Category Archives: Health

Improving your health and fitness

Are Wii Fit?

Megan Timms ’11
Staff Writer

Photo Illustration by Jacqueline Wills '10 and Thomas Ingle '10, Photo Editor and Staff Writer / Images from Nintendo Co.
Photo Illustration by Jacqueline Wills '10 and Thomas Ingle '10, Photo Editor and Staff Writer / Images from Nintendo Co.

Technology has taken yet another step towards our wildest dreams with Nintendo’s recent release of the Wii Fit, a video game that helps players lose weight.

Could this take the place of the hard work and exercise that many Americans have grown to hate? Upon arrival there were many disbelievers, but those that have experienced the Wii Fit say otherwise.

“It’s really fun and addictive but its a workout!” said Kirsten Lawrence ’11.

Wii Fit features body analysis programs that keep track of a player’s heart rate, calories burned, and energy exposure. In fact, sports medicine professionals at the University of Maryland are testing to see if this new gaming technology could provide alternative methods of rehabilitation. They have discovered that this gaming device could serve as an inexpensive aide for their athletes as its strength exercises provide a full body workout.

The Wii may not be a very good training tool if you are planning to run a marathon, but it may be ideal for nursing a minor injury, recreation, or to simply get an extra workout.

Players create a character, called a Mii, and then stand on a board that weighs them, helps them balance, and monitors their performance during a game. Then, they do different exercises that tells them how old they are compared to their actual age, based on how well they performed.

So if you’re 16 but out of shape, you might be told you’re 80 years old. Based on your health, it helps you find exercises to improve your score.

Not everyone is a fan. Eric Darnell ’12 said “I have played it, but I don’t like it because it’s an inside thing. It feels like it’s for people who are too lazy to go outside and exercise.”

And according to Garrett Tucker ’13, users may not be getting the workout they think. “Someone may use it in the wrong way, not the workout intended, so they don’t get the workout.”

The majority of the people interviewed did not know about the Wii Fit or care for it, because of other video game devices that they already have. Will the Wii Fit be as successful in the teens perspective? As of now it is up in the air, but with advances within the gaming industry to come, it’s highly debatable when teens will give up their remotes to get into shape.

School Prepares for Arrival of H1N1

School Prepares for Arrival of H1N1 (Swine Flu)

Students, faculty and staff take precautions to keep safe and informed

by Thomas Ingle ’10, Staff Writer

The H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) has yet to reach McNamara, but precautions are underway to remove misconceptions and ensure safe practices for everyone in the community.

The potential issue of an outbreak at Bishop McNamara is being addressed by Principal Marco Clark and the administration via the Newsletter and the email chain. As stated by Mr. Clark, each classroom has been issued Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer in attempt to disinfect the rooms and keep our environment safe and healthy. Every day after school, the janitors disinfect and sanitize every room in the school including the weight room.

Is it working?  Johnathon DeVane ’11 said, “I don’t believe that everyone actually washes their hands after they blow their nose or after they use the bathroom.” DeVane also stated that whenever he sees people not wash their hands in the bathrooms, he urges them to use proper hygiene.  On at least one occasion, they responded by mocking and disregarding what he said.

Students need to know that even with general precautions, germs can still spread. Practicing good hygiene and taking minor precautions will help stop the spread of sickness in McNamara. Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands with soap and water as often as you can, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and try to avoid close contact with other sick people. Finally, if you get sick with flu like symptoms, stay at home at least twenty-four hours after your fever subsides.

H1N1 2
The H1N1 influenza virus. (from CDC.gov)

Some students are doing the right thing.  Casey Gouldman ’11 believes students are doing a better job of practicing safe hygiene at school. She has observed her peers sneezing and coughing in their elbows instead of their hands in an attempt to avoid the spreading of germs.
H1N1 is another strain of influenza, but what separates it from other strains of the flu is the fact that the details of what make swine influenza virus so infectious in humans are largely unknown. H1N1 is highly communicable and is particularly harmful for people younger people (25 and younger). Older people have antibodies that help defend their bodies against infections such as H1N1. People at higher risks to have serious complications to the virus are pregnant, have heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, or asthma. According to Google Health, there are twenty-seven reported deaths from the Swine Flu at the time of this writing. If you think you are experiencing any potential symptoms of the flu, check the CDC online.

Vaccine for H1N1 should be available by the first week in October.  The vaccinations will be sent out to various distribution sites around the United States. They are in great demand, so getting your vaccination during the first few weeks of its release will be difficult. A vaccination is when an injection of a dead virus is put in your body so that antibodies are made to protect against that virus.  It is not a “cure” for H1N1, but it builds up your body’s immunities to it, hence it still may be possible to get flu, but it will not be fatal to your body.

The name “Swine Flu” is misleading to the general public and implies that it comes from pigs which it does not. People get the wrong idea that the name Swine Flu means that they will contract Swine Flu from eating variations of pork. The reason it is called the Swine Flu is not because you get it from eating pork or kissing pigs; it is because the flu shares similarities to flu that would be found in the American pig. In order to avoid these misconceptions, we should call it by its technical name H1N1.

Bishop McNamara has been taking careful precautionary measures in order to keep us healthy, but there is always improvement that we as individuals can do. Please stay informed, and practice safe hygiene.

Nourishing hydro-chloro-diph-paraben what??? …Don’t Be Fooled.

The Price of Beauty

OPINION by Brandi Bottalico ’10, Staff Reporter

After discovering my moisturizing lotion was a gyp, I decided to switch to organic face care. I had no clue where to start so I researched and discovered the huge difference that ingredients make. After schooling myself on what to look for and what to avoid, I took a trip to CVS. When walking down the lotion aisle, an orange box caught my eye. It was a moisturizer I had seen online. The name was Yes to Carrots. Sounds organic enough right? Remembering it was made with more natural ingredients and only few unpronounceable words, I took it to the counter, then reluctantly said farewell to my fifteen dollars. Yes. Fifteen dollars for my 1.7 fl oz tub. As opposed to my 3.4 fl oz moisturizer that was half the price.

So my experimenting began. There was definitely a noticeable difference. I only needed to put it on once and my skin was fine all day. No more little emergency lotion in my purse for when my skin felt dry. No girl should waste that valuable purse space for back up lotion. I was in love.

Once my Yes to Carrots began running low I would skim my finger around the bottom of the container in every nook and cranny to get all I could before having to admit that it was gone. I was no longer fooled by Biore’s Nourish lotion because it did nothing of the sort. I had said Yes! to Carrots and that was that. I would have to buy more. I couldn’t go back. I was a changed girl. My eyes were opened. Fifteen bucks well spent. Organic was definitely better.

Not only does it have the benefits for your looks, it is better for your health and our environment. Every day we wake up to put on our layers of foundation, gel our hair so that the curl has just the right amount of bounce and spritz our wrists with that new fragrance. But have we ever considered the results of this? Of course we have… duh! We look gorgeous all day. But seriously we don’t think any further about the consequences. I mean think about all those chemicals in our shampoos, soaps, makeup, lotion, hair dye, etc. when you wash them down the drain at the end of the day do you seriously consider where they go? or the effects they had on your body?

By using these hair products, dyes, and makeups we are expelling harmful chemicals into our environment. If these chemicals are so harmful to the environment we can also consider their side effects on our bodies and health. Chemicals such as carcinogens (cancer causing substances) are included in many of these products. We put many chemicals on our bodies daily and they go down the drain, affecting our wildlife, streams and rivers. If you can’t picture this then imagine the effect of you throwing a carrot in your yard everyday as opposed to a bottle of nail polish remover. Clearly there will be some consequences on the environment with the latter.

Also consider the same example for your skin. If your applying these harsh chemicals to them everyday than the body’s largest organ will be effected. Oh and don’t be surprised to know that your skin is not the only part of your body effected by these beauty products. These chemicals are expelled into the air that you breath and this could effect you in other ways — causing breathing difficulties or worse.

Students interviewed admitted to using at least 5 to 10, if not more, products a day.But if the soap, body and face wash used is organic then skin would reap the benefits.There would be no need for the extra expenses to cover up the negative effects of the harsh products. Buying that unnecessary glump of concealer for that emerging zit — $7. Paying for heavy duty lotion to ease dry skin-$8. Saying, “oh no I’m not wearing makeup” when asked why your skin looks so amazing — Priceless.

So in your consideration to switch to all organic beauty products remember its benefits to your health — and to the environment’s.

Vegetarianism

Julia Weaver ’09
Features Editor

It seems that nowadays meat is just going out of style. On a recent trip to a restaurant known for its meat and potatoes, I was surprised to find the first few pages of the menu dedicated to vegetarian options. Days later, I saw an advertisement “veg is the new black.” My biggest question, why? Vegetarianism has become a craze, phase or simply a way of life for a reported 15 million people in the United States alone. Vegetarian cafes, cookbooks and meal options have become more than commonplace; they’re expected. But why have so many individuals decided that “veg” is the way to go? And furthermore, what exactly is a vegetarian?

The term is thrown around loosely in popular culture, but a vegetarian is simply a person who abstains from eating meat and fish. A pescetarian is someone that refrains from eating land animals, but eats any type of seafood in addition to all other food products. Finally, a vegan is someone that refrains from consuming or using any meat or dairy products. According to the American Dietetic Association, a vegetarian diet is believed to be beneficial because it increases one’s energy, contributes to weight loss and helps lower one’s risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. McNamara student and former vegetarian Eron Bryant said, “I became a vegetarian because I had low energy,” and accredited her increased energy levels during her stint as a vegetarian to her meat-free diet. Sophomore Kaitlin Thompson, a vegetarian for the past five years, agreed with Eron, discussing how vegetarianism has had positive effects on her health and describing it as “a way of life.”

While its health benefits draw many individuals to a vegetarian lifestyle, the stress that the meat industry places on the environment is reason enough for others. Studies published by goveg.com claim animals raised for slaughter produce 130 times more waste then the human population and require one-third of all of the raw materials and fossil fuels in the United States alone. Yet another popular reason for dropping meat products altogether is the highly publicized harsh treatment of animals raised for the food industry. Organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have launched hundreds of campaigns against the meat industry and in favor of vegetarian lifestyles, including the infamous “veggie love” campaign, which was banned for the 2009 Superbowl. According to studies published on goveg.com, the meat industry kills 27 billion animals per year, many of which are subject to physical abuse and dangerous growth hormones. Junior Renata Malionek became a vegetarian three years ago for similar reasons. “I read a poem about the life of a commercial fish from the fish’s perspective. That night we were eating fish for dinner and I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, so I decided to give up meat altogether.”

But perhaps “veg” isn’t always the best way to go. Studies conducted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) regarding the prevention of chronic disease showed the intake of meat to be beneficial, as it helps boost the immune system and lowers one’s risk of heart disease. Another up and coming pro-meat lifestyle is The Body Ecology, which cites meat as an essential part of one’s diet, which when coupled with the proper combination of food groups, is crucial to staying healthy. Further studies published by the CDC highlighted the negative effects the chemicals and preservatives in “veggie burgers” and other soy or tofu based products have on one’s health. When asked what he thought about a vegetarian lifestyle, Dean Harris ’09 replied, “It’s a bad idea. You’ll starve and you’re not getting enough proteins.”

So, with all of this is mind, is “veg” still the best way to? When asked this question, Renata Malionek replied, “Yeah, I think so. I mean it helps to have a balance, but it was the best thing for me.”

EDITORIAL: Who’s Responsible for Healthy Choices?

Staff Editorial

This year when you go into the lunch line all you ever want is pizza, French fries and a soda, skip the salad, hold the dressing, and keep the extra change for the same lunch tomorrow. But do you jump into line thinking that you’re going to buy the most unhealthy, artery clogging, greasy food? Because it is also cheap and so delicious. You could possibly be thinking, “I would love to buy something healthy, but there are only two types of salad and they are way too expensive for me; I’ll just stick with the fries…”

It is our responsibility, if we are given options, to make smart choices. The healthy food shouldn’t be more expensive, and the fries should not be so much cheaper. It is the students’ responsibility because the cafeteria currently has a light system to display healthy choices. The bad foods have a red light while the healthier foods have green ones. Therefore, students are fully aware of what kind of food they are purchasing when they pick it up.

However, it is a communal effort. All the food should be priced reasonably priced, but it’s our responsibility to make the right choice and the school’s responsibility to provide a health conscious lunch provider. There are two types of salad in the cafeteria and yet many more unhealthy choices, you can have your pick of fries, ham or cheese burgers, maybe even a chicken sandwich or some pizza. Students are limited in their nutritional choices, and the unhealthy foods always seem to be more favorable, in terms of cost, taste and presentation. A lot of kids in America have this same problem because the choice is there but the decision is so hard to make. The cafeteria needs more choices not just pizza, French fries or a Caesar salad. Sure, it is our responsibility, but if we have no healthy options then what are we supposed to do? There are only two types of salad, garden or Caesar but there can be more choices like rice, baked chicken and vegetables. The school needs to provide us with the options so that we can make the choice to eat healthier. Students are never happy when options are limited. Last year, the cafeteria limited us to choosing fries only two times a week, but at least we were forced to eat healthier.

Of course, the salads are expensive because fresh vegetables will always be more expensive than grease soaked fries and a lot of this has to do with the state of the economy. In the cafeteria, you can buy a chicken sandwich, soda and fries or a Caesar salad. The healthier option? The salad, of course. The cheaper option? The unhealthier choice, no doubt, the chicken sandwich with fries plus a soda. It is more food and less money but a lot more calories, fat and definitely less healthier than the salad option.

In our cafeteria, the bad stuff looks better. You walk into the cafeteria; the pizza is glowing radiantly under a light while the healthier options sit on top looking a lot less appetizing. You even have to make a conscience effort to stop and look for those healthy little entrees. Do you want a healthy meal? How about just a few pieces from it, like just the chicken or the vegetables alone? Sorry, you can’t, try buying the whole meal because that’s your only option. Collectively, the staff thinks that Sage wants our money for those cost effective, unhealthy foods they provide, but the school really is concerned about our health which is why the administration changed to this company.

The biggest thing that the staff was concerned about was the options provided and the variety of the healthy foods given. What ever happened to the Paninis?! If a wider variety was given, then we would not be arguing about this in the first place. Ultimately, students need to take care of themselves; you cannot rely on someone to hold your hand and make the right decision for you. Grow up and make a decision. Bring your lunch, pay the extra few dollars for a salad, or even talk to administration about having some more healthy choices in the cafeteria. You could even opt to buy the unhealthiness, because health costs. Bottom line, it really is your choice and although the healthy options are limited, they are available, so make the best decision for yourself!