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Posts Tagged ‘healthy choices’

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If you are at all like me, you were anxious to get outside last weekend and enjoy the beginnings of spring! Whether you took a long walk, rode your bike or spent some time cleaning up your yard after a long hard winter, you can probably fill in the blank above with “Back”, ‘Legs”, “Neck”, etc.

It is amazing how muscles and joints that we don’t normally even think about can suddenly command our attention. The soreness and stiffness that we sometimes experience can make us hesitant to jump back into these activities again – but don’t give up! Learning more about preventing and treating sore muscles and aching joints will allow you to continue with the activities you enjoy.

There are several causes for sore muscles. It might be doing an activity that you are not used to or suddenly increasing the intensity of an activity. These changes can cause microdamage to the muscle fibers and connective tissue. It usually doesn’t hurt right away but about a day later you may start feeling sore. The good news is that it will ease in a day or two and the next time you do the activity, your muscles will start to get used to the movement and will become stronger and you’ll become less sore.

Pain in your joints is often a sign of osteoarthritis. The cartilage that cushions the joints wears away and can lead to increased pain with use of that joint. Pain can be caused by overuse or injury.

One way to help prevent sore muscles is through stretching. It is important to stretch properly.

Here are some stretching tips:

  • Stretching should never be painful but should cause your muscle to feel comfortably stretched but never distressed.
  • Take your time and ease into each stretch.
  • Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds and perform the stretch three times.
  • Breathe naturally when you are stretching – never hold your breath!

Always consult your physician before any type of physical activity – including stretching.

If you do have a sore muscle, most experts recommend using ice wrapped in a thin towel for immediate relief. This will help reduce inflammation then you can use heat later to increase blood flow to the area. Heat is often helpful for joint pain.

So, go outside, enjoy the warm spring weather that has finally arrived. But remember, ease into new activities to avoid the aches and pains!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

 

Sources: Managing Sore Muscles and Joint Pain.

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/art- sore-muscles-joint-pain

Stretching and Flexibility as We Age

http://ohioline.osu.edu/ss-fact/0171.html

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Are you eating wheat products?  Lately, the news has included many stories on how wheat is bad for you causing abdominal fat, triggering diseasewheat and breads, and being linked with Alzheimer’s, headaches, depression and others.

If all that is true why is wheat recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, by nutrition experts and American Heart Association?   Isn’t it a part of the Mediterranean Diet which is highly recommended by nutrition professionals.

Does wheat contribute to abdominal fat or belly fat?  High consumption of refined grains has been associated with greater belly fat in studies.  However, lower belly fat has been associated with the consumption of eating whole grains including whole wheat.  Thus, whole grains including whole wheat do not seem to be the problem.  The problem is our consumption of refined grains.  Cutting out processed foods made with refined wheat (wheat flour, white flour, enriched wheat flour, all-purpose flour) and loaded with sugar and saturated fat will help us all avoid or limit the “wheat belly.”   Limit your consumption of cookies, cakes, pastries, crackers, and white bread.

So what about the other charges on mental effects?  Research has shown that both the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet lower the risk of dementia.  Both diets include consumption of whole grains including whole wheat.  Following those diets showed better cognitive ability in adults ages 65 and up over a period of 11 years.  It is true higher glucose levels from too many carbohydrates is a risk factor for dementia, but cutting out all carbohydrates is not the answer either.  Our brain needs glucose (Carbohydrates break down to glucose in our body.) for energy as it does not store glucose.  Thus, diets low in carbohydrates can hurt our thinking and memory.

Again, it is important to eat whole grains.  Whole grains including whole wheat can provide the glucose needed for our brain.   Whole grains including whole wheat breaks down more slowly than simple carbohydrates like refined grains and sugar.

Whole grains also provide fiber.   Consuming the recommended amount of dietary fiber without whole grains would be very difficult.  Gluten-free diets usually only contain six gram of dietary fiber a day, a lot less than the 25-38 grams recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

Do cwhole-grain-stamphoose a variety of whole grains but including whole wheat, unless you need a gluten-free diet.  When shopping be sure to choose products made with “whole wheat” or “whole-grain wheat.”  You can also look for the 100% Stamp from the Whole Grains Council on foods made with all whole grains.

Note:  If your doctor recommends you follow a gluten-free diet, please continue to follow your doctor’s advice.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Ohio State University Extension, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences

Reviewed by:   Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Tufts University, [2014].  The truth about the war on wheat, Tufts University Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Health & Nutrition Letter, March 2014 Special Supplement, p. 1-4.

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blogchem

When choosing foods we eat, the texture, moistness, taste, color, nutrient content, and cost are all important. It can be easy to determine if we want to buy foods based off the food label, but what about home cooked foods- especially if we are the culpable chef? Can I decrease the amount of sugar without jeopardizing the signature sweet taste? What happens if I replace the oil with yogurt? The cooking fun starts with the wiggle room every recipe allows for healthy ingredient swaps, or modified amounts of familiar add-ins.

The Ohio State University Extension office supplies a factsheet on this very topic. In it contains ingredients to use instead of the unhealthy versions, along with ways to reduce sodium, fat, and sugar, and how to increase fiber, provided by this link: http://go.osu.edu/factsheet. For example, sugar is important in recipes to increase tenderness, color and taste but it still can be reduced without a noticeable defect. Being creative with what to add to the recipe can also be fun. Adding spices, for example, can reduce the need for salt and add more flavors.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, formally known as the DASH diet, is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute’s plan for decreasing blood pressure by the foods we eat. They posted a recipe that combines the low-sodium foods of the DASH diet along with the beauty of swapping higher fat foods (like mayo) with yogurt. The recipe also uses spices and herbs to generate flavor loss from higher fat ingredients.

Yogurt Salad Dressing
8 oz plain yogurt, fat-free
1/4 cup mayonnaise, low-fat
2 Tbsp chives, dried
2 Tbsp dill, dried
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients in bowl and refrigerate.
Makes 5 servings
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp

Written by Rachel Tobe,B.S. Dietetics Food and Nutrition, Intern with Wood County Family and Consumer Sciences

Reviewer : Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, Erie Basin EERA, zies.1@osu.edu

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Laptop on Kitchen Table with Cup of CoffeeShould you eat lunch at your desk?

Do you find yourself eating at your desk at work more and more often?  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that at least 83% of Americans eat at their desk several times a week. While many of us would prefer to have lunch with a friend or at least go out for lunch, we often find ourselves “too busy” to do so.

So is eating at your desk healthy?  When we eat at our desk, we often are totally unaware of just what and how much we are eating. We’re not focused on the food as we answer emails, sort papers and answer phone calls. But you can make healthy choices by bringing your lunch from home and avoiding take-out lunches which can tend to have excess calories, fat, and sodium and are often lacking in nutrients. Some healthy lunch choices could include:

  • A salad with added protein and fiber – some leftover chicken, healthy beans and/or nuts.
  • A whole grain wrap filled with veggies.
  • Homemade or low-sodium prepared soup that you can heat in the microwave.
  • Yogurt with added fruit and granola.
  • A sweet potato or fresh vegetables that you can pop into the microwave.
  • Water with a slice of lemon, lime or orange.
  • For a sweet ending to your lunch, fresh fruit makes a great dessert.

If you are bringing your lunch from home, use an insulated lunch bag with a freezer pack to keep your food cold until you can put it in the refrigerator at work. You want to be sure and wash your hands before eating your lunch and clean your desk top. According to an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics survey only 36 percent of survey respondents said they clean their work areas, desktop, mouse and keyboard on a weekly basis; 64 percent said they do so on a monthly basis or less.

A 2007 study from the University of Arizona found that desktops have 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!

So, if you are going to eat at your desk, take a few minutes to disinfect the area before opening your food. Once you start eating, avoid touching your phone, mouse,
etc. as you could be constantly re-contaminating your food.  You might also use a placemat or at least a paper towel under your lunch for added protection!

To answer the question, eating at your desk is not the healthiest activity!  Not only are you likely to eat more unhealthy foods, you are risking contaminating your food and potentially becoming ill. Take a little time for yourself at lunch time – walk to the kitchen or break room, invite a co-worker to join you and enjoy that healthy lunch you have prepared!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/7-tips-eating-while-you-work

http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=6442464916&terms=lunch%20food%20safety#.Uwd2PMYo7DQ

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YogaFor many of us this has been a long, hard winter. It can be a challenge to participate in physical activity outside when the weather is severe.  I’ve been enjoying the Olympics and am always amazed at the dedication and drive of the Olympic athletes. Perhaps you can use this as motivation to get moving again. According to Center for Disease Control, only about half (48%) of adults get enough aerobic physical activity to improve their health. Aerobic activities like brisk walking, running, swimming and bicycling make you breathe harder and make your heart and blood vessels healthier. I recently started walking inside for 30 minutes each day and have noticed these benefits: improved mood, more energy, less fatigue, and less arthritis discomfort.

What can you do?  Get creative and find ways to move more. Here are some suggestions from www.MyPlate.gov

  • Walk the mall.  If you have an in-door mall, become a mall walker.  Join a walking group.  A partner can provide support and encouragement.  Sometimes it helps to have someone give you the “push” to participate.  You will enjoy seeing the store windows and people as you burn calories and exercise in this safe environment.
  • Walk inside – our local regional campus has an upstairs walking area with a nice comfortable and safe walking surface. 12 laps around the top and you have walked a mile. You can also measure the minutes you walk.  Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Walk up and down the sidelines while your kids are practicing or playing sports.
  • Walk your dog. Make sure you walk for at least 10 minutes to receive health benefits. A walk before and after work brings you 20 minutes closer to a 30 minute daily goal.
  • Move to a fitness DVD or play an active fitness game.
  • Do stretches, exercises or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.
  • View the snow as a physical activity opportunity:  shovel your sidewalk or build a snowman.
  •  At work, sit on an exercise ball for several minutes each day. This will help your posture and strengthen your core.
  • Use a fit band and stretch during webinars.
  • Stand up while talking on the phone. Standing burns more calories and can re-energize you if you spend a big part of your day sitting behind a desk.
  • Take a walk break instead of a coffee break. Walk the stairs at work – perhaps you walk up or down a flight of stairs each time you have to go to the restroom.

How much activity do I need?
Remember that adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week (aim for 30 minutes on 5 days).  Also, aim for muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Walking at work

Get Started and Enjoy the Many Benefits of Physical Activity.   The more you move, the more benefits you will experience. For example:

·         More Energy

·         Improved Sleeping Patterns

·         Improved Moods

·         Weight Maintenance or Loss

·         Improved Self Esteem

·         Increase your Chances of Living Longer

·         Strong, Healthy Body

·         Move Around More Easily

·         Improved Metabolism

What benefits do you see when you are physically active?  Share your ideas with us in the comments.

Sources:

http://myplate.gov/physical-activity/why.html

http://myplate.gov/physical-activity/amount.html

http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/Walking/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html

Author: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

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Cheeseburger

Life does not slow down in the fast food lane for most families. With value menus and drive through windows, eating out can be a convenient and economical option for busy families. However, with obesity and chronic diseases reaching epidemic rates, it is important that families make informed choices. Setting good examples and teaching children how to make healthy choices in restaurants are important lessons in today’s day and age. Here are a few healthy tips when eating out:

 Reduce fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol

  • Choose plain burgers, or beef or grilled chicken sandwiches; leave off the sauce, mayonnaise, cheese, and bacon.
  • Choose regular yellow mustard.
  • Avoid or limit fried foods—fish, chicken, French fries, onion rings, etc.
  • Select broiled or grilled instead of fried.
  • Drink water or 1% or skim milk.
  • Order your tacos on a plain soft tortilla.
  • Skip croissants and biscuits.
  • Eat raw veggies and green salads with a low-fat oil-based dressing.
  • Choose small portions; don’t choose a large or up-sized value meal.
  • Skip dessert.

Limit sugar

  • Use less ketchup, pickle relish, honey mustard, jelly, honey, BBQ sauce, etc.
  • Avoid gelatin salads.
  • Avoid sweetened fruits at the salad bar—use fresh fruit instead.
  • Avoid sweetened soft drinks and shakes—ask for milk, water
  • Skip sweet desserts.

Limit sodium

  • Say no to pickles.
  • Limit salad dressings—use a lemon wedge instead.
  • Avoid processed poultry and meat (chicken nuggets, some roast beef).
  • Limit sausage, ham, bacon, and biscuits.
  • Don’t add table salt to meals.
  • Limit cheese.

 Increase fiber

  • Choose fresh vegetables and fruits at the salad bar.
  • Select sandwiches with tomatoes and lettuce.
  • Choose whole grain or multi-grain buns.
  • Eat baked potatoes and the skins—go easy on the toppings.
  • Choose foods that include dry beans—burritos, chili, salad bar toppings.

Other tips to remember

  • Breakfasts are easy to make at home; buy prepackaged 6-ounce yogurts and have quick items such as cereals, bagels, English muffins, juice, and milk on hand.
  • Frozen, low-fat healthy meals that are microwaveable will provide correct serving sizes and are easy to prepare. These are convenient meals for lunch or dinner.
  • Weekly meals should be a combination of quick cooking ideas, frozen dinners, and supplemental foods      (fresh, frozen, canned, and deli). Try to limit eating out when possible.
  • Choose a lighter option such as fresh salads with grilled chicken, fruit bowls with low-fat yogurt, or substituting a side salad or plain baked potato for French fries.
  • Check out www.MyPlate.gov for individualized recommendations based on age, gender, and activity level.
  • Consider new apps that will help you understand nutrition information. Apps such as Calorie King and MyFitnessPal are a few examples that are popular.

Don’t think that you have use all of these tips to stay health, but remember even small changes add up over time. For example, just drinking water instead of a regular cola twice a week translates into avoiding about 130 pounds of sugar a year!

Writer: Daniel Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition & Wellness, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Adapted from OSU Extension Factsheet HYG-5555-06.

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heart attack

Heart disease is an epidemic as the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports around 715,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. While chest pain is recognized as a major heart attack symptom, there are other major symptoms that need to be recognized.

Heart Attack Defined

A heart attack usually occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through an artery that feeds blood to the heart. This may cause permanent damage to the heart muscle if not treated quickly. The most common cause of heart attacks is atherosclerosis or the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Less commonly, heart attacks can also occur as a result of very low blood pressure, drug use, a tear in the heart artery and small blood clots that travel to the heart from other parts of the body. Understanding the typical and not so obvious symptoms when a heart attack is occurring can be a matter of life and death.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

• Severe chest pain, pressure or tightness in the middle of the chest that lasts for
more than a few minutes or goes away and then comes back; sometimes mistaken for
heartburn
• Shortness of breath
• Pain that spreads to shoulders, neck, arms or jaw
• Cold sweat or sweating
• Feeling of indigestion, choking or heartburn
• Nausea or vomiting
• Feeling dizzy, light-headed or extremely weak
• Rapid or irregular heart beats

Warning signs for Women

• Sudden onset of weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting,
indigestion, body aches or overall feeling of illness
• Unusual feeling or mild discomfort in the back, chest, arm, neck or jaw without chest
pain
• Sleep disturbance

Always call 911 when you begin to have any symptoms of a heart attack. The key is to listen to your body and seek immediate medical treatment.

Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD. Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.
Reviewed by: Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA, shuster.24@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, Ohio State University Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA, lindimore.1@osu.edu

Resources: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/911-Warnings-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_305346_SubHomePage.jsp

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Oak Trees In the Snow at Dawn

We have all been shivering through the latest spell of nasty cold weather that is impacting much of the country. While temperatures may be rising a bit – anything over 20 seems balmy right now – we know that cold weather will be around for a while.  Let’s take a minute to think about ways that we can keep ourselves and our family safe.

What should you wear?

  • hat
  • scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
  • sleeves that are snug at the wrist
  • mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
  • water-resistant coat and shoes
  • several layers of loose-fitting clothing

Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Also, avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on your skin while de-icing and fueling your car or using a snow blower. These materials in contact with the skin greatly increase heat loss from the body.

 What should you eat?  We might not think that what we eat could be important to fight the dangers of cold weather, but it can be.

· Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer.

· Do not drink alcoholic beverages—they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet  beverages such as hot chocolate to help maintain your body temperature.

· If you have any dietary restrictions, talk to your doctor.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

  • Hypothermia occurs when the body gets cold and loses heat faster than the body can make it. Someone should seek medical attention immediately if they have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin. Frostbite refers to the freezing of body tissue (usually skin) that results when the blood vessels contract, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the affected body parts. Normal sensation is lost, and color changes also occur in these tissues.
  • Children and older adults are especially susceptible to these conditions. Keep an eye on them as they may not be aware that they are in danger

Remember your pets
· Bring them indoors if at all possible

· If they have to remain outside, provide shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to water that will not freeze.

These do’s and don’ts are common sense reminders that will help keep us safe and healthy even when mother nature is not cooperating!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:
http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/outdoorsafety.asp

http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/hypothermia-and-cold-temperature-exposure-topic-overview

http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/understanding-frostbite-basics

http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Offers-Safety-Steps-for-Extreme-Cold

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Tis the season for chocolate. Most of us love chocolate anytime of the year but from Halloween to Valentine’s Day, chocolate seems to be all around us.Chocolate

Is dark chocolate really good for you? Do the flavanols in chocolate really help you?

Chocolate or cocoa powder does have flavanols. The cocoa bean is a rich source of flavanols which are a group of phytochemicals in food.

However, depending on how the cocoa bean is processed many flavanols can be lost. Flavanols tend to be bitter tasting, so manufacturers roast, ferment, pulverize, and sometimes alkalinize the cocoa bean to improve taste. Thus, it is hard to know how much benefit is in that chocolate piece.

• Consuming a large amount of cocoa flavanols has produced benefits including improved endothelial function (dilation of the artery). This helps blood flow through the arteries and may help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Some promises of lowering blood pressure and improving brain function have been seen with consuming large amounts of chocolate.
• Sorry, but chocolate does not help you lose weight. Studies show the more chocolate you eat the more weight you gain.Cocoa

So, how do you get the benefits of the cocoa bean without gaining a lot of weight? Using or eating cocoa powder is your best source. Two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder will provide you with 200 mg of flavanols and about 20 calories. You could try adding it to your coffee, warm milk, oatmeal or yogurt. That is unsweetened, so if you add sweetener the calorie content will jump. To get 200 mg of flavanols you can choose baking chocolate (unsweetened) providing about 70 calories; 1-1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips providing 200 calories or 2 ounces of dark chocolate (at least 65%) with 320 calories. Forget milk chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate syrup as they have few flavanols and lots of calories.

Enjoy chocolate in moderation, yes benefits, but also calories.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

References:
Schardt, D. [2013]. How bittersweet it is, Nutrition Action HealthLetter, December 2013. 40(10). 8-11.
Zeratsky, K. [2012]. Can chocolate be good for my health? Available at http://mayoclinic.com

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lhlw zwg 2013 logo
Are you interested in maintaining your weight or even losing a few pounds during this holiday season? Could you use some encouragement and guidance but don’t have time to attend classes? Give our Zero Holiday Weight Gain holiday wellness challenge a try.

“Zero Holiday Weight Gain Challenge” is an on-line challenge designed to help participants get fit by encouraging regular exercise, nutrition, and wellness tips during the upcoming holiday season. Participants will receive weekly e-communications and have access to supplemental information available on Blogs and Facebook. All participant information is kept confidential.

Each week participants will receive free weekly e-communications, containing nutrition, health and fitness tips. Additional food and activity logs will be available for download to help participants track their progress. Pre- and post- online-survey assessments are used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.

Interested in participating in this on-line challenge? Sign up by following this link to enroll http://go.osu.edu/ZWGRoss, if you have participated in past Challenges – contact your Educator, or leave us a comment on the blog. You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of November 25. While Facebook™ will be available; participants only need to have an email address. The program is funded by Ohio State University Extension.

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