SLCo Healthy Lifestyles Blog
It’s Not Just a Woman’s Issue!
Q: What is Body Image?
Body image is the subjective picture of how our body looks and moves and how we think others perceive us. In
medicine and psychology, body image refers to a person's emotional attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of their own body, including height, weight and shape.
Q: What shapes our body image?
A: Our body image is
shaped by both positive and negative perceptions, emotions, and sensations. Cultural messages and popular standards of beauty – as portrayed through the media (TV, internet, magazines, etc.) can significantly influence our body image. Family and parental attitudes also influence our body image.
Q: What are the adverse consequences of negative body image?
: Over-concern with body image can have damaging effects on both our physical and mental health. According to the
NationalEating Disorders Association, poor body image is associated with an increased risk for developing an eating disorder, feelings of depression, isolation, poor self-esteem and a hyper-focused approach to weight loss. Additionally, negative body image can
increase feelings of anxiety and shame, and can lead to difficulty concentrating. Not only are the physical/mental/emotional consequences, but there are social ones too! When you feel bad about your body, you often don’t want others to see you at all, which can result in loss of friendships/relationships, job opportunities, and other socially negative effects.
Q: Isn’t body image a female problem?
A: Historically, body image dissatisfaction has been viewed as a women’s problem. However, is not the case, as both men and women experience issues pertaining to body image. Did you know that an estimated
50 million men worldwide have body image issues? Additional studies have found 21% to 47% of males diet as a means to increase weight and
Q: Why is positive body image important?
A: How we feel about our bodies greatly impact the amount of value and love we share with ourselves and others. Working towards having a positive body image will improve your self-esteem, self-acceptance, and health outlook for the future.
Q: What can I do to improve my body image?
A: Having a healthy body image is an achievable goal. Here are
some tips to help you get started:
- Focus on your positive qualities, skills, and talents
- Say positive things to yourself everyday
- Avoid self-talk that is berating or negative
- Focus on what your body CAN do and HAS done
- Set positive, health-related goals rather than weight-related goals
- Avoid making body comparisons to others
- Make a conscious decision about what to read and look at
- Talk positively about your body in your home and around others
Q: What role does the media play with body image issues?
A: The media (TV, magazines, movies, internet sources, etc.) promote a very narrow, specific version of ‘beauty’ and by being constantly exposed, men and women learn to internalize the same view of beauty. Not only does this contribute to how we see other people, but it also affects how we see ourselves. This is dangerous because the images in the media
havebeen altered (‘photoshopped’) drastically. In many cases, the celebrity is
nothinglike the image on the magazine cover, and the alterations are so severe that they are usually unrealistic. This creates an impossible standard that we are comparing ourselves to, which can only lead to poor body image and dissatisfaction with our bodies.
YouTube Video: TED Talk
Dimensions of Wellness
Welcome to the September Health Hub. This month, we are looking at Wellness, and what that means for you. When thinking about wellness, we must look at all areas that influence health. That being said, one of the best ways to really understand wellness is to split it up into smaller parts, and then giving each area attention. These areas are called ‘The Dimensions of Wellness’.
Often, we think of ‘wellness’ as simply eating habits and physical activity levels.
In fact, ‘wellness’ is so much more.
Although physical activity and healthy eating are important, there is so much more to health. The purpose of The Dimensions of Wellness is to help you think outside the box and realize that a holistic approach to health can have many benefits.
There are a number of ways to conceptualize the different areas of wellness. The most common is the Eight-Dimension model. There is no single, correct way to define these dimensions, but it’s important to understand that no matter how many dimensions are highlighted in a model, finding balance and focusing on all areas of health is key.
The Eight-Dimension Model
Source: The Eight Dimensions of Wellness
This Eight Dimensions of Wellness Model was developed by United States Department of Health and Human Services: SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) with the goal of giving a well-rounded and detailed description of general wellness. This model defines the Eight Dimensions as:
- Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one's work.
- Physical: Recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition.
- Social: Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.
- Intellectual: Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills.
- Spiritual: Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life.
- Emotional: Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.
- Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.
- Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations.
The Dimensions of Wellness and YOU
Health and Wellness can be split into many parts, but often, people will focus on just one or two aspects. Wellness can be so much more! Take some time to think how each dimension of wellness impacts your life, and how certain areas can use a little extra attention.
We encourage you to use this very helpful tool to see where you lie in each dimension. With such a great tool, you can quickly see what areas are your strengths, and what areas are your areas of improvement.
To learn more about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, simply click on that model's image above to be redirected to an informational page, or you can Contact Us with any questions!
Do you know someone with diabetes?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost everyone knows someone who has diabetes.1 An estimated 25.8 million people in the United States—roughly 1 in 12 people—have the disease, but what exactly is diabetes and what are some common misconceptions?2
Diabetes: The Basics
Most of us know someone with diabetes, but do we really know what that means? Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body uses digested food for growth and energy, but before we can really understand diabetes, it helps to know and understand the role and importance of glucose, insulin and the pancreas.
- What is glucose? Glucose, or sugar, is the body’s main source of energy and comes from the food we eat, like pasta, fruit, starchy vegetables, dairy, and bread.3-4
- What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels and provide engergy.5
- It works like a key, opening the doors to the cells of our body, allowing the glucose in our bloodstream to enter and fuel our cells.5
What does the pancreas do? The pancreas produces insulin to help move glucose from the blood into the cells and other organs. In people with diabetes, the pancreas tries to increase the production of insulin, causing further damage to the organ.6
So…what is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, more commonly known as
diabetes, is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose that occur in the body when there are defects in the production or action of insulin.7-8 More simply, diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body can’t use glucose normally.1 There are two main types of the disease – type I and type II.
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease accounting for 5-10% of diagnosed cases in the US.1 Accounting for 90-95% of diagnosed cases,
type II diabetes is the most common form of the disease in the United States.1
Do you know the truth about diabetes?
Put your knowledge to the test when checking out some of the commonly held beliefs about the disease.
Myths & Facts:
(courtesy of the American Diabetes Association)2
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes type II diabetes.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type I diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type II diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors such as excess weight, physical inactivity and poor diet.
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: If you manage your diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay diabetes complications. However, diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type II diabetes.
Fact: Although being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type II diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type II diabetes, and many people with type II diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in saturated and trans-fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit.
Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks, talk with your health care team to figure out the right amount for you.
Myth: People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more "off limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.
Did you know that nearly 9 out of 10 American adults lack the skills necessary to obtain and understand readily available health information?1
Health literacy is an important component to maintaining and improving our health. Unfortunately, many of us may feel overwhelmed or confused by the over-abundance of information available. How can we become more empowered to better manage our health? The information below provides further clarification of common health literacy related topics such as: what it is, why health literacy is important, who should care about health literacy, what’s being done to address the issue, and finally, what consumers can do to improve their health literacy.
Q: What is health literacy?
A: Are you aware how often you should be receiving preventive screening exams, or what those pamphlets at the doctor’s office really mean? Health Literacy is more than a measurement of reading skills, it is the ability to obtain, understand and use health information when making decisions regarding health and medical care.2-3
Q: Why is health literacy important?
A: Health literacy impacts our health.4 Improving health literacy can decrease death risk, reduce hospitalization and unnecessary ER visits, and increase use of preventive services.3-4 Developing health literacy can also improve one’s ability to fill out forms, share personal information (like health history), receive important screenings, manage chronic conditions, and understand how to properly use medications.3
Q: Who should care about health literacy?
A: Everyone!5 More specifically, health literacy is of particular importance for the elderly, persons with chronic illness or disability, individuals living in poverty, and immigrant populations.5
Q: What is being done to help improve health literacy?
A: Through a number of studies and reviews, several national agencies have looked into ways to improve health literacy. Based on their findings, important recommendations have been identified and several federal initiatives (i.e.
National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy,
Plain Writing Act of 2010, and
the Affordable Care Act of 2010) have been implemented to address the health literacy problem from a systematic or providers perspective.4
Q: What can we do to increase our health literacy?
A: Improving our health literacy takes time, but there are a number of things we can do. Make the most out of your visit to the doctor by:
- Taking a trusted person to your medical visit5
- Asking questions if you don’t understand something - if you still don’t understand, ask for more information (this applies to pharmacies as well as doctors and nurses)5-6
- Always bringing an up-to-date list of your medications and herbal products to your visit (
make a pill card and carry it with you)5-6
- Writing down your questions/concerns before your visit and remember to ask them5
- Asking your provider to write down information and instructions5
- If necessary, asking if the resource/material is available in large print5
- Repeating information back to your doctor/nurse – this gives you the chance to clarify information and can help avoid potentially serious mistakes6
- If you don’t speak/understand English very well, informing the doctor’s office of the need for an interpreter prior to your visit. You have the right to one at no cost to you6
Q: Is there anything else I can do to improve my health literacy?
A: Yes. Learn how to find reliable information online.6 While the internet is a great hub to find information, not all of it is credible. The following tips can help you locate credible and up to date information:
- Use government websites such as National Institutes of Health (
NIH) & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (
- Search larger non-profit organizations like
American Heart Association &
American Cancer Society6
- If you find information that is concerning, bring it to your next appointment and discuss it with your provider6
E-Cigarettes and 'Vape'-ing
What are they?
E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor. In appearance, e-cigarettes look like cigarettes. Below is a general depiction of an e-cigarette.
Usually, the mouthpiece is either connected to (or is part of) a cartridge that holds the nicotine liquid and flavorings. This is connected to the vaporizer, which turns the liquid into a vapor. The battery is the final piece, and some batteries are rechargeable. The indicator light will glow when the user inhales, but not all e-cigarettes have them.
Are they Harmful?
Two big health concerns with the e-cigarette industry are (1) the increased nicotine
exposure and (2) the lack of regulation from the FDA. Although there is often a reduction of carcinogens and tar-producing chemicals, there may be a dramatic increase in the potency or amount of nicotine present. Nicotine is the addictive chemical, after all, so there isn't much use in smoking e-cigarettes to help you on your path towards quitting. The FDA currently does not regulate the manufacture of e-cigarettes. That being said, an e-cigarette producer may market their product as not having certain carcinogens, but there is no accountability or authority in enforcing the accuracy of these statements.
As a side effect of the lack of FDA regulation, the e-cigarette companies are able to make advertisements and flavors that cater to younger audiences. This can be done through using 'fun' characterizations of using the product, as well as including flavors that younger audiences might enjoy (see picture below). Although there have been great strides over the past few decades in preventing young people from smoking, the worry is that e-cigarettes will reintroduce tobacco and nicotine to adolescents.
Since we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in e-cigarettes, and the FDA isn’t checking, the research hasn’t been able to show what chemicals may be present in second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes or vaporizers. A lthough there are no federal regulations yet, the State of Utah includes the vapor from e-cigarettes as a prohibited type of smoke, according to the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act. This means that if you are not allowed to smoke regular cigarettes at a certain location, then you are also not allowed to smoke e-cigarettes or vaporizers.
According to the
Harvard Medical School, there is some concern that the enjoyment and perceived reduction in risk might reignite the habit in some people who have already quit. Another factor is that many people see e-cigarettes as a step to quitting smoking.
Not only will the nicotine keep them hooked, but reports are now showing that many people use BOTH cigarettes and e-cigarettes, as well as using e-cigarettes more often and for longer periods of time. As one ad says, ‘Why quit? Switch…” This is an accurate representation since switching to e-cigarettes is just a different way to deliver nicotine to the body.
Salt Lake County Tobacco Prevention and Control's website.