Category Archives: Health

Improving your health and fitness

Get a Life, She’s Only 14

Controversial ad offends

 Commercial Against Obsesity Goes too Far

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Opinion Editor

A young girl is in her family room watching TV, chewing on chips while dreaming about being a star one day. The Covergirl commercial ends, and a dramatic black background appears on the screen. White words flash up with sudden sounds, “High Blood Sugar. High Cholesterol. Hypertension.” It goes on, and a black and white picture of a wide girl accompanies the words. “Get healthy. Get moving. Get a life. Cut childhood obesity down to size.” The bigger girl is replaced by a bone-thin child.

    The state of Georgia has been criticized for its ads against obesity, but none of them offended me until this. When I heard a bit about the ‘insulting’ commercials, I was curious enough to watch some on Youtube. The first three left me thinking, “Yeah, it’s sad — but the kids themselves are admitting they want to be healthy and it’s not fun to get picked on. The overall message is to eat healthy, so it’s ok.” The last one I viewed, though, was truly disdainful. The overweight girl portrayed did not speak for herself as in the other ones, and instead written words narrated her health issues — which was good because it was informative — but when it wrote “Get a life,” my jaw dropped.

First of all, this is a totally wrong approach to encourage kids- especially girls- to diet. A person that needs to lose pounds should be motivated positively, not by bullying. “Stigma and prejudice are intensely stressful. Stress puts the body on full alert, which gets the blood pressure up, the sugar up,” said Colombia University Health professor Dr. Peter Muenning in a NY Times essay by Harriet Brown. Basically, feeling ugly and fat will make person more likely to get depressed, sick and gain more weight. There are a bajillion different ways to say ‘eat properly’ or ‘eat in moderation for a longer life,’ but it is plain offensive when you insinuate that the girl has no activities or friends. They have no right to imply that she has no social life, or that she has no potential for happiness. This was an unnecessary smack in the face to insecure obese children, and the phrasing itself was mean.

Then it has the audacity to follow with the expression ‘cut childhood obesity down to size’ and replace the still of the overweight girl with a stick figure girl. Muscle is required for a person to be in shape. A kid 20 pounds heavier than the one portrayed as ‘healthy’ would be average size. Enough kids are depressed because they hate themselves. Overweight and obese adolescents exemplified suicidal rates of 26.8% – more than twice the average of studied subjects, according to Medical News Today.

The sponsors should not be blaming the kids. Children adopt eating habits from their parents, and size structure is also inherited- it’s not easy to be perfect. Instead, the commercial made me feel like obese people are unwanted, useless losers that need to “Get a life” and be emaciated like the last image.  That ad did not make any little girl aspiring to be the next Rihanna put down their chips and exercise. Personally, it made me feel ugly, and like there’s no fun in life if you aren’t thin.

You can watch it now at

College Sports Ban Vitamin Water

NCAA puts ban on certain flavors of Vitamin Water

Anthony Brown ’12 and Taylor Parker ’12 | Editors

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has banned or considered some flavors and ingredients in the sports drink Vitamin Water. An “impermissible” nutritional supplement product that contains ingredients that do not comply with the NCAA Division I and Division II bylaws on nutritional supplements. The NCAA lets the student-athletes know beforehand that they’re responsible for what they consume.They’re told what the banned substances are so they can eat and drink responsibly.

According to the NCAA’s website, they also advise that the student-athletes look over the product and its label with their athletic departments for a few reasons:

  • The dietary supplement could cause positive drug tests because they’re not properly regulated
  • Players have lost their eligibility because they tested positive for performance enhancing drugs while using the dietary supplements,
  • There are contaminated supplements that have banned drugs not found on the label

If the athletes choose to consume these supplements, they’re taking a risk. Varsity girls’ soccer coach George Hunt said he remembered when it first came out and he thought it was great to have a non-carbonated sports drink. Bishop McNamara High School’s Athletic Director Anthony Johnson said students should Just drink Gatorade or Powerade. He doesn’t think student-athletes would favor a sports drink based on taste. He believes it’s easy to just drink Vitamin Water but If Gatorade were found to have illegal substances, it would be more of an issue.

According to the University of Alabama athletics website, the banned or impermissible Vitamin Water flavors and ingredients are the following:

  • Energy Tropical Citrus (Caffeine, guarana seed extract),
  • Rescue Green Tea (Caffeine; green tea extract and ecgc or Epigallocatechin Gallate),
  • Power-C Dragonfruit (Taruine),
  • B-Relaxed Jackfruit Guava(L-theanine),
  • Vital-t Lemon Tea-Rooibos(Rooibos tea extract)
  • Balance Cran-Grapefruit(glucosamine).

The NCAA did however, approve flavors of Vitamin Water which include:

  • Revive (Fruit Punch)
  • Essential (Orange-Orange)
  • XXX (Acai, Blueberry and Pomegranate)
  • Focus (Focus Kiwi Strawberry)
  • Formula 50 (Grape)
  • Multi-V (Lemonade)
  • Charge (Lemon Lime)
  • Endurance(Peach-Mango)
  • Defense(Raspberry Mango)

It wouldn’t be wrong to think that since Caffeine is a banned substance by the NCAA, student-athletes can’t have soda, coffee etc. but according to Darryl Conway Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine for the University of Maryland, drinking a cup of coffee or having a soda won’t get a player banned. People wouldn’t think that any illegal substances are in sports drinks like Vitamin Water, and probably don’t think about because they just want to get something to drink or if your an athlete, you’re just worried about getting your energy back and getting out on the court or the field. It’s great that the NCAA brings awareness to this because if not, college athletics would be under a microscope due to the fact that so many players are testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

So it’s pretty clear what flavors the student-athletes should drink, the question is, will they drink those flavors? It’s pointless to drink the flavors of Vitamin Water with the illegal substances in them because you can into trouble and now a days, no matter what sport you play, your college career can make or break you.

Teen killer could strike again

Carolyn Conte is a staff writer for The Stampede

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Staff Writer

It’s the number one killer of 15 to 20 year-olds in the US.  An average of more than 5,000 teens here in USA will die this year because of it.  In 2009, at least 8 teens would die a day from this.

And almost all of these deaths could have been easily prevented- without any money donated, without any labor put in except for a thought: the decision to not distract themselves while they drive.

It could happen to anyone. We hear that a lot, but often we waive it away. It really could happen to anyone. Try and perceive yourself in one of those “some-one’s” situation, cruising along a smooth, empty road on their way home. Picture this anonymous person waiting all day for another special, certain peer to text or call them about, say, going to the dance. They’re so impatient!

Suddenly, “Buh-drung!” They know that sound; it means their phone just received a text. A potentially very important text. The road is empty and straight, and they need to see who it was! If they don’t reply immediately, that friend might assume something. So this “some-one”, this anyone, hexed by mere chance, chooses to answer just this one text. One hand holds the cellphone while they’re reading the message, and the other hand keeps the wheel steady. Their eyes abandon the road for a moment. In those humble few seconds their vehicle passes by a stoplight. A red light silently screams to the diverted some-one to halt, yet only a loud but low “bonnnggg! bongk, bongk!” succeeds in getting the random, anybody-but-you-someone to look up only to catch a final glimpse of life.

Harsh. But it’s reality. Waiting until the car is in park isn’t as painful as one might think.

Five Fingers… For Your Toes?

Photo by Jasmine Whittington ’11, Staff Writer
Interview by Stephanie Dorn ’11, Staff Writer

Vibram FiveFingers: A new trend of shoe has sparked the interest of students and teachers, including Kyle Martin from the class of 2011. When interviewed, Martin seemed to have nothing but positive feedback on his new choice of shoes.

Q: What made you want to buy the FiveFingers shoes?
A: I saw people wearing them and thought they looked cool and comfortable.

Q: How do they feel?
A: I like the fact that they let my feet breathe. Because of that, they are going to be good in the summertime. They are comfortable too.

Q: Do you have any concerns about them?
A: I am a little worried about the wear and tear because I like to wear them to work, but so far they have held up quite well.

Q: Are they waterproof?
A: They aren’t made to be for the water, but getting them wet won’t hurt anything. They dry really quickly.

If You Care DON’T Share

Sharing make up can lead to diseases such as Staph and Herpes

Jasmine Whittington ‘11
Staff Writer

Ladies, it’s cool to share with friends your secrets, clothes, and gossip, but keep your make-up to yourself. Sharing, and exchanging makeup is like openly sharing and exchanging germs, viruses, and diseases.
When sharing eyeliner, you run the risk of catching common eye diseases. I’m sure every one has heard of “pink eye,” but its medical term is conjunctivitis. It is a bacteria as well as a virus and is highly contagious. Conjunctivitis can be spread by direct contact with an infected area or contact with an object that has touched the infected area, according to

It is very common for a girl to visit a makeup store such as Mac or Sephora and try on the testers. For prom, girls go to different make-up companies to get a make-overs. According to, one study found bacteria such as MRSA (staph), strep (strep throat), and E. Coli in department store testers. Viruses and bacteria live in warm damp places. So make-up boxes, foundation containers, and lip gloss containers fit the requirements perfectly.
Lets say a close friend of yours recently got a minor paper cut on her index finger. She asks to use your lip gloss and you agree. You, trying to use a little precaution, squirt out some of the gloss onto her finger tip so she does not directly put her lips on the applicator. Little do you know, the same finger she used to scrape the gloss off the applicator is the same finger she had the cut on.

When you let a friend borrow your favorite lip-gloss or lipstick, you should definitely think twice. Herpes can be spread through the sharing of lip wear, according Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, a biological sciences professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Most of the time the disease shows no outer signs, making it hard to tell who has herpes, and who does not. Unfortunately Herpes is something that a person can never get rid of, according to Mononucleosis can also be spread by sharing lip gloss or lipstick, according to Dr. Brooks. Sore throat, rashes, fevers, and muscle aches are only a few symptoms of the virus.

The most commonly asked make-up question between girl friends is “Do you have any eye-liner or lip gloss i can borrow?” Your answer should be NO! Remember personal items are PERSONAL for a reason.

Awareness Doesn’t Cure AIDs

Luciana Rodrigues ‘12
Entertainment Editor

December 1 is the national HIV/AIDS awareness day. That’s just it, awareness. It’s not the national cure AIDS day, nor is it the national raise money for AIDS day. So if you ask me, what’s the purpose of December 1 if it’s just for “awareness”? What does awareness really do, except leave people “aware”?
You want statistics? An estimated 56,300 Americans are infected with HIV every year, according to An estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS currently. About 23% of those with HIV don’t know they are infected, so that means about 231,000 people could be transmitting the disease without even knowing it. The statistics go on and on and I’m sure we’ve heard many of them all before.
So now that you know all of that, what are you going to do? The exact same thing you’re probably doing now, continue sitting in the same spot you’re in, checking your Facebook and tweeting. Face it, now that you know all the facts, you’re still not doing anything about it.

There are 1,100,000 Americans infected with HIV/AIDS, and there are 310,852,659 Americans in total according the the last U.S census taken. Let’s look at this closely — there are about 309 million people not infected with HIV/AIDS in America. About 56,300 Americans become infected every year, so it will take another 20 years if this trend continues for 1,126,000 more Americans to be infected with such said disease. Twenty years may seem like a large amount of time, but really, chances are you’ll still be alive. You could be one of these 56,300, and all you’ll be able to say is “I was at one point ‘aware’.”
So, think about it like this, by wearing the color red, you are not in any way understanding what it’s like to go through living a life with HIV/AIDS. By putting statistics
out there, you are in no way benefiting those who are living those statistics. And by being aware, you are in no way at all curing this disease.
Go out, raise money, gather all the profit and send it towards HIV/AIDS research facilities. Arrange a “free get tested day.” Go talk to someone living with HIV/AIDS. Don’t claim to be saving the world, when all your doing is wearing the color red and claiming the importance of “being aware.”
So now that you are “aware” what are you doing about it? I hope that sometime soon it’ll be a little more than just sitting around updating your Facebook status and tweeting about Chipotle.


“Young Lady Are You Sexting?!”

The Supreme Court Attempts to take action against the teen trend of “Sexting”.

Annie Czecha ’10 Opinion Editor

Recently, a teenage trend has many parents, teachers, and government officials worried. “Sexting” is the act of sending nude or revealing pictures between minors that are often paired with suggestive words and descriptive wording of inappropriate acts. According to a survey by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “roughly 20 percent of teens admit to participating in ‘sexting.'”

My biggest concern is that minors are sending these pictures out into the cyber world which qualifies as child pornography. This is where the government becomes worried. In Maryland alone, sexting can result in charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and creation, possession and distribution of child pornography. Many concerned parents are petitioning for a law that is constructed to handle sexting directly rather than as a form of child pornography. An article on highlights Parry Aftab in Pittsburgh who is fighting for the supreme court to make a law that directly deals with sexting. “You get a slap on the wrist … or you go to jail and your life is ruined,” Aftab said. Currently, no specific laws have been created, however, the supreme court is trying to figure out how to handle all of the charges.

Many teens are caught off guard when they are informed that sending such suggestive pictures can be considered a felony, and they can be placed upon the sex offender list for the rest of their life. Sadly, because of how common it is, teens are rarely aware that this felony is also considered child pornography. In the case of Hope Witsell, a thirteen year old girl living in Tampa Florida sexting proved to be more than exchanging pictures. She was so mentally exhausted and hurt after a picture had been spread around the school that she took her own life. The Supreme Court will have a hard time discerning which accounts can be looked into because of the way the phones are registered. Viewing of these accounts will walk the fine line of being a invasion of privacy and the protection of minors.

It is very apparent that this not only is illegal but degrades all whom take part in it. In general, this “sexting” is a much bigger problem than the abuse of cell phones. Not because it is a form of child pornography, but it can distort relationships and put even more pressure on body image for all people involved. A relationship is more likely to become physically based and sexually active because of this change in our culture. It is a good thing that the government is finally taking action in this epidemic, but sexting is much more complex than sending and receiving suggestive images.

Friar Pete Talks Sex and Relationships

Photo by Brandi Bottalico '10.

By Brandi Bottalico ’10
News Editor

The first FAQ with Friar Pete Tremblay, on sex and relationships, was held in the Bishop McNamara Library on March 16th 2010, and incorporated faith into modern issues relating to sexuality.

“Relieving, truthful, and honest,” Taylor Parker ’12 stated, describing the first session.

Many who went found it to be unexpectedly open and non-critical. Teachings were not imposed or forced upon the audience, just merely explained. There were only three rules: Confidentiality, no teachers, and no judgement.

“I just came to listen. I expected everyone to be quiet and non-responsive,” stated Colleen Flemming ’10. The expectations were broken once the initial momentum was built and the library was transformed into a safe, comfortable environment where anything could be asked without judgement.

“It was great. I was really happy that people felt comfortable,” said Friar Pete at the conclusion of the two hour discussion about sex and relationships.

These FAQ’s will be held once every couple weeks with a different topic for each. The tentative topic for the next FAQ is other religions, according to Friar Pete, the open-minded, non-judgmental, realistic Franciscan Friar who moved in next door to Bishop McNamara.

“He was real,” stated Ayanna Coates ’12, referring to Friar Pete, after she summed up the experience as “enlightening.”

It was an utter success, two thumbs up.

For the first FAQ with Friar Pete, there was a great showing of students. Teachers were not allowed, to provide confidentiality and open discussion. Photo by Brandi Bottalico '10.