The other day I saw a young person with headphones on, typing on his cell phone, while riding a bike on a freeway overpass. Was he a stunt person? No. Was he doing something foolish and dangerous? Absolutely. I suppose those of us driving by were in danger because we were distracted as we stared at him in horror, but he was the person most at risk. I hope he arrived where he was going safely, and I hope that he and others distracted by their electronic devices learn that the text, the Facebook message, the phone call can wait.
In my state chlamydia rates have risen. One reason for this is that sexually active teens are not getting tested for chlamydia because they don’t want their parents to find out. Well, in many states teens can get care for sexually transmitted infections without parental permission. This means that the care has to be confidential. So, there really isn’t any reason a teen shouldn’t get tested.
A recent study found that people are more likely to remember a lecture if they take note by hand versus on a laptop. Apparently, when you type notes you are just transcribing them, but when you write out notes you are more likely to think about what you are hearing.
I really believe that we can stop rape because of the work of many groups to fight against sexual assault and violence of any sort. Men Can Stop Rape has been around since 1997 and their motto is “Creating Cultures Free from Violence.” Here’s a poster from Men Can Stop Rape that explains how to step in to protect someone.
There was a lot of news about ways to decrease sexual assaults, with a focus on college campuses. Here is a public service announcement just released that asks all of us, but men in particular to step in, step up, to keep sexual assaults from happening.
MakeItOK.org aims to educate about mental illness and remove the stigma surrounding mental illness by encouraging people to talk more about it. This site can help with this because it has ideas about what to say and not to say about mental illness.
I had the good fortune to meet some of this year’s winners of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, the goal of which is “To promote harmony, understanding, and respect among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school age students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities.” One young man was one of this year’s winners for doing several things in his community including fostering conversations between people of different cultures. If you are doing this type of work in your community, you should apply for the Prize. The deadline for 2015 isn’t until January 31, 2015, so you have a lot of time.
I read an article today that explained why sleep is so important to athletes. Apparently, sports teams are learning that giving players time to sleep is important for winning, even when it means giving up a practice. Sleep seems to help athletes stay aggressive, among other things. So again we have evidence that if you want to perform well, academically or athletically, make sure to get many good nights of sleep.
It turns out that if you want to encourage children and young people to eat healthy you should not, I repeat, not restrict what they eat. On the contrary, you should provide healthy foods and encourage them, and people of all ages, to learn how to listen to their what their bodies are telling them. What that means is someone has to learn when they have eaten enough and what is healthy and is not healthy. But, hiding food and telling someone they must only eat certain foods will not lead to a healthy diet, in fact it may lead to someone who eats too much unhealthy foods.
Sparkling juices can be loaded with sugar and calories. Here’s a great recipe for low-calorie sparkling juice I found on the Harvard School of Public Health website: Mix 12 ounces of sparkling water with 2 ounces of juice. Add sliced fruit for extra flavor. Of course, water is best when you are thirsty, but this is a nice alternative.
Many young people have high cholesterol, so I was happy to find a great article about high cholesterol from the Center for Young Women’s Health. You can find it here http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/cholesterol2.html. This article has this table of good, lower cholesterol food choices. In the end though, most people can lower their cholesterol by cutting out crap like Takis, Hot Cheetos, and that kind of stuff.
I have met many young people who are successful in school, work, or sports not because of talent, but because of hard work. Yes, they may be talented, but more than anything they know that they have to spend hours studying, learning a job or practicing their sport in order to be successful. I have seen over and over again that hard work beats talent every time.
Oh, honestly-why couldn’t e-cigarette companies do the right thing and only target those people who need help quitting smoking. Why are they targeting young people in order to get them to start smoking? These companies say that they aren’t doing this, but increasingly this seems like what’s happening. Well, hopefully the Food and Drug Administration will step in and regulate e-cigarette companies so that they cannot target young people. Until then, young people need to be as smart with e-cigarettes as they are with regular cigarettes and not get tricked into a tobacco addiction.
Today, I have been thinking about how hard it is for gay athletes to be open about their sexuality and I wonder when this will change. I mean, if I was a coach or player, I’d be more concerned about someone’s ability on the field or court, not whether they were attracted to men or women. As a fan, if this is not the case and whether someone is gay or not is what matters, you have lost my support.
You Can Play is an organization that wants athletes to be judged on how they play, not on whom they love. Their motto is, “If you can play, you can play.” Here’s more from You Can Play.
You probably heard that Derrick Gordon, a University of Massachusetts sophomore who plays basketball, came out this week. Tyler Bergantino, one of his teammates, said that Gordon “looked happier, stress-free, like that was the real him,” before he told his team he was gay. I guess when you don’t have to hide your true self you look happier because you’re free. Here’s the link to Gordon’s interview with ESPN, http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:10750463. Please watch it, you’ll see that Gordon is a remarkable young man.
A young person I spoke with today cannot use his computer because it was overwhelmed by viruses. This made me think about computer safety. I found this video about safe use of free Wi-Fi. I hope this helps keep your computer healthy.
If you want some inspiration to get up, sing and dance-check out www.wearehappyfrom.com. This site has tons of videos of people dancing to Pharrell’s Happy. I didn’t so many people around the world knew how to moonwalk, do the robot and break dance!
If this Pharrell video doesn’t get you moving then nothing will.
Have you heard of a reproductive life plan? When you complete a reproductive life plan you decide when you plan on becoming sexually active, whether and when you plan on having children, and encourages you to think about how you will remain sexually healthy, through abstinence, contraception, and protection against sexually transmitted infections. Why don’t you plan your reproductive life?–You will probably find that you are healthier and happier.
I read something interesting today about why it is important to discuss pregnancy prevention and reproductive health with young men-it’s because men are 50% of any pregnancy usually. This makes me wonder whether we would have fewer young people getting pregnant if health care providers took time to talk about reproductive health with both young women and men.
If you don’t have exercise clothes or shoes can you still exercise? Absolutely-there are lots of things you can do. Here’s a few: walk up stairs, run up stairs, jog around the block, run on a track, play basketball, play soccer, play touch football, play baseball, play street hockey, jump rope, skateboard, ride a bike, ride a scooter, play volleyball, play badminton, play tennis, play softball, run on a treadmill, dance, dance a jig, do sit-ups, do jumping jacks, do push-ups, help someone move, mow the grass, shovel the snow, throw a frisbee, play ultimate frisbee, play golf, carry a golf bag, play mini-golf, play dodge ball, go lawn bowling, try bocce, do double dutch, do somersaults…well, I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
The crazy push to legalize marijuana is sweeping across the country and it is going to make it even harder for parents to help their young people stay away from marijuana. There is help. Marijuana is legal in Washington state and adolescent experts there have developed a parent’s guide to preventing underage marijuana use. You can find it here http://learnaboutmarijuanawa.org/parentpreventionbooklet2013.pdf.
Someone told me about Teenology 101. This is a blog about teen health issues for adolescents and those who care for them from Seattle Children’s Hospital adolescent health experts. The most recent post is on road awareness and I really like the post about 7 tips for de-stressing teens. There is so much to learn from Teenology 101.
Do you want to be the person who makes the buzzer beater, the person who can figure out the answer when no one else can? Well, here’s how the coach of a college basketball team that just advanced in the NCAA March Madness tourney describes his player who made the last second winning shot-he said that the player does not fear the big moment because he has worked on his game for many hours. You want to be the buzzer beater, the person who knows the answer? Work for many hours on your game.
One of the most important things parents can do to encourage their teen to responsibly use their cell phones is to responsibly use their cells. Parents need to be able to say to their teens, “Do both what I say and what I do.” So, parents, put your cell phones away during meals, don’t peek at your phone when someone is talking with you, and absolutely never text and drive.
“Female beauty is not a zero-sum game, a scarce commodity, or something only some of us are allowed to have. We have to think ourselves beautiful-not prettier than or less pretty. We have to believe that female beauty is limitless, and love our bodies for their own sake.”
Maya Rupert, policy director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
Image of the mumps virus
Occasionally there are outbreaks of mumps at universities and now there is one at Ohio State University. People who get mumps usually recover in 1-2 weeks, but they can feels really crummy before they get better. Most people are vaccinated against mumps, but of course there are those with strange fears about vaccines who did not get a mumps vaccine and they are the ones who could get really sick. I feel bad for them, but mostly I hope that they and others learn about the importance of getting and remaining vaccinated.
In respond to the push to legalize marijuana a recent article written by health and public safety experts listed the dangers of weed. Here they are:
• Marijuana can disrupt learning and impair memory;
• Marijuana can exacerbate mental illness;
• Marijuana can increase blood pressure, heart rate and heart-attack risk;
• Marijuana use during pregnancy can harm a baby’s brain development;
• Marijuana can impair drivers, causing automobile crashes that kill or injure innocent people;
• Medical marijuana products — where they are legal for medical purposes — can be inaccurately labeled, contain variable levels of the active ingredients, or even contain contaminants such as fungi and pesticides; and
• Marijuana is addictive; 1 in 6 of those who start using in their teens develop dependency.
Every young person I know who uses illegal drugs are in some sort of trouble,such as doing badly in school, having trouble with the law, arguing with their parents. But, maybe you’re someone who abused drugs but then got help so that you could stop. The Partnership at Drugfree.org wants to hear your story of recovery from drug use. Learn more here:
I wrote about City Year yesterday. The name is inspiring-just like a young person has their freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year, this program envisions all youth spending one year, a “city year” providing service to others. City Year wants all youth to be asked, “Where are you going to do your service year?”
A young person I know will be working for City Year beginning later this year. City Year young people work to decrease the number of students who drop out of high school by improving student attendance, behavior and grades in Math and English. Here’s a video with more information. This is such an inspiring program.
I read the following on the City Year website: Ubuntu—a term borrowed from the Zulu tribe of South Africa—means “I am a person through other people; my humanity is tied to yours.” I was moved by the saying and by the work of City Year. I’ll write more about City Year soon.
I must admit that until just recently I had forgotten about Alateen, the support group for teens who have family members with drinking problems. I thought about Alateen recently because I have met several young people with parents who have drinking problems. These young people are in tough situations-Alateen can help. Find a meeting here: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/local-meetings.
Have you heard about Lammily? It’s a doll that Nickolay Lamm wants to develop. What would be so special about this doll? Well, she would have the body proportions of an average 19-year-old woman. Here’s how she would look compared to the abnormally proportioned Barbie that we are used to. Lamm is right on when he says that “average is beautiful.”
A young person I know asked me whether she should buy Lipozene. I hadn’t heard about Lipozene but then I saw a commercial for it late one night which of course made me think that the only thing you would lose by buying Lipozene was your hard-earned money. Lipozene is fiber and the way it’s supposed to work is by making you feel full so that you eat less. I don’t think there is any proof that this actually happens when you take Lipozene at the doses recommended by the company. In fact if you take enough Lipozene to feel full you’ll probably feel bloated and sick. On the flip side, taking Lipozene, like taking fiber other ways can help with constipation. But who wants to pay $30 for 10 days of Lipozene when you can get fiber other, healthier ways? How? Eat an apple.
A young lady I know was telling me how guilty she felt because even though she is trying to lose weight she starting eating a piece of cake one day. What did she do then? She didn’t eat the whole piece of cake and then went to the gym to exercise that night. Now, I don’t think that every time you eat something you shouldn’t you need to run to exercise, but there is a way to recover when you slip. This is what this young lady did and now she’s back on the road to getting healthier.
I found this funny video of the First Lady and Will Ferrell conducting a “focus group” with little kids about nutrition. It’s fun to watch and it’s inspiring to see the number of celebrities who are committed to the Let’s Move campaign and helping all of us be healthier.