Posts tagged with Health

Free Talk on Back Pain

Our Helping You Help Yourself topic this month is back pain, featuring special guest Jeff Glasgow, CRNA of Advanced Specialty Anesthesia and our PT, Sarah Hammons. It will be Wednesday, September 17 at 7:00 at TherapyWorks 1311 Wakarusa Drive. Plenty of time for your individual questions. For more details see our Facebook page


Kansas Half Marathon & 5k Training Program

Lawrence, Kansas – June 9, 2014 - Health Care Access Clinic’s annual Kansas Half Marathon has announced its training partner for the November 2nd benefit event: RunWalkLawrence.

RunWalkLawrence is an official Jeff Galloway training program based in Lawrence and managed by J. Jenkins. “Galloway programs yield more results on less miles than other training programs; and the use of walk breaks and proper pacing reduces the risk of injury to virtually zero” said Jenkins. The training program consists of programs for beginning, intermediate, and advanced runners. This 18-week program builds from a 3-mile run/walk on Saturday, July 19th (8:00am at Garry Gribble's Running Sports, 839 Massachusetts), to a 14-mile training run two weeks before the race. Kansas Half Marathon registrants receive $10 off the program's entry fee. Visit for more details.

The Kansas Half Marathon and 5K is the primary annual fund raiser for Health Care Access Clinic of Lawrence. Health Care Access serves low-income residents of Douglas County who are uninsured and have no other medical resources. Patients can receive primary care, medication assistance, mental health counseling, exercise and nutrition instruction and many other services at Health Care Access. Patients are asked for $10 per visit but no one is turned away for inability to pay. Volunteer providers in the community augment their full time staff of family nurse practitioners overseen by volunteer medical director and board member Karen Evans, DO.

Contact Elliot Johnson Health Care Access Clinic 330 Maine St. Lawrence, KS 66044 785-856-1672 Office

Jeff Galloway running with local RunWalkLawrence participants

Jeff Galloway running with local RunWalkLawrence participants by Madi Schulz


Accessible Scales Support Health for Wheelchair Users

What’s the first thing you do after checking in for an appointment with your doctor?

For most people, it’s stepping onto the oft-dreaded scale. Our weight tells part of the story of our health, and it’s a critical piece of information for determining the dosage of some medicines.

But if you’re a person who uses a wheelchair and/or has difficulty standing, chances are you won’t be weighed at a medical visit. Many primary care providers and clinics simply don’t have wheelchair accessible scales, so wheelchair users have to guess their own weight. And guessing is not likely to be accurate when one may not have been weighed in many months or years.

University of Kansas researcher Dot Nary, PhD, conducted a study to learn where accessible scales are available in medical settings in Lawrence, hometown to the university. “Accessible weight scales are expensive and too large to store in the typical home,” explained Nary, who uses a wheelchair. “Therefore, access to a weight scale in the community is important to this population, as data show people with disabilities have higher rates of overweight and obesity.”

The unfunded study was small, but the results echo findings of other research related to health care for people with disabilities: Lawrence residents who use wheelchairs or are unable to stand on a typical weight scale are likely to experience difficulty monitoring their weight.

With the help of KU undergraduates Becky Cannon and Jordyn Gunville, Nary surveyed the one hospital in Lawrence, seven clinics, nine primary care providers (excluding pediatric offices), and two weight management programs. The survey included questions about the availability of accessible scales, protocols and staff training for using them, and who might be eligible to use the scales.

The good news is that the hospital, two clinics and both weight loss programs have accessible scales. However, five primary care provider offices and one clinic reported that they have no accessible scale, while the rest of the providers and clinics did not respond to phone or mail surveys.

Although the goal of the survey was only to identify weight measurement opportunities for wheelchair users, Nary speculates that some offices did not respond because they were concerned about being non-compliant with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA sets standards for equal opportunities in health care for people with disabilities. “Several primary care providers cited expense as the reason they did not provide an accessible scale for their patients who required one,” said Nary. “Other providers indicated that they refer patients elsewhere to be weighed, including to the local hospital, but it’s not clear whether patients follow through.”

In addition, the accessible scales that were identified are not generally available to the public, so presently, there is no place where a wheelchair user can easily and regularly be weighed.

Tax incentives are available to health care providers to purchase accessible equipment, including scales and adjustable height exam tables.

“Given our aging society and the fact that our city is being promoted as a retirement destination, the provision of accessible health care services is likely to be even more in demand in the future,” said Nary.

“Nationally, there has been much attention in recent years to health and wellness services for people with disabilities, who can live long and healthy lives. We need to be sure that all community members, including people with disabilities, have full access to the services they need to be healthy.”

Author: Val Renault, Communications Coordinator, Research and Training Center on Independent Living, University of Kansas

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Douglas County CHIP Receives Kansas Health Foundation Grant

The Douglas County Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) has received a $24,743 grant through the Kansas Health Foundation’s Recognition Grants program. This money will help support an initiative to increase cultural competency among Douglas County healthcare providers by offering training and technical assistance to member agencies.

The grant will offer members of Douglas County CHIP the opportunity to assess policies, practices and internal structures that influence cultural competence within organizations. This 12-month initiative occurs with the assistance of skilled facilitators focused on improving the infrastructure for organizations to deliver quality healthcare.

“We are excited to be able to bring these grant dollars to Douglas County to focus on this initiative,” said Donna Osness, 2013 chairperson of the CHIP Leadership Group. “It will enable us to provide additional support to the infrastructure of healthcare in our community.”

She continued, “We see this initiative as aiding healthcare providers and staff to ensure they are aware of, and familiar with our diverse population so that appropriate care can be given to those in need.”

Douglas County CHIP is a collaborative of 19 members formed with representatives of healthcare providers, community agencies and local schools that started in 1997 committed to improving health in the county. The members are Baker University Student Health Services, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Christian Psychological Services, City of Lawrence administration, City of Lawrence community representative, DCCCA, Douglas County administration, Douglas County Community Foundation, Douglas County Dental Clinic, Haskell Health Center, Health Care Access, Heartland Community Health Center, K-State Research & Extension-Douglas Co., Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, United Way of Douglas County, Visiting Nurses Association and KU Watkins Student Health Center.

Recognition Grants expand the Kansas Health Foundation’s support to a broad range of health-related organizations throughout the state. The program is targeted for organizations and agencies proposing meaningful and charitable projects or initiatives that fit within the Foundation's mission of improving the health of all Kansans. In addition to supporting projects, the Foundation also seeks to support initiatives that focus on promoting policy, systems and environmental transformations that support health.

“Each year we are amazed at the incredible projects being done by organizations across Kansas,” said Steve Coen, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation. “This grant program allows us to support these innovative and impactful community initiatives and recognize the groups and individuals making them a reality.”

This spring, the Kansas Health Foundation provided more than $830,000 through this program to help organizations accomplish 50 different projects intended to improve the health and wellness of Kansans. Using a competitive application process, the Foundation allocates up to $2 million each year for the Recognition Grants program. Application deadlines for the two cycles are March 15 and Sept. 15 each year. Any tax-exempt, nonprofit organization using the money for charitable purposes and proposing a project meeting the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of all Kansans is eligible.

About the Kansas Health Foundation The Kansas Health Foundation is a private philanthropy based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. Its mission is to improve the health of all Kansans. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit

Google Images-- Douglas County agencies will have the opportunity to address cultural diversity in the workplace.

Google Images-- Douglas County agencies will have the opportunity to address cultural diversity in the workplace. by Janelle Martin

Reply 1 comment from Chris Tilden

Third graders get moving at Kansas Kids Fitness Day

Anschutz Sports Pavilion on the University of Kansas campus was bursting with energy last Friday morning as 620 third-graders from Northeast Kansas filled it as part of Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day in Douglas County.

An especially impressive feat this year was the fact that students from three Lawrence elementary schools – Cordley, Hillcrest and Schwegler – all walked to the event from their respective school. This annual event in Lawrence is coordinated by Safe Kids Douglas County.

The Governor’s Council on Fitness, Safe Kids Kansas and American Family Insurance sponsor this statewide event each year to reinforce the fun and health benefits of noncompetitive physical activities and injury prevention. The students attending on the KU campus were part of nearly 20,000 students participating this year at more than 30 sites across the state.

Students started the activity day with a brief tour of the Booth Hall of Athletics and Allen Fieldhouse to stretch their legs. When they arrived in Anschutz, they did some more stretching exercises and calisthenics led by Don “Red Dog” Gardner who routinely gives community members of all ages a workout as part of his Red Dog Days program. The students then maneuvered through one of two activity courses. Each course featured 10 separate activity stations that promoted physical activity and safety. The stations were staffed by volunteers from the Safe Kids Douglas County coalition, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical, Douglas County CHIP, Jayhawk Tennis Center, Lawrence Parks & Recreation, Watkins Student Health Center as well as the community and KU students. The KU Athletics Department has partnered to provide the host venue every year.

Kansas Kids Fitness & Safety Day provides an opportunity to impress upon youth the importance of being safe and physically active. A 2008 report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than one-third of children and adolescents were either overweight or obese and physical inactivity was a major contributor to this problem. According to the CDC report, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease in a population based sample of 5 to 17 year olds. A 2004 study conducted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment found that 16.7 percent of study participants in kindergarten through fifth grade, and 14.6 percent of study participants in sixth through eighth grade were obese (Kansas Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Project 2004). At the same time, only 39.9 percent of study participants in kindergarten through fifth grade and 34.8 percent of study participants in sixth through eighth grade participated in the recommended amount of physical activity (60 minutes/day for 7 days per week).

Jump Rope Relays was one of 10 activity stations for students at Kansas Kids Fitness Day.

Jump Rope Relays was one of 10 activity stations for students at Kansas Kids Fitness Day. by Janelle Martin

Students race to a new spot in Freeze Tag as one of the Kansas Kids Fitness Day KU student volunteers looks on.

Students race to a new spot in Freeze Tag as one of the Kansas Kids Fitness Day KU student volunteers looks on. by Janelle Martin


KU Alums Come Home Performance To Benefit Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP)

We are very excited that the playwright and alum Bill Russell is returning to the University of Kansas to direct the production "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens" this week. We would like to thank all current students, faculty, and alumni who make up the cast for offering this benefit to our community with the proceeds to be contributed to the Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP).

The production is a part of Alums Come Home IV, a weekend-long event held by the Department of Theatre every five years. During that time alums return to the University of Kansas to participate in productions, teach master classes and workshops, and lead panel discussions with both students and faculty. "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens" was developed in the late 1980s by Russell and Hood in response to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a quilt patched together to memorialize those who have passed away from the illness, the play brings together characters both living and dead whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS. The characters create a cycle of poetry, using verse, music, and dance to tell their stories. Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Janet Hood, will be staged by the University of Kansas’ University Theatre on February 28 and March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 2:30 p.m. in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

Reserved seat tickets are on sale in the KU ticket offices: University Theatre, 864-3982, and Lied Center, 864-ARTS, and online at Tickets are $18 for the public, $17 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff, and $10 for all students. All major credit cards are accepted.


New Service: Rapid HIV Testing at Douglas County AIDS Project

The Douglas County AIDS Project is happy to announce that as of January we will now offer free rapid HIV testing by appointment.

DCAP is excited to have this opportunity to work very closely with the community to reduce the transmission of HIV in Douglas, Franklin and Jefferson Counties. We look forward to testing more individuals in the next year and expanding our services to more populations in this region.

The Clearview HIV 1/2 test can give you a rapid HIV test result in 15 to 20 minutes. This technology is ideal for those that would like to know their HIV status in a short period of time. The test is very simple to perform and requires a very small sample of blood that is collected by a finger prick.

Individuals that would like to schedule an appointment for rapid testing will need to contact our office and schedule an appointment. Interested persons should plan to schedule 30-45 minutes per appointment.

Please contact DCAP for more information: 843-0040 or visit:

Reply 3 comments from Ron Holzwarth Parkay DCAP Director

All About Women!

All About Women Physicians and experts from across the community are joining forces with Lawrence Memorial Hospital to present an educational event just for women on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon. Session topics include preventive care, varicose veins, hot flashes, incontinence/pelvic pain, time management for busy women, enhancing relationships, midwifery and fitness. The program also includes a continental breakfast, exhibits, a quiz show, door prizes and giveaways. Special presenters will be: Drs Sherry Vaughn, Karen Evans, Dale Denning & Samantha Durland; Midwives Jaime Thompson & Pam Pray; Physical Therapists Heather Shire & Cari Everhart; Personal Trainer Lindsey Kuhlman; & Nationally renowned author Harriot Lerner, PhD!

The event, which costs $15, will be at the hospital’s auditorium, 325 Maine, Lawrence.

Due to limited seating, advance registration is required. To reserve your spot, call LMH Connect Care at (785) 749-5800.

A special day of health focused just on WOMEN!

A special day of health focused just on WOMEN! by Belinda Rehmer


As I See Fit: Plank to Perfection!

Lately I've been fielding questions from friends and clients that revolve around time. They want to know how they can get maximum results in as little time as possible.

What magic series of exercises must they do to drop 10 pounds and unveil a perfectly sculpted six-pack? Ah, if only it were that easy!

The truth of the matter is, we have got to get over using time, or the lack thereof, as an excuse and an obstacle. I know that this is not easy, and I feel constantly time-crunched as well.

But in order to really begin making strides to address our health and wellness issues, we must change our perspective in regard to the way that we view exercise and the manner in which we incorporate it into our lives.

I think we are conditioned to believe that we must fit in an hour or more workout in order to make it count. And yes, in a perfect world, that would be ideal.

But let's face it, that is simply not always possible. And we will set ourselves up for failure if we try to hold ourselves to that "hour or nothing" mentality.

We have time to exercise. We have time to actively engage in a fit and healthy lifestyle. We just need to look at the clock a little differently and break down strong and effective exercises in an efficient way.

"I don't have time" is an excuse. It's a crutch. It's procrastination, pure and simple. Because there is time.

There is time for 20 squats at some point in your day. Or 20 jumping jacks. For 20 of something. And that counts.

It counts because although you may not have had the time for a full-blown workout, you have achieved more than you thought you would, and you did something. And if you are still trying to find the time and motivation to take that first step, I guarantee that by starting with a simple exercise and a number of repetitions, it will start to become a habit.

You will feel better about yourself and suddenly you will "find" more time for another set. Or you will add in another exercise. You'll do it because the energy boost you get will make you feel so much better. You'll do it because you know you should, to set an example for yourself and others. And you'll do it because true health and wellness, of body and mind, is a journey. And it starts with baby steps.

One of my favorite exercises that can be easily adapted and modified for all fitness levels is the plank. You don't need any equipment to do this exercise, and it is very effective.


Targets your core.

Lie facedown on the floor and prop yourself up on your forearms with your elbows bent 90 degrees. Extend your legs and flex your feet so your toes touch the floor.

Keeping your abs pulled in tight and your back flat, lift your hips so your body weight is supported by your forearms and toes. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Squeeze your glutes to prevent your body from sagging in the middle. Do 10 reps of 30 seconds each.

For the side plank, keep a straight line from head to heels and extend the top arm above the shoulder.

For the side plank, keep a straight line from head to heels and extend the top arm above the shoulder. by Melissa Sigler


Targets shoulders, obliques, quads and glutes.

Lie on right side with elbow on the floor under shoulders, with hips stacked. Push hips up, forming a straight line from head to heels; extend left arm above shoulder.

Bring left arm under body, rotating upper body to the right. Hold for 5 seconds and return to start. Do 6-10 reps and switch sides.

For the side plank twist, bring the top arm under the body and rotate. Hold for 5 seconds and return to start. Do 6 to 10 reps, then switch sides.

For the side plank twist, bring the top arm under the body and rotate. Hold for 5 seconds and return to start. Do 6 to 10 reps, then switch sides. by Melissa Sigler


Task force recommends dental school for Kansas to fix dental shortage; health care advocates push for registered dental practitioners

By Scott Rothschild

TOPEKA - A Kansas Board of Regents task force on Thursday recommended that Kansas start preparing to establish a dental school to address what it said were “dental care service deserts.”

Task force members also acknowledged that starting a dental school would be an expensive proposition, and they recommended that in the short term, the state purchase seats at dental schools in surrounding states.

Addressing the shortage of dentists “is a much broader problem and it will require much broader answers than I think anyone can imagine,” said Robba Moran, of Hays, who is a member of the Kansas Board of Regents and who served on the Oral Health Care Task Force.

The Kansas Dental Project, which consists of health care advocacy organizations, said the task force should have recommended allowing registered dental practitioners to work in Kansas.

“Kansas has a dental access crisis now. We can’t afford to wait,” said Dr. Melinda Miner, a dentist in Hays. “Fort Hays State University has already agreed to educate and train registered dental practitioners right here in Kansas. Within just a few years, we could have mid-levels seeing patients and helping dentists like me grow our practices.”

Dental hygienists who obtain additional education and training and pass a comprehensive exam could become registered dental practitioners, or RDPs, the Kansas Dental Project said. They would work under supervising dentists to provide routine and preventive care. More than 40 state and national health and advocacy organizations have endorsed the RDP proposal, according to the group.

The Oral Health Care Task Force found that 93 of 105 counties in Kansas face a dental workforce shortage.

The report said there are about 57,000 Kansans who live in areas where the closest dental office is at least a 30-minute drive away.

And the report said only one in four Kansas dentists accepts Medicaid patients.

The state needs an influx of 60 new dentists per year to replace baby boomer-generation dentists who are retiring, the task force said.

The task force recommends purchasing dental student slots in schools in Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, and requiring that the students return to Kansas and work with underserved populations.

The state should also start putting together a plan to establish a Kansas dental school. A new dental school admitting 60 students per year would have startup costs of about $58 million, with $19.5 million in operating costs, the report said.

Regents Chairman Ed McKechnie, of Arcadia, said the report, completed after seven months, was just one step in the process.

“We are going to keep working on this,” he said.

Kevin Robertson, executive director of the Kansas Dental Association, said, “Kansas dentists and all Kansans should be encouraged by the recommendations, which call for maintaining access to quality care by continuing to grow the number of professionally educated dentists in our state.”

Reply 6 comments from Mikekt Kuguardgrl13 Consumer1

Best weight loss plan: Planning ahead

Lawrence resident Liz Black lays some potatoes in her cart as she shops with her 2-year-old daughter Arie on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at The Merc, 901 Iowa.

Lawrence resident Liz Black lays some potatoes in her cart as she shops with her 2-year-old daughter Arie on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at The Merc, 901 Iowa. by Nick Krug

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

For managing weight the healthy way, simply planning ahead is one of the best ways to prevent the need to “cure” unwanted pounds.

Everything from having healthy snacks on hand for Saturday’s soccer tournament to sticking to an exercise regime can benefit from a healthy dose of planning, said Anne Van Garsse of Lawrence’s Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, who runs a clinic for overweight children and teens.

Without it, she said, “life gets in the way every single time.”

Van Garsse and other experts say the same principles apply for adults and families with children alike: Plan your meals and snacks ahead, grocery shop accordingly, find forms of exercise you enjoy, and map out where and when you’ll do them.

A week’s worth of meals

Our “hectic, American way of doing things” doesn’t always lend itself to healthy food choices, said Patty Metzler, clinical dietitian for Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

“You have to make extra efforts,” she said.

Metzler suggests sitting down once a week and planning your meals seven days out — breakfast and lunch included. Make a grocery list with everything you’ll need to have on hand, then shop.

“When you go to the market, you know exactly what you’re going to buy,” she said. “You save time, you save money, and that makes your week flow.”

At the end of a busy workday, people are tired and don’t have time to cook, much less go to the grocery store and then cook. Hitting the drive-thru starts to seem awfully appealing.

“You’ve got to have things there you can pull together quickly,” Metzler said.

Contrary to common beliefs, she said, meals don’t have to be complicated, and recipes aren’t required.

Cooking up some brown rice, tossing a hamburger or veggie burger on the grill and adding a generous helping of vegetables — even canned or frozen — makes for an easy, well-balanced meal, she said. An equally easy meat-free option Metzler might be found eating is whole-grain noodles topped with olive oil, parmesan cheese, basil and oregano.

For lunch, try tuna salad sandwiches, she said. For breakfast, whole wheat toast with peanut butter or oatmeal topped with a banana.

In her effort to lead a healthier lifestyle, the menu-planning approach helped Lawrence resident Jennifer McVey, 32. Eating breakfast at home helped her fill up, making those donuts at the office easier to resist. After a long day, knowing she had chicken thawing in the fridge for dinner helped her avoid fast food.

“It’s easier to stick to the plan when you already have something set up,” McVey said. “It was harder to deviate.”

Megan Hemphill, Lawrence, browses the selection of fruit as she shops for groceries with her daughter, Lena, on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at The Merc, 901 Iowa.

Megan Hemphill, Lawrence, browses the selection of fruit as she shops for groceries with her daughter, Lena, on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at The Merc, 901 Iowa. by Nick Krug

Smart snacking

Not having healthy snacks on hand when kids are hungry — such as after school or at the end of a long day at the sports fields — is another way to find yourself with a handful of potato chips or hitting the drive-thru, kids in tow, Van Garsse said.

Don’t forget to put snacks on the list for your weekly shopping trip, she said. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat cheese are good for after school.

And if you know you’ll be at the ballfields, for example, buy snacks that can be eaten throughout the day. That morning, pack them and take them with you.

Metzler suggested water or juice instead of sugary sports drinks. Apples, bananas, cheese sticks, whole-grain rolls or crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and homemade trailmix are portable but satisfying snack options, she said.

“As adults, we are gatekeepers for what our kids eat,” Metzler said.

A group of senior citizens works out at Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St., as part of the city’s Slimnastics program. Using the buddy system or signing up for a class can make it easier to stick with a workout program, says Jo Ellis, recreation instruction supervisor for the city of Lawrence.

A group of senior citizens works out at Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St., as part of the city’s Slimnastics program. Using the buddy system or signing up for a class can make it easier to stick with a workout program, says Jo Ellis, recreation instruction supervisor for the city of Lawrence. by Richard Gwin

Plan on exercise

For McVey, a personal trainer helped her set up workouts and stick with them.

McVey worked with her trainer Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she did workouts her trainer had written down for her.

The accountability of having plans in writing helped encourage her not to skip workouts, McVey said. Plus, she said, “it made me feel good to look back and say, ‘You know what? I’ve done a really good job this week.’”

Jo Ellis, recreation instruction supervisor for the city of Lawrence, said finding an activity you enjoy is a good starting point for sticking to an exercise regime.

Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department offers guest passes for fitness classes, enabling you to “try it before you buy it,” she said. The city offers a variety of classes for senior citizens through children, ranging from Zumba to stationary bikes.

Planning ahead by signing up for classes or agreeing to meet a friend for a workout makes it harder to skip exercise sessions, Ellis said.

“I think the buddy system is a big thing,” she said.

Van Garsse suggests an hour of play (hard enough to elevate heart rates) daily for children.

Parents should schedule that time in advance, even if activities aren’t particularly structured — a family walk, a trip to the park or a game of pickup soccer in the backyard all fit the bill.

“It works for family togetherness time,” she said, “but it also gets everybody moving.”


When it comes to managing your weight (and your kids’), cooking at home can be a big difference-maker — and planning ahead is key.

Below, the U.S. Department of Agriculture highlights common stumbling blocks to cooking at home and ideas for getting over them.

“I don’t have time to cook a big meal every night; it is easier to just order out.”

Try prepping dishes the night before or in the morning; prepping the salad or the side dish can help save time after work.

Also try cooking a big meal on Sunday and then eating it as leftovers and freezing extras. Buying frozen or canned fruits and vegetables can also save prep time.

“My family prefers to eat out; when I cook at home, they complain.”

Changing a family pattern is difficult at first. Start by eating one more meal at home each week than you normally do. You may save calories and money!

To mix things up, try a new recipe. It’ll help keep your family excited about dinner at home.

“I’m tired of being the only one that cooks.”

Make cooking a family event by getting your children involved with the prep work. Not only will they learn about healthy eating, it’s a good way to spend time together.

Or have an occasional potluck, where you invite friends and have everyone bring their favorite healthy dish.

— Source:

MORE RESOURCES A nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, focusing on cooking simply, using fresh foods. Features include the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Food Shoppers,” plus grocery lists to ensure you have staples on hand that will make cooking easy. An American Academy of Pediatrics site featuring articles on fitness, nutrition and obesity prevention for families and children. U.S. Department of Agriculture resource with guidelines and tips for healthy eating, exercise and weight management for all ages, with many resources in both English and Spanish.


National Walk at Lunch Day this Wednesday

Get out and enjoy the nice weather with a lunchtime walk this Wednesday -- National Walk at Lunch Day! Pack your comfortable walking shoes (if you don't already have a pair at work) and gather co-workers for some exercise. You can turn a working lunch into a walking lunch.

The idea for a walk at lunchtime is designed to complement your busy lifestyle because schedules are so jam-packed it is often hard to find time outside of work for physical activity. So, take advantage of the nicer weather to get at least part of it during your work day.

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) each week. That's an average of 30 minutes five days a week. The 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of Douglas County residents showed more than 50% did not get the recommended amount of physical activity.

Getting a group together to walk at lunchtime is a great start to your walking or activity routine. The recommended activity doesn't have to occur all at once, even 10 minutes at a time three times a day is helpful. No excuses. Let's get moving!


Lawrence Aquahawks Hosts A New Swimmer Clinic

The Lawrence Aquahawks will be hosting a New Swimmer Clinic Monday April 25th, 4:45 at the Indoor Aquatic Center. Swimmers age 5-18 bring a suit, goggles and your towel. Come check out a Lawrence Tradition! for more information.


Douglas drops to 8th healthiest county in Kansas

Note: This has been updated from an earlier version.

Douglas County is the eighth healthiest county in Kansas, dropping four spots from last year.

The healthiest:

  1. Riley

  2. Johnson

  3. Mitchell

  4. Coffey

  5. Ellis

  6. Kingman

  7. Pottawatomie

The five least healthy are Cherokee, Montgomery, Wyandotte, Bourbon and Allen.

Haining Lou, Lawrence, shops for some vegetables and fruit earlier this month at The Merc. A recently released report ranked Douglas County as the eighth healthiest county in Kansas. One of the measures is access to healthy foods — an area the county is doing well in.

Haining Lou, Lawrence, shops for some vegetables and fruit earlier this month at The Merc. A recently released report ranked Douglas County as the eighth healthiest county in Kansas. One of the measures is access to healthy foods — an area the county is doing well in. by Mike Yoder

The report “County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health” was released late Tuesday. It was done by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This is the second year for the report, which ranks the overall health of the counties in all 50 states by using a standard formula.

Here’s how Douglas County ranked in the specific health measures:

No. 5 for mortality. It looks at years of potential life lost. In 2010: No. 3.

No. 35 for morbidity. It is based on quality of life and birth outcomes. In 2010: No. 36.

No. 8 for health behaviors. This includes smoking, diet, exercise, alcohol use and risky sex behavior. In 2010: No. 4.

No. 35 for clinical care. This includes access to care and quality of care. In 2010: No. 20.

No. 12 for social and economic factors. This includes education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety. In 2010: No. 14.

No. 88 for physical environment. This includes measures of environmental quality and the built environment. In 2010: No. 4.

Some of the criteria changed this year. For example, researchers looked at access to recreation centers instead of liquor store density, which is mainly why the county plummeted in physical environment. But, the measure is only 10 percent of the overall score.

Adam Braun, left, and Kelly John Clark, both of Lawrence, exercise on treadmills Wednesday at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. Douglas County is the eighth healthiest county in Kansas, according to a report released late Tuesday. But that's a four-spot drop from last year.

Adam Braun, left, and Kelly John Clark, both of Lawrence, exercise on treadmills Wednesday at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. Douglas County is the eighth healthiest county in Kansas, according to a report released late Tuesday. But that's a four-spot drop from last year. by Mike Yoder

Dan Partridge, director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, said the value of this report is that it generates conversation and provides an incentive for change.

“Riley County is healthier than us? That should matter,” he said.

Partridge’s primary areas of concern are access to care, adult diabetes, binge drinking and sexually-transmitted infections.

He is hoping that Heartland Community Health Center gets the Federally Qualified Health Center designation that it has applied for. That designation will bring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the community to provide more care to low-income residents.

“I’ve felt like that’s been needed for a long time,” he said.

Dr. John Listerman, left and Allison Veeder, ARNP, confer about a patient Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at Heartland Community Health Center. The center provides medical care for low-income residents.

Dr. John Listerman, left and Allison Veeder, ARNP, confer about a patient Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at Heartland Community Health Center. The center provides medical care for low-income residents. by Mike Yoder

He is discouraged by the county’s inactivity and obesity rates.

“With diabetes, we went from being one of the healthier counties to we are no better than the rest of the state,” he said. “That just doesn’t fit with the image of Douglas County and Lawrence. We perceive ourselves as being physically fit and active, and a little more immune to diabetes, but we aren’t.”


Taking time to tango can help fight Parkinson’s disease

Lawrence residents Ada Emmett and Doug Nickel, foreground, practice tango at Signs of Life Bookstore and Gallery, 722 Massachusetts. Lawrence Tango Dancers meets at the bookstore every Monday for free tango classes and a "practica," or practice session.

Lawrence residents Ada Emmett and Doug Nickel, foreground, practice tango at Signs of Life Bookstore and Gallery, 722 Massachusetts. Lawrence Tango Dancers meets at the bookstore every Monday for free tango classes and a "practica," or practice session. by Jessica Schilling

We all know the stereotypical "dancer's body": lean, lithe, flexible and, to many of us, seemingly unattainable. But even if striving for a ballerina's physique isn't anywhere on most people's agenda, the health benefits of dancing are difficult to ignore - and not just for the young.

A 2008 study at Washington University in St. Louis concluded that learning Argentine tango can have a marked effect in slowing down the progression of Parkinson's disease, with subjects participating in a series of tango classes showing "significant improvements in balance and mobility when compared to patients who did conventional exercise."

So why did tango win out in helping Parkinson's patients boost qualities that can help them stave off the progress of the disease? Studies suggest several reasons, a primary one being that the "dance hold" taken in traditional tango looks more like a hug than a pose off "Dancing With the Stars" - a posture that can help fight the stereotypical stooped Parkinson's stance that, as time goes on, makes it easier for patients to fall.

A study presented in 2010 at the Movement Disorder Society 14th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders (which took place that year, appropriately, in Buenos Aires) points to tango as not only an aid for posture, but also self-esteem, mood and overall mental agility.

Austin Jones, member of local enthusiast group Lawrence Tango Dancers, offers one explanation for tango keeping the brain alert: "Tango isn't like, say, ballroom dancing, where you've got a series of steps that you can just follow. You have to adjust to the music and to your partner on the fly - it's pretty much all improvisatory."

Starting March 28, budding Lawrence tangueros can learn the basics of the dance for free 8 p.m. Mondays at Signs of Life Bookstore and Gallery, 722 Massachusetts. Lawrence Tango Dancers has been meeting for several years at Signs of Life, with informal instruction available to any newcomers, but the classes, led by Jones and other members of the group, are a new offering.

"We wanted to make it easier for people to get started dancing tango, and not feel like they're missing out on any instruction that might help them enjoy the dance more," Jones says.

If you're interested in learning more about the links between Argentine tango and Parkinson's disease, the Locomotor Control Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis is conducting community-based followup studies on the research. There are also some interesting research abstracts and full-text reports available at


Students in coalition discuss ways to better address teen issues

There’s a conversation taking place concerning important issues for Lawrence’s teens.

And teens are the ones having it.

More than a dozen area students comprising the Wake-Up Coalition gathered Wednesday at Lawrence Arts Center to talk about what they say should be talked about more effectively: teen pregnancy, teen suicide and sex education.

“The kids identified these as the central issues they thought were most important,” coordinator and teacher Shannon Draper said. “School counselors are overworked, so the kids thought, ‘Why don’t we do this ourselves?’ Which is amazing to have kids so interested.”

The coalition, created with the help of a $10,000 renewable grant, has partnered with the GaDuGi SafeCenter and the arts center to create a peer-to-peer counseling and mentoring program for area junior high and high schools.

“I really like the whole concept of helping peers,” coalition member and Lawrence High School junior Jordan Gaches said. “It makes people not feel like they’re so alone.”

The program is still in its beginning stages but hopes to facilitate conversation among teens on tough issues as well as open communication lines across generations.

“I really am excited to see how we can get people connected,” Gaches said. “I’m excited to get the ball rolling.”


How healthy are we? New report shows we need fruits, veggies, exercise

Madison Vaughn, 12, picks out some kumquats Wednesday, March 2, 2011, at the Community Mercantile while shopping for groceries with her mother.

Madison Vaughn, 12, picks out some kumquats Wednesday, March 2, 2011, at the Community Mercantile while shopping for groceries with her mother. by Mike Yoder

We are not eating enough fruits and veggies or getting adequate exercise.

That’s according to a new community health assessment released Wednesday by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Eighty-one percent of county residents do not eat the recommended five fruits and vegetables per day.

When asked about physical activity during the past 30 days, half of the population hadn’t done anything to get their heart rate up, like running, aerobics, or heavy yard work, and 16 percent hadn’t done leisure exercise like brisk walking or bicycling.

Dan Partridge, health department director, said these likely contributed to the rise in diabetes, which now affects nearly 8 percent of the population.

On the flip side, we are breathing better. Our smoking rates — teen, smoking during pregnancy, current smokers — have declined. The biggest decline was in the number of residents who allow smoking in their home. It went from 23 percent of the population in 2005 to 8 percent in 2008, compared to 20 percent statewide.

The health department paid the Kansas Health Institute $7,400 to help compile the report, which looks at demographics, health factors like behavior and income, and health outcomes.

“We hope this report will spur not only discussion, but action among Douglas County residents, organizations, community coalitions and policymakers to make the changes necessary to have a healthier community.”

— Dan Partridge

Highlights from the report:


• 116,383 — residents.

• 58,990 — female.

• 57,393 — male.

• 86 percent — white.

• 4 percent — multiracial.

• 4 percent — Asian.

• 3 percent — black.

• 2 percent — American Indian or Alaskan Native.

• 1 percent — Other.

• Median age — 26.4.

• 79 percent — of the population lives in Lawrence.


Here’s how Douglas County residents are doing compared with the previous year and how we stack up against the rest of the state. The data compares 2009 with 2008 unless noted. (Note: I bolded the Douglas County and Kansas numbers for easier comparison).


• Teen smoking — 8.5 percent in 2010, down from 9.3; 12.6 percent.

• Teen pregnancy — 12.8 percent in 2010, down from 14.2; 26.9 percent.

• Teen binge drinking — 11.7 percent in 2010, down from 14.4; 13.7 percent.

• Teen substance abuse — 17.7 percent in 2010, down from 20.8; 16.8 percent.

• No leisure exercise in past 30 days — 16.5 percent, down from 25; 23.2 percent.

• Didn’t get enough sleep for one night in past 30 days — 76.7 percent, up from 72.9; 68.1 percent.

• Don’t eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — 81.8 percent, up from 78; 79.8 percent.

• Smokers — 15.1 percent, down from 15.2; 17.8 percent.

• Daily smokers — 12.4 percent; up from 11.7; 13.9 percent.

• Drank alcohol within past 30 days — 53.7 percent, down from 61; 50 percent.

• Heavy drinkers (two drinks per day for females; three for males) — 5.9 percent, up from 4; 4.1 percent.

• Binge drinking in past 30 days — 14.4 percent, down from 16; 14.5 percent.

Social and economic

• Single parent households — 28.1 percent, down from 31.4; 30.5 percent.

• Average family size — 4.76, down from 5; 3.9.

• Children below poverty — 15.9 percent, up from 13; 17.1 percent.

• People with no income — 10.6 percent, up from 8.2 percent; 9.1 percent.

• Median income — $20,624, down from $21,333; $24,699.

• Median household income — $47,614, up from $44,580; $50,174.

• Households receiving food stamps — 5.43 percent, up from 4.38; 8.26 percent.

• High school graduation rate — 88.2 percent, up from 85.7; 89.7 percent.

• Those with college degrees — 50.1 percent, up from 47.6; 29.5 percent.

• Domestic violence — For every 1,000 residents, there are 6.8 incidence reports, up from 5.8; 8.5.

• Violent crime — For every 1,000 residents, there are 4.3 offenses, up from 4.0; 4.0.

Lawrence resident Ansib Chaudhry has his vitals taken by Health Care Access volunteer Nan Wang before being checked out by a doctor for some potentially fractured facial bones Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, at Health Care Access, 330 Maine. The clinic provides medical care for low-income, uninsured Douglas County residents.

Lawrence resident Ansib Chaudhry has his vitals taken by Health Care Access volunteer Nan Wang before being checked out by a doctor for some potentially fractured facial bones Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, at Health Care Access, 330 Maine. The clinic provides medical care for low-income, uninsured Douglas County residents. by Nick Krug

Health care

• Uninsured under age 65 — 17.7 percent in 2007, down from 19.7 percent; 13.7 percent.

• Children fully immunized by age 2 — 56 percent in 2008, up 31 percent; 63 percent.

• Population per primary care doctor — 2,148 residents per doctor, up from 1,975; 1,715.

• Adults without flu shots — 67.6 percent in 2006, no comparison; 64.6.

• Adults seen by doctor within past year — 64.6 percent, down from 73.8; 71.2 percent.

• Did not seek care due to cost — 9.6 percent; up from 8.6; 11.2 percent.

• Population per primary care dentist — 2,288 residents per dentist in 2008, down from 2,744 in 2006; 2,606.

• Had not been to the dentist in more than 12 months — 19.9 percent in 2008, down from 26.2 in 2006; 28 percent.

• Never had blood cholesterol checked — 19.8 percent, up from 15.9; 21.5.

• Women, ages 40 and older, who haven’t had a mammogram — 6.5 percent in 2008, down from 8.6 in 2006; 9 percent.

• Men, ages 40 and older, who haven’t had a prostate screening — 29.4 percent in 2008, down from 41.6 in 2006; 34 percent.

• People ages 50 and older who haven’t had a colonoscopy — 32.9 percent in 2008, down from 34.1 in 2006; 38.3 percent.

• Never had an HIV test — 67.2 percent, up from 61.3 percent; 65.4 percent.


• Overweight — 59.2 percent, up from 57.9; 64.6.

• Obese — 27.8 percent, up from 22.9; 28.8.

• High blood pressure — 24 percent, down from 26.6; 28.7 percent.

• Disability — 16.9 percent, down from 24.7; 18.9.

• Mortality — 5.1 deaths per 1,000 people in 2008, up from 4.8; 8.5.

• Infant mortality — 9.4 deaths per 1,000 births in 2008, up from 7.6; 7.2.

Leading causes of death in Douglas County in 2009:

  1. Cancer

  2. Heart disease

  3. Chronic lower respiratory disease

  4. Stroke

  5. Accidents other than motor vehicle


Health Tip of the Month

• Tip for speedy eaters. When we eat quickly, our body thinks it needs more food to be satisfied. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that you are feeling full. Fast eaters should slow down to give their brains time to get the message that they are no longer hungry.


Fitting in: Former Lawrence residents start popular fitness site

Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead,  formerly of Lawrence, are the girls behind, a former blog and now full-service website for women of all fitness levels and goals.

Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, formerly of Lawrence, are the girls behind, a former blog and now full-service website for women of all fitness levels and goals. by Special to the Journal-World

It started out as a little fitness blog. One of those “wouldn’t it be fun” kind of ideas that two friends come up with for a good time.

But in just two years, that little blog about getting in shape has become a national success complete with virtual weight-loss challenges, seminars and a following so voracious that keeping up with the demand has become a full-time job.

Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead are the girls behind, a former blog and now full-service website for women of all fitness levels and goals.

Walters and Whitehead cooked up the idea of the blog while commuting from Lawrence to Kansas City, and now, though they live a thousand miles from each other, work hard each day to improve the health of women in the United States and beyond.

“Little did I know what I was getting myself into,” jokes Whitehead, who now lives in Scotch Plains, N.J. “We bounced ideas off of each other and the whole FBG philosophy just fell into place. We knew we had a point of view that was refreshing and different from other blogs and websites out there, and we really thought we could spread the message that fitness can be a lot of fun and that it doesn’t have to be a chore.”

To read more about the Fit Bottomed Girls, click here.


Community leaders offer tips on New Year’s resolutions — which are healthy to make

It's time for New Year's resolutions yet again. Year after year, some of the most common resolutions are to lose weight, get more exercise, stop smoking and reduce debt.

It's time for New Year's resolutions yet again. Year after year, some of the most common resolutions are to lose weight, get more exercise, stop smoking and reduce debt. by Nick Krug

Americans are reflecting on the past year and, hopefully, making resolutions for the coming one.

Among the most popular resolutions are to: lose weight, get more exercise, stop smoking, reduce debt, and spend more time with family and friends.

Barbara Torgerson, child and family therapist at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, says it’s healthy to make resolutions, even if we oftentimes don’t follow through.

“I think it’s an opportunity to start fresh and refocus our lives,” she said.

Torgerson recommends making one to three resolutions — not 10. To be successful: Set realistic goals, be specific and frame them in a positive way.

For example, don’t set a goal of losing 20 pounds. Instead, set a goal of exercising five times a week for 30 minutes.

Lawrence community leaders offer more tips for the new year:


The Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, believes resolutions are healthy because they give us a goal and keep us from being stagnant in life.

Luckey suggests making a resolution to try something new once a week or once a month that’s outside our comfort zone. It could be anything from food or a road trip to picking up a musical instrument or foreign language.

“They really help us grow as human beings. They deepen our life experience, and the important thing isn’t that we succeed at it, but that we give it a try,” he said.

Luckey said he is taking a trip next week to India — something that will be outside his comfort zone.

“What’s really scary in life is not failure, but looking back at life and wishing I would have taken the trip to India,” he said. “It’s better to have striven than not to have done anything.”

T.J. Everett shows off a bunch of radishes harvested Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010, from the West Junior High School garden.

T.J. Everett shows off a bunch of radishes harvested Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010, from the West Junior High School garden. by Nick Krug


After the sugar-laden holidays, many people want to get on a healthier track with their diets.

Nancy O’Connor, education and outreach coordinator at The Community Mercantile, said people want cooking classes on chocolates, cakes and cookies before the holidays, and then they switch to healthy cooking classes after the New Year.

“We see a huge increase in wellness classes. I just think people are ready to do some self-improvement,” she said.

O’Connor advises residents to make small changes in their diet.

“It’s much better to have one small success than trying to go after a dietary overhaul,” she said.

Some examples:

• Replace one soda a day with a glass of water.

• Eat at a restaurant one less time a week.

• Once a week, let the children choose a veggie that they don’t normally eat.

• Change one thing in a recipe, like using brown rice instead of white.

She said it’s about substituting ingredients and exploring new ones.

When it comes to weight loss, she believes it’s about healthy eating and exercise — not the scale.

“Weight is a benchmark, but not an end goal because you can be fit and healthy and not be skinny because there are all kinds of body types,” she said. “If you are totally hung up on just stepping on the scale and did you achieve that weight, instead of looking at the big picture — sometimes that can be discouraging.”

O’Connor said denying yourself food with diets is a no-win situation. Often, people lose the weight and then gain it back — and then repeat the cycle, which is hard on your body.

“It has to be a lifestyle change or choice, otherwise it’s just not going to work. It has to be integrated.”

About 85 people participated in a 5K run/walk Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010, at Haskell Indian Nations University.

About 85 people participated in a 5K run/walk Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010, at Haskell Indian Nations University. by Richard Gwin


The best way to get moving is to get friends, family or neighbors involved, and then meet on a regular basis for a walk or activity.

That way you are accountable to each other.

“On the days, you are feeling low, hopefully they are having a good day and so you can feed off that,” said Janelle Martin, executive director of the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project.

Over time, she said exercising will become a habit and you won’t need to depend on them as much.

Martin said it’s also important to mix things up. Don’t walk the same route. Try a new activity like swimming or bicycling.

“For a lot of people, it’s just moving more and sitting less,” she said.

She suggests checking out CHIP’s “Opportunities for Physical Activity in Douglas County” guide. It’s available at Or you can request a copy, by calling 856-7312 or e-mailing

Once you start exercising, the benefits — weight loss, lower stress, lower bad cholesterol, to name a few — will start kicking in. That likely will motivate you to move more.


Torgerson, of Bert Nash, said spending more time with family and friends tends to top the resolution list. Maybe, it’s because the New Year comes on the heels of the holidays — the one time of the year we devote to doing just that.

“People want to have better relations. I see that happening in my office on a daily basis,” she said. “I think the busier we get the less connected we feel.”

Parents want to spend more time with their children, and grown children with their parents or friends.

Torgerson suggests starting by setting aside 10 minutes each day, whether it’s to read to a child, snuggle with a significant other, or call a friend.

“Having that voice or face-to-face connection, I think, is critically important. We get very, very lost in our computers and our television,” she said. “It’s important to laugh, cry or share something from your day.”

The new year also is a time to evaluate unhealthy relationships.

If you are willing to work on a relationship and the other person says they are not, she suggests seeking counseling anyway.

“Even if one person is willing to work on the relationship, I think it’s a good start,” she said. “It really does start with each person growing within themselves and learning about themselves as a human being and individual, and what they are bringing to the table in a relationship — both positive and negative.”

The best way to organize a messy closet is to tackle one thing at a time.

The best way to organize a messy closet is to tackle one thing at a time.


Marguerite Carlson, owner of Organize U, said start small. Don’t try to organize and clean the entire basement, attic or closet at once.

Instead, start with one drawer or one part of the closet — maybe the shoes or jackets.

“Do not try to tackle the whole giant thing because it will become discouraging, and you will say, ‘I would rather do anything else than this,’” she said.

The other important thing to remember: Once you’re organized, put things where they belong.

“That’s pretty simple, but it sure makes a difference,” Carlson said.

So, how do we get in such a mess? We buy lots of things and then don’t get rid of anything.

“In order to have more space and more peace in our own homes, there have to be less things, and we all just got more things from the holidays,” Carlson said.

She said most people have items they are not using, but they could be of use to someone else. She suggests donating them to charities.

If it’s not easy to get rid of things, she suggests bringing in someone who is impartial. He or she can ask questions like: When are you going to use it again and when? Do you have space for it? Where should it be stored — in the living room or basement?

Once organized, she said people feel a great sense of relief.

“They feel like they’ve been freed from the clutter, the too much, the disorganization that they’ve been living in,” she said.


Start by paying the credit card with the highest interest rate while continuing to make smaller payments on the others.

“You are throwing money down the drain every time you pay interest to those credit card companies, and that’s money you could have in your pocket to buy things you really want to buy and to treat yourself well,” said Rusty Thomas, owner of Rusty Thomas Insurance & Financial.

Also, residents need to put money into a retirement account — a traditional or Roth IRA, or a company plan.

“They need to put away as much as they possibly can — every pay day,” she said. “Anything helps.”

She said the only way to get out of debt and save money is to be systematic and disciplined about it.

“It’s just like anything else you do, if you do it on a regular basis, you will get in the habit of doing it. But, you have to get in the habit,” she said.

Smokers are encouraged to use New Year's Day to set a quit date and plan for it.

Smokers are encouraged to use New Year's Day to set a quit date and plan for it.


To successfully quit smoking, it’s best not to try it cold turkey on New Year's Day. Instead, set a quit date and start planning.

Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator for Lawrence Memorial Hospital, advises smokers who have tried several times to consider using a nicotine replacement or pharmaceutical product.

Smokers also need to become aware of their smoking behaviors. Do they smoke in the car or while drinking coffee? And then, start to uncouple the activities.

Often, people smoke to manage stress, so Anderson recommends finding a new of way of coping — such as walking, deep breathing or meditation.

LMH is offering a free class “Steps to Successfully Quitting Smoking” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 10. To enroll, call 749-5800 or visit

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment offers free counseling through its Kansas Tobacco Quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW.

The sooner smokers set a quit date, the better. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 minutes of life is lost for each cigarette smoked.

Anderson said it’s never too late to quit and don’t give up. Try, and try again.

“Every time you quit and have a failure, you learn something and you will plug up that hole and eventually, there are no more holes to plug up and you will make it.”


Lisa Carter, a program coordinator at DCCCA, encourages people to seek professional help if cutting back on alcohol is their resolution.

Often, she said, people will verbalize it by saying:

• It’s for medical reasons. The doctor said, “I need to lose weight.”

• It’s for financial reasons. “I am spending too much on beer per week.”

• It’s to save a relationship. “I argue with my wife too much and she doesn’t like me drinking.”

When someone says they have a problem aloud, it’s time to seek help and get an assessment. The treatment can vary depending on the addiction.

“If they are truly addicted, they can try it on their own, but very few people are successful,” she said.

Carter said they can call DCCCA if they have any questions — even if it’s about a family member or friend. The numbers are 843-9262 or 830-8238.


Jingle bell, jingle bell, Jingle Bell Jog: Dashing through the cold, rasing money for charity

The eighth annual Jingle Bell Jog down Massachusetts Street lived up to the name Thursday night.

A collection of people and pets gathered near Vermont and Ninth streets, ready to participate in the active holiday tradition. Joggers dressed in festive attire, with many sporting strings of lights, Santa hats, and yes, jingle bells to complete their holiday exercise outfits.

Kansas University seniors Becca Fjell and Molly Fyler were first-time participants in the jog.

“I’m not much of a runner,” Fjell said. “But I really like Christmas and I really like Mass. Street. I figured this is better than studying for my final tomorrow morning.”

The event, put on by the Red Dog’s Dog Days crew, led the eager participants up and down Mass. Street for a little fun exercise.

“It’s fun and it’s for a good cause,” Don “Red Dog” Gardner said. “A lot of people donate.”

Donna Hrenchir made her sixth appearance at Thursday’s event. The wily veteran, dressed in purple and white, said the annual jog allowed her to exercise and be social.

“It’s a great crowd, just a great group of people,” Hrenchir said.

A below-freezing temperature during the winter workout didn’t affect the high morale of those who turned out, but it did make some think twice about their wardrobe selection. Gardner was among them.

“I’d rather have a coat on,” he said.

Donations from participants, which were encouraged, will benefit the Ballard Center, Boys and Girls Club and Cooper’s Cause.


Center training more Kansans to be leaders for healthier communities

Strong leaders create healthier communities.

That's why the Kansas Health Foundation established the Kansas Leadership Center in 2007 with an initial 10-year, $30 million grant.

"We don't believe you can create a stronger, healthier, more prosperous community without many more Kansans able and willing to exercise tremendous leadership," said Ed O'Malley, CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center. "We try to help people learn how to be more effective at leadership."

KLC is unique because of its robust funding, statewide focus and curriculum of civic leadership development. O'Malley said there's nothing like the center in the country and possibly the world.

"It's a special thing for Kansas," he said.

O'Malley spoke Thursday during a break in the center's three-day "Guiding Coalition" event at The Oread Hotel, 1200 Oread Ave. It's an annual event where about 60 of the center's key players review the year and plan for the future.

O'Malley said the Wichita-based nonprofit has about a dozen full-time employees and offers a variety of programs. Some programs are four consecutive days, while others are 12 days spread over a year.

Each year, it reaches nearly 1,000 Kansans - everyone from pastors to legislators to grassroots advocates.

Sue Hack, executive director of Leadership Lawrence, uses the center for consulting, training and exchanging information with other Kansas community leaders. For example, KLC has a fall program that is attended by about 200 people.

"Every community has its own challenges, and how they make these adaptive solutions to their problems is really exciting to see," she said.

Hack estimated about 60 Leadership Lawrence participants have received training at the center, and they've found it to be useful.

"Taking on a position of leadership is risky," she said. "It's difficult. It's hard work. But if we are going to change the civic culture of our community, then we've got to have courageous conversations and we've got to be willing to not only speak, but to listen."


De Soto-based medical research company Oncimmune shows off test to detect lung cancer early

Determining whether a nodule the size of a pinhead is lung cancer or not sounds like a nearly impossible task, but, thanks to a company called Oncimmune, a simple blood test is doing just that. Oncimmune, based in De Soto, has developed a multi-panel blood test, the Early Cancer Detection Test-Lung, or EarlyCDT-Lung, to detect antigens produced by tumors in early-stage lung cancer. The majority of lung cancer cases, approximately 85 percent according to the Lung Cancer Alliance, are detected in late-stage form and have a mere five-year survival expectancy.

Late detection is more common because early-stage tumors are often too small to be seen on a CT scan and because the early symptoms of lung cancer — chest pains and shortness of breath among them — are relatively common with many conditions. Oncimmune’s blood test uses the body’s own chemical composition to detect the presence of even the smallest tumor.

“A test like this was really needed for lung cancer detection because there aren’t any other options out there,” said Oncimmune President and CEO Dan Calvo. “The survival rate for patients caught with late-stage lung cancer is only 15 percent but with early detection, that rate nearly triples.”

The test

Robotic equipment dispenses Oncimmune's testing serum into a divided plate already prepared with a patient sample. The tray will pass through a series of serums and incubation periods before a reactive dye is introduced to detect the final presence of autoantibodies indicative of lung cancer. It takes approximately one week for a patient blood sample to undergo Oncimmune's Early Cancer Detection Test-Lung.

Robotic equipment dispenses Oncimmune's testing serum into a divided plate already prepared with a patient sample. The tray will pass through a series of serums and incubation periods before a reactive dye is introduced to detect the final presence of autoantibodies indicative of lung cancer. It takes approximately one week for a patient blood sample to undergo Oncimmune's Early Cancer Detection Test-Lung.

The blood test was launched in the Midwest and Southeast in May of 2009 and nationally in June of this year. Approximately 500 physicians in 35 states are using the test to help diagnose patients.

“The EarlyCDT is being used by these physicians for two reasons: mostly it’s being used as a follow-up for a clearer diagnosis when nodules are spotted in a patient’s lung, and secondly it’s being encouraged for patients with a high risk of lung cancer, namely those with a long history of smoking or with a family history of lung cancer,” Calvo said.

Physicians draw a blood sample from EarlyCDT-Lung patients and prepare the sample to be sent to Oncimmune. Once received in De Soto, the patient sample is tested by Oncimmune staff, usually passing through eight pairs of hands, to be tested for elevated levels of a specific autoantibody, the chemical that indicates the body is fighting a tumor. Results of the test are returned to the physician in about a week; an elevated autoantibody result on any of the panels tested is a positive indication of a cancerous tumor.

“Our test, while the final read-out is a fairly basic color chart, is actually pretty complex; our people have been taught how to conduct it properly,” Calvo said. “That’s why, at least for the foreseeable future, EarlyCDT-Lung will have to be done in-house and not by physicians themselves.”

Since launching EarlyCDT-Lung, Oncimmune has processed a few hundred tests each month, or about 100 tests a week. In addition to completing all EarlyCDT-Lung tests, the De Soto lab is also in the process of developing EarlyCDT-Breast, which will hopefully be launched in early 2011.

“Scientifically, the EarlyCDT method could be used to detect any of the solid tumor cancers; breast, colorectal, etc., it’s just a matter of isolating the exact autoantibody for each type,” said Calvo.

Increased survival

Calvo is hopeful that the work Oncimmune is doing in the field of lung cancer research and detection will help advance treatment and increase quality of life and survival rates.

“In the grand scheme of treatment and detection research, lung cancer is way behind. The survival rate for lung cancer patients has stayed the same for the past 30 years while other cancers, breast, prostate, etc., have improved. I’d like to see that change,” Calvo said.

Kansas University Medical Center contributed to the development of EarlyCDT-Lung as well. William Jewell, medical director for the EarlyCDT-Lung project and faculty member at KU, has helped link the two institutions.

“Oncimmune wanted to work with some of our protein chemists (at KU) and I had some time on my hands since retiring from active surgery so I stepped in to help consult with everyone,” Jewell said. “It’s been a lot of fun for me because retiring completely would have been like walking off a cliff and because, before (EarlyCDT-Lung), lung cancer was the kiss of death because it was caught late. So it feels great to be involved with such a cause.”

Public reaction

Oncimmune hosted its first open-house on Thursday, which was well-attended.

“I’m just amazed at the turnout we had; it’s far exceeded our expectations,” Calvo said. “We’ve seen people from all walks of life come in, everyone from retired medical professionals to some high school students. I think this just goes to show how important this research is and how many lives lung cancer touches.”

Guests had the opportunity to walk through the laboratory and see technicians run research samples through the process for the developing Early Cancer Detection Test-Breast.

“This lab is just incredible and the work they’re doing here is so fascinating and important,” said retired surgeon Anthony Brown, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Brown and his wife, Marjorie, a retired operating room nurse, came to the open house with their friend Jewell.

“We’ve all worked most of our lives in the hopes that something like this (test) would be found and developed,” Anthony Brown said. “This just has the opportunity to do so much good and all from a little blood.”

The Browns also took EarlyCDT-Lung tests with them to have their pulmonologist run.

“I’ve smoked forever; I’m trying to quit, and Tony’s been exposed to that so we both know we’re at risk and should be tested,” Marjorie Brown said.

For Beth Westbrook, a vice-president with LUNGevity, a lung cancer awareness and advocacy group, Oncimmune’s EarlyCDT-Lung is a helping hand in an uphill battle.

“We’re all working towards the same goal, which is, simply put, to save lives,” Westbrook said. “Without early detection, everyone with this disease is behind the eight ball, but with steps forward like this test, that’s changing.”


Local Weight-Loss/Fitness Challenge To Start Again In November

Do you or someone you know struggle with weight-loss? Do you suffer from a lack of energy? Do you understand that exercise is a necessary component for a healthy life, yet still find it hard to get up off that couch? If you are looking to make a change, then let us help kick start the journey to a new, healthier you!

The Biggest Winner Challenge put on by The Chiropractic Experience is a weight-loss/fitness challenge that guides 6 contestants through a 90-day transformation. Each competitor will lose body fat, gain muscle, increase energy, and improve self-confidence as they work together toward achieving their own goals, and a cash prize of $350! For more information about this unique, life changing opportunity, contact Dr. Sean @ The Chiropractic Experience today! 785-838-3333. Applications for the upcoming competition are due on or before October 15th.


Downtown church launches medical clinic

Dr. Dennis Sale works on an exam office at Heartland Community Church at 619 Vt., where he plans to open a small clinic so he can see patients as part of the church’s new ministry.

Dr. Dennis Sale works on an exam office at Heartland Community Church at 619 Vt., where he plans to open a small clinic so he can see patients as part of the church’s new ministry. by Richard Gwin

Fittingly, New Life in Christ church is celebrating its coming-out party with a new ministry.

New Life in Christ for the past 20 years had been known as Heartland Community Church, 619 Vt. With the fresh name introduced a few weeks ago, the church is also launching a medical ministry. That outreach program is called New Hope Medical Ministry. And like New Life and Heartland, it’s a reboot — 11 years ago it came into being as the Heartland Medical Clinic.

New Hope is aiming to see patients each Wednesday starting Sept. 1 for free and minimal-cost health care, says Dr. Dennis Sale, who will oversee the operation.

“We just hope that we can serve the people any way we can. We will be drawing blood on-site, we’ll be able to do EKGs, some good basic medical treatment. We’ll be as full-service as we can at this location,” Sale says. “Obviously, if we have patients who come in who need more expensive care, scans or X-rays, they’ll have to go to the hospital to get those done. We have no way to get those free, but we want to get the ball rolling and help people to identify their problems and move on to whatever they need to be done.”

Learn more about the New Hope Medical Ministry here.


Reputable websites for health & wellness information

Center for Disease Control -

  • Divided into several sections with subsections under each of these: Diseases and Conditions, Healthy Living, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Injury, Violence & Safety, Environmental Health, Travelers Health, Lifestages & Populations, Workplace Safety & Health.
  • Has downloadable handouts on a variety of topics. Reputable, up-to-date information. Several interactive tools and videos. Accurate statistics.

Health & Human Services -

  • Variety of information available including information on health care reform, Medicare, health insurance programs for kids, food safety, Gulf oil spill, the flu, autism, children’s nutrition and fitness, substance abuse, safety issues including domestic violence, and health at all ages and stages.
  • Links to other reputable websites. Also has downloadable handouts on a variety of topics. Reputable and up-to-date information. Several interactive tools and videos. Good statistics.

National Institutes of Health -

  • Information on most diseases. Current research. Information on health at various life stages. Lots of information on living a healthy life. Also has information on alternative medicine such as acupuncture, etc.
  • Links to other reputable websites. More downloadable handouts on a variety of topics. Reputable and up-to-date information. Interactive tools and videos.

National Cancer Institute -

  • Variety of information on various types of cancer including clinical trials and statistics. Good information on cancer prevention strategies including smoking cessation.
  • Downloadable fact sheets. Some of the information is a little above the average lay person understanding so probably need to preview before printing.

American Cancer Society -

  • Lots of information about cancer including specific cancers as well as a whole section on cancer prevention with good information on lifestyle management (smoking, nutrition, exercise, sun safety, etc.).
  • Website is easy to read and navigate. Has downloadable information. Lots of healthy recipes.

American Heart Association -

  • Great information on heart disease and stroke and related issues plus very good lifestyle information particularly focusing on strategies to decrease and manage cardiovascular disease risk factors. Good statistics. Wonderful recipes. Has a lot of interactive tools including risk assessments.
  • Website is a little hard to navigate around at times due to the volume of information contained on it.

American Lung Association -

  • Information on respiratory system and respiratory system diseases including asthma, tuberculosis and other communicable and chronic diseases. Lots of information about smoking cessation including an online course, Freedom from Smoking (there is a fee).

American Diabetes Association -

  • Very good website with great information on diabetes and pre-diabetes, plus strategies for prevention. Meal planner for those with diabetes which is also available in Spanish too. Great recipes. Print is a little small on some of the articles. -

  • All kinds of information about dietary guidelines throughout the lifespan, shopping, food preparation, weight management, dietary supplements, food assistance programs. Interactive My Pyramid for nutritional needs planning.
  • Links to other good websites. Printable handouts.

American Dietetic Association -

  • Nutrition information plus fact sheets on a variety of nutrition topics (also available in Spanish) including healthy snacks, weight management, shopping, food safety and breakfast. Popular diet reviews section. Tips and questions of the day section very informative, although archives on this now more limited than it used to be. Some interactive tools including videos.
  • Much of this website is members only but the public access part is good.

Mayo Clinic -

  • Has a plethora of excellent information on all kinds of health and wellness topics plus disease entities. Easy website to use - very readable and easy to navigate. Huge archives of healthy recipes. One can sign up for a weekly email with health and wellness tips.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital -

  • From the LMH website you can link to a good source of information about several common diseases as well as health information. Has a symptom checker and information about common medical tests, links to online support groups, plus lots of interactive tools. It is called Healthwise and can be accessed by clicking the tab at the top of the page called Your Health and Education.

List courtesy of Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator for Lawrence Memorial Hospital


New community effort to push for workplace wellness

Susan Krumm, of K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County, recently received a $13,500 grant from LiveWell Lawrence to establish a community leadership team to help identify what works and what doesn’t when it comes to wellness programs in the workplace.

She plans to hire a part-time employee by Sept. 1 to help facilitate the team and effort.

Krumm estimates about 20 percent of Lawrence businesses are “dabbling in” wellness, but many aren’t implementing a program that promotes a “culture of change."

“It’s best not to plan your workplace initiative around an activity of the month because research shows that’s not working. It needs to be results-oriented,” she said.

If you are interested in serving on the new community leadership team, contact Krumm at or 843-7058. She is seeking people who represent nonprofits, agencies or companies.

Much more on workplace wellness coming soon, including Krumm's seven tips for a successful program.


Secrets for a healthier vacation


It's vacation season and we all want it to go as smoothly as possible. But there's nothing smooth about catching a bug, getting fried in the sun or throwing out your back lifting luggage. Here's some tips on how to have a happy, healthy vacation.


Don’t Let Arthritis Slow You Down

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a particularly troubling form of arthritis because science views it as an auto-immune disease, meaning that the body's immune system actually attacks its own tissues as if they were foreign invaders. The good news is science also suggests there are natural ways to deal with the pain and mobility limitations of RA without relying exclusively on medication.

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Kudos to six Kansas hospitals for innovative health programs

The Kansas Hospital Association announced today the recipients of the Community Connections Award.

Six hospitals were honored for going to extraordinary measures to improve the health and well-being of their communities.

KHA received 70 entries from 47 hospitals. The entries were judged on the following criteria: leadership, community need, community benefit, creativity and impact. Awards were given to one hospital in each hospital district of the state. Each hospital received $1,000 along with special recognition.

The winners and their programs:

Republic County Hospital, Belleville

The Community Outreach Regarding Excellence in Students (CORES) program brings together coaches, sports medicine professionals, athletic trainers, nutritionists, sports psychologists, sports management directors and Republic County youth grades seven through college in order to develop core strength and agility followed by educational programming.

Sabetha Community Hospital, Sabetha

Healthy U is a free, 12-week, healthy lifestyle education program that features weekly lectures educating participants on successful weight loss management and healthy living. The program lectures are led by a physical therapy assistant/health promotions specialist, a registered dietitian and a medical doctor.

Kingman Community Hospital, Kingman

It provides support for the St. Gianna Health Clinic, which provides free or reduced-cost health care services to Kingman County and surrounding area citizens who are uninsured or at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Basic health care, including treatment of acute or chronic conditions, follow-up care from emergency room visits, disease prevention education, instructive care for chronic conditions and referrals to specialists are provided to those who qualify.

Cheyenne County Hospital, Saint Francis  

The goal of Cheyenne County Clinic is to increase access to care for a challenged segment of Cheyenne county residents minimizing the utilization of the emergency room, acute care and other more expensive avenues of care.

Satanta District Hospital, Satanta

The Community Health Organization Committee provides free and preventative youth development programs to Haskell County children in kindergarten through twelfth grade. In a safe environment, kids hear other kids share that it’s OK to refuse negative peer pressures.

Labette Health, Parsons

The Healthy Kids initiative offers education and assistance to children with Type 1 diabetes and helps to prevent Type 2 diabetes in Labette county and surrounding communities.


Lawrence man warns of antibiotic side effects In January, Kansas University anthropology professor Alan Redd, 45, was a healthy, active father of two who hiked and rode his bike to work everyday.

Six months later, Redd doesn’t bike anymore, as his legs have lost strength and muscle, along with the rest of his body. He’s constantly tired, has severe pain and says he feels “like an old man.”

“I feel like my tendons are becoming unglued,” he said. “I hurt in my shoulders, my elbows, my knees, my Achilles.”

Redd blames his health problems on two common antibiotics, Cipro and Levaquin.

It started when a dull pain in his abdomen was diagnosed as a urinary tract infection. His doctor prescribed Cipro — which has been prescribed for more than 300 million patients since 1987 — to treat the infection. Redd said that as soon as he began taking Cipro, his symptoms and the pain intensified. After a few days, he stopped taking Cipro and was prescribed Levaquin, which along with the brand name drugs Avelox, Proquin and Factive, are antibiotics classified as fluoroquinolones.

The Levaquin didn’t help, and he stopped taking that after a couple days. Ever since, Redd’s experienced a wide range of health problems, from anxiety and insomnia to pain and fatigue.

The problems have had a devastating impact on his life.

“‘My daddy used to chase me up the stairs but he can’t do it anymore because he took quinolones,’” said Redd, relaying comments from his 5-year-old. “The family’s been impacted by this in a big way.”

In doing research into the medications, Redd found an active online community dedicated to raising awareness about the potential side effects of fluoroquinolones. There’s a term used to described the problems — getting “floxed.”

Those who’ve had side effects say they’re pushed aside by a medical industry that hasn’t acknowledge the scope of problems patients can have from the drugs.

“Nobody takes you seriously,” said Sally Court, a Connecticut woman who took fluoroquinolones five years ago, but still has life-altering effects she attributes to the medications. Court has battled doctors for years, trying to convince them that her health problems are related to the drugs.

Cipro and some of the other fluoroquinolones have an FDA mandated “Black Box” warning, the agency’s strongest advisory, for consumers taking the drugs. The warning is related to tendon weakness and possible rupture, and there are warnings against prescribing the drugs to children and the elderly.

Cipro is considered a strong antibiotic, and has been used for people exposed to Anthrax.

Despite the issues described by Redd and others, medical professionals say consumers should be cautious, as with any drug, but warn not to necessarily avoid the drug when it’s needed.

“You always want to weigh the benefits and the risks,” said Allison King, a drug information specialist with the KU Medical Center. But “I don’t think it should stop a patient from taking (Cipro).”

Pharmacist and owner of Sigler Pharmacy, Jeff Sigler, said he hasn’t heard of widespread problems from customers about Cipro or other fluoroquinolones. He said wading through all the potential side effects of drugs is a complicated task for consumers, but he advises learning as much as you can about a drug before taking it.

There are alternatives to fluoroquinolones , Sigler said, but those medications also carry risks.

For him, the benefits of drugs like Cipro outweigh the negatives.

“We don’t want to go back 150 years ago when we didn’t have any antibiotics,” he said, but adds that exposing the problems consumers like Redd have had helps educate the medical community.

Redd said he hopes his symptoms subside in the coming months, though his doctors haven’t been able to give him a prognosis. Some who’ve had such a reaction to the drugs report effects that never go away, while others say that the health issues subside with time.

Reed said he wanted to share his story with others, so they know what he wishes he knew before taking Cipro and Levaquin.

“The consumer is at risk,” he said. “Their health is at risk.”


Sarah Buxton coming back to Lawrence for LMH benefit concert July 22

Country Music star Sarah Buxton will perform July 22 at the Granada to benefit the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association. This year’s show is expected to raise about $25,000.

Country Music star Sarah Buxton will perform July 22 at the Granada to benefit the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association. This year’s show is expected to raise about $25,000.

Country music star and Lawrence native Sarah Buxton was born at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. So were her mom and little brother.

As such, returning to help support LMH is a natural fit for Buxton, who, along with Australian musician Jedd Hughes, will perform July 22 at the Granada to benefit the LMH Endowment Association.

“I have a strong connection with them,” said Buxton, 29, rehearsing in Nashville and currently on the Country Throwdown Tour. Buxton’s first single, “Innocence,” was released in 2006, and she’s been climbing up the country music charts since. Buxton said she hopes to please the hometown crowd.

“Give them a little taste of what I’m doing now,” she said.

Her performance is expected to make a big impact for LMH.

“It’s fabulous,” said Kathy Clausing-Willis, vice president and chief development officer for the hospital’s endowment association. “Her willingness to support the hospital where she was born makes a big difference.”

Two years ago, Buxton came back to Lawrence for a show that raised about $35,000 for the endowment association, which assists medical programs, education and research. Clausing-Willis said this year’s show is expected to raise about $25,000.

What should fans expect from the family-friendly performance?

“A lot of fun,” Buxton said, adding that performing in Lawrence is a relief from some of the stress of the road.

“There’s no judging,” she said. “I can celebrate how far I’ve come in the past 10 years.”


Confused about what doctors tell you?

You're not alone. The Wall Street Journal's The Informed Patient blog says most of us have trouble understanding what physicians are saying.

Nearly nine out of 10 adults have difficulty following routine medical advice, largely because it's often incomprehensible to average people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. And that's bad for health care: Confused by scientific jargon, doctors' instructions and complex medical phrases, patients are more likely to skip necessary medical tests or fail to properly take their medications, the agency says. Studies show that poor health literacy drives up costs to the health-care system and worsens patient outcomes.

With such a critical need, it's not surprising that some services have sprung up to help out. The article details these, including the development of "virtual conversations".

Have you ever been confused about what doctors tell you? I have. Sometimes, with the pressure to see as many patients as possible, they're ready to end a conversation before I can even begin to process enough information to formulate a question.

The physicians that don't let on they're in a rush and wait a few beats after they ask: "Do you have any questions? Is there anything you'd like to talk about?" Those are the best.

But....if you're like me, it sometimes takes a while to organize thoughts into questions. And since no physician I know does email, where do I go? The Internet.


Health experts say losing weight, staying fit is about will to change

Don’t be fooled.

There’s no magic program, pill or diet when it comes to losing weight or shaping up.

Like other experts, Joseph Donnelly, director of Kansas University’s Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management, recommends eating right and exercising.

And you need to do both, not just one or the other.

“It’s not something that happens to you. It’s something that you have to make happen," he said. "If you are unwilling to change the lifestyle that is responsible for you being unfit, and perhaps overweight, then almost by definition you have no chance of success.”

Donnelly, a nationally recognized researcher in weight loss and maintenance, said a variety of programs can provide the incentive for people to move toward a healthier lifestyle. But, he finds, once that program is over people tend to revert to old habits.

“Most people can lose weight. The problem is maintaining the weight,” he said. Fewer than 5 percent of people can maintain their weight loss without physical activity.

Losing weight, shaping up

“There’s no quick fix,” he said. “There is no best way. There’s a huge individual variation in the way people both lose weight and maintain weight loss.”

The standard recommendation for losing weight is a daily reduction of 500 to 700 calories coupled with a progressive exercise program that goes up to between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per week. That’s between 3.7 hours and five hours of exercise per week.

So, is it healthy to lose more than 2 pounds per week like contestants on the popular show “The Biggest Loser”?

It’s OK. But Donnelly advises people to do it only with professional guidance and medical monitoring.

“There’s nothing necessarily wrong with accelerating weight loss as long as you are in a program where you have people who know what they are doing. That’s a big caveat,” Donnelly said. “Many weight-loss programs have people with or without degrees or with questionable training.”

Before signing up for a program or taking health advice, Donnelly said to consider:

• Do they have a degree?

• Do they make outlandish claims?

• Do they say it’s going to be easy?

• Do they just emphasize one thing, like just eating grapefruit or exercising only in the morning?

• Do they have data to back their claims, not just anecdotal stories?

New incentives in Lawrence

With national and local attention on the obesity epidemic, it’s no surprise that more weight-loss programs, fitness trainers and other products are popping up.

Sixty-eight percent of adult Americans and 25 percent of children are overweight, Donnelly said. Only 20 percent of Americans exercise enough to meet health guidelines.

Among those eager to capitalize on the nation’s bulging waistline are Lawrence brothers Ryan and Kris Beckland. They, along with their friend Cliff Nix, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., have started a weight-loss tournament in Lawrence called the Scale Down Challenge.

Participants pay a minimum of $95 to participate in the 10-week competition. They also will pay a $1 penalty for every pound they gain. The money is put into a prize pool. The person who loses the most weight will win 12 percent of the pool. The second-place finisher will take home 7.6 percent. Anyone who finishes in the top half of the tournament will win something; for most, it’s just their money back. Those who finish in the bottom half will lose money.

The administrators of the tournament will take 20 percent off the top.

Ryan Beckland said they came up with the idea after reading a Time Magazine article about how people were more successful in losing weight when there was a financial incentive.

Donnelly, a KU researcher, agreed.

“Money does work in the short run. In our research studies, we pay people,” he said. “There’s research literature especially in the workplace that money or reduction in the insurance premiums provide incentives.”

There’s also plenty of researchers who say money doesn’t work, like Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

“It’s probably a waste of time,” Brownell said, in an Associated Press story.

Ryan Beckland said they modeled the tournament after ones in other communities.

“All we do is administer the tournament,” he said. “We don’t give any weight-loss advice. We don’t offer workout routines or diet and exercise advice.”

But, the organizers are encouraging participants to work with the approximately dozen or so trainers and health clubs that they’ve partnered with.

The tournament begins Saturday, and at least 65 people have signed up. That includes Judith Bellome, chief executive officer of Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association.

Don Fambrough, past honorary chairperson, shares a laugh with Judith Bellome, CEO of Douglas County Visiting Nurses, Rehabilitation, and Hospice. The attended the VNA's 3.d fundraiser April 17, 2010, at The Oread. The event raised more than 35,000 for the VNA Care Cottage.

Don Fambrough, past honorary chairperson, shares a laugh with Judith Bellome, CEO of Douglas County Visiting Nurses, Rehabilitation, and Hospice. The attended the VNA's 3.d fundraiser April 17, 2010, at The Oread. The event raised more than 35,000 for the VNA Care Cottage.

The 64-year-old said she has tried other programs and they just didn’t work. She likes the financial incentive, and thinks it will help her achieve her goal of losing between 30 and 40 pounds.

“I am a competitive person, so when you give me an incentive and say I am competing against other people and not just against myself, it incentivizes me at a higher level,” she said.

Bellome plans to eat four or five small meals per day and has signed up for Zumba classes.

The registered nurse agrees that people should seek professional help if planning to lose a lot of weight, as she is.

“Putting in a dollar for every pound that you put back on, incentivizes you not to do that. I think this is the plan for me,” she said.

The Chiropractic Experience is hosting “The Biggest Winner” competition. It is offering a 12-week weight loss program to six people. The cost is $199. The winner will get $500, and will be determined by a number of factors, including fitness level, essay and weight loss.

Sean Cailteux, an associate chiropractor, said the program will focus on exercise, nutrition and lifestyle habits. Each participant will write an essay before and after the program.

The deadline to apply is July 9, and it is expected to start July 19.

Intense training

Among those who have partnered with Scale Down Challenge is Fernando Rodriguez, a 29-year-old fitness trainer.

Rodriguez, who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and health promotion, started The Underground Lab a year ago. It offers a variety of services to help people reach their fitness goals.

Rodriguez is offering boot camps for women and men starting July 1. He said it’s for people who are in a rut and looking for something different. It is similar to the Red Dog’s Dog Days workouts, but a little more intense. Rodriguez said there will be a trainer for every five or six participants.

“We always are modifying exercises for people who may be a little overweight or we maximize it for those that are athletic,” he said.

Costs range from $42 to $100 per month, depending on weekly participation.

Rodriguez said he trains about 50 hours per week, and has about 35 clients. Their ages range from 16 to 71, and they are all shapes and sizes.

His advice for achieving your fitness goal is the same as that of other health professionals: Eat right and exercise.

“Eating is No. 1,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how much you are working out if you are not eating correctly.”

And stick with it.

Rodriguez agreed with Donnelly, who said: “There’s no sense to lose weight or become fit for six weeks. The people who go like hell usually crash. The people who are successful understand a few basic principles of physical activity and weight management.”


More Lawrence businesses are offering incentives for people to lose weight or get fit. Here are a few new ones:

Scale Down Challenge, a 10-week weight loss tournament where people compete to win money. No health advice is given. The tournament begins Saturday with the first weigh-in from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lawrence Nutrition Center, 4931 W. Sixth St. Visit or call 785-371-4778, to learn more.

The Biggest Winner, a 12-week weight loss competition for six people that offers exercise, nutrition and lifestyle advice. The Chiropractice Experience, 2449 Iowa, Suite Q, is hosting the competition, which costs $199 to participate. The winner gets $500. For more information, click on and visit The Chiropractic Experience’s group page or call 838-3333.

Summer boot camp for men and women. Starting July 1, Underground Lab Fitness will offer camps three times a week. The camps include a warmup, weight training, conditioning, and cool down. Participants can go one, two or three times a week. Prices range from $42 per month to $100 per month, depending on participation. For more information, contact owner Fernando Rodriguez by e-mail at or call 979-7339. The website is

Others include:

Weight Watchers, 2449 Iowa St., Suite C., 800-651-6000.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), a biweekly support group, Bridge Point Community Fellowship Hall, 601 W. 29th Terrace, 843-1692.

Metabolic Research Center, 1420 Wakarusa, 843-5600.

Let us know if you have a fitness program in the Lawrence area at


The American Dietetic Association recommends that people steer clear of any diet plans, pills and products that make these claims:

Rapid weight loss. Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes. Healthy plans aim for a loss of no more than 1/2 pound to 1 pound per week. If you lose weight quickly, you’ll lose muscle, bone and water. You also will be more likely to regain the pounds quickly afterward.

Quantities and limitations. Ditch diets that allow unlimited quantities of any food, such as grapefruit and cabbage soup. It’s boring to eat the same thing over and over and hard to stick with monotonous plans. Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbohydrates. Even if you take a multivitamin, you’ll still miss some critical nutrients.

Specific food combinations. There is no evidence that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of day will help with weight loss. Eating the “wrong” combinations of food doesn’t cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines, as some plans claim.

Rigid menus. Life is already complicated enough. Limiting food choices or following rigid meal plans can be an overwhelming, distasteful task. With any new diet, always ask yourself: “Can I eat this way for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, the plan is not for you.

No need to exercise. Regular physical activity is essential for good health and healthy weight management. The key to success is to find physical activities that you enjoy and then to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.


Chiropractic Experience to host BIGGEST WINNER competition!..

Beginning July 19th The Chiropractic Experience will lead 6 contestants through a life-changing weight-loss competition, focusing on exercise, proper nutrition, and better lifestyle habits. This competition is open to the public, so if you think you have what it takes to be THE BIGGEST WINNER stop by The Chiropractic Experience at 25th and Iowa St. and pick up your application today!....

Applications due July 9th! Are you ready to be in the greatest shape of your life?!! Would you like to feel better, have more energy and a higher self-esteem than you ever thought possible? If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, The Chiropractic Experience thinks you have what it takes, and would like to invite you to be 1 of 6 contestants for this year’s “Biggest Winner” challenge!

The 12 week life-changing program for $199 includes:

*90 days of personal training using the acclaimed P90X training program

*Before & after body composition analysis and fitness assessment

*Body For Life book

*Eating For Life book

*Chiropractic Experience water bottle

Grand Prize $500 cash

Workouts will be held every morning from 630-800 AM in The Chiropractic Experience yoga studio. Dr. Sean Cailteux will be leading these classes using the workouts of the acclaimed P90X series. We only have room for 6 participants which we will select from the provided applications. For more information or for an application stop by The Chiropractic Experience at 2449 Iowa St., Ste. Q or call us at 785-838-3333


Big Pharma’s Bold-Faced Lies that can Destroy Your Health and Wealth in 2010

Here, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, shares shocking information about the underbelly of medical science to help you understand how, and why, the "scientific method" has become so manipulated and willfully distorted by the drug industry.


Diet Tricks That Really Work

According to Live Science, these diet tricks will actually help you keep off the pounds:

Avoid corn syrup

Science shows that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is bad news. One study showed that rats who drank HFCS-sweetened beverages gained significantly more weight than rats consuming the same amount of calories in sugar.

Keep away from junk food -- It's Addictive

Junk food can affect your brain in ways similar to drug abuse.

Structure meal times

Long stretches without food make people crave energy-dense snacks, which can make healthy choices difficult.

Satisfy your body -- especially at breakfast

A protein-rich breakfast leaves you less hungry for the rest of the day. Some fat in the meal can help, too.

Favor foods closer to nature

Favoring whole fresh foods over processed ones will naturally optimize the healthiness of your food choices.

Change your environment

Altering your food environment -- whether this means using smaller plates or keeping seconds out of immediate reach -- can help you lose weight.

Enjoy your food

Food that is eaten mindlessly is neglected food. When you pay attention, you are satisfied in a deeper way.


World’s Largest Workout Tweetup (#wlworkout)

Are you on Twitter and live in the Lawrence area? You should join us for a calorie-burning tweetup on Tuesday, June 8 at the World's Largest Workout at Kansas University's Shenk Sports Complex on the northwest corner of 23rd and Iowa Streets.

For the tweeples: We're going to build buzz around the workout with the hashtag #wlworkout. Then others in the online community can follow your tweets about your experience. (What's a hashtag? Find out.) Tweet @WellCommons or just share:

  • What you're excited about
  • Who you hope to see there
  • How your workout went

Remember to tag all your tweets with #wlworkout!

If you post pics or videos using the hashtag, I'll post them in a gallery on WellCommons the next day.

Lawrence’s second “World’s Largest Community Workout” will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, at Kansas University’s Shenk Sports Complex at the northwest corner of 23rd and Iowa streets.

Participants need to turn in a waiver form, which can be downloaded ahead of time under the workout’s group page on, signed and brought to the event, or signed at the event.

Bring water and a towel.

Carpool, walk or bike, if possible. Parking is available in the Park and Ride Lot or the Lied Center parking lot.

If there is inclement weather and the event is postponed, organizers will contact local media, including, about 3 p.m. The rain date is June 15.


7 Simple Steps for a Healthy Heart

The American Heart Association has, for the first time, identified seven health factors and lifestyle behaviors its research indicates are necessary to keep your heart in good shape.

The AHA says ideal cardiovascular health for adults is defined by these health measures:

1. Never smoked or quit more than a year ago

2. A healthy body mass index (BMI)

3. Physical activity, and the more the better

4. Blood pressure below 120/80.

5. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 milligrams/deciliter

6. Total cholesterol of less than 200 milligrams/deciliter

7. Eating a healthy diet

The AHA hopes the seven factors could improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent by the year 2020, and also reduce deaths from cardiovascular-related diseases and strokes by 20 percent.


TV appearances net big results for Lawrence firefighter

It’s one of those moments people in journalism live for. An e-mail popped up from Paul Schneider this week. The man was thanking me for telling the public in September all about his weight issues.

I told them everything:

“Schneider admits he’s packed on a few pounds as he’s aged, currently tipping the scales at 235 pounds.”

Schneider was preparing to go on “The Dr. Oz Show” for some help losing weight.

Now, nearly a year later, the man’s giving not just Dr. Oz. – but also me – credit for helping him lose 50 pounds and helping him take 6-inches off his waist.

“ I feel great and because of the Dr. Oz show and the little push that you gave me by interviewing me, I am releasing a new CD and playing a concert at The Granada,” Schneider wrote in his e-mail. “Just wanted to say thanks. I think that if you wouldn't have done the interview and put me under the microscope I might have skipped out on the experience!"

Schneider’s posted photos of his new, lighter, look -- and some of his music -- at

Sometimes all you need is a “little push."


Bike to Work Day photos

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Our Bike to Work Day meetup was a lot of fun! We had 20-30 riders come by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for fruit, donuts, juice and coffee.

It was neat to meet people who are so dedicated and passionate about riding their bikes. The folks who attended ride anywhere from 1-40 miles a day!

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.

Lawrence residents who bike to work stopped by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike for a Bike to Work Day meetup on May 21, 2010.


My Friend Recently To

*My friend recently told me about a laughter yoga class she took in England...Who doesn't love to laugh*


“Social Networks a Lifeline for the Chronically Ill”

....according to an article by Claire Cain Miller in today's New York Times.

They are gathering on big patient networking sites like PatientsLikeMe, HealthCentral, Inspire, CureTogether and Alliance Health Networks, and on small sites started by patients on networks like Ning and Wetpaint.

And....there's one more: WellCommons! It's a Lawrence/Douglas County community networking site....for everyone concerned about health.