4 Nighttime Habits That Will Set You Up For a Better Tomorrow

Most people would benefit from getting more sleep or at least better sleep. Having a productive day starts with the sleep you get the night before. These 4 simple steps will help you get better sleep and promote healthy living by allowing your body and mind to relax before bed.

nighttime habits

At NOAH, we’ll work with you and your family to choose the best path for overall health and wellness. Learn more about our services and see how a NOAH provider can help you get better sleep and support your health and wellness goals.

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month – Tips to Stay Healthy

By Dr. Mason Wedel, MD PGY1

September is National Childhood Obesity Month, a time to raise awareness of this growing concern for children. Obesity is a major public health problem for children everywhere, putting them at higher risk for other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma. Having obesity as a child also makes children more likely to become obese adults.

“About 1 in 5 (19%) of children are obese today.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Here are some tips to prevent or combat childhood obesity:

  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables – serve more fruits and vegetables at meals and as snacks. Decrease the amount of high fat and sugary foods.
  • Stay Active – children are recommended to get 60 minutes or more physical activity DAILY. Include running, jumping, walking, bike riding as well as muscle strengthening exercises such as push ups.
  • Drink More Water – always encourage more water and make it available at all times instead of high sugar drinks such as soda. Limit juice intake.
  • Ensure Adequate Sleep – follow a sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Remove electronics from bedroom and make sure the bedroom is quiet and dark.

These tips will help your child have more energy, control their weight, strengthen their bones, increase their self-esteem and live an overall healthier life. Be sure to have a medical home for your entire family and talk with your child’s doctor about any concerns like childhood obesity. Follow these tips daily and help stop the rising number of children with obesity.

Suicide Prevention Month

By Cody Randel, PA-C

September is suicide prevention month, an important time to share resources and experiences to try and bring attention to a highly stigmatized topic. This month is when we reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect people with suicidal ideation to treatment and other services. It is also necessary to involve friends and family in the conversation and to make sure everyone has access to the resources they need to talk about suicide prevention.

When people seek professional help for depression, anxiety, and/or helplessness, they are far too often met with challenges like affordability, geographical access, privacy and safety, and not knowing what resources are available to them.

Most people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition.

Suicide Warning Signs

  1. Talking about – experiencing unbearable pain, feeling trapped, killing themselves, having no reason to live, being a burden to others.
  2. Behavior – Withdrawing from activities, acting recklessly, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, increased use of drugs and/or alcohol, isolating from friends and family, aggression, giving away possessions, researching suicide methods.
  3. Mood – Depression, rage, irritability, anxiety, lack of interest, humiliation.

Suicide Prevention Resources

Find a Mental Health Provider:
– findtreatment.samhsa.gov
– mentalhealthamerica.net/finding-help
– Text TALK to 741741; text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line 24/7

Visit:
– Your Primary Care Provider. If you don’t have one, NOAH can help.
– Your Mental Health Professional
– Walk-in Clinic
– Emergency Department
– Urgent Care Center

Call:
– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
– 911 for Emergencies
– National Suicide Helpline: 800-273-8255
– Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
– The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386
– RAINN: 800-656-4673

Suicide prevention is a critical issue every day of the year. If you or someone you know is struggling, this is not something to face alone. Reach out to the NOAH team to learn more about our services.

*sources: NAMI, afsp.org/respources, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, TWLOHA

Food Safety Education Month

By Brandon Bolton, RDN

September is Food Safety Education Month. It is a time to bring awareness to food safety and to learn more about foodborne illnesses (also known as food poisoning). There are steps that we can all take to help keep food safe and prevent food poisoning.

“An estimated 48 million Americans get sick from food poisoning every year.”

Centers for Disease and Control

Common symptoms of food poisoning include, but are not limited to:

  • an upset stomach
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • dehydration

Food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, and some groups of people are even more likely to get sick from eating unsafe food. These groups include adults aged 65 and older, young children under 5 years old, people with pre-existing health conditions, and pregnant women. While these groups may be at higher risk of getting sick, food safety is important for everyone!

The CDC recommends following these four steps when you prepare and handle your food:

  1. Clean – Wash hands, surfaces, utensils, and equipment that you use to cook. Wash your hands often, especially before you prepare and eat foods, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  2. Separate – Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be separated from your cooked foods and fresh produce. Be sure to use different cutting boards, knives, and utensils when working with and preparing raw foods and fresh produce. This can help prevent cross-contamination. These foods should also be stored separately in the refrigerator, with raw meats being stored on the bottom shelf.
  3. Cook – Use a food thermometer to make sure you are cooking your foods to the proper internal temperature, which will kill harmful germs and bacteria. To see the appropriate minimum cooking temperatures, look at these food safety charts.
  4. Chill – Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours. If food is exposed to temperatures greater than 90 degrees, it should be refrigerated within one hour.

Following these four steps can help protect you and your family from foodborne illness. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information, and don’t forget to reach out to your NOAH dietitians with any questions regarding food safety!

National Youth Suicide Prevention Week

By Katelyn Millinor, LPC

Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-24? Youth suicide statistics cannot be ignored as they have greatly increased over the last decade. Ten teenagers out of 100,000 decide to commit suicide. Females attempt suicide at a rate of nearly 3x that of males. However, males died by suicide at a rate of nearly 3x that of females. Suicide prevention is a critical health topic for young people in the U.S.

What youth are more likely to die by suicide?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (also known as ACES) can include neglect, abuse, experiencing violence, substance abuse, divorce, incarceration of a family member, or poverty. Experiencing ACES has been shown to negatively affect one’s health and mental health over time and can occur across generations. This is particularly troublesome for youth who have had limited access to health care or mental health care. Youth who have one or more ACES are at higher risk for suicide. Populations are at a higher risk of experiencing ACES include minority groups, low socio-economic groups, and LGBT groups. Native American and Alaskan Indians have the highest rates of suicide by ethnic group.

What are the warning signs?

It is not always possible to notice the warning signs in an those thinking about suicide. Some common signs to look out for include: 

  • Talking or writing about death
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future
  • Withdrawing from family or friends
  • Increased drug/alcohol use
  • Giving away personal possessions
  • Engaging in self-harming behaviors
  • Doing dangerous activities
  • Significant change in mood or behavior

How to support a youth who is experiencing suicidal thoughts:

  1. Talk with the youth about their suicidal thoughts as it can help them process through their emotions. 
  2. Try to acknowledge their feelings, fears, sadness, or pain.
  3. Provide reassurance but do not dismiss the problem. You may ask the youth if they are thinking about hurting themselves or taking their own life, and if they have a plan.
  4. Be sure the youth does not have access to any lethal weapons or medications and immediately inform adults or caregivers. 
  5. Try to avoid panicking or offering too much advice. 
  6. Provide the crisis line(s) and assist them to call if necessary. 

Professionals such as the counselors or psychiatrists at NOAH are great resources for ongoing support and safety planning.

If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741)
Maricopa County Crisis Line: 602-222-9444
Teen Life Line (Call or Text): 602-248-TEEN (8336)

Need a Sports Physical? What to Know Before You Go

By Camilyn Tinoco, PA-C

With a new school year comes the excitement of fall sports. Participating in sports is not just a great way to improve health and physical fitness but also an opportunity to socialize and interact with other people in a wholesome setting!

Though most athletic activities have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Director David Hines says “We’re going to do everything we can to have some type of a season for all of our kids.”

With hopes that athletics will be able to resume in some form, it is important to obtain a sports physical before the season begins.

What is a sports physical and why is it important?

A sports physical includes a detailed medical history and physical exam which helps medical professionals decide if you can safely participate in a specific sport. Even though they can seem like a burden to obtain, they are incredibly important for making sure you are ready to go before practicing or playing in a big game. For example, a sports physical can help assess more common issues like concussions, hernias, or asthma. They can also help screen for potentially life- threatening issues like a cardiac abnormality. Most states require all students to complete a sports physical before being able to play; however, even if it is not required, a sports physical is important and encouraged. If you have questions, you can always ask your child’s pediatrician or your primary care doctor. If you don’t have one yet, NOAH can help you have a medical home.

What exactly happens during a sports physical?

There will be a list of medical history questions that you should fill out on the form prior to your appointment. Answer these to the best of your knowledge based off your personal and family history. If you have questions, bring them to your appointment and your provider will help guide you through the questions. It is very important to get a good history as this is one of the most important parts of the physical in ensuring you are safe to win that big game. We encourage you to ask family members about any family history questions you might not know the answer to.
When you come in for your physical, first, you will have your vitals taken to determine blood pressure, heart rate, height and weight. This is followed by an eye exam to assess vision. Once you are brought to the exam room, we will review your responses and likely ask some additional questions. Then we perform the physical exam checking things like your heart, lung abdomen, joints, etc.
If all appears okay, you will then get the “go-ahead” to start practicing! Yay!

What if something is wrong?

If there is any abnormality or concern, your medical provider will make sure you are set up with the appropriate follow-up with them or a specialist to hopefully get you out on the field as soon as it is safe to do so. Sometimes it is a simple lab check or consultation with a specialist before you get the green light to join the team, so do not get discouraged! More likely than not, you will be able to participate after that extra clearance.

What now?

Now that you are cleared, go enjoy that healthy physical activity and meeting other people in whatever form that may be! Your physical is generally good for a year after which you should come back for an updated physical if you are going to participate in sports again. We wish you a healthy and fun season!