Archive for October, 2014


Walk into any convenience store, and you’ll see a wide variety of energy drinks to choose from. In recent years, news reports have brought attention to some of the consequences of their overuse. Some of these reports document emergency room visits related to mixing energy drinks and alcohol or teens having heart palpitations and dizziness. Some high schools around the nation have banned these products because so many students were “wired” on caffeine and many becoming ill. Are energy drinks as popular and as dangerous as the media portrays them to be? A factsheet from the University of California Cooperative Extension service explores the facts behind these popular products.

  • The term energy drink refers to beverages that contain caffeine in combination with other ingredients such as taurine, guarana, and B vitamins purported to supply consumers with extra energy.
  • Limited research suggests that energy drinks can improve physical and mental performance, improve driving ability when tired, and decrease mental fatigue after long periods of concentration. However, researchers do not know if these improvements are due to caffeine, herbal ingredients, or a combination of both.
  • An 8 ounce serving of energy drink can contain anywhere from 80 to 150 mg of caffeine. The caffeine content is more than that of sodas (22-46 mg per 8 oz serving) but more comparable to tea (48 to 175 mg per 8 oz serving) and brewed coffee (134-240 mg per 8 oz serving). The problem is that most cans contain 2-3 servings, often raising the caffeine intake to over 300 mg per can! Assuming that an adolescent consumes 3 cans per day, caffeine intake can easily exceed over 900 mg (comparable to 9 cups of coffee!)
  • Research has suggested that 400 mg or more of caffeine per day can result in nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms, decreased bone levels, and upset stomach.
  • Herbs such as guarana and ginseng can enhance the effects of caffeine. Guarana actually contains caffeine and adds to the total amount. Many of the herbs added to the energy drinks do not have the research based evidence to back up their functional claims.
  • Mixing alcohol and energy drinks can be a dangerous combination. Individuals on this mix are more alert but just as intoxicated. In addition, caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics, increasing the likelihood of dehydration and cardiovascular problems.
  • A study in the Journal of College Health suggests that energy drink consumption is associated with risk taking behavior such as unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence. Researchers point out that the findings don’t mean the drinks cause the behaviors, rather over consumption should be a red flag for parents that their children might be more likely to take risks.
  • A study of 78 youth (11-18 years) found that 42.3% of participants consumed energy drinks.
  • Although some beverages are sugar-free, in many the sugar content is comparable to soft drinks (30 g per 8 oz serving). However, since cans often contain 2-3 servings, sugar content could be as high as 90 g per can (equivalent to about 22.5 teaspoons of sugar)! Considering the high rates of obesity, this is another reason to moderate consumption.

Source: Nutrition and Health Info Sheet, produced by Karrie Heneman, and Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, Nutrition Science Specialist, Cooperative Extension, University of California- Davis at http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8265.pdf

Writer: Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Assistant Professor, Extension Educator


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Your girlfriend wants to know who you have been talking to, your boyfriend texts you repeatedly to see where you are or to stay in touch, your partner uses words to put you down, your spouse or partner hits and kicks you or you find yourself being stalked by a partner from your past.

What do these things have in common?

They are all types of Intimate Partner Violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner.
We know the problem exists and it is now time to speak up and speak out about this violence. Domestic violence affects every race, religion, gender, class and culture. According to http://Breakthecycle.org nearly 3 out of 4 Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

Women Supporting each other









Loveisrespect.org highlights these warning signs of potential abuse:
• Checking your cell phone or email without permission
• Constantly putting you down
• Extreme jealousy or insecurity
• Explosive temper
• Isolating you from family or friends
• Making false accusations
• Mood swings
• Physically hurting you in any way
• Possessiveness
• Telling you what to do
• Pressuring or forcing you to have sex
If you are experiencing any of these signs of abuse or if your gut feeling tells you something isn’t right, seek help right away. Talk to a friend, parent, family member, law enforcement officer, co-worker, counselor, or physician.

The website, http://www.LoveisRespect.org has information, resources and a peer advocate is available for a live chat or text messaging chat.

Text “loveis” to 22522 or call 1-866-331-9474.
Want to learn more? Check out the online Power and Control Wheel from the Love is Respect website

Power & Control Wheelhttp://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/power-and-control-wheel

The wheel allows you to navigate around the perimeter of the wheel and see information, short videos, talking points, and tips for different types of abuse. Use this interactive wheel to lead discussions with teens, young adults, or others.

Topics on the Power and Control Wheel include:

  • Isolation/Exclusion
  • Peer Pressure
  • Anger/Emotional
  • Using Social Status
  • Sexual Coercion
  •  Intimidation
  • Minimize/Deny/Blame
  • Threats

Remember, if you have the feeling that something isn’t right with your relationship, seek help and talk to someone about your concerns. Listen to the little voice that is telling you to make a change.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, 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


Understanding Intimate Partner Violence Fact Sheet, 2014, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control available from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/ipv_factsheet.html



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These days, most food products we buy are produced or packaged by a company that stamps on the food items a “sell by,” “use by,” or “best by” date. These dates are solely managed by industry, with no federal or state laws setting the length of time between when a food can be produced and/or packaged and the date placed on the package. These dates are not necessarily linked to the time by which the food must be eaten in order to be safe, according to a recent Harvard University study (September, 2013).

According to the National Resources Defense Council, as much as 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten due to the confusion of package markings. That’s $165 billion worth of food each year. Thus, salvage grocery stores have sprung up, selling foods past their expiration dates throughout the United States.

Salvage grocery stores, also known as surplus grocery stores, are known for near-expired goods, slightly dented cans, and “closeouts”, thus serving a grocery-shopping market hungry for low prices. According to Kevin Tibbles, an NBC reporter, salvage grocery stores can save you as much as 30-50 percent on your food bill.

Their inventory may consist of the following:
• overstocked items
• slightly damaged, bent, dented, ripped or torn packages or cans
• mislabeled or old labeled items
• items not selling well in regular chain stores and returned to warehouse
• near or at their sell-by or best-used-by dates

Prices tend to be significantly lower than those at conventional stores and big discount stores.

Similar to items sold at food auctions, products sold at surplus grocery stores are guaranteed by the USDA, stating that such items pose no safety hazard or poisoning threat. Excluded from this list is baby food and formula. The sell by dates refer to a product’s freshness, not its safety.

You can save hundreds of dollars and make the money you spend last longer by knowing the real shelf life of the foods you eat. Utilize the website http://stilltasty.com, search the section called “Keep it or Toss it” to determine the real shelf-life of the food, based on information from the USDA, the FDA and CDC.

A trip to the salvage grocery is more like a treasure hunt — what’s available one week may not be the next time around.

Salvage’ Grocery Stores Offer Wall-To-Wall Discounts – October 22, 2013 10:08 PM – http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2013/10/22/salvage-grocery-stores-offers-wall-to-wall-discounts/

Food waste in America: A multi-billion-dollar loss – By GRANT GERLOCK and KRISTOFOR HUSTED Harvest Public Media 09/23/2014 12:05 PM http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article2210462.html#storylink=cpy

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Smith, Program Specialist, OSU Extension – Human Ecology Extension Administration

Reviewed by: Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clients on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity

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Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Autumn holidays like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children of all ages. They can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, try fall fruits and vegetables and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, to be active and to focus on safety.
Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Always walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.


  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others to see you. Always WALK; don’t run from house to house.
  • Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
  • Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
    Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Don’t eat homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses; don’t stop at dark houses; and, never accept rides from strangers.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.









Expecting guests?

Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
• Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.
• Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
• Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
• Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
• Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.

Written by: Polly Loy, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Belmont County.
Reviewed by: Kathy Dodrill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Washington County
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/

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Stress often gets a bad rap. In small doses, stress serves as a motivator to get things done.  It also gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly when facing an emergency. Yet, if you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.

Protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process.

Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Weight issues
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

Managing stress is about taking control and taking charge. Take charge of your emotions, thoughts, schedule, and your environment.  Strengthening your physical health will help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

There are a number of techniques that are useful to reduce stress. Here are a few of these ideas:

  • Set aside relaxation time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

Find something that calms you and get in the right mindset to face these challenges. Managing your stress will bring balance to your life.  While we may not be able to control all the stressors in our lives, we can change how we react to them!

Writer: Beth Stefura, MEd., RD, LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S. RDN,LD, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed

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parent-autumnWhen sitting on an airplane, waiting for take-off, have you ever put much thought into why flight attendants instruct parents travelling with young children to put their oxygen mask first before putting it on their small children?

Quite simply, in order to effectively care for a child in this situation, the adult must take the steps to care for themselves first. Without taking care of yourself, it is difficult to be able to be helpful to your child travelling with you. It’s easy to see this connection related to travelling on a plane, but truth is, parents need to take time to care for themselves on a regular basis. In fact in order to have the energy to take care of all our child’s needs and desires, we need to make sure that we are also taking care of ourselves.

With the many demands on our time, parents often find it difficult to take care of ourselves. We may sacrifice our needs for the sake of time, energy and money. However, practicing self-care is actually very important to becoming an effective parent. Not only does our body need the care to be healthier, but we have to be thoughtful about the unhealthy behaviors being demonstrated to our children. Self-care includes the simple things like getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals, as well as meeting our emotional, social, psychological, creative and spiritual needs.


Some examples of self-care include:

  • Eating regularly in healthy ways
  • Getting enough exercise
  • Sleeping enough
  • Getting away from the phone, email, TV
  • Spending time with friends
  • Expressing emotions
  • Cuddling and kissing someone you care about
  • Saying no to extra responsibilities
  • Giving yourself quiet time for self-reflection
  • Writing in a journal
  • Enjoying a hobby

As parents we, at times feel pressured to give so much to our children. It is not easy to reorganize the way things are prioritized in our hectic lives. It is important to remember that taking care of yourself is not neglecting your child’s needs. So just like on the airplane, don’t forget to grab our oxygen masks first.


Written by: Kathy Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Butler County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA

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Autumn is a wonderful time to celebrate agriculture in America with the harvest of many of the crops that feed the world. Studies show that the average American farmer feeds approximately 155 people. To celebrate the harvest and teach your family more about where their food comes from and how it is grown, why not learn more about agriculture and local food through:

  • Visit to the local Farmers Market where you can actually talk with the grower http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/. Asking questions about which apple is best for baking, eating, or making homemade applesauce for example.
  • Touring a farm – be it a dairy farm, historic farm, Amish farm, driving tour, or even an alpaca farm; there are many different types to choose from. Or watch for a farm safety day to be held in your area.
  • Going to a “You Pick” farm to pick your own pumpkins or apples.pumpkin patch
  • Seeking out the nearest corn maze http://www.cornmazesamerica.com/. Be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes, casual clothes, bug spray, and bring a flash light. Check to see if the maze is recommended for teens, adults or small children.
  • If visiting a farm isn’t easy for you, include books about agriculture or farming when reading to your children – here are a few lists of books to start with http://ofbf.org/uploads/BookAwardWinners_handout14.pdf or http://www.agday.org/education/reading.php . You may want to pick up one new agriculture inspired book each time you go to the library.
  • Or encouraging your family to turn off electronic devices during your next car trip and playing old fashioned seek and find games. Who can see the next tractor, cow, horse, red or white barn, field of corn or pumpkins, apple orchard, hog, combine, wagon, lamb, goat, or other agriculture inspired item? My family has done this for years. Typically the person who found the last item lists the next item to look for. We all laughed hysterically when my young daughter said llama and a few miles down the road there were two in a pasture.
  • And keeping your eye out for agriculture inspired poster, writing, poetry, or coloring contests. Many Farm Bureau organizations or other agriculture groups sponsor these contests for children to promote farming and food. Prizes may range from small to larger items like gift cards or scholarships.

Celebrate the harvest and local foods this fall and any time of year by trying one of these family activities.

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

Reviewer: Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

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