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Archive for the ‘Health Literacy/Consumer Health’ Category

2016 Summer Reading Theme of Wellness, Fitness, and Sports

Monday, April 25th, 2016

This year’s summer reading slogan from the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSL) is focused on health and wellness. Many public libraries have already begun their program planning. The National Library of Medicine health resources are a great way to help in the planning and supplementing of programs and activities following this theme.

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MedlinePlus covers a wide range of topics including Healthy Living, Exercise and Physical Fitness, Sports Safety, Child Nutrition and more.  MedlinePlus even has pages of health topics focused specifically on children’s and teen health topics and specific topic pages written just for teens and just for children. These health topic pages include health tips that can be incorporated into health and wellness activities and programs.  Your programs can include collaborating with local organizations and professionals who focus on health and wellness whether it is to lead a program on cooking for weight loss, learning about preventing concussions in school sports or leading a yoga class. These MedlinePlus pages can help supplement such programs in the form of handouts, special webpages with links, newsletters or social media.

Summer reading isn’t just for kids. NIH Senior Health is another great resource for information to include on programs for older adults in your communities. MedlinePlus also have topic pages specifically for Seniors but NIH Senior Health is a great resource on its own. This resource includes ways to improve usability for those who may have visual difficulties.  The text can be made larger and the web page contrast can be changed to make it easier to view.  Videos are also included on several health topics so if reading is difficult this might be an alternative. Information about the importance of health through exercise includes videos including videos of exercises to try.

The National Institute on Aging has an extensive amount of information for Seniors (more…)

National DNA Day, April 25

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

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Are you familiar with the  Genomic Medicine, the Precision Medicine Initiative, and the Human Genome Project?  Have you tried one of the direct to consumer genetic testing through such companies as Ancestry.com or 23 and Me? These and other programs can help you discover  your own genetic makeup.  Learning about who we are genetically often has to do with learning about our health. It can be fun to learn about our ancestry and helpful to know what diseases we might be at risk for getting.  But most of us do not know where to begin and many of us really only have an idea of what all this means. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is hoping to help educate us a little more with DNA Day. Congress approved the first National DNA Day in April 2003 to celebrate both the completion of the Human Genome Project and the 50th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) continues to celebrating DNA Day annually on April 25. The goal of National DNA Day is to offer students, teachers and the public an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the latest advances in genomic research and explore how those advances might impact their lives. And for this year’s DNA Day, NHGRI wants to spread the word about this day’s observance. Efforts have been made to help by teaming up to organize events across the country, create a DNA Day toolkit, update the webpages, expand the listing of resources for students and educators, and increase the usage of social media to engage the public. To learn more about DNA Day and how to get involved go to http://www.genome.gov/10506367

New Dietary Guidelines

Friday, March 11th, 2016

dietary guidelinesAlready lagging on your New Year’s resolutions?  Well, spring is a time for renewal and a fresh start!  March is a great time to take a look at the recently released U.S. Dietary Guidelines and renew your resolve to eat healthier.  What are the U.S. Dietary Guidelines? Published every five years for the general public as well as public health professionals, and policy makers, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides food recommendations for people aged two years and older. Each edition reflects the current  nutritional science, with a focus on chronic disease prevention.

What are some of the changes from the last edition? Previous editions had focused on specific dietary components such as food groups or nutrients.  The current edition instead, emphasizes overall eating patterns, the combinations of all the foods and drinks that people consume every day.  Included in the current edition are updated guidance on topics like added sugars, sodium, and cholesterol and new information on caffeine.  This is the first edition to recommend a limit to consume less than 10 percent of calories from added sugars in order to control overall calorie intake.  On a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that’s about 12 teaspoons while most Americans typically ingest closer to 22 teaspoons a day.

Thankfully the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion done a very basic breaking down of the current focus of the new guidelines for us to follow without being too specific because as the executive summary says, “These Guidelines also embody the idea that a healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription, but rather, an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget.” (more…)

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 21-27)

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  Why focus the focus on eating disorders? According to the National Association of Anorexia and Related Disorders (ANAD),  over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.  ANAD also reports that eating disorders are the number one fatal mental health disorder. Mortality rates can vary and part of the reason why is that the causes of reported deaths are often listed for complications (organ failure, malnutrition, suicide, heart failure) resulting from rather than the actual eating disorder itself.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “An eating disorder is an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating.”

The three types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa: People with anorexia see themselves as overweight and are afraid to gain weight despite the fact that they are clearly underweight. Anorexia is more than just about food. It is a way to feel in control.  People will weigh themselves constantly, will weigh and measure and calculate the calories of the food they do ingest. For some, with anorexia, binge-eating may occur, they may become obsessed with excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, use diuretics, laxatives or enemas. Some with anorexia say that this control with food and weight is a way to gain more control in their lives and to ease the stress and anxieties they experience. The medical consequences of anorexia vary including in seriousness but it affects the heart, other organs, the bones, and a myriad other physical conditions.
  • Bulimia nervosa: People with bulimia have recurring episodes of overeating very large amounts of food followed by one or more of these methods to compensate for the over-eating: self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, excessive exercise, fasting. Unlike those with anorexia, those suffering bulimia often have a normal healthy weight. They are often very unhappy with their bodies and fear gaining weight. They tend to binge and purge secretively (because they are disgusted with themselves and are ashamed) from several times a week to several times a day. A host of medical problems caused by bulimia include hair loss, dental problems, gastrointestinal conditions, and problems affecting the heart.
  • Binge Eating Disorder: Those with binge eating disorder eat huge amounts of food during which they feel they have no control.  Unlike those with anorexia or bulimia, people with binge eating disorder do not self-induce vomit, exercise excessively, eat only certain foods or small amounts. Therefore, those with binge eating disorder tend to be over-weight or even obese.  Often those with this disorder feel guilt and shame about their binge eating which leads them to continue the cycle. Many miss work, school or social events to binge eat. Those with binge eating disorders often report having more health problems, depression, stress, trouble sleeping, and suicidal thoughts than those without this disorder. It can increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other medical complications.

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IOM workshop – Health Literacy and Precision Medicine: An Important Partnership

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Date: March 2, 2016

Time: 5:30 am-2:00 pm Pacific Time , 4:30 am-1:00 pm Alaska, 6:30 am- 3:00 pm Mountain

Attend in-person: The meeting will be in Room 100 of the Keck Center of the National Academies located at 500 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Attend online: When registering select “Via Webcast”

On March 2, 2016 the Roundtable on Health Literacy of the Institute of Medicine will conduct a workshop on Health Literacy and Precision Medicine: An Important Partnership. The workshop will feature invited presentations and discussions of the issues that surround the role of health literacy in the growing field of precision medicine. The recently announced Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) by President Obama plans to recruit a research cohort of more than a million participants to contribute genomic and health data to advance the field. Health literacy plays a significant role in the future of precision medicine. Research participants must be able to grant informed consent and researchers must be able to recruit, engage, and retain a truly representative cohort. In addition the results of the research must be reported in a clear and easily understood manner and patients must fully understand their treatment options. The workshop will cover the areas where precision medicine and health literacy intersect and communication in the research and clinical settings, as well as with the public. – Register at: http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Activities/PublicHealth/HealthLiteracy/2016-MAR-2.aspx

NIH Rare Disease Day webcast on February 29

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

On Feb. 29, NIH will host a Rare Disease Day event to raise awareness about rare diseases, the people they affect and current research collaborations. An estimated 25 million people in the United States have rare diseases. The event will feature presentations, posters, exhibits, an art show and tours of the NIH Clinical Center – a hospital at which researchers are studying nearly 600 rare diseases in partnership with over 30,000 patients. The event will be broadcast online. (more…)