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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!

MUST Ministries promotes summer lunch program


Did you know that almost 1 million school-aged children throughout Georgia are eligible to receive free
or reduced lunch during the school year based on low income status? On a local level, 46% of students in Cobb County qualify for this support.

The need for well-balanced meals doesn’t just end when the school year does, which is why MUST Ministries has dedicated the past 20 years to feeding children in need with the Summer Lunch program.
While summer often means sleeping in or planning your next getaway, many of your neighbors are  wondering how they will feed their children lunch today. That’s when MUST Ministries steps in with the Summer Lunch Program and brings the whole community together to help those in need. With  countless, compassionate volunteers, MUST provides a sack lunch each summer weekday to thousands of children in eight counties. Since MUST can’t do it alone, the generosity of our communities makes it possible.

> Pledge Lunches – 6,000-7,000 needed daily
> Host a Supply Drive
> Color Lunch Bags
> Volunteer in one of our many positions

More information can be found on


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New health department annex unveiled

State and Cobb County officials cut the ribbon for the new Cobb and Douglas Public Health Department annex on County Services Parkway on Thursday, June 18. The new Marietta Public Health Center, Building B, will help provide children’s medical services, the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition program, environmental health, chronic disease prevention, newborn hearing screenings and other assistance. Renovations to the building were paid for through the 2011 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. More information on services available can be located here.


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By the numbers: Dad’s Day


Tori with her dad Sean Jablonski at the Y’s Healthy Kids Day.

Number of dads in America: 70.1 million
Number of dads that are married with children younger than 18: 25.3 million
Number of dads that are single fathers: 1.8 million
Number of dads that are stay-at-home dads caring for children: 154,000
Amount of money that was spent on Father’s Day gifts in the U.S.: $70 million
Percentage of Americans that will celebrate or acknowledge Father’s Day: 73%


How are you honoring Dad today? Tell us on our Facebook page at


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Sun Safety Tips from WellStar


Summer fun is in full swing all around East Cobb – and with long summer days comes the hot summer sun. With these tips from WellStar, have fun in the sun without sacrificing your skin:

While everybody needs some sun exposure to the body produce vitamin D (which helps in the absorption of calcium for stronger and healthier bones), unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and immune system. It can also cause cancer. Skin cancer is increasing at a dramatic rate, particularly among people in their 20s. In fact, most children receive between 50 and 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure before they reach the age of 18. Although there are other contributing factors, including heredity and environment, sunburn and excessive UV light exposure does damage the skin, and this damage can lead to skin cancer.

What does tanning do to the skin?

Tanning is the skin’s response to UV light – a protective reaction to prevent further injury to the skin. However, tanning does not prevent skin cancer.

What is ultraviolet radiation?

Energy from the sun reaches the earth as visible, infrared, and ultraviolet (UV) rays.

  • Ultraviolet A (UVA) is made up of wavelengths 320 to 400 nm (nanometers) in length.
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths are 280 to 320 nm.
  • Ultraviolet C (UVC) wavelengths are 100 to 280 nm.

Only UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays reach the earth’s surface. The earth’s atmosphere absorbs UVC wavelengths.

  • UVB rays cause a much greater risk of skin cancer than UVA.
  • However, UVA rays cause aging, wrinkling, and loss of elasticity.
  • UVA also increases the damaging effects of UVB, including skin cancer and cataracts.

In most cases, ultraviolet rays react with a substance called melanin, which is found in the skin. This is the first defense against the sun, as it is the melanin that absorbs the dangerous UV rays that can do serious skin damage. A sunburn develops when the amount of UV damage exceeds the protection that the skin’s melanin can provide. While a small amount of exposure to sunlight is healthy and pleasurable, too much can be dangerous. Measures should be taken to prevent overexposure to sunlight in order to reduce the risks of cancers, premature aging of the skin, the development of cataracts, and other harmful effects.

How can you protect yourself against the sun’s harmful rays?

The best means of protecting yourself against the damaging effects of the sun is by limiting exposure and protecting the skin.

The best way to prevent sunburn in children over 6 months of age is to follow the “Be Sun Smartsm” tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” means the sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply about every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, whenever possible
  • Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand. They reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chances of sunburn.
  • Get vitamin D through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.
  • Do not use tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, try using a self-tanning product, but also use sunscreen with it.
  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, bleeding on your skin, see a doctor right away. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even while under an umbrella. Snow is also a good reflector of UV rays. Reflective surfaces can reflect up to 85 percent of the damaging sun rays.

Also, take special care to purchase protective eye wear for you and your children. Purchase sunglasses with labels ensuring they provide UV protection.

Be sure to remember that many over-the-counter and prescription medications increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. As a result, people can develop a severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medications. Read medication labels carefully and use extra sunscreen as needed.

What are sunscreens?

Sunscreens protect the skin against sunburns and play an important role in blocking the penetration of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, no sunscreen blocks UV radiation 100 percent.

Terms used on sunscreen labels can be confusing. The protection provided by a sunscreen is indicated by the sun protection factor (SPF) listed on the product label. A product with an SPF higher than 15 is recommended for daily use. Sunscreens contain ingredients that help absorb UV light, whereas sunblocks contain ingredients that physically scatter and reflect UVB light. Keep in mind that most sunblock products do not protect against UVA rays.

How to use sunscreens

A sunscreen protects from sunburn and minimizes suntan by absorbing UV rays. Using sunscreens correctly is important in protecting the skin. Consider the following recommendations:

  • Choose a sunscreen for children and test it on your child’s wrist before using. If your child develops skin or eye irritation, choose another brand. Apply the sunscreen very carefully around the eyes.
  • Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that filters out both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
  • Apply sunscreens to all exposed areas of skin, including easily overlooked areas, such as the rims of the ears, the lips, the back of the neck, and tops of the feet.
  • Use sunscreens for all children over 6 months of age, regardless of skin or complexion type, because all skin types need protection from UV rays. Even dark-skinned children can have painful sunburns.
  • Apply sunscreens 30 minutes before going out into the sun to give it time to work. Use it liberally and reapply it every two hours after being in the water or after exercising or sweating. Sunscreens are not just for the beach – use them when you are working in the yard or participating in sports.
  • Use a waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen and re-apply after swimming or sweating heavily.
  • Use of a sunscreen with SPF of 20 to 30 offers substantial protection from sunburn and prevents tanning. High SPF sunscreens protect from burning for longer periods of time than do sunscreens with lower a SPF. Talk with your older child or teenager about using sunscreen and why it’s important. Set a good example for them by using sunscreen yourself.
  • Teach your teenager to avoid tanning beds and salons. Most tanning beds and salons use ultraviolet-A bulbs. Research has shown that UVA rays may contribute to premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.(Source:



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To tan or not to tan


Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It affects men and women, young and old. Over 90 percent of skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, the same type of light that makes people tan. Skin cancer can be prevented by taking a few safety measures, such as wearing sunscreen, staying in the shade and avoiding artificial sources of UV light, such as tanning beds.

Persons who first use tanning beds before the age of 35 increase their risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Tanning beds are in the same cancer risk category as arsenic, tobacco smoke, the hepatitis b virus and radioactive plutonium.

There is no such thing as a “safe tan.” A base tan does not protect from sunburn. In fact, a tan is the  body’s natural response to UV rays and indicates that the skin has been damaged.Tanning beds use the same UV light as sunlight. Just 20 minutes in a tanning booth is the same as spending an entire day at the beach. UV rays break down the elasticity of the skin, causing premature aging, fine lines and  wrinkles.

Avoid tanning. Whether using indoor tanning devices or laying outside in the sun, tanning is largely for cosmetic purposes. Tanning unnecessarily increases the risk for developing skin cancer and causes premature skin aging. Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with sPf15 or higher. 30 minutes before going outside, even on cold and cloudy days.

Remember to protect yourself year-round! If you want to look “tan,” consider using sunless tanners. These products provide a tanned look without exposure to UV light. Most sunless tanning products do not contain sunscreen, so it is still important to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an sPf of 15 or higher.

Check your skin regularly and consult your doctor if you have questions about your skin.


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Do you Know How to Detect Skin Cancer?


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Learn about skin cancer, the common causes, recommendations for screenings and how you can watch for any changes in your own skin that may indicate signs of cancer.

WellStar will offer Health Information Events on skin cancer detection in two East Cobb-convenient locations on:

July 9
Cobb Senior Wellness Center
10:30-11:30 a.m.

July 14
Cherokee County Canton Senior Center
10:30-11:30 a.m.

To register, click HERE.


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Time To Unplug?


“I fear the day when technology overlaps our humanity.
It will be then that the world will have
permanent ensuing generations of idiots.”
Albert Einstein (perhaps)

At a recent talk on work-life balance, when I spoke about reducing technological clutter, I asked my audience, “What’s your technology drug of choice?”

We all have at least one. It might be Facebook or Twitter. Candy Crush or Trivia Crack. An unhealthy habit of constantly checking emails or texts on your mobile devices. The TV news or online news sites. It’s where you go to escape or out of fear that you’re “missing out on something.” Or when you need to be connected without actually speaking to anyone.

Technology addiction takes its toll on us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It can lead to serious health problems and broken relationships.

As a child, I loved playing Scrabble with my mom and dad. As an adult, I yearned for worthy opponents since my husband and kids preferred other games. I found them through Words with Friends.

Last month, I realized I was getting too much of a good thing. I found myself feeling anxious about keeping up with the 11 simultaneous games I had going with four different friends. Within a month, I had whittled that down to just four games, which not only gave me more peace but also more wins since I took the time to make the best moves. (I explained to each why I was not accepting their other rematch requests, so no feelings were hurt during this process–and perhaps that prompted them to do the same!)

That got me thinking…where else could I make conscious choices to control my technology addiction instead of letting technology control me?

I’m experimenting with shutting my phone off when I meet friends and clients for lunch. I now charge my phone and other devices outside my bedroom at night. Last Saturday afternoon, I ran errands without my iPhone and survived. Actually, I left it at home by mistake and, after a moment of panic, I liked the feeling of being unplugged.

I’m inspired by what others are doing. A friend is planning an off-the-grid vacation with very limited Internet and cell phone service so she won’t be tempted to keep checking in at the office.

A woman at my speaking event said her company recently established a policy against work emails on the weekends. They will monitor whether that makes sense. Another participant said she carries two phones: one for work and the other for family and friends. That helps her disconnect from one or the other.

If unplugging a little appeals to you, consider finding a buddy to brainstorm ideas and then commit to making healthy changes. You’ll benefit from having someone that will hold you accountable as you both inevitably experience withdrawal symptoms and are tempted to revert to your old habits.

Always keep in mind the benefits that come from less technology–like better personal and professional relationships and increased productivity at work. Focus on the “whys” to keep you on track. And, finally, be patient and kind to yourself. Even small changes will make a difference.

(Written by East Cobb’s Tricia Molloy, Corporate Leadership Speaker on Work-Life)


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Register for Platelet Disorder Support Group

A Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA) Support Group for ITP Patients on June 13, 11:15am-12:45pm.

Dr. Christine Kempton of Emory University will address the group on platelet function.

Support group will be held at Mountain View Regional Library, 3320 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta. Please RSVP to  Joan Coppolino, 404-788-4528 or



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Does sunscreen fight wrinkle? s


Americans, young and old, men and women, spend billions of dollars collectively each year on anti-aging products. If you’re one of them, are you wasting your money? Or are there effective products out there worth buying?

Melissa Babcock, M.D., a dermatologist at Piedmont, says there are some affordable products worth purchasing, but she points out the best strategy for fighting wrinkles begins with prevention.

1. First defense is sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen daily is key for wrinkle prevention, no matter your age.

“Some experts believe 75 percent of aging is a direct result of sun damage. Brown spots, irregular pigmentation and wrinkles are all linked to sun exposure, and they all make you look older,” Dr. Babcock says. “Sunscreen is really the first step to slowing the process of getting wrinkles.”

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays damage the fibers (elastin) in the skin. You are exposed to these damaging rays every time you go outside — spring, summer, fall and winter. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag and stretch. Applying sunscreen year-round is key to protecting your skin.

One of Dr. Babcock’s favorite sunscreen brands is Neutrogena, which contains a stable combination of sunscreens known as Helioplex. Helioplex does not break down easily when the sun hits your skin. This sunscreen will last longer than the competition, she adds.

2. Second defense is retinol or tretinoin

Retinol and tretinoin are commonly used to treat acne, but they also minimize fine lines and pigmentation. They are both derivatives of vitamin A, which helps revitalize the skin and slow the signs of aging. In addition to prescription anti-agers from your dermatologist, Dr. Babcock says there are a number of over-the-counter retinols. She suggests Johnson & Johnson’s Roc brand as an affordable option.

3. Daily moisturizers may be overrated

While moisturizer enhances the look and feel of your skin upon application, its benefits are only temporary. Dr. Babcock believes too many people put emphasis on moisturizer when sunscreen and retinols are your best bet to help prevent and fight wrinkles.

4. A higher price doesn’t necessarily mean more effective

Cosmetic products are divided into two categories: mass market and prestige market. Mass market products are less expensive and are found in drugstores, grocery stores and other superstores. Prestige products are more expensive and are found in department and specialty stores.

“Just because it’s more expensive does not mean it is better. Mass market lines produce very good products,” says Dr. Babcock. She believes the higher prices of prestige market brands can be attributed to an increased level of advertising and more expensive packaging.

5. In-office anti-aging treatments

“There are also more involved, more expensive treatment options that can be done in a dermatology office, like chemical peels and laser treatments,” she says. Talk to your physician to learn more about these procedures.

The bottom line? You can protect your skin and combat signs of aging with a simple, affordable skin care regimen.

“We all want to look our best and that can be accomplished with simple products like sunscreen and retinols that won’t break your budget,” says Dr. Babcock.

For more helpful, healthful information, click here.


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Cool night out: See a slimmer you


Join Plastic Surgery Center of the South for a Cool Night Out on June 16, 6pm and freeze your fat away with a nonsurgical procedure to eliminate unwanted fat.

Learn how you can transform your body with CoolSculpting. Nikki Karr, CoolSculpting representative will be available to answer all of your questions.

Take advantage of special pricing and complimentary consultations offered at this Cool Night Out.

For more information visit


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