Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Governor Quinn Signs Law to Enhance Physical Education in Illinois Schools PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 13:56

Continues “Walk Across Illinois Challenge”

OAK PARK, IL – August 25, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law to enhance physical education in Illinois schools. In addition, the governor continued to urge Illinois residents to take the “Walk Across Illinois Challenge” (, a program the governor launched to improve the health and fitness of the people of Illinois. Governor Quinn led a group of walkers on a half-mile trek through Oak Park.

“Today we want to encourage people to be fit, be healthy and walk across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law is another step in the right direction to help the citizens of Illinois improve their health and wellness.”

Senate Bill 3374, sponsored by Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Plainfield) and Rep. Jerry Mitchell (R-Rock Falls), creates the Enhance Physical Education Task Force to examine existing physical education strategies and programs, assess the impact of physical education, and identify and leverage local, state and federal resources for physical education. An initiative of the Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the bill was supported by major teachers’ and school organizations, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association and other health advocates. The law is effective immediately.

“This law helps us take a serious look at the positive impact PE has on students. It benefits them both physically and mentally. Studies show that physical activity increases the ability to concentrate and improves cognitive function. There is a connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind,” said Sen. Holmes (D-Plainfield).

“As a former coach and physical education teacher, I know first-hand the value of physical fitness,” said Rep. Mitchell (R-Rock Falls). “This Task Force will help put Illinois schoolchildren on the right path.”

The new Task Force will collaborate with the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness, which was created in January to develop practical ideas to help Illinois residents embrace healthier lifestyles. The Council is chaired by Sandy Noel, a Golden Apple Award-winning teacher and fitness instructor.

“With initiatives such as ‘Walk Across Illinois’, Governor Quinn’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness and the new Enhanced Physical Education Task Force, we are  affirming the importance of teaching physical education and health in our schools, and living what we learn,” said Sandy Noel, the Oak Park teacher who co-chairs the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness. “Summer is drawing to a close. Walk outside and let’s get fit together!”

Originally launched by Quinn when he was Lieutenant Governor, “Walk Across Illinois” is an interactive program which encourages participants to walk 167 miles in a single year, roughly the distance across Illinois from Rock Island on the Mississippi River to Chicago on Lake Michigan. Ten years ago, Quinn – joined by his 78-year old physician, Dr. Quentin Young - walked that 167-mile-route to promote the Bernardin Amendment which called for decent health care for everyone.

Residents wishing to take the “Walk Across Illinois Challenge” may visit, where they can register, log their mileage, learn about hiking routes and get helpful tips. A chart enables you to convert other activities to mileage, such as 30 minutes of bowling or 20 minutes of lawn-mowing being equivalent to one mile.

Once a walker has reached 167 miles, he or she receives a certificate from the governor. Illinois has approximately 270 hiking trails, 63 miles of walkable Lake Michigan shoreline, thousands of miles of riverfront paths and countless neighborhood walks.


Diabetes On-The-Go PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 13:20
Diabetics Can Maintain an Active Lifestyle

A whole industry has grown up around freeing diabetics to lead less restricted lives. Tubeless insulin pumps, a needleless blood-glucose monitoring system, and diabetic-friendly frozen foods are among the innovations helping people with the metabolic disorder to live lives on the go.

With the number of diabetics growing worldwide – 246 million at last count, according to the World Health Organization – businesses are motivated. In 2011, diabetes therapeutic products were a $23.7 billion dollar industry feeding a growing population that’s starving for a better quality of life, says Chef Robert Lewis, “The Happy Diabetic,” author of two cookbooks for people with the metabolic disorder.

“It wasn’t long ago that Type 1 diabetics had to be sure they packed ample sterile syringes and insulin, whether they were going to work for the day or on a road trip,” he says. “Monitoring blood sugar levels, which is crucial to keeping vital organs healthy, was painful, primitive and hit-or-miss.

“And food? That’s been the hardest. A diabetes diagnosis can feel like a life sentence of bland eating.”

Among the “firsts” Lewis says diabetics can look forward to:

• The first tubeless insulin pump. Thirty years ago, people with insulin-dependent diabetes had to give themselves shots around the clock to control their blood sugar levels. In some cases, diabetics were hospitalized to ensure they got the insulin necessary to prevent ketoacidosis, a condition that can lead to coma and death. In 1983, the insulin pump was introduced. It attaches to the body and provides continuous insulin injections. But while it was a major breakthrough, it can be bulky and awkward, with a dangling catheter. The most recent innovation is a streamlined version called the OmniPod. It has no tubes, it’s smaller and it attaches anywhere on the body with adhesive. It also has a built-in glucose-monitoring system.

• The first needleless glucometer. The Symphony tCGM System uses ultrasound to monitor blood-sugar levels, which will free people from the painful pricks needed to get a small blood sample for testing multiple times a day. The device, which attaches with adhesive to the body, continuously tracks glucose levels day and night and can send the readings to your smart phone. Under development for more than a decade, Symphony is undergoing the studies necessary to win regulatory approval.

• The first diabetic-friendly frozen meals. Meals-in-a-Bun ( are low on the glycemic index, low in sugar and carbs, high in soluble fiber, low in trans fat, high in lean protein and low in sodium, Lewis says. “And the best thing is, they are delicious.”  The five varieties – two vegan and three vegetarian – include selections like Thai Satay, mushrooms, broccoli and tofu in whole-wheat flax bun. “This is particularly exciting because, while there have been advances in equipment that makes life easier for diabetics, there haven’t been for convenient, packaged foods.”

Diabetics who do not watch what they eat may wind up suffering kidney damage, stomach problems, heart disease, pneumonia, gum disease, blindness, stroke, nerve damage, complications during pregnancy, loss of limb and other health problems, according to the CDC.

But many Americans are trending toward healthier diets, eating less meat, gluten, salt and sugar, Lewis says. Tasty foods developed for diabetics will be excellent choices for them, too.

“What’s good for diabetics is good for everyone,” he says. “And you don’t have to give up one teaspoon of flavor.

“There’s a reason why I am called ‘The Happy Diabetic’; I have discovered the joy of nutrition-rich food.”

About Lifestyle Chefs

Lifestyle Chefs is a Santa Clara, Calif., company specializing in creating meals inspired by world cuisines and using only natural, healthy and nutritious ingredients. Lifestyle Chefs’ products are all vegetarian and diabetic-friendly, perfect for families who want fast, convenient meals that are low in calories, high in nutrition and robust in flavor. Chef  Robert Lewis, “The Happy Diabetic,” was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1998. He specializes in flavorful recipes that won’t spike a diabetic’s blood sugar.

Surviving Survivor Guilt PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:41
From Natural Disasters to Layoffs, Today’s World is Full of Tortured Survivors, Physician Says

There wasn’t a name for the syndrome before the 1960s, when psychologists started recognizing a condition among patients who all happened to be Holocaust survivors. It came to be known as “survivor guilt.”

The affliction also affects those who have endured war, natural disasters, the suicide of a loved one, epidemics and even employment layoffs. Eli Nussbaum, recently named among the top pediatric pulmonologists, is keenly aware of the circumstances surrounding this subset of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I am a consequence of the Holocaust – both of my parents lost their families during those years,” says Nussbaum, author of The Promise (, a novel that begins in Poland on the eve of World War II and follows three generations through the aftermath.

He is among the group known as the “Second Generation” – children born to survivors anxiously trying to rebuild the families they’d lost. Nussbaum was born in Poland to a man who’d lost his first wife and four children, and a woman who lost her first husband and child, during the Nazi’s genocidal regime.

“Because of my family background, I am intimately aware of life’s fragility and how a devastating experience can affect a person emotionally,” he says. “As a Second Generation, I too was shaped by my parents’ trauma. While being raised by survivors made some of us more resilient and better able to adapt and cope, it made others distrustful of outsiders and always on the defense.”

For anyone profoundly affected by loss, he says, it’s worth the effort to work at transitioning from guilt to appreciation of the gift that is their life. He offers these tips:

• Seek treatment early: The sooner counseling is provided, the more preventable or manageable guilt may be. Early methods may recognize a survivor’s feelings and eventually offer alternative perspectives. The hope is to get the survivor to see the loss of colleagues, friends or family as the result of misfortune that has nothing to do with personal culpability.  

• Watch for delayed reactions – even years later: No two individuals are identical, and some survivors do not show symptoms until long after a traumatic event. If you or a loved one has experienced a life-altering change or loss and later develop problems such as clinical depression or a prevalent sense of self-blame, be aware they may be rooted in past trauma and share that information with a counselor. Other problems that could be signs of survivor guilt: nightmares, unpredictable emotional response and anxiety.

• Don’t turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with uncomfortable feelings: Many people suffering post-traumatic stress-related disorders try to self-medicate or somehow will themselves into a better mental state. Drug addiction is often the result, which is why those who suspect a problem should seek professional help. One-on-one therapy, as well as group talk and possibly doctor-prescribed medications are frequently used to help survivors move past guilt.

“Whether people are dealing with the loss of life from combat, or an accident, or suicide, they may not consider themselves ‘victims.’ So they don’t seek help,” Nussbaum says. “They may also feel that no one has been through the same experience.

“That’s why it is important to be surrounded by loved ones who can offer love, support and perhaps the perspective to seek professional help.”

Because their families were gone, many Holocaust survivors did not have that option, which Nussbaum says made the writing of his novel that much more imperative.

“Only they can know just what it was like – but suffering is a universal experience to which we can all relate,” he says. “Life can get better, and the story of my parents, and the fortune in my life, is proof of that.”

About Eliezer Nussbaum, M.D.

Eliezer Nussbaum, M.D., was born in Katowice, Poland. He is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics Step VII at the University of California and Chief of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Medical Director of Pediatric Pulmonary and Cystic Fibrosis Center at Memorial Miller Children's Hospital of Long Beach. He has authored two novels, three non-fiction books and more than 150 scientific publications, and was named among the top U.S. doctors by US News and World Report in 2011-12.

Sin Begets ‘Walk in Bethel;’ Love Redeems It PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:31

If ever there was a contemporary writer with the credentials to write about a family drama in the Mississippi Delta, it’s Rose Mary Stiffin, author of “Walk in Bethel” (

Her book is a return to the Southern Gothic tradition – one she understands, having been raised in Indianola, Miss., where she picked cotton as a child. Set in this sweltering part of the country, the story begins in the early 1890s and follows three families, two of which descended from slaves, through nearly a century. Stiffin writes in the vernacular, describing the darkest passages of the human heart and its well-lit corridors of freedom, forgiveness and love of family.

The story is set into motion when Nashville Thompson, a preacher’s wife, on her way home from a sickbed visit, is set upon and nearly raped by two white brothers. The man who fends off the rapists then leads her on a terror-filled trek home as the two seek to avoid the enraged brothers. In the chaos that ensues, a sin is committed that will shape the generations to come.

Add to the plot – and the next generation -- a man harboring a violent secret who marries into the Thompson family and the stage is set for decades of struggle and triumph, sorrow and devastation.

“ ‘Walk in Bethel’ is a beautifully written, multicultural saga,” writes reviewer Deborah C. Pollack. “There is a generous sprinkling of spice, as well as intrigue, warmth, and unflinching realism. … It would make a perfect book club candidate as well as a fine film.”

Dr. Debra Perkins writes that the novel’s roots are evident from the outset.

“The book sizzles with sexual tension as the veneer of civilization is worn thin,’’ she writes. “There is murder, rape, lynching and depravity of the ‘natural superior.’ These characters surprise – and live.”

About Rose Mary Stiffin, PhD

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Rose Mary Stiffin’s life is an example of Americana and the American Dream. She went from picking cotton as a child to earning several degrees, including a bachelor’s in chemistry from Mississippi Valley State University, a master’s in organic chemistry from Mississippi State University, and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. She is the chair of the Division of Health and Natural Sciences at Florida Memorial University.

Loebsack Announces More Than $374,000 for Community Coalitions to Prevent Youth Substance Abuse PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:28

Grants awarded to organizations in Clinton, Van Buren, and Henry Counties

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that the Office of National Drug Control Policy has awarded Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) grants totaling $374,998 to the Van Buren County Safe Coalition, the Henry Healthy County Communities, and the Clinton Substance Abuse Council (also known as the Gateway ImpACT Coalition).

“I have been a strong supporter and advocate for the Drug Free Communities Support Program.  This funding will allow these valuable programs to continue their work to better protect the health and safety of our children,” said Congressman Loebsack.  “The Drug Free Communities Support Program uses a successful community level approach to prevent youth alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use.  I have met Iowa students involved with these programs and applaud each of these community coalitions for the great work they do.”

The Drug Free Communities Support Program works to increase citizen participation in order to reduce youth substance use by creating a local coalition of community leaders, parents, adolescents, teachers, business leaders, law enforcement and the media.  These grants will provide the necessary funds to continue the work of the drug free community coalitions and keep young people informed and safe.

Details of the funding are below:

  • Van Buren County Safe Coalition, Keosauqua, $125,000
  • Henry Healthy County Communities, Mt. Pleasant, $125,000
  • Clinton Substance Abuse Council, Clinton, $124,998


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