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Weight Control Customizing Nutrition Healthy Activities Heart Disease Children With Diabetes Eat Right Donating Marrow

Free Annual Wellness Visits

Plant The Seeds Of Better Health This Spring With Your Favorite Activity

pic(NAPSI)—With the long winter months’ end in sight and the renewal of spring approaching, you are probably thinking of spring cleaning, spring planting and all the outdoor activities that you have not been able to do over the past months. Springtime is an opportunity to focus not only on planting a garden but also seeds of better health.

Did you know that being physically active and eating well may help you stay fit and feel fabulous over the years? If you are overweight or inactive, you may have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems.

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, encourages you to think about your health. To help you improve your health this spring, WIN offers the following ideas:

Move More By Finding Your Favorite Activity

• Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity (at moderate intensity) each day. This can be as simple as brisk walking. You can walk with a friend or even walk the dog. (If you don’t have a dog, you can offer to walk the neighbor’s dog.) If you don’t have 30 minutes all at one time, break it up into 10- minute bouts, three times a day.

• Physical activity does not have to be expensive or routine. Many activities are free or low cost, such as enjoying the scenery at the park or checking out a fitness video or DVD from the library. By changing up your activities each day, you can find fun activities that are different and exciting.

• Make chores fun by putting some energy into them. Washing the car, planting seeds and bulbs, sweeping floors, raking leaves, and other chores all count as ways to be active.

Learn More

Find healthy tips in “Fit and Fabulous As You Mature,” a free publication of the Weight-control Information Network. You can find it at and get further facts and advice at and (877) 946-4627.

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Customizing Nutrition Could Help Keep You Healthier

pic(NAPSI)--Today’s consumers have a healthy abundance of options for personalizing everything they buy—from jeans to lattes to products that help keep them healthy.

Although it’s fun to pick the right app for your phone, design aerodynamic running shoes online or make a mix of music for your iPod, it may be more important to customize a supplement that provides individual nutritional needs.

So how do you know which products you need? You can discover which nutrients can benefit you most at a site created by MonaVie (, a company known for its healthy energy drinks and weight-loss management products.

To identify your specific nutritional needs, visit and enter your personal profile information into an online nutritional assessment tool known as Health Match™. In just minutes, you’ll receive customized product recommendations. Once you receive your recommendations, you can place your personalized order and the right mix of products is delivered to your door.

The supplements, called MonaVie Elements™, are a part of MonaVie’s Nutritional Chemistry™ product line. They are delivered via convenient, easy-to-use packets that contain a premixed powder, which can be added to 8 oz. of water, to one of MonaVie’s health juices or to a serving of its RVL weight-loss shake. Each one of these new Elements supports age/gender−specific nutritional needs or a particular system of the body.

While there will continue to be additional Elements added to the MonaVie product line, the following are now available:

Men’s Vitamin and Mineral Supplement

Designed to provide far-reaching nutritional insurance, this delicious, power-packed formula features 24 essential vitamins and minerals to increase men’s performance and vitality.

Women’s Vitamin and Mineral Supplement

Designed especially for women, this delicious nutritional formula features 25 essential vitamins and minerals. This health-promoting Element protects and nourishes cells.

Children’s Vitamin and Mineral Supplement

With 18 essential vitamins and minerals designed especially to meet the growing needs of kids, this deliciously fun formula provides the essential nutrients needed to strengthen the immune system, develop healthy bones and teeth, and correct nutritional deficiencies.

Brain Health

This delicious nutritional Element supports your gray matter by promoting focus and alertness, and tastes so good you’ll remember to take it every day. Featuring L-theanine and natural caffeine to support cognitive performance and B vitamins to maintain healthy brain function, it makes it easier to keep your inner genius operating in peak condition-whether you’re an Einstein or not.

Glucose Support

This unique nutritional element promotes glucose metabolism to help your body maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This delicious supplement features banana leaf and green coffee bean extracts, as well as chromium. Known for their ability to promote healthy glucose levels, these powerful ingredients help your body naturally accept and convert glucose more efficiently.

Learn More

For additional information on MonaVie products, visit their website at, join them on Facebook at or call (866) 217-8455.

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Spring Forward With Fun, Healthy Physical Activities For The Entire Family


(NAPSI)--You made it through the shortest days of the year, and now that the days are longer, take time to add more physical activity to your family’s day. Balancing your child’s school day, homework and other activities can be hectic, but making small changes this spring can lead to big rewards. Before you know it, your family will become a more active and healthier bunch.

Parents are role models for their children. When your children see you eating right and being physically active, there’s a good chance they’ll do the same. Living a healthier, more physically active lifestyle doesn’t require expensive sporting equipment or memberships. There are fun, creative ways to improve your family’s physical activity habits.

To start, monitor your family’s daily activities for one week. Identify times when your family could increase its physical activity. Each week, add more activity into your family’s routine.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Play a game of tag instead of watching television. Tag provides fun and physical activity. Children love it—especially if they can chase their parents—and it increases everyone’s heart rate at the same time.

• Start a family garden. Begin getting the soil ready to plant flowers and vegetables. If you have limited space, try growing herbs in pots. Homegrown vegetables and herbs are great money savers and ensure you’ll have something available for healthy summer meals and snacks. Fresh herbs are also a tasty alternative to salt when cooking.

• Go old school. Help your children draw hopscotch or four square courts on the sidewalk. Sidewalk chalk is a colorful and inexpensive way for children to create their own activity space.

• Plan a nature scavenger hunt. Pick up small nets and mason jars for kids to use to catch butterflies or interesting insects, and collect flowers in the neighborhood or at a local park.

• Help your children organize a neighborhood softball or kickball game with their friends. Pitch in by planning healthy snacks and drinks to keep everyone energized during games.

Start with small steps to get your family to move more. Making little changes can help everyone maintain a healthy weight.

For more tips on how to help your family live a healthier lifestyle, visit the We Can!(Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® website:

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What Women Need To Know About Heart Disease


(NAPSI)—Women may need to take the latest research about heart disease to heart.

What many don’t know is that heart disease kills more American women than all forms of cancer combined, including breast cancer. Nearly half of all women are at risk for developing heart disease, and as a woman ages, her risk increases.

A heart attack can occur without warning. More than 60 percent of women who died suddenly from coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms.

Women of color, including Black American and Latino American women, are more likely to develop risk factors and are at a higher risk of death from heart disease, yet research has shown they are less likely to recognize their risks.

Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. The first step is to understand which risk factors affect you and what actions you can take to lower your risk.

For example, the risk is higher for women who have a family history of heart disease or diabetes. Increasing age is another risk factor. Women are at a higher risk when they reach 55 or become postmenopausal. These are risk factors you cannot control.

Risk factors you can control are diabetes, smoking, blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher, and total cholesterol over 200. If you don’t exercise, there’s also a risk. Being 30 pounds or more over your recommended weight and having a waist measurement greater than 35 inches are also risk factors.

“It’s important to take action to minimize your risks,” said Dr. Gioia Turitto, spokesperson for Close the Gap, an educational initiative sponsored by Boston Scientific. Close the Gap encourages women to be responsible for their heart health by following these tips:

• If you smoke, quit.

• Aim for a healthy weight.

• Get moving. Make a commitment to be more physically active. Every day, aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity such as taking a brisk walk, raking, dancing, lightweight lifting, housecleaning or gardening.

• Eat for heart health. Choose a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol. Include whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

• Know your numbers. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL and triglycerides) and blood glucose. Work with your doctor to improve any numbers that are not normal.

To learn more about heart disease, visit and, and


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The Highs And Lows Of Caring For Children With Diabetes


(NAPSI)—Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. live with Type 1 diabetes.

Typically diagnosed in childhood, people with Type 1 diabetes have a pancreas that is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Therefore, they must take insulin injections or use an insulin pump. Most people understand that having diabetes means carefully monitoring food intake and taking insulin to prevent the long-term complications associated with high blood glucose. But people with diabetes and their families will tell you it’s actually low glucose, called hypoglycemia, that keeps them up at night—literally.

Parents of children with diabetes spend a lot of time monitoring glucose levels and adjusting insulin dosages and carbohydrate intake (because carbohydrates turn into sugar when processed by the body). Most parents get up several times a night to check their child’s glucose because it’s terrifying to face the possibility that, in severe cases, their child could die in the middle of the night from hypoglycemia.

KK Kessel is an 11-year-old with Type 1 diabetes who’s had two seizures as a result of nighttime hypoglycemia. His mother, Britta Bushnell, says, “The constant vigilance required to care for a child with Type 1 diabetes is beyond what most people can know.”

Technology available to help these families manage diabetes includes insulin pumps—small external devices that deliver insulin around the clock—and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems that measure glucose levels every five minutes and deliver alerts based on those levels.

In addition, the most recent innovation is the first-of-its-kind mySentry™ Remote Glucose Monitor, which could dramatically change nights for parents of children with diabetes. When used with an integrated insulin pump and CGM system, mySentry allows parents to see real-time insulin pump status and glucose trends—and hear alerts and alarms at their bedside—while their child sleeps in his or her own room.

For example, an alarm could alert parents in the middle of the night if their sleeping child’s glucose levels are falling, allowing them to take necessary action to prevent hypoglycemia. With mySentry, Britta says, “We don’t have to worry about him sleeping through lows and not treating them in the middle of the night, like we worried about for a long time.”

For more information, visit

For important safety information, please visit

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How To “Get Your Plate In Shape”

pic(NAPSI)—According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s important to increase your focus on fruits and vegetables and your understanding of proper portion sizes. To help, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) offers suggestions on how to “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

• Whether fresh, frozen or canned, a variety of vegetables-especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables, plus beans and peas-is an important part of your diet. Choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” canned vegetables.

• Add fruits to meals and snacks. Buy fresh fruits and those that are dried, frozen or canned in water or 100 percent juice.

Make at least half your grains whole.

• Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice.

• Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.

Drink fat-free or low-fat milk.

• Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk but less fat and fewer calories.

• If you’re lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

Vary your protein choices.

• The protein food group includes seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs.

• Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate and keep meat and poultry portions small and lean.

Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars.

• Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Choose 100 percent fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks.

• Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers. Add spices or herbs to season food instead of salt.

• Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.

“Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean-protein foods contain the nutrients you need without too many calories,” explains registered dietitian and Academy spokesperson Andrea Giancoli. She also recommends avoiding oversized portions by using a smaller plate, bowl or glass.

Learn More

For more information on getting your plate in shape, visit


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Donating Marrow Can Save Lives


(NAPSI)—You can be a hero and save a life. It can be a lot easier than many people realize, when you volunteer to become a potential marrow donor.

One Young Woman’s Story

Consider the case of Erin Wright. On her 15th birthday, she wished she could donate marrow to a stranger-a wish that took more than a decade to come true.

Determined to help others survive, Wright joined the Be The Match Registry when she turned 18. With more than 9.5 million members, the registry is the world’s largest listing of potential marrow and peripheral blood stem cell donors.

Eight years later, she learned she was a match for a young boy who had leukemia and needed a marrow transplant. The procedure was a success and the boy is doing well today.

Her story illustrates the serious commitment that comes with registering as a potential marrow donor. While some volunteers are quickly matched with patients in need, others may wait years. That’s why the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match Registry, emphasizes the importance of commitment to all potential donors during the recruitment process.

Seeking Youth

While most people ages 18 to 60 are eligible to join the Be The Match Registry, adding more young potential donors is critical to increasing the likelihood of transplant success.

“Research shows that utilizing marrow cells from younger donors gives patients a better outcome,” explained Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of the NMDP. “That’s why registry members between the ages of 18 and 44 are 10 times more likely to be called as donors than others on the registry.”

While Wright achieved her wish to be a marrow donor, she is acutely aware of those patients still waiting for lifesaving transplants. More than 70 percent of people who need transplants don’t have matching donors in their families and they depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match. Wright is committed to encouraging more potential donors to join the registry.

“It was a profound privilege to help save another person’s life,” Erin said. “I hope my story inspires more young people to register as potential donors and give others hope for a second chance at life.”

Be a Part of the Solution

Joining the registry is easy—just a swab of the cheek is all that’s required to gather the cells necessary for testing. Beyond joining the Be The Match Registry, those interested in helping save lives can volunteer their time, contribute money or simply spread the word.

Learn More

For more information, visit or call (800) MARROW-2.


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Stay Ahead of Your Health with Free Annual Wellness Visits
by George Andrews, M.D.

pic(NAPSI)—“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an important adage to keep top of mind as we each strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve lifelong well-being.

Beginning at birth, routine physicals are critical for monitoring a newborn’s health and developmental milestones. Even throughout childhood years, parents are diligent about scheduling routine physicals or making a doctor’s appointment at the first sign of an illness in their kids.

However, this practice tends to reverse with aging as many adults delay regular doctor’s visits because they might not feel sick or are afraid of getting a pricey medical bill. In fact, a recent survey from The Senior Citizens League found that 51 percent of older adults put off visiting a doctor or getting outpatient medical services due to concerns about costs. The reality, though, is that postponing medical care can mean greater costs in the long run, particularly for seniors suffering from chronic conditions.

With The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reporting that 70 percent of Medicare members suffer from at least one chronic condition, annual wellness visits are an important tool in ensuring lifelong well-being and catching serious illnesses early on.

This is why health benefits provider Humana strongly encourages all Medicare members to take advantage of the complimentary annual wellness visit offered through their plans. The CMS-mandated benefit, which has been available to all Medicare members since January 2011, provides members with crucial services and the resources they need to keep their health on track. The visit, which can be performed by a health professional such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant in addition to a doctor, includes:

• Comprehensive Medical Review. When members meet with their primary care physician, they should bring their medical records and a list of prescriptions and know about their family’s health history to review with the doctor. During this visit, doctors will also track blood pressure, weight and height to establish a baseline for future appointments, as well as calculate the member’s “body mass index,” or BMI. BMI is a simple way to find out if the individual could have health risks because of excess body fat.

• Mental Health Check. Studies show that seniors are at great risk of some mental disorders, many of which can be accurately diagnosed and treated. During the annual wellness visit, doctors will check for signs of dementia, memory loss, depression and other mental health conditions.

• Developing a Plan. Doctors will examine a patient’s medical history and current health conditions to create a plan for getting necessary shots and services. They will also make sure all preventive screenings for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer, are up to date. And there is more good news—many preventive screenings are also free or low cost for Medicare members.

Although it’s never too late to schedule an annual wellness visit, it’s a good rule of thumb to contact your doctor early in the year. By forming a partnership with your primary care office, you can have the preventive measures to keep yourself on a path to lifelong health and well-being.

George Andrews, M.D., is the corporate chief of quality at Humana. A former Fulbright scholar, Andrews is board certified in the areas of internal medicine and cardiovascular disease. Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being.

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