Take Care: All About Your Health

Shaking the salt habit

When Dr. Scott Cinnamon asks his patients if they think they eat a low-, medium- or high-sodium diet, most people tell him they think they fall somewhere in the middle.

But when he asks them what foods they eat, he often has news for them.

“A lot of people think as long as they’re not grabbing the salt shaker, they have a low-salt diet,” says Cinnamon, a Carle Clinic adult medicine physician.


Immunizing adolescents and teens

Immunization has been a major weapon in the war on communicable diseases. But all the vaccine in the world can’t stop a disease from making a come-back and spreading if people don’t roll up their sleeves and get the shots.

A National Vaccine Advisory Committee report last year listed three major challenges to current and future progress of immunization efforts: Financing the delivery of the new vaccines being developed, a failure to realize the promise of immunizing adults and parental concerns about vaccine safety for children.


The cost of poor funding for public health

Millions of Americans are suffering needlessly because public health programs are chronically under-funded, a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health concluded Monday.

The report followed up a recent Robert Wood Johnson and University of Wisconsin study that ranked the health of individual counties across the U.S.  The new report focused on state-by-state funding for public health.


Exploring a link between health and happy marriage

You know the old saying: Happy wife, happy life.

Now, a new Israeli study may point to a good health reason for men to be in happy marriages.

The study, presented last week at the American Stroke Association’s annual stroke conference, found single and unhappily married men may face a higher risk of dying from a stroke than happily married men do.

Researchers followed up on the 1963 Israeli Ischemic Heart Disease Study involving 10,059 civil servants and municipal workers and tracked what became of those men through 1997.


Addressing a weighty problem in Illinois

Do you have something to say about America’s out-of-control obesity problem and how to fix it?

The first of three public hearings focusing on the human and social costs of obesity in Illinois will be held in Chicago this afternoon, and the second will follow March 8 in Springfield.

The hearings are being conducted by the state Department of Public Health, and are open to everyone, public health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold says.


Another reason to turn off the TV

Families looking for a good reason to participate in National TV Turn-off Week April 19-24 might consider some new research being launched at the University of Illinois at Chicago that will explore a possible link between food commercials and childrens’ diet and weight.

The study will build on previous research linking increased TV-watching and higher weights among kids, and look at whether the food commercials kids are watching are playing a role in the quality of their diet and childhood obesity.


The screening we dread

If you associate the month of March with pleasant things, such as spring break, here’s something else to put on your radar screen that's not so pleasant but worth thinking about: March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Most folks over 50 who see a doctor at least once a year have probably been urged to get a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer found in both men and women.


Should you put your child on a diet?

With so much focus on childhood obesity these days, some parents are bound to wonder if  and when it’s prudent to put a kid on a diet.

And just what kind of diet would work for an overweight child? Low fat? Low carb? Restricted calories?

Dietician Carol Shriver advises always consulting your pediatrician before putting a child on a diet. And proceed cautiously with these two factors in mind:


A free screening for sometimes risky blood clots

Could you have deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that can form in your legs or pelvic area?

The Prairie Heart Institute at St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, will be offering free, non-invasive screenings for DVT on Friday afternoons in March.

The free screenings will be available only to those at risk for DVT.

People at risk include those who have undergone recent surgery, have congestive heart failure or cancer, are overweight, sedentary, over age 40 or a smoker or anyone with a family history of venous thromboembolism.


Healthy community trends

The first national County Health Rankings report released Wednesday was a pretty pointed indicator of just how closely our health is tied to both personal lifestyle choices and local community resources.

Such as: Do we have parks nearby for outdoor exercise? Do we choose to smoke? Do we have a bunch of food outlets selling burgers and fries and not so many places to buy fresh veggies?

Some trends among the 50 healthiest and unhealthiest counties in the nation:


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