Archive for February, 2017

walking_focus_destressThe recent stretch of nice weather has hopefully inspired you to get outside and get moving!  Many of us tend to exercise less over the cold days of winter but now would be a great time to plan your activities for the coming months.

Probably the easiest, cheapest, and most accessible type of exercise is walking. It is an activity that most anyone of any age can participate in and enjoy. Walking provides so many benefits for our bodies. It can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. It can help lower your blood pressure and help you control your type 2 diabetes. Walking can also help manage your weight and improve your mood!

The Mayo clinic shared information from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  who developed a 12 week walking schedule that can start you on the path to better health. But before starting this walking plan, talk with your doctor if you have serious health issues, or if you’re older than age 40 and you’ve been inactive recently.

At the beginning of your walk, take about 5 minutes to warm up your muscles. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for about 5 minutes to cool down your muscles. Don’t forget to stretch! Be sure and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.walking-shoes

There are many ways that you can work walking into your day:

  • Park farther from your office
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Go up or down a flight of stairs each time you go to the restroom
  • Walk your dog
  • Take your family to a local park
  • Walk over your lunch hour with a co-worker
  • When meeting friends for lunch or dinner, park farther from the restaurant

Always keep safety in mind when you walk outdoors. Walk with a friend when you can. Carry your cell phone, put your name and contact phone number in your pocket. Avoid dark and deserted areas, carry a whistle or pepper spray in case of an emergency, and don’t use a headset that might keep you from hearing traffic.

How can you add a walk to your day?






Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County


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cancer-infograpicExperts are predicting that cancer will surpass heart disease by 2020 to become the leading cause of death in the United States. Contracting any kind of cancer is scary, so we need to do what we can, lifestyle-wise, to lower our risk. Colon (colorectal) cancer is one type that has some risk factors we can control.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, and the second leading cause in men. It is expected to cause about 50,260 deaths during 2017. Since March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, let’s cut to the chase to see what you can do personally to lower your risk:

Weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of colorectal cancer in both men and women, but the link seems stronger in men. If you are an “apple” shape (more belly fat) instead of a “pear” shape, that may push the risk even higher.

Physical activity: The colon is actually made up of several layers. It is important that food waste move through the colon as quickly as possible to avoid the growth of polyps. A polyp is a benign, non-cancerous tumor.

Picture your large intestine as an assembly line with a quality control inspector at the helm. As waste moves along your personal conveyor belt, your body (as the inspector) separates the useful things you can use and sends the rest along for disposal. The longer waste sits in your colon or rectum, the more time harmful compounds have to leach out of the stool and into the tissues of your intestine.

When you move your body, you also move waste more rapidly through your colon. How?  Physical activity stimulates peristalsis. Peristalsis generates muscular contractions that help push waste through your colon. The less time the layers of your colon are exposed to potential carcinogens, the better.

Diet: Overall, diets that are high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains have been linked with lower colorectal cancer risk, although it’s not exactly clear which factors are important. Studies have found an increased colon cancer risk with a higher consumption of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) and/or processed meats (such as hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats).

In recent years, some large studies have suggested that fiber in the diet, especially from whole grains, may lower colorectal cancer risk. Research in this area is still on-going.

Alcohol: Several studies have found a higher risk of colorectal cancer with increased alcohol intake, especially among men.

Bottom Line

We can control (1) what we eat and drink, (2) how much we move, and (3) how much we weigh. If you can possibly achieve success in all three factors, it will give you the strongest protection against this deadly disease.

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

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Now is the time to review what you know about women and heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. One out of four women in the United States will die from heart disease, while one woman out of thirty dies of cancer. Four out of five women who are 40-60 years of age have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Are You At Risk?                                         heart-rate

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Over the age of 55
  • Smoking
  • Overweight or obese
  • no regular exercise
  • Diet high in saturated fat


Some risk factors like age and family history cannot be changed, but all women have the power to make diet and lifestyle choices that can reduce these risks.

Take Care of Your Heart

  • Reduce the sources of saturated fat in your diet
  • Limit or reduce eating fried foods. You can do this by choosing cooking methods that do not submerge food in oil. Use cooking methods like baking, broiling, and steaming instead.
  • Choose low fat or fat free dairy products
  • Remove and discard the skin from turkey or chicken to reduce the saturated fat in your diet
  • Avoid fats that are solid at room temperature. Change to poly or unsaturated oils like olive oil or canola oil
  • Reduce sodium intake by limiting processed foods


Smoking cessation is good for your lungs and your cardiovascular system. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage cells and the vessels that carry blood throughout the body.A lifestyle that includes many risk factors like smoking,making unhealthful food choices, remaining overweight or obese,and not getting regular exercise all add to your risk of developing heart disease.  Make a great choice for your health and stop smoking, or reduce the number of times that you smoke, starting today!

Signs and Symptoms

Heart attack symptoms for women can easily be dismissed as stress or the flu. Do not brush off symptoms that may be signs or symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Common signs of heart attack in women include:

  • Sweating, nausea, or feeling faint or lightheaded. Feeling pressure or a feeling of fullness in the chest. This may be consistent, or brief and then returning.
  • Feeling uncomfortable, achy or sore in either or both arms, neck or jaw pain, back pain, or even stomach discomfort.
  • Feeling short of breath, with or without chest pains


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: The Heart Truth: A Campaign for Women About Heart Disease, HHS, NIH, NHLBI

American Heart Association: Know Your Numbers? | Go Red For Women®

Authors: Laura Brubaker, Dietetic Intern with OSU Extension, Wood County. Graduate Student studying Food and Nutrition at Bowling Green State Universtiy and Susan Zies,  Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Wood County.


Reviewer:Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, OSU Extension



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It is no secret that drug abuse is running rampant in Middle America. Over half a million Americans die every year from overdoses, accidents, illness, or other poor choices. I live in southern Ohio, an area that has been over whelmed with the opiate epidemic. I recently had the opportunity to attend an “Ohio State University Conversation on the Opioid Crisis” where I learned some things that we can all do to prevent the spread of drug abuse in our own communities. Here are a few things you can do to prevent drug use: family-eating

  • Have regular discussions with your children about the risks of drugs and alcohol. These discussions have been shown to result in a 50% reduction in use (Who knew?).  Be consistent, talk about the law, listen to what your children have to say, and control your emotions as you talk with them.
  • Have dinner together as a family – four or more times per week if possible. Research shows that teens who eat meals with their family are less likely to try tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs. Use mealtime as a chance to find out what your children are up to, who their friends are, what is going on at school, and to encourage improving grades and school work. Make conversation at mealtime positive and encouraging. Turn off the TV, put cell phones away, and take out earbuds so everyone can talk and listen.  (As a side benefit, if you prepare some of these meals together you will save money and teach your children to cook.)
  • Encourage children to be involved in extracurricular activities – sports, music, church activities, 4-H, Scouts, clubs, or volunteering. Not only should you encourage your child to be busy doing positive activities, but know where they are, who they are with, and when they will be home.
  • Decrease opportunities for exposure to addictive substances. Keep medication where children won’t happen upon it. When you finish taking the pain medication you were given after surgery, dispose of any that is left. Discuss this with older family members as well.  Literacy about medications and medication safety is key.
  • Set an example for children. Use prescription drugs properly, don’t use illegal drugs, never drink and drive, and if you drink, drink in moderation. If you used drugs in the past, explain the problems that it may have caused for you or other family members. Discuss why you wouldn’t choose to do drugs now.
  • Remember you are the parent! Monitor your child’s TV and Internet viewing, games they are playing, music they are listening to or purchasing, maintain a curfew, make sure adults are present when teens are hanging out and check in with them when they get home from school, and keep track of their school work (they give us access to those grades on the Internet for a reason). Recognize children for the positives – did they raise a grade, achieve a PR (personal best) in running or swimming, or finish all their chores without nagging? If they did, let them select the Sunday lunch meal, the movie you are watching together, or a new game to play together.

Parents and grandparents can have a powerful influence on protecting children from drug use and abuse. Take advantage of opportunities to talk about the risks of drugs and alcohol, and set an example for your own children and their friends. Volunteer to drive your child and their friends/teammates to events, or allow your child to invite a friend for family dinner on the weekend. When you have these opportunities – ask questions and listen, without criticism.


Drug Free New Hampshire, http://drugfreenh.org/families

Start Talking Ohio, http://www.starttalking.ohio.gov/

National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, http://www.centeronaddiction.org/

United States Food and Drug Administration, How to Dispose of Unused Drugs, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm

National Institute of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/EasyToRead_PreventDrugUse_012017.pdf

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

Reviewer: James Bates, Assistant Professor/Field Specialist, Family Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, bates.402@osu.edu.


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How much food did you or your family throw away yesterday? Food waste is an “concern” but what type of “concern” could depend on your point of view. A colleague and I have been collaborating with philosophy professors on a food waste manuscript describing how institutions make ethical decisions on food waste and food sourcing. Philosophers look at the world much differently than most of us and consider different perspectives. Our faculty group discussed many perspectives on this topic, and thought I’d briefly share them here and discuss some applications to you and your community.

A nutritionists point of view:  The “Clean Plate Club” is a value that many of us grew up with. We were told that there are children in Africa who are starving and we should clean our plates so we don’t waste food. Many of my colleagues in public health and Extension have come to believe that this value is detrimental to our health in this age of food abundance, fast food, and buffet lines. We should eat intuitively, slowly, honoring our hunger and fullness, and leave on our plate what we don’t need.

Applying this perspective at the community level, some food pantries give people food items whether they want them or not. Much of this food is junk food- cookies, cakes , chips, candies and are donated by community members, institutions, and grocers who want to also want avoid wasting any of this food. Unfortunately, 1/3 of people of visit a food pantry are shopping for someone in their household who might have diabetes or other diet-sensitive chronic diseases. In summary, a nutritionist might say that food waste, especially if its junk food waste is not always a bad thing if it improves health.

A hunger advocate point of view: Food insecurity is a huge problem in this country. Almost 1 out of 6 Americans experience some level of food insecurity. Food insecurity is generally defined by whether or not an individual reports not having enough resources to purchase food, limiting food intake, limiting certain foods, or experiencing hunger. As many experts point out, there should not be food insecurity in developed countries given our abundant food supply. This is certainly a complex problem, but food waste is a major culprit. Every year in the US, 133 billion pounds of food is wasted by retailers, farmers, restaurants, and consumers. Many communities are responding by developing food councils, partnerships, and hunger coalitions and initiate gleaning and food recovery programs.

An ecologists point of view: This perspective was an interesting one that I had not thought much about. An ecologist might argue that really when it comes down to it, there isn’t any such thing as food waste since some organism will benefit, whether it be a bacteria, a raccoon, or grizzly bear (in Alaska, bikers are referred to as meals on wheels). We are all part of the web of life and according to laws of thermodynamics: energy is neither created or destroyed! We all benefit from biodiversity, and the food chain. This is a really complex point of view however. When it comes down to it, some life forms are more beneficial to us than others at least immediately and others in ways we don’t understand. Raccoons eat our garbage, a grizzly (or mountain lion) might eat the raccoon, and being an apex predator might keep down deer or other animal populations that damage crops.

A food safety advocate point of food: Foodborne illness is a huge problem in this country. Every year 48 million Americans experience some form of food borne illness. Most foodborne illnesses usually occur because of time-temperature abuses; when meats or poultry are not cooked properly, or left out too long at room temperatures. In other cases, ready to eat foods are contaminated with raw meat juices, or by bacteria, viruses transferred to food through improperly washed hands. People at risk for foodborne illness are the elderly, young children, or people with compromised immune systems. A food safety advocate would argue that food waste is necessary if there might be a concern regarding food safety. Many food pantries and food banks have polices about accepting dented cans, home-canned foods, custom processed game meat, etc. In many cases, the risk for foodborne illness is minimal, but food safety advocates would argue that any amount of risk is too great to bear, even if it means a food pantry has less food to distribute.

Have I confused you? What does this all mean for you, or your community? Which perspective do you agree with? Can you see how different perspectives sometimes conflict with one another? For example, a food pantry volunteer who is a hunger advocate might get irritated with food safety policies, suggesting that dented canned food should be wasted. From our Extension point of view, how can this knowledge, and understanding be applied to the issue of food waste? Consider your own values- is health and wellness most important, is it helping people be food secure, is it helping the environment? Consider overlaps in the different points of view in your understanding and actions. For example…

  • You can start a compost pile to discard spoiled produce and other non-fatty foods in your household or if you volunteer at a food pantry. Compost is great for vegetable gardens, flowers, and trees. This takes into consideration the points of view of the ecologist and a food safety advocate.
  • Encourage food pantries in your community to transition to a MyPlate Guided Rainbow of Choice model where people choose food that they want or need. Nutrition education can also be helpful to demonstrate how to use various foods and so healthy food doesn’t go to waste.
  • Donate healthy desirable food to a food pantry and not foods that have been sitting in your cupboard for a year, like the canned cranberry jelly from thanksgiving or shrimp cocktail sauce from the Superbowl party.
  • Don’t order from the buffet. Period. Most buffets probably waste food. What’s more, when you eat from the buffet you’ll probably waste food and/or overeat, and as certified food safety instructor, I can attest that there are LOTS of food safety challenges with buffets.
  • What are some ideas that you might have?

Author: Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Fairfield County



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Burden of Foodborne Illness: Findings. Accessed at http://www.endhunger.org/PDFs/2014/USDA-FoodLoss-2014.pdf

Feeding America. Hunger in America 2014. Accessed at http://www.endhunger.org/PDFs/2014/USDA-FoodLoss-2014.pdf

Ohio State University Extension Factsheet. MyPlate Guided Rainbow of Colors Choice System for Food Pantry Staff and Volunteers. Accessed at http://www.endhunger.org/PDFs/2014/USDA-FoodLoss-2014.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture. The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States. Accessed at http://www.endhunger.org/PDFs/2014/USDA-FoodLoss-2014.pdf


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Many of us share our cellphone number without a second thought.   Yet, our cellphone number is linked to private information maintained by many companies and business transactions conducted with our cell phone. These include medical records, business contacts, social networks, banks and money lenders.  These companies look at patterns to determine what we might buy, check online, or even watch on television.

Unlike our Social Security number, our cellphone number does not have to be kept private by companies.  We have learned we need to protect our Social Security number and not give it out randomly.  However, if asked most of us share our cellphone number without a second thought, especially if we are completing a business form.

Unlike a home phone number that many people shared, the cellphone is an individual number for one person.  Youth may have the same cellphone number for the rest of their lives, making it easy for someone to get lots of information quickly.  Austin Berglas, a former F.B. I. agent said a cellphone number is often more useful than a Social Security number, as the cellphone number is tied to so many databases, and the device is almost always with you.   No one else will ever be given the same Social Security number you have, but if you give up your phone number it will probably be resigned to someone else.  That person could get text messages for you using that phone number.

Many banks, payment systems like PayPal and other companies are using text messages with a temporary personal identification number to give people a way to borrow money or purchase an item.  This is a convenient feature for cellphone use, but what happens if the information is stolen?  .

What can we do to protect our phones?  These are some recommendations from some experts:

  1. Always have a strong password or use the fingerprint available on newer phones. Don’t share your password.
  2. Create a PIN number for your mobile phone account.
  3. Use the device auto-lock feature, so it is not staying open.iphone-37856__340
  4. Only download apps from your trusted app store.
  5. Set up remote wipe which can remotely wipe clean your phone if you lose your device.
  6. When on public WIFI, use a VPN.
  7. Update your phone and apps when updates are available. Don’t delay.
  8. Opt for the built-in encryption feature on your phone or install one.

A new app “Sideline” allows you to add a second number to your cellphone which you can give out instead of your personal number.  I am not experienced with this feature, but it could provide an option.  Think twice before you give out your cellphone.  Give them a work number instead, if possible.

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

Reviewer:  Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Mahoning County


Coombs, C. (2016). The Latest Identity Theft Target: Your Cell Phone, Techlicious.  Available at http://www.techlicious.com/tip/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cell-phone-account-identity-theft/#.WIYcAKe3GkE.email

Lohr, S. (2016). A 10-Digit Key Code to Your Private Life:  Your Cellphone number.  The New York Times   Available at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/business/cellphone-number-social-security-number-10-digit-key-code-to-private-life.html?_r=0

Stringfellow, A. (2016). Cell Phone Security  30 Tech Experts Share Important Steps to Securing Your Smartphone.  TCC Verizon  Available at https://www.tccrocks.com/blog/cell-phone-security-tips/

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February is American Heart Month sponsored by The American Heart Association. It is no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. What may surprise a few, is that it’s the number one killer in women, claiming nearly 500,000 lives. Most people believed that it affects more men so many women did not pay much attention to the disease. National Wear Red Day was started to raise awareness about heart disease being the number one killer of women. Tomorrow will mark 15 years since the 1st National Wear Red Day was observed. National Wear Red Day is held on the first Friday in February.

Since raising awareness many women have been making changes in their lives to be more heart conscience. Some of the strides they’ve made have included losing weight, increasing their exercise, making a healthy behavior change and checking cholesterol levels. Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day, and deaths in women have decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years! Even though all of this progress has been made, 1 in 3 women still die of heart disease and stroke each year.


So what can you do besides wear RED tomorrow? Know your heart healthy numbers.

  1. Risk factors you can* and cannot control
    1. High blood pressure*
    2. Diabetes*
    3. Lack of regular activity*
    4. Age
    5. Gender
    6. Heredity
  2. Know your numbers
    1. Total cholesterol
    2. HDL cholesterol
    3. Blood Pressure
    4. Blood Sugar
    5. Body Mass Index
  3. Take Action
    1. Manage blood pressure
    2. Control cholesterol
    3. Reduce blood sugar
    4. Get active
    5. Eat better
    6. Lose weight
    7. Stop smoking

If you would like to find out more information on each of the areas above, you can visit GoRedforWomen.org  On their site you can take a risk factors quiz and learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.

I hope to see lots of RED tomorrow.







Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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