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Category : Healthy Living

Vitamin D Deficiency: Know The Signs And Symptoms And Why The Sunshine Vitamin Is Important For You – NDTV

Vitamin D deficiency can cause weak bones and muscle pain

Vitamin D deficiency is quite common. As many as one billion people across the world have low levels of the sunshine vitamin in their blood. Vitamin D is an important nutrient for the body. It required for absorbing calcium and helps in building bones. The vitamin is synthesised in the body in the presence of sunlight.

Building a strong immunity is an important role played by Vitamin D. A strong immunity enables you to fight off illness causing bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D directly interacts which cells that fight infection and thus if you fall sick too often, it could be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency.

Also read:Can Vitamin D Help Fight Acne? Let's Find Out And Know The Best Sources Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps in improving absorption of calcium. If you experience bone or back pain regularly, then it could be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Studies have also found a link between deficiency of the sunshine vitamin and chronic back pain.

Studies have found that Vitamin D increases production of compounds which are crucial for forming new skin that is a part of the wound-healing process. Slow healing of wounds after an injury or surgery could be indicative of low levels of Vitamin D.

Calcium absorption and bone metabolism are two of the most important functions of Vitamin D. According to healthline.com, people who are diagnosed with bone loss in old age may be deficient in Vitamin D, along with loss of calcium and other minerals.

Also read:These Are The 3 Most Important Minerals For Strong Bones

One of the many causes of Vitamin D deficiency could be muscle pain. The receptor of Vitamin D is present in nerve cells known as nociceptors. These nerve cells sense pain.

Excessive tiredness and fatigue, despite living a healthy lifestyle and sleeping well, could be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency can cause tiredness and fatiguePhoto Credit: iStock

Deficiency of Vitamin D could be linked to depression, especially in older adults. Some studies have found that taking supplements can improve mood and reduce feelings of depression.

Severe hair loss is surely associated with a nutrition deficiency, including low levels of Vitamin D. Female pattern hair loss female-pattern hair loss or alopecia areata could be linked to deficiency of Vitamin D.

Also read:7 Foods That Can Boost Your Hair Growth Naturally

What can you do about Vitamin D deficiency?

In prescribed amounts, taking Vitamin D supplements can help in meeting deficiency of Vitamin D. Spending five to 10 minutes under the sun every day can also be beneficial, as the body synthesises Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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Vitamin D Deficiency: Know The Signs And Symptoms And Why The Sunshine Vitamin Is Important For You - NDTV

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Chat and a cuppa offer for those isolated due to coronavirus – Keighley News

A FRIENDLY chat on the phone beckons Keighley people at the Conversation Caf.

Keighley Healthy Living is hosting the caf as part of its health and wellbeing support services for local people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Melanie Hey, chief officer at KHL, said people could book a regular weekly slot with one of the volunteers, who would call them up, and could also give support and signpost information in many areas.

Melanie said: The KHL team are missing seeing our regular groups and our local community each week. We appreciate the importance of having regular contact and meeting people.

"Although we have moved many of our groups online we know one of the benefits of attending a group is the opportunity to have a good chat and catch up with people.

"We hope that our conversation cafes will help to support people to feel connected and we look forward to hearing from you.

Anyone who would like to book a weekly chat or a one-off chat, is asked to make themselves a cuppa, pick up the phone and call 01535 677177.

KHL also runs several online groups, a YouTube channel, a Facebook page and a regular newsletter.

Visit khl.org.uk or the Facebook page for further information.

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Nutrition in Action serves kids and adults an extra helping of health – Flintside

This article is part of Stories of Change, a series of inspirational articles of the people who deliver evidence-based programs and strategies that empower communities to eat healthy and move more. It is made possible with funding from Michigan Fitness Foundation.

Editor's note: Due to closures because of COVID-19, educators are moving SNAP-Ed programming to alternative learning platforms.

When YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids Nutrition in Action Director Jennifer Lambert shared a red pepper and hummus tasting with a group of school kids, the children turned their noses up. They all thought red peppers were extremely spicy and theyd never seen hummus before. But after Lambert encouraged them to try just one bite, the kids couldnt wait for red peppers to be on the school lunch menu again.

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids' Nutrition in Action program.

Were getting them to understand the importance of choosing fruits and vegetables offered at lunch, says Lambert. We encourage them to choose snack recipes that reflect whats offered in their lunchroom, to make the connection. Hey, you tried a red pepper with me. Now you know what it is. Please take one at lunch.

For the past 15 years, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids has brought its Nutrition in Action program to West Michigan schools and other organizations serving families and individuals with income challenges. This school year, from October 2019 through March 2020, programming in a dozen school districts in Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties shared healthy living strategies with 4,558 youth. While COVID-19 has put face-to-face programming on hold, some schools are electing to share video lessons prepared by some of the programs 13 nutrition educators as part of their online curriculum.

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids' Nutrition in Action program.

We started small with a few schools and districts and have grown ever since, says Nancy Maiquez, associate executive director of community engagement, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. We have an excellent team of educators who are all experts in the field and have been educators most of their careers and two food service staff, who purchase the ingredients and prepared all of our healthy tastings for the face-to-face programming.

The program is funded by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) grants from Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF). SNAP-Ed is an education program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that teaches people eligible for SNAP how to live healthier lives. As a State Implementing Agency for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, MFF offers competitive grant funding for local and regional organizations to conduct SNAP-Ed programming throughout Michigan.

Healthy kids through healthy snacks

Nutrition in Action is comprised of two separate programs: Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities, which takes place in schools during the school day; and Cooking Matters, which involves school youth as well as families through partnerships with various agencies and nonprofits.

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids' Nutrition in Action program.

Nutrition in Action educator Megan Hainer has been teaching the six-week Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities series to kindergarteners through fifth graders in nine Wyoming, Kelloggsville, and Grand Rapids public schools for the past six years.

I go into classrooms and do a little bit of physical activity and teach nutrition education based on MyPlate about snacks and healthy eating, she says. We also talk about things like handwashing and why thats important.

The physical activity is guided by MFFs FitBits books, which come with music CDs to accompany jumping jacks, yoga, and other forms of fun movement. The FitBits are designed to simultaneously teach nutrition concepts while giving kids a wiggle break to help them pay better attention. In addition to a nutrition lesson, each session includes a healthy tasting that the kids help prepare and then eat. When kids balk at trying something new, they are encouraged to take one no thank you bite.

We try to make the healthy snack fun and get the kids to understand that it can be a choice when they go other places, Hainer says. If they have a hard time trying it, we make it a challenge between classrooms.

We frequently work with students that are food insecure because some families have a hard time getting enough food, Hainer says. Often kids will say that the only meals they get are McDonalds because thats all they have time for. There may not be a next meal on the table at home.

Making cooking matter to families

Of course, parents are the integral link to kids eating healthy at home. Thats where Nutrition in Actions Cooking Matters program comes in.

If were offering Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities in schools, we try to do some parent education with the same group of parents whose kids we are teaching, to create that excitement with parents, Lambert says.

Offered to SNAP-eligible adults and families as well as youth in after-school programs, Cooking Matters classes teach nutrition basics through engaging activities, grocery store tours, and cooking demos where, after doing their own meal prep and cooking, participants enjoy a meal together.

For me personally, Cooking Matters classes can be pure magic, says Tessa Kwant, YMCA Greater Grand Rapids lead nutrition educator. I watch as community unfolds and everybody gets fed. This is dinner tonight. I get to be a part of that relationship-building and watch the kind of wave that occurs. We are open and welcoming and hold the space. The participants really show up.

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids' Nutrition in Action program.

Cooking and eating healthy can be challenging in many ways for Cooking Matters participants. Kwant notes that many lack access to transportation to get to class, or to access a grocery store that offers healthy foods. Others face housing issues or lack a space where they can cook meals from scratch.

So YMCA staff make an effort to reach people where they are. In addition to offering classes in Grand Rapids Public Schools facilities, staff have also taught at Dwelling Place Herkimer Apartments, which serves people experiencing homelessness or with special needs in Grand Rapids Heartside District. Kwant says only five of the required 10 minimum participants signed up for the first Cooking Matters class at Herkimer Apartments, but she decided to go ahead and teach the first class anyway. By the second class, word of mouth spread and 15 people had joined.

For a group of adults whose lives are chaotic, attending a six-week class can be a challenge, Kwant says. The class is its own best advertisement. When people are in it, they have a good time, learn new things, and are doing something healthy for themselves.

SNAP-Ed has long been recognized as a catalyst for community change. In too many communities where grocery stores and farm stands have been replaced by corner stores and fast food, those changes have been accompanied by increases in chronic disease, exacerbated mental health issues, and behavioral problems in schools. The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is using food as a vehicle for positive change, reintroducing neighbors to the foods that build health, wellness, family, and community.

Our programs are opening my eyes to the culture around food. When I first started doing this program six years ago, I thought it was our job to say, Dont you dare go to a fast food restaurant, Hainer says. I am learning how to speak differently to families about food, working with them in creating a heathier lifestyle.

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Nutrition in Action serves kids and adults an extra helping of health - Flintside

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Fennel Tea: Here’s How This Tea Can Help Eliminate Digestive Issues; Know Method To Prepare It – NDTV Doctor

Fennel tea is a healthy caffeine free beverage which can help you say goodbye to digestive issues. Read here to know some amazing health benefits of fennel tea. Also learn method to prepare it.

Fennel tea can help boost digestion and also help in weight loss

You might have used fennel seeds for multiple purposes. These seeds are commonly used as a mouth freshener post meals. Fennel seeds are also loaded with some impressive health benefits. Add these to your diet can help you regulate blood pressure, improve eyesight, promote weight loss and much more. Fennel seeds can be used to prepare tea at home. This drink can help you fight common digestive issues. Poor digestion is a common problem that can affect your day to day functioning. Simple home remedies can help in quick relief. Keep reading to know how fennel tea can help you say goodbye to digestives issues in a jiffy.

Fennel tea can boost digestion and help you get rid of multiple digestive issues. This tea promotes digestion by relaxing the muscles and stimulating the flow of bile. Fennel seeds are a powerful herb well known better digestion. Drinking fennel tea can also help you eliminate gas and bloating. It can keep your digestive system in good shape.

Fennel seeds are loaded with plant components beneficial for your overall healthPhoto Credit: iStock

Also read:Top 6 Home Remedies That Can Help Speed Up Your Digestion

You can prepare fennel tea at home with a few simple stepsPhoto Credit: iStock

Also read:11 Foods That Are Great For Digestion

In two cups of water, boil one-two tablespoons of fennel seeds. Add some mint leaves to this. Boil this water for two-three minutes. Staring the tea and add some honey for taste.

Also read:Improve Your Digestion At Home With These Kitchen Ingredients

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

DoctorNDTV is the one stop site for all your health needs providing the most credible health information, health news and tips with expert advice on healthy living, diet plans, informative videos etc. You can get the most relevant and accurate info you need about health problems like diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, weight loss and many other lifestyle diseases. We have a panel of over 350 experts who help us develop content by giving their valuable inputs and bringing to us the latest in the world of healthcare.

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IOC and WHO sign agreement to promote healthy lifestyle through sport – New Delhi Times

On May 16, 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed an agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to promote healthy society and lifestyle through sport. The agreement was signed at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Through the signing of the agreement, the IOC and the WHO reiterated their commitment to promote a healthy society through sport in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good health and well-being), and to contribute to the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Other areas of collaboration include working with host countries to ensure the health of athletes, supporters and workers at the games as well as addressing NCD risk factors, including water quality and air pollution. The two institutions will also work to ensure that the Olympic games leave a healthy legacy in host countries through enhanced awareness of the value of sport and physical activity. The two organizations also intend to work together to promote grassroots and community sports programmes that have a further reach within the general public, particularly among girls, older people and people living with disability who may find it harder to keep active and healthy.

The agreement will also allow the two organisations to work on new projects addressing emerging issues such as mental health. In the context of the Olympic Games, the agreement will aim to strengthen the health component and legacy of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, in particular by addressing mental health, water quality and air pollution, in addition to emergencies and health security.

IOC President Thomas Bach commented: Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives.

The IOC calls on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-crisis support programmes because of the important role of sport in the prevention of NCDs, but also of communicable diseases. He continued: As we are preparing for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe environment for all participants, we are happy and grateful that we can continue to rely on the valuable advice of the WHO.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General expressed his happiness over the WHOs formalization of the longstanding partnership with the IOC. WHO works not only to respond to disease but also to help people realize their healthiest lives and this partnership will do exactly that.

Physical activity is one of the keys to good health and well-being, Dr. Tedros said.

Photo Credit : Getty Images

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IOC and WHO sign agreement to promote healthy lifestyle through sport - New Delhi Times

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Tips to keep fit and health during lockdown | News and Star – News & Star

KEEPING fit and healthy during lockdown can be a challenge, but we've got you covered.

When following a weightloss plan, try to stick to one model only; i.e. 'portion control' or 'low fat' or 'high protein.

Also, familiarise yourself with food packaging and learn how to understand what is in your food as "low fat" and "fat free" often means that the food has a high amount of sugar, sweeteners or additives which can hinder your healthy lifestyle.

For a guide on how much of each food to eat, see the picture above.

This week's exercise is called the standing body stretch.

Please follow the below steps:

The above is taken from iCan's recently released Live Well guide.

It is available in book or pdf download format from our online shop at http://www.icanfitnesscumbria.co.uk/shop.

Your complete 120-page interactive guide to living a healthy life.

The guide includes meal planning, portion control, recipes, how to sleep well, hydrate well, exercise at home and help your mental wellbeing through coping strategies, CBT and more.

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Tips to keep fit and health during lockdown | News and Star - News & Star

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How to safely avoid sunburn in the age of coronavirus – nwitimes.com

The only way to safely escape the familiar interiors of our homes during this pandemic is to go outside into the fresh air, bask in the beauty of nature and get some desperately needed exercise and sunshine.

The only way to safely escape the familiar interiors of our homes during this pandemic is to go outside into the fresh air, bask in the beauty of nature and get some desperately needed exercise and sunshine.

Of course, you're using safety precautions to protect yourself from the virus walking 6 feet or more from others, wearing a mask, avoiding touching your face, washing your hands but have you thought of the necessity of protecting your skin?

The danger of skin cancer certainly hasn't disappeared during the age of coronavirus, and using sunscreen is more important than ever, experts say.

But before you slather on some sunscreen, you might want to check out the 2020 list of safer sunscreens put out by the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, a consumer organization that advocates for sunscreen safety.

"This year, 75% of the SPF [sun protection factor] products EWG assessed still contained worrisome ingredients and/or do not provide adequate sun protection," said Nneka Leiba, vice president of healthy living science at EWG.

And maybe you'll want to try the old-fashioned "slip, slap, slop and wrap" technique suggested to CNN by Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society: "Slip on a long-sleeve shirt, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, slop sunscreen on exposed skin and use UV-protective sunglasses that wrap around the eyes when out in the sun."

That's because choosing a safe sunscreen isn't as simple as popping into a store (mask on, of course) and grabbing the nearest option off the shelf.

Last year the US Food and Drug Administration called for additional testing of a dozen common sunscreen ingredients after finding that alarming levels of six of them can enter a person's bloodstream after just one day of use and then last in the bloodstream for seven to 21 days.

"What is most alarming about these findings is that chemicals are absorbing into the body in significant amounts and the ingredients have not been fully tested for safety," said EWG senior scientist David Andrews in a CNN interview done when the study was released last year.

At the time, the Personal Care Products Council and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association countered: "The presence of these ingredients in plasma does not suggest a safety issue, and there were no serious drug-related adverse events reported in the trial."

One popular ingredient used in US chemical sunscreens, oxybenzone, was absorbed into the body at about "50 to 100 times higher concentration" than the others tested in the 2019 study, Andrews said.

A 2008 Swiss study found oxybenzone or one of four other sunscreen chemicals in 85% of breast milk samples, sparking concern that newborns could be exposed. A 2010 study found another of the studied chemicals, octinoxate, in breast milk.

Also in 2008, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed urine collected from Americans by a government study and found oxybenzone in 97% of the samples.

Then there's the possible environmental impact: Studies find that oxybenzone and octinoxate appear to damage coral reefs. Both Florida and Hawaii have placed restrictions on the use of sunscreens with those ingredients.

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How to safely avoid sunburn in the age of coronavirus - nwitimes.com

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Meghan Markle ‘was convinced there was a conspiracy against her,’ ‘felt like an outsider,’ pal claims – Fox News

Meghan Markle was convinced courtiers were working against her once she joined the British royal family, one palace insider is claiming.

Vanity Fair correspondent Katie Nicholl told The Times on Monday a pal close to the former American actress revealed Markle felt like an outsider from the start during her time with The Firm.

She was convinced there was a conspiracy against her and so she basically put herself in isolation when they moved to Frogmore [Cottage], claimed the source, as reported by U.K.s DailyMail.

I think she felt like an outsider from the start, said the source. This wasnt the life she was used to and she wanted out.

PRINCE HARRY WILL BE A LOST SOUL IN AMERICA AS HE TRIES TO SETTLE IN LOS ANGELES, ROYAL AUTHOR CLAIMS

Meghan Markle was a Hollywood actress before she became a member of the British royal family. (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)

EDWARD VIII WAS OBSESSIVE AND SUFFOCATING WITH AMERICAN DIVORCEE WALLIS SIMPSON, DOC SAYS

According to the outlet, another insider explained how the Duchess of Sussex privately struggled after giving birth to her son Archie, feeling lonely and unfulfilled.

Nicholl shared how the 38-year-olds close circle of friends were worried Markle was burning out as she immersed herself in numerous projects as a royal.

After Markle and her husband Prince Harry announced on Jan. 8 they were stepping back as senior members of the royal family, they headed to Canada. However, one friend said it was never going to be their forever home.

The big plan, for Meghan at least, was always L.A., added the source.

But the big move was not easy for Harry 35, who finds himself without an established life in America.

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY PUT THEIR OWN SPIN ON TRADITIONAL WEDDING ANNIVERSARY GIFTS: REPORT

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex visits mothers2mothers during her royal tour of South Africa with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex on Sept. 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Mothers2mothers (m2m) is an African not-for-profit organization with the vision of a healthy, HIV-free Africa. The organization trains and employs women living with HIV as frontline health workers across eight African nations. (Getty)

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY WILL FACE NEW CHALLENGES IN THE US AS THEY 'PUT DOWN ROOTS,' ROYAL EXPERTS WARN

The source alleged the Duke of Sussex feels lonely and directionless in the U.S., similar to how Markle previously felt in the U.K.

Nicholl previously told Australian website 9Honey that she had no doubt the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had an agenda from the outset to become independent. The author believed it was inevitable the couple would move overseas.

I was told from a very early stage in their courtship, they had told a friend of Harrys that Meghan met quite early on that they wanted to be international roving royals and that was going to be their focus, she told the outlet.

Nicholl shared that the couple didnt want to be stuck in one place and, instead, yearned to make a difference on a world stage.

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY SHOULD LIVE WHERE THEIR HEARTS TELL THEM, SAYS 'AMERICAN PIE' SINGER DON MCLEAN

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 05, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty)

KATHARINE MCPHEE SAYS HUSBAND DAVID FOSTER AND PRINCE HARRY ARE 'LIKE FATHER AND SON'

They had an agenda from the outset to be international royals, she said, adding there were signs early on in their relationship that the couple was determined to do things differently.

Despite the move, a source close to the couple told Nicholl for Vanity Fair that Harry was feeling a bit rudderless without a job or friends in Markles native Los Angeles.

This is a very strange time for us all, but I think Harry is missing having a structure in his life right now, claimed the insider. He doesnt have friends in L.A. like Meghan and he doesnt have a job.

The source said Harry has been keeping busy during the coronavirus outbreak by keeping in touch with friends and colleagues across the pond. He is also keeping up regular communication with the charities he is still involved with.

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY HAD ENOUGH OF RELENTLESS NEGATIVE PRESS, SAYS VISCOUNTESS JULIE MONTAGU

In this January 2020 photo and made available on Monday April 27, 2020 by Mattel, Britain's Prince Harry poses for a photo during the recording of his introduction to the new animated special 'Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine'. Set when Prince Harry's father, Prince Charles was a boy, Thomas has to take Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway, to Buckingham Palace to receive an honor. The special will be screened in the US on Netflix on 1 May 2020 and in the UK on Channel 5 Milkshake at 9:05 am on 2 May 2020. (Dave Poultney/Mattel via AP) (Dave Poultney/Mattel via AP)

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY HAD AN AGENDA FROM THE OUTSET TO BE INTERNATIONAL ROYALS, EXPERT CLAIMS

At the moment hes a bit rudderless, but it wont always be like this, and he knows that, said the pal.

The couple is currently residing in Markles native Los Angeles with their son Archie, 1.

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Meghan Markle 'was convinced there was a conspiracy against her,' 'felt like an outsider,' pal claims - Fox News

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The Netherlands aims to have the most healthy generation in the world – NL Times

Twenty health organizations and the Netherlands Lottery have joined forces with the goal of making the Netherlands generation of young people the healthiest in the world by 2040, sports comittee NOC*NSF announced. This involves both physical and mental health.

The initiative was launched after a report by public health institute RIVM showed that if Dutch people keep living as they do now, more than half will be chronically ill in 20 years.

According to NOC*NSF, a plan is being constructed to allow every youngster to keep in shape by playing sports. Energy is alsobeing put into mental health and diets.

We are going to develop activities to ensure that young people play more sports, exercise more, and live healthier. And not because they have to, but because they want to," GeraldDielessen,director ofNOC*NSF, said.

We are also going to make a contribution to a healthy environment where youngsters get tempted and helped to make healthy decisions Dielessen added.

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The Netherlands aims to have the most healthy generation in the world - NL Times

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Coronavirus in Ohio nursing homes: Who is to blame? – The Columbus Dispatch

Problems with identifying asymptomatic carriers and having difficulty with memory-care patients have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. But resident advocates say issues in the homes preceding coronavirus also have an impact.

A population that is highly susceptible to COVID-19, a lack of availability of personal protective equipment, a slow response to provide testing and the presence of asymptomatic carriers are all primary factors in why nursing homes have been ravaged by the deadly virus.

But some patient advocates and others critical of the nursing home industrys response to the pandemic say the level of staffing, problems with infection control and the buildings themselves all preceded the coronavirus devastating effect on residents and the industry.

This is an unprecedented challenge for us across society in every single facet of our lives, including those for nursing home residents and operators, said Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, an advocacy group for residents. However, we have known that infection control and prevention standards are too often flouted by nursing homes."

>> This story is being provided free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find more stories on coronavirus here.Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Columbus Dispatch at subscribe.dispatch.com.

A total of 1,247 deaths in Ohio were in nursing homes, assisted-living and intermediate care facilities collectively referred to as long-term-care facilities out of the statewide death toll of 1,781 as of Wednesday, the most-recent nursing home data available. There have been 4,666 residents and 2,124 employees test positive in the facilities since April 15, when the health departments long-term-care facility database was created.

In the latest update, 38 facilities have had at least 50 cases and 78 have had at least 30. Seven facilities, including Scioto Community in Franklin County, have had at least 100.

Ohios more than 950 nursing homes have 73,826 residents, according to the most-recent data via the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another 30,000 people, at least, reside in Ohios 760 assisted-living facilities, according to the Ohio Assisted Living Association.

In nursing homes specifically, a 2019 report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that the second-most-common deficiency from 2013 through 2017 was infection control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states there are between 1 million and 3 million serious infections each year in long-term-care facilities and about 380,000 deaths.

Though some of that is attributed to lack of compliance with basic hygiene protocols, such as hand-washing, Mollot said the biggest contributor to issues in nursing homes is the lack of investment in staffing.

In Ohio, 536 facilities are below average in staffing, according to Nursing Home Compare, a federal Medicare website that has detailed information about every Medicare-certified nursing home in the country.

"It's really sad its taking this pandemic to bring out the issues of nursing homes, said Paula Mueller, founder and president of Elderly Advocates, based in the Cleveland suburb of Parma. But I think it is really seen that they had poor infection control before this started.

The virus hasnt just hit one- or two-star-rated facilities. ONeill Healthcare in Lorain County and Crandall Nursing Home in Mahoning County are each five-star facilities with more than 100 total cases.

The design of the facilities is another contributor to the spread of coronavirus. Most are set up similar to hospitals, with multiple resident rooms along a single hallway, which can make it difficult to separate sick residents from healthy ones.

Charles Camosy, a professor at Fordham University who has researched nursing homes, said in a New York Times opinion piece that a throwaway culture is the crux of the problem. Of all the problems the coronavirus has exposed, Camosy said the care of seniors needs to be examined.

"At least part of the story, seems to me, has to be we just didn't care about these people, he said in an interview. Both the workers and residents of these homes we considered expendable.

Others say the spread of the virus would have been difficult to prevent.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, has said repeatedly that nursing homes arent to blame for the spread of the virus, acknowledging that medically compromised seniors will die in congregant settings.

Kristine Provan, regional director of operations at Laurel Health Care, who oversees several facilities in central Ohio, agreed, saying the virus was impossible to defend against.

I can tell you with 22 years in long-term care, this is not the flu, Provan said. This spreads like nothing I've ever seen before.

Back in April, facilities pushed for universal testing to identify asymptomatic carriers, but some facilities are still searching for tests and personal protective equipment.

Provan said residents suffering from dementia are difficult to protect from the virus because they tend not to remember to regularly wash their hands or understand theyre living in a pandemic.

Pete Van Runkle, executive director of the Ohio Health Care Association, which represents more than 1,000 facilities, said the only way to properly prevent spread of the virus is to have personal protective equipment for everyone and to test employees at the start of every shift, every day.

The state only recently has been conducting more than 9,000 tests per day.

Even if you do testing, they still may be not showing, Van Runkle said. It takes a day or two to show on a test and ,of course, a test is not 100% accurate any way.

Mollot said the overwhelming majority of health-care workers in nursing homes are going extra lengths to protect residents. Provan agrees. That, however, hasnt made reality easier to accept.

"It's just like a petri dish for infection spread, Provan said of the long-term-care facilities. This has been I know for me the greatest challenge of my entire career."

jmyers@dispatch.com

@_jcmyers

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