Facebook has added some suicide prevention features such as resources, advice, and support to anyone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. They also provide help for friends of someone who may express suicidal thoughts. Learn more about these features here, https://www.yahoo.com/health/what-facebooks-doing-to-help-prevent-suicide-112143733727.html?src=rss.
A recent study showed that since the school lunch nutritional guidelines changed in 2012 in order to encourage students to eat more fruit, children have been choosing more fruit. Two thirds of students surveyed choose fruit, up from about half in 2012. Also, students eat most of the healthy food offered which means there is less waste. I’m not surprised. If children and young people are offered healthy food, why wouldn’t they eat it? Maybe not away, but with time they’ll develop the taste for healthy foods-we just have to keep the junk food away from them.
“But meet them halfway with love, peace and persuasion
And expect them to rise for the occasion”
From Glad Tidings by the singer Van Morrison
I visited the original Muscle Beach today and was inspired by all of the people who stop by to work out for free. There were people who looked like tourists working out, alongside people who looked like they stopped by after work and school. The thought that kept running through my mind was how if you build it, they will come. By that I mean that it’s hard to keep people from using exercise equipment that’s free and accessible. There may be places in your community where you can exercise for free-use it and make it your own Muscle Beach.
This year’s Super Bowl was great. It was suspenseful and featured a great play by a young person, Malcolm Butler, who has had a difficult life. Here’s what his college coach had to say about him.
“He’s never had anything given to him,” Hall said. “Anything he’s got in his life, he’s had to work for and get for himself. You see a lot of guys that are in that situation, and they go the other way. Malcolm realized early on no matter what hand you’re dealt, you’re responsible for your success and failures. Just like all of us, as he grew and got older, he realized what mattered.”
What really matters to you?
You may have heard that there are a number of cases of measles around the US. Yes, measles! Why are we seeing cases of measles? Because many people aren’t vaccinated which means that they could get and spread measles. Why don’t people get vaccinated? Because people believe the myth that vaccines are harmful. Yes, there are very, very rare cases of vaccine reactions, but most people who get vaccinated do well. Why don’t people believe this? Who knows.
What is FFVP? The Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Nutrition Services explains:
“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federal grant program that provides a fresh fruit or vegetable snack to all students in qualifying elementary schools. It’s a great way to get students excited about eating healthy and trying new fruits and vegetables!”
Here’s information from MPS about clementines offered by this program-yum!
I was talking to a young person who didn’t do as well on an exam as they wished when someone else in the conversation remembered a quote from J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. In her 2008 commencement address at Harvard she spoke about failure and how it helped her. Here is a part of that great speech,
“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”
Those e-cigarette manufacturers say they aren’t trying to get young people to use their products, but this doesn’t seem to be true. These companies work to get as many people as possible to use their products and that includes young people. So, don’t believe them when they say they are only advertising to adults-don’t believe the hype.
This year I hope that you resolve to make the small changes that have a big impact. An example of a small change that has a big impact is when someone chooses to drink a little more water and a little less soda. This change can improve your weight, not right away-but keep it up and you will notice a difference.
Another New Year’s resolution I offer to you-eat more fiber and drink more water, so that you can poop more. I know some may be surprised that I’m suggesting you make a New Year’s resolution of pooping, but those people would be surprised at how many young people don’t eat enough fiber, drink enough water and end up with constipation. It’s also important to give yourself time to poop. Most young people may feel like they need to poop at school, but don’t feel comfortable doing that, so it’s really important that they take the time to poop at home. After dinner is a good time.
So, maybe this is a bit of a strange resolution, but do as I recommend and you’ll feel a lot better this whole year.
Over the next few days I’m going to list my New Year’s resolutions. Not my New Year’s resolutions, but my New Year’s resolutions for all of you. First, I resolve that all of you will get enough sleep. I have written over and over again about the importance of sleep on health and academic performance. Teens need 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night but so few get this amount. I know that school starts too early for most teens, but help your sleep health by putting away the computer and all screens early enough at night so that you can wind down.
The great author Walter Dean Myers died this year. He wrote more than 100 books for young people, including Monster and Bad Boy. Four months before he died Myers wrote an essay, “Where Are the Children of Color in Children’s Books” for the New York Times. Here is a quote from that essay that comments not only on the lack of diversity in literature, but speaks to larger issues of racism and disenfranchisement of so many young people in our increasingly diverse nation.
“I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do when I wrote about poor inner-city children — to make them human in the eyes of readers and, especially, in their own eyes. I need to make them feel as if they are part of America’s dream, that all the rhetoric is meant for them, and that they are wanted in this country.”
Walter Dean Meyers, age 11
It can be really hard to eat healthy at a fast food restaurant and, unfortunately, it’s easy to eat poorly. In fact, it can be easy to eat all of the calories you should eat in a day in just one meal. Here’s an article from the New York Times that shows what 2,000 calories or a day’s calories looks like http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/22/upshot/what-2000-calories-looks-like.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=mini-moth®ion=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below&abt=0002&abg=1.
I saw this quote at the gym while I was exercising today, “7 days without exercise equals 1 weak.” I prefer to be strong, how about you?
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?