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Health & Wellness

Health and wellness tips, information and reviews of products and local professionals to help you get in great shape!

Final week to register for Make-A-Wish 5K at discounted rate


The Cobb County 5K to benefit Make-A-Wish Georgia will be held Saturday, Oct. 4. The race will begin and end at the Marietta Square. Registration fees before Friday, Sept. 26 are $20 for untimed 5K walk/run and $25 for timed 5K run. After Sept. 28, the fees will be $25 for untimed 5K walk/run and $35 for timed 5K run. Children 6-12 years old are $10 and 5 and under are free.

All money raised will be used to help grant wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Last year’s race raised $30,000 and helped grants the wishes of four local children. For more information, or to register online, click here.


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7 ways to fight the flu

Flu season is fast approaching. Fight the flu with these tips from Kaiser Permanente.

The Y Encourages Healthy Practices During Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and many families are not taking the steps needed to resolve the issue. That’s why the McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA – a leading voice on improving health – is helping Marietta and East Cobb families ensure a healthy lifestyle of their children through increased physical activity and improved eating habits.

A recent report from the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health says about 37 percent of Georgia’s children are overweight or obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the issue of childhood obesity is influenced by several factors including lack of community facilities to get adequate physical activity or lack of access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.

The McCleskey-East Cobb Y offers a wide variety of programs for children including, swimming, soccer, basketball, flag football, martial arts, lacrosse, dance, and more. The Y also offers nutritious meal plans through its partnership with Good Measure Meals, allowing families to choose healthy meals they enjoy and can conveniently pick up at the Y.


“The Y helps to promote children staying active with different youth sports like soccer, basketball and swimming,” says Daniel Merriman, associate sports director at the McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA. “We also feel it is important for children to eat nutritious food, so they don’t develop a risk of becoming obese.”

The following tips are ways to incorporate more activity and healthier eating habits into your family’s daily family routine:

  • Eat Healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by age-appropriate portions of 100 percent fruit juices and low-fat milk) and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options.
  • Play Every Day/Go Outside: Kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outdoors (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity.
  • Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible with kids involved in meal preparation and clean up. Adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-on-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
  • Reduce Screen Time:Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours per day.
  • Sleep Well:Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule – 10-12 hours per night for kids and seven to eight hours for adults.

To learn more about the McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA’s healthy living programs, contact Lorna Loh, senior wellness director, 678-569-9622 or


Georgia named 8th Worst State to Have a Baby

Newborn Baby in Mother Hand

With September being the most popular month to have a baby and the United States having the most expensive birthing costs in the world, the leading personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s Best and Worst States to Have a Baby.

To enlighten expectant parents on the costs and conditions they can anticipate with respect to where they live, WalletHub examined 22 key metrics such as delivery costs, access to pediatric services and the number of child care centers per capita.

Having a Baby in Georgia (1=Best; 25=Avg.)
26th – Infant Death Rate
46th – Low Birth Weight
25th – Number of Midwives and OB-GYNs per Capita
23rd – Access to Pediatric Services
30th – Number of Child Centers per Capita
35th – Parental Leave Policy Score
50th – Maternal Mortality Ration
45th – Air Pollution

For the full report visit

Chime In graphic

What’s your opinion? Did you have a good experience having babies in Georgia or not so much? Click “Chime In” to comment on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

Feeling blue? Signs it could be something more serious.


Feelings of sadness, grief, anger and denial are all normal emotions most people will experience at some point in their lives. But when these feelings last a long time or get in the way of daily activities, it may be time to seek medical attention.

Stages of depression

There are typically four stages of depression:

1) Sadness

2) Mild depression

3) Clinical depression

4) Suicidal ideation

Sadness and mild depression are normal responses to challenging life circumstances – a death of a loved one, a divorce or the loss of a job, for example. However, clinical depression and suicidal ideation are signs that intervention is needed. The sooner depression is diagnosed, the sooner the coping process may begin.

“If you are feeling sad or upset, it’s important to reach out for help,” says Angela Buttimer, LPC, a facilitator at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. “There are so many resources available today that people don’t have to turn to medication as their only source of hope.”

Signs of clinical depression

Buttimer shares some of the warning signs that may indicate normal sadness and mild depression have turned into clinical depression:

  • More bad days than good days for several consecutive weeks
  • Can’t seem to shake the sadness
  • Loss of interest in loved ones, friends, hobbies, etc.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irrational thinking
  • Lack of concentration
  • She has also seen a tendency for people who do not have a strong support system to fall prey to depression more easily.

Overcoming clinical depression

People suffering from any stage of depression can be empowered by many different support programs, including:

  • Enrichment programs
  • Exercise
  • Stress management
  • Relaxation techniques (yoga, Tai Chi, meditation)
  • Journal writing
  • Signs of suicidal ideation

There are some people who dive into a deeper state of depression where they are overcome with hopelessness. They lose all hope in the possibility of getting well. They may even have suicidal thoughts and at this point, therapy is the primary intervention.

“A person suffering from suicidal thoughts is placed in therapy – usually family, individual and group therapy,” Buttimer says. “All three of these platforms can help with the healing process.”

Medication may also be used to treat depression.

Seeking professional help

There is no shame in seeking professional help, even if you aren’t sure you have depression. Talk to your primary care physician about your symptoms – he or she can refer you to the appropriate specialist.

(Source: Piedmont Healthcare) 

East Cobb Community Gaining Backyard Access to Healthcare


The much anticipated WellStar East Cobb Health Park is slated to open its doors in September bringing accessible healthcare to the East Cobb community. The three-story,162,000-square-foot development will offer an array of services including:

• Primary Care Providers and Specialists
• Comprehensive Diagnostic Center (Imaging, Lab & Pre-admission Testing)
• Outpatient Surgery Center (2015)
• Urgent Care Center
• Breast Center (planned)
• Spine Center (planned)
• Cardiac Diagnostics
• Sleep Center
• Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine (OrthoSport WellStar)
• Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation
• Retail Pharmacy
• Lactation Consulting
• Community Education & Wellness Center
• Parkside Bistro

These services will be integrated with a multispecialty mix of physicians to include a strong foundation of primary care  physicians: family physicians, internal medicine, pediatrics and OB/GYN services and specialists will include cardiologists, pulmonologists, ENT, gastroenterologists, surgeons, allergy/asthma, endocrinology, urology and orthopedics.

“A health park is all about bringing outpatient and physician services directly to the communities we serve,” said Joe  Brywczynski, senior vice president health parks development. “Residents no longer will have to endure long drive times, frustrating traffic congestion and multiple trips to access their health services at multiple locations. By combining and coordinating services under one roof, we will improve patient and family convenience and access to their outpatient care needs. The health park is truly a one stop- shop opportunity.”

This innovative service model ultimately will improve healthcare access and convenience for the East Cobb community and surrounding areas.

The new health park is located at 3747 Roswell Road NE, Marietta. For more information on physician services in this area, please call 770-956-STAR (7827) or visit

Take a Tour of WellStar East Cobb Health Park this Saturday

WellStar East Cobb Health Park

The community is invited to get a first look at WellStar East Cobb Health Park during the EAST COBBER Parade & Festival before the park opens for business. Visit the WellStar East Cobb Health Park on Saturday, September 13, from noon-2pm.

East Cobb Woman Wins National Physique Competition


Megan Olson

In July, East Cobb resident Megan Olson traveled to Chicago to compete in a nationwide fitness competition held by the National Physique Committee. Olson secured wins in both her height and weight class, and won the overall 2014 Junior Nationals Figure Champion award, defeating almost 150 other competitors. This win also earned her a pro card with the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding), which allows her to compete on a professional level.

In addition to her recent win, Olson has previously won the National Physique Committee’s Mrs. Georgia Figure award in 2013. She  states that competitions usually require daily training and a regimented diet for up to 16 weeks before the competition. In addition, Olson notes, competitors “have to be tanned, with professional hair and makeup done, and wear a glitzy suit and 5 inch heels to boot!”

Olson says that one of the best parts about competing is challenging herself and trying to keep improving. She says that she likes the  competitiveness and “being able to push [her] body’s limits- both mentally and physically.”

Olson not only participates in competitions but also serves as a personal trainer and nutrition and posing coach for those who wish to compete.

Olson and her husband Matt opened their personal training facility, Parkaire Fitness, in August 2012 and own a competition prep  company called 3D Physiques as well.

(Written by Tali Schroeder.)

One-stop shop: WellStar east Cobb facility set to open Sept.15

Reynold Jennings, chief executive officer of WellStar, makes his comments to about 200 guests at the new WellStar health facility on Roswell Road in east Cobb on Thursday night. Jennings said the new health park is the second to open in Cobb and will be convenient for locals. Staff/Jeff Stanton


Officials say a new health park in east Cobb aims to be a one-stop shop for health care.

About 200 people gathered at the $73 million WellStar health park in east Cobb on Thursday to celebrate its completion.

Reynold Jennings, CEO of WellStar, said the new health park, which is off Roswell Road, is the second to open in Cobb, and he said it will be convenient for locals.

“WellStar saw the growing need seven years ago — with the growing population — that we needed to provide services as close to home as possible,” Jennings said.

The WellStar Acworth Health Park, which is half the size of the east Cobb center, opened in July 2012 and served more than 100,000 patients in both its first and second year of operation, said Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president of the health parks department.

Candice Saunders, COO of WellStar, said she is happy to build off the success of the first Cobb health park.

“We’ve done very well at the first health park, and we’re excited about being in this east Cobb facility,” Saunders said.

The center will open to patients Sept. 15, and Gary Miller, chairman of WellStar’s board of trustees, said he hopes residents will make it the “one-stop shop” for their health care needs.

The new162,000-square-foot health park includes every step of treatment on its three stories, including a doctor’s visit, imaging machines and a pharmacy.

Patients can visit the center for routine checkups as well as urgent health needs, but they will not stay overnight at the health park, Brywczynski said.

For instance, someone who suspects they have a broken arm can come to the urgent care portion of the center, see a doctor, get an x-ray to confirm the bone is broken, get a cast fitted to the arm by a surgeon and pick up a prescription for medication all in one building, Brywczynski said.

Brywczynski said the convenience the health park offers will make it popular among the audience of 200,000 people it will target in portions of east Cobb, including Marietta and Roswell.

The urgent care center has seven exam rooms and two larger observation rooms that will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the year. The regular business hours for the doctors’ offices and pharmacy is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“All these urgent care patients are those where the injury does not warrant an emergency room visit,” Brywczynski said.

The urgent care portion of the health park is for people who have injuries that aren’t life-threatening, such as an ankle sprain or a knee injury. Instead of going to a hospital, patients can go to the health park for minor surgeries, Brywczynski said.

“This gives us the opportunity to only treat lower injury surgeries,” Brywczynski said. “They’ve got priority here.”

The imaging center inside the health park, which can be used to examine urgent care patients or non-urgent care patients, includes an MRI machine, a CT scan, two X-ray machines and two ultrasound machines.

The center also includes a physical therapy and exercise room for those who are recovering from surgery, which includes treadmills, stationary bikes and weights.

The East Cobb Health Park will have 25 doctors who are permanently stationed there as well as 75 doctors there part time. The doctors at the center include general physicians and specialists.

Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents east Cobb, said he supports the goal of the center.

“It brings the services closer to the people, and it brings more health services to Cobb,” Ott said.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Hilary Butschek September 05, 2014. Click HERE to read the original MDJ article.)

Stair climbing event to honor fallen heroes

The Terry Farrell 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb for the Fallen Heroes will be held 1-4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7. This family-friendly event will be held at Riverwood 100 building, 3350 Riverwood Parkway SE, Atlanta. The opening ceremony starts at 1 p.m. and Cobb Department of Public Safety will support the event with displays and special operations units from fire and police.

The cost is $25 per climber and $10 per climber for fire and police explorers and ROTC members. Shirts will be made on site with a variety of colors and sizes. There will also be a silent auction and more than 50 raffle prizes. All of the event proceeds will be used to help Georgia Public Safety and the community through the Terry Farrell Fund Georgia Chapter. Since the inception of the Georgia Chapter, the organization has donated about $134,000 in surplus equipment to fire departments with little or no budgets.

The Terry Fund honors the 343 firefighters and 70 law enforcement officers lost on Sept. 11, 2001. For more information, or to pre-register for the climb, visit To register on the day of the event, please arrive by noon.


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