always impressed with how you balance school work and your sport. It can be hard though, so please get the help you need. For example, successful student athletes I know work with their teachers to manage the work. I don’t mean they don’t have to do the same classwork as other students, they just work with their teachers and coaches to make all of their responsibilities fit. Also, most student athletes have to limit some or a lot of their social activities. This is a good definition of the phrase “short-term pain, long-term gain” when it comes to high school and college sports.
Go Ask Alice has a great quiz about sleep. I found that I took it and learned more about sleep and some sleep disorders. You should give it a try.
Apparently most freshman college students do not gain more weight than the same age young people who are not in college. So, it’s a myth that college students will gain 15 extra pounds their first year. Despite this, it is important that they eat healthy and make exercise a regular part of their lives. Students should eat 3 meals a day, limit unhealthy snacks and exercise several times a week. Many college students drink a lot of beer which is many empty calories which can cause them to gain weight. I’m encouraged that college freshman aren’t at greater risk than other young people for gaining weight.
I was advising a young person about her birth control options recently. Of course we visited www.Bedsider.org to look at what methods could work for her. It was helpful to show her pictures of the different types and she seemed to appreciate that not every method works for everyone and she had to figure out what was best for her. In the end she decided that she would restart birth control because she knew that she was going to have sex and knew that she didn’t want to be pregnant. If only everyone was as thoughtful as she is!