behavior · brain · community · health · mental health · Nature

Vermont Physicians Will be Prescribing Day Passes to State Parks – Champlain Valley News

Healthcare providers already recommend this in Japan and Korea, so glad to see it getting picked up in North America too.

Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine writes a prescription for exercise for a patient at Northwestern Medical Center. Photo: Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

This summer, Vermont physicians will be prescribing active play in Vermont State Parks to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic health issues.

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports along with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation gave doctors free day passes to state parks to give to patients.

These “prescriptions” follow the principles of Exercise in Medicine (EiM), a global health initiative to promote physical activity.

In some ways this is just a promotion for Vermont’s state parks, but so what?! In an era when we are taking less vacation, park budgets are being slashed and use is being restricted in other ways, including parks potentially being shut down permanently, this is a great way to encourage people to get out into nature and just breathe fresh air, stretch their bodies, and move!

“Studies have demonstrated that outdoor exercise is associated with increased energy and revitalization and decreased depression and tension,” said Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine, a physician at Northwestern Medical Center and a member of the VT Governor’s Council.

“The sun also helps to create through your skin Vitamin D3, which is important for bone health and metabolic function,” Dr. Fontaine continued.

In addition to handing out state park pass prescriptions, the VT Governor’s Council is also encouraging doctors to talk with patients about the importance of exercise.

“The Park Prescription program is a perfect way to highlight the connection between outdoor recreation and personal health. Spending time outdoors, connecting with nature and being active all help keep us strong in both body and spirit,” said Director of Vermont State Parks Craig Whipple.

“And state parks offer the ideal settings for valuable outdoor time,” Whipple added.

For more information, visit

behavior · environment · happiness · health · psychology

The financial and emotional drain of growing old alone

Marriage Day
Living with someone can be tough, but it may pay off, both financially and health-wise.

I came across this article today that focuses on the financial drain of growing old:

More Americans are living alone now than at any other point in history, and one-third of those 32.7 million are older than 65. A rise in the divorce rate in the over-50 set, which has doubled over the past two decades, along with women outliving their spouses by five to six years, is fueling the trend, which will only grow with an aging boomer population.

The older population in 2030 is projected to double from the start of this century — from 35 million to 72 million — representing nearly 20% of the total U.S. population, according to AARP.

Living on your own can be far more costly than sharing expenses like food and housing with a spouse, relative or housemate. Single seniors who also face escalating health care costs are five times more likely to live in poverty as their married peers.

I also feel like an important element was being skipped; the emotional drain and tax on growing old alone. If nothing else, for somebody to have your back.

One study in Denmark found that

A study involving more than 138,000 adults in Denmark showed that living alone carries a serious risk of heart disease. The subjects were followed from 2000 to 2002 and during that time 646 experienced severe angina, a heart attack, or sudden cardiac death. The two strongest predictors of these diagnoses, called acute coronary syndrome, were age and living alone. Women over the age of 60 and men over the age of 50, who lived alone, were twice as likely to have the syndrome as the other people. Although women over 60 who lived alone compromised only five percent of the studied group, they accounted for 30 percent of all deaths. Lone men over 50 were eight percent of the group, yet represented two thirds of the deaths.

In the Telegram UK:

Middle-aged men who reject family life and choose to live alone are more likely to die earlier than their married counterparts, UK Government figures published yesterday reveal.

They are also significantly more prone than married men to a variety of debilitating illnesses such as diabetes and rheumatism, said the study released by the Office for National Statistics.

The findings come against a backdrop of research which shows that married couples tend to enjoy better health than unmarried people.

Another study of 29 countries found that people who live alone are more likely to die young:

A four-year study of 45,000 people from 29 countries. Researchers found that those living solo under age 65 had a 21% greater chance of dying; in their study, 9.3% of those who had a roommate died within the four years, compared to 11.4% of those who had none. The researchers believe the main reason for the bump may simply be that being alone means there is no one around to help when something goes wrong, notes the Orlando Sentinel.

Although, to be fair, the same study found that after a certain age living alone was associated with longer life, but that could also be because older folks who are healthier are able to live alone and not move into assisted living for longer.

“but the hunch is if you make it to 80 and are independent, you’re doing pretty well.”

So, the bottom line of all of this? Think about splitting the rent with someone, even if you don’t technically need to.


Brazil releases photos of "uncontacted" groups to try and discourage contact

This quarter at school has been really full and I haven’t been as diligent a reporter as I’d like to be. But, this one was staring me in the face and I couldn’t say no.

The Brazilian government has released photos of a few of the estimated 68 “uncontacted” tribes — although the term should be “bad idea to contact” tribes because they try to kill us if we come too close — in hopes of making their plight well-known and encourage people to keep their distance.

My first thought was: if you’re trying to be respectful and keep them isolated, then what are you doing flying over taking pictures!?


Traveling far away from home is bad

Well, I didn’t make it to Victoria, BC, for a number of reasons, the final clincher being that I couldn’t find my passport or two other kinds of government-issued ID. I’m sure it was boring anyway; just a bunch of archaeologists talking about cool stuff they found, not to mention historical studies of cultural land use. 😦
Since I couldn’t get my academic fix this weekend, I’ll try to get one here: I’m surprising myself about the whole Texas polygamist raid and the issues that are stemming from it. Usually I am dead set against any form of domestic or child abuse, and treating women unfairly, and am all for taking kids and women out of bad situations. However, I think taking over 400 kids away from their mothers and the only society they’ve ever known and first locking them up in a sports arena and then separating them into different foster homes borders on child abuse itself, and certainly negligence at the bare minimum. It was really irresponsible of the Feds to handle the situation the way they did, and while there are no easy answers in a situation like this, there had to be a better one than the one they chose. Maybe arrest and remove the men who are dominating these women and children? Argh!
Anyway, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter.


Time to Get Opinionated

Nothing worth doing an entire blog about, but just some stuff I needed to get off my chest:

Discourse analysis and semiotic analysis for that matter are much, much, much too broad and loosey goosey to be of much use. If you believe Foucault that EVERYTHING can be a discourse, then you’ll spend your entire life trying to determine if every thought you share or action you take is your own creation or just another discourse that has been ingrained into you. Semiotics is a different story in that you can say anything symbolizes anything, but you end up in the same pickle.

Power DOES exist, thank you very much.

There needs to be a word that describes the study of Family Structure in Archaeology. Maybe I just coined it, I’ll have to look it up.

Graduate school is very time consuming, and while I love it, I wish I could afford to be a starving college student so I had more time to work on my schoolwork (I say this while writing in my blog instead of doing my reading), because they expect you read (ahem *skim*) so freakin’ much! And fit in research papers and thesis work at the same time.

Anthropology needs to be a more holistic approach. There, I said it. Maybe I’m taking too much of a “four fields” approach, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, maybe I’m oversimplifying, whatever, but I say that the study of human beings needs to be an integrated study, looking at all aspects of being human, bones to brains, and separation of biological from cultural from physical from linguistic anthropology is going about things all wrong. We need integration of the disciplines, we’re supposed to be studying human beings as a whole, not looking at bits and pieces and then arguing about how these bits and pieces are the one truth, or how they obviously don’t fit together, so the other bits and pieces must be wrong. ACK!

The U.S. Government is making it harder and harder to leave, visit, work, or even share ideas with the U.S. So much for freedom and liberty and international ambassador-ness and all that.