Summer Spotlight: SPARK Program | Royal News: August 4 2022 – Scranton

Kathleen Wallace ’23, Kaitlyn Franceschelli ’23, and Nicholas Gershey ’23 served as team leaders at a weeklong program at at our Chapman Lake Retreat Center called SPARK, which is designed to support at-risk youth between the ages of 12-15.

Here, they answer questions as a group about their experiences.

What are the goals of the SPARK program?

SPARK is a weeklong program hosted at Chapman Lake for local youth ages 12-15. SPARK educates kids on various important topics such as self-worth, healthy lifestyle, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and bullying. During the week, University and Scranton Preparatory School volunteers are focused on listening to and encouraging each SPARK participant so they feel valued.

Who took part in the SPARK program?

The SPARK program was born as a collaborative effort between The University of Scranton and Scranton Preparatory School. This year, 13 University students, 12 Scranton Preparatory students, two additional volunteers, SPARK alumni, Prep staff, and the University’s CSSJ staff all came together to make SPARK possible for the 23 SPARK participants.

Describe a typical day of SPARK.

A typical day starts off with the team awaiting the arrival of the kids around 9 a.m. After breakfast is served, the patented SPARK dance offers a boost of energy. Next, each small group heads to a station with activities designed by team members to coincide with the day’s theme. For instance, during the topic of bullying, an activity can revolve around identifying and constructively dealing with bullying. Five stations total lasting about 20-25 minutes each.

Lunch is followed by free time to jump into the lake (lifeguard supervised), play volleyball, create arts and crafts, and more. Small groups then return to stations for activities on another theme.

After dinner, at 5 p.m., kids leave the lake and team members prepare the Retreat Center for the next day. The day ends with reflection and a review of upcoming activities.

How did you use the Chapman Lake Retreat Center to conduct the program?

We utilized almost all of the Retreat Center to conduct this program. Each activity took place at one of five locations: the lake room, the porch, the tent, the large/small group room, or the dining room. Meals were served in the dining room, but everyone ate under the tent outside. During free time, campers might play piano or Just Dance in the lake room, or go outdoors for swimming and volleyball. At night, the chapel was used for reflection.

LIVE Facebook CHAT: Keeping up with Your Health/Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle – WPVI-TV

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Primary care clinicians are the glue to health and wellness. Dr. Dennis Guest will take questions about the importance of keeping up with your health, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and why it is important to stay current with your appointments and vaccines.

Dr. Dennis Guest is a board certified family medicine physician experienced in providing care for children, adolescents and adults. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American Board of Family Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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Healthy lifestyle may counteract genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes – medwireNews

medwireNews: A family history of diabetes is associated with a younger age at type 2 diabetes diagnosis, but this could be delayed by following a healthy lifestyle, suggest data from the Joint Asia Diabetes Evaluation (JADE) Register.

The study, by Juliana Chan (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin) and colleagues, also found that self-management, defined as a healthy lifestyle plus regular self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), was associated with better control of cardiometabolic risk factors, particularly when there was a family history of diabetes present.

Overall, 59.5% of 86,931 patients with type 2 diabetes from 427 clinics in 11 Asian countries or regions between 2007 and 2021 had either a parent or sibling affected by diabetes, but the prevalence ranged from 39.1% in Vietnam to 85.3% in Malaysia.

The mother alone was the most commonly affected relative (13.2%) followed by the father alone (9.8%), siblings alone (11.5%), and then various combinations of the three.

The mean age at diabetes diagnosis was 49.8 years, but the researchers found that people with a family history of diabetes were diagnosed a significant 4.6 years earlier than those with no family history (mean 47.9 vs 52.5 years).

Within the family history group, patients with both parents affected with or without an affected sibling had the youngest mean age at diagnosis (44.6 years) followed by those with a single affected parent with or without an affected sibling (47.7 years), and those with affected siblings only (51.5 years). The difference among the groups was statistically significant.

In addition to a significantly younger age at diagnosis, the researchers found that individuals with a family history of diabetes were more likely than those without a family history to be educated to middle school level or above (82.0 vs 71.6%), be employed (48.1 vs 40.4%) and perform regular SMBG (73.5 vs 65.9%).

They were less likely, however, to report aspects of a healthy lifestyle, namely adhering to a balanced diet, not using alcohol or tobacco, or taking part in regular physical activity.

Chan and team then investigated whether family history interacts with unhealthy lifestyles to bring forward the age at diagnosis. They found that individuals with a family history who reported fewer than two healthy lifestyle behaviors were diagnosed earliest, at a mean of 46.0 years. Those with two or more healthy behaviors and no family history were the oldest at diagnosis, at a mean of 52.8 years.

Of note, the mean age at diagnosis was similar between individuals with a family history of diabetes who reported adhering to two or more healthy lifestyle behaviors and those with no family history but a less healthy lifestyle (48.2 vs 50.1 years).

For cardiometabolic risk factors, the investigators report that people who had two parents with diabetes were a significant 12% more likely to have hypertension and 21% more likely to have dyslipidemia than those with no family history, after adjusting for potential confounders. The risks were also significantly elevated for people who had one parent affected, at 12% and 22%, respectively. Conversely, family history of diabetes was not associated with a significantly increased risk for hyperglycemia.

The researchers also observed that self-management was associated with a significantly higher likelihood of achieving a glycated hemoglobin level below 7% (53 mmol/mol), blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg, and a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level below 2.6 mmol/L in all participants. The interactions were stronger, however, among individuals with than without a family history of diabetes.

Writing in BMC Medicine, Chan and co-authors conclude that having a family history of diabetes “brought forward the age at diagnosis by nearly 5 years although this could be delayed by healthy lifestyles.”

They continue: “Similarly, although patients with [family history] had worse control of cardiometabolic risk factors than the [non-family history] group, they appeared to benefit more from self-management.”

The team suggests that although biogenetic markers and algorithms may improve prediction, diagnosis, and management of patients with complex diseases such as type 2 diabetes, family history “is a simple proxy which can be used to identify high-risk individuals for intensive education and empowerment to delay disease onset and improve clinical outcomes.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2022 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

BMC Med 2022; 20: 249

Healthy lifestyle to improve quality of life: Health Minister – ANTARA English

A healthy lifestyle requires a lot of movement

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin reminded the public to follow a healthy lifestyle, as it can improve the quality of life of each individual.

“Do not forget to lead a healthy lifestyle. It can improve the quality of our life,” the minister stated during the campaign of the Community Healthy Lifestyle Movement in Jakarta, Friday.

Sadikin cited as an example that a healthy lifestyle can be followed through conducting routine physical activity.

“A healthy lifestyle requires a lot of movement. It can be 30 minutes a day, five times a week, in the form of walking or light exercise or doing other daily activities,” the minister explained.

Sadikin later remarked that the government was currently campaigning the importance of the healthy lifestyle community movement to increase public understanding and awareness of the importance of healthy living.

“The Ministry of Health used to take care of sick people. I just realized that we should have more programs that keep people healthy because apart from being cheaper, the quality of life could also be better,” he stated.

To this end, the Healthy Lifestyle Community Movement campaign will continue to be implemented in all regions in Indonesia, Sadikin stated.

“The Ministry of Health will increase the campaign on a healthy lifestyle community movement to prevent the risk of various health problems being experienced by the people of Indonesia,” he explained.

The implementation of the Healthy Lifestyle Community Movement aims to accelerate and improve promotive and preventive efforts to increase population productivity in accordance with Presidential Instruction Number 1 of 2017 on Community Movement (Germas).

Based on data from the Ministry of Health, the seven important steps in implementing this movement comprise conducting physical activity; eating healthy and nutritious foods, especially fruits and vegetables; abstaining from smoking; not consuming drinks containing alcohol; and undergoing regular health checkups and not visiting health facilities only when one is unwell.

The sixth step entails maintaining environmental cleanliness on a household scale, for instance, by managing waste, while the seventh step supports the use of latrines as sanitation aspects are an important part of this movement.

Related news: Government campaigns for healthy living community movement
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These Are the Best States for a Healthy Lifestyle – Verywell Health

Key Takeaways

  • California, Arizona, and Florida were ranked as the best states for health and wellness by a recent survey.
  • The scoring metrics were based on access to national parks, interest in health practices, and health data from the CDC.

Thousands of Americans are reaping the benefits of remote work, but their home state may affect their lifestyle and wellbeing.

According to a recent survey, California, Arizona, and Florida were ranked as the best states for health and wellness, while Alabama, Oklahoma, and Louisiana had the lowest wellness scores.

The scores were based on the states’ access to national parks, Google search trends, and health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Top performers generally had more national parks and fewer numbers of CDC-reported chronic diseases than those who scored poorly.

“If you’re in an area where there is more access to open space, you tend to be outside more and be more active,” Michael A. Smith, MD, wellness advisor to Life Extension, an integrated healthcare company that led the study, told Verywell. “When you’re being more active, you’re striving for more health and you’re going to be more prone to look up integrative practices.”

The definition of “wellness” can fluctuate. For this survey, the researchers defined wellness as the absence of disease combined with outdoor activity levels and personal curiosity about health, according to Smith.

The survey findings only imply an association rather than a causal relationship, he said.

Green Space Is Golden

The survey primarily looked at national parks to quantify green space, as it may indicate greater access to outdoor activities. Washington, D.C., Alaska, Hawaii, California, and Florida have the highest percentage of land dedicated to national parks. But four states—Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma—have no national parks at all.

In 2020, CDC researchers stressed the importance of keeping parks and green spaces open during the pandemic due to their connection to physical and mental wellbeing.

But in the United States, green space can take on many forms. States and cities void of national parks may still have state parks, as well as local playgrounds, trails, or bike paths that can benefit fitness and health.

In New York City, for example, urban forests, parks, and public lawns make up over 20,000 acres of green space.

“City bikes, rental bikes, or scooters in cities are giving people access to other parts of nature that aren’t just national parks,” said Scott C. Ratzan, MD, a distinguished lecturer in health communication at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

Search Interest in Healthy Diets and Practices

The survey found that people in high-scoring states were more likely to Google integrative health practices, while residents in lower-scoring states searched more frequently for answers to questions about preventable diseases.

For instance, Arizona, New York, and Colorado had the highest search volumes for the term “healthy diet.” Meanwhile, states like Vermont and Massachusetts have high search interests in “meditation” and “yoga.”

However, the researchers were unable to determine if people’s online activities matched how they took care of themselves physically, according to Smith.

Smith, who grew up in Texas, said diets might explain why some parts of the Southern states have the highest rates of diabetes and obesity in the country. “Sugar and fat and salt—that’s like carrots to us,” he said.

However, it’s important not to stigmatize people based on their culture or geographic location, Ratzan added. “We have to be careful not to say ‘this is the least healthy state’ because of how much sugar is consumed,” he said.

Environmental and social factors, such as access to fresh produce and nutrition education, can also affect one’s overall diet quality.

But people don’t necessarily need to move states to live a healthy life, Smith said. But they may need to be more creative when it comes to taking care of their wellbeing. Exercising outdoors, practicing yoga, or prioritizing a nutritious diet can help improve your lifestyle even if the state you live in has a lower wellness score, he added.

“Individuals still have the power to improve their health,” Smith said.

What This Means For You

Proximity to parks, fresh food markets, and quality healthcare can impact health and wellbeing. Some states may foster more access to these resources than others, but that doesn’t mean people need to move to live a healthy life.

Stroke: Study finds that healthy lifestyle can offset genetic risk – Medical News Today

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Even people with a high genetic risk for stroke may be able to offset it by adopting a healthy lifestyle, a new study says, Image credit: Specker/Vedfelt/Getty Images.
  • Researchers investigated how cardiovascular health interacts with a high genetic risk for stroke.
  • They found that optimal cardiovascular health reduces the lifetime risk of stroke among those with a high genetic risk.
  • Basic lifestyle interventions, such as following a healthy diet, exercising, and not smoking cigarettes, partially offset this risk.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide and a major cause of disability and dementia. In the United States, adults aged 25 and over have a lifetime risk of stroke of around 24%.

Both genetic and environmental factors influence stroke risk. Managing cardiometabolic risk factors and promoting healthy lifestyle behavior are frontline strategies for improving cardiovascular health and decreasing stroke risk.

Recent genome-wide association studies have identified multiple risk variants for stroke and have enabled the development of genetic risk scores that predict stroke incidence.

It has been unclear whether improving cardiovascular health may offset the genetic risk for stroke.

Recently, however, researchers found that maintaining optimal cardiovascular health can partially offset a high genetic risk for stroke, reducing a person’s overall lifetime stroke risk.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“The public message is clear,” Dr. Tatjana Rundek, professor of neurology and public health sciences at the University of Miami, not involved in the study, told Medical News Today.

“Regardless of the potential of harboring ‘bad’ genetic risk, improving cardiovascular health should be the most important priority for public health. Promoting ideal cardiovascular health should start at an early age, and many of us believe that we should start with a healthy diet and exercise at birth,” she noted.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 11,568 middle-aged adults who were stroke-free at baseline, and followed them for an average of 28 years.

Their lifetime risk of stroke was estimated from levels of genetic risk based on a validated stroke polygenic risk score and levels of cardiovascular health according to the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7,” which are now revised and updated to “Life’s Essential 8.”

The initial “Life’s Simple 7” recommendations are:

  • cholesterol control
  • blood pressure control
  • blood glucose control
  • physical activity
  • healthy diet
  • no smoking
  • maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI).

Participants were assessed for “Life’s Simple 7” at the start of the study from a mix of self-reported and clinically-assessed measures.

Over the follow-up period, 1,138 participants were diagnosed with stroke. Of these, 14% had a low genetic risk, 41.7% had an intermediate genetic risk, and 44.3% a high genetic risk.

The researchers further noted that participants who scored low on “Life’s Simple 7” experienced 56.8% of stroke events, whereas those with optimal “Life’s Simple 7” measures experienced 6.2% of strokes.

Altogether, they found that participants with the highest genetic risk and lowest “Life’s Simple 7” scores had the highest lifetime risk of stroke at 24.8%.

They further found that across all polygenic risk score categories, those with an optimal “Life’s Simple 7” score had a 30-43% lower lifetime risk of stroke than those with an inadequate “Life’s Simple 7” score.

This, they noted, corresponded to 6 additional years of stroke-free life in those with the highest genetic risk.

Prof. Lu Qi, distinguished chair and professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, not involved in the study, told MNT:

“‘Life’s Simple 7’ [has] been related to lower genetic risks of cardiovascular diseases including stroke in previous studies. It is not surprising the optimal ‘Life’s Simple 7’ score is associated with a lower genetic variation associated stroke risk.”

When asked how “Life’s Simple 7” might reduce genetic stroke risk.

Prof. Rundek said that “[t]he exact mechanism by which the combined risk/ lifestyle factors and genetic factors affect the risk for stroke is unknown and likely complex.”

“One way of explaining how ideal cardiovascular health — ‘Life’s Simple 7’ — can reduce genetic stroke risk is to think about genetic susceptibility to stroke risk in the presence of deleterious ‘Life’s Simple 7’ factors, because certain genes could be expressed only when activated by the presence of environmental factors or poor ‘Life’s Simple 7’ [scores for] cardiovascular health,” she noted.

“If we reduce these environmental factors and achieve ideal ‘Life’s Simple 7’ cardiovascular health [score] — stroke risk genes that we potentially harbor — would not be expressed to do harm and contribute to increased stroke risk,” added Prof. Rundek.

The researchers concluded that maintaining optimal cardiovascular health can partially offset a high genetic risk for stroke.

When asked about the study’s limitations, Prof. Qi noted that as the study was observational in nature, it is “limited for causal inference.”

Prof. Christie M. Ballantyne, chief of Cardiology at Baylor University, also not involved in the study, further pointed out that:

“The data in African Americans was not robust, and other racial and ethnic groups, such as Hispanic, South Asian, and East Asian, were not well-represented in this study. Additional studies in other populations are needed to optimize the polygenic risk scores to be more useful in clinical practice for all of our patients.”

Prof. Rundek added that “[i]t may be hard to achieve and maintain ideal ‘Life’s Simple 7’ cardiovascular [score] if there is a strong individual genetic susceptibility to stroke risk [which includes] an increased risk of hypertension and other ‘Life’s Simple 7’ factors.”

“In addition, there are certain genetic markers — rare alleles — that are not included in polygenic risk scores as they contribute to risk by only a small amount. However, they may have a cumulative effect if present within an individual. […] How changes in ‘Life’s Simple 7’ factors over time affect genetic risk is also an interesting question. All of these would need to be carefully investigated in future studies,” she explained.

“Live Right” a Bupa Arabia event promoting a healthy lifestyle – ZAWYA

  • Bupa Arabia hosted ‘Live Right’ awareness program in Jeddah on July 21-22.
  • Ali Sheneamer: ‘Live Right’ program aims to positively influence the health and well-being of Saudi residents and citizens in line with the Vision 2030 objectives.

Jeddah: Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance hosted a first-of-its-kind health awareness program event, which is usually exclusive for members only, in Jeddah on July 21-22, for the public. The company’s newly launched “Live Right” health awareness program – with events to be held across the Kingdom – the first of which was held in Jeddah’s Leylaty Hall, aims to promote a healthy lifestyle among the citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia in line with the Vision 2030 goals of improving the quality of life of members of society and enabling them to lead healthier lives.

The increase in health risks globally has placed a renewed focus on the role of awareness campaigns that help educate and inform the public about various health issues. Indeed, a population’s well-being is one of the criteria set by international organizations to determine the overall social welfare, health and safety of societies. Therefore, it has become a strategic objective that countries, organizations and individuals seek to achieve.

Bupa Arabia’s latest initiative is in line with its pioneering role as the leading health insurance company in the Kingdom as well as its efforts to achieve the well-being of Saudi society.

Improving Quality of Life

Saudi Arabia has placed great importance on improving the quality of life of its citizens and residents, naming it as one of the objectives of Vision 2030. The Quality of Life program, launched in 2018, endeavors to improve the individual and his family’s quality of life by creating the necessary environment to develop and support new healthier lifestyle options.

In addition to the Quality of Life program, the Health Sector Transformation Program, also part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, aims to ensure continued development of healthcare and preventive health services in the Kingdom as a means of achieving the well-being of society and improving the quality of life.

Promoting Health Awareness

Ali Sheneamer, Chief Business Development Officer at Bupa Arabia, said the campaign aims to inspire healthy habits through engaging educational and training sessions that cover a wide range of health topics. The event also included various interactive, sports, health and recreational activities that families participated in. Specialists and doctors were available on-ground to answer the questions of the attendees and provide glucose and blood pressure tests, as well as optical, dental, nutritional and general checkups. The event also included a health lounge area and an entertainment corner for children.

“The ‘Live Right’ program is based on five pillars, which include: Health Lounge, Fitness, Prevention, Mental Well-being, and Weight Management,” added Sheneamer.

Practise healthy lifestyle to reduce stroke risk: Doctors to youngsters – Times of India

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GUWAHATI: The growing burden of stroke or brain stroke in the northeast may be linked to ethnicity, doctors said on World Brain Day on Friday. They appealed to the young generation to practice healthy lifestyles to reduce the risk.
Dr Arindom Kakati, senior neurosurgeon at Hayat Super Speciality Hospital here, said reasons for brain strokes in the region may include ethnic differences in the northeastern states, as a majority of the population has links to the Chinese and Mongolian people in whom stroke dominates among ischaemic heart diseases.
Dr Biplab Das, head, neurology and interventional neurology at Batra Hospital, New Delhi, said 70-80% of strokes that are reported in the country are ischaemic strokes, where response time is very crucial in saving lives.


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A healthy lifestyle can offset a high genetic risk for stroke – Science Daily

People who are genetically at higher risk for stroke can lower that risk by as much as 43% by adopting a healthy cardiovascular lifestyle, according to new research led by UTHealth Houston, which was published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study included 11,568 adults from ages 45 to 64 who were stroke-free at baseline and followed for a median of 28 years. The levels of cardiovascular health were based on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 recommendations, which include stopping smoking, eating better, getting activity, losing weight, managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, and reducing blood sugar. The lifetime risk of stroke was computed according to what is called a stroke polygenic risk score, with people who had more genetic risk factors linked to the risk of stroke scoring higher.

“Our study confirmed that modifying lifestyle risk factors, such as controlling blood pressure, can offset a genetic risk of stroke,” said Myriam Fornage, PhD, senior author and professor of molecular medicine and human genetics at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at UTHealth Houston. “We can use genetic information to determine who is at higher risk and encourage them to adopt a healthy cardiovascular lifestyle, such as following the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7, to lower that risk and live a longer, healthier life.” Fornage is The Laurence and Johanna Favrot Distinguished Professor in Cardiology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.

Each year, 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That equates to someone having a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies from a stroke every 3.5 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of long-term serious disability with stroke reducing mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and older. But stroke also occurs in younger adults — in 2014, 38% of people hospitalized for stroke were less than 65 years old.

People in the study who scored the highest for genetic risk of stroke and the poorest for cardiovascular health had the highest lifetime risk of having a stroke at 25%. Regardless of the level of genetic risk of stroke, those who had practiced optimal cardiovascular health lowered that risk by 30% to 45%. That added up to nearly six more years of life free of stroke.

Overall, people with a low adherence to Life’s Simple 7 suffered the most stroke events (56.8%) while those with a high adherence had 71 strokes (6.2%).

A limitation of the paper is the polygenic risk score has not been validated broadly, so its clinical utility is not optimal, particularly for people from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds.

Co-authors from UTHealth Houston were Nitesh Enduru, MPH; a graduate research assistant with UTHealth Houston School of Biomedical Informatics; and Eric Boerwinkle, PhD, dean of UTHealth School of Public Health. Other contributors were Adrienne Tin, PhD; Michael E. Griswold, PhD; and Thomas H. Mosley, PhD, from the University of Mississippi in Jackson, Mississippi; and Rebecca F. Gottesman, MD, PhD, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). First author of the paper was Emy A. Thomas, formerly with UTHealth Houston.

Fornage and Boerwinkle are also members of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

The study was funded by the NINDS (including grants U19-NS120384 and UH3-NS100605), part of the National Institutes of Health.