Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.

8.31.2010

Tip of the Week: Avoid Portion Distortion

8.31.2010
Click the photo for serving sizes!
It can strike fear in the hearts of many: the dreaded Freshmen 15. Studies have shown that actual weight gain is less than the perceived 15 pounds, but there is evidence to support that freshmen students are more likely to gain weight than their upper-class colleagues.

Many factors can play into college weight gain; maturing bodies, changing schedules, stress, and alcohol use are just a few examples. Another key factor is the availability of an all-you-can-eat buffet. While it may be tempting to load up at FCC- those calories add up! Remember, just because the dining hall is all-you-can-eat, doesn't mean you have to eat all you possibly can.

To avoid the Freshmen 15, practice portion control. Fill half your plate with fibrous fruits or vegetables and use the other half for your protein and carbs. Sit down with one plate at a time. It takes roughly 20 minutes for your brain to process the signals from your stomach that you are full. If you shovel down three plates in a hurry, you may find yourself feeling stuffed! Protein and fiber leave you feeling fuller, longer, so choose those options over simple carbs and fats. Make healthy swaps for a more nutrient-rich meal. Little changes in your dining hall habits can have a big impact on your overall health. Partner your healthy eating with a few trips to the Rec Center, and the Freshmen 15 may elude you!

Test your portion distortion knowledge here!

8.30.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

8.30.2010
SEE Tip: SEEing is achieving when it comes to Sleeping, Eating, and Exercising. Be sure to get at least 7 hours of Sleep each night, Eat at least 3 nutritious meals a day, & Exercise at least 3x/week. SEE for yourself how good health is linked to academic success!

Quit Tip from HKB: Want to help make Hopkins a healthier smoke-free environment? Join HKB in the fight against tobacco! Check out our table at the SAC Fair this Friday from 2-5pm in the Rec Center!

Minimize Monday: This summer has been a scorcher! Many people have avoided cooking in their ovens to minimize excess heat in their homes; however, if you must cook in your oven, ask yourself if you could make the same dish in the toaster oven. By occasionally substituting oven use for toaster oven use, you will cut down on your Energy bill and your carbon footprint.

8.27.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

8.27.2010
The time has come. The last weekend of summer is suddenly here. For those returning to Hopkins, you may take this weekend to catch up with old friends back at your favorite stomping grounds. Perhaps you are throwing a party of your own to welcome the start of another year. But this weekend, the upperclassmen are joined by a new class of Hopkins students: the freshmen class. For some this is the first experience with alcohol. Even those that may have drank in high school may have no idea about the access and excess to which they are about to be exposed. This first weekend of college offers great experiences, but also opportunities for danger. Because of this brand new environment and new situations, freshmen are especially vulnerable to the overuse of alcohol. Aside from the obvious puking, injuries, and hangovers in the morning, freshmen women are especially vulnerable to being taken advantage of. In fact, 90% of college rapes involve alcohol use by the victim and/or assailant. While we want you to enjoy your first weekend of the college experience, be sure you enjoy it safely!

Continued...



A Word from Student Health and Wellness

Over the years, students have told us "you can't schedule being sick." To respond to that very legitimate concern, we developed a "walk-in" system. In that system (modeled after the emergency room or urgent care centers), students could walk-in to the Health Center and ask to be seen without an appointment. The system operated on a first-come, first-served basis, with the sickest students being seen first. In that walk-in system, the wait was directly proportional to the number of students walking in: more students in walk-ins meant longer wait times.

This past year, the feedback we got was clear: the wait was too long. We took your feedback to heart. Over the summer, we consulted with colleagues at other schools, researched the practice management literature, and consulted with a group of students.


As a result of these deliberations, the Student Health and Wellness Center is pleased to announce the launching of its same-day (open access) appointment system, beginning Monday August 30. "Open-access" is the name most health care practices use but your fellow students told us "same-day" better conveyed what we are trying to do. Here's how it will work. Each day, we will start with approximately 60-80% of our appointment slots unfilled (we'll call these unfilled slots "same-day" appointment slots). These slots can be booked by students with acute illnesses or injuries. The "same-day" appointment slots will be spread across all providers and will be available throughout the day. By spreading the "same-day" appointment slots throughout the day, we hope to avoid the bunching and long waits that occurred in the old walk-in system. In this open acccess system, you'll be able to get a "same day" appointment by phone or in-person and be able to leave the Health Center to do other things until your appointment-time arrives. 


Continued... 

8.26.2010

Tip of the Week: Safety First

8.26.2010
To the Class of 2014, welcome to Hopkins! As your parents pull away from your freshly organized dorm room, you may find yourself with one word on your mind: FREEDOM! For perhaps the first time in your life, you are completely in charge of your decisions. You suddenly have no curfew, no chores, no schedule, and no parents to tell you what to do. While this new freedom brings great opportunities, remember that it also comes with responsibilities. While we want you to enjoy your first few weeks of this new found freedom, we also want you to be safe.

As you begin to explore Hopkins and build new relationships, keep in mind you are in an entirely new environment. You may find yourself exposed to situations that are completely foreign to you. Don't let your vulnerability become a hindrance on your JHU experience. These
first six weeks of school can have a great impact on the rest of your collegiate career. As new students, you are also in the greatest danger of experiencing negative consequences due to careless behaviors, particularly when it comes to alcohol and sex.

No matter what activities you choose to participate in this week, choose to be safe. Look to your RAs and Peer Ambassadors for advice and suggestions on how to have a safe and enjoyable time. They can also inform you of things to avoid to keep you out of harm's way. There are many fun and interactive Orientation programs occurring that offer a great chance to make connections and friendships. While you may be free from the confines of home, you are still new to the Hopkins scene. Trust in those around you to keep you safe so that you can begin your college career on a positive note.

And to the upperclassmen that may be reading this, you've been through this all before. Be helpful and look out for your fellow students. Welcome them to the Hopkins family by being a positive role model and mentor. We're all in this together!

8.25.2010

Welcome to the Class of 2014!

8.25.2010
Freshmen Move-In is upon us! We here at CHEW welcome you to JHU as you start your college career. Along the way, CHEW is here for you to keep you healthy and safe!

8.24.2010

In the News: Keep Laptop-itis Under Ctrl

8.24.2010
Hours spent hunched over your laptop may be useful when it comes to studying, but all that laptop use could lead to long-term health problems. A new report from the UNC School of Medicine has coined the term 'laptop-itis' to describe the poor posture, aches, pains, and discomfort associated with laptop use.

While laptops are convenient, they are not designed with ergonomics in mind. Because the screen and keyboard are within such close proximity, your posture tends to suffer. Either your shoulders and back become hunched, your wrists extended, or your eyes are too far/close to the screen. These can lead to muscle pains, carpal tunnel, or headaches.

If you use a laptop, look into investing in a docking station that allows you to set the screen at an angle that won't cause discomfort to your neck or eyes. Buy a comfortable adjustable chair and practice good posture. Take breaks to stretch and and drink plenty of water to ease muscle and joint pain. Taking these precautions will help to reduce the symptoms of laptop-itis before it mega-hertz!

8.23.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

8.23.2010
SEE Tip: Having trouble falling asleep at the same time every night? Get some sun! According to the National Institute of Health’s Guide to Healthy Sleep, sunlight helps your body produce natural melatonin, a chemical that helps regulate sleep patterns. Getting 30 minutes of sunlight every day can help you stay on track. Just remember to use sun protection! To learn more, click here!

Quit Tip from HKB: If you don't want to quit smoking for you, perhaps you'll quit smoking for the health of your pet! Several studies have shown evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke is linked to cancer in pets. Unlike humans, animals don't have the choice to avoid cigarette smoke. Do Fido and Fluffy a favor and either take the smoking outside, or quit all together!

Minimize Monday: E-waste is waste from computers, cell phones, fax machines, TVs and other electronics. Most e-waste items are non-recyclable and account for 70% of the toxic heavy metals leaking from landfills. One way to cut back on e-waste is to use voicemail instead of an answering machine. If everyone in the U. S. only used voicemail, the energy savings would be equal to taking 250,000 cars off the road. For more information on e-waste, visit The Daily Green or here. To learn how to recycle some of your e-waste through JHU Recycling, click here. You can also find information about e-cycling in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

8.20.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

8.20.2010
The Beer Goggle phenomenon is widely known among college students. The theory is that when someone drinks, they find others more attractive . According to a London study, there is actually truth to the theory. Previous research has shown that humans tend to base attractiveness on symmetry. The more symmetrical a face, the more that person is perceived as attractive. The study found that those who consumed alcohol were less able to recognize asymmetrical faces, thus dulling their ability to judge what they may or may not find attractive when sober. Add to the fact that alcohol affects judgment, and it's easy to see why alcohol can often be involved in decisions to have sex. It should be common knowledge that there are risks to having sex. When intoxicated, it is easier to disregard safe sex practices or to improperly use contraception. Another danger is the risk of sexual assault. Roughly 90% of college rapes involve alcohol use by either the victim, assailant, or both. It is important to remember that the only form of sexual consent is a clear, sober yes from both parties involved. If you choose to drink, don't let poor judgment impact your sexual choices. Look out for your friends and have your friends look out for you. It's about protecting your health! Slow down your drinks and have a clearer mind, Stop@Buzzed!

8.19.2010

FYI: And if you don't know, now you know

8.19.2010
If you check out this blog, then you must have some clue about the Center for Health Education and Wellness. But, do you know the difference between CHEW and the Student Health and Wellness Center?

Yes, there is a difference!

The Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) provides high quality, confidential clinical health care to students of the Homewood campus community. The clinic is located on the terrace level of AMR II, near the entrance to FFC. The health care staff consists of board certified/eligible physicians, nationally certified nurse practitioners, a licensed nurse, medical assistants/technologists, and a nurse mid-wife. They offer a broad range of free or low cost primary care services, including routine gynecologic care, immunizations, physicals, STI testing, and more! The staff also includes a nutritionist, massage therapists, and a herbalist for your wellness needs. The SHWC acts just as your regular primary care office at home. You can call them at 410-516-8270 to make an appointment to address your health care needs.

The Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) is a branch of the Student Health and Wellness Center, but located in Levering Hall, Suite 115. We act as the health promotion and outreach arm of the SHWC to deliver awareness and prevention. Our mission is to provide health education programming and health promotion to the student population to foster a healthier JHU community. We offer a variety of programs and opportunities that support and affirm student health and wellness through the delivery of fun and interactive programming and outreach throughout campus. Our office consists of only two staff members, but we work with involved, health-minded students! You may have seen one of our student groups (PEEPs, HKB, or Stressbusters) or recognized one of our campaigns (SEE for Yourself, Stop@Buzzed, or Condom Sense), but perhaps you didn't realize they were related to CHEW. Look for us on campus with health materials and giveaways, or stop by our office to pick up some health information!

While different, both the SHWC and CHEW work together to help make Homewood a healthier, happier community! You stay healthy, JHU!

8.18.2010

In the News: Say what!?

8.18.2010
Ever make fun of your parents or grandparents for being hard of hearing? You may soon be suffering from the same problem! A recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly 1 in 5 adolescents is already suffering from some sort of hearing loss. This number is up 30% from peer groups from the 80's and 90's. The study even found that 5% of youths between the ages of 12 and 19 has suffered enough damage that it may impact their ability to listen and learn. This damage could lead to the need for hearing aids at a younger age in adulthood.

While the study could not identify the use of MP3 players as the culprit, it also did not rule them out. Young adults are frequently exposed to loud concerts, car stereos, and personal music devices. Often, the volume is raised to levels well above safe decibels for the inner ear. If you find that you have to yell over the music, suffer from muffled or ringing ears, or can't hear someone within 2 feet of you, the music is probably too loud.

To help protect your ears, lower the volume in your car while driving and reserve pumping the volume to only your favorite sing-along songs. Check to see if your MP3 player has a maximum volume setting so that songs will not blast in your ears. Wear ear plugs to loud concerts (you will still hear the music just fine!), or opt to stand away from the speakers. You only get one set of ears, so act now to protect them or you may be hard of hearing later!

8.17.2010

Tip of the Week: Let's Get (a) Physical

8.17.2010
Sooner than you may realize, you will be back on campus and back surrounded by lots of people- and lots of germs! Despite the warm weather, many students find themselves feeling ill the first few weeks of school due to the increase of germs in classrooms, dining halls, and close living quarters. Before you shock your immune system back into overdrive, take these last few weeks of summer to get a check-up on your health! As your summer work experiences draw to a close, take a weekday to make an appointment with your primary care physician.

Even though the college years are supposedly peak years for your health, it's still a smart idea to get an annual physical exam. Roughly two-thirds of young adults already have at least one risk factor for coronary heart disease! Early detection and screening allows you to know your risks and start making healthy changes. Physicals also allow you an opportunity to ask your doctor about any concerns or health questions relating to exercise, diet, mental health, or sexual health. And while you're at it, check in with your eye doctor (after all that studying), Ob/Gyn (for your annual Pap), and dentist (to keep those chompers healthy). If you can't squeeze in an appointment with your doctor at home, call ahead to schedule with the Student Health and Wellness Center to keep your health in check. Prevention is the best medicine!

8.16.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

8.16.2010
SEE Tip: Start off your day with sit-ups (or crunches)! A study at Cornell showed that improved abdominal strength can help to prevent lower back pain. "The area of the chest and abdomen is the most important part of one's body from a holistic wellness perspective," she said. "This is your body's central core. It's where your heart, lungs and other vital organs are, where our energy is channeled through. Making this area stronger and more toned will make a difference in one's feeling of being fit." You’ll have better posture, too! To learn more, click here.

Quit Tip from HKB: Everyone is entitled to a slip up or two, but don't let relapses derail your cessation efforts. If you give into temptation and and light up, don't give up all together. Take that as an opportunity to learn. Why did you decide to smoke? Were you stressed, influenced by others, or just couldn't resist? Think of ways you could have handled the situation differently. Toss the pack away and vow to stick with your quit plan the next time around. You can do it!

Minimize Monday: Are you clearing your closet at the start of another school year? Don't just dump your clothes, donate them! Find a local shelter, Salvation Army, or Goodwill and put your old things to good use. Americans dump 245 million TONS of garbage every year. Let your trash be someone else's treasure. Gently used items can take on a whole new life to someone in need. To learn more about donation, click here.

8.13.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

8.13.2010
If you've ever had the unpleasant experience of a dealing with a hangover, it's probably not something you'd like to experience again. Yet weekend after weekend, many college students awake at the crack of noon with the all too familiar pounding headache, upset stomach, and a desire to lay around the rest of the day. There are many theories for the perfect hangover cure; some down an aspirin with lots of water, others swear by greasy foods, and some opt for the hair of the dog approach. Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for a hangover. The majority of the symptoms of hangovers are due to dehydration so consuming water the morning after may help ease your pain, but it won't cure you. It's also important to replenish lost nutrients. Because alcohol breakdown in the liver produces body toxins, the only way to really 'cure' a hangover is to just give it time to run its course. Taking an aspirin is actually dangerous because acetaminophen (the active ingredient) is broken down in the liver as well. As your liver continues to process the remaining alcohol in your system, the damage is increased. If you must take a pain killer to survive the headache, opt for medicine without acetaminophen such as Aleve. Hangovers are also the result of mild alcohol withdrawal. Yes, drinking more alcohol the morning after will ease your symptoms, but only because you are reintroducing the toxin to your body. This is especially dangerous as it increases the likelihood of dependence and abuse. The best way to stop a hangover is to prevent it from even happening. If you choose to drink, pace to one drink an hour to give your liver ample time to process your drink. Drink plenty of water throughout the night and before you go to bed. Keeping your BAC below 0.07 will allow you all the euphoric effects of alcohol without the pesky morning after. Prevent the hangover, Stop@Buzzed!

8.12.2010

Tip of the Week: Go Naked!

8.12.2010
Well, not that kind of naked (unless you really want to). We're talking naked foods, also known as whole foods! These are fresh foods as close to nature as you can get. Because they are unprocessed, they contain no unhealthy fats or refined sugars that so many other foods can contain. They are often naturally high in fiber, protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates, and are packed with nutrients. Some examples include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and lean poultry. The benefits of these foods range from a smaller waistline to a reduction in cancer risk. They can also boost your immune system and your energy levels to keep you fueled and focused.

Besides being great for your health, naked foods are also great for the planet! Processed foods tend to have a higher carbon footprint than whole foods. Roughly 17% of the fossil fuel consumed in the U.S. is used to produce the foods we eat. By purchasing local whole foods, you support lower fuel emissions used in processing and transportation. The next time you go to the grocery store, opt to go naked and support your health and a healthier environment!

8.11.2010

In the News: Deeper Sleepers

8.11.2010
Are your friends or family amazed at how you manage to sleep through just about anything? You can thank this fortunate ability on sleep spindles! Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Sleep Medicine have found these bursts of brain activity that occur only during sleep protect the brain from noise disruptions. Those that seem to sleep effortlessly despite noisy environments tend to have more of these spindles produced.

Researchers studied participants for three consecutive nights and varied the type and volume of different sounds as the subjects slept. Participants who produced more spindles had a higher resistance to waking from sounds. Interestingly, a 2007 study found a correlation between spindle rate and learning potential. The more spindles produced throughout the night, the higher the performance IQ and ability to consolidate memories. Despite these findings, it is still unclear as to why certain individuals produce more of these spindles than others. Scientists are hoping to continue this research to produce sleep aids for disruptive environments.
For more information on the study, click here.

If you aren't lucky enough to have a heavy production of sleep spindles, try to make your environment as conducive to sleep as possible. Turn off your TV or music and relax in a dark, quiet space. If you need some sort of noise to fall asleep, set a fan in your room to act as white noise to block out any outside disruptions. Sleep rejuvenates the mind and body, be sure you get enough!

8.09.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

8.09.2010
SEE Tip: Don’t like vegetables? Want to get the most bang for your bite? Leafy green veggies are some of the most nutrient-dense veggies! Leafy green vegetables are high in numerous vitamins and antioxidants that help prevent cancers, cardiovascular disease, and help regulate appetite. They are low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in folate, vitamin C, potassium, and more. To learn more, click here!

Quit Tip from HKB: Think smoking makes you look cool? While that is subjective, it most certainly may be making you look old! Smoking has been found to lead to premature wrinkling of the skin. The nicotine causes narrowing of the blood vessels, limiting the skin's access to oxygen and other nutrients. Quitting today reduces your chance of developing wrinkles at an early age, no Botox necessary!

Minimize Monday: Carpooling with a colleague or friend is a fun and easy way to cut down on your CO2 emissions. Plan to carpool with a colleague to work. You could also plan to carpool to the grocery store or a local farmers’ market with a friend. If you can’t commit to daily carpools, try to carpool at least once a week. If you have a 15- 30 minute commute to and from work, you could save up to 10% of your monthly CO2 emissions by carpooling. Try carpooling this week! For more information on carpooling, click here. If you are a Johns Hopkins employee or student you can log onto Carpool World to locate other Johns Hopkins carpoolers!

8.06.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

8.06.2010
Once of legal drinking age, you may begin to try new mixed drinks at local establishments. Whether you prefer something fruity, something dry, or something strong, do you know how many servings of alcohol are actually in that drink? Often, bartenders simply pour alcohol into your glass without any sort of measurement. Unless you have a good eye (or an honest bartender), you may be clueless to the exact amount in your hand. A standard serving of 80-proof liquor is 1.5oz, just shy of a full shot-glass. Few bar drinks ever contain just one shot glass of liquor. A full pint glass of Jack and Coke can have 2-3 servings, a large margarita could have up to 4 servings, and Long Island Iced Teas can contain anywhere from 5-7 servings depending on the size and generosity of the pours. Not only are these drinks very strong, but the combinations tend to hide the taste of alcohol. This makes for a dangerous situation. If you choose to drink mixed drinks, pace them more slowly than you normally would a beer or glass of wine. Allow your body time to feel the effects so you know when you have had enough. Opt for weaker drinks, add ice, or split your drink with a friend to lower the amount of alcohol you consume. Your body can only process one serving of alcohol per hour so keep it safe, Stop@Buzzed!

8.05.2010

Tip of the Week: Looking for Love? See Red!

8.05.2010
Perhaps there's a reason for all the red hearts and cards associated with Valentine's Day. Turns out that humans have a greater attraction to those in the color red. Two separate studies found that both males and females find those in red more sexually desirable. There are several theories for this preference; influence of cultural symbols, primal instincts, or natural signs of health and virility are all potential explanations.

If you are interested in getting some attention from a class cutie, try adding some red to your wardrobe. You may catch their eye and start a romance all because of one primary color. Just remember that if things get sexually romantic, always use protection against pregnancy and STIs. A touch of red may spice up the bedroom, but it won't prevent the consequences. Play it safe and use Condom Sense!

8.03.2010

In the News: The Elusive Female Condom

8.03.2010
Sexually active or not, you've probably had at least some education on the male condom. The female condom, however, is not as well known. In fact, many have never seen or possibly even heard of one before.
In Washington DC, community groups are putting female condoms back on the map of sexual health.

Studies from DC recently noted that 3% of the city's population over the age of 12 has HIV or AIDS. This puts them well above the 1% prevalence necessary to call this a severe epidemic. In attempts to protect the community, groups have launched a campaign encouraging the awareness and use of female condoms among the sexually active. Between handing out female condoms, CVS sales, and ads via website and transportation, the hope is that greater education and access to protection will result in greater use. The point is not to discourage the male condom by any means, but to offer options. While the program is still in its pilot stage, cities such as New York and Chicago have already began similar campaigns. To learn more, click here.

Remember, it's your sex life! Stay in control and always use protection. It's important to get yourself tested regularly to keep yourself and your partners knowledgeable. The Student Health and Wellness Center offers free or low-cost STD testing. Just call 410-516-8270 to schedule an appointment for testing. Unfamiliar with the female condom yourself? Learn more here!

8.02.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

8.02.2010
SEE Tip: Do you wake up several times during the night? Avoid eating large meals within 2 hours of bed. Your metabolism slows down when you sleep, so it is more difficult to digest foods that you consume right before bed. Eating a large meal within 2 hours of bedtime can cause you to wake during the night. If you get the late night munchies, choose a light snack instead and rest easier. To learn more, click here.

Quit Tip from HKB: Worried about gaining weight by quitting smoking? While smoking can curb your appetite for the most part, it may make you more likely to reach for unhealthy foods when you do eat. One healthy decision can lead to more, so smoking cessation may lead you to take better care of your dietary habits as well. If weight gain is still a concern for you, follow some of these tips to stay on track!

Minimize Monday: This week you can be the environmental and humanitarian change you wish to see in the world by donating your partially used soaps. Everyone has half used bar soaps around gathering dust that are usually thrown in the trash. Make a small change by donating your used and non-used bar soap to Clean The World, a non-profit organization that works to prevent disease in developing countries by gathering used soap, sanitizing it and redistributing it in other parts of the world. To learn more about this topic, and where to send your soap, click here.