December 2011

Time is Money

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Author: 
Rebecca Lastra
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti

Imagine being able to rake leaves or mowing lawns in exchange for a doctor’s visit. Well in Falmouth, Maine, there are thirty-three patients who do just that. An article published by NPR examines the structure behind True North’s system of “time dollars” and how patients can qualify for the program. True North is a non-profit medical clinic in Falmouth that allows low-income patients complete specific services in exchange to see a doctor.

Tom Dahlborg, the executive director of True North, states this program was invented because he thought people “were not getting enough from their health care.” He feels people were not actively engaged in their health care decisions and this new program grants patients to spend up to an hour or more with their physicians, allowing for more time and discussion of what the patient feels. Unfortunately this program does have downfalls such as patients with no medical insurance would have to pay out of pocket at any other hospital for emergency services, specialist visits, etc. Also, if a patient’s income were to increase above a certain amount, he/she would no longer be able to partake in the program.

However, True North is aware of these limitations and express that they receive positive feedback from the patients who use the program. All in all, with such economic hardship for most people in the country, I feel it’s great that True North is at least addressing the issue of how expensive health insurance is and trying to find a solution for low-income patients. Hopefully we’ll see more of these programs to emerge across the nation!  

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The Links Between the Internet and Depression

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of David Castillo Dominci

When many teenagers first turn on their computers, the first thing they check is Facebook and other social media sites.  Now, how much is too much?  Researchers have been tracking nearly 1,000 teenagers and the effects of internet use.  They have found that the more time online, leads to a greater increase for depression.  A post on U.S. News reads, “Teenagers who have an unhealthy dependence on the internet are almost twice as likely to become depressed as other teens, giving parents yet another reason to limit kids’ screen time”.  Each and every day teenagers log in to sociak medica sites and are exposed to hundreds of situations and conflicts.  Teenagers may become depressed when they are dealing with situations of their own.  Nobody wants to be disliked, and it hurts to know that others are degrading you and disrespecting you. Researchers asked the question, “How often do you feel depressed, moody, or nervous when you are offline, which goes away once you are back online?”  To me, it is frightening to see that teenagers are depending on the internet for comfort. 

But all is not lost; there are various ways of dealing with depression among teenagers.  One suggestion is to cut online time in half. With all the freed up time, teenagers would be able to do lots of other things: like go outside, hang out with friends, read a book or just be active!

Depression effects nearly 2 million teens and preteens in the United States.  With the internet being a large cause of depression, we need to look at how to limit time spent online. 

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Motivation at your Fingertips

Monday, December 5, 2011

Author: 
Rebecca Lastra
Monday, December 5, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

In a recent post by Katrina Heisler, she discussed the different apps that are compatible with iPhones to help us stay motivated to hit the gym and how as little as text messaging could contribute to weight loss. Well another app to add to the list is "Nexercise".  Nexercise is a free app available to all iPhone owners that tracks different physical activities and rewards users with free and discounted merchandise. These physical activities range from weight training and running to fencing and polo. Co-founder, Benjamin Young, states that, "We're trying to create a lifestyle - not a quick fix.”

In the article published in the Hartford Courant, users of this app can accumulate points not only for exercising but also for other healthy behaviors. “When you exercise on a rainy day or with a friend, the program allows you to earn bonus points as well. So what are the rewards, you may ask? Prizes range from $5 gift cards and coupons off energy bars to $250 gift cards. The more points you accumulate gives you a bigger chance at winning a cool prize! “Receiving prizes is more of a lottery rather than direct redemption. Users with the more points have greater chances of winning prizes, and those that have reached higher levels have more access to valuable prizes.” Just think how cool it would be to win various different prizes because you stayed loyal to your workout regiment. Not only are you doing something wonderful for you’re health but you’re also being rewarded in a great way! How do you motivate yourself to workout?

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Why Go Organic?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of xedos4

For the health conscious student who does not have a meal plan, here is some information regarding where your purchased food comes from.

Some individuals choose to buy organically produced food goods. What exactly does this mean? CNN asserts that, organic foods are simply foods which are not grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, radiation or genetic engineering. While the use of fertilizers, chemicals, etc. may sound scary, according to the United States Drug Administration, there is no evidence at this time that these practices affect the nutritional content of the food.

Many other sources disagree. They argue that we don’t know the long term affects yet of consuming pesticides, and it could potentially be very harmful.

How can you know what to choose for yourself? Generally, organic food costs more, and when on a budget, cost is important.

The answer may not be black and white. Consumers may want to choose some organic produce, over others. Certain produce collects and retains more pesticides than others. It has been shown that apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, bell peppers, potatoes, and blueberries are just some of produce that retain a larger portion of the chemicals and pesticides they have been sprayed with.

At the end of the day however, what matters is that is that we all get the fruits and veggies our bodies need, organically grown or not.

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