Teens need annual checkups, too

  • Written by BPT

During cold, flu, and allergy seasons, sick teens and their parents are more likely to make time to see the doctor. However, these visits tend to focus on a specific illness rather than the teen’s general health and well-being. Annual checkups, on the other hand, can provide an opportunity for teens and their doctors to discuss important health topics, such as weight, sexual health, vaccines and stress-related conditions.

Statistics show that as children get older, they are less likely to get an annual checkup. As many as 25 to 30 percent of teens may not be getting an annual checkup, despite the fact that they are recommended for adolescents by the American Medical Association and other professional societies.

In a national online survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and Pfizer, 85 percent of parents surveyed believe that annual checkups are important for children before age 5, yet only 61 percent of parents believed the same is true for teens. The survey included 504 teens aged 13 to 17 years, 500 parents of teens aged 13 to 17 years and 1,325 healthcare professionals, and was fielded by Harris Interactive between Dec. 27, 2012 and Jan. 23, 2013.

Many parents may not even realize how important staying healthy is to teens. The same national online survey found that more than six out of 10 teens surveyed say they worry a lot or a great deal about staying healthy, but only three out of 10 parents surveyed think their teens worry about it.

Teens who do not get annual checkups and forego the opportunity for preventive care may be at increased risk for short- and long-term health problems. The teen years are also an important time of physical and emotional development. Even if teens look or feel healthy, they are going through many changes, and an annual checkup can give them the opportunity to ask questions and have a confidential conversation with a doctor about topics such as:

* Height and weight
* Alcohol and drug use
* Recommended vaccines
* Sexual health, including screening for sexually transmitted infections

For more information on the importance of an annual visit for teens, as well as tips, strategies and additional information to help navigate teen health, visit

Spring cleaning your medicine cabinet? :Simple steps to cut cabinet clutter

  • Written by BPT

As temperatures warm and flowers blossom, Mother Nature’s renewal often inspires us to refresh our own surroundings. It’s officially time for spring cleaning, but as you focus on scrubbing floors, refreshing draperies and dusting every surface in sight, don’t forget about one area critical to your health and happiness: your medicine cabinet.

Your medicine cabinet is the workhorse of your bathroom, meaning it can quickly become a chaotic mess of bottles, pastes, brushes and other items you need every day. It’s time to cut through the clutter and refresh this area so you can find everything you need in an instant.

Step 1: Declutter
Too many things stacked together makes it difficult to see everything in the medicine cabinet. Take the time this spring to get organized and focus on items you really need. Go through your cabinet and remove unused and expired items that are taking up valuable space, including makeup, cough syrup and prescription medicine. Once you’ve cleared old and unused items, take the things you use regularly and group similar products together to make it easier to find what you need. For example, on the first shelf, place pastes and brushes, on the second shelf shaving supplies, and designate the top shelf for medications.

Step 2: A fresh start
Now, that your medicine cabinet is organized, it’s time to stock up on essentials that you use regularly and keep you feeling happy and healthy. If you are a denture wearer, this is the perfect time to explore using an adhesive. According to a Fixodent survey conducted by Wakefield Research, more than 80 percent of denture wearers experience some sort of gum irritation. Denture adhesive helps to prevent gum soreness and assists in protecting your mouth from the hidden enemies of food particles and odor causing bacteria. Fixodent Plus Gum Care provides long lasting hold that helps stop movement and helps prevent gum irritation, so you can keep enjoying life. Learn more at

Step 3: Be prepared
Not only is it important to re-evaluate the contents of your medicine cabinet, it’s worthwhile to think ahead so you’re always prepared. When it comes to small things like insect bites, cuts and stubborn coughs, staying organized and anticipating the unexpected is key. At the start of each season, consider what you might need. For example, spring is a good time to stock up on allergy medicine, antiseptic for bug bites and new bottles of sun block. For prescription medications, consider signing up for your pharmacy’s auto-refill program so you never forget an important refill again.
Spring cleaning is a great way to reinvigorate your home and life. Remember to include organizing your medicine cabinet on your list of to-do’s so that you’re prepared for all the adventures that await in the season to come.

Mom was right, you should eat more veggies - here’s how you do it

  • Written by Mom was right, you should eat more veggies - here’s how you do it

The majority of Americans say they’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables over the past year, according to a poll by the International Food Information Council Foundation. And, with good reason; eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and prevent some types of cancer, according to Harvard School of Public Health.

How many servings of vegetables do we need to eat? The USDA recommends between two to three cups for most adults (more if you exercise more than 30 minutes per day) and between one to two and a half cups for kids. It may seem overwhelming to try to pack that many veggies into everyone’s daily meals, but there are actually a lot of fun, easy and delicious ways for the whole family to eat more vegetables.

Let’s start with breakfast. Veggies may not be top of mind at this time of day, but it’s easy to sneak some into your first meal and get lots of nutrients to kick start your day. If you are a warm breakfast type of person, try adding spinach, peppers and tomatoes to your eggs in the morning, or make it easy and flavorful by adding salsa into a serving of scrambled eggs or on top of an omelet. If you’re a breakfast on the go type, throw some kale, spinach, celery or cucumber, along with fruits like berries and bananas, into a smoothie and take it with you.

For snacks, cut carrots and celery into sticks ahead of time and store them in the fridge for easy munching. Then, when you get hungry pour a few tablespoons of a delicious ranch dressing, like OPA by Litehouse Greek-style yogurt dressing, which is light on the calories and fat, has zero sugar, and is gluten-free, into a small bowl and dip the carrot and celery sticks, or even tomatoes on toothpicks. You can also try baking kale or sliced beets mixed with olive oil and spices on cooking sheets until they are crispy for a tasty and healthy take on traditional chips.

For lunch or dinner, beat the cold by pureeing butternut squash, cauliflower or broccoli for a warm soup. Or, make a mason jar salad that tastes as good as it looks, with this recipe:

Mason Jar Salad

Layer each ingredient in a mason jar in this order:

Bottom layer: 2 tablespoons OPA by Litehouse Greek-style yogurt dressing in Feta Dill

Layer 2: Mix of any of the following – beans, diced cucumber, shredded carrots, diced bell peppers, sliced radishes, edemame, chickpeas, green beans

Layer 3: Mix of any of the following – diced tomatoes, diced red onion, corn, peas, sliced mushrooms, diced broccoli, quinoa, walnuts

Layer 4: Greens such as spinach, mixed greens, kale, arugula


• Always make sure the dressing is on the bottom and the greens are on top, so they stay fresh and crisp

• Use a variety of colorful vegetables and make it fun for the kids to help

• Make several for the week and label the top. – Everyone can grab their own for lunch on the go.

For more salad ideas, visit

With a little preparation and experimentation, it’s easy to find delicious ways to incorporate more vegetables into your family’s diet every day.

International Study Links Tanning Beds to Melanoma

  • Written by Source:

Many teens and twenty-somethings want that bronzed glow all year ’round, and when they can’t tan outdoors, millions use sunbeds to get it. Every year, nearly 2.3 million American teenagers visit tanning salons.

The dangerous consequence is a significantly increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to an international study (IARC, "The Association of Use of Sunbeds with Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers: A Systematic Review," International Journal of Cancer 120, no. 5(2006): 1116 - 1122).

Reviewing all available worldwide data – 19 international studies – a Working Group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, a branch of the World Health Organization) found a strong association between tanning bed use and melanoma risk. Across all age groups, males and females who have ever used tanning beds have a 15 percent higher risk of developing melanoma.

More alarming still, based on seven worldwide studies, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.

The IARC’s findings also reinforce previous research showing that tanning bed use increases the risk for squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common skin cancer.

False claims by tanning proprietors

Finally, the study disputes tanning salon owners’ and operators’ frequent claims that sunbeds offer health benefits because they provide a "base tan" that helps avoid sunburn. "The evidence does not support a protective effect of the use of sunbeds against damage to the skin from subsequent sun exposure. There is no such thing as a safe tan," declares Dr. Beatrice Secretan, coordinator of the IARC Working Group. "Young adults should be discouraged from using indoor tanning equipment, and restricted access to sunbeds by minors should be strongly considered."