Money, Health, and Other Things

Educational Blog in the Area of Family and Consumer Sciences for the Middle Peninsula


1 Comment

[Replay] No Bones About It – Osteoporosis and Calcium, Part I

For those with health/wellness New Years Resolutions, we’ll revisit some of our past posts on nutrition, health, and exercise. This week, we’ll discuss osteoporosis and calcium.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be discussing osteoporosis and calcium – what they are, what are the risk factors for osteoporosis, and in addition to calcium intake, how can we reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

So, what is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle, resulting in an increased risk of bone fractures, and may be accompanied by a stooped posture, loss of height, and back pain.

What are the risk factors? There are a number of uncontrollable risk factors related to osteoporosis, including age, sex, race, and family history. As we age, the risks of osteoporosis increases. Additionally, women, those of white or Asian descent, and those with a family history of osteoporosis are also at a greater risk. Hormones can also play a role – women with reduced estrogen levels and men with lower testosterone levels are at a higher risk of accelerated bone loss. A number of medical conditions have been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis as well, including Celiac disease, kidney or liver disease, and cancer.

There are quite a few controllable risk factors as well. This includes a sedentary lifestyle – those who spend a considerable amount of time sitting and rarely doing strength and/or moderate impact exercises are at a much higher risk of osteoporosis. Excessive alcohol consumption is another controllable risk factor; more than two alcoholic drinks a day has been linked to accelerated bone loss. Tobacco use can be problematic as well. While the exact role tobacco plays in osteoporosis is not clear, several research studies have identified smoking as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures.

The final controllable risk factor we’ll talk about is inadequate calcium intake, which we’ll discuss more next week!


1 Comment

[Replay] Five Things to Know about Colorectal Cancer

For those with health/wellness New Years Resolutions, we’ll revisit some of our past posts on nutrition, health, and exercise. This week, we’ll discuss colorectal cancer.

Today we’ll discuss five things to know about Colorectal Cancer:

  1. Despite being one of the more preventable forms of cancer, colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the US, at about 50,000 deaths a year
  1. Risk of colorectal cancer increases with age and is most common among adults age 50 and older and those with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  1. Several lifestyle factors increase the risks of colorectal cancer, including lack of exercise, diets low in fruits and vegetables, low-fiber and high-fat diets, being overweight or obese, heavy alcohol consumption, and tobacco use
  1. Cancer screenings, such as colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies, are essential for early detection of colorectal cancer and the potential removal of cancerous polyps
  1. About 50% of colorectal cancer cases are preventable through lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, decreasing alcohol, red meat, and processed meat consumption, and increasing dietary fiber, calcium, and fruit and vegetable consumption.


1 Comment

[Replay] Ways to Prevent Exercise Burnout

For those with health/wellness New Years Resolutions, we’ll revisit some of our past posts on nutrition, health, and exercise. This week, we’ll discuss preventing exercise burnout!

Has COVID-19 made your workout plan a thing of the past? Were you looking to lose weight during the summer, but instead lost your motivation? Here are some quick tips to prevent exercise burnout!

1. Add variety – for some people, doing the same exercise over and over and over can get old, fast. Switch up workouts and try something new, do your current exercise in a new location, or start doing your exercise with a new workout buddy, socially distanced of course!

2. Make it fun – dance, listen to music or books on tape, put the exercise bike in front of your TV during your favorite show, look for active events like biking groups, and find ways to make your exercises and workouts more enjoyable!

3. Challenge yourself – it can be easy to get stuck in a rut and only do the minimal amount of exercise. Add more steps or time to your exercises as you progress, or train for a run or a walk-a-thon. Create some challenging, measurable, and increasing goals to improve your health!

If you’d like a new, team-based challenge, consider joining Fit-Ex, an 8-week, team-based health program designed to increase physical activity and improve eating habits. To participate, you’ll need to form a team of six, designate a team captain, and create an 8-week personal goal. For more information visit www.fit-ex.org, and feel free to contact me at gjsturm@vt.edu or 804-815-9458 for information on the next Middle Peninsula Fit-Ex competition!


1 Comment

[Replay] The When, How, and What’s of Healthy Eating

For those with health/wellness New Years Resolutions, we’ll revisit some of our past posts on nutrition, health, and exercise. This week, we’ll discuss the when, the how, and the what for eating healthy!

When should you eat?

In order to better control the amount you eat and avoid becoming too hungry between meals, the typical suggestion is to eat a meal roughly every 4-6 hours when you’re awake. People who skip meals or go long periods between meals will not only get hungry, but often crave and snack on high fat, high sodium, and/or higher sugar foods. Avoiding skipping breakfast is particularly important, with numerous studies linking skipping breakfast to a higher risk of obesity – losing the opportunity for a filling, nutrient-packed breakfast, and often replacing it with unhealthy snacking throughout the morning. If you do choose to snack, try and have healthy snacks available, like fresh fruits and vegetables or yogurt, and plan on set times for snacking to avoid mindlessly grazing the entire day.

How should you eat?

number of studies point to not only portion sizes increasing over time, but when we’re presented with larger portions, we tend to keep eating even if we’re no longer hungry! To counter this, serve smaller portions on smaller plates and give yourself some time to see if you’re still hungry before potentially getting a second serving. Additionally, research has pointed to a connection between slower eating and lower calorie intake, increased feeling of fullness, less frequent snacking, and interestingly enough, more vivid memory and enjoyability of meals. To slow down your eating, take smaller bites and chew thoroughly. Put down your fork or spoon between bites, frequently taking a sip of water before picking it up again – which will also help with hydration!

What should you eat?

This is where the USDA’s MyPlate comes in. Based on recommendations from the US Dietary Guidelines, MyPlate suggests that half of your plate or meals should be non-starchy fruits and vegetables, while the other half makes up proteins and grains, with at least half of your grains being whole grains, and the majority of your proteins being lean meat or plant-based proteins to avoid consuming too much saturated fat. Additionally, be sure to get regular servings of low or non-fat dairy, and if you cannot or choose not to consume dairy, be sure to find an adequate source of calcium as a replacement. Try to avoid too much of the high sodium foods, and limit the consumption of sugary drinks that add empty calories.

That concludes our discussion, comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for future topics!