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Top 10 Least Healthy Cities in America

obesityGallup-Healthways surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans in 189 metropolitan areas in the US in 2012 and 2013. The survey looked at both the physical and emotional health of residents. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is certainly an interesting report to look at and to use as a barometer of healthy living.

As Dan Witters, the research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index said, “When you’re talking about obesity, the big three are healthy eating, exercise, and smoking.”

Certainly, the researchers also found a strong connection between emotional wellbeing and physical health. As Witters explained, “Survey participants who were ‘clinically diagnosed with depression had a significantly elevated probability of carrying around obesity.’”

Here is their list of America’s least healthy cities.

10. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark.

> Physical Health Index: 72.2

> Obesity rate: 35.1% (5th highest)

9. Spartanburg, S.C.

> Physical Health Index: 71.9

> Obesity rate: 30.0% (34th highest)

8. Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.

> Physical Health Index: 71.7

> Obesity rate: 29.7% (40th highest)

7. Clarksville, Tenn.-Ky.

> Physical Health Index: 71.6

> Obesity rate: 33.8% (8th highest)

6. Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla.

> Physical Health Index: 71.4

> Obesity rate: 29.8% (38th highest)

5. Redding, Calif.

> Physical Health Index: 71.4

> Obesity rate: 27.6% (82nd highest)

4. Columbus, Ga.-Ala.

> Physical Health Index: 70.7

> Obesity rate: 32.5% (13th highest)

3. Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.

> Physical Health Index: 70.5

> Obesity rate: 30.9% (25th highest)

2. Charleston, W.Va.

> Physical Health Index: 69.0

> Obesity rate: 34.6% (6th highest)

1. Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio

> Physical Health Index: 66.2

> Obesity rate: 39.5% (the highest)

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Join in Earth Day Today

It’s Earth Day today and over a billion people in 190 countries will be doing something to mark the day. This year’s theme is Green Cities and, as it explains on the Earth Day website, “With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.”

There are events around the world for Earth Day. Certainly, cleaning up your own garden, helping to create a green space in your community or helping others is enough. But you can also join an official event for Earth Day.  Here is a partial list of events provided by Certainly, there are many more to be found on their website.


The Tuscon Earth Day Festival will hold its 20th annual event on Saturday April 12, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Reid Park. The theme will be “Light the Way to a Bright Future”. Admission is free and it will feature a parade, environmental displays and activities, and alternative fuel vehicles.


The Arkansas Earth Day Foundation is hosting an event on April 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Heifer International Fair Grounds. It will include educational booths and children’s events.


Earth Day Santa Cruz is holding their Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. in San Lorenzo Park. It is an exciting community event offering educational information, activities for kids including an arts and crafts tent, live music and a focus on green businesses.


Yosemite National Park will be celebrating National Park Week and Earth Day starting on April 19 and continuing through the 28. Activities will include a trash pick up, bike ride, family night, an Earth Day celebration at the Yosemite Village Mall, sustainable salad bar tasting, and more.


The City of Modesto is hosting their 25th Annual Earth Day event on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Graceada Park. It will include a free StaRT shuttle bus, a recycling collection and drop off, live entertainment, “green” education, food, art contest, and vendors.


San Diego Earthworks is hosting their 2014 EarthFair on Sunday, April 27, 2014 in Balboa Park from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It will feature more than 300 exhibitors, special theme areas, a food pavilion, a children’s activity area, five entertainment venues, the Children’s Earth Parade, art show, and Cleaner Car Concourse.


Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council is hosting their 2014 Earth Day event on Saturday, April 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It will include live entertainment, a farm to table dinner, a green car show, food and drink, and “kid’s corner”. It is estimated over 35,000 people will attend and this year’s theme is “local roots”.


Stockton Earth Day is hosting their 2014 Earth Day event on Sunday, April 6, 2014 in Victory Park. This year’s theme is “Living Water Wise” and admission is free. Activities include a family bike ride, yoga at the park, and a food and clothing drive.


The City of Alameda will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Washington Park. It will feature free activities for kids, Earth Day games exhibitions, and farmer’s market stands.


Lakewood is hosting their Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Lakewood Heritage Center. The theme for the event is “Live Local” and aims to focus on local businesses, food producers, and environmental organizations. Entrance is free and special attractions will include a climbing wall, music, and educational demonstrations.


The Community Office for Resource Efficiency in Aspen will be celebrating Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at Wagner Park Pedestrian Mall. Come out and enjoy food, music, and conversation.


The Seventh Annual Earth Day Festival in Newton will be held at Newtown Middle School on April 26 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Festival is family-friendly, open to the whole community, and through the activities it provides – live music, vendors, and more – seeks to “green” Newtown.


The Trumbull Nature and Arts Center is holding an Earth Day Celebration on April 27 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This event is for the whole family and will include nature hikes, displays by local environmental organizations, and more.


Wilmington’s 2014 Earth Day Celebration, in association with the Delaware Estuary will take place in Rodney Square on April 22 from 11:00-2:00. The event will include giveaways, raffles, green vendor displays, children’s activities, and live music and a radio broadcast.


Earth Day Miami is participating in the Green Cities campaign and holding an Earth Day event on April 5. The event is called “Better Miami” and is an evening of music, networking, and Eco-fashion. The event will also community leaders dedicated to sustainability in South Florida.


Sustainatopia is a set of environmental conference held from April 16-22 in Miami. The three conferences that encompass the event are the 5th Annual Impact Conference, the Sustainable Strategies Conference, and the Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Design Summit.


Learning Gate Community School has teamed up with the City of Tampa and the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability to put on the 5th Annual EcoFest 2014 on April 12 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The event will include live music, demonstrations, green living products, and more.


Mount Dora Friends of the Environment, with co-sponsorship from the City of Mount Dora, is hosting an Earth Day celebration on April 19 from 10:00 – 4:00 at Donnelly Park. There will be environmental films, gardening workshops, children’s activities, and more.


The 9th Annual Central Florida Earth Day will be held in Lake Eola Park from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on April 19. It is the largest Earth Day event in Central Florida and will include speakers, environmental education, and more, along with Earth-friendly sponsors and vendors.


The 9th Annual Central Florida Earth Day will be held in Lake Eola Park from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on April 19. It is the largest Earth Day event in Central Florida and will include speakers, environmental education, and more, along with Earth-friendly sponsors and vendors.


On April 19, St. Petersburg will celebrate Earth Day with its first annual festival. This event will focus on educating the public about eco-friendly technology, research, and products that help create sustainable communities. Companies leading the green movement and speakers on topics affecting the Earth will also be present.


Milton, Georgia is proud to announce the 3rd Annual Earth Day Festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Birmingham Park.This fun, free family event is part of Milton’s efforts to increase environmental awareness in the community.


The City of Decatur, partnering with the Wylde Center, is holding its annual Decatur Earth Day Festival on April 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the Oakhurst Garden. This Earth Day celebration is pirate-themed and a fun way for over 400 community members to celebrate with the city.


Maui Earth Day Festival will host their 17th annual event on Sunday, April 27th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Keopuolani Park Amphitheater. It will include two stages of live music and speakers, food environmental and social awareness booths, Keiki activities, vendors, farmers market, and alternative transportation, energy, and agriculture.


Idaho Falls Earth Day will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 26, 2014 in Tautphaus Park and Tautphaus Park Zoo from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Activities will include live music conservation education, games, crafts and displays by local clubs and organizations. Zoo admission free for children 12 and under.


The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is hosting Earth Day in the Parks, a conservation event throughout Illinois state parks. Schoolchildren and their teachers will participate in activities such as tree and wildflower planting, building brush piles, removing invasive exotic species, and more.


Earth Day at Indiana State University will include a rock climbing wall and outdoor games, live entertainment, and more than 40 local businesses and organizations offering educational activities about sustainability.


The Arthur M. Glick JCC’s third annual Earth Day Community Celebration is on April 27 from 1:00 – 4:00. Over 40 exhibitors will be present with as many or more activities that are all hands-on. This free event is open to all and 2500-3000 community members are expected to attend.

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Mandometer for Healthier Eating

mandoA new Swedish method is teaching those with eating disorders how to start to eat sensibly again. A recent study has found that 75% of the patients who are treated using this method, called Manometer, were free of issues one year later.  The Manometer teaches patients to re-learn normal eating habits with a feedback device that is attached to a scale.

The Mandometer food scale is then attached to a computer which informs the patient about how much he should be eating. The person puts their plate on the scale with the food they plan to eat. As the patient is eating, the computer tells the person how fast they are eating and the patient inputs how full she is feeling during the meal. The goal is to finish the meal in 15 minutes.

The ultimate goal of the tool is to retrain the patient’s brain and to have them eating in a normal way within three or four months.

A study done on this tool that was published in the American Psychological Associations’ journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that 75% of the patients were free of symptoms within 12.5 months. Only 10% of patients were seen to relapse over a five year period.

As Per Södersten, professor of behavioural neuroendocrinology at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Neurobiology, said, “This follow-up on 18 years of work show that treatment on a neurobiological base is effective.”

The device can apparently be used in the reverse as well, teaching heavy people to slow down when they eat.

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Finding the Perfect Vacation Spot: Switzerland

Saas-FeeWith Spring upon us, it’s time to start thinking about summer vacation spots. Ironically, it could also be time to think about next winter, as ski resorts fill up incredibly quickly and reserving half a year in advance is always recommended. Switzerland is filled with gorgeous ski locations and summer fun destinations. Here are a few recommendations of the thousands that are available:

The Arosa Kulm: This is a five star hotel and one of the oldest and most traditional in Arosa. Its location can’t be beat as it’s next to the south slope at the exit of the village. In the winter, cable cars and ski lifts right nearby will lead skiers to the slopes. In the summer, the Weisshorn cable railway and the Hornli Express will bring you to locations for amazing walks that are free for hotel guests.

Saas-Fee: Marnin Michaels and Melissa Kaplan own an apartment in a ski chalet in this beautiful small village. It’s the perfect get-away for anyone who wants to ski and hike without the hustle and bustle of a larger town.  The town gets about 95 inches of snowfall a year and the village focuses on pedestrians by limiting traffic. As writer Jessica Steinberg explains in her New York Times article about their chalet,

“Working with an Italian architect from Visp, the neighboring town, they ripped out most of the inner walls to create a comfortable living room, a dining area that seats eight and a small but efficient kitchen that easily fits two cooks. They decided to keep the beams and the original doors but installed lighter-colored parquet floors throughout most of the apartment and added under-floor heating in the tiled bathrooms.” Certainly, this would be a home away from home in Switzerland.

Berghaus Bort: This stunning location could be the perfect compromise between a large hotel and an apartment rental. With only nine rooms, it’s quaint enough to feel cozy and yet large enough to have the many amenities that a visitor might seek. It includes restaurants, a swimming pool, bars, a spa, a sauna, a gym, and nightclubs. Certainly, while not as cozy or private as Marnin Michael’s location, it’s a great way to enjoy skiing and hiking without being in a large hotel.

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Pain Managemet in Pregnancy: Dr. Harvey Finkelstein

Pain Management PregnancyPain management in pregnancy is more complex than pain management in other cases. Though pregnant women often experience various aches and pains, managing this discomfort with the help of medication can be challenging for several reasons. One, the health and development of the fetus may be influenced by the drugs, and two, pregnant women’s bodies absorb and process medications differently than non-pregnant patients.

Experts such as Harvey Finkelstein are familiar with the potential risks associated with common pain management medications, and are equipped to help mothers-to-be manage their various pregnancy pains with minimal risk to themselves and their fetuses. The most commonly used pain medications in pregnancy include acetaminophen, NSAIDs, opioids, benzodiazepines, steroids, antidepressants, local anesthetics and anticonvulsants. Also used are migraine medications such as caffeine, sumatriptan, beta blockers and ergot alkaloids.

There are also a number of alternative techniques to manage pain during pregnancy. Many women find that ice or hot water bottles can effectively relieve and reduce muscle and joint pain, as can massage, light activity, pregnancy yoga or Pilates and various other exercises and stretches. Some women are also able to take a more psychological approach to pain management by learning about the causes of different sensations and understanding their importance throughout their pregnancy. Some aches and pains can even help a woman prepare herself and her body for labor and post-partum discomfort.

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This Day in History: The Typewritten Presidential Letter

It was 125 years ago today that one of the first type written letters left the White House. In February of 1880, the White House received a Fairbanks and Company Improved Number Two Typewriter. While Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and Cleveland all ignored this machine, President Benjamin Harrison gave it a room. The typewriter shared two small rooms with a telephone and a telegraph and they had their own operator, Miss Alice Sanger.

The letter that President Harrison wrote on April 4th, 1889, and that is in the Shapell Manuscript Foundation collection, is the earliest known example of a presidential typewritten letter. The President sent the letter to a book bindery owner in Philadelphia to thank him for the gift of an olive wood box which he has made for the new President. Interestingly, while the typewriter was a great invention, it was a difficult one for historians who want to capture the penmanship of the presidents. As the typewriter became used more and more, the presidential autograph’s letter became virtually obsolete.

The letter showcased by the Shapell Manuscript Foundation says,

“Charles F. Heller, Esq.,
Philadelphia, Penna.

My Dear Sir: -

I take pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of your favor of the 2nd inst. and also of the box made of olive wood. I beg to express my appreciation of this finely executed specimen of your workmanship, and of the friendly spirit which prompted you to make and send it to me.

Very truly yours,


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Cat Cafe Opens in London

Lady Dinah'sA new café recently opened in London, combining coffee and feline passions to create a brand new atmosphere. The new venue has proven so popular it is already booked through June. Called Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, the café allows visitors to enjoy a cappuccino or latte while winding down with some of the location’s resident cats.

Anna Kogan, investment banker and co-owner of the café, explained: “The idea is you can come have a peaceful lunch or high tea and be surrounded by cats. If you’re lucky one of them will fall asleep on your lap.”

The café opened its doors on March 1st after being partially funded by a campaign that raised more than $181,100 in less than two months. More than 3,000 online bookings were made within hours of the café’s launch.

“I thought that it would be really really cool to just hang out with loads and loads of cats,” said recent patron Christy McCormick. “They’re really fluffy and cute and… I really like cats. They’re great.”

The café has 11 cats, and features vintage-themed décor. There is a 5-pound entrance fee and a two-hour turnaround time for patrons.

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New York Financial Tips

In a recent article on TheStreet, they reported that the national averages for two-year CD rates has decreased by one basis point. As Joe Deaux, TheStreet’s Economics Analyst said,

“Two-year CD rates have witnessed the only fluctuation in the past three weeks. This is telling as Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen last week told market observers that the central bank could begin to raise interest rates as soon as six months after the end of tapering. Yellen’s key comment coupled with the majority of policy makers forecasting the federal funds rate to reach 1% by 2015 means savers may have just received their biggest signal that rising CD rates, especially for longer durations, are at hand.”

As reported by TheStreet, those in the market will find Doral Bank as a great option for 1-year CDs. They currently offer a rate of .94% as compared to the Greater New York Region average of .39%. See the full article for more details about other top rate issuers.

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