Past Community Wellness columns from the Fall River Herald News Living Well Section written by David Weed, Psy. D. © 2008-2015

Staring in February 2015, all articles include photos!

July 21, 2016

New Quequechan River Rail Trail is a healthy lifestyle resource!

It’s not often that a city gets a brand new park, but the recently-opened Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Rail Trail is a six million dollar gift to the city from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The first half mile of this magnificent walkway opens the last natural area of the City to everyone to enjoy. Once completed in the fall, the 1.2 mile bicycle and walking path will extend from close to the Westport line almost to Plymouth Avenue, with a tunnel connection to Rodman Street and two other tunnels under Route 195. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


June  16, 2016

New approach for Type 2 diabetes treatment gets results!

Two weeks ago, I attended the annual Diabetes Fair held at People Incorporated headquarters to learn more about how people with the condition were doing. For many, their lives centered around taking medications and measuring their blood sugar levels while their illness seemed to be slowly progressing. Their worst fears were that it would lead to blindness, kidney failure or amputations that so many long-term diabetics experience. Worse yet was the constant fear of heart attacks as half of them occur among those with diabetes. But a small set of people I spoke with have been having a different experience. For them, some changes in their diets have resulted in taking lower amounts of medications and watching their blood sugar levels normalize. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


May 21, 2016

Fitness Challenge Weight Loss Winners can teach all of us!

While everyone likes to win a door prize drawing or a lottery ticket, when little to no effort is required, winners of the annual Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge really had to work to earn their prizes! Dozens of individuals and team members as well as public schools competed in the annual event to earn thousands of dollars in cash prizes given out each year by Partners for a Healthier Community and demonstrated that anyone can improve their health if they’re willing to put in some time and effort. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)

April  21, 2016

Seniors keep fit with Family Service Program!

A Gallup poll last year revealed that Americans age 55 and older have a higher sense of well-being than the rest of the population. Though Massachusetts seniors ranked 29th out of the fifty states (Hawaii was number one, and West Virginia was 50th), older residents still rank higher than their younger counterparts. Older American also have better healthcare access, eat more fresh produce, smoke less and have a lower incidence of obesity and depression compared with people younger than 65, according to Gallup. But that doesn’t mean that seniors should rest on their laurels and do nothing to maintain their healthy status! A new “Fitness Forever” program being offered to seniors at three of the City’s senior centers by staff from Family Service Association is helping seniors to stay healthy and fit. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)  

March 17 , 2016

Spring is here – Time to plant

Crocuses are springing up on the lawn, the birds are out and about in greater numbers, all traces of snow have vanished – Spring is here!  Its an exciting time of year for gardeners as they begin to think about what they will grow (or attempt to grow) in the coming season. At a recent “Seeds of Sustainability” workshop at Bristol Community College, Dr. James Corven, head of the Sustainable Agriculture Program at BCC and a Master Gardener, shared some tips with a large group of students and faculty who were anxious to get their hands dirty in the soil this spring. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)  

February 21, 2016

Keep those legs and arms moving in winter!

While it’s difficult to imagine at this time of year, spring is on its way, and one day in a month or so, we’ll have one of those wonderful days when everyone wants to get out and walk. With the cold weather and snow we’re experiencing now, however, our natural inclination is to stay warm, stay indoors, and stay put. Our bodies, however, were designed to move, and spending weeks and months without exercise takes its toll. So, what’s a body to do? (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)  


January 21, 2016

New Dietary Guidelines unfortunately offer outdated advice

Every January for the past five years I’ve written about the changing nutrition recommendations that have come from recent research. This past year, those changes have been substantial and very important for anyone dealing with weight gain or diabetes and have implications for the prevention of heart disease. Unfortunately, the new USDA Dietary Guidelines that were issued last week are not moving the needle closer what the latest research is showing. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


December 17, 2015

Parent Academy launches 68 classes for Fall River the New Year!

Education is the key to attaining and maintaining lifelong health, and now parents in Fall River will have the chance to learn a variety of subjects free of charge starting in January. The Fall River Parent Academy, launched on November 21st with an open house at Kuss Middle School, will soon offer sixty-eight different classes on a range of topics from helping students achieve, personal growth, family health and wellness, parenting, community resources and career and professional growth. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


November 18, 2015

Fitness Challenge in a whole new location this year!

Fall River may be home to the longest running non-commercial fitness challenge in the nation! Now about to start its ninth year on January 9, 2016, this four-month event has succeeded in getting thousands of people in the Greater Fall River Area to do something that we all need to do – get physically active on a regular basis. And this year, all of the major events will be based at the Matthew J. Kuss Middle School at 52 Globe Mills Avenue in Fall River. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


October 20, 2015

Food Day in Fall River

For many people, National Food Day, coming up on October 24th, is just another day, but in Fall River it’s a day to focus on its four key provisions: 1) reducing diet related disease by promoting healthy foods, 2) supporting local farms, 3) expanding access to food and alleviating hunger, and 4) curbing junk food marketing to kids. While supporting local farms, expanding access, and alleviating hunger are clearly things Partners for a Healthier Community, the local health promotion organization, works on, it’s the first and last goals that have really captured our attention over the past year. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)  


September 17, 2015

New project to address diabetes and hypertension

Two of the most pervasive medical disorders in Fall River and most American communities are high blood pressure, or hypertension, and diabetes. These “silent” long-term illnesses account for a high percentage of hospitalizations as well as a major portion of outpatient treatment visits and pharmaceutical prescriptions each year. And, the numbers are increasing each year. In fact, hospitalizations related to hypertension rose from 3,962 cases per 10,000 to 5,370 cases per 10,000 between 2000 and 2009, a stunning 35% increase in less than ten years. Diabetes rates among the Fall River population rose from 8.4% to 13.8% from 2000 to 2010, a whopping 64.2% increase! (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)  



August 20, 2015

Community gardens are at their peak!

Growing a garden is always an exercise in faith! You begin with a plot of soil, some seeds or seedlings, and a lot of hope that whatever you plant will yield an abundant crop of edibles ready for the kitchen. Four local groups demonstrated that faith earlier this spring and planted gardens that would not only meet their own needs but also the needs of others. Each of these gardens will continue to produce well into the fall, and each proves that with a vision, a plot of soil, and a lot of hard work, people can help a lot of people to eat better! (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


July 16, 2015

Infrastructure improvement projects seem to be everywhere!

Just about everyone wants to live in a community where transportation is easy, where one can walk or bike just about everywhere, where parks are attractive and complete with active spaces, and where natural beauty is easily accessed. While this seems like a pipe dream for Fall River at the moment, the time is rapidly approaching when all of these phrases will describe our city! Fall River is undergoing enormous improvements in our roads, our sidewalks, our parks and our open spaces that will make being active the easy and inviting choice. While many places in the city are now torn apart, difficult to navigate, and aesthetically unpleasant, a year or two from now those who live, work or attend school in the City will experience a completely different atmosphere in key sectors. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


June 18, 2015

Health in Greater Fall River on track for improvement

Progress in improving the health of our community is well on the way. Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc., the local organization designated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to set goals and measure progress for the Greater Fall River Area, is holding its annual Design Team meeting today, and early reports of progress are excellent! Every five years, Partners conducts a community-wide health needs and assets assessment upon which an Action Plan for the following five-year period is built. (The complete Action Plan can be found at Then, each year, the group reviews its progress in each of the eight listed areas. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


May 21, 2015

Fitness Challenge helps keep weight gain in check!

Sue Botelho has been losing weight consistently for over three years. Now down over 155 pounds, she attributes her success to one thing: year by year participation in the Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge. “Over this time I’ve never gained weight because the Challenge keeps me in check,” she reports. “The secret is to stay active and watch what you eat, but, more importantly, to keep at it!” Now finishing its eighth year, the Fitness Challenge appears to be the longest running such event in the nation and continues to bring in between 600 and 1,000 participants each year, many of them year-after-year repeat customers. The Challenge offers anyone over the age of 16 in the Greater Fall River Area the opportunity to work out twice a week for sixteen weeks for only a single $5 charge.  (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


April 16, 2015

Time to Get Out!

After a long, cold winter, it looks like Spring is finally here! Though most days are still cool, the sun is clearly getting stronger and the days much longer. What better time to get outside in order to ramp up your activity level? While the deep snow, ice and bitter cold over the past two months stopped most people in their tracks who wanted to get outside for a walk or a run. And others are just itching for the chance to dig in the soil to start their spring plantings. So, no matter what your favorite outdoor activity is, now is definitely the time to start. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


March 19, 2015

Healthy cooking begins at home

Earlier this week, half a dozen Fall River families had the chance to take some cooking lessons together with staff from the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. Held at 6:00 the Watson Elementary School, these parents and children learned how to prepare three easy recipes for black bean soup, a Mediterranean couscous, and a pot roasted beef. The program was part of an effort to encourage families to cook together at home as a way of improving their diet, saving some money, and, most of all, having a good time together. For all of the talk we hear about getting children and adults to eat better, it all comes down to this: cooking and eating together at home. Nothing beats this for improving health across the board. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)  


February 19, 2015


When you think “frozen”, think “healthy”!

If there’s one thing that we’ve all had to get used to this winter, it’s things that are frozen! Everything from frozen ice on sidewalks, to frozen cars in snow drifts, to frozen locks and, of course, frozen hands have plagued many of us over the past few weeks. Given all of that, it might be a good time to consider the up side of being frozen when it comes to our health! One thing that freezing temperatures produce is snow, and sometimes a lot of snow like what we’ve had so far this winter! So how can that help our health? One thing that snow requires us to do is to clear it, and that always involves exercise. While many of us spend far too much time sitting and not enough time moving to keep our bodies in shape, having to clear snow requires some muscular effort, and that’s good for our health. Even if we use a power device like a snow blower, we’re still going to move and push and pull to get the job done. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


January 22, 2015

Learn the new dietary advice for lowering heart disease risk

Heart disease — which includes high blood cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke — continues to be the number one cause of death in Fall River. While deaths from these diseases have dropped 37% over the past decade, mostly due to better treatment and medications, the rate of heart disease in the City — 9.3% in Fall River compared to 6.8% statewide (2005-2007 average) — continues to be high. What accounts for these high rates has been the basis for a lot of research over the years. Clearly a percentage of heart disease is related to genetic factors, as some people inherit a number of conditions that put them at greater risk of a number of cardiovascular conditions. The other big risk factor in our area is the rate of diabetes, which dramatically increases cardiovascular risk. But the bulk of the research continues to point to two non-genetic and non-disease-related factors that drive the numbers: diet and exercise. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


December 18, 2014

Nutrition will weigh in more in the next Fitness Challenge!

Hundreds of people from across Greater Fall River are expected to sign up for the 8th Annual Fitness Challenge starting on January 10, 2015. While many enter for the chance to improve their muscular and cardiovascular fitness, the biggest draw is the promise of weight loss. “We give great prizes at the end of the Challenge in May, but most of them are for those who have lost the biggest percentage of weight,” noted Challenge Coordinator Annemarie Holly. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


November 20, 2014

Local market survey reveals local consumer choices

Over this past summer, more than a dozen youth were trained by the Department of Public Health to survey residents of Fall River and New Bedford about their preferences for where they purchase their food. These young people, aged 15 to 21 years, approached people on downtown sidewalks in each community and asked if they would be willing to answer some questions about their food shopping habits.  Over the course of several weeks, more than 500 people agreed to participate, and their answers provide us with an interesting profile of not only where they shop, but also how, including their use of corner or neighborhood stores. Their responses also shed some light on how we might be able to improve people’s health by making some small changes in what some of these stores have to offer. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


October 23, 2014

Healthy Food Recommendations Hit the Silver Screen

Though you probably missed it this summer, a new documentary film debuted across the country focused on the so-called obesity epidemic and its causes.  Entitled “Fed Up,” the movie produced by ABC’s Katie Couric and “Inconvenient Truth’s” Laurie David, exposes the poor research behind our current government recommendations to eat a low fat diet. It then goes on to indict those guidelines as one of the causes of weight gain over the past thirty years and recommends drastic reductions in dietary sugars and refined carbohydrates, causes of increased diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


September 25, 2014

Low or no-cost dental care available to all children but to few adults

One of the health statistics that has always been disturbing to me is the percentage of adults who are missing all of their teeth. According to the latest figures (2008), eighteen percent of adults fall into this category, and among those who have less than a high school education or earn less than $15,000 a year, the figure tops 35%! In addition, 44% have lost six or more teeth by the time they are 65. These figures have profound implications not only for oral health but also for nutrition, communication and self-image. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


August 28, 2014

More mental health resources needed on the South Coast

Perhaps no health resource in any community is given less consideration than mental health treatment. While most of us expect good emergency services, excellent medical care and even accessible dental care, few even mention psychiatric care. It seems that only when a horrific shooting takes place does the need for a better system of care even get mentioned in the national press. Yet, a 2005 study found 26% of nearly 10,000 adults surveyed experienced mental health symptoms in the previous year, 22% of which were serious. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


July 24, 2014

Walkability audit will help seniors navigate Fall River streets

Walking on a regular basis is one of the most important ways of staying healthy, especially for seniors, but for many getting out for a morning or an evening walk isn’t always easy in Fall River. So many sidewalks are either in poor repair, traffic is heavy, and crosswalks are ignored, poorly marked or non-existent. Fortunately, the City has received a new grant that will not only encourage seniors to walk but will help them address the many obstacles to safe walking. And, making the streets of Fall River safer and more accessible for seniors will make streets safer for everyone! (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


June 26, 2014

Action Plan targets a wide range of health-related issues

In order to get anything of a complex nature done, a community needs to have a plan. Whether it’s planning to educate our children, or to build our roads and houses, or even to make improvements in our economy, we need a plan of action to make sure our efforts will get us where we want to go. In a similar way, if we want to create a healthier community, we need a plan. We first need to know what needs to be improved and then we need to determine what’s most important to work on. Finally, we need to be sure we have the resources we’ll need to realize our plans. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



May 22, 2014

Fitness Challenge yields life-changing rewards

Now that spring is finally here, this is a wonderful time of year to get outdoors for some active time. Whether it’s a long walk or a hike, or a chance to participate in a team sport, or a chance to dust off the bicycle and go for a ride on one of the City’s new bike routes, May and June are perfect months to either continue being active or to start making physical activity part of your routine. And, for several hundred people, it’s a great opportunity to continue something they started months ago: the Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge! (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



April 24, 2014

Community Health Workers can make a difference in your care!

We’re all aware that the practice of medicine has been changing. Everything from electronic medical records to drastically shorter visits with our physician has made the way we get medical care different from what we experienced even a few years ago. Now, the introduction of community health workers into medical practice in our area promises to improve the care we get. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



March 27, 2014

Plant a tree for your health!

Probably the last thing that anyone thinks of to improve their health would be to plant a tree! With all of the emphasis on diet and exercise, quitting smoking or lowering stress levels, it’s hard to imagine that planting a tree might be a good investment in living a healthier life. And the Fall River Street Tree Planting Program is eager to help you do just that! (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



February 20, 2014

Less tobacco for pharmacies and landlords

We were all greeted with the news two weeks ago that Woonsocket, RI-based CVS Caremark, the second largest chain pharmacy in the country, has decided to end its sales of all tobacco products as of October this year. While this in no way ends the sales of tobacco, it eliminates one of the largest outlets of these dangerous products in the countr. “Fall River was way ahead of the curve when the City Council voted to ban tobacco sales in all City pharmacies” noted City Councilor Jasiel Correia II, who, as a youth advocate, helped to lead the effort in March 2011. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



January 23, 2014

Lowering carbs may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s

If you’ve read my column over the past four Januarys, you know that I have been advocating for reduced carbohydrates and increased fats in our diets as a way to achieve a healthy weight, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and reduce or eliminate the risk of diabetes. Now new research points to the possibility that carb reduction may also lower the risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



December 19, 2013

The Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge continues to expand!

Once all of your gifts are opened for the holidays and you’ve celebrated the coming year, you might want to think about giving yourself the best gift of all: a healthy and fit body! If that’s what you have in mind, then the opening of the seventh annual Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge is just around the corner! (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



November 21, 2013

Participate now in making our community a healthier place to live!

If you have an idea about how to improve the health of the Greater Fall River Area, now’s your chance! Every five years, Partners for a Healthier Community, the organization designated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to assess our health status, is beginning its third five-year Needs and Assets Action Planning Process, and your input is requested! (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



October 24, 2013

National Food Day helps us focus on teaching cooking

I’ve just returned from three weeks in India were I witnessed first-hand a country that has enormous problems with its food system. Major portions of the population have barely enough food on which to survive, and half of the population lives on less than two dollars a day for all of their needs. If there were ever a society defined by food insecurity, it’s India.  (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



September 19, 2013

Popular e-cigarettes keep the nicotine addiction burning

Two years ago in this column, I wrote about the rapid increase in smokeless tobacco products, especially among young people. While self-reported smoking rates continue to decline among Fall River youth (about 7% in middle schools and about 12% in high school, down from 16%), the use of smokeless alternatives such as Snus and dissolvable tobacco products is on the rise, partially in response to strong restrictions on smoking on school grounds and other settings. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


August 22, 2013

Partners celebrates 20 years of improving health in Greater Fall River

Healthy communities don’t just happen; they have to be created. That is the premise behind the formation of Greater Fall River Partners for a Healthy Community, which is about to celebrate twenty years of work to assist the City of Fall River and the surrounding communities of Somerset, Swansea and Westport make improvements that will lead to healthier lives. Over 100 people will gather in the Commonwealth Center at Bristol Community College on September 18th to look back on what has been accomplished and to look ahead to future efforts. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



July 25, 2013

WIC Services bring an abundance of healthy eating

Last month in this column, I wrote about Fall River’s five farmers’ markets that now operate every day except Friday and Sunday in different locations throughout the City.  Hundreds of people each week take advantage of the opportunity to purchase fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables from nearby farm and to enjoy their nutritional benefits. Families who are enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program, or “WIC” program in this area receive an added benefit of vouchers specifically geared to these purchases, helping to ensure that children get this nutritional benefit. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


June 20, 2013

Farmers’ Markets now available all hours and most days of the week!

Two years ago, if you wanted to shop at a farmers’ market, you could only go on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and early in the day at that. Starting this week, your options have expanded! Markets are now available on every day but Friday and Sunday, and are open as early as 7:00 a.m. and as late at 8:00 p.m.! So, no matter what your work or school schedule, you can avail yourself of the abundance of locally-grown produce throughout the summer months. Mondays: Begun last year, the Saint Anne’s Hospital Farmer’s Market opens at 11:30 a.m. every Monday and remains open until 4:00 p.m. Located next to the Hospital along South Main Street, the new market features produce and goods made from crops grown at the farm. Owned by Andy Pollock, the farm is one of the oldest operating farms in Massachusetts, with a 350-year history. Its produce is grown using sustainable methods, meaning no herbicides or pesticides are used. Created as a way to provide the community with affordable, healthful alternatives throughout the growing season, the market is open to hospital staff and the public. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



May 23, 2013

Guide to Fall River's Community Gardens

Every spring, people all over Fall River get the urge to start a garden. Whether it’s flowers in front of the house or vegetables in the back yard, the chance to dig in the dirt and bring plants to life is almost a primal urge not to be resisted. In addition to the emotional satisfaction that comes from gardening, the stretching and pulling helps with physical health by keeping joints limber and muscles strong. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a good plot of soil and water to create and maintain their own garden. That’s where community gardens come in. A number of organizations throughout the city have sponsored community gardens where people young and old can get their hands dirty and reap the benefits that the earth has to offer. Most come with knowledgeable people who can advise the novice and sometimes a supply of tools to use. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



April 18, 2013

“Before You Light Up, Look Down” Campaign Warns Against Secondhand Smoke

If you aren’t a parent of a child in the Fall River School System, you might have missed a notice that went out a few weeks ago advising smokers “Before You Light Up, Look Down.” Promoted by Mayor William Flanagan, the campaign was designed to alert adults who smoke that they are potentially endangering the health of Fall River children. The “Look Down” campaign was originally launched by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Make Smoking History campaign ( in 2009 to bring attention to the problem of children exposed to secondhand smoke from their parents and others in the family. While the campaign was wide-spread, it ended after a few months due to limited funding. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



March 21, 2013

Prevention of child abuse is essential to improving adult health

We sometimes think of early child abuse and later adult health status as unrelated conditions. However, a growing body of evidence supports the idea that exposure to maltreatment in childhood, in fact, leads to a greater susceptibility to lifelong physical and mental health problems, including heart and liver disease, alcoholism and abuse, illicit drug use, depression, suicide attempts, smoking, adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study of 17,000 person’s experiences of abuse during childhood suggest that these events may actually cause changes in neural and hormonal systems that regulate how a person handles stress. Such changes can increase one’s vulnerability to disease over the course of a lifetime and increase the likelihood of poor health outcomes. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


February 21, 2013

Fall River’s Roadmaps to Health Prize award didn’t happen overnight

By now, if you’ve read today’s headlines, you know that Fall River was just awarded one of six national $25,000 prizes by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Roadmaps to Health Prize honors outstanding community partnerships that are helping people live healthier lives. The five other communities honored are Santa Cruz County, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Manistique, Michigan; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals across the country to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. Fall River has been no stranger to this process. Greater Fall River Partners for a Healthier Community, a Community Health Network Area designated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was organized twenty years ago and incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1999. Its sole purpose was to assess the health status of the community and to apply available resources to improving a broad range of factors that can improve health outcomes. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)  


January 17, 2013

Dr. Oz does an about-face on the dangers of cholesterol & dietary fat

Two years ago and last year this month, I wrote in this monthly Herald News column entitled “It’s time to end the low-fat myth” (see January 2011 article, below) that “over the past ten years evidence has been accumulating that increased consumption of refined carbohydrates have a greater potential for increasing the potential for heart disease,” than dietary fats. Finally, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, the current popular arbiter of all things healthy, on his television show that aired on December 11th, has finally challenged the conventional wisdom about low-fat diets and has pinned the cause of heart disease and stroke where it rightly belongs: on diets high in refined carbohydrates. This discussion matters. Millions of people in this country and around the world have been following the low-fat mantra for the past 40 years, following the advice of experts, including the American Heart Association and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That advice has been to lower dietary fats, especially saturated fats, in order to reduce blood cholesterol levels and thereby reduce the incidence of heart disease. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)




December 20, 2012

Fitness Challenge becomes the Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge!

In just over two weeks, when all of the presents are open and the New Year’s parties are over, we will all be looking at a brand new year. For many of us, this is a time to take stock of our health and to resolve to change for the better.  So, now is the perfect time to make a note to attend the Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge Health Fair at the Matthew J. Kuss Middle School on Shaw Street on Saturday, January 5th, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This year, the Challenge has been extended to the Greater Fall River Area, including folks who live, work or attend school in Somerset, Swansea and Westport. We have added FitWorks in Fall River and All Generations Fitness in Somerset to our list of participating partners, and discounts will be offered to Challenge members who display their numbered key tag. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)




November 15, 2012

Managing, not reducing, stress is the key to staying healthy

The upcoming holidays have become known for more and more people as one of the most stressful times of the year. Women, in particular, report higher degrees of stress at this time of year due to the extra demands of holiday meals, family visits, gift purchasing, school vacations, and multiple responsibilities. While this stress is clearly unenjoyable, could it also be related to the development of chronic illness later in life? There is a great deal of research that has found that people who are exposed to major traumatic stress, such as child abuse or combat, are much more likely to develop chronic health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes later in life. They are also more likely to develop addictive behaviors such as the use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs, all of which increase the risk of early disease and death. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



October 2012

Fall is the best time to go for a walk in the woods

Last Saturday, the Flint Neighborhood Association sponsored another trolley trip to Blossom Road for a guided walk through the nearby Bioreserve. That same morning, about a dozen hikers walked around the Copicut Reservoir guided by Everett Castro from Green Futures. Other hikers were searching the Tattapanum Trail in the Watuppa Reservation looking for different species of plants identified on an interpretive map that the Fall River Water Department provides.With beautiful crisp fall days, colorful leaves and terrific trails to explore, the City of Fall River offers numerous opportunities to enjoy a walk in the woods, all without leaving the City limits. Many of the people who live or work in Fall River are not aware that nearly half of the City’s land area is wooded land on east and north of the North Watuppa Pond that supplies all of the community’s fresh water. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



September 2012

Being disabled is should not be a barrier to being healthy!

Next Tuesday, over 100 persons with mental health disabilities will be invited to attend the third annual Health & Wellness Fair hosted by Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR) of Fall River at the East Gate Christian Academy Gym on Middle Street. This event is the highlight of a year round Healthy Lifestyle Program at FHR Fall River, which is designed to encourage its participants to lead healthier lives and will include interactive games such as ring toss and even potato sack races, activities that get clients up and moving. The program is made possible through a $5,500 Community Impact grant from the Greater Fall River United Way. The grant will pay for program supplies and equipment, including a treadmill at one of the FHR group homes. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)




August 2012

Why smoke-free multi-unit housing makes sense

In a few weeks, almost 27,000 tenants of Boston Housing Authority’s 64 apartment complexes will receive letters announcing that their buildings will be smoke-free and that they will have to agree to the new policy when they sign their annual leases. The policy is aimed at protecting nonsmokers, especially children, from breathing in secondhand cigarette smoke from neighboring units, which can cause asthma attacks, respiratory infections, lung cancer, and heart disease. Boston will join over 250 other public housing authorities who now have some restrictions on smoking, including all public housing in the State of Maine. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)




July 2012


Now is the time for the year’s best vegetables!

If you’re a vegetable lover, you’re going to find yourself in heaven over the coming weeks. Plants like broccoli, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, Swiss chard, and tomatoes that have been growing for eight weeks or more are soon to explode with delicious food that you cannot get any other time of year. Earlier plants like spinach, peas, peppers, onions and lettuce have already been on your plate with fresh-grown goodness and all of the nutrients that keep us strong and healthy. And, later in the summer, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the squashes, pumpkins, cabbage and Brussels sprouts that grow best at that time of year. Raising vegetables in your own garden gives you the luxury of choosing exactly what you want, including more exotic varieties than you might find in the supermarkets. Less popular items like cilantro, chives or rhubarb, that you may have difficulty finding in stores, can also be grown in your own garden if you’re willing to take the time to learn how to raise them. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)

June 2012

Should sugar-sweetened beverages go the way of the cigarette?

There was a time when doctors used to recommend smoking. “Relax with a Camel” ran the ads in the 50s and “Four out of five doctors prefer Lucky Strikes”. We look at those ads today with horror, knowing what we know about the health risks of tobacco use. What we’ve learned in the past half century, however, is that slowly, over the course of many years, some, but not all, smokers developed a range of chronic, and, in some cases, deadly diseases. . . On a typical day in the United States , 80% of youth and 63% of adults consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage. The average person eats almost 100 pounds of sugar a year—that's more than half a cup of sugar and 420 extra calories each day. . . . Now we hear reports in Time magazine that the proportion of kids ages 12 to 19 with diabetes or pre-diabetes has jumped from 9% in 1999-2000 to 23% in 2007-2008. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


May 2012

Five Years of Fitness in Fall River and Still Growing!

At last Friday’s finale held at the Eagle Performing Arts Center on North Main Street , over 100 people celebrated the accomplishments of the individual winners as well as the winning teams. Joe Afonso took first place in the individual competition to lose the greatest percentage of body weight, losing 20% of his overall body weight. The “Softball Junkies” won the team competition for the greatest percentage of combined weight loss. Over 800 people signed up for the Challenge when it began in January and over 4,000 school children participated in Challenge-type fitness activities in Fall River elementary schools. Over those five years, just under 19,000 collective pounds of individual weight have been lost by adults in the program, and thousands of people, many for the first time in their adult life, have made the effort to increase their physical activity and maybe lose a few pounds of weight to improve their health and appearance.   (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)


April 2012

Fall River is on its way to becoming a cycling city

When Fall River Mass in Motion coordinator Julie Kelly first thought about ways to get more people who live or work in Fall River moving, she thought of improved sidewalks and better crosswalks to make foot travel easier. And, while these still remain as part of her vision for the City, more and more she is seeing a city moving on two wheels! “When I first started working in Fall River , the idea of getting more people on bicycles couldn’t be imagined,” she stated recently at a Leadership Southcoast training session. “There were too many hills and the streets were too narrow,” she recalled people saying. “But not all of Fall River is as steep as the Seven Hills of President Avenue, and not every street is as narrow as lower Columbia Street,” she noted. (Click here for the full article in WORD format.)



March 2012

Good News and Bad When It Comes to Quitting

The single most significant health problem in the City of Fall River is cigarette smoking. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. And, while poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and stress contribute their share of health problems leading to disability and disease, smoking is linked to the development of 80% of lung cancers, 90% of deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease, the exacerbation of diabetes, and a substantial portion of deaths due to heart disease and stroke. While much attention and many dollars are devoted to the treatment of those diseases, a decreasing amount of funds in Massachusetts have been directed toward efforts to reduce smoking rates, especially among young people. (Click here for the full article in WORD).



February 2012

Now, every workplace can be healthy!

If you work in a small business (and over 80% of people in Fall River do!), you now have a chance to improve your health status, thanks to a newly-funded program. And, the first twenty businesses that sign up will be able to participate at no charge for the first year! Partners for a Healthier Community, the organization that funds the Healthy City Fall River project, is inviting small businesses in Greater Fall River to participate in a new program designed specifically for them. The Healthy Worksites is a program that will give employers the tools that they can use to help their employees lead a healthier lifestyle. (Click here for the full article in WORD).



January 2012

It's time to end the Low-Fat Myth

A year ago in this column, I wrote about the benefits of moving to lower carbohydrate diets supported by a growing body of research. Reducing or eliminating refined flours, potatoes, rice and other starchy vegetables along with sweets and sugared beverages from the diet was described by Walter Willett, M.D., chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), as the key to reversing the nation’s obesity problem and the growing incidence of diabetes. Dozens of studies, many from HSPH researchers, have shown that low-fat diets are no better for health than moderate- or high-fat diets—and for many people, may be worse. (Click here for the full article in WORD).

December 2011

Flu shots given by nationally-recognized group of MRC volunteers

“If you haven’t gotten your flu shot so far this year, it’s not too late,” states Greater Fall River Medical Reserve Corps director Alvin McMahon. “And, if you get your shot at a local public health office, you might see one of the nurses on national television next year!”   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity in the United States remains low at this time but is expected to increase in the coming weeks. McMahon advises that the flu virus is most active during January, February and March, and vaccinations  given at any time during these months will become effective within ten days of receiving it. (Click here for the full article in WORD).


September 2011

Mass In Motion moving to create more active lifestyles in Fall River

"Get Up and Get Moving" is the message we are hearing on television, the radio, and in the print media. Maybe you have been thinking about how to adopt a healthier lifestyle?  How can you and your children or grandchildren be more physically active while having fun?  For the past two and a half years, Mass in Motion - Fall River has been heavily involved in a number of projects in and around the City that will make it easier for you and others to lead an active, healthy life. “Imagine a city that is friendly for bicycles and pedestrians,” says Mass in Motion coordinator, Julianne Kelly. “Then get involved in making it happen!” (Click here for the full article in WORD)




August 2011

Tobacco going "under the radar" to keep lure in young customers

A front page article in the August 11th edition of the Herald News ("Budget cuts have gutted anti-smoking programs in Massachusetts") decried the massive cutbacks in funding for anti-tobacco initiatives. Funding has dropped more than 90 percent in the past decade, leaving fewer resources to counter the ongoing sales of tobacco products to nearly a third of Fall River residents. While all this has been happening, tobacco companies have been busy launching a whole new line of products designed to be used in settings where smoking is prohibited by law or regulation. These so-called "smokeless" tobacco products now account for an increasing percentage of all tobacco sales and, more alarmingly, a greater percentage of use among young people. (Click here for WORD version of the full article.)





July 2011

Locally-grown produce offers better nutritional value

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh, locally-grown produce available at farmers' markets and roadside stands on quiet country roads. Bursting with fresh corn, tomatoes, peppers cucumbers, zucchini, beans and a whole host of other favorites, these wonderful alternatives to supermarkets beckon anyone with a love of good food to enjoy food at its very best. For Fall River shoppers, we are fortunate to have three markets: one at Ruggles Park on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., one on Old Second Street just south of Government Center on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and the long-standing Saturday market at Kennedy Park along Bradford Avenue that runs from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Click here for WORD version of the full article.)





June 2011

Campaign seeks to make Fall River 's summer soda-free

On a typical day in the United States , 80% of youth and 63% of adults consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage. The average person eats almost 100 pounds of sugar a year—that's more than half a cup of sugar and 420 extra calories each day! The single biggest source is sugary sodas. Teens now consume twice as much soda as milk, though soda has no nutritional value. The calories from drinking one 12-ounce can of sugar sweetened beverage per day (150 kcal) can result in gaining 15 extra pounds per year, or 25 extra pounds for a 20-ounce bottle of soda. Because of these facts, and the rising incidence of overweight children in Fall River , the Healthy City Fall River initiative is launching a Soda-Free Summer Pledge campaign to encourage young people to voluntarily reduce their consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages this summer. (Click here for WORD version of the full article.)




May 2011

Social networking the key to employee health improvement

Many people were startled to hear a report published several years ago that obesity may be a contagious disease. Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School , reported on research that demonstrated that people were most likely to become obese when a friend became obese. Christakis has since gone on to publish other studies on the influence of social networks on health, each one demonstrating the powerful effect that family members, friends and even friends of friends can have on our behavior. Though this finding might lead one to think that social networks lead only to undesirable health outcomes, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, founder and chief medical officer of Shape Up Rhode Island, believes that social networks can have just as powerful effect on improving health. Kumar has been developing programs in workplaces across the country that use social influence among employees to get them involved in activities that can lead to positive health outcomes such as increased physical exercise and weight loss. (Click here for WORD version of the full article.)



April 2011

Fall River's Community Gardens are growing!

This is the time of year when nearly everyone starts to notice the explosion of plants all around us and when some of us start to think about putting a spade into the ground to get our gardens started. Nothing beats a warm spring day and the chance to feel the texture of the earth as we get it ready for new plants or seeds! Gardening not only offers the rewards of freshly-picked tomatoes, lettuce, corn, peppers, onions, cucumbers, squash, and a myriad of other vegetables brimming with healthy nutrients, it also provides the added benefit of stretching, bending, and lifting that one would have to pay a fitness class instructor to provide. And the nice thing is, one can work at one's own pace and not have to keep up with the class! (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



March 2011

Commissioner Reviews Fall River's approach to fitness & nutrition

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agricultural Resources Scott Soares visited the Tansey School last Friday to learn more about how Fall River is dealing with the national obesity crisis and found an amazing array of approaches to addressing the problem. Joined by Mayor William Flanagan and UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences Dean Steve Goodwin, the Commissioner heard that efforts to reduce Fall River's 28.6% obesity rate (vs. 21% statewide) are taking place on a number of fronts, each of which can address one of many aspects of the problem. Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



February 2011

It's time to start getting those bicycles ready for spring!

  It's hard to believe that March starts next week, and with that we'll start to get some warmer weather that's perfect for riding a bicycle. So, now is the time to start thinking about getting your bike in shape so you'll be ready when that first nice day arrives. If you have children, you might want to check to be sure the seats are at the right height and that helmets fit right after a winter of growing bodies. And, if you plan to take your bikes to another place to ride, now is also a good time to get the bike rack on the car so that process won't take time away from your ride on the next nice day. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.) 




January 2011

Low carb diets endorsed for weight loss and health

For the past thirty years, Americans have been hearing one message about weight loss and healthy diets: avoid fat at all cost! Now another message is beginning to gain traction following a number of research studies: some types of fat are good for us and losing weight may be easier and more long-lasting if we reduce the type and percentage of calories from carbohydrates in our diet. The clearest statement on the subject was delivered at the American Dietetic Association Conference in Boston this past November by none other than Dr. Walter Willett, director of the nutrition department at Harvard University’s School of Public Health who was quoted in recent news articles as saying. “If anything, the literature shows a slight advantage of the high fat diet,” he said.  (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



December 2010

grants address Fall River's health promotion priorities

If you live in Fall River, you're more likely to smoke, suffer from substance or mental illness and to die of cancer than people living in other parts of the Commonwealth. In most cases, Fall River residents are twice as likely to experience these conditions when compared with others in the state. While there are many factors that contribute to these rates, including our high unemployment rates and stress associated with poverty, the most important question to ask is what are we doing about it. In the last month, three major grants have recently been announced that specifically target these conditions and, in time, could begin to bring these high numbers down. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



November 2010

For children, breakfast may be the most important meal of the day

Tomorrow, we will all celebrate the only American holiday that is centered around a meal. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful day not only for the food but for the relationships that are enjoyed that day, it is the day-to-day food that we consume that has increasingly become a concern in this country. Behind the much-covered problem of obesity is an even more important issue of nutrition, especially when it comes to our children. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



October 2010

Walking to school a good routine to get into

Just over a week ago, hundreds of Fall River school children did something they rarely do -- they walked to school! Though International Walk to School Day, October 6th, brought too much rain for a local version of the event, October 13th was a sunny day, perfect to encourage even the most reluctant student to try an alternative to getting to school by automobile. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



September 2010

Farmers' Market tokens now available for EBT users

Most Americans still don’t eat enough vegetables, and fruit consumption is actually dropping a little, according to a report released two weeks ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that last year about one-third of U.S. adults consumed fruit or fruit juice at least twice a day. That’s down slightly from more than 34 percent in 2000. Only about 26 percent ate vegetables three or more times a day, the same as in 2000. The statistics come from a telephone survey of hundreds of thousands of Americans. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)




August 2010

Open Space Plan describes a vision for active lifestyles

Creating a healthy community takes planning. Opportunities for recreation and support for active lifestyles don't just happen by themselves. That is why the Fall River "Mass In Motion" project has been a key player in writing the current Open Space and Recreation Plan for the City of Fall River . The 150-page document, the third produced by the City, is in its final stages of review prior to implementation for the next five-year cycle. With an inventory of the City's open space and recreation facilities, a brief history of the City,  and descriptions of waterways, soils, and geological aspects, it will serve as a guide for future expansion of the resources available to those who live or work in the City. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



July 2010

Wellness resources are now available for the small employer

Owners and managers of many small businesses in Fall River have never faced such difficult challenges. The struggling economy has forced each of them to work harder, smarter and leaner than they have ever had to before. Employees, too, are asked to do more and to work harder, often covering for vacant positions until the economy shows signs of a recovery. Under these circumstances, little attention can be given to providing "extras" at the worksite as every minute has to be focused on getting the job done. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)




June 2010

Fresh local produce available all over town!

Over the past several weeks, farmers from Berkley , Dartmouth , Swansea and Westport have been bringing their crops, including spinach, lettuce and even strawberries, to Fall River 's two farmers' markets. Held every Saturday morning (7:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m., through Nov.27th)  at Kennedy Park in the South End and every Wednesday morning (9:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m., through November 24th) at Ruggles Park, corner of Seabury and Pine Streets, in the North End. As the summer proceeds, the range of fresh fruits and vegetables offered at each market will grow to include corn, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, melons, plums, watermelon, grapes, peaches, apples and much, much more. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



May 2010

What did you learn in school this year?

In just a few weeks, the school year will be wrapping up and thousands of Fall River public school children will soon be enjoying a summer without classes, tests and textbooks. A fair question to ask these children, as well as their parents and school administrators, would be “What did you learn in school this year?” One answer that might be different this year, especially for children in grades one, two and three, is “I learned how to eat and move in order to grow up healthy.” (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



April 2010

The Fall River Fitness Challenge finishes strong in its third year

When the "Cougars", a team of four women started the Fitness Challenge in January, they had no idea of what it would be like. By the final weeks of the four-month experience, however, they were glad they signed up. "It's been a very positive experience," said Christine Gillespie of the team. "I feel better; I have more strength; and I deal better with stress," she said. In addition, she and her other team members have lost over sixty pounds collectively, and she attributes this primarily to the motivation that her team provides to keep at the exercise classes three to four times a week. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



March 2010

Now is the time to Spring into action with a community garden!

The longer daylight hours and warmer days are getting many people into the mood to get down and dirty with a little vegetable gardening. Some have already begun planting the hardier vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce and peas, even before the last danger of frost is over. All gardeners are eagerly anticipating the coming bounty of fresh, home-grown vegetables, far more delicious than any you can buy in the supermarket—and much more nutritious to boot. Nothing beats the taste of an ear of corn or a ripe tomato that you've raised yourself and picked just hours before you eat it! (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



February 2010

Healthy parks need citizen advocates!

Believe it or not, spring is just a few weeks away! With the start of spring comes a desire to be outdoors after a long, snowy winter. What better place to go than one of Fall River's twelve parks, fourteen playgrounds or the Bioreserve, a large wooded area of the City accessible to the public. What you may find, however, is that some of these facilities are either in disrepair or not well developed. Starting this spring, though, you can join a newly-formed group of Urban Park Advocates that is working to make sure those parks and open spaces are welcoming and user-friendly. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



January 2010

Health is not only good for you, it's good for business, too!

While improving your health status may be something you or your doctor may desire, it is becoming increasingly clear that a healthy lifestyle is also good for business. Businesses in Fall River and across the Southcoast are looking for ways of keeping their employees healthier and offering healthier products to their customers. Some of our local restaurants are even looking to health as a way to bring in more customers. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



December 2009

Survey reveals progress, challenges for the next 5 years

The good news is that, as far as Fall River 's health goes, things are getting better! A survey conducted between July and September of 613 people who live, work or attend school in Fall River revealed that improvements have been made in most of the fifteen goals that the Healthy City initiative set out to reach in the past five years. Conditions in the City were perceived to have improved in eleven of the fifteen measures that over 500 people throughout the City selected in the fall of 2003 as necessary to make Fall River a healthier place to live and work. The Healthy City initiative developed a five-year plan  to address those issues and began its work in the fall of 2004. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



November 2009

Cessation results are encouraging for Fall River Smokers

A week ago, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) released a report that was full of good news for smokers in Fall River . The study issued by the DPH found that support for MassHealth patients enrolled in the state's medical insurance plan for the poor who want to quit is having immediate results. An astounding 26% of MassHealth patients were able to quit when patients began receiving counseling and medications to help them quit smoking. They also made fewer trips to emergency rooms because of asthma, and there was a trend toward fewer life-threatening heart attacks. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



October 2009

Industrial Park walking route shows path to health for employers

Last week, leaders of the Airport Road Industrial Park announced the opening of a new three and a quarter mile walking and bicycle route specifically targeted at the over 4,000 employees that work at companies in the Park. The route is marked along both sides of the roads that connect the companies in the Park and is marked with maps that lay out five routes of different lengths. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



September 2009

Mass In Motion project invites policy and environmental changes

For a look at what the “walk-ability” and “bike-ability” of Fall River could be, take a trip over to Meridian Street in the North End.  Here Fall River officials gathered last week to announce the start of Mass In Motion, a two-year effort to encourage local leaders to create policies, systems and environmental changes that will invite and encourage Fall River residents to engage in healthy behavior.  New sidewalk on both sides of the two-mile-long Meridian Street and line striping defining a bicycle path, changed a street designed exclusively for automobiles into an inviting walking and cycling route for everyone living in that part of town. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



August 2009

survey offers chance to suggest healthy changes!

Healthy City Fall River began in the summer of 2003 with a city-wide survey of over 1,000 people who live or work in the City. The survey asked one simple question: What do you think would make Fall River a healthier place to live and work? The responses to that question, which can still be found on the web site, formed the basis for the five Action Priority Areas that have been the focus of the project ever since. Over 200 separate projects designed to improve citizen health have been formed or identified over the past five years in those Areas and are described on the web site. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



June 2009

Two new sources for healthy eating – and exercise!

For anyone seeking to live a healthier lifestyle in Fall River , things have just gotten better! With the announcement two weeks ago of more than twenty Healthy Dining restaurants in Fall River and the addition of four new community gardens, anyone who wants to eat better and get a little additional exercise while walking to the restaurants or working in the gardens now has some additional sources. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



May 2009 web site can improve the health of our community!

At the recent Civic Engagement Summit held at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth , Dr. Clyde Barrow reported on how involved people living in Southcoast Massachusetts were in their communities compared with people in the rest of the United States . Unfortunately, we didn’t do so well. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



April 2009

Vegetable Gardening – the perfect healthy activity!

As the Healthy City Fall River coordinator, if I were asked to name the perfect healthy activity, it would have to be vegetable gardening. I can think of nothing else in life that combines the heart-healthy benefits of vigorous labor and stretching with the absolute pleasure of eating the best food that Nature has to offer! (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



March 2009

Job loss requires a pro-active approach to maintaining health

One of the most devastating events that can happen to anyone is the loss of a job. While loss of a predictable source of income is the chief factor, the loss of important social networks, the absence of routine and the threat to one’s identity can all add up to a real crisis. Even worse, from the standpoint of mental health, job loss can result in major symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. These symptoms, in turn, may produce an increased risk of a number of both acute and chronic illnesses, such as heart disease. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



February 2009

Shift to policy development is the next step in improving health

Mark Fenton, host of the PBS television series “ America ’s Walking” and a vocal pedestrian advocate, tells a story about encountering an obviously overweight man walking past him at a vigorous pace. Mark asked him how long he has been walking for exercise, and the man corrected him saying, “I’m not exercising; I’m just trying to save money. I’m walking to that far lot where parking happens to be free.” After trying for decades to get more Americans to walk, Mark suddenly realized that perhaps promoting walking groups wasn’t necessarily the best way to go. What really needs to happen, he concluded, is that we have to design our environment so that people will incorporate walking into their lives for reasons other than health. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



January 2009

When it comes to getting fit, quitting smoking leads the pack!

Hundreds of people throughout Fall River have signed up and weighed in for the second annual Fitness Challenge, a city-wide invitation for people to use the next four months to improve some aspect of their health. While most intend to shed a few pounds and increase their physical fitness, this year’s Challenge has added smoking cessation to the mix in recognition of the fact that nearly one-third of adults in Fall River smoke. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



November 2008

Healthy dining easier at some restaurants

With Thanksgiving and the other holidays coming up, lots of good eating opportunities will soon be available. For many, the holidays mean time at home to enjoy cooking and preparing traditional favorites. Eating, after all, is one of life’s best pleasures, especially in the company of people we enjoy. If you’re one who enjoys preparing foods from scratch, it’s an even better chance to ensure that what you’re eating is wholesome and healthy since you get to choose what goes into each dish. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)


December 2008

Support from others the key to Fitness Challenge success

Most of us think that our health is a private, personal matter. We think it is up to us alone to make sure we are eating right or getting the right amount of exercise or even quitting unhealthy behaviors like smoking. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



October 2008

Workplace wellness makes staying healthy easier

One of the best ways to improve your personal health status is to work for an organization that promotes wellness on the job. Fortunately, a good number of people who work in Fall River do so for organizations that have voluntary employee wellness benefits in place. But, in order for them to work, you have to participate! (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



September 2008

City employees benefiting from new wellness program

Fall River firefighters have a very dangerous job to do. Unfortunately, the biggest danger they face isn't fire or smoke or collapsing structures. It's heart attack. According to national statistics, forty-four percent of firefighter deaths on the job are related to cardiac events. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



August 2008

Children In Balance project will address childhood obesity

A great deal has been written in the past few years about America ’s problem with overweight and obesity. As a nation, we are now the heaviest we have every been, and the medical consequences have been showing up in increases in rates of diabetes and other conditions associated with excess weight such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. What has received less attention, however, is the increasing rates of childhood overweight and obesity, now approaching 14% among five-year-olds nationwide. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



July 2008

Fall River preparing for its own summer Olympic Games

As the 2008 Summer Olympics get underway next week in Beijing , children in Fall River will already be competing in their own Olympic-style games through a Community Development Recreation program funded by the City’s Healthy Lives project. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



May 2008

produces a “blizzard” of health promotion activity

It’s springtime in Fall River but the city is experiencing a blizzard – a blizzard of activity, that is, that promises to continue us on the way to being a much healthier place to live and work. From reducing access to drugs, to cleaning up the city, to increased fitness activity and many other projects, Healthy City Fall River is taking the city by storm. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



March 2008

Use the walking “pill” to improve your health

If your doctor could prescribe a medication that would decrease your risk of heart attack by 30-40%, cut your risk of stroke in half, help to control your blood pressure, reduce your risk of some cancers and diabetes, and lower your weight, would you take it? What if you also learned that this medication is absolutely free? It would be hard to pass up, wouldn’t it? (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)



February 2008

Preparation likely to make health changes more successful

Whether you’re a smoker, or overweight or a confirmed couch potato, even the thought of making a change to a healthier lifestyle can make you sweat! Most of us go for years avoiding taking that first step, but Fall River has a number of resources that can make an attempt more likely to be successful. (Click here for a WORD version of the full article.)


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