National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

National Childhood Obesity Awareness MonthWhen I received the following press release about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, I ran across an article by Drew Brees about the subject. Yes, the NFL Quarterback! He also happens to be the Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Find his article HERE.

Press Release – September marks the start of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, a time for us to encourage America’s children to develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

All kids deserve to experience the positive health benefits of daily physical activity and healthy eating, and have those opportunities available to them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed programs and resources to help children and parents, and they’re available in agencies including the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health’s We Can!! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® program.

In addition, through public-private partnerships, safe places to play and nutritious food options are being made available in neighborhoods and schools across America. Exciting new programs include the Partnership for a Healthier America and Olympic Team USA’s commitment to provide 1.7 million kids the opportunity to participate in free and low cost physical activity programs offered by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USOC National Governing Bodies for sport, and others over the next year. And, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a new farm to school grant programdesigned to educate children about food sources, and increase the availability of locally sourced foods in schools.

Over the past 30 years, the childhood obesity rate in America has almost tripled. According to the CDC, in 2010, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were already obese. Children and teenagers who are obese are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obese youth are at greater risk of developing serious adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

That is why HHS, with the President’s Council, supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal to end childhood obesity within a generation through her Let’s Move! initiative. Everyone has a role to play, parents and caregivers, school teachers and administrators, community leaders, local elected officials, after school programmers, and health care providers.

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents aged 6–17 years should spend 60 minutes or more being physical active each day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, released by HHS and USDA, provide nutritional guidance for Americans to promote good health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity. The guidelines recommend balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

Let’s work together to make the healthy choice, the easy choice! In coming weeks and months, HHS and the President’s Council will announce exciting initiatives that will go a long way towards ensuring that our nation’s children grow up to be healthy, fit and strong.

Learn more:

To learn more about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month or for tips on how to help your kids lead healthy lifestyle visit

To learn more about NIH’s We Can, visit:

To learn more about CDC’s resources, visit:

To learn more about Let’s Move! visit:

To learn more about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 visit

To learn more about the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans visit

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The Hidden Dangers of Getting Inked

The Hidden Dangers of Getting InkedMany, if not most, of my friends sport some type of tattoo. Even my mother has permanant make-up, which is a tattoo, too. While over the years I have considered my own tattoo, I have always decided against the idea, mostly because I am not a fan of pain.

The following is a press release I received from the Centers for Disease Control alerting the public to the problems possible when tattoo artists dilute their inks with non-sterile water.

Even though I don’t have a tattoo, I love to look at my friend’s tattoos and discover their motives and the meanings behind this beautiful art form. I do however, have a great tattoo joke that I cannot share here on SearchAmelia, but if you see me on the streets be sure to ask about my “tattoo joke” and I just might share it with you, especially if I’ve had enough adult libations.

Centers for Disease Control – The practice of tattooing has been around for thousands of years. These days, 21% of adults in the United States report having at least one piece of permanent artwork on their bodies. Many people who receive these lasting tributes to loved ones, to pop culture, to religion, or to whatever they’re into, generally know what to look for when selecting a reputable tattoo parlor.

    Does the artist wear gloves?
    Does the tattoo shop sterilize their equipment?
    Did the artist open a sterile needle in front of you?
    Are things like inks and ointments portioned out for individual use?

If the artist can pass this mental checklist, most people feel pretty safe.

One question few people may consider, however, is “What exactly went into that ink you’re about to inject into my skin?” And even if the question was asked, there’s no guarantee that the artist could answer with any great certainty.

Concentrated tattoo inks may be made from products that were never intended to be used for tattoos. Tattoo ink manufacturers may use products such as calligraphy ink, drawing ink, or even printer ink to make the products eventually used for tattooing. These manufacturers often sell their products online, and while their states may require them to hold a business license, there is no regulation or oversight of the product itself.

The Importance of Water
While the thought of sharing ink with your office printer might be unsettling all on its own, a key ingredient of concern is the water that is used to either create the tattoo ink product or to dilute the product in the tattoo parlor. Artists will often use water to dilute concentrated inks in order to get the specific shade the client requests. They may also use pre-diluted “gray washes,” which are black inks blended to produce different color intensities.

Some tattoo artists and tattoo ink manufacturers may believe that using distilled or reverse osmosis (a filtration method that removes large particles) water is sufficient to safely create or dilute tattoo ink products, but this is not the case. Any kind of non-sterile water can contaminate the ink with potentially harmful germs, which can lead to infections in those tattooed with the ink. This was the case earlier this year, when public health officials in New York received reports of non-tuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) skin infections in at least 14 people who had been tattooed with the same pre-diluted gray ink.

In January of 2012, the Monroe County Department of Public Health received a report from a dermatologist that a patient had developed a persistent rash on his arm after being tattooed by a local tattoo artist. Biopsy and culture confirmed that he was suffering from an NTM infection, and the tattoo artist reported that other clients had complained of similar reactions.

The artist noted that the rash seemed to follow the lines created by a pre-diluted gray ink and wasn’t present on areas of the tattoo that were created with other colors. This was an important observation because NTM infections typically don’t spread—the rash-like infection is usually localized to the area that was exposed. Using a list of all of the clients the artist could remember tattooing with the same gray wash, the health department was able to identify 18 additional infections, 14 of which were confirmed to be NTM infections.

The Ink Thins – The Plot Thickens
After being notified of the situation in New York, CDC issued a public health alert to try to identify additional tattoo-associated NTM skin infections. Two previously identified clusters were discovered in Washington, one in Iowa, and one in Colorado, and all were related to inks likely contaminated by non-sterile water either during the manufacturing process or during dilution by the tattoo artist just prior to tattooing a client.

Image of individual with NTM infection

Click to Enlarge Image

Contamination of tattoo ink products by non-sterile water is an ongoing problem, and this group of identified clusters may represent a snapshot of what we could expect to find at any given time. Until tattoo ink manufacturers and tattoo artists fully understand the dangers of using non-sterile water to manufacture or dilute tattoo ink, these infections will continue to occur, and they can be far more serious than just an annoying rash.

NTM skin infections are very hard to treat, and often require 4-6 months of treatment with drugs that can cause serious side effects. While some people’s infections may resolve just from treatment with medication, others may require multiple surgeries to remove infected tissue and may lead to significant scarring.

So what should people do?
Because tattoo inks are injected directly into people’s skin, CDC recommends that ink manufacturers produce sterile inks. To protect their clients, tattoo artists should do the following:

    Don’t use inks or other products that are not intended for tattooing
    Don’t dilute ink before tattooing; if dilution is needed, use only sterile water
    Don’t use non-sterile water to rinse equipment (for example, needles) during tattooing
    Use aseptic technique during tattooing (e.g., maintain hand hygiene, use clean disposable gloves properly)

To reduce their risk of infection, consumers should:

    -Use tattoo parlors approved/registered by their local jurisdictions
    -Request inks that are manufactured specifically for tattoos
    -Ensure that tattoo artists follow appropriate hygienic practices
    -Be aware of the potential for infection after tattooing and promptly seek medical care if skin problems occur
    -Notify the tattoo artist and FDA’s MedWatch program if you have a problem after getting a tattoo.
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New Health IT Video for You

New Health IT Video for YouU.S. Department of Health & Human Services – A new, short animated video for consumers explains how widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and other health information technology (health IT) is giving our health care system a 21st century upgrade: improving the way we communicate with our doctors, making sure health information is available when and where’s it’s needed, and helping us manage our health and wellness outside the doctor’s office.

Watch the video to learn more about the benefits of health IT and other consumer e-health tools and the value of having secure, electronic access to your health information so you can make sure all your doctors are on the same page and that you get the best care.

This new video is one of several efforts by ONC’s newly created Office of Consumer eHealth to help convey the benefits of health IT and other consumer e-health tools to spur patients and families to ask for electronic access to their health record, and to use technology to better manage their own health or that of a loved one.

The goal of the video is to spark conversation with patients and their health care providers about how they can leverage technology to improve their care and to increase awareness about, a great resource for patients and families to learn more about health IT, including the benefits, your rights to access your health information, and tools that are available to help you manage your health.

Increased adoption by health care professionals of electronic health record (EHR) technology is transforming health care, converting the information in paper records into a digital format that can be available when and where it’s needed. There are also a plethora of tools and resources available to help you manage your health and health information. We hope to empower all Americans with greater access to their health data, tools to take action with that information and to shift attitudes so patients and providers work together as partners to improve care.

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Understanding Rosacea

Understanding RosaceaContributed by: NIH News in Health

Some people think of a rosy complexion as a sign of good health. But red patches on the face may point to something more troubling, a long-lasting skin disorder called rosacea.

Rosacea (pronounced ro-ZAY-she-ah) may start as redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. It might even look like an outbreak of pimples. But over time, the condition can worsen. Inflammation can make affected skin swollen and sensitive. Red, thick, bumpy skin may appear on the face, causing discomfort and distress. Up to half of people with rosacea also develop eye problems. Eyelids may become inflamed, and vision impaired.

Rosacea affects an estimated 14 million Americans. The causes of rosacea are unclear. The condition tends to run in families, so genes likely play a role.

Although anyone can get rosacea, lighter-skinned populations are at greater risk. People who blush frequently may also be more vulnerable. It usually first strikes in middle age, when people are between 30 and 60 years old. Women are 3 to 4 times more likely than men to develop rosacea, especially during menopause. But rosacea symptoms are generally more severe in men.

Rosacea symptoms can come and go, flaring up for weeks or months and then subsiding. Over time, the facial redness can deepen and become more permanent.

People are often embarrassed by rosacea flare-ups. “The physical appearance can be debilitating for people, causing them to lose work or to have low self-esteem,” says Dr. Richard Gallo, a skin expert at the University of California, San Diego. “Many psychological problems are the consequence of having this red, puffy face.”

Things that cause flare-ups are called triggers. Although they vary from person to person, common triggers include hot foods or beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, extreme temperatures, sunlight, stress, exercise and hot baths.

To identify and then avoid triggers, Gallo says, “take a very careful record of the things that you eat and the things you are doing. Then also record when your rosacea is flaring, and see if you can put the two together.”

Because rosacea tends to worsen over time, early detection is critical. There’s no test for rosacea, and several other conditions can have similar symptoms. Your doctor needs expertise and experience to make a diagnosis. A dermatologist, a physician who specializes in skin disorders, can aid with rosacea detection and care.

Although there’s no cure for rosacea, medical treatments and lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms. Antibiotics taken orally or applied to the skin can lessen redness and bumps. For more serious cases, laser surgery can remove visible blood vessels, reduce redness or correct thickened, bumpy skin.

NIH-funded scientists continue to search for new insights into rosacea. Gallo and his colleagues have found that some people with rosacea have high levels of inflammation-causing chemicals in their skin. The researchers are using this knowledge to develop experimental therapies that are now being tested in clinical trials.

If you have troubling facial redness, talk to a dermatologist or other health care provider. Taking steps early on will help to control and reduce the symptoms of rosacea.

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West Nile Virus Advisory for Florida

West Nile Virus Advisory for FloridaPublic Service Announcement – Nationwide, West Nile Virus (WNV) activity is high, particularly in Texas. The number of cases in Florida is typical for this time of year, with most cases reported in Duval County. Although mosquito-borne illnesses can occur anytime due to the semi-tropical climate, July through September is the peak months for WNV activity in Florida. It is particularly important to use good mosquito-bite prevention practices this time of year, even for short periods of time.

WNV infection is a potentially serious disease spread by mosquitoes, however, less than 1% of people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop severe disease (inflammation of the brain – encephalitis or the covering of the brain – meningitis). People 50 years and older or with underlying illnesses are particularly at risk for severe illness or even death.

Approximately 80% of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all, while 20% have symptoms such as headache, body aches, fever, rash, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. County health departments will assist confirmatory testing at Florida Department of Health (DOH) laboratories and will also alert local mosquito control to help ensure appropriate mosquito control and surveillance actions are implemented.

To prevent mosquito-borne diseases, the Florida Department of Health recommends practicing DRAIN and COVER.

Stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites and the diseases they carry.

Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

    DISCARD: Old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that are not being used.
    EMPTY and CLEAN: Birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
    PROTECT: Boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that do not accumulate water.
    MAINTAIN: The water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

Cover your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellant.

    CLOTHING: If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active (especially at dusk and dawn), cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.
    REPELLENT: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
    BABIES: Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than two months.

Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.

    Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

WNV can cause high rates of mortality in certain families of birds, especially crows and jays. Report dead birds to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via the following website:

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health website at Or go to CDC at

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Fernandina Pirates Club Out to Draw Blood

Fernandina Pirates Club Out to Draw BloodAmelia Island, FL – The Fernandina Pirates Club, Inc. members are out for blood, literally. You may remember the Fernandina Pirates finished 2nd to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the district last year for the number of useable pints donated to the Georgia Florida Blood Alliance, and this year these Pirates want to win!

Saturday, August 25, 2012, the Pirates will have buses from the Blood Alliance in the Publix parking lot on Sadler Road, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Wicked Wanda, the club’s Blood Drive Chairperson has pillaged and plundered to find some of the hottest tickets in town.

All donors will be entered into a raffle drawing for the following admission tickets:

    -Jaguars vs. the Atlanta Falcons pre-season tickets for August 30, 2012
    -Amelia Island Blues Festival tickets
    -Amelia Island Museum of History tickets
    -Amelia River Cruises tickets
    -Island Falls tickets
    -Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens tickets

The Sons of the American Legion Squadron 54 and the VFW Post 4351 Men’s Auxiliary will be providing melon slices, hot dogs and drinks for the first 100 donors.

Walk ups are always welcome, but appointments can be made at until the 24th of August.

Having received a Resolution from the Board of County Commissioners of Nassau County as well as a Proclamation from the City of Fernandina Beach Commissioners recognizing the club for their ongoing community service and charitable work, members of the Pirates Club truly are our community’s “Goodwill Ambassadors to the World” as designated by both local government entities.

For more information please visit

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Using Technology to Manage Your Meds Video Contest

Using Technology to Manage Your Meds Video ContestDo you use technology to help you manage your meds? Share your story on video to win! First prize is $3,000.00!

The Managing Meds Video Contest invites you to create short (less than two minutes), inspiring videos sharing a personal story about how you use technology to take your medications effectively or to support individuals (loved ones or patients) to take their medications as directed.

Taking medications as prescribed, the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time, can improve quality of life and prevent hospitalizations, disability, and death. Yet, studies show that many people don’t fill their prescriptions, stop taking their medications earlier than directed, or use them in ways that are inconsistent with instructions—taking less than directed, splitting pills or skipping doses.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help people to manage the complexity associated with taking their medications.

If you are a consumer or patient, you can participate by creating a video demonstrating how you can use technology to manage your medication regimen. For example, you could describe:

    -Electronic tools such as mobile apps (e.g. MyMedList) that help you keep track of the meds you are taking and when it’s time to take them, or that notify you when it’s time to refill a prescription so you don’t run out
    -Logging on to your provider’s online portal to view your current medication list and sending a request to update the list to reflect which meds you are no longer taking or that may not appear because they were prescribed by another doctor.

If you are a health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse or pharmacist, you can also participate by demonstrating how you:

    -Use health information technology (health IT), such as e-prescribing, secure messaging and electronic health record systems, to prescribe patients the right medication and dosage, and to support them in taking their meds as prescribed.

Enter to Win or Spread the Word to Encourage Others! The deadline is October 1st!

To enter, you won’t need highly specialized equipment; a standard video recorder or phone with a video function will work. We encourage you to help us spread the word about the contest (#ManageMeds)! The contest is live and we are accepting submissions through October 1st.

If you win, your story could appear on alongside other people whose health IT stories have helped motivate and inspire others to adopt technology and use it to improve their health! For inspiration, check out the winning videos from the Beat Down Blood Pressure Video Challenge.

To learn more about this challenge and others, please visit: All challenges will be featured on

This is the fourth in a series of 2012 Health IT Video Contests that are generating authentic personal stories from the public about how they are benefiting from advancements in health IT. These stories are one way the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is working to encourage individuals to play a more active role in their health through the use of health IT and consumer e-health tools.

There are serious consequences for patients and their families from not taking medications as prescribed. As C. Everett Koop famously said, “Drugs don’t work in the patients who don’t take them”. This is especially the case for people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes for whom not taking medications results in greater risk of hospitalization and 50-85% higher mortality. Taking the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time can alleviate symptoms, delay disease progression and prevent complications. Tell us how you are managing your medications with consumer e-health tools and other health IT and inspire others to do the same!

About ONC’s Office of Consumer eHealth
This video challenge is one of many ways that ONC’s Office of Consumer eHealth is working to promote patient and family engagement in health through technology by improving consumer access to their electronic health information; spurring innovation to develop new ways to take action with that information; and shifting attitudes so people feel comfortable using new tools and health information to be better partners with their health care providers in their health and health care.

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Mackie’s Zumba Fitness Anniversary Party

Mackie's Zumba Fitness Anniversary PartyMany of you have heard me rave about Zumba Fitness on my Facebook page as well as here on SearchAmelia. With our one year anniversary of “Team Teaching” Zumba Fitness Classes, at CLUB 14 FITNESS, with my youngest daugher, Ally, I thought what better time than now to fully explain our journey to better health and the Zumba Fitness connection.

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote a basic article about Zumba Fitness, how it began and how it can help you get a full body workout. But after one year of teaching and receiving a second license for Zumba Gold, there is much more to this story, and I want to share it with you.

Some of you I have met in the past couple of years and don’t know the whole story, so let me give you a little history first just to put this article into its proper perspective.

Judie at a very unhealthy weight

Jumbo Judie at a very unhealthy weight

I have lived in Fernandina Beach since 1990 and many of my friends and acquaintances have known me, seen me, fat and unhealthy for most of that time.

It was February of 2010 when CLUB 14 FITNESS became sponsors of Our entire family began visiting the gym and our son entered the Forever Fit Challenge. With his admission into the weight loss contest, we began to shop wiser, purchasing healthier, fresher and less processed foods. We grew to meet the staff there, and we were encouraged to continue visiting and working out on a regular basis. So, we did. While Alex was losing weight in tremendous fashion, the rest of the household was gradually losing pounds and inches, too.

By mid-summer, my daughter and I were fully immersed in attending group fitness classes at the gym on a regular basis, but not my husband. Sure Lawrence would go to the gym and spend time on an eliptical machine upstairs working on cardo, but it wasn’t until after Ally and I won the Le Tour de CLUB 14 FITNESS in July 2010, (We finished the course in only two weeks, much to the amazement of just about everyone on the planet!) that he became interested in trying a group fitness class.

Side Note: The Le Tour de CLUB 14 FITNESS was a four week contest in which you had to finish 13 cycle or RPM classes. If you have never taken an indoor cycle class before, the article I wrote about the Le Tour de CLUB 14 FITNESS, is a Must Read!

In the fall of 2010, the gym introduced Zumba Fitness classes to their schedule. The initial class was highly publicized and you had to sign up to attend. I signed my daughter’s name and my own on the sheet at the front desk. Ally was so mad at me for signing her up to attend. She wanted nothing to do with Zumba! Being the type of mother I am, I made her go with me despite her rather verbal objections.

Ally fell instantly in love with Zumba Fitness.

And so have 12 million others. Ten years ago, Zumba Fitness was a South Florida phenomenon, now there are “people taking Zumba classes weekly at 110,000 locations in at least 125 countries, said company spokeswoman Allison Robins”, according to a Los Angeles Times article by Cammy Clark.

Orlando, Florida hosted the 2012 ZUMBA Instructor Convention, August 9 – 12, 2012; among the celebrities spotted at the convention were Shaquille O’Neal, Paulina Rubio, Daddy Yankee, Vanilla Ice, Lil John, The Rockettes and more.

Ally loved the internationally inspired music, the moves and the rhythms. We would dance around the kichen to Zumba Fitness songs she purchased from iTunes. Ally even invited our Instructor/Mentor Jackie, to demonstrate a couple routines at her Sweet 16 birthday party. Ally was absolutely hooked!

Judie, before and after joining the gym

Judie, before and after joining the gym

Our oldest daughter’s son comes to visit Amelia Island from Indiana for a few weeks each summer and when we learned there was a basic Zumba Instructor Training in Atlanta, Georgia, where we had planned to meet our daughter to return our grandson, we decided to sign up for the class.

We planned to stay with a dear friend in Atlanta that weekend. I will always remember the date, July 28, 2011. It was the same day as our wedding anniversary. It was the same day as our good friend’s birthday. It was the day that changed our lives in a very positive way.

“Zumba Fitness is an effective interval-style, full body workout,” according to an independent study funded by a grant from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “In comparison with other exercises tested in the past by the University’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Zumba burns more calories than cardio kickboxing, step aerobics, hooping and power yoga,” the article added.

Over the past year we have grown tremendously in our abilities as instructors. We are stronger, quicker and more flexible. We are healthier!

Zumba Fitness offers several specialty licenses to their network of licensed instructors. Early this summer Ally and I both had the opportunity to add a Zumba Gold license to our repertoire. Directly from the handbook, “ZUMBA GOLD is a series of fitness programs specifically designed to take the exciting latin and international dance rhythms created in the original ZUMBA Program and bring them to the active older adult, the beginner participant, and other special populations that may need modifications for success.”

Ally and Judie go for the GOLD

Ally and Judie go for the GOLD

Our aging Baby-Boomer population is very young in spirit, but they may not be able to keep up in a high energy class. They want to exercise without feeling pain or getting hurt. “Every seven seconds a baby boomer turns 55,” according to ZUMBA, and “Boomers are rushing to the gym and dance classes in an effort to stay fit.”

The ZUMBA GOLD program is not only categorized by age. This is a lower impact class perfect for deconditioned participants with easy-to-learn choreography to get their bodies moving. Persons returning to the gym after illness, injuries or surgeries are also ideal candidates for ZUMBA GOLD.

One of the most emotional aspects of being a licensed ZUMBA GOLD instructor is the flexibility permitted to design appropriate workouts, such as the ZUMBA GOLD Chair Class designed for those with physical and/or psychological limitations that require most of their day spent in a wheelchair.

Zumba Fitness License ReceivedThe Zumba Fitness journey continues as we strive to obtain other specialty licenses such as ZUMBATOMIC, for kids ages 4 – 12; ZUMBA SENTAO, with its explosive chair-based choreography; and AQUA ZUMBA, a pool party workout for all ages, just to name a few.

As the one year mark is upon us, I remember we taught our first class at CLUB 14 FITNESS on August 18, 2011; we were subbing for the Zumba Fitness Queen Jackie Norton, it was a Thursday night.

This Saturday, August 18, 2012, we are scheduled to teach our basic Zumba Fitness class as we do every Saturday and Tuesday each week, but this Saturday will be no ordinary class!

This is our Anniversary Party!

We are throwing a party and YOU are invited to attend. Zumba is already a party atmosphere, but this time we are adding prizes, raffles, dance battles, refreshments and more!

If you have ever wondered what Zumba Fitness is all about, then this is the perfect opportunity for you to find out!

The class is FREE and will be held at CLUB 14 FITNESS, in the movie theater shopping center, beginning at 9:30 AM August 18, 2012. Plan to stay late if you can, we have a feeling the fun may last for more than one hour!

Here is a video preview of a Zumba Fitness class held Monday evening during “Launch Week” at CLUB 14, where they introduced new choreography and a new group fitness class, CXWORX.

Wear loose fitting clothes, comfortable sneakers and a smile. Bring water and a towel and Ally and I promise to bring the party favors.

For more information call CLUB 14 FITNESS at (904) 206-4414, visit our Facebook Event Page, check out my new Zumba webpage at, or contact me directly at or by calling (904) 583-0659. Ally and I teach on Saturdays at 9:30 AM and again on Tuesdays at 6:40 PM.

Remember, the video is only 5 or 6 minutes long, our normal class is for one hour.

“Zumba and the Zumba logo are trademarks of Zumba Fitness, LLC, used under license.”

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Cycle Class with Dancing Dan

Cycle Class with Dancing DanJust over a year ago I began a journey to become certified in my favorite cycle class – Les Mills RPM. I became a fan of group fitness and especially cycle over a year before that and never thought I would get myself in good enough shape to actually teach a class, but now I am a certified RPM Instructor and very happy about the transformation I made not only in my body, but in my overall outlook on life!

During that transformation I learned to like two separate forms of cycle class, RPM and freestyle cycle. Each type is different in the way it is choreographed and taught. Les Mills Rpm is choreographed by the powers that be at their headquarters, whereas Freestyle is choreographed by the individual instructor.

Dan Cermak at CLUB 14 FITNESS here on Amelia Island is one of those talented enough to not only do this, but create the perfect atmosphere for his students to get a great workout and have some fun at the same time.

When Dan came to me and asked if I would help him video his newest Dance Cycle class, I was more than intrigued to see this and help out. Everyone who takes his special Wednesday class was happy to get their 15 minutes of fame on youtube so we set it up and the class was fantastic.

You get to see for yourself right here!!!

Now, remember as a cycle instructor myself, I encourage you to take a freestyle class, but also try Les Mills RPM as well, because you will find out that each instructor is different and most are very partial to their style of teaching!

For the time being though, I hope you enjoy this great video of an incredibly different cycle class.

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Coping with Balance Disorders and Vertigo

Coping with Balance Disorders and VertigoUsed with permission by NIH, News in Health

Imagine reaching for something on a grocery shelf and suddenly feeling unsteady. Or looking over your shoulder to back up the car and having things start whirling around you. Most people feel dizzy now and then. But if that feeling persists or interferes with your daily life, it could be a sign of a balance disorder.

A balance disorder makes you feel as if you’re moving, spinning or floating, even though you’re quite still. More than 4 in 10 Americans will experience an episode of dizziness sometime during their lives that’s significant enough to send them to a doctor.

Dizziness can range from feeling lightheaded to woozy to disoriented. Feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning is called vertigo. Any of these sensations can be extremely distressing.

“Balance is a multisystem function,” explains NIH hearing and balance expert Dr. Daniel Sklare. It begins with a series of signals within the tiny balance organs of the inner ear. These organs work with your brain’s visual system to give you a sense of your body’s position. They also keep objects from blurring when your head moves. Sense receptors in skin, joints and muscles also send balance-related signals to the brain. The brain receives and coordinates information from all these different body systems. Balance disorders can arise when any of these signals malfunction.

Because balance is so complex, it can be hard to figure out the underlying cause of certain problems. Some balance disorders can begin suddenly. They might arise from an ear infection, a head injury or certain medications. Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness when you stand up quickly. Disorders related to vision, muscles, bones or joints can also contribute to balance problems.

“As America gets older, many people with imbalance have a collection of these problems,” says Dr. Gordon Hughes, NIH clinical trials director for hearing and balance. “They might have aging of the ear, aging of vision, cataracts, muscle weakness from losing some muscle mass or arthritis in the hips, plus other problems like diabetes.”

Researchers have identified more than a dozen different balance disorders. The most common is a sudden, often harmless burst of vertigo that might arise with an abrupt change in the position of the head, like when you bend over to tie your shoes. Technically known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), this condition can result from a head injury or simply from getting older. BPPV sometimes occurs when tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear become displaced. In that case, your doctor can treat BPPV by carefully moving the head and body to reposition these particles. An NIH-supported clinical trial showed that this treatment works well for BPPV.

Another common balance disorder is known as Ménière’s disease. It can develop at any age, but most often strikes adults between 40 and 60 years of age. Symptoms include intense vertigo, hearing loss, nausea, tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ear) and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Ménière’s disease usually affects only one ear.

Some people with Ménière’s disease have single attacks of dizziness separated by long periods of time. Others may experience many attacks closer together over a number of days. Some affected people have vertigo so extreme that they lose their balance and fall. These episodes are called “drop attacks.”

An attack of Ménière’s symptoms, while not life-threatening, can feel completely overwhelming. The symptoms arise because of a change in fluid volume within the inner ear. But its underlying cause remains unknown. Scientists estimate that 6 in 10 people either get better on their own or can control their vertigo with diet, drugs or devices. In severe cases, surgical therapies can end the dizziness but might affect hearing.

NIH-funded researchers at the University of Washington are now exploring a new treatment option to stop a Ménière’s attack. An implant behind the ear is designed to control abnormal electrical activity in the nerve that sends balance information to the brain, bringing the sensation of spinning to a halt. The device is now being tested in clinical trials.

If you think you may have a balance disorder, talk with your health care provider. Your doctor can assess whether your symptoms might be caused by a serious disorder, such as a heart or blood condition. If an inner ear balance disorder is likely, you may be referred to a specialist such as an otolaryngologist, a doctor with expertise in the ear, nose and throat. You might receive a hearing test, a balance test and possibly an imaging study of the brain.

Work with your doctor to figure out how to cope with your dizziness on a daily basis and reduce your risk of injury. For example, wear low-heeled shoes or walking shoes outdoors. You might decide to try using a cane or walker. Safe, secure handrails in stairwells and grip handles in bathrooms can help make your home safer. Driving a car may be especially hazardous, so ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to drive.

A specialized rehabilitation therapist can give you a set of head, body and eye exercises to help reduce dizziness and nausea.

Meanwhile, researchers continue to work to develop new, more effective approaches. In one experimental rehabilitation strategy, now in clinical trials, scientists have created a “virtual reality” grocery store. It allows people with balance disorders to walk safely on a treadmill through computer-generated store aisles. While holding onto a grocery cart, they can look up and down, turn their heads and reach for items on virtual shelves. By doing this, they safely learn how to navigate an environment that can be challenging for someone with a balance problem.

“The key for people looking for treatment is to go to the best team of clinical experts that they can gain access to,” says Dr. Sklare. “It’s very important to get that level of assessment.”

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CXWORX Launch Party at CLUB 14 FITNESS

CXWORX Launch Party at CLUB 14 FITNESSMonday, August 13, 2012, CLUB 14 FITNESS, located in the movie theater shopping center on Amelia Island, will be introducing their newest Les Mills program, CXWORX. This is “Launch” week for new group fitness routines and be sure to pick up a new class schedule to see what times your favorite classes are now being offered.

This will be a full day of vendors, prizes and over the top entertainment from your instructors!

CXWORX is the 30-minute PERSONAL-TRAINING-INSPIRED CORE CLASS that’s been formulated with a carefully structured, scientific approach and unforgiving intensity. It has been designed to tighten and tone the abs, glutes, back, obliques and “slings” connecting the upper body and lower body, improve functional strength and assist in injury prevention like nothing else.


    -An efficient workout in just 30 minutes
    -A tough workout that will challenge you mentally and physically
    -Tightens and tones core muscles
    -Improves functional strength for balance, mobility and injury protection
    -Learn how the core works and its importance to your physical health
    -Motivates you to venture outside your comfort zone

Bring a friend to try CXWORX and get a free t-shirt. If your friend joins the club, they get a t-shirt, too. (While supplies last.)

Here is the schedule for MONDAY ONLY:
5:30 AM – CXWORX
8:30 AM – RPM
9:30 AM – Bodypump
10:45 AM – CXWORX
12:00 PM – Bodyflow
5:00 PM – TRX
5:30 PM – Zumba Fitness
6:00 PM – CXWORX

All classes will be taught from a special stage being erected just for this “Launch Party”!

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2012 Assistance Dog Week is August 5 to 11

2012 Assistance Dog Week is August 5 to 11Veteran’s Administration Press Release – This is International Assistance Dog Week, created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations.

Many Veterans are living more fulfilled lives thanks to their service dog. VA prescribing clinicians review and evaluate individual cases based on the needs described here:

Assistance dogs transform the lives of their Veteran partners with debilitating physical disabilities. These highly specialized dogs perform tasks for the Veterans that the Veteran cannot perform without assistance.

Guide Dogs assist blind and visually impaired Veterans avoid obstacles, stop at curbs and steps, and negotiate traffic. These exceptional dogs enable the Veteran to more fully participate in their communities by ensuring that the Veteran can safely negotiate almost any environment.

Hearing Dogs assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals by alerting them to a variety of household sounds such as a door knock or doorbell, alarm clock, oven buzzer, telephone, baby cry, name call or smoke alarm, as well as alerting the Veteran to emergency vehicle sirens or warning alarms outside the home.

Mobility Dogs assist mobility-impaired Veterans, including Veterans with disabling seizures, by retrieving objects that are out of the Veteran’s reach, opening and closing doors, turning light switches on and off, assisting Veterans to walk by providing balance and counterbalance, barking to indicate help is needed, finding another person, and leading the person to the handler.

For more information on Assistance Dog Week and what you can do in your community:

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August 5 to 11, 2012 is National Health Center Week

August 5 to 11, 2012 is National Health Center WeekIn my search to find interesting and valuable information to our SearchAmelia readers, I am often amazed at how many “causes” have a month or a week dedicated to said “cause”. Even our own City Commissioner meetings begin with several proclamations declaring special days, weeks or even months.

Here is one we almost missed:

National Health Center Week (August 5-11) serves as a reminder that you can get medical treatment even if you don’t have health insurance.

Federally funded health centers provide:

    Treatment for illnesses
    Care during pregnancy
    Immunizations and checkups for children
    Dental care and prescription drugs
    Mental health and substance abuse care

You will only be asked to pay what you can afford, based on your income.

Find a health center near you at

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Health Care Law Give Women More Free Preventive Services

Health Care Law Give Women More Free Preventive ServicesNews Release from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service – Forty-seven million women are getting greater control over their health care and access to eight new prevention-related health care services without paying more out of their own pocket beginning August 1, 2012, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced.

Previously some insurance companies did not cover these preventive services for women at all under their health plans, while some women had to pay deductibles or copays for the care they needed to stay healthy. The new rules in the health care law requiring coverage of these services take effect at the next renewal date, on or after August 1, 2012, for most health insurance plans. For the first time ever, women will have access to even more life-saving preventive care free of charge.

According to a new HHS report, approximately 47 million women are in health plans that must cover these new preventive services at no charge. Women, not insurance companies, can now make health decisions that will keep them healthy, catch potentially serious conditions at an earlier state, and protect them and their families from crushing medical bills.

“President Obama is moving our country forward by giving women control over their health care,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This law puts women and their doctors, not insurance companies or the government, in charge of health care decisions.”

The eight new prevention-related services are:

    -Well-woman visits.
    -Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
    -Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
    -FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
    -Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
    -HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
    -Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women.
    -HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.

The health care law has already helped women in private plans and Medicare for the first time gain access to potentially life-saving tests and services, such as mammograms, cholesterol screenings, and flu shots without coinsurance or deductibles. Today’s announcement builds on these benefits, generally requiring insurance companies to offer, with no copay, additional vital screenings and tests to help keep women healthy throughout their lives.

These services are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts as well as evidence-based research to develop its recommendations. These preventive services will be offered without cost sharing beginning today in all new health plans.

Group health plans and issuers that have maintained grandfathered status are not required to cover these services. In addition, certain nonprofit religious organizations, such as churches and schools, are not required to cover these services. The Obama administration will continue to work with all employers to give them the flexibility and resources they need to implement the health care law in a way that protects women’s health while making common-sense accommodations for values like religious liberty.

For women who are pregnant or nursing, the new preventive services include gestational diabetes screening as well as breast-feeding support, counseling and supplies. Health services already provided under the health care law include folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant, Hepatitis B screening for pregnant women, and anemia screening for pregnant women.

Women Medicare beneficiaries may already receive such preventive services as annual wellness visits, mammograms, and bone mass measurement for those at risk of osteoporosis and diabetes screening. Approximately 24.7 million women with Medicare used at least one free preventive service in 2011, including the new annual wellness visit.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, secure, affordable coverage is becoming a reality for millions of American women and families. Men and children are also able to take advantage of preventive services at no extra charge under the health care law. These services include flu shots and other immunizations, screenings for cancers, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and depression.

To learn more about the health care services you may be eligible for at no extra charge under the Affordable Care Act, go to

For information about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report on the number of adult and adolescent women eligible for the preventive services at no charge after August 1, 2012, see

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August 1 – 7, 2012 is World Breastfeeding Week

August 1 - 7, 2012 is World Breastfeeding WeekAugust 1st through 7th is World Breastfeeding Week and the US Department of Health and Human Services is offering a Breastfeeding Resources Action Kit.

Having breastfed all three of my own children, I didn’t even know there was a World Breastfeeding Week!

This action kit, (this title must have been named by a man) contains a bunch of links to information about nursing so you can:

Here are some additional links you may find useful:

A Business Case for Breastfeeding is a program designed to educate employers on why they should support breastfeeding employees in the workplace.

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action is a 100 page document that deiscusses the importance of breastfeeding, barriers to breastfeeding, and how to be supportive to those choosing to nurse their children.

Your Guide to Breastfeeding, by offers plenty of great information from how to position baby to breastfeed to topics such as “Breast Problems After Breastfeeding.”

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