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October, 2008: Fall is in Bloom

            We don’t usually want to talk about this – with friends or family or even coworkers.  But Domestic Violence Awareness Month may help us open up about this subject.

            Whether you are male or female, gay or straight, married or single, this can be a serious and even life-threatening situation you or a loved one may be in at any given point in life.  Be aware of warning signs and do not hesitate to offer assistance.  Check http://www.ncadv.org for more information about how you can help.

            On a more optimistic note, October is Healthy Babies Month!  Some of us were raised on the March of Dimes foundation’s work and pleas for support.  They are one of many organizations dedicated to ensuring infants are born without serious disabilities.  October 6th is Child Health Day.  Got to http://mchb.hrsa.gov for more information about maternal and child health.

            We know how important nutrition is for children.  The recent melamine scandal (China and tainted baby formula, milk products, etc.) has had us thinking again about what we give our children to eat.  From 13-17 October, it will be National School Lunch Week (with October 16th – as always each year – being World Food Day).  Take time to review nutrition at http://www.schoolnutrition.org or http://www.worldfooddayusa.org and get involved in any way you can for the children in your lives.

            Finally, let’s talk about the oldest “children” we know – college students.  There is a recent push to return the drinking age in most states to 18.  Many of us in the health care professions know that this would probably only push the illicit drinking even farther into junior and senior high school.  It is too easy to make or buy a false ID or to ask an adult to buy liquor for you if you are a teenager in college.  From October 21-27 this year, http://www.baccusgamma.org is sponsoring National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week.  Too many young adults die at frat hazings or rushes or just from binge drinking because they do not know how to drink responsibly.  Let’s teach our children at the dinner table how to do that.  Let’s keep the drinking age at 21 for now until we fix the problems of teen binge drinking, teen drunk driving and related alcohol abuse issues.  Some of us may have to look at our own patterns of behavior for this to work.

            Be healthy and happy this full month of autumn!