Want to know how to compose a great persuasive essay?

We will show you all the persuasive essay writing peculiarities! With us you are sure to succeed!

Health Column


YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Reducing Childhood Obesity in Our Community    (January 2011)

Childhood obesity has greatly increased over the past two decades. Being overweight and/or obese increases the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer and heart disease.

Type II Diabetes, for example, was once exclusively diagnosed in adults. It is now seen in children, and can lead to a decreased quality of life and shortened lifespan. Maintenance of a healthy weight, particularly during childhood, is critical as many of these behaviors follow into their adulthood. A healthy lifestyle is one that involves regular exercise and eating well on a regular basis.

Currently, in the Bronx, approximately 68 percent of children are classified as overweight or obese, which is 35 percent higher than the national average at 33 percent. (Height and weight is used to calculate a body mass index (BMI) which helps to classify an individual as overweight or obese. For children, both age and gender are taken into account to determine their BMI. )

Many adults and children in the Bronx do not exercise regularly or eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, which is related to the obesity epidemic.

Studies reveal that eight out of 10 adolescents in the Bronx eat fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, that four in 10 high school students report not exercising at least 20 minutes a day, and that six out of 10 watch more than three hours of television per day. All of these factors impact weight.

So what are daily tips you should stick to on a regular basis? Follow this quick 5-2-1-0 model:

5 – Eat five fruits and vegetables per day or at least most days of the week.
2 – Limit screen time (e.g. television, computer) unrelated to school two hours or less per day.
1 – Get one or more hours per day of moderate physical exercise per day.
0 – Drink less sugar. Drink water and/or low fat milk as an alternative to sugary drinks.

What are some other helpful tricks to practice these healthy behaviors on a daily basis?

• Use the plate method: ½ vegetables, ¼ starch (e.g. rice), and ¼ protein (e.g. chicken, beans, beef).
• Decrease portion size. Use 9-inch plate for children.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Get off one train stop early to increase walking.
• Exercise at home. Do chair exercises, dance, play hide and go seek while. watching commercials; one hour of television can amount to a whole 12 to 15 minutes of exercise!
• Try using half glass of juice and half glass of water to decrease sugary beverage consumption.
• Eat meals together away from television or distractions. It is important to follow healthy habits as a family.
• Eat breakfast. Studies have shown that children who do not eat breakfast are more likely to be overweight, in addition to having less energy and ability to concentrate during school. Children and adults who don’t eat breakfast compensate during the day by eating extra calories and snacks which contributes to greater weight gain.
• Snack smart. Choose healthy snacks like yogurt or whole grain cereals.
• Eat a variety of foods. Children need a large amount of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It is important that a variety of foods are introduced at an early age.

There are so many ways to incorporate these physical activities and diet into your child’s diet. Morris Heights Health Center, for example, runs a six-week childhood obesity program, called GRAF (Getting Real About Food), particularly for adolescents, which teaches them a variety of topics such as reading food labels, exercising at home, healthy grocery shopping at local bodegas, fast food choices, healthy food alternatives, sugar demonstrations, plate method, food pyramid, and other topics.

Valuing your health starts at an early age.

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

The Diabetes Epidemic   (December 2010)

An estimated 23.6 million people in the United States have Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes is a disorder that causes the body to have trouble using glucose (sugar). It results in high levels of glucose in the blood. Diabetes is considered an epidemic in New York City and disproportionately affects African-Americans and Hispanics. Unfortunately, people living in the South Bronx suffer twice as much as other people living in the U.S.

There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body becomes unable to make insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s ability to use and/or make insulin becomes reduced. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when the body is less able to make and/or use insulin. It usually goes away after the baby is born. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, particularly in the Bronx. It is most often diagnosed in adults (American Diabetes Association, 2010).

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

There are several risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes. A person is more likely to develop diabetes if he/she has a family history of diabetes, being overweight, lack of physical activity, being over 40 years old, having high blood pressure, and being African-American, Native-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, Asian-Indian or Pacific Islander.

Diabetes Complications

If diabetes is left untreated, it can negatively affect your gum/teeth, feet, and eyes. Over time these effects can lead to long-term health complications such as heart disease/stroke, kidney disease, amputations and blindness. Management of diabetes is very important in preventing such complications.

What Can You Do?

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you must take charge of your disease. Self management is necessary in order to stay healthy and to reduce the risk of long-term complications. You should:

• Eat healthy
• Exercise regularly
• Keep a daily log of your glucose and blood pressure at home
• Obtain a yearly foot, eye and dental exam
• Check cholesterol levels
• Take your medication
• Stop smoking
• Reduce alcohol use
• Ask your provider questions
• Obtain HgA1C (every 3 months) target HgA1C is 7.0 or less
• Find Support

Your Health Matters!

At Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC), we approach the management of diabetes in a team effort by providing consistent medical care and education to prevent acute complications. Our patients have access to a provider, nurse, dietitian, health educator and social services. We are part of a collaborative with others organizations to provide case management and in-home visits for the hard to control diabetics. We also offer a diabetes education program called Project RED (Redefining Education and Exercise for Diabetics). The program is held over six sessions which focuses on core aspects of self management of diabetes such as: medication adherence, nutrition and exercise, a grocery store demonstration, cooking demos, coordination of foot care, ophthalmology exams, mental health screening and smoking cessation.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 60,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 14 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

d

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

The Flu Vaccine. Do I Really Need It?   (OCTOBER 2010)

You may have heard on television or radio, or from your doctor, that you should get vaccinated against influenza (flu) this year. Why is there so much interest in getting vaccinated?

One reason is that people do not realize that flu is a serious disease. Many people think of flu as getting a cold or a runny nose. Unfortunately, flu can make you very sick, and can kill. Children, older people, and people with medical complications are especially vulnerable. In these people, flu can be a major illness, and can be life-threatening.

Another group of people who need to be vaccinated are health care workers, or anyone who takes care of sick or elderly people, or works closely with children. These people include nurses, doctors, medical and dental assistants, home care workers, dentists, teachers and others.

Here’s some important information about the disease and the vaccine:

• Last year’s flu vaccine will probably not protect you against this year’s flu. The virus changes every year, so you need to be vaccinated every year.
• People think they can’t spread flu, because once they feel sick, they will not go to work, and not spread it. Unfortunately, you may have flu for several days before you feel sick, and are spreading it to others during this time.
• Some people think that the vaccination can give you the flu. It is impossible to get the flu from the vaccine. The two most common side effects of flu vaccine are a runny nose for a brief time, and a sore area in the skin where the injection was done.
• The two most important things you can do to protect yourself from flu are VACCINATION and HAND-WASHING. Flu travels from person to person on the hands, and then to the nose or mouth. Frequent hand-washing helps prevent spread.
• There is no shortage of flu vaccine this year.

So, see your doctor or health center and get vaccinated…some pharmacists can also vaccinate. Protect yourself, your family and others around you. Get your flu shot!

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC). MHHC serves more than 60,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 14 convenient locations. For more information, visit www.mhhc.org.

d

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Back to School Immunizations (SEPTEMBER 2010)

When most people think about going back to school in September, they think of the approaching fall season, new teachers, new classrooms, new schools and new friends. However, one of the most important things to think about and review is vaccinations. Having your child up to date on immunizations is one of the best and most important things you can do for your children. It not only ensures good health and longevity, but it also enables your child to enter and remain in school.

The New York City Department of Education and The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene want to ensure that the learning environment is safe and healthy. There is always a potential for exposure to serious illnesses in environments like schools, camps, and the military, where large numbers of people come together every day. Most of the diseases that children get immunizations against do not have cures, and it is usually too late to vaccinate children after they have had exposure to an illness. Many people feel that there is no need for vaccinations because they have not seen anyone contract any of these diseases in their lifetime. This could not be further from the truth. All of the diseases that pediatricians and other doctors vaccinate against are a threat to children today just as they were many years ago.

We have been successful in the fight against many of these childhood diseases because many parents bring their children in for scheduled checkups and to receive their shots. But there have been many outbreaks of childhood diseases because some parents do not see the need for the vaccine or because they have concerns about the vaccines harming their child. Vaccines are safe and effective, and there is absolutely no evidence that vaccines cause any serious harm. There are countless examples of children who have suffered and even died because they were not vaccinated.

Remember, now is a great time to check in with your child’s pediatric health care provider for a complete checkup and a review of your child’s immunization status.

The vaccines that all children must have to enter school depend on the grade level the child is enrolled in when they first enter the school system.

For Day Care/Pre-Kindergarten:
DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus), Poliovirus, MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella), Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B), HepB (Hepatitis B), VZV (Varicella), PCV (Pneumococcal conjugate).
For Kindergarten:
DPT, Poliovirus, MMR, HepB, VZV.
For Grades 1 to 12:
DPT, Poliovirus, MMR, HepB, VZV, and Tdap (Tetanus-Diphtheria-Acellular Pertussis) for all children in 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.

Morris Heights Health Center offers services for children of all ages from birth to 21. Immunizations are given whenever they are needed. Children can be seen by our health care providers at our Burnside Avenue site (85 W. Burnside Ave.), our Walton Avenue site, (25 E. 183rd St.), or our East 137th Street site, (625 E. 137th St.). Best of all, Morris Heights Health Center has nine school-based health clinics, so children enrolled in these schools can receive all of their needed vaccinations right in their own school. Our school-based locations are:
PS 396/MS 306
CIS 232/303/HS 365
MS 399/MS 447/MS 459
CES 126
PS 396/MS 390
PS 90
Health Opportunities High School/Community School for Social Justice
Harry S. Truman High School/Bronx Health Science High School
The 228th Street Schools (Albert Tuitt Campus)

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 60,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 14 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

m

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Keeping Your Eyes Injury Free (JULY 2010)

It is estimated that 2.5 million Americans sustain injuries to the eye each year, with 40,000 of these leading to vision loss. Prompt and proper treatment can help preserve vision.

There are four common causes of ocular injuries: trauma with a blunt object, trauma with a sharp object, small flying particles, and burns. Knowing how to respond in emergency situations prior to receiving care from a medical professional may help minimize permanent damage to the eye.

Blunt Trauma
The eye and its surrounding area, known as the orbit, consist of many structures made up of bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels. Trauma with a blunt object may cause a cascade of injuries. The most widely recognized is the “black eye” which results from blood seeping from broken vessels under the skin and in the soft tissue of the eyelids. This blood will usually disappear in one to two weeks. Placing a cool compress on the eye can help minimize swelling. Bleeding may also occur on the white part of the eye due to broken vessels under the conjunctiva, and will also resolve in about a week. It is important to avoid aspirin, if possible, to prevent further spreading of the blood.

Blunt trauma can also cause an inflammation of the iris and ciliary body structure in the eye. This is called an iritis or uveitis. Symptoms may include eye pain, redness, sensitivity to light, and reduced vision, but can be treated with a topical steroid drop as prescribed by the eye doctor. With any physical trauma to the eye comes a risk of damage to the retina or the optic nerve in the back of the eye. These structures are part of the nervous system and are responsible for providing high quality vision. Often, damage to the retina or the optic nerve may be permanent. Any symptoms of reduced vision, flashing lights, floating spots, or visual distortion should be followed up with an eye care professional immediately to rule out retinal swelling or detachment.

The orbit is the cavity around the eyeball and is made up of several bones. A forceful blow to this area can cause these bones to fracture. There are several nerves and muscles that are housed in the orbit, which may become trapped by the broken bone. This can inhibit movement of the eye and cause double vision. Often this injury must be surgically repaired, but early intervention can help restore normal function.

Sharp Trauma
A major concern of trauma with a sharp object is puncture of the globe, also known as the eyeball. This is a serious and sight threatening injury and warrants immediate medical attention. Symptoms may include sensitivity to light, eye pain, redness, and reduced vision. However sometimes these symptoms may be mild and any history of an eye injury with a sharp object should be followed up by an eye care professional immediately.

Sharp objects can also cause cuts to the eyelid, which may require stitches. Cool compresses and immediate medical attention can help minimize permanent scarring.

Small Particles
Many patients come in with a history of small particles flying into the eye and complain of a foreign body sensation. Often the eye will be red and tearing, and keeping the eye open may be difficult. These particles have a habit of lodging into the cornea or conjunctiva. Usually, flushing the eye with water or saline may remove the particles, but occasionally these particles may lodge in the cornea or conjunctiva. An eye care professional may be needed to remove the foreign body. Sometimes these particles can scratch the cornea, causing a corneal abrasion. This can be particularly painful due to the sensitivity of the cornea but usually heal within 24 to 48 hours. An antibiotic is often prescribed to prevent infection, and in the case of large abrasions the eye may be patched overnight.

Burns
Burns to the eye often occur from either acidic or alkaline chemicals, many of which are found in basic household cleaners. It is imperative that the eye is immediately flushed with water or saline for at least 20 minutes. Chemical burns can cause damage to the cornea and conjunctiva, resulting in scarring and loss of vision, and quick intervention can minimize damage. Once the eye is flushed, an antibiotic will need to be applied to prevent infection and close monitoring by a medical professional is necessary.

While ocular injuries are an unfortunate part of life, many can be avoided by using protective eye wear in appropriate situations. The incidence of permanent vision loss has decreased over time due to these preventative measures, early intervention, and improvement in medical care and surgical techniques.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 60,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 14 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Choosing the diet lifestyle that’s best for you and your family (MAY 2010)

Every day on the radio, television and in newspapers, you get a daily dose of sometimes confusing information on the newest “diet” lifestyles people are adopting and you may be wondering what this all means. Selecting a new diet lifestyle based on the foods you eat can be an important decision for your health and the health of your loved ones. Many of these lifestyles are difficult to follow and complex and may require the services of a nutritionist. These diet lifestyles have been created for adults and should not be used for infants and children who require very specific nutrients for their growth and development.

There are many and varied types of diets, most promoting better health and overall well-being. There is a diet for everyone, but the question is how to choose the right one for you. However, it is very puzzling to try to figure them all out. Be sure to consult with your doctor before you begin

Vegetarians: This diet does not include meat, although some people eat fish or other sea animals and some may even eat chicken. There are many different types of vegetarians.

Pescatarians: This diet excludes all meat except fish, shellfish and crustacean.

Pollotarians: Excludes all meat except poultry and fowl.

Lacto-Ovos: No meat, fish or poultry, but includes eggs, dairy and honey.

Lacto Vegetarians: No meat, fish or poultry, and some dairy and honey. These vegetarians avoid ice creams and bakery goods.

Ovo Vegetarian: An ovo-vegetarian eats no meat, fish or poultry, but will eat eggs and products containing eggs and bee honey.

Flexitarians: This is a vegetarian who allows occasional exceptions. Meaning they follow the vegetarian diet and will have an occasional piece of meat, eggs, etc.

Su Vegetarians: This diet or lifestyle originated in Buddhism and excludes all animal products as well as vegetables with strong odors, such as onions and garlic.

Fruitarians: Their diet consists of only fruits, nuts, seeds, and other plants that can be gathered without harming the plant. Some fruit “classifications” are avocados, nuts, seeds, eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes.

Macrobiotics: This diet is a vegetarian diet, with no meat or dairy products, although some people on a macrobiotic diet eat fish. The macrobiotic diet does not include “nightshade vegetables”; potatoes, peppers and eggplants. They do not eat refined sugar and tropical fruits.

Vegans: It is a form of vegetarianism. Vegans do not eat any animal products, no meat, no chicken, and no fish. They do not eat animal by-products such as eggs or milk. Most Vegans do not eat bee honey. Vegans abstain from using animals for other purposes (leather, furs, wool from sheep, silk from silk worms, etc.). Veganism is sometimes referred to as a “plant-based” diet. This high fiber diet contains vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, fruits and seeds. Vegans don’t use products containing casein or whey. Vegans don’t use personal care products that have been tested on animals.

Raw Vegans: This diet is comprised of fresh and uncooked fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables. The foods are referred to as “live foods.” Raw Vegans believe that cooking changes food in a negative way and makes it less nutritious.

Most Vegans also avoid products with animal rennet, gelatin (from animal bones and connective tissues) and some sugars that are whitened using bone char, or alcohols clarified with gelatin, crushed shellfish or egg whites. These diets or lifestyles go back to the 6th century and has its roots with the nonviolence towards animals; this practice is called “ahimsa” in India. Today, Indian vegetarians, primarily lacto-vegetarians make up more than 70 percent of the world’s vegetarians. Vegetarian practices became more popular in the 19th and 20th centuries.

People choose these diets or lifestyles based on morality, religion, health, taste, economics, politics, culture, ethics, aesthetics, environment, or for societal reasons.

Morris Heights Health Center encourages you to eat what you like, but in moderation, prepared in the healthiest way, considering portions, in coordination with your doctor. However, some people may need more help, so contact our appointment service at (718) 716-4400 and make an appointment with the nutritionist to get help in selecting the right individual diet lifestyle for you.

In the meantime, here is simple and healthy vegan recipe for you to try:

Hummus

One 15-ounce can of chickpeas

Salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic

1 small grated onion

1 small bunch of cilantro

½ cup of olive oil (or vegetable oil)

Directions:

Drain and rinse can of chickpeas, place in blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic and onion and blend. If you like a chunkier spread, do not blend too much. Finally chop cilantro and add mix in. Enjoy on toasted bread, crackers or raw vegetables. If you do not have a blender, use a fork to mash the chickpeas and finely chop the other ingredients.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC).  MHHC serves more than 60,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 14 convenient locations.  For more information, visit www.mhhc.org or call (718) 716-4400.

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

April is Cancer Awareness Month – Take Control of Your Cancer Risk! (APRIL 2010)

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is a healthy lifestyle and regular cancer screenings can reduce a person’s cancer risk. Cancer screening saves lives by preventing disease, catching cancer in its early stages and providing opportunities for treatment.

Frequently, however, we put aside these important tests. In the Morris Heights community, women get Pap tests for cervical cancer and mammograms for breast cancer at rates lower than the NYC target of more than 85 percent. In addition, less than half of adults aged 50 and older in the Bronx have had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years.

Research shows that screening for cervical and colorectal cancers helps prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous. Screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancers also helps find these diseases at an early, often highly treatable stage.

A person’s cancer risk can be reduced in other ways by receiving regular medical care, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.

Vaccines also help reduce cancer risk. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers, and the hepatitis B vaccine can help reduce liver cancer risk.

Screening for Breast, Cervical, and Colon Cancers
Screening is when a test is used to look for a disease before there are any symptoms. Detecting disease early can lead to more effective treatment. In some cases, such as colon cancer, screening tests can detect abnormalities such as polyps (abnormal growths), before they have a chance to turn into cancer. Removing polyps in the colon and rectum prevents colorectal cancer from developing.

Currently, the best way to find breast cancer is with a mammogram, an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best method to detect early breast cancer because it can detect cancer before a breast lump is felt or causes symptoms.

Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. If you are age 40 years or older, be sure to have a screening mammogram every one to two years.

The Pap test can find abnormal cells in the cervix which may turn into cancer. Pap tests can also find cervical cancer early, when the chance of being cured is very high.

Cervical cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up. Two tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:

• The Pap test looks for pre-cancer, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
• The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.

You should start getting regular Pap tests at age 21. The Pap test is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. It also can find other conditions that might need treatment, such as infection or inflammation.

Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

You should begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 50, then continue getting screened at regular intervals. However, you may need to be tested earlier or more often than other people if you or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.

Where Can I Go to Get Screened?
You can get screened for breast, cervical, and colon cancer at Morris Heights Health Center. Call (718) 716-4400 to make an appointment. Most health insurance companies pay for the cost of cancer screening tests.

Are you worried about the cost? Morris Heights Health Center will help connect you with free or low-cost cancer screening programs. Call (718) 716-4400 for information.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC). MHHC serves more than 60,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 14 convenient locations. For more information, visit www.mhhc.org.

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Nutrition from the Ground Up (MARCH 2010)

March is National Nutrition Month® and the theme this year is “Nutrition from the Ground Up”. This event focuses in the importance of making informed food choices and developing good eating and physical activity habits.

You can celebrate National Nutrition Month® and your own health by keeping a few helpful nutrition tips in mind:

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies! Full of vitamins, minerals and cancer preventing agents such as anti-oxidants, fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet and a powerful way to combat disease. Buy them fresh, frozen and/or canned. Try the supermarket brands and buy them in bulk when on sale.

Premium Fuel – Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and legumes provides your body with premium fuel to keep you going at your best. So, start your day with a bowl of oatmeal or whole grain cereal. Have a sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread for lunch. Use grains such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta or legumes like beans and lentils with your dinner. Remember: whole grains will make you feel fuller longer and will prevent constipation.

Wary About Dairy – Regular dairy products tend to be high in cholesterol and saturated fat. But low fat dairy products serve a multitude of health benefits. Rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein, which build strong bones, teeth and prevents osteoporosis, low fat dairy products are nothing to be wary about. If you usually drink whole milk, switch gradually to fat-free milk. Try reduced fat (2%), then low-fat (1%), and finally fat-free (skim).

On a Budget – eating healthy does not mean you have to spend a lot of money. Always plan a menu, make a grocery list, use coupons, and buy supermarket brands when possible.

You’re In Control – Fill half of your plate with raw or steamed vegetables, ¼ of your plate with whole grains such as rice, beans, and whole wheat pasta, and the other ¼ with lean beef, skinless chicken, or fish for one whole balanced and healthy meal. Dessert you say? Any fruit you can think of will serve both your sweet tooth and general health exceptionally well – Dig in!

Rethink your drink – Avoid high calorie drinks such as sodas, fruit juice drinks, specialty coffees, energy drinks, and alcohol. These add on pounds without even making you feel full. Instead, whenever possible try to replace these drinks with plenty of water, seltzer or sugar free beverages. .

Pack A Healthy Snack – Think of snacks as mini-meals full of energy, vitamins and minerals. Plan snacks ahead of time and get creative. Use fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products in different combinations. Some examples would be: six whole wheat crackers and a low fat cheese stick, light yogurt and fruit, a mini bag of air-popped popcorn, a fruit smoothie with low fat milk, and baby carrots/snap peas/cherry tomatoes with a low fat ranch dressing.

Mealtime In Real-time – Turn off the television, the video games and the computer and take advantage of the opportunity to share a good meal with your family and friends. Eating meals together facilitates communication and fosters interaction, and can potentially strengthen your relationships. It also helps to establish regular meal schedules. Be open to trying new foods and new ways of cooking foods, serve sensible food portions and encourage your kids to help prepare meals, set the table and help with the dishes.

Yadda Yadda Blah! Blah! – Put excuses aside and commit to an Exercise Routine. Schedule a regular time during the day for physical activity. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, doing errands on foot instead of driving, get off the bus or train a few stops early or take a brisk walk after lunch. Consider bicycling, walking briskly or exercising at home with videotapes if a gym membership is too costly. Set a goal to be active at least 30 minutes every day.

Celebrating National Nutrition Month® is an effective way to get your health back on track.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Can Your Child Live a Cavity-Free Life? (FEBRUARY 2010)

Actually, there’s a good possibility of this happening. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and by knowing the basics and STARTING EARLY, you can prevent cavities and decay in your children. Your children can have healthy teeth and gums, avoid cavities, fillings and tooth loss by following the basic guidelines below:

1) START EARLY. You need to begin care of your children’s teeth as soon as they come in. This can be as early as six months.

2) WIPE YOUR BABY’S TEETH. At six months, just wipe the teeth once a day with a piece of gauze to remove plaque. Infants do not need a toothbrush, and you should not use toothpaste at this time to prevent them from swallowing it.

3) CUT DOWN ON THE SUGARY FOODS. Sugar is a major cause of decay, and will begin to destroy the outer enamel of the teeth within a few hours.

4) NEVER LET FOOD (ESPECIALLY SUGAR) STAY ON THE TEETH OVERNIGHT. Brushing is best done after each meal. The most important brushing is at night, to prevent food from being on the teeth from 8 to 12 hours during sleep.

5) NEVER SEND A CHILD TO BED WITH A BOTTLE – unless the bottle contains water. Milk, juice, punch, and all other drinks contain sugar.

6) AVOID STICKY FOODS. Avoid foods that are both sticky and sugary. Gummy bears, chewy candy, taffy, jelly beans, even raisins, combine high sugar and stickiness, so the sugar gets to the germs on the teeth and stays there for hours, causing decay. If you have these foods brush them off soon.

7) CHOOSE DRINKS WISELY. Did you know that most 12 ounce sodas have 10-14 teaspoons of sugar in each can? Large sodas are 20 ounces, which can contain as much as 24 teaspoons of sugar! These drinks can damage teeth, lead to weight gain, and affect overall health. Also, beware of “juice drinks” that are not juice, only sugary water that looks like juice. A good variety of drinks for your child can include milk (whole milk for kids under two years and low-fat or skim milk for everyone else), water, seltzer, and REAL fruit juice (will say “juice,” not “juice drink” on it).

8) DRINK WATER FROM THE FAUCET. New York City has some of the best tap water in the world! To help the teeth, it has a small amount of fluoride added (see below) that helps keep teeth healthy. Bottled water is not healthier for you, costs money, usually does not have fluoride, and creates extra waste from all those throwaway bottles.

9) GET ENOUGH FLUORIDE FOR YOUR CHILDREN EVERY DAY. Fluoride is a natural mineral that makes teeth strong. It helps them resist the acid made by germs and sugar in the mouth. You can get fluoride in you tap water, in almost all toothpastes (read the label!), and at the dentist’s office (gel or varnish put on the teeth by a dentist or hygienist). Use all three (water, toothpaste, and dentist) to get the full protection. Note that for young children, only use a pea sized drop of toothpaste because young kids don’t spit out well and often swallow everything.

10) GET SEALANTS! Sealants are protective coatings for the chewing teeth. They prevent decay in the grooves of the teeth. No drilling or injections are needed for sealants. Very simple and very effective! Ask your dentist or hygienist. Almost all dental plans (including CHP and Medicaid) cover sealants. Sealants are usually started about age six.

11) DON’T USE A MOUTHWASH INSTEAD OF BRUSHING. Mouthwashes can kill germs and can help keep teeth and gums healthy. However, much more important than mouthwash is brushing and laying off the sugar.

12) FIND A REGULAR DENTIST FOR YOUR FAMILY. Go for checkups, cleaning, fluoride and sealants – and not just when teeth hurt. In the Bronx, many dentists can provide complete dental care with CHP, Medicaid, other insurance plans or discounted self pay rates.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC). MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at thirteen convenient locations. For more information, visit www.mhhc.org or call (718) 716-4400.

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

What’s Your Status? (DECEMBER 2009)

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there were 721 AIDS related deaths in New York City in 2008, and 30 percent were Bronx residents. An estimated 14,000 persons are currently living with HIV/AIDS in our borough. Of this number, 45.1 percent are men who caught the disease by having sex with other men, 20 percent caught it through intravenous drug use, and 7.7 percent through heterosexual sex.

These numbers have sparked the “Bronx Knows” HIV testing initiative launched by the health department and aims to increase voluntary HIV testing so that every Bronx resident knows their status and has access to quality care. To accomplish this goal, Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC) has partnered with the “Bronx Knows” HIV testing initiative. Our goal is to inform all Bronx residents between the ages of 18 to 64 about their status within a three-year period ending in 2010. In doing so, testing will become the norm, making it likely that more people with the disease will be diagnosed and treated earlier.

HIV/AIDS is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal secretion and breast milk. The most common form of HIV transmission is unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, and oral) with someone who is HIV infected. In addition, blood-to-blood contact (i.e. open cuts and wounds) with an HIV infected person and Intravenous Drug Users transmit HIV by sharing HIV infected needles. Also, mothers can pass HIV to their children during delivery and breastfeeding. Condom use with partner/s or using clean needles before sharing significantly lowers the risk of transmission.

Staying healthy is also important if you are HIV positive. Contracting other Opportunistic Infections (OIs) can further compromise your immune system and may make it harder to treat the disease. HIV positive persons should see a medical provider at least four times a year for follow-up care. If you do not have a medical provider, you can make an appointment with MHHC.

The first step in HIV prevention is to know your status. Free and confidential HIV testing and counseling services are offered at all MHHC sites. For testing, please call (718) 716-4400 to schedule an appointment or walk in to any of our centers and ask to speak to an HIV counselor for testing.

Morris Heights offers integrated primary care services that have caring HIV specialists who provide affordable and high quality care (including the latest in Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HARRT). Accessing healthcare is easy. You can walk in, get tested, and make an appointment with one of our HIV specialists.

For those who are HIV positive, case management services are also available. Medical case management services are for those who need assistance with obtaining medical insurance, coordination of medical care, treatment adherence, and Human Resource Administration (HRA) services entitlements. COBRA case management services are for those who are Medicaid eligible and need advocacy for intensive needs (i.e. issues with substance abuse, mental health, housing, legal, home care, etc.).

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

What are Your Patient Rights? (NOVEMBER 2009)

At some point we have all been patients and it’s important to know that patients have rights! The next time you are visiting your health care provider, ask about their specific patient bill of rights. You can request a copy of the rights and have them explained to you by someone in the health care facility you are visiting. As a patient, you should be informed about the health care process so that you and your family receive the right care.

The following is a summary of the eight focus areas of the Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry that was adopted in 1997.

Information Disclosure

As a patient, you have the right to accurate and understandable health information.  You can use this information to aid you in making an informed decision on your health plan, health provider and health care facility.

Choice of Providers and Plans

As a patient, you have the right to choose your health care provider to ensure your access to high quality health care that is available when you need it. The health care plan includes the availability of providers both in and out of network, availability to specialty services and transition care when needed.

Access to Emergency Services

As a patient, you have the right to use emergency services when you need them. Ask your health care plan provider to inform you how to use these services.

Participation in Treatment Decisions

As a patient, you have the right to voice your opinion in your treatment decisions and have the right to receive information to aid you on your decision. Information should include the options available for your treatment and benefits and risks associated with the treatments. If you cannot advocate for yourself, you have a right to have a family member, friend or guardian assist you. Know that you can use powers of attorney and living wills in regards to your health care.

Respect and Nondiscrimination

As a patient, you have the right to receive health care in a considerate and respectful manner. You can not be discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual preference or your source of payment.

Confidentiality of Health Information

As a patient, you have the right to have your health care information kept confidential, and you have the right to privately speak to your provider. You have a right to see and request a copy of your medical records. You also have the right to request changes to your medical record.

Complaints and Appeals

As a patient, you have the right to an efficient and fair process to resolve issues with your health care provider. Be sure to voice your concerns to the health care provider.

Consumer Responsibilities

As a patient, you are encouraged to take charge of your health care. You should tell your provider of your health history and inform them of any illness or problems you may have. Know your health risks and minimize your risks and the risks of spreading your illness to others. Get health care information from providers, staff and from your community workshops. Follow rules set by your health care provider. Tell the providers what you need. Be respectful to health care staff.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

The Flu Vaccine – What You Need To Know (OCTOBER 2009)

There is so much in the news about flu this season-seasonal flu, swine flu, H1N1 flu, shots, nasal mist, one shot, two shots-it is getting hard to figure out what to do. Here’s what you need to know:

The flu is a serious disease. Many people think of flu as getting a cold or a runny nose. Unfortunately, flu can make you very sick and can be fatal. Children, older people, and people with medical complications such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease and a weak immune system are especially vulnerable to serious flu attacks. In these people, flu can be a major illness, and can be life-threatening.

There are TWO different kinds of flu this year: the seasonal flu, which happens every year and H1N1 (a.k.a. swine) flu, which occurred last year.

You should speak to your doctor about getting vaccinated against BOTH kinds of flu because one vaccine will not protect you from the other kind of flu. Most people will need one seasonal flu vaccination and one H1N1 vaccination, but some younger children may need two vaccinations for H1N1 flu. Some vaccines are injections, and some are a nasal spray (mist). Your health care provider will know which one to use. Most people can get vaccinated with both seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccine the same day. Last year’s flu vaccine may not protect you this year because the seasonal flu virus changes every year, so you need to be vaccinated every year.

As the vaccines become available, there will be priority groups that get the vaccines first. They may include young children, health care workers, pregnant women, or other groups. These priorities will be announced as the vaccines arrive. Health care workers in New York State, including nurses, doctors, medical and dental assistants, home care workers, dentists, etc. will be required to receive both types of vaccinations in order to work in the State. It is important that you continue to stay in touch with your health care provider (health center, hospital, doctor) as information (the vaccines’ availability, who should get vaccinated, etc.) changes or becomes more definite.

Some people think that the vaccination can give you the flu. It is impossible for this to happen. The two most common side effects of flu vaccine are a runny nose for a brief time, and a sore area in the skin where the injection was done. People with severe allergy to eggs and anyone who ever had a severe reaction to flu vaccine should NOT get flu vaccination.

Aside from getting vaccinated, you can help protect yourself by HAND-WASHING. Some Flu travels from person to person on the hands, and then to the nose or mouth. Frequent hand-washing helps to prevent the spread of germs.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Ovarian Cancer: What Do I Need To Know? (SEPTEMBER 2009)

Did you know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month?  Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the United States. Of gynecologic cancers, ovarian cancer is the most common form that results in death. Each year, approximately 20,000 women in America are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 15,000 women die of the disease. Education and awareness are the key to early diagnosis.

How does ovarian cancer start? The cancer develops in the ovaries, which are a part of your reproductive system that produces the female hormones called estrogen and progesterone. Each month, the ovaries release an egg into the fallopian tubes, a process known as ovulation. Normally, the ovaries have cells that grow and divide and replace old cells. Sometimes, abnormal cells grow and continue to divide and create tumors, which is how ovarian cancer develops.

Do you know if you are at risk for ovarian cancer? Many of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague and easily confused with other ailments. Therefore, many women don’t seek help until the disease spreads and it is too late to treat it. It is unfortunate that only 24 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage (localized to the ovary). The average age of diagnosis is 63 years old, usually after women have gone through menopause. When cases are diagnosed at a later stage (involving other tissues and organs) they are difficult to treat. But, there are some clues for determining if you may be at risk. Common symptoms include: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, urinary urgency or frequency. Other symptoms include: nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and backaches. Talk to your doctor if these symptoms last more than 2 to 3 weeks. Ovarian cancer affects all women of different ethnic backgrounds and age groups, although there are certain risk factors that place some women at greater risk than others. These include: family history of breast or ovarian cancer, personal history of cancer, women over the age of 55, women who were never pregnant, and women on menopausal hormone replacement therapy.

What can you do if you think you are at risk for ovarian cancer? The first step is to talk to your doctor, who will ask you about the signs and symptoms experienced, in addition to performing a full physical examination of the abdomen and pelvic organs.  A pelvic ultrasound or extra tests may be ordered based on the doctor’s findings. There is no screening test for ovarian cancer and so it is important that all women visit their primary care provider yearly for a comprehensive physical examination.

How can you prevent the development of ovarian cancer?  Unfortunately there is no know way to prevent this disease, however, your risk of development may be reduced by several factors: having more than one child before the age of thirty years, tubal sterilization, bilateral oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries) and the use of birth control pills for more than five years. Removal of both ovaries is recommended for women at very high risk for ovarian cancer and this decision should be carefully discussed with your doctor. Tubal sterilization procedure does not prevent all or even most cases of ovarian cancer, and, therefore should only be done for valid medical reasons, and not solely to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. The factors listed above should not be the sole reasons for prevention and again should be discussed with your doctor.

Feel free to visit or call the Morris Heights Health Center’s Women’s Health and Birthing Pavilion and make an appointment with any one of our providers for more information on ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Our address is 70 W. Burnside Ave.  Our phone number is (718) 716-2229.  We also provide a range of gynecologic and obstetric care, including labor and delivery.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Reading With Your Children (JUNE 2009)

Taking care of children has gone far beyond illness treatment and prevention. Promoting literacy, too, has become an important aspect of pediatrics. Both doctors and educators say it’s never too early to encourage your child to develop reading and writing skills. In fact, research shows that reading problems can be prevented long before children enter elementary school. Since learning begins in the home, families have an important role to play in creating a healthy environment in which reading and writing are a natural part of daily life.

By the time children are two years old, they understand 300 to 500 words. When children know the names of things, learning how to read and write becomes easier. Early literacy then, is important because there are certain skills that children must learn before they can actually read and write. From the time a child is born, to when the child enters elementary school, it is necessary for parents to take the lead in nurturing the learning process. By reading with a baby, parents foster a love of books and reading from the start. Parents should feel comfortable talking to their baby, and make reading a part of a daily routine. While it may seem frustrating when a baby reaches for a book and then automatically puts it in their mouth, it’s important to remember that there is a lot going on in the baby’s brain that we cannot always recognize. Babies will learn how to notice letters and words, and how to handle a book. Parents can assist learning by pointing and naming pictures. By listening, babies learn words, ideas, and how language works. Furthermore, repeated fun with books will strengthen language development and positive feelings about reading.

For toddlers, action is key. Don’t expect your toddler to sit still for a book. Toddlers need to move, so encourage them by making story time lively and engaging. One of the skills children need before learning how to read and write is the ability to describe things and events and tell stories. In this sense, parents can support children by asking questions about the story, letting the child ask questions, and encourage them to retell the story in their own words. Give children many opportunities to express their creativity. Similarly, being able to hear and play with small sounds in words-such as individual letters, rhymes, and syllables-is also important for toddlers. Being able to hear the sounds that make up written words helps children sound out written words as they being to read and write. Beginning at age three, parents should teach their child how to write his or her name, and encourage more writing and drawing. As stated by Dr. Heather Weiss of the Harvard Family Research Project, “Children start feeling better about literacy and like literacy more when their parents are involved in their education.” The more children read, the better readers and writers they become. Good literacy skills will ultimately help children to succeed in school, and thereby lower the risk of dropping out and juvenile delinquency.

At Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC), early literacy is a standard component of pediatric services. Furthermore, we value the special relationship between parents and their child’s doctor. Our Reach Out and Read (ROR) program is part of a national medical effort to reach out to children at the greatest risk-children ages 6 months to 5 years from low-income families. During routine pediatric checkups, our doctors encourage parents to read aloud to their young children, as well as give them books to take home. In the waiting room, volunteer readers from our staff read to children and model for parents the techniques of reading aloud to a very young audience. MHHC’s waiting room also displays new or gently used read-while-you-wait books and multiple resources from literacy partnerships around the community. In addition, MHHC also hosts regular visits from the New York Public Library to sign up patients for library cards, provide information on local library events and reading programs, and distribute new books to children. It’s our belief that a child’s love of reading is born out of the home, can be nurtured in the clinic, and then reach its full potential in formal education.  

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Raising Awareness About Sexual Assault and Child Abuse (APRIL 2009)

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month. Why should a community increase its awareness about sexual assault?  Because one in 10 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, many before the age of 18.  Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by a close friend or a family member. Sexual assault is an assault that involves the sexual parts of the body. Like any other assault, it is about one person taking another person’s power away from them.

Most people are scared to talk about sexual assault. If one is physically wounded, and the wound is not tended to, it will fester, perhaps get infected, perhaps to the point of losing the body part where the wound is, or even death.  The damage from sexual assault is not too different.

If left unattended, the wound of sexual assault will fester, get “infected” and eventually cause many problems. These can include drug and alcohol abuse, depression, anger, irritability, inability to concentrate, avoidance, emotional numbing, relational problems, and many other social, psychological, health, and quality of life issues. Because of the great emotional, medical, and financial cost, we as a society cannot afford not to be aware of sexual assault, its effects, and what to do if it happens.

If you or someone you love is sexually assaulted, there are rape crisis programs.  If you are assaulted, go to an emergency room with a rape crisis program to be examined and cared for.  You will not have to press charges right away, but this way, the choice is there to do so if you decide later that you want to. You can also obtain tests for sexually transmitted disease, and obtain prophylactic medications for pregnancy and HIV.  They will also have therapeutic referrals and be able to help you with the legal process.

Another issue that has focused awareness in April is child abuse.  There are four types of child abuse; sexual, emotional, physical, and neglect.  Children express the pain they are going through in many ways.  They often don’t tell anyone what is happening.  They often don’t cry, say no, or ask for help.  They often need the abuser to feed, clothe and house them, so they will do what they have to in order to survive.

Children will sometimes withdraw, become depressed, develop medical symptoms such as gastro-intestinal issues, and headaches, or stop doing well in school.  More outward signs that there is a problem is “acting out” behaviors such as fighting, poor school performance (not associated with a learning issue), an inability to concentrate (not associated with attention deficit problems), hurting other children or animals, bullying behaviors, sexual touching, or sexual knowledge unusual for the child’s age.  These are only a few of many signs and symptoms of child abuse.

Symptoms of emotional abuse and neglect are much harder to pinpoint, and therefore to prove.  Neglect can be seen in the child not having enough to eat, sleep, or clothing.  There is also scholastic and medical neglect.  What constitutes emotional abuse? Calling a child names is emotional abuse.  If a child hears consistently that they are stupid, they will not develop good self esteem and confidence. This will hinder development, and the child will fall behind. For example, there are children who believe that they are too much trouble to ask questions. These children fall behind, and some will not learn to read.

Why raise awareness?  Can we afford for children to grow up abused?  Abused children learn abuse; they learn that hitting, calling others names, bullying, and assault are ok. If a child lives with respect, he or she will learn to respect others. If a child lives with honesty, he or she will learn to be honest to others. This will make for a better tomorrow for all of us.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes? (MARCH 2009)

March is National Nutrition Month and the theme for 2009 is “Eat Right.”  This health awareness message was created by the American Dietetic Association to encourage people to make smart food choices and keep physically active.  One of the most important reasons to eat well and exercise is to prevent type 2 diabetes, which is a growing concern in our community.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that happens when there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood and the body cannot properly absorb it.  The body’s ability to absorb glucose is made possible by insulin, which is a hormone released by the pancreas.  When a person has diabetes, there is either not enough insulin available to absorb the glucose into the cells of the body or the body fails to properly use insulin.  As a result, there is too much glucose traveling in the bloodstream, which can damage nerves and blood vessels.  Certain symptoms might appear:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, legs, and feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry itchy skin

Many people do not feel sick, however, so they do not know that they have the disease until it is too late. The diagnosis of type 2 diabetes must be taken seriously. Early treatment will help you to control your blood sugar so as to ward off complications later. Type 2 diabetes can be inherited, but other factors that can also cause it:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age (older adults are particularly are risk)
  • Race (Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native-Americans, are especially susceptible)

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but together you and your doctor can manage the disease. People live longer with type 2 diabetes if they decide to make healthy lifestyle changes. To keep blood sugar within the normal range in the body, there has to be a balance between the foods you eat, your body weight, the medication you take, and exercise. Many people become upset because of the changes they have to make, but it is normal to feel scared, sad and/or angry. Over a period of time you will adjust to your new lifestyle. Remember to keep your doctor’s appointments and seek out a registered dietitian who can help you. If you cannot see a dietitian immediately, there are some helpful hints you can practice in preparing meals:

  • Do not go on any special diet
  • Eat foods that are healthy – whole grain, vegetables, etc.
  • Eat foods low in fat
  • Broil, steam or bake your food
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Cut back on portion sizes
  • Try to have a snack in between meals and have a snack at bedtime
  • Keep a food record of everything you eat. You might need to show it to the dietician.

Sometimes diet alone cannot control your diabetes and your doctor will prescribe oral medication or insulin injection. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and ask questions if you need clarification before you take your medication.  If you are looking to learn more about diabetes, check for a possible diagnosis, receive treatment, or to get nutrition and exercise counseling, Morris Heights Health Center has dedicated staff that can help you.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

The Flu Vaccine… Do I Really Need It? (FEBRUARY 2009)

You may have heard on the television or radio, or from your doctor, that you should get vaccinated against influenza (flu) this year. Why is there so much interest this year in increasing the number of people vaccinated against flu?

One reason is that people do not realize it is a serious disease. Many people think of flu as getting a cold or a runny nose. Unfortunately, flu can make you very sick – and can kill.  Children, older people, and people with medical complications such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease and a weak immune system are especially vulnerable to serious flu attacks. In these people, it can be a major illness, and can be life-threatening.

Another group of people who need to be vaccinated are health care workers, or anyone who takes care of sick or elderly people, or works closely with children.  These people include nurses, doctors, medical and dental assistants, home care workers, dentists, and teachers.

There are a number of misconceptions about flu and the flu vaccine. Here are the facts:

  • Last year’s flu vaccine will probably not protect you in 2009. Flu virus changes every year, so you need to be vaccinated every year.
  • People think they can’t spread flu, because once they feel sick, they stay home from work and away from others. Unfortunately, you may have flu for several days BEFORE you feel sick, and are spreading it to others during this time.
  • Some people think that the vaccination can give you the flu. It is impossible to get the flu from the vaccine. The two most common side effects of flu vaccine are a runny nose for a brief time, and a sore area in the skin where the injection was done.
  • The TWO most important things you can do to protect yourself from flu are to get vaccinated and to wash your hands regularly. Flu travels from person to person on the hands, and then to the nose or mouth. Frequent hand washing helps to prevent spread of germs.
  • There is NO SHORTAGE of flu vaccine this year.

So, see your doctor or health center and get vaccinated.  Some pharmacists can also provide vaccinations this year.  Protect yourself, your family and others around you. GET YOUR FLU SHOT!

Note: People with a severe allergy to eggs, and anyone who ever had a severe reaction to the vaccine should NOT get flu vaccinations.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!  

 

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Carbohydrates – Are They Good or Bad? (JANUARY 2009)

Every day we see, read and hear through different media about some type of “diet.” It would probably be no exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of diets from which to choose. If you do a little research on Internet, you will be amazed to find a variety of diets. Chances are that you have never heard of some of them before. They can be categorized by diseases, specific foods, food groups, popular diets, and e-diets etc. When you see that enormous list, you wonder – what really works? Each diet has a different advice that can be drastically different from another. What they have in common is the claim that this diet “works” along with assurances that you will lose certain number of pounds in a short time frame.

These claims are especially true for the no-carb or low-carb diets. The theory behind low-carb or no-carb diet such as South Beach and Atkins is that if dieters avoid foods containing carbohydrate – that is, starches or sugars – they will shed pounds. These diets dramatically restrict the intake of fruit, fruit juice, starchy vegetables, beans, bread, rice, cereals, pasta and other grain products, in favor of foods that are high in fat and protein: meat, cheese, and non-starchy vegetables. As the diet proceeds, the carbohydrate restriction somewhat relaxes, but fatty, high-protein foods continue to dominate the dieter’s plate. The media reports publicize the short term dramatic weight loss but ignore the potential risks of such diets.

The American Heart Association, American Dietetic Association, and the American Kidney Fund have all published statements warning about the various dangers associated with no-carb/low-carb, high-fat and high protein diet. The Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association states: “High-protein diets are not recommended because they restrict healthful foods that provide essential nutrients and do not provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs. Individuals who follow these diets are therefore at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal, bone, and liver abnormalities overall.”

Here are some tips on adding “good” carbohydrates to your diet:

Start the day with whole grains. If you’re partial to hot cereals, try old-fashioned or steel-cut oats. If you’re a cold cereal person, look for one that lists whole wheat, whole oats, or other whole grain first on the ingredient list.

Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks. Check the label to make sure that whole wheat or another whole grain is the first ingredient listed.

Bag the potatoes. Instead, try brown rice or even “newer” grains like bulgur, wheat berries, millet, or hulled barley with your dinner.

Pick up some whole wheat pasta. If the whole grain products are too chewy for you, look for those that are made with half whole-wheat flour and half white flour.

Bring on the beans. Beans are an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates as well as a great source of protein.

Regardless of what you have seen, read or heard about the dangers of carbohydrates, they are an important part of a healthy diet – your body needs them. It is true that easily digested carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, and other highly processed foods may contribute to weight gain and interfere with weight loss, but that does not mean all carbohydrates are “bad.” Carbohydrates provide the body with the fuel it needs for physical activity and proper organ function. The best sources of carbohydrates – fruits, vegetables, and whole grains deliver essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!  

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Patient Power (DECEMBER 2008)

Navigating the health care system has become increasingly complicated. There are constant changes in insurance coverage and treatments, but not enough information to know what to choose. It is easier to decide, say, which house appliances to buy. In fact, people spend more time researching what appliances to purchase, than they do looking at health care options. We tend to choose health care facilities based on the location, go to the doctors for which we can make an appointment, and let the doctors make the decisions about our needs.

However, we need to feel empowered to make decisions and help prevent errors in our own care. Health care professionals assist us, but our health ultimately belongs to us. Health also depends on things that doctors cannot control, such as stress, anxiety, language barriers, cultural differences, less access to physical activity, less affordable and nutritious foods, and environmental hazards. Since it can be intimidating to ask doctors questions, here are some tips to help you as a patient feel more comfortable and be a stronger advocate for yourself and your family:

Research the Facility: Use a facility that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established quality and safety standards, such as that provided by The Joint Commission. Search for Joint Commission accredited facilities in your area: http://www.qualitycheck.org/consumer/searchQCR.aspx.

Prepare for Your Visit: Consider writing down your symptoms and questions on paper in the language most comfortable to you, and give it to your doctor or nurse at the beginning of each medical visit. During the course of the visit, explain what may be causing the symptom, such as any pain or discomfort. If you are seeing a new doctor, ask the previous doctor for copies of your past medical record (it is your property and you have the right to access it) and bring a copy to your new doctor.

Help Avoid Mistakes With Your Medicines: Medication errors are the most common medical mistakes. Know what medications you take and why you take them. Bring a list of your medications and ask your doctor to explain each medication.Make sure you understand the risks and side effects and mention any allergies. Before you leave, get a list of your updated medications if you go to different doctors or in the case of an emergency.

Prevent Medical Mistakes: Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right treatment. Don’t assume anything. Ask your doctor to explain the necessity of a test or procedure, side effects, alternatives, and possible follow-up care. Do you agree about the procedure and the site where the procedure is about to be performed? Do you know how to prevent infections before and after the procedure?

Educate Yourself: If receiving treatment, find out more about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing, and your treatment plan. For preventive care, know the guidelines for your gender and age for important health prevention protocols. Discuss these with your doctor to see if they are appropriate for you.

Know Your Rights: Ask for the Patient Bill of Rights at your facility and fill out a health care proxy. This form allows you to appoint someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend, to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. By having a proxy, you can make sure that health care providers follow your wishes. For more information: http://www.health.state.ny.us/professionals/patients/health_care_proxy/intro.htm.

When you as a patient, know what to expect, you are more aware of the choices that are available to you and potential errors. Hospitals and clinics should identify ways the patient and his or her family can report concerns about safety, such as potentially adverse events and hazardous conditions. Ask your doctors about the aspects of care, treatment and services. Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate. Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don’t understand, ask again.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment by becoming active, involved, and informed. You are the center of your health care team. It’s your body and you have the right to know.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Support School Based Children’s Health Clinics (NOVEMBER 2008)

School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) bring the doctor’s office into schools. They are the front line in kids’ health care and bring vital services to students where they are.  And they eliminate barriers that cause health care delays, which can lead to higher health risks and avoidable and unnecessary hospitalizations.

Morris Heights Health Center has seven SBHCs in the local area, which are staffed by qualified medical and mental health professionals. They are located in some of the most underserved communities in the city. The clinics offer a comprehensive range of services to meet the physical and behavioral health needs of the young people. In our SBHCs, we serve a large immigrant population with multiple barriers that include language, cultural differences, and chronic illness. Many of our children suffer from asthma, diabetes and obesity. Thirty-eight percent of students have no identified medical provider.

SBHCs reduce health-related absences among students, and give them the support they need to succeed in the classroom.  Students perform better in school, and learn more, when they’re fit and healthy.

Parents should ensure their children are enrolled in their school’s SBHC, if their school has one, so that they receive a full range of health services. They can also support their SBHC by participating in New York State’s SBHC advisory board meetings, as well as speaking out to prevent possible cuts to services. (For information about these meetings, call Hector Shojgreen at (718) 716-4400 ext. 2170.)

Parents whose children’s school doesn’t have an SBHC can also help, by speaking with teachers and encouraging the school to set one up.

Now more than ever, during these very difficult financial times, underserved children and their families need more services, not less. Our young people live in communities with high incidences of drug and alcohol abuse, violence, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. They need our help.

Morris Heights Health Center’s SBHCs are often the only source of health screenings, primary care services, mental health counseling, reproductive care and immunizations for these children.

MHHC’s clinics are found at the following locations:

  1. IS 232/IS 303,  1700 Macombs Rd.
  2. MS 399,  120 E. 184th St.
  3. PS 126,  175 W. 166th St.
  4. PS 306/MS 331,  40 W. Tremont Ave.
  5. PS 90,  1116 Sheridan Ave.
  6. PS 396/MS 390,  1930 Andrews Ave.
  7. Health Opportunities HS,  350 Gerard Ave.

For information about MHHC’s SBHCs, call Alida Quinones-Reyes at (718) 716-4400, ext. 2306, or e-mail alida@mhhc.org.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!  

 

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Look, Ma, No Cavities! (OCTOBER 2008)

A well-known television commercial in the 1950s showed a little girl at the dentist’s office who was so happy about her healthy teeth, she yelled, “Look, ma, no cavities!”  Although the commercial is old, everything that made that girl’s teeth healthy then still works today. You and your children can have healthy teeth and gums, avoid cavities, fillings and tooth loss by following the basic guidelines below.

TOP TEN THINGS TO KEEP YOUR TEETH HEALTHY

1) Eat very little sugar. The cavity-causing germs that live in your mouth love sugar-it’s their favorite food. When they take in the sugar, they let out little bits of acid on the teeth that start to dissolve the enamel. Any food left on the teeth can cause cavities, but sugar is the worst.

2) Avoid foods that are both sticky and sugary, such as gummy bears, chewy candy, taffy, jelly beans, and even raisins. Sugar is already bad for your teeth but the stickiness allows the sugar to stay there for hours. If you eat these foods, brush your teeth as soon as possible.

3) Choose healthy beverages. Did you know that most 12 ounce sodas have 10-14 teaspoons of sugar in each can? For larger 20-ounce sodas, sugar amounts can reach as high as 24 teaspoons. Also, beware of “juice drinks” that are not juice but sugary water. Milk is a good alternative – whole milk for kids under 2 years and low-fat or skim milk for everyone else.

4) Drink tap water instead of bottled water. New York City has some of the best tap water in the world!!! It has a small amount of fluoride added (see #5) that helps keep teeth healthy.

5) Get enough fluoride every day. Fluoride is a natural mineral that makes teeth strong. You can get fluoride in your tap water, in almost all toothpastes (read the label!), and at the dentist’s office through the gel or varnish put on the teeth by a dentist or hygienist. Note that for young children, only use a pea sized drop of toothpaste because young kids often swallow everything and don’t spit out well.

6)  Get sealed! Sealants are protective coatings for the chewing surfaces of your teeth, such as the molars. After a thorough cleansing, your dentist will place a quick-drying sealant in the grooves of your molars to prevent future decay. No drilling or injections is involved. Ask your dentist or hygienist about sealants. Almost all dental plans, including CHP and Medicaid, cover the simple procedure.

7)  Brush as soon as possible after eating. Food, and especially sugar, does its damage when it sits on the teeth for a long time. The ideal schedule is to brush after breakfast, lunch, after school, and most importantly, before bedtime. Leaving food on the teeth for the 8-10 hours while you sleep will significantly increase chances of cavities.

8)  Floss at least once a day. The toothbrush can clean 90% of your teeth, but cannot get in between teeth. Flossing removes the food and bacteria between the teeth. Practice with your children. Try an inexpensive reward for good flossing and brushing for your child. It’s amazing what a “Dora the Explorer” sticker can get children to do!

9)  Mouthwash cannot replace brushing. Mouthwashes can kill germs and can help keep teeth and gums healthy, but should only be used in addition to brushing.

10) Find a regular dentist for your family. Go for regular checkups, cleaning, fluoride and sealants. Going to the dentist when your teeth hurt only costs more in the long run. In the Bronx, many dentists can provide complete dental care with CHP, Medicaid, other insurance or discounted self pay.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC).  MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations.  For more information, visit www.mhhc.org or call (718) 716-4400.

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Why Do I Need Health Insurance? (SEPTEMBER 2008)

Bronx residents face more barriers accessing health care than residents in other boroughs, according to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).  The NYSDOH states that more than one third of central Bronx residents do not have a regular doctor and 16 percent of residents use the emergency room for routine care.  Nearly 1 in 3 adults in our community are uninsured or go without health insurance at some period of time.

Having health insurance coverage is like having a passport to better health care services.  Those with insurance are more likely to have a regular primary care provider (PCP), which is important for good health care access.  Insurance coverage makes it possible to select your very own primary care provider, who gets to know the health of you and your family, allowing them to provide more efficient and quality heath care.  It also enables you to practice preventative health care.  This includes having periodic physical examinations to identify and treat health problems before they become serious, without having to worry about how you’re going to pay.  A PCP can provide regular cancer screenings, treatment for common health problems and also vaccinations.  Having insurance makes it easier to fill needed prescriptions, while at the same time stopping you from skipping medications because of the cost.  It also means that when you do get sick, you can see your doctor and not have to go to a hospital emergency room where the doctors do not know your health history.  All this adds up to better health for you and your family, with fewer missed work and school days.

Facilitated insurance helps individuals and families enroll into one of the federal or state no-cost/low-cost insurance programs, including Medicaid, Child Health Plus A & B, Family Health Plus, PCAP (Prenatal Care Assistance Program), and Family Planning.  These programs provide health insurance coverage for individuals up to 64 years of age.  PCAP is a specialized program that provides specific coverage for pregnant women.  Eligibility for any of these programs is based on income and size of family.  If you are already on the sliding fee scale at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC) or one of the other community health centers in New York State, you probably qualify for one of these programs.

The Facilitated Insurance Enrollment program offers convenient personalized attention while enrolling you and your family into the best available insurance program for which you qualify. MHHC’s enrollers will help assess your needs, determine the best insurance plan for your particular situation, help you fill out the application, and follow up on the government processing of your application.  Over the past seven years, our facilitated enrollers have assisted approximately 49,048 children and adults in gaining health insurance coverage.  Our goal is to enroll all eligible children and adults in the Bronx.

In order to apply for any of the various insurance programs, you should bring with you proof of income, identity and residence and your Social Security card.

If you have any questions or wish to make an appointment to find out what insurance you may qualify for, call MHHC at (718) 483-1260 or stop by the Morris Heights Health Center Health Connections office located at 2042 Grand Ave. on the corner of West Burnside Avenue.  Both English and Spanish are spoken, and there is no charge for these services.  Health Connections is open 6 days a week: Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.

Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC).  MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations.  For more information, visit www.mhhc.org or call (718) 716-4400.

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

School Readiness and Staying Safe Through the Summer (AUGUST 2008)

Summer is everyone’s favorite time of the year.  We all love the ice cream trucks, the beaches, the longer days, and of course, no school!

We should not, however, forget that we should continue our children’s academics over the summer so that they do not forget all the skills they learned throughout the year.  Keeping up with reading, writing, and math skills will help prepare them for the next grade and make the easier. Sit with your child everyday and have them read a fun book, write a short paragraph about what they did the day before, and practice the arithmetic they learned during the year.

It is important to keep in mind that summer should still be fun. Expect that your child will be outdoors more and that should also be a part of summer. Incorporate educational activities such as going to the library on a rainy day or to the zoo to learn about all the different animals.

As the weather becomes nicer, it is also time to think about summer safety. Make sure your family is using sunscreen when they are outdoors and using a helmet to prevent brain injuries when riding their bikes, scooters, skateboards or skates. It is fun to be in water on a hot summer day and most everyone it, but drowning can happen extremely quickly. Help your children to be safe by teaching them how to swim. The children should never be left alone and the parents should be supervising the children all the time when they are in water.

Another area of concern during very warm summer months is dehydration. Children and adults who are outside must remember to keep well hydrated. Children especially are most affected due to their small body weights and so it is very important to drink small amounts of fluid frequently. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can happen when it gets extremely hot and humid outside. Heatstroke, also called sunstroke, is a life-threatening emergency. Watch for symptoms of hot, red and dry skin and rapid and shallow breathing. Heat-related illnesses can be prevented by dressing in lightweight and light-colored clothing, drinking water frequently, slowing down and taking regular breaks when engaged in physical activity.

It is also important for your childnre to maintain a routine similar to the school year.  Bedtime should be at roughly the same time everyday, even though it will likely be a little later in the summer than during the school year. As the end of the summer approaches, you should go back to the school year bedtime routine.

Summer is also a great time to get your children up to date with their health. You should take them to their doctor and get all their vaccines updated. They should also go to the dentist for their routine cleaning. The doctor will be able to give you the school forms they will need for the fall and your child will not need to miss school to do it.  If they stay healthly, and you keep your child learning and safe during the summer, you will find that they will be excited and ready to start the next year!

Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC).  MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations.  For more information, visit www.mhhc.org or call (718) 716-4400.

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

The Importance of Safe Sex (JULY 2008)

Bronx teenagers, ages 15 to 19, are more likely to be sexually active (56 percent) than their counterparts in other boroughs (an average of 48 percent). Many of these teenagers, and adults too, are practicing unsafe sex; we can see it in the data. According to the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the south Bronx has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the city. The Bronx as a whole has a teen pregnancy rate that is double the national average. Some of those pregnancies are wanted, but more than 80 percent are not. Half will end in abortion, and teenage pregnancies are also fueling the high school dropout rate.

Another consequence of unsafe sex is higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which puts yourself and others at risk, such as your baby or partner. Some of these STDs out there include: syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, chancroid, hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS. The scary truth is that HIV/AIDS is the number one killer of women ages 25 to 44 years in city. In the Bronx, the rates of HIV/AIDS and other STDs are especially high. Many of these diseases are silent in that they show no symptoms. The only way you can know is to get tested. Learning your status will give you the chance to become more informed and to seek appropriate treatment.

As a community, we can prevent unwanted pregnancies, stop spreading diseases, and have healthier babies if we are more educated and have the right resources. Morris Heights Health Center’s (MHHC) Women’s Health and Birthing Pavilion (WH&BP) has been supporting the Bronx’s reproductive health needs since the doors opened in 1988. The WH&BP was the first in the nation to provide out of hospital births in a low-income urban neighborhood. On Aug. 14 the pavilion will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The WH&BP provides a full-spectrum of services – for men and women – at its community-based facility in the Morris Heights section. Services include prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, pregnancy testing, free condoms, your annual Pap smear, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV counseling and testing, breast exams, ultrasounds, WIC services, nutritional counseling, and other information on how to better your health and the health of your family. Monthly education programs feature speakers on topics such as childbirth, raising a toddler and breastfeeding.

If you are one of the many uninsured women in the Bronx, MHHC staff will work to get you enrolled into a program so that you can access care. The Center also provides a comprehensive Family Planning program which includes the Family Planning Extension Program. In this program, Medicaid benefits that are available for pregnant undocumented women can be extended for up to two years after your child’s birth.

Women who choose to deliver their baby at the Birthing Pavilion give birth in a homelike setting and can choose a water birth in a small pool. Tours are available to see the rooms. Women are encouraged to have family support including their children present at the birth. Midwives and certified midwife assistants are the key caregivers who provide the health services that allow women to deliver their babies in a warm, safe and empowering atmosphere. Women requiring transfer for more intensive interventions are transported to a local hospital.

“The Pavilion is the ideal environment for women who are seeking a place where they can be at ease during this special time in their lives,” Susan Billinghurst, PA and Clinical Director observes. “Of course, we encourage the men to be active partners in this experience. We offer a place where families feel respected, are in control, loved, and nurtured.”

Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor, written by staff at Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC).  MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations.  For more information, visit www.mhhc.org or call (718) 716-4400.

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Staying Healthy and Fit (JUNE 2008)

We have a big problem in the central Bronx that is getting bigger. More than 1 in 3 residents are overweight and more than 1 in 4 are obese, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH). We know that children and adults across the nation are getting fatter, but it’s worse in the Bronx. Being overweight or obese affects our appearances, self esteem, and ability to enjoy active lives. It also increases our risks of health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and some cancers—just to name a few. In Latino communities, diabetes runs especially high.

While the bad news is that the problem is getting worse, the good news is it doesn’t have to. There are a number of things you can do to stay healthy. Taking small steps to reach and maintain a healthy weight will lead to big rewards. Two important steps, increasing your level of physical activity and eating a healthier diet, are going to be a lot easier to commit to with the warm summer months ahead of us. We’re not talking about big drastic changes. We’re talking about making small, permanent lifestyle changes.

One of barriers to good health is lack of exercise. And according to the NYCDOHMH, more than half of central Bronx residents (54 percent) never exercise! Yet this is crucial to losing weight. We need to make a conscious effort to turn off the television and video games and get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. Go find your closest swimming pool or park and take a swim, walk, jog, bike, play games, or skate. It doesn’t have to be boring – get friends together and join teams to play a sport or dance.

Another component of good health is eating well. Learn to prepare healthy meals. Summer is a great time to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories and high in fiber. Learn about proper portion sizes, such as keeping portions of rice to just half a cup per person. Everyone should have at least 2-3 servings of fruits and 3-4 servings of vegetables daily. A serving of a fruit is a medium-sized banana or an apple, while a serving of a vegetable is half a cup of carrots. Stop at your local grocery store, bodega, or sidewalk fruit cart and pick up your favorites or try something new. Fresh foods are the best, but you can also eat canned or frozen foods when fresh foods aren’t available or too expensive. However, you have to look at the ingredients label. Some come with added sugar, syrup, cream sauces, or other ingredients that will add calories – stay away from these. Reduce the chips, pizza, cheeseburgers, French fries, and cookies from your diet. It’s common to see children having chips and soda in the morning before school. It’s high in fat and sugar, it has no nutritional value, and it makes it harder to concentrate. Look for healthy recipes in magazines and on the internet. Try the recipe below that includes ingredients you can easily find in the neighborhood.

Ingredients:

Wheat Tortillas
Lettuce (it’s easier to use the pre-packaged salad and you get a variety of lettuce plus shredded carrots)
Tomato slices
Avocado slices
Mustard
Light mayonnaise
Slice of cheese (optional)

Wrap everything in the wheat tortilla and ENJOY!!

Let’s be honest with each other – do you know how much you weigh? This isn’t the time to be proud – we’re talking about your health, the most important thing in your life. Find out what your body mass index (BMI) is by going on-line to the Centers for Disease Control’s website at http://www.cdc.gov. If you want to talk to someone, make an appointment at Morris HeightsHealth Center and ask a doctor to calculate your BMI and to check for the three important numbers – your blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol. If your doctor feels it is appropriate, you can attend nutrition counseling to receive more information about how to shop and prepare healthy foods for you and your family. If you are pregnant or have young children at home and have difficulty paying for food, we can help you enroll in WIC to get the nutritious foods your family needs to grow strong and healthy. We will work together to help protect the health of you and your family.

“Your Health Matters” is a regular column in the Mount Hope Monitor by Morris HeightsHealthCenter (MHHC) staff. MHHC serves more than 48,000 residents annually and provides a wide range of primary, specialty, dental, mental health, educational and social services at 13 convenient locations. For more information, call (718) 716-4400 or visit www.mhhc.org. We hope to see you soon!