All posts by Erin Raupers

What does one e-cigarette do to a nonsmokers’ heart?

On Thursday, November 16, the country celebrated The Great American Smokeout.  The day began in the 1970’s as a way to encourage smokers to give up tobacco products for just one day.  According to the American Cancer Society, only 15% of Americans smoke cigarettes today.  That’s down from 42% in 1965 (1). Cigarette use is even lower among Penn State students. In the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 9.4% of students reported using cigarettes in the last 30 days.  Of those, only 1.5% used cigarettes every day for the last month (2).

E-cigarette use is even lower.  Only 3.8% of students reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days (2).  That’s somewhat good news because a recent study by Dr. Holly Middlekauff and colleagues showed that when a non-smoker is exposed to just one e-cigarette they experience “higher levels of adrenaline in the heart, which can lead to an increased heart rate and high blood pressure” (3,4).  “The findings challenge the concept that inhaled nicotine is benign, or safe” said Middlekauff (3).

Middlekauff’s study disputes the notion that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes.

If you are interested in quitting smoking, Penn State offers a FREE smoking cessation services. Click here for more information about how you can get help from Health Promotion and Wellness.

  1. American Cancer Society, cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html
  2. Penn State Student Health Assessment, Spring 2016 http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/wp-content/uploads/sites/4423/2016/07/Accessible-version-PSU-Annual-Report-2016.pdf
  3. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/one-e-cigarette-with-nicotine-leads-to-adrenaline-changes-in-nonsmokers-hearts
  4. Sympathomimetic Effects of Acute E‐Cigarette Use: Role of Nicotine and Non‐Nicotine Constituents. Roya S. Moheimani, May Bhetraratana, Kacey M. Peters, Benjamin K. Yang, Fen Yin, Jeffrey Gornbein, Jesus A. Araujo, Holly R. Middlekauff

Improve your Body Image

Your body hears everything your mind says.  Why is body image so important?  The way in which you view your body impacts your emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.   Negative consequences such as eating disorders, obesity and depression can arise when your self image is persistently poor and you lack appreciation for your body. Studies show that the more a person focuses on their body, the worse they feel about their looks.  Other factors like personality traits, genetic make-up, family, friends and social media also influence body image.  What would it look like if social media played a more positive role, instead of a negative one, when it comes to body image?  How can we begin thinking, talking, and posting about ourselves in a way that encourages ourselves to love our bodies and others to do the same?

Practicing positive self-talk is a great starting place.  Become aware of the language you use when you talk to yourself.  Journaling can often be helpful to bring about this awareness.  If you find your language to be harsh and negative, try stopping the thoughts by putting your focus on something else.  One helpful next step is to begin making more neutral or positive statements.  For example, instead of criticizing how a certain body part looks, state what that body part allows you to do.  My legs allow me to walk, run, or play a sport.  In time, transition the self-talk to be positive: I love my legs because they are strong.

Assess your social media use.  How much time, each day, do you spend on social media?  How do you use social media?  What’s the purpose?   Who do you follow, like or tweet about and why?  Are the images and messages you see on a daily basis helping you feel good about yourself or are they perpetuating feelings of not being good enough?  Challenge yourself to unfollow or defriend accounts that don’t support your goals of feeling good about yourself and being the best version of you.  Doing so will have a positive impact on your life and the life of others.

De-Stress at the Wellness Suite

Enjoy end-of-semester activities at the new Wellness Suite! Visit 20 Intramural Building for stress relieving activities this week. Tuesday, November 14th join HealthWorks and Healthy Penn State Ambassadors from 6-7pm to color and create your own trail mix as part of de-stressing before finals. On Wednesday, stop by the suite for game night 7:30-8:30pm. Bring your friends and enjoy an hour of fun. More activities scheduled for after break! Check in for updates.

Healthy and Affordable Off-Campus Eating

College students often say that cost is one of the biggest barriers to eating nutritious foods. So we’ve got some tips that will help fuel your body for academic success without breaking the bank.

Cook your own food

Convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables, and instant rice, oatmeal, or grits cost more than if you prepare them from scratch. And meals cooked at home cost much less than eating out at a restaurant. Cooking at home eliminates the tax and tip at restaurants, and leftovers can be used for a second meal.

Grocery shop with a plan

Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Include meals like stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, which “stretch” expensive items into more portions. Make a list of foods you need for the week and stick to it. This will decrease over buying and buying on impulse.

Visit your local farmer’s market

Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. This can help you save some cash and the produce tastes fresh.

Compare and contrast

Most grocery stores provide “price stickers” on the shelf for every item.  The “price sticker “includes the unit price, or how much the product costs per pound, quart, or some other unit of measurement. Purchase the product with the lowest unit price to maximize your savings.

Buy in bulk

It is almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish, and larger bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables.

Choose low-cost options

Some foods are low-cost all year round. Beans are inexpensive and high in protein. For vegetables, buy carrots, greens or potatoes. Apples and bananas are good fruit choices.

Meal prep!

Prepare a large batch of your favorite recipes on your day off or the weekend. Freeze in individual containers or use throughout the week.

Get creative with leftovers

Spice up your leftovers by using them in new ways. For example, try leftover chicken in a stir-fry or over a garden salad. You could even make chicken chili. Remember, throwing away food is throwing away your money!

If you’d like more help with planning an affordable nutritious diet, make an appointment with a dietitian by calling 814-863-0461 or by visiting the UHS website.

Extreme Stater 2017 Heats Up the Competition at Stone Valley

On Saturday, October 14th, 2017, Penn State Health Promotion & Wellness and Campus Recreation partnered to host the fifth annual Extreme Stater outdoor adventure race. Held at the Stone Valley Recreation Area, 23 teams navigated their way through eighteen different obstacles ranging from mental, physical, and team-building challenges.

Racers take off from the start

Prior to the race, teams strategized how they would navigate through Stone Valley. Each team received a map at check-in, along with t-shirts, a goodie bag and race numbers. While some teams competed for the prizes, all were there for the fun! During the race, students enjoyed friendly competition and “outside of the classroom”  learning.

Team 11 works their way through the ‘team traverse’ obstacle.

Each team, comprised of four racers, had to travel from the West to the East side of Stone Valley’s Lake Perez through eighteen obstacles challenging each racer’s physical and mental abilities. Racers completed the group traverse, trail run, mud crawl, zip line, rock climbing, and so much more to try and win first place. Winners were based on how many obstacles their team finished and how quickly.

This year, we are congratulating the PSU Peacocks for winning first place for the third time in a row, finishing in only one hour and eleven minutes! Congratulations to all of the teams that competed, and thank you to both the participants and volunteers for making this the best Extreme Stater race yet! This is an event that students look forward to each fall semester. Get ready for another year of Extreme fun, we’ll see you in 2018!

Ranking of Teams

1st Place: the PSU Peacocks

Members: Jason Cornell, Colin Fisher, Emily Peacock, Elizabeth Morgan Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes

2nd Place: Buns on the Run

Members: Olivia Dickerson, Christoph McLane, Koby Allen, Leah Markevic Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes

3rd Place: The Extreme(ly Unathletic) Staters

Members: Tyler Bowes, Victoria Arnold, Natalie Mammel, Ryan Fritz Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

4th Place: Barb 2.0 Members: Craig Miller, Justin Roarty Sarah Wolverton, Christina Cheruka Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

5th Place: Team Hard Bodies

Members: Carolyn Hancock, Noah Walls, Gianluca Alonzi, Megan Menzel

Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

6th Place: Game On

Members: Tommy Walters, Nate Albergo, Isabella Urbina, Lindsey Scarpa

Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

7th Place: JENT

Members: Noah Chast, Jenna Pelawitz, Tyler Dolgos, Eileen Reiley

Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

8th Place: Worst Pace Scenario

Members: Avery Reale, Levi Renninger, Lauren Nelson, Sydney Pellegrini

Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

9th Place: Team 14

Members: Sabrina Pellegrini, Eve Jones, Dor Tillinger, Kyle Akley

Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

10th Place: Call Me a Cab

Members: Monica Seglar Arroyo, Valentin View, Elizabeth Rea, Pierre Bouhaddane

Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

11th Place: A Case of the Runs

Members: Bill Manning, Delaney Padgett, Ting-Wen Wang, Daniel Marks

Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

12th Place: Garbanzo Beans

Members: Kathryn Hayden, Heidi Myer, Jefferey Gleason, Nathaniel Ensanian

Time:1 hour, 43 minutes

13th Place: Shake and Bake

Members: Hannah Willig, Melissa Martin, Taylor Clayton, Naveed Stegamat

Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

14th Place: The 100 Acre Woods

Members: Nisha Sheth, Alex Campbell, Kathleen Campbell, Tim Walter

Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

15th Place: Team Aurora

Members: Edward hegemann, Arin Lewis, Emma Domico, Samantha Mathews

Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

16th Place: Back to the Roots

Members: Francisco Menendez, Sarah Pfaff, Christian Cantos, Catherine Hoover

Time: 1hour, 51 minutes

17th Place: Team 6

Members: Claire Rosenberger, Aditya Kalgutkav, Kelsey Neff, Ayush Thomas, Kelcie Guns

Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

18th Place: Team 22

Members: Gabriella Disla Otero, Alexandra Valentin, Jose Flores, Waldemar Rivera

Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

19th Place: Team 23

Members: Emma Clement, Emily Strohm, Grady Weinheimer, Andrew O’Neill

Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes

20th Place: 2Good4U

Members: Papon Jungwiwattanaporn, Kittichote Veeranuntawet, Kanchita Klangboonkrong, Prapassorn Numkiatsakul

Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

21st Place: Procrastination Station

Members: Kerstyn Auman, Christina McMahon, Shane Varugnete, Tyler Sullivan

Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

22nd Place: Wildlives

Members: Matthew Mo, Deniz Siso, Nathan Danz, Wenziao Xi

Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes

23rd Place: SMAK

Members: Sabrina Rostu, Alex Lettieri, Mark Nusser, Kahil Fortson

Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Congratulations to all of our racers! Additional pictures can be found on the Healthy Penn State Facebook page.

Healthy living starts with you

Health Promotion and Wellness offers a 12-week weight management program for students.  Participants meet individually with a registered dietitian six times to discuss personal dietary and fitness goals.  Students with the following health needs are encouraged to enroll in the program:

  • Prediabetes
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Overweight/Obese
  • Metabolic Syndrome

This is a great time to start building healthy habits for life! Learn more by calling 814.863.0461 to make an appointment.

Love Your Body Week October 23-27

HealthWorks is hosting Love Your Body Week at University Park October 23 – 27. The week-long series of events is designed to encourage students to appreciate, nurture and respect their bodies. Students will have an opportunity to participate in Love Your Body table events including: create your own affirmation cards for yourself or a friend; take a KIND bar to spread KINDness; and tell us what you love about your body while posing for a picture with the “Inspire Hope, Empower Change” Instagram frame. Handouts and information will be available at each table with tips to improve body image as well as other Penn State resources and giveaways.  The Love Your Body tables will be on the ground floor of the HUB Monday 10/23 – Wednesday 10/25 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Additionally, HealthWorks will have a Love Your Body table in the Intramural Building on Thursday 10/26 and Friday 10/27 focused on body positive reasons to exercise and ways to fuel one’s body.Tuesday night guest speakers Lindsay and Lexie Kite will share simple strategies for building body image resilience. They will share how the media and society are negatively impacting many people’s view of themselves and how we can counter the messages and improve our wellbeing.  The Kite sister’s presentation will take place at Freeman Auditorium in the HUB, on Tuesday, October 24th at 7pm.

Supplements vs. Food: Who Wins?

With multiple nutrition supplement chain stores opening in State College, many students may be wondering whether or not they should take supplements.  The number of protein powders and vitamin supplements on the market can definitely cause consumers to feel confused and overwhelmed. Don’t worry, a dietitian can help you to become a more informed consumer!

Many students find protein powders to be a fast and convenient source of nutrition. Whey protein, which contains branched chain amino acids, is a popular protein powder. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that food and medication are regulated. Supplements can be put on the market without any proof that they are safe or that they work. The FDA can remove the product from the market later if they deem it to be unsafe.  The good news is that animal and vegetable sources of protein can meet all of your protein needs. If your goal is to build muscle, be sure to get a variety of protein from foods like chicken, fish, lean beef, low-fat dairy, nuts, tofu and beans. Fast and convenient food sources of protein include individually packaged servings of tuna, chicken, chocolate milk, cheese sticks, peanut butter, hummus, and trail mix.  The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is [0.8 x your body weight in kg = _____ g protein/day].

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, most people can meet their nutritional needs by eating a well-balanced diet. Researchers have found that fruits and vegetables have protective properties that prevent cancer, while vitamins supplements do not.

The bottom line: Real food is the best fuel source for your body, and most healthy people can meet all of their nutritional needs with food alone. Your energy levels are best when you eat a balanced diet, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly. If you’d like more help with planning a healthy well-balanced diet, make an appointment with a dietitian by calling 814-863-0461 or by visiting the UHS website.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders — such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. They are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life (NEDA).

Interested in learning more about eating disorders or do you want to learn proactive ways to foster a body positive environment? Visit the websites below:

Are you or someone you know struggling? There is a team of providers at Penn State who are dedicated to helping students who are struggling with eating disorders. Use the information below to make an appointment.

Healthy Eating and Living Support (HEALS)
University Health Services (UHS) Medical Appointments 863-0774
Nutrition Clinic 863-0461
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) 863-0395

Free Bike Safety Workshop

In association with Penn State’s Coming Out Week, Transportation Services, in partnership with the LGBTQA Student Resource Center, the Gender Equity Center, and Health Promotion and Wellness, is sponsoring a free bike safety workshop for women and the LGBTQA community on Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The workshop will be held at 117 Weston Community Center at Penn State’s White Course Apartments.

Open to students, faculty and staff, as well as local community members (ages 18 and older), this workshop will teach participants the rules of the road and bike safety skills in a safe and inclusive environment. The workshop will also include an outdoor portion where participants will apply what they’ve learned on a beginner-friendly practice course at the Brown 11 parking lot. All participants must bring a bike and helmet to participate.

Following completion of the program, all participants will receive a free pair of Penn State bike lights.

For more information or to RSVP for the event, please email biking@psu.edu. Spaces are limited and RSVPs must be received by noon on Tuesday, Oct. 10. More information on Penn State’s Coming Out Week events can be found via the link below:

https://goo.gl/73kj3G