Month: November 2014

Health Grants Go to Small Communities With Innovative Approaches to Obesity, Smoking

To motivate Lake County residents to get moving earlier this year, public health workers used a charming mascot named Rocky the River Otter. They handed out several of the stuffed animals and asked participants in their “Move More 20+14” physical challenge to photograph themselves exercising next to the cute toys. Rocky ended up in pictures at such locations as an elementary school hula-hoop session, yoga classes and on top of a mountain. The challenge, which asked participants to do moderate exercise 20 minutes a day for 14 weeks, beginning in January, was one of many projects funded through the Community Transformation Grant Small Communities Program.

What is it about giving thanks that makes us healthy?

By Eric Nelson In remarks made to a conference convened this summer by Cal Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), renowned gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons explained why giving thanks is so appealing to so many. “Gratitude has the power to heal, to energize and to change lives,” he said. More specifically, gratitude increases our emotional well-being, improves our capacity to get along with others,

Group prenatal visits improve birth outcomes for mother and child

By Veronica Moscoso In this story we go to Life Long Medical Care in Berkeley, where we met Ana Maria Negrete five weeks from the due date of her first child. Negrete is a part of new model for pre-natal care called CenteringPregnancy — where expectant mothers participate in group checkups which provide support, education and health assessment. Studies show that this type of pre-natal

Obese Kids Often Mistake Symptoms and Overuse Asthma Drugs

By Fran Kritz A new study finds that obese kids with asthma may mistake being breathless for an asthma attack, which can lead to unnecessary use of asthma inhalers. Researchers reviewed data on 58 children with asthma, half obese and half within normal weight range. The researchers assessed lung function, medication use, symptom patterns, doctor and ER visits, and quality of life. They found that

Why unemployment is harder for older adults

By Marty Graham

San Diego area resident Teresa McConnell, 54, remembers the seven months of her unemployment clearly. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone any more, I didn’t want to hear myself say I didn’t have a job and watch people pull away,” she said. “I felt sick and ashamed just saying it.”

Small Financial Incentives Help Some Low-Income Smokers Quit

By Fran Kritz Small financial incentives can double smoking cessation rates among low-income smokers, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health last week. “We wanted to investigate how small and potentially cost-effective financial incentives might help safety net hospital patients quit smoking,” said Darla Kendzor, assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Dallas Regional Campus and the lead

California Health Report TV – Episode 4

In this episode we bring you stories from around the state about people improving their lives – and the conditions of their communities. First we go to Sunnyside Organic Seedlings in Richmond where we met Pilar Reber who went from a pesticide applicator twenty years ago to the owner of a certified organic farm. Reber is now partnering with local non-profits to teach youth about

New Report Recommends Social and Behavioral Domains for Electronic Health Records

By Fran Kritz Including social and behavioral information in patients’ electronic health records may improve patient care, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The Institute of Medicine identified several categories for possible inclusion in electronic health records, including alcohol use, race and ethnicity, tobacco use and exposure, census tract median income, education, depression, intimate partner violence, physical activity, social connections and

National Preterm Birthrate Gets a C, but California Gets an A

By Fran Kritz Preterm births are at their lowest rates in seventeen years, accounting for 11.4 percent of all births nationally in 2013, according to a new report from the March of Dimes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not expect to see such low rates until 2020. The national drop, however, fell short of the goal set by the March of

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