Childhood Obesity Awareness Month – Tips to Stay Healthy by Dr. Mason Wedel, MD PGY1

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

September is National Childhood Obesity Month, and childhood obesity is a major public health problem. Obesity puts children at higher risk for other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma and makes them more likely to be obese as adults.

Here are some tips to help with this issue:

  • 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 – it is recommended that children get 60 minutes or more physical activity DAILY. Include running and jumping 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 including 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. 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
– 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

*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, please visit this link: https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/safe-minimum-cooking-temperature
  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 this link for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/education-month.html, 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.

What youth are more likely to attempt 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 counselors or psychiatrists 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.

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!

Physical and Mental Benefits of Being Kind by Jessica Heintz, DO

 “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” 

Mr. Rogers

In a world focused on getting ahead and moving faster, perhaps the solution to many problems is to simply slow down and be nice to someone – including ourselves! Kindness is a trait that everyone is capable of but far fewer demonstrate. At the same time, people stop and take notice when they see a truly kind act demonstrated by another. Described as a “habit of giving,” kindness can produce physical, social, and psychological benefits. It puts a smile on our faces while at the same time making the world a better, brighter place. Learn about the “why” and “how” of practicing kindness in our everyday lives.

The physical and mental benefits of kindness are tangible. Kind actions signal our brains to release the natural chemicals of serotonin and dopamine. Essentially, these are the “feel good” hormones. When they are low, people can experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Helping increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine by practicing kindness can help lessen these feelings and create a “helper’s high”. Positive emotions can subsequently help reduce stress. Depending on the action, kindness can even encourage physical activity. Raking your neighbor’s leaves will not only make your neighbor smile, but it will also help you burn a few extra calories!

Kindness produces psychological benefits as well. Practicing kindness often provides perspective on life and distracts us from our own problems. It helps foster gratitude, empathy, and compassion in our minds and hearts. Kindness helps form a positive and supportive environment as well as bonds with others, thus reducing isolation and loneliness. For those struggling with mental health, as many of us do, this is an invaluable part of any mental health recovery journey. Finally, kindness allows us to engage in meaningful activities, and it can provide a sense of purpose and context in the world.

How can you start to develop this habit of giving in in your own life? It is easy. Start with yourself, then move on to others. We cannot give of ourselves if there is no excess to draw from. Always begin with self care and being kind to yourself. Do something you enjoy and learn to set limits in your life. Keep a gratitude journal, take a bubble bath, practice your golf game, watch the sunset, exercise, enjoy a glass of good wine, sleep in late (or at the very least, go to bed early). Then, try to be kind to others. The opportunities are endless. You can volunteer, mentor, or become involved in supporting a charitable cause. Practice random acts of kindness by holding a door for someone, buying a stranger’s coffee, or even simply making eye contact with another person and smiling as they walk by.

These sorts of actions may seem trickier to do in our current COVID world, but I challenge you to get creative. Write a letter to a friend, call a grandparent, leave snacks out for delivery drivers, or cook a meal for a neighbor in need to drop off at the door. Kindness to animals counts too – consider taking your dog for an extra walk. Remember, it is the intention behind an action that matters rather than the size of the gesture. As the world slowly emerges from COVID quarantine, refocusing on the value of connection to and interaction with our fellow man through kindness cannot be understated- even if it is from 6 feet apart! It feels good to do good. Now, go out and be kind!

oh baby! Celebrating Breastfeeding Month by Nicole Vaudrin, RDN, Stephanie Olzinski, RDN and Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months old.”

Around 60% of mothers do not breastfeed as long as they intend to due to various factors such as issues with lactation and latching, concerns about taking medications while breastfeeding, un-supportive work policies, cultural norms, and lack of family support.
Breastfeeding can help give babies a healthy start and build their immune systems, and may protect against obesity, diabetes, ear infections, asthma, digestive issues, and more. However, breastfeeding is not always easy and mothers often need extra support. 

Tips for mother and baby that will help with both nutrition and emotional well-being.

  • Worried baby isn’t getting enough? Milk quantity is a common stressor for most moms. If you’re worried about milk supply, be sure to maintain frequent feedings throughout the day. This is also a place to review your own nutrition. Most mothers need 400-500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding to provide the needed nutrition and energy to produce milk. As you are continuing your nutrition post-partum, try to focus on including whole grains (more fiber is better!), lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, fatty fish).
  • It hurts! Soreness is to be expected at first, but breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. Two of the most common issues are latching and engorgement. Mothers may need assistance from a lactation consultant to problem solve. Lactation consultants in the hospital are very beneficial to help a mother learn how to breastfeed, identify barriers, and work to remedy those barriers. Breastfeeding is a skill that both baby and mother must learn. If pain continues to be a concern, there are local breast feeding support groups to help mothers navigate through various difficulties.
  • It’s a lot of work! The pressure to breastfeed is high for new mothers. The mention of it starts in the prenatal period and it is often discussed as if there will be little to no issues. These messages are impactful and can be stressful. Often there is guilt or shame if a mother is unable to produce milk to feed her infant or if she chooses not to breast feed or pump. A lot of time can go into pumping, storing, and producing milk.
  • Going back to work or school? Pumping can be a great option to continue providing your baby with breastmilk. However some moms may experience lack of privacy or supportive work policies, and may struggle with the time needed throughout the day to pump and store.
  • You may experience increased stress. Some stressors of breastfeeding may include irritability, pain, concerns about privacy, lacking confidence, criticism, milk supply, or feeling unsupported or trapped. There are various ways to cope with breastfeeding stressors such as taking breaks (when it is safe to do so), deep breaths, exercise, talking to someone you trust, or joining a support group. Breastfeeding is natural but it doesn’t always come naturally. Remember, fed is best.

What can you do to learn more and support breastfeeding?

Support your local La Leche League: LLL is an international non-profit that supports and advocates for breastfeeding, including establishing human milk banks. LLL also has information on everything breastfeeding including pumping, reflux, biting, and more! https://www.LLLi.org/about/history/\

HonorHealth Centers for Breast Feeding Support:
Shea Medical Center
Call: 480-323-3638
Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center
Call: 480-882-4827

How to Celebrate World Honey Bee Day by The Nutrition Experts

Honey bees are oftentimes overlooked and feared, but these lovely creatures play a crucial role in our ecosystem? Honey bees are responsible for pollinating or transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. Pollination is essential to the production of approximately 90 crops¸ including many fruits and vegetables that we eat every day (1).

Honey bees are the most common pollinator. About one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds, to name just a few (1).

How to Celebrate

  • Buy local honey! Often times commercially produced honey provides cruel treatment to the bees, like clipping the queen’s wings and taking too much of their honey that they need for food.
  • Flavors of honey vary depending on the variety of flowers and nectar available to the bees. Wildflower, clover, alfalfa, lavender, orange, and chestnut are just a few to choose from. 
  • Use honey in cooking, baking, making hot beverages, and more! Find some great recipes to use or substitute honey at www.noahhelps.org/recipes.
  • Collect and spread local wildflower seeds in your yard/garden to help promote honey bee pollination.
  • Replace your usual sweetener with local honey. Not only are you supporting your community by buying local, but you’re supporting reaping all the benefits honey has to offer which is much better than consumer processed sugars.
  • Give the gift of honey by purchasing jars from your local honey business and add a cute ribbon and card to them. Maybe even use them in a gift basket and give to neighbors, family and friends.

Alternative to Honey

If unable to find honey from a local famer or famers market, choosing options such as maple syrup or agave are great alternatives. Remember to be mindful of using all of these as they may have added sugars and could have an impact on your blood sugar.

Infants and honey. Honey may contain small amounts of botulism, a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, that may affect infants under 1 year of age. It’s best to not give infants honey or even any processed products, like crackers or cereal, made with honey.

1. Medicine, C. (2018, July 30). Helping Agriculture’s Helpful Honey Bees. Retrieved July 28, 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/helping-agricultures-helpful-honey-bees

Be Kind to Humankind by Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Mark Twain

Have you ever had a stranger pay for your coffee or hold the door for you? Experiencing an act of kindness can bring a smile to your face and improve your mood. Kindness can be shown as a supportive smile, a helpful hand, or heartfelt words. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle these gestures can be increasingly meaningful. Kindness benefits both the giver and the receiver.


Being kind to others is known to have lasting effects on our mental and physical health. Kindness lights up the pleasure center of the brain and releases serotonin and oxytocin. The release of the hormone oxytocin is associated with decreasing blood pressure and reducing inflammation. This is why kindness feels good. Further, it is valued across cultures and religions, and is an innate part of our being.

Benefits of kindness include:

  • Improve relationships with others.
  • Increase overall happiness.
  • Improve feelings of self-worth or self-esteem.
  • Decrease anxiety and depression.
  • Reduce stress.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of kindness is developing connections. The more we connect with others the greater empathy and understanding we display. Go ahead—do that volunteer activity or smile at a stranger. Be kind to Humankind.

Food Safety Tips by Nicole Vaudrin, RDN

Whether you have a healthy, balanced diet or not, food can make you sick! Foodborne illness is estimated to affect 48 million or 1 in 6 Americans each year. Below are tips to help you and your family prepare and store foods safely.

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before preparing food or eating and after every time you touch your face.
  • Wash your produce. Gently wash produce in running water before peeling or cutting, so dirt and germs aren’t transferred from the knife into the fruit or vegetable. This includes winter squash and melons, which are often left unwashed before slicing.
  • Organize your refrigerator. Keep raw meat separate from other foods, preferably on the bottom shelf to avoid cross-contamination, particularly with already prepared foods or those eaten raw.
  • Defrost foods properly. See the USDA Safe Defrosting Methods tip sheet.
  • Cook foods thoroughly. Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature, including leftovers. An inexpensive meat thermometer is an important kitchen tool.
  • Store foods properly. Refrigerate cooked and perishable foods within 2 hours.

For more information, visit https://www.foodsafety.gov/