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Let’s Move!
By Maggie Poling, Grade 9

Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States, has begun a “Let’s Move!” campaign to help America become healthier.  Her motivation are the kids of this country, who are suffering from a tripled amount of childhood obesity, and other health-related ailments.  She hopes to change the way America views food, exercise, and everything in between.  Here’s some more information:

Mrs. Obama has taken the initiative to create several programs for citizens all over the country. For example, there is the “Chefs Move to Schools” program, where a chef assigned by the Department of Agriculture helps a school become more nutritionally savvy.  There’s also the “Let’s Move Cities and Towns” program, which gets communities involved by offering elected officials the chance to make changes in four different categories during the course of one year.

These changes include: reduce the risk of obesity in early childhood, provide healthy food in schools, making healthy food affordable and accessible, and increase physical activity.  If you would rather make a healthy change with your family, friends, or on your own, you can do that, too!  

Families are encouraged to get involved by following these five basic steps:
  1. Keep fresh fruit in a bowl within your child’s reach to grab as a quick snack.
  2. Take a walk with your family after dinner.
  3. Plan a menu for the week.  Get children involved in planning and cooking.
  4. Turn off the TV during meals and share some family time.
  5. Talk to the principal about organizing a school health team.

If this doesn’t interest you, or if you want to learn more, there are many other ideas and information on the website: www.letsmove.gov.  Even the site itself is neat, let alone the concept behind it!  If anything, tell someone else about this campaign.  You could make someone’s life healthier, or maybe even your own!

Source:
http://www.letsmove.gov

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Effects of Earphones on Hearing
By Maggie Poling, Grade 9

If you’re like most people these days, then you probably enjoy listening to your music through earphones.  It’s enjoyable, relaxing, exhilarating, and it feels like you’re in your own little world.

Unfortunately, your “own little world” can also be a very dangerous place for your ears.  If you have ever listened to music through your earphones, and felt your ears were either heavy or ringing after listening, you may have caused some damage to something that cannot be easily replaced or fixed.

Let’s start with the basics.  How does one hear?  Well, it begins in the ear, of course.  Entering the inner ear chamber, envision somewhere around 16,000 itty-bitty hair cells.  These hair cells vibrant at different sound frequencies, and this vibration is what creates sound perception.

However, the cells are extremely sensitive, and overuse of the iPod or turning up the volume can harm, or even kill these cells.

Approximately five million members of our youth have noise-induced hearing loss.  It’s a frightening number indeed, and the scariest part is that hearing damage is untreatable.  It’s one of those things where once it’s done, there’s no going back.

Now, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent hearing loss.  To begin, a simple step is to limit listening time to one hour per day and adjusting your volume to no more than six on a ten-notch scale.  Also, if someone tells you they can hear “leakage” coming from your earphones from more than a few feet away, that’s a good sign to turn the volume down.  Lastly, if your ears are ringing or feel heavy after listening to music through your earphones, this is a good indicator that the volume was too loud.

Just remember, next time you’re listening to music, think about what you’re doing to your ears.  If you abuse the volume, your hearing several years from now - and even in the near future - will be worsened.  Prevent this from happening before it’s too late.

Source:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9797364


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