Tag Archives: health

The Importance of Physical Education For Kids

The Importance of Physical Education For Kids

IMG_6837This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Parenting is somewhat of a social experiment, especially when you have multiple kids with different personalities. But as a mother to four kids there are a few certainties that have worked across the board for all of mine. If my kids don’t get enough sleep, they are a mess the next day. If they are hungry, they get cranky, and if they don’t get the opportunity to get out and do something active each day, they get rambunctious. My kids are much more likely to settle down and concentrate when they have had the chance to get some exercise at some point in their day. I feel like those are all pretty common findings among parents. My husband is a physician specializing in cardiac imaging, so he comes at the importance of physical activity from not only a behavioral perspective as a parent, but with knowledge on what a healthy heart looks like. And he comes home from work emphasizing how important physical fitness is to our overall health. I am thrilled to partner with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in advocating for expanded physical education in schools.

Active kids simply learn better.

Our elementary physical education teacher, Ms. Carr taught all four of our kids. Her energy and enthusiasm helped early on to nurture their enjoyment in being active. It became clear to me watching my children thrive, and become more confident under her guidance, how important establishing healthy habits is during primary school for kids. My youngest is now in middle school, but PE is still one of his favorite subjects, and Ms. Carr will always be one of their all time favorite teachers. More recently our state of Rhode Island passed a bond supporting improved parks, bike paths, and recreational areas. As parents, having safe, natural spaces will help to give us more opportunities to augment the 100 minutes per week of physical education required of schools in our state.

Regular physical activity has been scientifically proven to have positive benefits to both body and mind, yet it is too often one of the first programs to be cut from school budgets. It is associated with longer life, lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and even some cancers, physical fitness lowers the risk of mental health problems, and it has been shown to improve academic performance. These benefits are true for all children, no matter where they live, in a rural or urban setting, regardless of race, ethnic, or socio-economic factors. Where a child lives should not dictate their health. Unfortunately, racial and socio-economic inequalities leave many schools without the resources necessary to provide physical education to their kids.

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Research shows that kids need 60 minutes of physical activity each day yet only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year. Parent polls show that 95% understand the importance of incorporating PE into the school curriculum. That means that we, as parents, need to raise our voices and make sure that we are looking out for all children in our country by advocating for the inclusion of Physical Education in every state under the federal education law Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. If health and physical education are not core components of the plan, programs will not have access to the funding needed to keep them running.

Our children are the future, and it is up to us as parents to make sure that we are laying the groundwork for their ability to best succeed. Expanded physical education positively impacts the physical, emotional, and mental health of our children, while improving their academic performance. Learn how you can help to give all children the best groundwork for success with increased PE in your community by visiting the Voices For Healthy Kids website.

NovaVeil Provides Zika Protection With Insect Repellent Apparel

NovaVeil Provides Zika Protection With Insect Repellent Apparel

NovaVeilLast year’s Zika crisis may not be making regular headlines these days, but the Zika virus remains a continuing health threat. According to the World Health Organization it is now categorized along the lines of Malaria or Yellow Fever. New challenges are arising for the families of babies born with microcephaly and other health problems due to the virus, while babies impacted by the ZIka virus continue to be born. There is a vaccine in development, and promising research to curtail the spread of the virus, but pregnant women in at risk areas still have to live with the daily fear that their unborn child will be infected by Zika.  

Meg Wirth and Allison Cote founded Maternova to specialize in women’s health solutions. When the Zika crisis hit they realized that the world could not wait the potential years that it could take to bring a vaccine to market.  Women and babies are the population most directly impacted by the consequences of the virus,  at Maternova they knew that a viable everyday solution was needed to help women to continue to live their daily lives.

At a Zika Innovation Hackathon through CAMTech at Mass General Hospital the Maternova team was awarded initial funding to help launch NovaVeil. They then enlisted Alessandra Gold, a Brazilian-born, Miami-based award-winning designer to create a four piece capsule collection of mosquito repellent, yet fashionable, maternity clothing. In a sense the clothing will help to do during the day what mosquito netting does at night.

“There is a massive amount of literature on bed nets and protecting women and families at nighttime from Malaria, but there was very little out there about protection during the daytime. In part that’s because this is a brand new technology.”

– Meg Wirth, Co-Founder of Maternova

Using a non-permethrin nano-technology patented in Europe, the insect repellent is embedded into the textile of the garments on a molecular level.  The NovaVeil collection is launching with a maternity line that features a dress, a cardigan with a hood, a scarf, and leggings, all designed to be comfortably worn in warm climates. The Aedes mosquitos, which are the type of mosquito that transmit Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya, bite during the day, so not only do the NovaVeil garments provide protection from the Zika virus, but from other insect born illnesses such as Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, and even lyme disease.

The goal was to appeal to and be able to reach women across the economic spectrum, so sales of NovaVeil garments in high-end areas will help to subsidizes providing garments in lower-income areas. It turns out that the cost per wear of the clothing, which remains effective through 50 wash cycles (and when tested was still 60% effective after 90 washes) will be less expensive than it would be to apply insect repellent every day. NOVAVeil side cardigan

Maternova partnered with Americares by adding a NovaVeil maternity top to anti-Zika mother kits they were already giving to their pregnant patients at a health clinic in El Salvador. The goal now is to continue to offer the NovaVeil line at either no cost or low-cost to distribution partners in Latin America in hopes of protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable women, while widening distribution so that pregnant women everywhere can feel safe from the threat of Zika in their everyday lives.  My bet is that, before long, NovaVeil fashionable mosquito repellent apparel will be in high demand for a broader clientele such as aid workers, travelers, and journalists. 

I became an investor in NovaVeil when Maternova announced that it was using the crowdfunding-investment platform Republic to bring NovaVeil apparel to market. Republic enables anyone to invest in socially driven companies not matter how much or how little one has to give. Through Republic Maternova raised over 100% of their goal and fully funded the launch of NovaVeil.   I felt strongly that I wanted to support Maternova as a local, social enterprise, founded by women, and dedicated to improving the lives of women around the world.  

When women help women helping other women, the world becomes a better place for us all.

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Partners With Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Partners With Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Partners With Edesia Global Nutrition Solutionsava copy

Two Rhode Island companies, founded and run by women, have come together this month to double the opportunity for positive impact.

Ava Anderson and Edesia were both boldly founded in Rhode Island in 2009, when the state was in the midst of the great recession that had enveloped the entire country. Both were founded by women on a mission to bring about change, and as a credit to the power of storytelling in the media, both were inspired by a news story they saw on TV.  For Navyn it was Anderson Cooper reporting on a “miracle” treatment for malnutrition called Plumpy’Nut .  For Ava it was a program about the toxins found in everyday cosmetic products that were dangerous to women’s health.

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Ava Anderson

Unable to find any products on the market truly toxin free Ava set about creating her own line of safe non-toxic beauty, and home care products.

Navyn Salem

Navyn Salem

By establishing the non-profit Edesia in 2009 and producing Plumpy’Nut in her home state, Navyn both provided local jobs, and global nutrition solutions all at once.

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Both companies have grown exponentially since they launched five years ago.

For the month of November each order of Ava Anderson products will provide a packet of Plumpy’Nut to a child in need.

Typically within 7-week course of Plumpy’Nut a child suffering from severe acute malnutrition can be brought back to a healthy weight. Proper nutrition is especially critical in small children whose brains and bodies are growing rapidly, and lack of nutrition can cause a condition called stunting from which they will never reach their full cognitive potential.

This partnership offers a great opportunity to purchase safe, toxin free products for yourself and your loved ones, while knowing that at the same time you will also be contributing towards the treatment of a child’s health. Plus for each order made through this link using the party ID # 4418 4 you will be entered to win a $25.00 Ava Anderson gift certificate! You can help us to #NourishTheFuture with these gifts that give back this month.

Please feel free to share this post and inspire others to shop Ava in November for maximum impact.

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This Man’s Mind Is In The Toilet

This Man’s Mind Is In The Toilet

Today is the first ever World Toilet Day and a new report released today Co-published by WaterAid, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, and Unilever’s leading household cleaning brand, Domestos, We can’t wait highlights the stark consequences that the lack of toilets and good hygiene practices have for women and girls. according to this report there are still 2.5 billion people in this world without adequate sanitation. Lack of sanitation directly impacts education, health and safety, especially for women and girls.

“One in three [people] lack access to adequate sanitation,” noted UN Deputy-Secretary General, Jan Eliasson and Unilever Chief Executive Officer, Paul Polman in the report. “The result is widespread death and disease and social marginalization. Poor sanitation exposes women and girls to the risk of assault and, when schools cannot provide clean, safe toilets, girls’ attendance drops.”

In Rhode Island, one man has come up with an innovative  solution. Dr Stephen Mecca is a Professor in the department of Engineering-Pysics-Systems at Providence College, and a visiting scholar at the University of Ghana. He co-Invented the micro flush valve and with his research team has created an environmentally sensible , sanitary, and dignified, re-invention of the toilet. Designed for warm weather environments, this toilet takes less than a cup of water to flush,  and that comes from the hand washing of the previous user. In the above video Dr. mecca explains how it works.

This Microflush toilet is the type of innovation that can transform lives, and the We Can’t Wait Report  shows that strong partnerships between the public and private sectors are key to tackling the sanitation crisis, and that more frequent cross-sector collaboration is essential to improving the lives of women and girls.

Infographic source: the We Can't Wait report

Infographic source: the We Can’t Wait report

About WaterAid

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organization works in 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 19 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 15 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @WaterAidAmerica on Twitter or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraidamerica.

How Important Is It To Wash Your hands? #2030NOW

How Important Is It To Wash Your hands? #2030NOW