Category: Health Promotion

Health Benefits of Going Green

House plants have always been a staple of many people interior and exterior design. Our fascination and attraction to greenery is long-ingrained in human history. However, new research is show that there may be serious health benefits to being exposed to greenery. A UCLA study has shown that increasing “greenness” in urban settings can improve mental health.

In addition to this, there are a number of other studies which suggest positive relationships between greenness and a number of disease outcomes, such as obesity, preterm birth outcomes, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. These studies provide interesting and exciting glances into an emerging field, which highlights the importance of greenness and preserving natural landscapes. These things can improve public health, and likewise benefit our natural environment.

 

 

http://dailybruin.com/2019/04/09/ucla-study-suggests-spending-time-in-green-spaces-may-improve-mental-health/

https://journals.lww.com/epidem/Abstract/2017/11000/Interrelationships_Between_Walkability,_Air.4.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4181932/

http://med.miami.edu/news/residential-blocks-with-greater-greenness-linked-to-lower-risk-for-alzheime/

 

 

 

 

A Need to Address Student Stress

For both collegiate and graduate students, stress is a commonplace experience. Research findings are showing that students are experiencing anxiety at troubling and increasing rates. Nearly one in five American college students is burned with an anxiety disorder. Stress – specifically financial stress – is expected to be one of the factors underwriting this epidemic.

Although stress is traditionally defined as “how the brain and body respond to any demand”, particularly those which are negative – such as traumatic events, major life changes, etc. However, with stress can come a range of unexpected physical side effects. This includes but is not limited to: headaches, low energy, aches and pains and insomnia. Over time, when someone endures prolonged stress, it can lead to more serious consequences, such as anxiety and mental health deficits.

Experiencing some stress is a normal and necessary part of everyone’s lives. However, as mentioned above, excess stress can yield serious adverse health consequences. It’s important to keep one’s stress in balance, and healthline.com has provided a short list of ways to help reduce stress:

  • Talk about your stress to a friend, or family member
  • Listen to music
  • Eat nutritious food
  • Exercise
  • Be mindful
  • Get better sleep

 

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/anxiety-epidemic-hits-american-college-students-at-campuses-nationwide/

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body#2

https://www.healthline.com/health/10-ways-to-relieve-stress

 

 

 

All about abortion doulas

Like a birth doula, an abortion doula is someone who is trained to provide nonjudgmental emotional, informational, and physical support to a pregnant person. Depending on the needs of a patient, as well as the needs of a medical clinic, an abortion doula may be present before, during, and after a procedure or only for certain windows of time during a patient’s visit such as during the procedure itself. Examples of an abortion doulas role may include sitting with a patient in a waiting room to calm any nerves, holding a patients hand during a procedure, and spending time with them post-procedure to make sure all of their needs are being addressed. The overarching role of an abortion doula is to hold space for a person and give them unconditional support for the brief time they are together.

Current research has shown that abortion doulas don’t make a significant difference in patient pain levels, satisfaction rates, or procedure duration, but that women who have the support of an abortion doula are less likely to need additional clinic support. This suggests, that much like a birth doula, the most important thing an abortion doula does is provide peer and psychological support throughout the process.

Abortion doulas are still significantly less common than birth doulas. However, students at UNC are working to address this unmet need. This fall, 2019, two graduate students at UNC will be piloting an abortion doula collective at UNC Chapel Hill. This organization will be under the direction of Dr. Amy Bryant, who is a licensed abortion care provider and professor in the UNC School of Medicine as well as in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Volunteers in this organization will undergo training and will regularly volunteer at local medical clinics. For more information please email UNCabdoulas@gmail.com

By: Lily Evans

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4275368/

Lack of Diversity in Fashion: impacts on mental health

Today, when one looks through the catalogues and social media accounts of many well-known fashion brands, homogeneity can be expected. When focusing specifically on women’s fashion, there is a major issue of lack of representation in diversity of models. This applies to many fronts: lack of diversity in race, body size, body type, etc. Trans-women and women who don’t conform to gender “norms” are often excluded, and brands rarely depict models with visible health conditions and/or disabilities.

This lack of representation can have seriously negative impacts on the mental health of many people of different ages. Most often, models are skinny, tall, and white. When these are the only women being depicted in the media as desirable – it can weigh heavily on the shoulders of those who do not and cannot conform to these standards.

The good news: the tides seem to be changing. Certain brands have begun to combat these patterns in fashion branding. This is not in an attempt to tear current models down, but rather to lift women of all shapes, sizes, colors and statuses up. Aerie – a women’s clothing and lingerie brand – has taken on the frontline in this battle. In 2014, Aerie launched “AerieReal”, an admirable campaign to promote the beauty of all types of women in an untouched beauty campaign. Brands like Aerie serve as a beacon here and sets a positive example of how to better promote the physical and mental health of their customers.

https://www.entitymag.com/diversity-fashion-moves-slower-models-catwalk/

https://www.hercampus.com/school/western/fashion-and-mental-health

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/aerie-all-women-project-ad-diversity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVJDs9nVbsY

 

 

Fear vs Hope: Appeals & Climate Change Communication

Communicating the health consequences of climate change can be challenging, especially when the audience is full of climate-deniers. In the field of climate change communication, there is often much debate over the usage of fear appeals vs. hope appeals. In the past, many campaigns have leaned towards using fear as a persuasive tactic. However, now, the tides seem to be shifting away from this. Yale University has researched climate communication on many fronts and finds that fear may actually lead to further pushback and disbelief of global warming.

At the same time, messages which lack realism on the severity of climate change are not found to resonate either. These messages often fail to generate interest or understanding in the importance of the issue, and often fail to inspire audiences to believe and/or take action on the issue.

Instead, the right communication tactic requires a perfect “cocktail” of emotion.  Behavioral scientists believe that these messages cannot be over-simplified into “fear” or “hope” appeals. Instead, each message should be thoughtfully tailored to the desired audience. And through this, Yale University offers a couple of important points to keep in mind through message development:

  • Connect with audience
  • Provide information at beginning
  • Address the concept of “urgency”
  • Be persuasive
  • Use credible messengers
  • Use opportunities well
  • Connect with viewer’s values and beliefs
  • Create a sense of “uniting and conquering.”

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/04/climate-fear-or-hope-change-debate

https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2012/01/helping-the-cause-or-making-enemies/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-017-0021-9?WT.feed_name=subjects_scientific-community-and-society

 

 

 

What does a doula do?

Doulas provide support to expecting mothers throughout all stages of the pregnancy. Labor doulas are the most common type of doula, but there are also antepartum doulas, postpartum doulas, and abortion doulas. Today we are going to talk about labor doulas.

Labor doulas help mothers create a birth plan, address fears and concerns they have about birth, and provide emotional support throughout the birthing process. Most doulas are not medical professionals, but are instead women who are experts in the birthing process.

Having a doula is associated with significant positive outcomes. Women who use doulas report less pain in the birthing process and are less likely to need a c-section. They also help decrease the length of labor by up to 25 percent!

Pregnant women in the Chapel Hill area can take advantage of UNC’s volunteer doula program. This program, Birth Partners, provides women giving birth at UNC hospitals with a professionally trained doula, free of charge!

Women in other parts of the US and abroad can search DONA International to find a birth or postpartum doula to assist them through the birthing process.

https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/having-a-doula/

https://www.dona.org/what-is-a-doula/find-a-doula/

Which celebrities are using doulas?

Doulas are having a moment. While they’ve been around for centuries, their use decreased with advent of modern medicine and hospital birthing. Recently, though, as the benefits of peer-support and non-medical birthing professionals become more well known, doulas are again becoming popular in the delivery room. There are many types of doulas, and this week’s posts will explore the different types and what they do. First, though, let’s take a look at some familiar faces that you might not have known used a doula!

 

Jessica Biel.

Kristen Bell.

Mayim Bialik

Kelly Ripa.

Kimberly Van Der Beek.

January Jones.

Erykah Badu.

Nicole Kidman.

Idina Menzel.

Tia and Tamera Mowry.

Alanis Morissette.

Alyson Hannigan.

Heidi Klum.

Mila Kunis.

Meghan Markle?

The Duchess of Sussex is set to give birth any day now and rumors have been swirling that she has hired a doula to assist her with the birth.

Do you know of any other celebrities who have used doulas? Have you used one yourself?

Check in tomorrow for information on what, exactly, a doula does.

https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/giving-birth/doula/what-is-a-doula/https://thestir.cafemom.com/celebrity_moms/215020/celebrities-who-had-doulas/254688/heidi_klum/22https://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/slideshow/9962/celebrities-who-hired-a-doula/10/https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2019/02/meghan-markle-doula-rumors

5 Ways to Be an Advocate for Lesbians and other WSW in South Africa

In South Africa we are free. But in the communities that we are living in, we are not free”, Valisa Jara claims, referring to the targeted violence against lesbians, bisexual and women who have sex with women (WSW) in South Africa. Since 1998, at least thirty-one lesbians have been killed in attacks, many of which began with “corrective rape”- an assault in which a man rapes a lesbian, bisexual or WSW in an attempt to “cure” her sexual orientation.

According to research done by the Johannesburg based Forum for the Empowerment of Women, black lesbians who live in isolated townships, are particularly vulnerable. In addition, alarming rates of rape and sexual violence have resulted in high rates of HIV among lesbians and bisexual women in South Africa.

Despite the stigma and discrimination lesbian and other WSW experience in South Africa, they are still fighting for their human rights to be acknowledged and protected. So, with these challenges on the ground, what can we do to combat this violence and advocate for Lesbian and other WSW in South Africa?

1. Recognize South Africa’s homophobia is a colonial export. Same- sex relationships were historically prohibited in South Africa because of the sodomy laws inherited from the Dutch colonists. These laws impacted same-sex relations among various South African groups. We need to recognize the colonial underpinnings of homophobia and have honest discussions on human sexuality in the African context before, during and after the colonial period.

2. Be an Advocate and Act. President Cyril Ramaphosa recently said, “The LGBTI community in South Africa, as much we all have rights, is a community that still needs to be properly supported, properly positioned”. We can be engaged and empowered in the fight against WSW /lesbian stigma by joining advocacy and victim empowerment organizations like OUT, Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), and others.

3. Educate children on sexual diversity through online platforms. According to a report by The Other Foundation, there is modest support for more education about the human rights and social inclusion of lesbian people in South Africa, both for learners in school as well as community based education. Mila, a website and app, which hosts a large series of videos that feature South Africans, tackling South African-centric issues, can be used to teach children about sexual diversity.

4. Support Reform Initiatives. In recent years, gruesome stories of murder and rape have grabbed South African headlines, but little has been done to improve the mechanisms to monitor hate crimes incidents. We can support multi-sectoral coalitions like the Hate Crimes Working Group which can act to prevent and to combat hate crimes by improving the policing of, and judicial responses to hate crimes; and assist in the development of effective mechanisms to monitor hate crimes incidents.

5. Be an Ally. Many Lesbian and other WSW feel confined by the complexity of intersecting injustices: lack of education, joblessness, powerlessness in family or community, and poverty. Donating to non-profit organization like Micro Rainbow International can help Lesbians and other WSW boost their income and economic opportunities through crowd-sourcing platforms.

By:

Marie Guiraud

 

For information, check out:

https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/south-africa-fight-acceptance-rainbow-nation

https://bit.ly/2DpI8sQ

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3696027

https://www.out.org.za/index.php/about-out/programmes/advocacy

Home

https://www.outrightinternational.org/content/directory-organizations-relevant-human-rights-lgbt-people

 

New Technology: Consenting Condoms

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 30% of women will experience physical or sexual violence by either a partner or stranger. Organizations like the WHO, the United Nations, and Equality Now have all declared sexual violence as a global epidemic that needs to be addressed.

An Argentinian company, Tulipan, has attempted to answer this call. Tulipan developed a new condom to emphasize the importance of consent.  The innovative condom requires four hands to open; ideally this translates to two people working together to open the condom. Tulipan promoted their new product on social media with ads what quickly went viral.

While some are praising the company for considering consent when developing condoms, others are critiquing the product. One of the issues people have identified is the four handed approach itself, noting that not everyone has two hands or have the mobility to move their hands in the motions required by the packaging. Another common criticism is the idea of one-time consent versus ongoing consent. The act of consenting and opening the condom together could give the illusion that consent cannot be withdrawn, which is not only false, but a dangerous misunderstanding about what consent means.

Beyond consent, making condoms more difficult to use could result in decreased usage. If this were to happen, then rates of sexually transmitted diseases could increase. Regardless, Tulipan is helping start the conversation about consent and ending sexual violence. We are excited to see more from this company in the future!

By: Abbey Schneider

For more information, check out:

http://www.tulipan.com.ar/

https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/violence/VAW_infographic.pdf?ua=1

https://nypost.com/2019/04/04/this-consent-condom-takes-four-hands-to-open/

https://www.equalitynow.org/the_global_rape_epidemic_campaign?locale=en

https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/stevens/ct-life-stevens-thursday-consent-condom-criticism-0411-story.html

Sweet Savings: The Impact of Added Sugar Labels

In 2016, The FDA announced that manufacturers were going to be required to share the amount of added sugar on nutrition labels. A new report from Tufts University indicates that the health related savings of this new regulation will be significant. Researchers used mathematical modeling to predict how much the labels would reduce sugar intake—and consequently, how much of a decrease in diabetes and heart disease the U.S would see.

Over the next 20 years, they predict that it will prevent more than 350,000 cases of heart disease and more than 600,000 cases of type-2 diabetes. The health impact is significant, but the economic impact is staggering. Following the implementation of these new nutrition labels, we can expect to see more than THIRTY ONE BILLION dollars in healthcare savings.

Further, this estimate is conservative. If, like when the FDA ruled that trans fats had to be better labeled, companies respond to the rule by reducing the added sugar content of their products, the impact will be even greater.

Sometimes, small changes can make a big impact. Health communication for the win!

What do you think about the change in nutrition labels? Should the government be doing more to limit the sugar intake of Americans? Leave us a comment!

https://nypost.com/2019/04/15/proposed-sugar-label-could-save-31b-in-health-care-costs-study/