Sunday, October 30, 2011

Everything You Should Know About Seeking Health Information on the Internet

When it comes to your health, how do you know that whatever information you received on the internet is accurate and reliable?

 There are a number of reasons why one would turn to the internet to seek health related information. In fact, the internet has become an important means for helping people make health related decisions. May be lack of health insurance plays a role in why we use the internet to maintain healthy or it could be simply the convenience that the internet provides. More and more of us use the internet to:
  1. Engage in more primary prevention behaviors
  2. Increase our awareness of certain illnesses and diseases
  3. Research the latest health gadgets and devices
Research has indicated that those who use the internet as a primary source for health information were more likely to to be health conscious, more concerned about their health, and more likely to engage in healthy behaviors than those who did not use the internet as a primary information source (1). 

Here are a few tips to make sure that you are receiving reliable, quality, and accurate health information from the web:
1. Minimize use of .com sites as much as possible. There are many quacks out there and we don't want to be prey to them. Instead, utilize sites that end in .edu(education sites) or .org(organizations) or .gov(government sites). 

2. Always compliment one source with another. For example, if you're searching breast cancer on site A, don't be afraid to compare and contrast the information  on breast cancer found on site A with site B and site C. It doesn't hurt. Research, because when it comes to our health, we need to be sure.

3. Here is a checklist for evaluating Online Health Information from the Spry Foundation (2).

1. Can you tell who created the content Yes No
2. Are you given enough information to judge if the author is reliable? Yes No
3. Can you tell if the content is current? Yes No
4. Can you tell if the content is accurate? Yes No
5. Do you have confidence that your privacy is protected? Yes No
6. Is the content copyrighted? Yes No
7. Does the site provide complete contact information? Yes No
8. Is it clear who is funding the site? Yes No
9. Is there a clear disclaimer posted? Yes No
10. Does the site provide references for its content? Yes No
11. Is it clear who is the intended audience? Yes No
There are many advantages to using the internet to seek health information. Although, there are barriers to seeking care online, using the internet is a means for us to take more responsibility of our healthy, and take more of an active role.

Disclaimer: Remember technology is a tool and should not be used as a crutch or as a replacement to visiting your doctor or any other health care provider. Always question what you see on the internet and never take anything at face value, not matter how pretty the site looks.

I hope this information was helpful to you?  
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1. Dutta-Bergman, M.J. (2004). Primary sources of health information: Comparisons in the domain or health attitudes, health cognitions, and health behaviors. Health Communication, 16(3), 273-288.

2. SPRY Foundation (2001). Evaluating health information on the World Wide Web: A hands-on guide for older adults and caregivers. Retrieved October 21, 2011, from

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Affordable Health Care for All people

MLK said it best when he said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane"

 Access to heath care should be considered a human right for all people. It is sad that often times, we as a people, have to sacrifice our health care due to lack of medical insurance or paying other bills. The health disparity gap in this country is ridiculous to say the least. Still we have not figured out how to increase the health and well-being in some communities.

Health care is everybody's business. Think about it, how ignorant is an argument, which argues for health care for 'me' and not for 'us.' Example, I'm not affected by disease X, why should I care!" Infectious diseases as you know are infectious (no surprise there) and does not discriminate. Therefore, anyone who comes into contact with the flu virus or HIV or TB, whatever the disease, will have an increased chance of  contracting said infectious disease. In the movie, For Colored Girls by Tyler Perry, the Janet Jackson character refused to donate money to support HIV+ women. It was only when she tested positive for the disease that she thought it useful to donate.

We as a people need to support health care for all -- We need to support affordable, quality, and equal access to health care for everyone.

In my opinion, we as a people, as a country need to take more responsibility of our health. More and more of us are dying from and developing illnesses that are highly preventable, such as stroke and certain forms of heart disease. The health and well-being of a person not only affects the individual, but their families, friends, communities, and lastly their country. Our choices today affect later choices in the future; it's just a fact. I'm not perfect, but I live and make choices with my family in mind. Do you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Good Health Series (Intro.)

The Good Health Series

The Good Health Series focuses on some of the dimensions of wellness. The goal is to promote health prevent disease, and inspire others to engage in matters of their own health. Health and wellness looks/is differently from person to person. There isn't any one way to achieve optimal health, and instead, many different ways. The Good Health Series hopes to challenge all of us (including) myself to think outside the box when it comes to health & wellness.

The Good Health Series will focus on:

Physical- involves taking care of the body by making healthy & positive choices that affect the physical body
Social – involves creating & sustaining relationships with others, your community and yourself
Spiritual – involves having a sense of purpose, meaning making, faith
Emotional – involves stress management, and being self-aware of emotion and its effects on you & others

The first installment of the series (which will be posted in a few days) will look at ways we can increase fiber in our diets.

***If you would like for me to cover any topics on health/wellness, please let me know***

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease. The definition is clear; yet, it can be quite difficult to achieve this complete state of well-being.

Wellness is encompasses various aspects of health. It takes into consideration all dimensions of health: spiritual, social, physical, occupational, environmental, emotional, and intellectual. Moreover, wellness drives an individual to engage in health promoting and disease preventing behaviors. 

***Don't forget to comment|Follow|Use the Reaction Buttons***
Medical Wellness Center. University of Miami.

Majette, G. (2011). PPACA and Public Health: Creating a framework to focus on prevention and wellness and improve the public's health. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 39(3), 366-379.

Be healthy,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Treating Food like Medicine

Hi guys,

What I am sharing with you is MY philosophy on food and nutrition. I am not a licensed nutritionist, just a student in the Health Promotion field sharing her thoughts on how to maintain her overall health and well-being. 

Food should build, nourish, heal and most importantly nurture the human body. I am constantly making changes to my diet to ensure that my body is supplied with the nutrients/vitamins/minerals that it needs to function well; to repair 'wounds,' to generate healthy cells by inhibiting faulty or cancerous cells. Just like a mother protects her child from harm, food has the same effect on the human body. Recommendations for nutrients, vitamins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are there for a reason. It has been shown that antioxidants found in berries, tomatoes, green tea and the like neutralizes free radicals in the body, aiding in the prevention of cancer and premature aging.
I think its necessary that what we put in our bodies is promoting health, and not necessarily because its its available. If the body is not protected and nurtured, it won't produce good results. I've seen the power of some foods to cause havoc and damage. However I've seen the power of food to reverse damage-like medicine that renews the human body too restore life, happiness, and balance. Good health is the most valuable asset in life. You can have all the nice things in the world and all the money in the world, but if you're too sick to enjoy it then what's the point!
Source: EatingWell

With all that being said, I'm not here to push my values unto you. I think its important to understand that food has the power to restore, transform, heal, and nourish the human body---like medicine.

I would love to hear what you have to say on the topic. Comment|Follow this blog for more topics like these| Use the reaction buttons. (o:

Stay healthy,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Truth about Breast Cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Month and this post is dedicated to increasing your awareness of this disease and educating yourselves on the risk. The more we know and the more we are informed, the more we can make better decisions about our health and our bodies. So please spread the word, talk about breast cancer and take active measures to prevent this disease. Encourage your aunts, cousins, sisters, moms, grandmothers, etc who are over 50 to get a mammogram. (Don't forget that men get breast cancer as well). Most importantly, take active steps to ensure that they do get regular breast screenings by joining them to their doctor's appointment. Be supportive.

 Statistics from the United States show:
  • 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.

  • 39,840 women were expected to die from breast cancer in 2010. This is despite a decrease in breast cancer deaths since 1990.
  • the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. Women is breast cancer. 

  • About 20-30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer, which means that 70-80% of some women who develop breast cancer, do not have a family history.
  • The most significant risk factor for developing breast cancer is being a women and age (growing older).

  • Women of color, especially African Americans are disproportionately affected by breast cancer. They are more likely to develop this disease and more likely to die from it.
 Good News:

Over the recent years, there has been decreases in breast cancer deaths, as result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness. In fact, in 2010, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. 

  What should you be doing?
  • If you are over 50, don't forget to take your yearly mammogram screening. If its time to take one, let the month of October be the month that encourages you to do so.

  • If you're in your 20s or 30s and do not have known breast cancer risk factors, a clinical breast exam by a health professional should be part of your regular health exam once every three years. 

  • If you detect any changes in your breasts, you must contact your health care provider immediately.
  • Monthly self breast exams are also important to detect any changes with your breasts. 

  • For those of us who are younger than 50, make sure that you are performing self-breast exams. 

  • Most importantly, take the time to think of other cancers and diseases that are just as deadly to you and others around you and look up the facts about them. Be proactive!
***And remember that screenings and tests won't prevent breast cancer or other forms of cancer from developing, but if it is found in its early stages, the chances of overcoming it can be high.


Stay informed,