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Republicans ignore the greater good on health care

Regarding “Flurry of finger-pointing frustrates Republicans and White House alike” (March 27):

Whom to blame for the Republican health care fumble? We can lay responsibility directly at the feet of the electorate who installed a president whose entire working knowledge of the issue can be summed up in a question he asked after taking office: “Who knew health care was so complicated?”

During the presidential campaign, to his credit, candidate Donald Trump obligingly displayed his ignorance on the topic with the oft-repeated promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with the vaguely hyperbolic “something fantastic.” It’s no wonder the American Health Care Act died on the vine without a president sufficiently conversant in its merits to argue them persuasively.

Ironically, of course, Obamacare took its shape from a Republican plan installed in Massachusetts by then-governor Mitt Romney that rejected the Democratic ideal of a single-payer system in favor of a public/private partnership that required everybody to have insurance and provided subsidies for those who couldn’t afford it.

The Affordable Care Act, which has subsequently resulted in a shrinking pool of providers and rapidly rising premiums in some states, would benefit from legislative efforts to fix its broken parts, but Republicans seem content to let their constituents suffer under its shortcomings rather than allow themselves to be associated with it — even to improve it — completely ignoring the greater good in favor of ideological purity.

So who’s to blame for the Republican health care debacle? Ignorance and spite, the very worst kind of governing duo.

David Lancaster  • Rock Hill

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Cook with herbs for variety and good health





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Las Cruces Public Health Office Hosts Spring Into Good Health Community and Resource Fair

  LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Office of Border Health and New Mexico Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will host the 4th Annual Spring Into Good Health event, a Community Health and Resource Fair Friday, April 7thfrom 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Las Cruces Central Public Health Office, 1170 N. Solano Dr.

The event is free and open to the public. Spring Into Good Health brings together dozens of agencies and community resources to aid residents seeking self-improvement opportunities in celebration of National Public Health Week and Minority Health Month.

Services and information provided at the event include ways to stay active and eat healthy, family wellness, cooking nutrition, and Medicaid services for ages 0 to 64.  Blood pressure checks and blood glucose testing will be available at no cost.

For more information about the Spring Into Good Health Community and Resource Fair call Gilbert Padilla at(575) 528-5111.


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Healthy Living Conference offers aging advice

The Hampton Roads Coalition of Agencies is hosting its 21st annual Healthy Living Conference, “Navigating the Summit,” on April 6. The event intends to educate people 50 and older on ways to flourish through the aging process.

Topics will include prescription drug use and staying active to offset the effects of growing older. The keynote speaker is Dr. Joan Vernikos, a former director of life sciences for NASA and author of “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.”

Community service providers will be on site with additional information for seniors. A healthy cooking demonstration will also take place and complimentary continental breakfast will be provided.

The event runs 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 6 at the King of Glory Lutheran Church. Admission is free and space is limited. Those interested in attending can pre-register through Friday by calling 757-890-3883 or visiting online.

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#eatclean: How Instagram is fueling the healthy-living brand boom …

Planning to try that hot new aqua-yoga class or eyeing a subscription to that organic food delivery service? Chances are you first discovered it on Instagram, just like Melody Lowe, an Austin-based copywriter, who learned about the Whole30 diet on the platform.

“One of the hardest things is planning your meals,” said Lowe. “But Whole30 is great, the community is so engaged, and you never run out of ideas.”

The rise of Instagram has prompted some of the biggest shifts in the health and fitness industry in recent years, fueling a legion of new brands from meal plans like Whole30 and delivery services like Sakara Life to fitness programs like Bikini Body Guide and boutique fitness brands like ModelFIT. These brands have managed to elbow their way into the mainstream by catering to evolving priorities in health and fitness, as well as by employing an unconventional approach to digital marketing focused on user-generated content, a grassroots influencer approach and by cultivating dedicated communities on platforms like Instagram.

“Social media has catapulted the fitness and healthy-eating craze,” said Stephen Boidock, director of marketing at Austin-based agency Drumroll. “Until a few years ago, people learned about the latest workout or plan in the magazines, but now they more likely than not found it on Instagram.”

Changing attitudes
A major reason for the rise of these brands is the huge shift in American attitudes toward diet and fitness in general. The definition of health and fitness is no longer focused on fixing what is wrong and losing weight but rather on overall wellness, nutrition and betterment. Instead of subscribing to restrictive diets, consumers are actively choosing to incorporate fitness into their day-to-day lives. Instead of pushing weight-loss goals, healthy living embraces a body-positive attitude.

“In the past, health was about fixing sickness and very much driven by doctors and health authorities. Then it went into ‘wellness,’ which was about being balanced and living well,” said Alison Earl, strategy director at Burns Group, who also heads up its internal think tank, BG Hatch. “Now, health is about status and self-enrichment.”

In fact, according to a yet-to-be-released report on health by JWT Intelligence, the trend-forecasting arm of J. Walter Thompson, 43 percent of the respondents said that when they think about “health,” they also think about mindfulness, said Shepherd Laughlin, director at JWT Intelligence. This may seem like a low number but is significant, he said, “considering that we only just started talking about ‘mindfulness’ a few years ago.”

People are also moving away from traditional gyms. According to the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, from September 2016, the use of traditional pieces of fitness equipment has declined in recent years. Instead, people, especially those between the ages of 18 and 34 are a leading force in the growth of boutique fitness studios.

It is no surprise then that programs like Whole30, which specifically instructs participants to not use the weighing scale, and Sakara Life, a meal delivery service that encourages consumers to make healthy eating a lifestyle change, are becoming so popular.

“Even we tried juice cleanses and yo-yo dieting before realizing that we couldn’t live between extremes,” said Whitney Tingle, co-founder of Sakara Life, on why she and her co-founder Danielle DuBoise founded the company. “We wanted to push the broader societal transition to a more healthy lifestyle, rather than just cater to it.”

Using Instagram as a marketing channel
Health and fitness have also become a more integrated part of people’s social lives over the past few years. Social media platforms like Instagram have emerged as huge outlets for everyone to post their exercise routines, healthy meals and weight loss journeys.

Just take a quick glance at your feed, and you’re bound to find at least a few mentions of hashtags like #bbg, #fitfam or #whole30. Health and fitness today is as much about broadcasting your journey on social media as it is about following the diet.

“Experiences — including health experiences — are very important to how people define themselves now,” said JWT Intelligence’s Laughlin. “Before social media, fitness was about what your body looked like at the end of the process, but today, people share every step along the way, from selfies at the gym to yoga poses and even photos of their post-workout smoothies.”

This is something that brands like Whole30 and Sakara realize, and have actively furthered in their marketing, especially on Instagram. Both Whole30 co-founder Hartwig and Sakara co-founder Tingle credit Instagram with organically helping propel their brands forward. Whole30 has 1.3 million followers on its accounts @whole30, @whole30recipes and @whole30approved combined, with over 2.4 million photos tagged with the hashtag #whole30 itself (up from 1 million in August 2015). Meanwhile, Sakara Life has over 85,000 followers on its account @sakaralife.

Both brands use Instagram to directly engage with existing consumers online and build connections with new ones. Whole30’s @whole30recipes handle, for example, is a mosaic of user-generated content, consisting of weekly takeovers from members of its community who share their own recipes and recipe hacks. “They’ve done an exceptional job of understanding their audience and catering to their needs in terms of their content,” said Lowe, copywriter at agency Drumroll, who has done the program three times herself. “It is very relatable, and getting support and comments from people on your posts is very encouraging.”

Just shared my #whole30 survival guide on the blog! Link in profile, friends.

A post shared by Melody Lowe @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on Mar 7, 2017 at 8:55pm PST

They also don’t shy away from highlighting their consumers in order to build credibility. Sakara Life, for instance, has a feature called S-Life Mag, where it shares influential stories from its consumers.“We don’t have a storefront or big advertising dollars, so Instagram is the most important channel for us to reach people, spread awareness and build community,” said Sakara’s Tingle.

In a sign of how much traction these brands have gained on the platform, some of their more popular fans have ended up launching businesses in their own right. One of them is Elianne Alexander, a 34-year-old mother of two who started the Bikini Body Guide two years ago, gathered a sizable following and has recently launched her own program FitWithBAE. Alexander has worked with brands ranging from U.K. athleisure brand Sweaty Betty to Bliss Spa.

“The Instagram fitness community may seem very large, but it actually isn’t,” she said. “One of the most important reasons many of these brands have exploded on Instagram is because of the community aspect.”

It is this community aspect, paired with a generational shift in thinking about health, that will perhaps sustain these brands long-term, despite criticism that there are far too many of such brands with too niche a focus. Many of them are also adding to the cult of their classes and programs with more revenue-boosting lines such as clothing, food and cafes to safeguard their future. Whole30’s Hartwig, for example, has her eyes set on the health startup space and has personally invested in several startups, including Nutpods and Kettle Fire Bone Broth.

“What makes these brands successful is how the users relate to them,” said Drumroll’s Boidock. “They empower their influencers, who are their biggest currency, and are even enabling those influencers to become brands in their own right.”

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Healthy Living: March 28, 2017 UPDATED

Healthy Living: March 28, 2017

Depression and Diet: Does What You Eat Impact Your Mental Health?
By: Dr. David Prescott – Acadia Hospital

Depression is estimated to impact more than 350 million people worldwide, and is one of the leading global causes of disability. Psychotherapy and anti-depressant medications have proven to be effective in helping many people with depression, yet these treatments are not universally available, nor universally effective.
Mental health researchers have started to examine the relationship between diet and depression. Preliminary results suggest that what you eat may be important in maintaining good mental health, and that diet may be a useful addition to standard treatment approaches for depression.
What Types of Food Might be Effective in Reducing Depression? It should first be emphasized that the state of the research between depression and diet is preliminary. Large studies with proper controls have yet to be performed. However, suggestions from researchers about dietary habits that appear promising in reducing depression include:
1. “Traditional” dietary habits such as Mediterranean, Norwegian, or Japanese: There is some evidence that these traditional diets, often high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and plant based foods, may be beneficial in combatting depression. One possible pathway by which these dietary approaches help is that they appear to increase levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which tends to be low in people with depression.

2. Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds. Not only may eating these types of foods be helpful in reducing depression in the general population, but some research has suggested that particular groups of people at higher risk for depression, such as people with diabetes, may especially benefit.

3. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids: Fish, such as salmon, light tuna, and sardines, are often identified as good sources of certain healthy types of fatty acids. People with coronary artery disease, who are also at higher risk for depression, have been identified as a group where eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may improve both physical and mental health.

4. Limited intake of processed foods, ‘fast’ foods, commercial bakery goods, and sweets: Several different potential pathways, in the blood, brain, and other physiological systems, have been identified as potentially increasing the risk of depression in people who eat high levels of processed or commercially baked foods. For example, diets high in these types of foods may lead to immune system responses which are associated with increased levels of depression.

Will Dietary Interventions Replace Psychotherapy or Anti-depressant Medication? In a word, no, at least not based on current scientific evidence. However, interventions such as changing typical food choices or increasing moderately vigorous exercise, may be important adjuncts to traditional treatments for depression, which are psychotherapy and anti-depressant medication.
The Mind-Body Interaction: People with chronic illnesses, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and others, are at higher statistical risk for being clinically depressed. As with most areas of medicine, scientists and researchers are finding more and more evidence that ‘psychological’ interventions can help with physical illness, and ‘physical’ interventions, like diet, can help with psychological illness.
The exact mechanisms through which changes in diet might help are not well understood. It could be that improving your diet helps bolster your sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy, both important in combatting depression. Or, certain dietary habits may promote the development of neurotransmitters which are involved in the development of depression. Perhaps healthy diets may reduce the intensity of chronic physical ailments, which are associated with developing depression.

American Psychological Association: or
National Institute of Health:

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Grand National Festival 2017 Tips – The Randox Health Grand National: Who should I bet on, what are the odds and …

TOP Tipster Templegate, along with ITV’s Matt Chapman, have given us their tips for the Randox Grand National at the 2017 Grand National Festival.

The race, which takes place at 5.15 on Saturday, April 8, is the main race on day three of the meeting.


  • Templegate’s Tips will appear here nearer to the event


Templegate’s tip for The Randox Grand National

Templegate’s Tip will appear here nearer to the event

What are the odds and who is running?

A full racecard including details of the runners and riders, along with odds, will appear here closer to the race.


A general view of the Grand National at Aintree

A general view of the Grand National at Aintree


Matt Chapman’s Tip for the Randox Grand National will appear here closer to the event


Keep up to date with all of the Grand National news and views with our live blog

British track sprinter Dwain Chambers races a HORSE ahead of Cheltenham

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6 Tips That Will Help You Spot Fake Health News


Sites that end in .gov, .edu, or .org (government agencies, universities, and nonprofits) tend to be the most trustworthy. Dot-coms from news organizations (e.g., NBC, CBS) can be good, if their reporters are thorough (for the record, we at Women’s Health are sticklers for accuracy). What’s shifty: URLs ending in .co, which often aim to mimic real news outlets (for example, has zero affiliation with ABC News).

Related: 6 Pubic Hair Myths It’s Time You Stopped Believing

The “About Us” Section

It should tell you which company runs the site, its mission statement, who the leadership team is, and how to contact them. If any of this info is missing or sounds shady, the site probably is too.

Who’s Quoted

A good journalist will interview multiple sources, including the study author (a really ace story will link to the study) and other experts. Take 30 seconds to google them. Reliable stories tap credentialed academics (M.D.s, Ph.D.s) actively studying the area being reported on. In other words, a homeopathic healer commenting on the genetics of cancer should be a red flag.

Related: The Surprising Reason Most People Get Cancer

How Others Are Covering The Same News

If health news is sound, you’ll see other reputable outlets covering the same story with pretty similar headlines. If not, they may have done their research and rejected it. See if the story has been debunked by, research site, or health news analysis site

We asked a hot doc how to cure a headache without meds: 

The Language

It should be informational, not emotional. Someone who is pushing an agenda (e.g., trying to sell a supplement) will appeal to your feelings, not your brain.

Related: Get the secret to banishing belly bulge from WH readers who’ve done it with Take It All Off! Keep It All Off!

Headlines That Seem Too Good To Be True

“Breakthrough: Tomatoes reduce heart attack risk” will get you to click, but the story should provide context up front, rather than hiding the caveat that you have to eat a truckload of tomatoes a day to reap any benefits.

For more health advice, check out the April 2017 issue of Women’s Health on newsstands now.

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In Health Bill’s Defeat, Medicaid Comes of Age

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Detroit, public safety unions talking health care

In what some say is a first in city-employee relations, Detroit officials are working with the city’s four public safety unions to hammer out a new health care plan for police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

In the past, the city dictated which health care options were available to first responders, but Mayor Mike Duggan agreed to let the four union heads have input as the city decides which plan to adopt. The parties have been meeting every two weeks since January to come up with a plan that will cover members in 2018.

“For the first time in the history of unions and the city, we’re working together on one side of the table to put a plan together that best serves our public safety employees,” Detroit Firefighters Association President Mike Nevin said. “That’s huge. When all sides come together as adults, instead of insulting each other, a lot can get accomplished.”

Representatives from the city’s four public safety unions — which also include the Detroit Police Officers Association, Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, and Command Officers Association — spoke with the mayor in January about crafting a new health care plan.

“Duggan could have told us to pound sand, and there isn’t anything we could have done about it,” Nevin said. “But he agreed to open it up and look at it, to see if we can’t figure out a better deal. I give the man credit; he’s willing to work with us.”

Denise Starr, the city’s director of human resources, said: “It’s always healthy to have the input of the unions and employees, and for us to be open about what we can and cannot do.”

The city sent out surveys earlier this month to the 6,500 city employees covered under the city’s health insurance plans, Starr said. There are about 9,000 city employees, but some don’t have health care because they’re part time or are covered under a spouse’s plan, she said.

“The survey is to see what the employees want,” Starr said. “And since we were going to survey police and fire employees anyway, we decided to survey the entire city.”

Starr said about 1,000 employees have already responded to the survey, and she expects to have all the forms completed within three weeks.

Currently, city employees may choose between Blue Cross and Health Alliance Plan. Until last year, public safety employees also could choose the Coalition of Public Safety Employees health plan, which had been available to Detroit first responders since 1999.

But in November, COPS Trust, which charged no premiums, decided to stop offering coverage.

“The people at COPS Trust saw an increase in costs, and decided there was a solvency issue,” said police Cmdr. Aric Tosqui, president of the Command Officers Association. “A large percentage of union members were forced off COPS Trust and onto Blue Cross.

“The four unions came back with a plan for the city to look at, to offer health care through Blue Cross that had a similar high deductible/no premium plan COPS Trust offered,” Tosqui said. “The city put it out for bid, and came back and told us they couldn’t do it because it was not cost neutral. The city doesn’t want this to cost them more money.”

Starr said there’s a chance whatever new plan is adopted also will offer a choice for no premium. “There are several options, and we’ll look at them to see which one works best.”

The plan adopted for public safety employees could eventually cover all city employees, Starr said.

Starr added whatever plan is chosen must be approved by the Financial Review Commission, the state-appointed board put in place to monitor Detroit’s budget three years after the city declared bankruptcy in 2013.

There are health care issues that are particularly concerning to public safety workers, Lieutenants and Sergeants Association President Mark Young said.

“There’s a lot of stress on first responders, and all the health issues that come with that,” Young said. “My officers work crazy shifts, and so their sleeping and eating patterns are off. That has health consequences as well. And then there are the nagging injuries you get on the job. It all adds up.”

Part of coming up with a plan will be trying to address the various union heads’ concerns.

“I’ve been pushing for a health care savings account,” Tosqui said. “To me, that’s important, because the probability is that retiree health care will probably not return. A health savings account allows people to put money aside for later, although it has a high deductible on the front end.”

Young said he didn’t want that kind of plan. “I’m concerned about members having high co-pays and deductibles, because we don’t make that much money now as it is,” he said. “If you don’t make any money today, how are you going to put money up for tomorrow?”

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: GeorgeHunter_DN

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