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February 2007: Hearts in Mouth

It’s the month of love – so concentrate on heart health!
February 2007 is American Heart Month.  And into the early part of our month, from 7-14 February, consider learning more about congenital heart problems during Congenital Heart Awareness Week.  Who can forget those young sports figures in recent years who collapsed on the basketball court or on the ice rink?  Most had a congenital problem in the heart that had gone undetected.
National Women’s Heart Day is February 16th this year.  On that Friday, take time at SUNYD or elsewhere (the library; the Internet) to find out more about how women’s heart health and symptoms of illness may differ from that of men. 
February 12-17 is National Condom Week – appropriate for Valentine’s Day falling in that time period!
It’s also (due to candies consumed on Valentine’s Day?!) National Children’s Dental Health Month.  We think in this day and age that children don’t get cavities – especially if we live where the water is fluoridated or where fluoride treatments are given to our children by dentists.  However, children who are not taught about proper flossing and brushing may still get cavities and this could lead to serious problems later on if not properly addressed.  Drinking milk or eating other foods with calcium and Vitamin D may help keep your children’s teeth in better health as well as reducing their eating sugary or sticky foods without immediately brushing afterward (or chewing sugarless gum).
Finally, from 25 February through early March 2007, it will be National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. 
We all watch TV or read newspapers and magazines.  We all see how fashion and society seem to require young girls (and boys, lately) to be slim to the point of anorexia.  Recently, a supermodel who is no longer modeling but has her own TV show was humiliated in the press by paparazzi making deleterious note of her current weight (at 5’10”, she weighs 161 pounds; that’s about right, according to medical suggested weight!).  It upset her because also in the news recently was the fact that a very young model (Brazilian) died due to extreme anorexia and complications from such.  If a retired supermodel is ridiculed simply for weighing what she should for her height and age, imagine how youngsters feel if they can’t match the latest starlet or rock star or action-hero movie star.  We need to get real – and to make sure our youth understand what eating disorders really are and how to avoid the pitfalls.  Additionally, elderly people can develop anorexia even if they never had a history of it if they are alone or have had other trauma in their lives.  Eating disorders are not just a disease of the young and old but can strike anyone at any time. 
For the cold we are about to experience this February, snuggle with a loved one – a spouse, significant other, child, relative, friend or pet, even – and enjoy some heart-healthy soup or other nutritious meal together!