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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 IGiveBlood.com 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 FernandinaPirates.com.

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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 HealthIT.gov 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: ManagingMeds.Challenge.gov. All challenges will be featured on www.challenge.gov.

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 SearchAmelia.com. 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 judiemackie.zumba.com, or contact me directly at Judie@SearchAmelia.com 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.

CXWORX WILL GET YOU RESULTS WHERE IT COUNTS THE MOST.

    -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: www.va.gov/health/ServiceAndGuideDogs.asp

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: www.assistancedogweek.org.

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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:

    Checkups
    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 findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx.

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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 www.healthcare.gov/prevention.

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 aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2012/womensPreventiveServicesACA/ib.shtml.

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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 WebMD.com offers plenty of great information from how to position baby to breastfeed to topics such as “Breast Problems After Breastfeeding.”

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Why is There a Stick in My Peanut Butter?

Why is There a Stick in My Peanut Butter?We don’t usually buy peanut butter anymore. We took on a lifestyle change a couple of years ago and switched from buying peanut butter to the healthier alternative, almond butter. However, when our grandson came to Fernandina Beach to finish the school year (his school was destroyed by a tornado on March 2nd) we bought him some peanut butter from our local grocery when we ran out of almond butter, which we normally purchased from Sam’s Club in Jacksonville.

I opened a brand new jar of Peter Pan crunchy peanut butter, scooped out a spoonful and found a stick in the peanut butter. The label said, “No high fructose corn syrup.” But it didn’t say anything about where this crunchy peanut butter’s crunch came from. I’m guessing, perhaps, the crunch comes from sticks!

Of course, I sent an email to ConAgra Foods, Peter Pan’s parents, expressing my concerns about their quality control and included the lot number and expiration date of the jar. That must have been good enough for them, because they never asked if I had pictures, nor did they ask me to return the jar, or the stick. They simply thanked me for my concerns with a new wave “form letter” (disguised as a personal email) and it included the promise of coupons heading my way via snail-mail.

Just the other day I received the promised coupons. They sent me two coupons for one free ConAgra product… which includes my choice of vegetable oil, margarine and of course, peanut butter; none of which would we buy on a regular basis. So, I think we will use the coupons on peanut butter for our grandson’s next visit, but this time we will select the smooth and creamy style instead of the crunchy!

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Let’s Move Promotes the Play Streets Initiative

Let's Move Promotes the Play Streets InitiativePhiladelphia, PA – Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius joined First Lady Michelle Obama and local officials from across the country to announce the next chapter in the Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties program, which encourages local elected officials to focus on improving the health of their communities.

Secretary Sebelius announced five goals for local officials to achieve within the next year to address obesity and help communities be healthier. These goals align with Let’s Move!’s five basic pillars.

“Make no mistake, childhood obesity is a national problem and demands everyone’s attention. But it’s a problem that can’t be solved just at the national level. We can make a significant impact, city by city, town by town, county by county,” Secretary Sebelius said.

The five goals and corresponding Let’s Move! pillars are:

Goal: Start Early, Start Smart: To provide children with a healthier start, local elected officials commit to helping early care and education program providers incorporate best practices for nutrition, physical activity and screen time into their programs. (aligns with Pillar One – Creating a healthy start for children)

Goal: My Plate, My Place: To empower parents and caregivers, local elected officials commit to prominently displaying My Plate in all municipal or county venues where food is served. (aligns with Pillar Two – Empowering parents and caregivers)

Goal: Smart Serving for Students: To provide healthy food in schools, local elected officials commit to increasing participation in the School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program. (aligns with Pillar Three: Providing healthy food in schools)

Goal: Model Food Service: To improve access to healthy, affordable foods, local elected officials commit to implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in all municipal and county venues that serve food. (aligns with Pillar Four: Improving access to healthy, affordable foods)

Goal: Active Kids at Play: To increase physical activity, local elected officials commit to mapping local playspaces, completing a needs assessment, developing an action plan and launching a minimum of three proven policies, programs or initiatives aimed at increasing access to play. (aligns with Pillar Five: Increasing physical activity)

Secretary Sebelius also announced public and private sector commitments to support the goals of Let’s Move!:

The National League of Cities (NLC), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is committing to providing long term support for Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties through its Institute for Youth, Education and Families. NLC will be providing all elected officials who sign up for the initiative with free resources, access to experts, tracking tools and maps to track progress and connect with other Lets Move! Cities, Towns and Counties sites. This collaboration also includes support from the United States Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties.

Through the Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) “Play Streets Initiative”, the BlueCross BlueShield Association is funding street-closings to increase safe places for families to play. These areas are called “play streets” – city streets where kids and families can run, walk, bike or play outside freely without traffic. The BlueCross BlueShield Association is committed to funding Play Street scholarships in 10 cities and towns across the country between now and October 2013 to create at least four Play Streets per city or town.

KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that promotes activity for communities across the country, has committed to providing free materials, technical assistance and guidance online for Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties elected officials to build or expand public playgrounds. Additionally, the First Lady cut the ribbon of a new Imagination Playground in a Box at the event donated by KaBOOM!, who will provide training and technical assistance to create new play spaces in communities across the country, including a free mobile mapping application to report the location of publicly accessible parks or recreational facilities in local communities.

To help elected officials achieve their goals, subject matter experts from the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture have collaborated to build technical assistance and information for elected officials on the new website which launched in July 2012. Please visit www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org.

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Massage Therapy What You Knead to Know

Massage Therapy What You Knead to KnowContributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), Bonnie Tabasko and Harrison Wein.

Many people associate massage with vacations or spas and consider them something of a luxury. But research is beginning to suggest this ancient form of hands-on healing may be more than an indulgence—may help improve your health.

Massage therapists use their fingers, hands, forearms and elbows to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Variations in focus and technique lead to different types of massage, including Swedish, deep tissue and sports massage.

In Swedish massage, the focus is general and the therapist may use long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping. With a deep tissue massage, the focus is more targeted, as therapists work on specific areas of concern or pain. These areas may have muscle “knots” or places of tissue restriction.

Some common reasons for getting a massage are to relieve pain, heal sports injuries, reduce stress, relax, ease anxiety or depression, and aid general wellness. Unfortunately, scientific evidence on massage therapy is limited. Researchers are actively trying to understand exactly how massage works, how much is best, and how it might help with specific health conditions. Some positive benefits have been reported.

“Massage therapy has been noted to relax the nervous system by slowing heart rate and blood pressure. Stress and pain hormones are also decreased by massage, reducing pain and enhancing immune function,” says Dr. Tiffany Field, who heads a touch research institute at the University of Miami Medical School. Much of her NIH-funded research focuses on the importance of massage for pregnant women and infants. Some of her studies suggest that massage may improve weight gain and immune system function in preterm infants.

A study published earlier this year looked at how massage affects muscles at the molecular level. The findings suggest that kneading eases sore muscles after exercise by turning off genes associated with inflammation and turning on genes that help muscles heal.

A recent NIH-supported study found that an hour-long “dose” of Swedish massage therapy once a week was optimal for knee pain from osteoarthritis, especially when practical matters like time, labor and convenience were considered. Other research suggests that massage therapy is effective in reducing and managing chronic low-back pain, which affects millions of Americans.

If you’re considering massage therapy for a specific medical condition, talk with your health care provider. Never use massage to replace your regular medical care or as a reason to postpone seeing a health care professional.

Every therapist and every massage is unique. If you decide to try massage therapy, work with different therapists until you find one that meets your needs. One of the best ways to get a great massage is to communicate with your therapist. Most will check in with you during your session for feedback, but—if not—speak up!

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Tropical Storm Debby Recovery, Aerial Mosquito Spraying

Tropical Storm Debby Recovery, Aerial Mosquito SprayingNassau County, FL – Nassau County announced today that affected areas of the county will begin receiving aerial spraying for mosquitos on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, overnight into early morning.

Since widespread mosquito control requires the controlled use of insecticides, all state and federal approval steps are designed to make sure significant action is taken and that the public as well as domestic and wild animals are protected.

Several state and federal agencies must be involved to assure all public health interests are considered. State agencies include the Florida Department of Health, Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Federal agencies include FEMA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

By law, insecticide formulations must be among those approved and registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in urban areas for mosquito control. Mosquito abatement must comply with all federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations concerning vector control.

The take personal protective actions, the Florida Department of Health recommends that you “Drain and Cover”:

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around home or business.

    • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
    • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t 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 don’t accumulate water.
    • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER the skin to protect from mosquito bites and from the diseases mosquitoes carry.

    • CLOTHING – Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
    • 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.
    • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
    • COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
    • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

Tips on Repellent Use

    • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
    • Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other EPA-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
    • In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of 3 years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2 months old.
    • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
    • If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

For questions, please contact Emergency Management at 904-548-4980. To receive more information on mosquito control, you can contact the Florida DACS Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control at 850-617-7997 or by checking the website at: www.flaes.org/aes-ent/index.html and www.flaes.org/pesticide.

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Let’s Move Video Challenge Winner Announced

Let's Move Video Challenge Winner AnnouncedWashington D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama announced the winners of the Let’s Move! Communities on the Move video challenge, which invited faith and community leaders to share their stories about their efforts to promote wellness and solve the problem of childhood obesity in their communities.

Mrs. Obama launched the challenge during the celebration of the second anniversary of Let’s Move! at an event at Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Florida. The First Lady encouraged participating organizations to create videos that showcased programs related to Let’s Move Faith and Communities that were creative, effective, sustainable, replicable and inspirational. Videos focused on at least one Let’s Move Faith and Communities focus area, including efforts to promote physical activity, access to healthy, affordable food for children and healthy eating using MyPlate, the federal government’s new food icon.

My Plate 2012Communities across the country responded enthusiastically to the challenge, submitting videos that represented a broad range of programs, strategies and age groups, from toddlers to teenagers, with submissions from 21 states. A panel of judges from Let’s Move!, USDA and HHS chose one winner and several Honorable Mentions. The Popular Choice Award was given to the eligible video with the most votes online. All the winners will be invited to the White House and will meet First Lady Michelle Obama at a date to be announced.

“With lots of creativity and a great sense of fun, these congregations and organizations have shown us the inspiring work being done across the country to help our children lead healthier lives,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Everyone wants to see our nation become healthier, and these contest winners have shown us that by taking steps big or small, each of us can play a role in solving the problem of childhood obesity. I hope more people are inspired by these organizations to work together for our children’s health.”

The winner of the Let’s Move! Communities on the Move video challenge:

First Prize was taken by Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, Forida.

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of Eatonville, Florida has devised a multigenerational approach to motivate families and communities to take an active role in striving for good health and living life to the fullest. Youth health programs at Macedonia put an emphasis on obesity prevention through physical activity, nutrition education, gardening and group motivation. The Macedonia on the Move video shows their “Fit With Faith” weekly exercise program, Zumba classes and Fitness Boot Camps that infuse some friendly competition into physical activity. The church has partnered with several community organizations and has parents and church leaders serving as role models by engaging in activities that promote health and wellness.

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