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Category : Healthy Living

5 Health Risks of Loneliness and How to Cope When You Feel Alone – LIVESTRONG.COM

The novel coronavirus pandemic may have worsened an existing loneliness epidemic.

Image Credit: LumiNola/E+/GettyImages

Mental health professionals were concerned about loneliness well before we all started social distancing to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"We were in the middle of a loneliness epidemic before COVID-19, and having to further distance from the world ultimately can be detrimental to our overall mental health and wellbeing," says Nina Vasan, MD, MBA, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and chief medical officer of Real, an on-demand therapy platform.

Loneliness is a state of mind of being alone or separated from others. It should not be confused with social isolation, which is physical separation from other people, commonly associated with living alone.

"In that sense, it is possible to experience loneliness with others around, and it is possible to be alone but not feel lonely," Dr. Vasan says.

Here's a closer look at loneliness and the startling ways it can affect your health.

The Dangers of Loneliness

Mental health professionals are learning that loneliness can pose significant risks to your health.

1. Loneliness Is Linked With Depression

While loneliness is distinct from depression, it has been associated with depressive symptoms.

Researchers found that social disconnectedness is a unique risk factor for loneliness, which predicted higher depressive symptoms in individuals, according to a January 2020 study in the Lancet. The study also supported the reverse: People with depression were also more likely to feel isolated.

2. It's Connected to Inflammation

There seems to be a link between loneliness and inflammation, according to a December 2015 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Research suggests that loneliness may weaken the body's immune response to cause more inflammation, which can in turn increase risk for chronic disease.

A July 2020 report in the Perspectives on Psychological Science found that interpersonal stressors, such as loneliness, are connected to increased risk of diseases, including respiratory viruses, evoking the possibility of greater vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

"Loneliness can be harmful for long-term immunity, making you more susceptible to pathogens like bacteria and viruses," Dr. Vasan says.

"It is possible to experience loneliness with others around, and it is possible to be alone but not feel lonely."

3. It's Tied to Higher Chances of Heart Disease

Loneliness may increase a person's odds of developing heart problems, too. A May 2016 study in Heart found about a 30 percent higher chance of stroke or heart disease among people who scored poorly on measures of social relationships.

The researchers attribute this link to a variety of behavioral, biological and psychological factors, such as behaviors like smoking or physical inactivity that are more common among individuals who are lonely.

4. Loneliness Is Linked to High Blood Pressure

People who experience loneliness may be more susceptible to high blood pressure, according to a first-of-its-kind March 2010 study in Psychology and Aging. Still referenced widely today, the research linked levels of loneliness with greater increases in systolic blood pressure over a four-year period among a diverse group of people.

The mechanism behind this link is not completely understood, but it points to how loneliness may be associated with earlier or more dramatic changes to the arteries, the authors note.

5. It's Associated With Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Loneliness can pose unique challenges to older adults, according to a February 2020 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, due to risk factors like living alone or the loss of family and friends.

That's particularly problematic because older adults are also already at higher risk of certain loneliness-linked health conditions, such as cognitive decline and dementia.

An August 2019 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health used data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey to investigate the association between loneliness and cognitive decline among older men and women in China. The researchers concluded that loneliness was a significant risk factor for cognitive impairment among older men, but not women.

Earlier, loneliness was linked with a 40 percent increased risk of dementia in an October 2018 Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences study analyzing data from 12,000 participants collected over 10 years, the largest sample for this topic.

"If aging adults are living in environments with limited social interaction, their dementia can worsen over time," Dr. Vasan says.

5 Ways to Cope With Loneliness

Adopting a pet or spending time with your furry friends can help replace feelings of loneliness with feelings of warmth.

Image Credit: Alex Potemkin/iStock/GettyImages

1. Join a Recurring Class, Club or Activity

Sign up for something you enjoy with others to help you meet people who have similar interests as you. When it becomes a regular event, you'll have something to look forward to.

Start with your existing skills and interests whether it's art, drama or gardening and use this as an opportunity to advance to the next level.

"Engaging in activities can help distract you from loneliness and isolation," Dr. Vasan says. "With most of us now unable to engage in traditional in-person activities, I recommend getting creative with virtual interactions, such as live-streamed group classes, watch parties on Netflix or Prime, arts and crafts and online game or trivia nights."

2. Find Ways to Give Back to Your Community

Selflessly caring for others will not only optimize their wellbeing, but also your own. Helping people can deliver meaning to your life in the face of loneliness.

Start with a task you can do from afar, like making and sending cards for people going through cancer treatment with a group like Chemo Angels. If you're comfortable giving back in person, consider volunteering at a local food bank.

"Getting involved in helping people not only feels good, but you connect with others who have a heart of service," says educational psychologist Roseann Capanna-Hodge, EdD, LPC.

3. Surround Yourself With What Gives You Warmth

Engage in activities that bring you joy and spend time with people who deliver warmth.

This looks different for different people: For you, maybe that means strengthening an existing connection with a loved one, adopting a pet or even taking a short afternoon nap. Experiencing these little joys can fight loneliness by helping you reconnect with yourself.

"Be good to yourself by finding small things that bring you joy," Dr. Vasan says. "Enjoy online retail therapy, a warm bath, reconnect with an old friend the smallest things can mean the most at this time."

"Loneliness feels awful, and one can get stuck in those sad and hurt feelings, but focusing on the future gives you hope, purpose and direction," Capanna-Hodge says.

To help you plan ahead, she suggests putting aspirations and unfulfilled wishes onto a virtual or real-life vision board.

"Creating a vision board is a powerful way to get clear on what is important in your life, as well as what your future goals are," she says.

It's OK to start small: Cultivate excitement about cooking a new cuisine or visiting a new local park in the coming weeks or months.

5. Get Professional Support

In some cases, it may be helpful to seek therapy to process and work through loneliness. Mental health professionals can suggest beneficial coping mechanisms that might work best for your individual situation.

"The most important thing you can do for yourself is asking for help when you need it," Dr. Vasan says. "Medical professionals are out there and want to help you get better. If you feel lonely, it may be helpful to contact a psychiatrist or therapist or connect with a therapy hotline or app."

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Jessica Alba’s Healthy Living Tips – OK!

Being a successful actress and owner of the beauty store The Honest Company can be a daunting task for a mother of three, but Jessica Alba shares her nine tips on how to get ahead in life and health.

Start Strong

The 39-year-old star fuels up for the day ahead with a healthy and hearty breakfast. She alternates between avocado toast with poached eggs (her fav!) and smoothies.

Recently I started making this shake using vegan protein powder, matcha green tea powder, a banana, coconut water and ice, shared Alba. I drink it before a workout, and it doesnt make me feel too full.

Make A Playlist

The right tunes help you get and stay in the zone. For Alba, that means lots of Drake, Jay-Z, and Kanye West.

And I have some new artists that Ive been listening to a lot, she noted, adding, I like any kind of West Coast rapper usually more hip-hop and rap and less pop music.

JESSICA ALBA CLAIMS SHE STOPPED EATING IN HER 20S SO MEN WOULD STOP LUSTING AFTER HER VOLUPTUOUS BODY

Cut Back On Carbs & Sugar

With exercise, I get a little more toned and I definitely feel stronger, but my diet is much more important if Im trying to slim down, she explained. The Honest Company founder avoids dairy, gluten and processed foods. I try to stick to a diet thats low in sugar and carbs and high in lean proteins and vegetables.

Keep It Interesting

Variety is the spice of life for the actress, who mixes up her workouts, so she never gets bored. Her go-to classes include yoga sculpt (which combines traditional hot yoga with light weights and cardio) and spinning. I like high-intensity workouts and I like moving around a lot, she confessed. I dont like a lot of repetition.

Snack Away

When shes hungry between meals, Alba noshes on light-but-tasty fare like veggies with hummus and popcorn. I love popcorn, she gushed. I eat that at the office every day. I make it with Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil. Yum!

Get Some Me Time

At the end of a long day, Alba relaxes and centres herself with some good old-fashioned self-care. After some quality time with her kids, I enjoy a bath with a glass of wine and a book, she shared. The Sin City star caps things off with some serious beauty pampering. I often add a face mask and a hair mask as part of my weekly wind-down routine, she added. When youre doing something for yourself, its a nice reminder that you matter.

JESSICA ALBA GETS THREE NEW TATTOOS IN HONOR OF HER KIDS & FANS ARE NOT IMPRESSED SEE THE PICS!

Know Yourself

Alba said that the benefits of exercise are [more] mental than physical for her. But that doesnt mean she doesnt appreciate what her bodys capable of. If I want to go on a hike or a bike ride or go for a swim, she said, I know my body will do everything I tell it to.

Hydrate!

How does she get that glow? I think staying hydrated is really important, said the L.A.s Finest actress, whos a huge fan of coconut water.

Be Practical

Alba is totally dedicated to fitness. But the busy mom of three she shares Honor, 12, Haven, 8, and Hayes, 2, with husband Cash Warren is also realistic about what she can squeeze into her hectic schedule. If I work out four times, I consider it a successful week, she said. But its typically more like two to three days a week because thats what I have time for. Its cleverly working!

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After losing 235 pounds, Houstonian commits to the marathon of healthy living – Houston Chronicle

Amer Ismail could hold the excess skin on his stomach like a swaddled baby.

The skin weighed more than 15 pounds, and it threw off his balance when he exercised. When he was training for his first marathon, his stomach flap would routinely hit his torso and left him feeling sore.

Finding clothes that fit was the hardest part for the 27-year-old Houstonian who has dropped 235 pounds in four years.

There are no clothes for loose skin either you have your pants under your belly or you have to tuck the skin under your pants, Ismail said. It got caught, and it was constantly pinched. I ended up with lots of cuts and scrapes. It was unavoidable.

After loose-skin surgery in May, Ismail can finally see the progress he has made since he began his healthy lifestyle. The surgery didnt change the amount of work he had done, but he could finally see the results.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Losing nearly half his bodyweight, Houston man has no plans to stop

He now fits in a Large size T-shirt. And when he puts the shirt on, it falls straight down rather than getting caught on the skin around his belly. He cant grab his stomach at all anymore.

Standing at 6 foot 3 inches and 235 pounds, Ismail remembers what it was like to be close to 500 pounds in his early 20s. All the jokes and unfriendly looks are gone, and he feels just like everyone else.

Hes just a guy whos half the guy he used to be.

Its not typical for a person to lose so much weight they require skin removal unless they had bariatric surgery or another type of weight loss procedure, said Dr. John LoMonaco, a plastic surgeon based in Clear Lake who performed Ismails surgery.

These people have great stories to tell; its the reason I do what I do, LoMonaco said. If youre into these peoples journeys to fight the disease that was destroying their quality of life, you know its not a vanity surgery. He just wanted to be normal, and hes still fighting to keep that weight off.

The last year has been full of incredible highs and unexpected lows for Ismail.

After months of training, he ran his first Chevron Houston Marathon in January, finishing in 6 hours, 8 minutes and 6 seconds.

He hated the act of running while he was doing it. He had never really run before, so every week was a new unlocked achievement. For months, he ran four times a week and lifted weights on off days; some weeks, he pulled two-a-day workouts at the Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute.

He went from barely being able to run two miles to finishing a full 26.2 miles within six months of training. It was a slow, but constant progression.

The hardest part was surviving all the weather conditions; it would be so hot, I felt like I was drowning in the humidity, Ismail said. It was tough because I felt like there were weeks with no progress, and that I was stalling. But if you keep doing it, keep trusting yourself, eventually you see how far youve come.

On HoustonChronicle.com: How quarantine, meal prepping helped this busy stylist shed nearly 50 pounds

Ismail took the high of his marathon finish into his next athletic endeavor: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In February, he tore his ACL during a regular takedown move while sparring with another person.

The injury has pushed back his running goals for 2020. But he hopes to get the OK to start running again soon. He has been exercising twice-a-week with Blaine Schmidt, strength and conditioning coach with Athlete Training in Health, an affiliate of the Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute.

To go through all the stuff he went through and to keep the same attitude he had thats something you dont see a whole lot nowadays, Schmidt said. He had his skin surgery all set before he had that injury and that was a little setback. But he was still straightforward on his goals. Nothing was going to stop him.

This was Ismails second ACL surgery in the last four years. He has also had a spleen rupture, which needed to be surgically repaired and resulted in a hernia. Then, he had the first part of his skin removal surgery in May; hell have another surgery next year.

I am so done with surgeries; I want to retire, he said.

The knee surgery coincided with the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which gave him a much-needed reason to slow down and recover.

Thats where his commitment to healthy eating or as he calls it, boring eating comes into play.

During the pandemic, Ismail stuck to the same four or five dishes, usually including lean chicken, rice with sweet potatoes and a salad mix. Sometimes, he opts for ground turkey or steak. Every now and then, he eats a slice of chocolate cake or buys a chocolate bar.

He estimates that he eats about a pound of meat every day, especially on the days he works out. Lean protein satisfies his hunger, he said, after years of a carbohydrate-loaded diet of pizza, cheese burgers and fatty junk food.

Plastic surgeons have to figure out whether a person has overcome his negative relationship with food before committing to a weight-loss or skin-removal surgery, LoMonaco said. Plastic surgery does not cure food addiction, he added.

Many times, patients will develop a new addiction to exercise or a healthy lifestyle and they can be compulsive about their routine, LoMonaco said. (Ismail) had done a ton of research and slowly and steadily progressed on his weight loss. He wasnt doing a fad diet or a quick pill.

The doctor agreed to perform Ismails surgery after he described his lifestyle, which is regular exercise and healthy eating habits. LoMonaco said he does not operate on 20 percent of the people seeking skin removal because they havent found a stable program to maintain their rapid weight loss.

When he first started losing weight, Ismail knew how to pour a bowl of cereal and make scrambled eggs. He bought pre-packaged foods that were often full of preservatives.

On HoustonChronicle.com: This Houston man needed to overhaul his health. Now he runs a sugar-free cookie empire.

Now, he buys fruits, vegetables, dairy and a lot of lean protein. He drinks a fair amount of coffee and admits to a slight Coke Zero addiction.

I am less restrictive on my diet than I used to be, and I learned from my mistakes in the past, he said. I was so serious about losing weight that I gave myself no freedom. Now that I know I can eat healthy 95 percent of the day, I can have ice cream or a cookie.

A healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. It took Ismail a while to understand that, though. The work is nowhere near done, he said.

Its just putting in the work, its like second nature now, he said. I can do anything as long as I put the hours into it. Mentally, its a weird feeling because after doing all this, everything is relaxed now. I dont worry about weight loss I dont have to think about it anymore.

julie.garcia@chron.com

Twitter.com/reporterjulie

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How creativity can help us navigate COVID-19: Lessons from the 19th century – Fast Company

Like everyone else, artists have been challenged by new conditions and routines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have had to adjust what they make as well as how and where they work, coming up with innovative ways to be productive in makeshift studios with limited supplies and in relative isolation.

One thing is certain, though: In response to daily headlines of devastating illness, suffering and death, the need for creative expression and meaningful reflection on loss remains essential.

A detail from Abbott Thayers 1887 painting Angel, in which his eldest daughter appears as a heavenly figure. [Image: Smithsonian American Art Museum/gift of John Gellatly]For the past several years, Ive been researching the impact of disease on late 19th century American artists. At the time, medical science was ill-equipped to manage rising rates of communicable disease, leaving art to help fill a need to comprehend and process illness.

One of the artists featured in my forthcoming book on art and disease is the painter Abbott Thayer, whose life and work underwent dramatic change following the death of his wife from tuberculosis. For the grieving painter, art functioned as a kind of medicine.

In the late 18th century, tuberculosis started to be tinged with romanticism; it was thought of as an illness that could lead to elevated consciousness, creative insight and intellectual acuity. The poet John Keats and the pianist Frdric Chopin both died young from tuberculosis, cementing its reputation as an affliction of artists.

An early biographer of Robert Louis Stevenson argued that tuberculosis enhanced the writers talent, and in a sculptural relief depicting Stevenson during a stay in New York City, Augustus Saint-Gaudens portrays the bohemian writer with long hair and a cigarette in hand, looking alert and productive, despite being propped up by a stack of pillows in bed. As one critic observed, the relief captured Stevensons picturesque unfitness, as though illness heightened his allure.

If the effects of the disease were poorly understood, so too was the way in which it spread.

For hundreds of years, the cause of disease was believed to be miasmas, or foul-smelling air. Eventually, in the 1880s, medical science realized invisible microorganisms were the source of contagion, and that germs could be quietly passed from person to person. Unlike miasmas, which could be identified through smell, germs moved undetected through crowded cities. They were everywhere.

By the time the wife of painter Abbott Thayer succumbed to the disease in 1891, germ theory was widely accepted and would have been familiar to the artist, who was the son of a physician and public health expert. Fearing his three young children would be next, he sought out a healthy environment a place with plenty of fresh air and surrounded by nature, where the family could eat nutritious meals, roam freely outdoors and get plenty of rest.

The Thayers werent the only family looking for therapeutic settings. The 1870s marked the start of the sanatorium movement, in which individuals who had tuberculosis, or thought they might, were able to steel themselves against the illness in medically supervised, open-air compounds often near the mountains, desert or the sea. At the time, tuberculosis was the cause of roughly one in seven deaths in the U.S.

The life Thayer created for him and his children in Dublin, New Hampshire, was modeled on this type of facility. Their home, at the base of Mount Monadnock, gave the family ample opportunities to be immersed in fresh mountain air, which was then thought to be the purest type of air.

On a typical day, Thayer spent his morning painting and then climbed Monadnock or took long trail walks with his family. These outdoor activities encouraged the kind of deep breathing believed to free toxins from contaminated lungs.

The Thayers also slept outdoors in individualized lean-tos a three-sided shelter that allowed them to breathe fresh air throughout the night. Thayer also invented a breath catcher a device worn around the nose and mouth, not unlike the protective masks of today which prevented the bodys noxious exhalations from freezing onto bedding at night, according to the thinking of the time. He also wore a special kind of wool underwear marketed for its protective qualities against disease in a further attempt to avoid germs.

While Thayer was working to protect the health of his family, his art underwent a shift.

Early in his career, Thayer mostly painted landscapes and portraits. But following the illness of his wife Kate, Thayer turned his own children Mary, Gerald and Gladys into the primary subjects of his work.

In the first of these, Angel, he painted his eldest child Mary as a heavenly creature, whose pale, chalky skin underscored by her white robe and wings conveys a fragility evoking the effects of tuberculosis.

The painting brings together the contradiction of a healthy daughter and sickly mother, collapsing the promise of wholesome youth and the fear of bodily disintegration.

Abbott Thayers A Virgin of 1892-3. [Image: Smithsonian/Freer Gallery of Art]In A Virgin of 189293, Thayer depicted all three children standing outside. The clouds, which emerge from Marys shoulders as wings, allude to Thayers earlier depiction of her in Angel and thus to her role as a stand-in for his late wife.

Given the way in which Kates illness focused the familys attention on nature and health, it seems significant, too, that the children, shown barefoot and windswept, walk vigorously and purposefully. Their classical clothing pays tribute to the ancient Greeks, celebrated in Thayers time for their commitment to physical fitness and outdoor living.

Immersed in a therapeutic environment while perhaps on one of their treks up Monadnock, Thayers children embody the life their father embraced. They become models of healthy outdoor living in an era of contagious disease.

The image may look antiquated, but it resonates today.

Both tuberculosis and COVID-19 target the lungs. Symptoms for both diseases include shortness of breath and coughing. There was no effective way to treat tuberculosis until the development of streptomycin in the 1940s, so prevention and perseverance during Thayers time as with COVID-19 often involved good hygiene and healthy living. Like Mary, Gerald and Gladys, we are still taking walks in nature in an effort to escape the psychological and physical limitations of quarantine.

Today, filling our lungs with fresh air remains a reassuring sign of health just as it did more than a century ago.

Elizabeth Lee is an associate professor of art history at Dickinson College. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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How creativity can help us navigate COVID-19: Lessons from the 19th century - Fast Company

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COVID-19 Is Proof of Just How Socially Determined Health Is – VICE

In late March, when TV journalist Chris Cuomo announced that he had COVID-19, his brother Andrew, the governor of New York, tweeted in response: This virus is the great equalizer.

Around the same time, Madonna expressed a similar sentiment. Posting a video filmed in a bathtub filled with rose petals, she said, "That's the thing about COVID-19. It doesn't care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell."

Technically, it's true that a virus doesn't care how much money you have, if you need to be on TV the following night, or run a countryall it "wants" is to find a host to infect so as to replicate itself. In this way, a global pandemic might be conceived of as a levelling force, indiscriminately threatening all echelons of a society.

That's what happened, to some extent, in past pandemics. In 1630, when the plague hit Northern Italy, it killed 35 percent of the population. Jacob Soll, a professor of history at the University of Southern California, recently wrote in Politico that the mass casualties of the Black Death set the stage for the Italian Renaissance.

The plague slowed down economic inequalityso many people had died that there was an increase in wages and affordable housing. The city government became open to people in lower guilds and literacy levels skyrocketed. "For a time, Florences economy bounced back with remarkable social mobility, and it became Europes premier center of artistic, cultural and scientific creativity, Soll wrote.

This is not what is happening in the United States with COVID-19. Instead of evening the playing field, the pandemic has instead exposed how deep and embedded our social inequities are, and amplified how much factors like income, education, housing, race, and social status can impact health outcomes.

These factors are known as social determinants of health." They are influences that go beyond just the biological processes of a disease, like access to health insurance, food security, housing security, transportation, personal safety, structural racism, and more. By some estimates, the social determinants of health contribute to 80 to 90 percent of our public health outcomes.

Public health experts have been ringing alarm bells about the social determinants of health for decades. Yet the U.S. spends an extraordinary amount of money on individual healthcare once people are sick, while often ignoring the ways wealth gaps and racism contribute to worsening health. COVID-19 could serve as a wake-up call. If COVID-19 is an exam for how we were doing on social determinants, the United States isn't receiving a passing grade.

People who were already struggling are losing their jobs, housing, and suffering higher mortality rates from COVID. The Color of Coronavirus project, which tracks how COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting certain communities, found that as of July 21st, there continue to be large disparities in deaths in Black, Indigenous, and other populations of color compared to white people.

Addressing social determinants could make a meaningful difference to health if we consider that poverty, racism, and housing arent just correlated with poor outcomes, but can actually cause them. COVID-19 is laying that truth bare, and presenting us with an opportunity for policy making that aggressively hones in on social determinantsboth to get us out of the pandemic safely, and for future health outcomes.

Its basically been a three-month crash course on what weve known for centuries, said Atheendar Venkataramani, a health economist, internal medicine physician, and assistant professor at the Perelman School ofMedicineat the University ofPennsylvania. Which is that the risk of disease and the outcomes of disease follow unequally from the circumstances the people find themselves in life.

In an essay about Albert Camus' novel The Plague, British academic Jacqueline Rose responded to the notion that we are all in this togetherthis, being the pandemic. "The frailty of that wehas never been so obvious," she wrote in the London Review of Books.

In the United States, that "we" has splintered along racial lines. COVID-19 is infecting mostly-Black counties at rates three times more than mostly-white ones, and their mortality rates are six times higher. Data released from large cities paint a stark picture. Though Black people account for only 30 percent of Chicagos population, over 50 percent of COVID-19 cases there are of Black people, and almost 70 percent of the deaths are within the Black community. Michigans population is 14 percent Black, but Black people make up 41 percent of COVID-19 deaths. Illinois population is also 14 percent Black, and their COVID-19 deaths are 32.5 percent Black. Black people are 33 percent of Louisianas population, but more than 70 percent of coronavirus deaths. In New York City, Black and Latino people are two times more likely to die than white people.

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These disparities didnt come out of nowhere, but reflect how strongly social determinants of health dictate COVID-19 risk. Social determinants increase the chances of someone being exposed to the virus in the first place. Weve been told to stay at homebut who has the income to stay at home, or a job where its possible to work remotely?

In a preprint study from May, which hasn't been peer reviewed, researchers found that in areas with lower incomes, there were both greater percentages of people of color and higher numbers of essential workers and healthcare workers that used the subway more during the pandemic. Using the subway was associated with higher rates of COVID-19.

We feel comfortable saying that being on a subway can cause COVID-19, said Venkataramani. I think we feel less comfortable to ask, why are people still riding the subway?

There was also an assumption that sheltering in place was a safe option, said Rachel Hardeman, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. But for people in crowded households, sometimes multigenerational ones that include at-risk older people, staying isolated at home doesn't necessarily protect from infection.

Hardeman said this is a direct result of the legacy of redlining, racist policies which denied Black people mortgages, which led to less housing security. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed by police, 75 percent of white people own their home, compared to 25 percent of Black people that do. And for people without homes, COVID-19 risk is even higher: Out of 408 people living in a homeless shelter in Boston, 36 percent were positive for the coronavirus.

The precariousness due to the social determinants of health is so significant that it doesnt take much to push folks who are already struggling over the edge.

Julia Wolfson, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health, examined how food insecurity impacted peoples ability to follow social distancing guidelines. She and her colleagues asked people whether they were able to comply with recommendations to stock up on food in order to avoid going out. Low-income adults and people who were already food insecure, were not able to do that. They either didnt have the money or didnt have access to food in the same way people with higher incomes in different neighborhoods did.

Hardeman said that Black people can have more chronic health conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, and asthma, which can make COVID-19 worse. But rarely did I see this effort to understand, so why are there more chronic illnesses in Black communities? Hardeman said, adding that those diseases are influenced by social determinants too.

People of color have less access to health insurance, which can exacerbate chronic conditions. As of 2017, around 55 percent of Black people had private health insurance, while 75 percent of white people did. And according to the weathering hypothesis, coined by public health researcher Arline Geronimus, the cumulative effects of discrimination, racism, and lower socioeconomic status over the course of ones life leads to poorer health outcomes, and higher risk for many diseases.

People without health insurance are more likely to use emergency health services, and so with the coronavirus overwhelming those facilities, it puts people in double jeopardy, during a pandemic, said Gulzar Shah, a public health systems and services researcher at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. They not only are likely to have multiple chronic conditions, and high vulnerability to COVID-19, the facility closures, and the interrupted delivery of routine healthcare to accommodate COVID-19 care has pushed these vulnerable populations completely out of the healthcare system.

The pandemic provides example after example of how a persons life situation can impact their health, that goes far beyond an individual's behavioral choices; it robs people of the choice to act or live in healthier ways. What COVID has shown is that the precariousness due to the social determinants of health is so significant that it doesnt take much to push folks who are already struggling over the edge," Hardeman said.

Social determinants have always been able to swiftly impact a persons health. But the pandemic has placed a magnifying glass on inequities that used to exist but were often masked in overall averages and small numbers presented in reports," Shah said.

Wolfson agreed. Weve been talking in public health about social determinants of health for a very long time. We recognized them as being these critical factors that affect health over the long term. But we sort of thought of them like: This puts you on a different trajectory for health over the long term. What COVID-19 is slapping us in the face with is, no this is the here and now. There's an immediate threat to people's health.

On February 25, Michael Marmot published the Marmot Review 10 Years On for Health Equity in Englandwhich provided an update to his 2010 report on health disparities, finding that life expectancy, as a measure of overall health and well-being, has continued to stall or get worse.

Life expectancy hasn't decreased in the same way for everyone. Its a social gradient: The more deprived an area is, the higher the mortality, the shorter life expectancy. Marmot, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London and director of The UCL Institute of Health Equity, said its not just lack of money that leads to these inequities, but an inability to socially participate and lead a dignified life in which one has control over their circumstances.

Based on data from England, Marmot has been finding that COVID-19 mortalities are falling along a similar gradient. That implies that the social determinants of inequalities in COVID-19 overlap with the social determinants of ill health more generally, he said.

Marmot has been studying how inequity influences health for decades, and is one of the most well-known champions for the social determinants of health. Even coming into the pandemic, he said we were facing a public health crisis.

We were ill-prepared in health terms and ill-prepared in public expenditure, Marmot said. We've reduced spending on social care. Health service expenditure failed to rise in line with inflation. We were not in a good state. Then the pandemic crashed upon us.

The situation in the United States mirrors what Marmot has found in England. For the last four years, life expectancy has either been going down, or not improving, and lags behind other rich countries. The United States currently is 28th among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries for life expectancy at birth.

The United States spends more money on healthcare, per person, than any other country, yet doesnt have the health outcomes to show for it. Countries that spend thousands of dollars less per person still have higher life expectancy than the US.

A 40-year-old man who is in the poorest 1 percent of the US population will die, on average, 14.6 years sooner than a man in the top 1 percent. For women, the gap is about 10 years. In Baltimore, Maryland, there can be a 20-year disparity in a man's lifespan in a poor neighborhood, compared to a man's in a wealthy one.

"In some ways this is highlighting the unique failures of the American healthcare system and the American focus on pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, Wolfson said. Obviously there is poverty and inequality everywhere. But other high-income countries invest in the well-being of their population from a societal perspective, much more than we do.

This scarcity of public health has led to dramatic health outcomes long before COVID-19. In Flint, Michigan, the water crisis that led to lead poisoning was something that a strong public health system might have been able to surveil and handle more quickly. In 2017, there was a resurgence of hookworm in the U.S. south among poor Black communitiesa disease that was all-but eradicated through the Rockefeller Foundation's efforts in the 1920s.

We were not in a good state. Then the pandemic crashed upon us.

"Healthcare in the United States has worked as an industrial complex, motivated primarily by profiteering, with a focus on curing the sick rather than preventing people from getting sick, Shah said. Though the quality of care is better due to competition, profitability and high cost are the hallmarks of the societies where market forces are left unchecked.

Researchers have evidence that policies that change people's social determinants, end up changing their health. For example, being part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which integrates immigrants into the U.S. labor market, has been shown to positively affect the health of children with DACA-eligible mothers. In contrast, banning affirmative action programs negatively affects minority youth health. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for a full-time employee before taxes. In 2001, researchers estimated the effects of increasing the federal minimum wage to $11, and predicted that it would lead to substantial health improvements like a decrease in the risk of premature death, and reduction of sick days, disability, and depression.

There is progress being made. Some healthcare facilities have started providing housing assistance to homeless people, and finding that as a result, ER visits go down, inpatient admissions go down, and theres a decrease in overall costs for the hospital, sometimes dramatically.

In the _International Classification of Diseases_ (ICD) tenth edition, there are now codes a doctor can record in a patient's electronic health record that account for social determinants like homelessness, disappearance and death of family members, problems in relationship with spouse or partner, or problems related to education and literacy.

But research has found that these codes are rarely used. Only 1.4 percent of Medicare patients in 2016 and 2017 had claims that included social determinants codes; the most commonly used one was homelessness. A study from 2019 found that just 24 percent of hospitals and 16 percent of physician practices asked people about things like food insecurity, housing instability, transportation needs, and violence in their personal lives.

Hardeman is working on a project in Minnesota to figure out the best way to track social determinants. I don't think it's the solution, she said. But it's important to say, we're thinking about this. We're measuring that. We're capturing this, we have information about it.

Prioritizing social determinants of health requires efforts from outside of healthcare and medicine too. So many social determinants of health really come back to economic policies, Wolfson said. And it means considering health more holistically, including aspects that may not be obviously connected to disease or illness. In a lecture in Berkeley in 2018, Marmot described telling first-year medical students that when calculating an ideal minimum income for healthy living for an older person, it must account for enough money to buy presents for their grandchildren.

A chief executive from this health care organization started to weep, Marmot remembered. And he said, choking up, 'Recently my mother told me that my grandad used to go without meals to buy us birthday presents.' Thats part of leading a dignified life. Having enough money to buy your children, your grandchildren, a present. And in a rich society, we ought to be able to organize our affairs so everybody could do that.

Social determinants of health have often been thought of as wish list items, complex issues to address someday, and not in the immediate present. Ive been doing research on inequalities in health for 40 years or more, Marmot said. And for the last 40 years, Ive been hearing people say, Yeah, but thats long term. What should we do tomorrow?

Our government is currently hemorrhaging money on stimulus bills to keep the economy from collapsing, and while some Paycheck Protection Program loans go to billionaires, that same money could be funneled into social determinants-focused programs that actually can influence health relatively quickly. We've seen this before in policies like expansion of the earned income tax credit, Medicaid expansion, and minimum wage hikes. In 1965, when President Johnson said hospitals had to be desegregated to get Medicare fundings, it led to reductions in infant mortality from preventable diseases within a year. In this way, addressing social determinants should be thought of as evidence-based treatment options that can lower mortality or sickness, not a goal on a bucket list.

It can even be cost effective: A study from 2018 measured the impact of social determinants of health-type services on Medicaid and Medicare Advantage patients, finding that they could save more than $2,400 per person on their health care when they were referred to organizations that provided assistance for things like secure housing, medical transportation, healthy food programs, and utility and financial assistance.

COVID-19 has taught us it is possible to address some social determinants of health rather quicklylike expanding unemployment, finding places for homeless people to sleep at night, or closing down streets to traffic so that people in areas without parks have more room for exercise and recreation.

What else might a social-determinants approach to COVID-19 look like? It would still include healthcare initiatives, of course. More than five million people have lost their health insurance because of COVID-19. The fact that when you lose your job due to a COVID-19 layoff, you lose your health insurance, is uniquely American phenomenon, compared to our peer countries.

Decoupling health insurance from employment or dare I say it, having universal health care, that would go a long way to addressing some of these problems and the disparities that really are unique to the U.S., Wolfson said.

Is COVID-19 the wake up call? Yes, it is among many people.

It would also incorporate health-adjacent measures, like moratoriums on evictions, releasing people from jails where COVID-19 is spreading, and expanding access to food programs or universal childcare. We need to help people be financially stable while we wait for a vaccine. That might involve extending unemployment benefits, no-interest micro-financing, or the government paying companies to keep employees at 80 percent of their wageslike other European countries have done.

Whats crucial is not to let the reminder of how critical the social determinants of health are fade away after the pandemic. The World Economic Forum reported that the pandemic could push half a billion people in the world into poverty. That means our focus on social determinants cant end with COVID-19, but intensify to deal with its aftermath.

The progress on social determinants may feel slow, but Marmot said that hes thrilled its making its way into discussions of health and policy now. When I say I've been doing research on this for 40 years, that may sound like I'm bitter or despondent, he said. Im not in the least bit. I'm delighted that the language of social determinants of health is nearly in common parlance. We are getting on the agenda. Is COVID-19 the wake up call? Yes, it is among many people.

COVID-19 can help obviously connect the dots between a person's wages, where they live, and their race to their physical health. It's both a tsunami of a public health crisis and potentially a tsunami of real understanding and enlightenment," Venkataramani said.

Follow Shayla Love onTwitter.

Excerpt from:
COVID-19 Is Proof of Just How Socially Determined Health Is - VICE

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

How local health departments work, and how Iowa can make them better – The Gazette

On an unseasonably warm Iowa morning in early March, I met with my public health team to talk about the spread of a new coronavirus. I had just returned from an invited briefing in the White House for local and state health officials.

I called another meeting with the two area hospitals. The third meeting I held was with the Emergency Management Agency. And a few more followed.

A novel coronavirus, later coined as SARS-CoV-2, had just begun its relentless maraud in the United States, and it was just a matter of time before it would hit Iowa and Linn County.

We were looking at an exploding public health emergency. We needed to respond immediately.

Then my mother fell ill, half way around the world, in India. I needed to go. For the entire week, the Indian embassy did not reply to my repeated requests for a visa. And, then, India shut down its air transport. I could not go.

In late February, CDC reported a mere 14 cases of COVID-19 in six states. But by mid-March, a robust community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, had accelerated. On March 20, LCPH announced its first cases here in Linn County. Today we have nearly 1,900 cases. COVID-19 outbreaks in Linn County have been recorded in five long term care facilities. We have also lost 87 of our neighbors. More than 800 Iowans and 146,000 Americans have succumbed to this deadly virus. Transmission in Linn County continues.

Currently, were noticing cases surge. While Linn County residents are out and about, at work and social gatherings, an acceleration of infection is taking place, creating a challenge to your local health agency. A surge also means our hospitals may face capacity challenges (supplies, ICU beds and ventilators). In coming days, as we continue to reopen public activities and businesses, the number will continue to grow in Linn County and across the nation, which is certain to strain local health departments.

Any health crisis tests the capacity and limits of a local health department, which is at the front lines. Our job is to protect the health of all and prevent the spread of disease in our jurisdictions, often without adequate resources.

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Public health response is a team sport. LCPH has been working with many other partners so that staff and resources are pooled together. We rely on local agencies such as emergency management, municipalities, hospitals, law enforcement and fire department to join hands.

Linn County Public Health has worked to successfully build foundational public health capacity, thanks to Board of Health and Board of Supervisors. Today, our community is reaping the benefits. We have added nearly nine staff and new infrastructural capacity of epidemiology, assessment, research, evaluation, informatics communication and policy development, along with a new, world-class building.

Your health department is also about partnership with state and federal agencies, meaning we can continuously detect cases and trace contacts. Our response also includes implementation of multiple community mitigation strategies put forth by our state and federal partners such as Iowa Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The local health departments perform a wide range of services without being visible. The water that we drink, the food that we eat and the air that we breathe are safer because of our work.

We assess health needs, develop health plans, immunize, educate about healthy living, and provide forum for dialogue in our communities to improve health of all, especially those who are on the margins. All of these core services must be continued while we respond to COVID-19. Plus, our staff must answer calls from frightened residents, tell people to self-quarantine, check on the infected every day, trace the contacts of those who are infected, and advise the businesses, municipalities and schools about reopening. And we combat misinformation in real time.

Still, local public health infrastructure in Iowa remains inadequate. Years of funding cuts and severe limitations on categorical grant funding have taken a toll.

A third funding source, which was established after 9/11, is Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP), a federal program. But it offers scattered support to local health departments and cumbersome program rules have presented bureaucratic challenges.

Remember, when it comes to outbreak response, local health departments are at the front lines. But when it comes to funding, resources and communications, we are at the end of the line. Can we change this?

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It would be prudent to develop laws for local health agencies authorizing a better response to major public health emergencies. Here are a few suggestions to develop a robust public health infrastructure.

1. Invest in public health workforce development. Often public health professionals come from an array of disciplines. They need to be trained into the core public health functions and essential services.

2. Appoint at least one trained epidemiologist in each local or district health department, who is capable of making use of data for assessing risk to enhance decision making, especially in emerging public health emergencies.

3. Establish direct two-way communication lines with federal partners such as CDC, FDA and FEMA to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of information and local decision-making.

4. Expand Iowas State Hygienic Laboratorys capacity using new technologies so that timely testing and results can be obtained to assure rapid recognition and response.

5. Ensure governing boards are independent, without political agendas, to promote scientific data-driven response and policies.

6. Governing boards of health should have legislatively mandated authority to make local decisions based on local needs, such as shelter-in-place to protect publics health.

7. Municipalities in larger counties in Iowa should consider assisting their health departments with resources.

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In the meantime, your health department continues to strongly urge our residents to wear cloth face coverings, watch your distance and wash your hands to reduce/avoid the spread of COVID-19.

As far as my mother, she is resting at home, back from the hospital, still with uncertain prognosis. I havent seen her in nearly two years. As soon as the air transport opens, Ill be on the first plane departing for India.

Pramod Dwivedi is health director for Linn County Public Health.

Excerpt from:
How local health departments work, and how Iowa can make them better - The Gazette

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Healthy Living: Using UV light to disinfect – Q13 FOX

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Ultraviolet light is being used to disinfect everything from masks to cell phones.

SEATTLE - As some businesses welcome guests back inside, temperature checks and hand sanitizer are already the norm in order to enter. Now, it is becoming more common to see UV sanitizing machines as well. It is technology hospitals have been using to clean and disinfect surfaces for years.

Dr. Jim Polo, the Behavioral Health Medical Director with Regence BlueShield says we really need to understand ultraviolet light first,Ultraviolet light will only destroy cells when the light touches the surface and it must be with prolonged exposure time to actually work.

Dr. Polo says there are typically three wavelengths of ultraviolet light, A waves are those that cause tanning and can make your skin look prematurely old.

B waves are those that cause sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. C waves actually destroy cellular genetic material.

While our atmosphere filters out those 'C Waves' we have esentially harnessed that power, putting it into technology that allows us to disinfect just about anything. The UV machines come in all shapes and sizes and range in price. One for your deviceswill likely start around twenty-five dollars and go up from there.

Dr. Polo has one specifically for his phone,I have a machine that I bought which is used specifically to disinfect telephones. Its quite simple, you open it up, put my telephone in and when I close it, it will turn on and it will stay on long enough to disinfect all of the surfaces of my phone.

Annissa Poole is the owner of Edit Hair Studio in Lynnwood and she says she bought a UV disinfectant box for around two-hundred dollars. She says it gives her piece of mind and also put her clients at ease,They think its super cool and um I think people are just focused more on health and safety and cleanliness. So this just kinda shows that I am taking that into consideration for them and they really see it as an added amenity to their experience.

Sp while the technology may be effective, Dr. Polo says you don't necessarily need to run out and get one. He says washing your masks in a washing machine and drying them in the drier will also do the trick. If you are hand washing, he says scrub the surface of the mask for at least 30 seconds. He says a benefit of washing your mask instead of just throwing it under UV light, washing will actually clean and remove makeup and odors, too.

If you use ultraviolet light, be prepared for the smells and odors to still be there as well as makeup stains.

Dr. Polo reminds us that UV light in the 'C wavelength' is dangerous to humans. He says if you do opt to use one of these machines, follow the directions and do not expose your skin to the light.

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Healthy Living: Using UV light to disinfect - Q13 FOX

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4-ingredient lazy meals that are healthy and still delicious – ABC News

August 3, 2020, 12:39 PM

5 min read

Had a long day of homeschooling or working from home? Instead of hopping in the car and hitting the drive-thru, these two four-ingredient recipes offer quick, simple and healthy options to fast food.

Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner joined "Good Morning America" to help turn lazy day "cooking" into "putting together" meals that taste good and are good for you.

"You can have a balanced and nutritious meal on your plate ASAP," said Blatner, whose motto is "healthy living, hold the boring."

Here, she shares recipes for kale pizza and an egg roll bowl.

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

2-4 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped (about 2 cups)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

One 10-inch sprouted whole grain tortilla

1/4 cup marinara sauce (no added sugar/mostly tomatoes)

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add kale, garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn, for about 4 minutes, until the kale is wilted. Transfer the kale to a plate and set aside.

Wipe the skillet to remove the oil and set it back over medium heat. Add the tortilla and heat until the bottom is crisp, 3-4 minutes. Flip it over so the crisp side is up.

Spoon on some marinara, put on the kale and cheese. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the cheese starts to melt & the bottom of the tortilla is crisp.

Nutrition (1 pizza): 380 calories, 21g total fat, 34g carbs, 8g fiber, 16g protein

Ingredients:4 oz. of grilled chicken, chopped cup of brown rice2 cups of coleslaw mix2 tablespoons of sesame ginger dressing (coconut aminos or soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic)

Directions:Start with organic ground chicken sauted with coconut aminos (or soy sauce), rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, fresh grated ginger, fresh chopped garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, mix in some handfuls of eggroll veggies: shredded coleslaw mix, shredded purple cabbage, shredded multicolored carrots, chopped green onion and cook until they all soften a bit. Time saver: Buy bags of pre-shredded coleslaw, purple cabbage and carrots.

Next, fill a bowl with more of the fresh egg roll veggies to add some crunch and a little brown rice for some whole grains. Top it all off with the chicken, and sprinkle on some green onions and a sesame ginger dressing.

See the rest here:
4-ingredient lazy meals that are healthy and still delicious - ABC News

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Healthy Living With TAU: NATUROPATH’S FAVORITE PRODUCT – Via Zen Stress and Sleep – The Suburban Newspaper

Are you having a poor quality of sleep? Are you feeling low on energy?

Have you ever heard that to sleep well, you must "prepare your sleep during the day"? The concept "stressed by day, insomniac by night" makes sense when you think about it.

The reasoning is simple! You cannot easily relax and ease your sleep at night if, during the day, you drink too much coffee and you run constantly to fulfill all your obligations and responsibilities.

You have to change your lifestyle during the day: drink less coffee, eat nutritious foods at regular times, exercise moderately and on top of that, the product that can help you is Via Zen Stress.

Via Zen Stress

This supplement contains 4 ingredients: ashwagandha, valerian, L-theanine and magnesium.

Ashwagandha is a plant with adaptogenic properties and one of its main qualities is that it helps lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenals during times of stress. A high level of chronic cortisol can lead to non-restful sleep, because it interferes with the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). As the role of cortisol is to give us energy, it causes an increase in blood sugar levels, which can even make us gain weight ... especially around the abdomen!

Valerian acts as a relaxant on the nervous system. The dosage included in Via Zen Stress is moderate but high enough to make you feel calm despite the ups and downs of stress.

L-Theanine is an amino acid found in plants. This molecule has been studied, among other things, to reduce physical and mental stress. [1].

Magnesium, last but not least, is effective against stress, relaxes muscles and can make you sleep better without being a sedative. It is one of the main nutrients of the nervous system!

ViaZen Stress and ViaZen Sleep Synergy

For best results, ViaZen Stress taken during the day, coupled with Via Zen Sleep before bedtime, can help you get a good nights sleep! To find out if these products are suitable for you, do not forget to check with your TAU health consultants or naturopaths if you are taking medication.

[1] Kimura, Kenta; Ozeki, Makoto; Juneja, Lekh Raj; Ohira, Hideki (2007). "L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses". Biological Psychology. 74 (1): 3945. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2006.06.006. PMID 16930802.

TAUwants to be your partner in turning your health around. At TAU, we are attentive to your needs. TAU will accompany you in your approach and you will discover a variety of products and health food sources. Moreover, in TAU, you can still enjoy the sound advice of our naturopaths and our natural health counselors.

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Healthy Living With TAU: NATUROPATH'S FAVORITE PRODUCT - Via Zen Stress and Sleep - The Suburban Newspaper

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Celebrate 65 Years Of Nutritional Empowerment With Natural Grocers On August 13-15, 2020 – The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

LAKEWOOD, Colo., Aug. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Natural Grocers, the nation's largest family-operated natural and organic grocery retailer, is celebrating its 65th Anniversary over three full days, August 13-15, 2020. For the Isely family, this means sixty-five years of empowering their communities to take charge of their health, sixty-five years of providing free, life-changing Nutrition Education, and sixty-five years of offering nutritionally sound, sustainably produced foods at Always AffordableSM prices.

This year's anniversary celebration coincides with what would be Natural Grocers' Co-Founder Margaret Isely's 99th birthday. In honor of Margaret's love of birthdays and her favorite dessertchocolate ice cream topped with chocolate syrupexpect to see birthday and ice cream themes throughout the three-day celebration.

Our good4uSM Crew and loyal customers are at the heart of Natural Grocersthat's why everyone is invited to join in the celebration as we commemorate sixty-five years in business. All 159 Natural Grocers stores, in 20 states, will celebrate with sweepstakes and contests featuring over 1,700 prizes, including a 2020 Subaru Crosstrek, plus the biggest discounts of the year, free frozen desserts, free Natural Grocers Brand Organic Chocolate Bars ({N}power members only) and limited-edition reusable bags, "Cooking with Health CrusaderSM" virtual demonstration, a photo contest, and more.

IT ALL BEGAN WITH $200 AND A DREAM

When Margaret and Phillip Isely co-founded Natural Grocers in 1955, all they had was $200 and a dream of making a healthy and active lifestyle possible for everyone.As trailblazers, health crusaders, and industry leaders, the Iselys demonstrated the virtues of nutrition as an essential building block for excellent health. Over the last 65 years, the family has been steadfast in its mission to make fresh, high-quality natural and organic groceries, supplements, household essentials, and only 100% organic produce, along with free Nutrition Education, available to the communities they serve.

"As the second and third generation of Iselys to operate Natural Grocers, we are honored to preserve the legacy our parents created as leaders in the organic and natural food industry," commented Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers' Co-President. "Since the beginning, we've been rooted in health and have looked toward our Founding Principles when making business decisions that impact our Crew and our customers. In turn, we have been embraced by our communities and for that, we are thankful. We are excited to celebrate sixty-five years of healthy living with our valued customers."

To learn more about Natural Grocers, check out 65 Things You Didn't Know About Natural Grocers.

GIVEAWAYS GALORE MORE THAN 1,700 PRIZES!1

It wouldn't be a Natural Grocers Anniversary if the celebration wasn't loaded up on giveaways and sweepstakesso to mark our 65th Anniversary, we are giving away more than 1,700 prizes. Fill out the Anniversary Sweepstakes form in the August good4u Health Hotline magazine (available in-store and via delivery) and drop it off at any Natural Grocers location between August 13 and August 15 to enter for a chance to win. A drawing among all entries will determine the winners of the following prizes:

Grand Prize: One winner, company-wide will be selected to win a2020 Subaru Crosstrek, or $30,000 cash, courtesy of C20 Pure Coconut Water.Company-wide Prizes: One winner, company-wide, will be selected to win prizes such as a $500 Natural Grocers gift card, a Yeti Cooler, a Vitamix Explorian E310 Blender, a Stand Up Paddle Board and more.One Prize Each Per Store: One winner per store will be selected to win prizes such as a $65 Natural Grocers gift card, a Fitbit Inspire, a Natural Grocers Wood Cutting Board, a Kids Animal Rolling Backpack, a bag of Natural Grocers Brand Products, and more.

For details and a full list of prizes, visit: http://www.naturalgrocers.com/anniversary

COUNT THE SUNDAESCount the sundaes sprinkled throughout the pages of the August good4u Health Hotline magazine, fill out the form and drop it off at any Natural Grocers store by August 29, 2020 for a chance to win. A drawing among all entries with the correct number will determine the winner, who will receive a $500 Natural Grocers gift card.

SUNDAE FUNDAE PHOTO CONTESTHave your ice cream and eat it too with a Sundae Fundae Ice Cream Photo Contest. Between August 1 and August 15, submit a photo of your ice cream sundae creation for a chance to win in one of three categories: Best Looking, Sloppiest, and Wildest. 1st place winners will receive six months of free ice cream, (a value of $200), 2nd place winners will receive three months of free ice cream (a value of $100), and 3rd place winners will receive one month of free ice cream (a value of $50.) For more details and a chance to win, share your sundae photo at: http://www.naturalgrocers.com/win-icecream

FOOD BANK FUNDRAISER2 To honor our Founding Principle of "Commitment to Community," Natural Grocers will be donating1% of all sales on August 13 to community food banks. Additionally, customers will have the opportunity to donate $1, $5, or $10 at the register during the month of August. The hope is that, as a community, we can help those who are experiencing food insecurity by providing access to high-quality, healthy foods at affordable prices through donations of Natural Grocers gift cards.

WAIT, THERE'S MORE3

WE ARE PRIORITIZING YOUR SAFETY:

About Natural Grocers by Vitamin CottageNatural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC; NaturalGrocers.com) is an expanding specialty retailer of organic and natural groceries, body care products, and dietary supplements. The company offers a flexible, neighborhood-store format, affordable prices, and free, science-based Nutrition Education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. Founded in Colorado in 1955, Natural Grocers has more than 3,500 employees and operates 159 stores in 20 states. Follow Natural Grocers on social media viaFacebook,InstagramandTwitter. #NaturalGrocers

1For all sweepstakes and contests: no purchasenecessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Open only to legal residents ofthe 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old at the time of entry. Maximum one entry per customer per sweepstakes or contest unless otherwise noted in the rules for such contest. Void where prohibitedby law.For official rules and complete details, visit: http://www.naturalgrocers.com/sweepstakes, or the specific links provided in the body of this release. Sponsor: Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc.2All donations will be donated to food banks in the form of Natural Grocers gift cards. Sales of gift cards excluded from Natural Grocers' 1% donation.3All offers, free items and giveaways are available at participating stores while supplies last; no rain checks. See store for details.

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Celebrate 65 Years Of Nutritional Empowerment With Natural Grocers On August 13-15, 2020 - The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

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