Archive for February, 2013

As spring weather approaches, many of us will be taking our exercise activities outside. Walking is one of the most popular and easiest ways for us to improve our health.  But, you won’t walk for long  if your feet are hurting. It is important that we have properly fitting shoes to protect our feet and make walking more enjoyable.

Here are some interesting foot facts that should convince us how important well fitting shoes are!2113shoes 001

• There are 26 bones in the foot – in fact, 25 percent of all the bones in the human body are found in the feet!

• There are more than 30 moving joints in the foot.

• We put more than 200 pounds of pressure on each foot with a step.

• In an average person lifetime they walk more than 115,000 miles.

What should you consider when purchasing new walking shoes?

The best time of day to shop for new shoes is later in the day, after you have been walking and your feet are the largest. The shoes you select should be comfortable and fit your feet well. If possible, have both feet measured to ensure a good fit – your feet are often slightly different sizes. Take your current walking shoes with you to the shoe store. A trained professional can look at the wear on your shoes to suggest a new pair that will provide the best support for your feet.

A walking shoe should be light weight and provide good shock absorption. A professional can help you sort through all of the different  features available in shoes to help you find the perfect shoe for you.  The shoe should conform to the shape of your foot – never try to have your foot conform to the shape of the shoe! Shoes that are too wide or too narrow can cause blisters and calluses.

The arches of your feet help distribute your  body weight evenly over your feet. There are three basic types of arches: neutral, low or high arches. If you have a neutral arch look for shoes with a firm midsole, a semi-curved last (the shape of the sole) and moderate rear-foot stability; those with low arches (sometimes called flat feet) should look for shoes that stabilize your foot and a straight last; and if you have high arches, you should look for shoes that have cushioning to absorb shock and a curved last.

Always try on both shoes and walk around the store in them to be sure they are comfortable and supportive.  Wear the same type of socks that you will wear when walking. Your heel should fit snugly in the shoe with no slipping.

Once you have found the perfect shoes for your feet, don’t forget that they should be replaced when they start to show signs of wear. Your shoes may still feel comfortable but may no longer cushion or support your feet. Never sacrifice your feet for fashion!

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

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.


The Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ00885_D

The Ohio State University Medical Center, http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/wound_care/Documents/Choosingtherightshoe.pdf

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,



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Strand of PearlsYou have a favorite necklace that was passed down to you from your grandmother. You realize that no one in your family knows the history of the piece – they don’t know if it was a gift from your grandfather to your grandmother on their 25th anniversary or if she got it from her parents for her 18th birthday. If this information isn’t written down or verbally shared, this important part of your family history may be lost.
Our lives are busy and often we don’t think about these things until someone passes on. Then we realize we wish we had our mom’s recipe for Thanksgiving dressing (stuffing) or apple pie. She made it from scratch and we thought it was written down but no one can find it.
Perhaps this year you can set aside some time to talk to your parents or grandparents about their lives. Ask the questions you always wanted to ask and record or document their answers. If they are willing – use a video camera, digital camera, or iPad to record their stories. There are even books available for grandparents to fill out which would also help guide you with some questions.
Think about an item you have in your possession – where will it be in 30 years? Where would you like for it to be?

Make your wishes known by sharing this information with family members, record it in your will, or tag the item for your loved one. Take time to talk to your family members and find out those special recipes, your family history and traditions.
Realize that personal belongings have different meanings to people. Perhaps you always wanted your grandmother’s handmade quilt. Before she passes on, talk to her about it. She may be thrilled that you honor her work and that you are interested in preserving that memory.QUILT

If you have a family reunion or gathering, take time to talk to your family members about special items that you’d like passed on. Find out the family recipes and write them down or see if you can make a copy of your mother or grandmother’s recipe cards. Preserve those memories for future generations.
Remember that everyone has property or possessions to transfer. While you are alive as the “current owner” of the property, you have the legal right to decide who gets what.
Begin now by communicating your goals to your family and talking about which items you want to transfer and how. Take simple steps to ensure that your items are distributed to those you want and your intentions are carried out. Write down or record those pieces of family history – you have something g valuable to pass on to future generations.


“Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?”  Minnesota Extension Service @ University of Minnesota


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

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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This month’s column on heart disease is timely because February is National Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. One out of every two Americans will die from something wrong with their heart.

The heart is the first organ to form in the womb. It is also one of the last to shut down. Your heart works hard pumping blood, beating over 100,000 times a day. You probably don’t think about your heartbeat very often; most of us take it for granted. But luckily for you, your heart continues to carry out the extremely vital job of pumping blood throughout your body whether you’re thinking about it or not. However, that doesn’t mean that you are off the hook when it comes to taking care of your heart. If you choose lifestyle behaviors that hurt your heart, such as smoking or eating a diet high in saturated fat, changes will occur in your heart that will make the task of moving blood around a lot more difficult. And once the heart is damaged, it can’t completely heal.

Your heart is a large muscular organ that needs daily activity to keep it running in peak condition. Being inactive is one of the top four risk factors for heart disease, along with smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. How does being physically active protect your heart? The benefits are numerous, but here are the “Big Four.”

1—Exercise makes the heart muscle stronger. You know that your dominant arm and hand are stronger than your non-dominant. I’m right handed, so my right arm is much stronger than my left because I use it all the time. The same thing is true for your heart. When you exercise, you strengthen the heart muscle. This is important because a strong heart can pump a greater volume of blood with less effort, so you get less wear and tear on the heart. You’ll also get a longer resting period between heartbeats.

2—Regular exercise helps keep arteries elastic (flexible). Arteries, like our bodies, become stiffer with age. When arteries become stiff and narrow, the result is high blood pressure. High blood pressure is not just a risk factor for heart disease, but also for stroke. Regular exercise helps arteries dilate (open up), improving blood flow.

3—Exercise improves your cholesterol levels. Exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL (bad) cholesterol to the liver, where it can be converted into bile or excreted. The more you move, the more LDL goes out of your body.heart

4—Exercise may give you a natural bypass. This is huge. Please commit this to memory. When plaque narrows an artery that feeds the heart, the body responds by building up other tiny blood vessels in the heart. Those collateral vessels grow more muscular and become more connected as they begin to reroute and take on more of the work. Scientists now realize that exercise helps those collateral blood vessels elongate, widen, and form new connections. Basically what you are doing is rerouting your blood through the open vessels when the bigger arteries are closed off. It’s sort of like when you are driving and come to a detour. You can’t go the way you planned, so you make a series of twists and turns until you can get back on the road to your destination. Numerous studies show that exercise boosts those blood vessels; in essence giving you a natural bypass. However, for that to occur, you need to do more than a little bit of exercise. For example, you will need to walk briskly for 20-30 minutes several times a week.

Bottom Line? Being physically active helps your heart. Valentines’ Day may be over, but it’s never too late to give yourself a belated gift: 150 minutes of physical activity every week. Your heart will thank you.


Written by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewed by: Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D. Ohio State University Extension.

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Duplicate Image - RemovedIs your family spending enough time at the dinner table? I know if your family is anything like ours many nights are challenging between sports, meetings and other activities. But, new research out of the University of Illinois is studying the benefits of what a few extra minutes can do for health.
Researchers at the University of Illinois studied 200 family mealtimes and found a correlation between children’s weight and mealtime behaviors. Families who regularly sat down for family meals were more likely to have children with healthy weights than those whose mealtimes were shorter or who didn’t eat as a family at all.
Children in families that ate as a family at least four times per week for 20 minutes at a time weighed significantly less than the children of families who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes. In other words a few minutes, even as few as 3 to 5 minutes, may be able to make a big benefit in children’s health.
According to Barbara Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Program the factors that seem to be critical here are communication and the importance of scheduled mealtimes. These families who spent more days and time shared that the mealtimes were an important part of their family life and had a special meaning for them. Families who interacted more and had positive interactions were more likely to have children with normal weight.
Of course many other factors may be barriers and challenges, but making an attempt to sit together four times weekly should be a goal for families who are looking for an easy way to be healthier in 2013.
The researchers looked at lower-income families who had a more difficult time purchasing healthy food due to access. Even families with those issues showed a significant difference in weight when sitting at the table more often and for at least 20 minutes.
So what could those extra 3 to 5 minutes four times a week do? Children who are at a healthier weight may have a reduced chance of acquiring high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. Aren’t a few extra minutes worth such a great chance of improvement of health? Who will miss those extra 12 to 20 minutes a week? Let’s all make it a priority and test this out in our home laboratory.
Author: Liz Smith, Program Specialist SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialist SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension
SmartBrief for Nutritionists, Medical Daily. Jan. 2013

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New Year’s resolutions are plentiful on January 1st, but most people are rarely able to stick with them for long. Best intentions are soon replaced by forgetfulness and a lack of motivation. But what if you could combine several of the most common resolutions into one package that only takes about 40 minutes per day? And what if those 40 minutes of your day were just being wasted?
Consider these three resolutions for 2013, even though it’s already Valentine’s Day:TV Remote Control
• Exercise more
• Keep the house tidier
• Waste less time watching TV
Try this. Tonight, while watching television, jump up at every commercial and hurry to another room to tidy up a mess, fold laundry, do dishes, transport displaced stuff to where it belongs, or grab a handful of trash out of an overstuffed junk drawer and throw it away. Then back to the TV, if your task takes you up and down the stairs, even better.
The average American watches 4 hours of television every night according to the A.C. Nielsen Co. While many people might be unwilling to admit to that amount, most will acknowledge a couple of hours most evenings. So consider what you can do with the commercial time of a two hour television movie which is approximately 80 minutes of movie and 40 minutes advertisements. Forty minutes is plenty of time to get things done. Those 40 minutes, even 3 to 5 minutes at a time, can add up to serious calories spent; muscles exercised; counters and kitchen tables cleared; and desktops organized – as well as far less sedentary time spent on the sofa glued to the TV.
The Harvard Health Newsletter indicates that an average person can burn 130-345 calories in 40 minutes doing light to heavy household activities. Compare that to 37 calories burned while watching television for 40 minutes. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. Four nights of the television commercial exercise plan adds up to about 160 minutes!
So, get busy watching TV.

Author: Polly Loy, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Belmont County/Buckeye Hills EERA, loy.1@osu.edu.

Resource: Harvard Health Newsletter

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

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yogurtWe’ve all heard the adage “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” to keep our weight in balance. But is there any truth to the advice? A recent study conducted by Frank Scheer, an associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University in Boston joined researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain to study 420 overweight and obese men and women who participated in a 20-week weight-loss program. The average age of the volunteers was 42.

Since the mid-day meal is typically one of the largest meals of the day in the Mediterranean culture, the study participants consumed about 40% of their daily calories for lunch (approximately 550-700 calories). The group was then divided into “early” eaters – those who ate lunch before 3:00 p.m. – and “late” eaters -those who ate lunch after 3:00 p.m. There was no difference between the amount of calories that each group consumed; the overall average was about 1400 calories per day. Energy expenditure was also similar between the two groups. Results reported in the January 29 2013 edition of The International Journal of Obesity suggest there may be some truth to the age-old advice of eating more earlier in the day to control your weight. On average the group who ate an early lunch lost 22 pounds while the group who ate later in the day lost 17. The “later” group also tended to skip breakfast and had a lower sensitivity to insulin, which may lead to diabetes.

While the study has its limitations, these findings do provide evidence to support the following dietary guidance:

• Eat breakfast! It really is the most important meal of the day. If you don’t have an appetite in the morning and find it difficult to eat, try experimenting with small amounts of various types of healthy foods.

• Try high protein foods for breakfast, such as eggs, lean meats, or Greek yogurt. You’ll find these foods will not leave you feeling hungry mid-morning, like a doughnut or pastry would. Compliment your meal with a bowl of fresh fruit and a glass of skim milk or 100% juice.

• If you enjoy a hearty meal, try eating a larger lunch earlier in the day. Lighten up dinner with a salad or vegetable, cup of soup and a small sandwich. While a calorie is a calorie no matter what time of day you eat, eating a more substantial lunch earlier in the day than a larger dinner later at night seems to be easier on your circadian rhythm and natural “body clock”. It also allows you time to expend excess calories before you go to bed. Should you get hungry at night, try eating a small snack.

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, EFNEP/FCS, Hamilton County.
Reviewed by: Carolyn Gunther, Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition; Liz Smith, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed.
Source: http://m.npr.org/news/U.S./170591028, http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/29/meal-times-may-affect-weight-loss-success/,

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Are you in charge of planning for your child’s school Valentine Party? It used to be pretty easy – bake some cupcakes, buy some pop or punch, open a bag of chips and maybe add some ice cream. Today, many schools are asking that primarily healthy foods be included in class parties. This doesn’t mean that cookies, cupcakes or candy are permanently banned from these celebrations but we really should think about including healthy foods as the star of the party!

What are some choices you could include that are healthy and also delicious? Think of MyPlate and try to include something from two or more sections. Be sure and check with your school on any restrictions they may have on parties and talk to the classroom teacher to see if there are any children with food allergies in the class.

  •  Fresh fruit is always a good  idea. Fruit could be cut up and placed on small skewers to make kabobs. These are fun for adults or children. Dried fruit or frozen fruit can be a  sweet treat!kabobs
  • Cut veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, or broccoli can be served with a low fat dip or dressing. Maybe introduce something new such as hummus as a healthy dip for the veggies.
  • Cheese served on whole-grain crackers is a great source of both the dairy and grains that our bodies need every day. Yogurt smoothies or parfaits that those at the event can make for themselves are fun and nutritious.
  • Pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers or low fat granola bars are tasty treats and also provide whole grain goodness for your body.  Trail mix is another great choice – it could be prepared ahead of time or those attending could measure and mix their own!
  • For drinks, why not have water, milk or 100% fruit juice as the choices.  The best choice for the milk would be low-fat or non-fat plain milk but low-fat flavored milk is also a healthy choice. You can make water more exciting by providing slices of fruit to add to the glass – lemons, strawberries, oranges and even apples add just a hint of flavor!

When you are planning the party, you might shift some of the emphasis from the food to other fun activities.

  • Children love to move – dancing, active games, and other activities get everyone moving. If you  join in the fun you are setting a great example for the children! It is  recommended that children be active at least 60 minutes most days and      adults 30 minutes.
  • Plan some quiet activities. Crafts and puzzles are sure to be crowd pleasers. Make sure you have all of your supplies and plenty of helpers. A treasure hunt can be a great group activity with non-food prizes awarded at the end.

Here are a couple of healthy, delicious, simple recipes that you could have the children help make.

Fruit Smoothie

1 cup low fat milk

1/2 cup apple juice

1 6oz container low fat plain yogurt

1 medium banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

Add all ingredients to a blender or food

processor. Cover and blend on high

speed until smooth (about 30 seconds).

Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Fruit Log

1 whole wheat tortilla

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1 medium banana

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Spread Peanut butter on tortilla.

Drizzle syrup on peanut butter. Roll banana up in the tortillas.

Cut into 4 equal pieces.

Serves 2

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County/Ohio Valley EERA


Healthy Celebrations   http://www.ohioactionforhealthykids.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/OAFHK-Healthy-Celebrations-at-School-1.pdf

Create Healthy, Active Celebrations http://www.fns.usda.gov/eatsmartplayhardhealthylifestyle/quickandeasy/celebrations.pdf

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