Carmel Health

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Let Finals Stress You Out

As we return to school after the Thanksgiving break things start to get stressful. Teachers will be working you extra hard to prepare you for finals. Your parents will be 'encouraging' you to spend more time preparing for those exams in a few weeks time....and the festive social scene will soon be in full swing.

You know from your studies about mental health that it is normal to feel stressed, and in fact you can even use stress in a positive way and use it to motivate you to start your exam preparations early.

My top 5 suggestions to help you survive the madness of Finals would be:

  • Start planning your study guides as early as possible. Make a plan of times that you will devote to study, AND times that you will devote to non-academic activities. Perhaps even prioritize your subjects. If you are not doing so well in a certain subject perhaps you will need to spend more time reading through those notes.

  • DON'T overstudy. It is important that you put those books down and exercise, do some sport, socialise, reflect at church or go and watch the Carmel athletes performing this season.

  • Share your stress! Let your parents or teachers know if things are starting to get on top of you. Talk to your friends - are they coping? Remember, if the stress starts to get out of hand then you can always speak with Mrs Carlson.

  • Get some sleep. Shut those books AND turn off the computer (yes that means Facebook) at least an hour before you go to bed. Listen to some music, practice relaxation techniques or drink some herbal tea. It's important that you get into a routine which means getting sufficient sleep.

  • Eat a breakfast containing complex carbohydrates. Slow burning fuels like oatmeal will ensure that you are alert throughout the day. Oh, and lay off the caffeine. You can treat yourself to a Starbucks once the exams are over.

Remember, finals aren't everything. They will soon be over and you will be able to get back to being you.

If you have any comments about the above then please post a reply. Do you suffer from stress, or do you have any tips that work for you? Let me know.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Is Obesity Contagious?

As you know, I read as much as I can in magazines and on the internet trying to keep up with the world of Health. Remember, you are still encouraged to do the same and I thank those students who do occasionally bring in articles for me to read.
Recently I have been reading a number of stories based on some research that would suggest that obesity is contagious. Well of course that sort of dramatic headline has been created to get interest in this story but there is some truth behind the headline.
Harvard's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics has produced some research that shows that obese people have the potential to create a ripple effect among their non-obese peers. The more non-obese people an obese person comes into contact with, the greater the chance that those people will become obese. Alison Hill, a study reseracher on the project said that "Although obesity can't actually spread like an infectious disease, contact with other obese people does influence the likelihood of becoming obese yourself".
Researchers have found that if a friend became obese over the course of the study, the chances that the participant also became obese increased by 57%. Among mutual friends (both individuals indicate the other is a 'friend'), the chances tripled.
Among siblings, if one becomes obese the liklihood of their sister or brother becoming obese increases by 40%. Among spouses there is a 37% increased risk.
You might think that maybe friends eat the same foods together and that this might affect their weight, however, the results were still the same no matter the geographic proximity of friends.
With some research suggesting that America's obesity rate won't plateau until 42% of adults are obese, this recent research should get people talking more about this subject.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another First

It's been an exciting first semester of the year for our Health classes. Our "Carmel Health" podcast is now available on iTunes, and student participation in the production of these podcasts continues to increase. The 3rd podcast is almost ready for broadcast and there will be greater student involvement than ever before.
Our Health classes have also used a number of technological resources to aid in their learning of the subject. We have created QR Codes (more on that in a later posting). We have also used applications on smartphones in class. Most recently we used 'iTreadmill' to track our steps throughout the school day and also calculate the total number of calories expended. We also calculated our body composition using the excellent 'TeenBMI' application. Our next unit in class is nutrition and I am already asking for students to come forward and share with me any good application that they or their families have been using to help them lead a more healthful lifestyle.
And so now I find myself trying to utilize a health blog and experiment with ways in which this can be used to engage students in Health. Stay tuned as this blog develops over the coming months.