Blog Posts by Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine

  • It's not just a guy thing: More women die of heart disease than men

    As women, we tend to focus on breast cancer as the disease to beat, and think of heart disease as something for guys to be concerned about. But according to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases kill twice as many women in the U.S. as all other types of cancer combined. And, since 1991, more women have died of heart disease than men. Women are 21 percent more likely than men to die within a year of having their first heart attack. (The numbers are worse if you're a woman of color: African American women are 70 percent more likely than Caucasian women to die within a year of having their first heart attack.)

    Events of the Heart, a non-profit dedicated to promoting awareness of heart disease, points out that when it comes to having a heart attack, 1/3 of women don't experience that intense, stabbing, grab-at-your-chest pain you see in the movies. "Most women actually experience flu-like symptoms when they are having a heart attack," the site explains. In addition to

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  • One year later: Has "Let's Move!" made a difference?

    Let's MoveLet's MoveCalling Let's Move! "a new conversation in this country about the health and well-being of our children," First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the first anniversary of her campaign against childhood obesity on Wednesday by giving a speech at the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia.

    "Over this past year, we've seen the first signs of a fundamental shift in how we live and eat," she told the 20,000 member congregation during the event, which was co-hosted by the Ray of Hope Christian Church and streamed live at "We've seen changes at every level of our society - from classrooms, to boardrooms, to the halls of Congress."

    "These changes are happening for one simple reason: because you asked for them," she continued, citing measures like the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids act signed into law last year, initiatives like Let's Move Cities and Towns, through which 500 mayors have pledged to address obesity in their communities, and provisions in the new health care

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  • Study: Lymph node removal not always needed for breast cancer patients

    A study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that as many as 20 percent of women with breast cancer may be able to skip the painful surgery to remove infected lymph nodes under their arms, avoiding complications like lymphedema without harming their health.

    The news is "very exciting," says Dr. Mehra Golshan, director of breast surgery at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "It is practice-changing in many respects."

    Until just a few decades ago, a breast cancer patient's primary option was a radical mastectomy, the removal of the entire breast and surrounding tissue, including the lymph nodes in the armpit. In the 1980s, studies showed that lumpectomies, which targeted just the tumors and spared much of the breast, worked well for many patients when coupled with radiation therapy.

    Being able to retain the lymph nodes "is really a move toward less radical surgery" for breast cancer patients, study author Dr. Armando Giuliano, cancer

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  • Could texting be good for kids after all?

    Excessive texting can lead to a host of problems for kids-but illiteracy might not be one of them.

    A year-long study by researchers at Coventry University in England has found that, rather than ruining their ability to speak, read, and write proper English, texting seemed to help teens recognize rhymes and speech patterns, leaving them with better literacy skills than kids who don't use cell phones.

    Psychologist Dr Clare Wood, who led the study, said that all of those abbreviations-"C U l8r," "OMG," "TTFN," and the like-actually helped to develop kids' reading and writing skills and led them to subconsciously practice spelling.

    "We began studying in this area initially to see if there was any evidence of association between text abbreviation use and literacy skills at all, after such a negative portrayal of the activity in the media," Wood said in a statement about the study. "We were surprised to learn that not only was the association strong, but that textism use was actually

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  • Have kids become more cruel?

    A New Hampshire Family Life and Family Policy specialist who is an expert on bullying says that kids today are meaner than ever before-and inattentive parents coupled with a lack of certain values may be to blame.

    "This generation that's coming up, the generation in school right now ... they are the meanest generation of kids that we've ever had, and they have more ways to be mean to each other than any other generation," Malcolm Smith, a member of the New Hampshire Legislative Task Force on Work and Family and an associate professor at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, told a crowd at Portsmouth High School recently.

    Kids who bully repeatedly are missing certain basic values, The Portsmouth Herald quotes him as saying. Things like manners, civility, and kindness. And the problem has been fostered, Smith said, by a lack of parental supervision.

    "It's about supervising and being around. As a parent, that's really important," he said, telling parents that they can

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  • What do you do when you like one of your kids more than the others?

    Of course we all strive to treat our kids equally. And it goes without saying that we love them. But what do you do when you like one of them more than the other?

    One mom wrote in to the Dear Prudence column at Slate recently, confessing that she prefers her mellow 2-year-old son to her demanding 4-year-old daughter.

    "My daughter has a bright, inquisitive mind and a big personality," she writes. "She loves to dance and sing and be the center of attention. She is funny and sassy and spirited. She is also as stubborn as a mule, has a hair-trigger temper, and throws screaming tantrums." Her toddler son, on the other hand, she describes as "sweet and more mellow."

    She's a stay-at-home mom, she says, and her feelings of guilt and shame are obvious. She signs her letter "Feeling Like a Bad Mother."

    But does she really have anything to feel guilty about?

    As a mom and step mom to five kids, I think she's facing something that many women find all-too-familiar-the idea that loving someone

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  • Senate votes down repeal of health care law, plus five Affordable Care Act myths debunked

    Hewing to party lines, the Senate on Wednesday night voted down a GOP-led attempt to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care reform law.

    The repeal, which was actually part of an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill and was voted on as a "budget point of order," required 60 votes to pass. It received 47 votes in favor, 51 against.

    "Voters in Missouri and nationwide sent a clear message last fall that they wanted their leaders in Washington to repeal and replace this law," Sen. Roy Blunt said in a statement after the vote. "I'm deeply disappointed that my colleagues across the aisle refused to listen to that clear message, and instead voted to defend this bill, which two federal courts have already deemed unconstitutional."

    U.S. federal judges in Florida and Virginia have declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. But there's a key difference in the two rulings. Judge Henry E. Hudson of Federal

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  • Ladies, does your small business need a boost? New government program launches this week

    Starting this week, some women entrepreneurs may be eligible for a much-needed lift from the Federal Government.

    The new Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, which launches on Friday, Feb. 4, will make it easier for small businesses owned by women to be awarded lucrative federal contracts.

    "Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy," administrator Karen Mills said in a press release. "As we continue to look to small businesses to grow, create jobs, and lead America into the future, women-owned businesses will play a key role. That's why providing them with all the tools necessary to compete for and win federal contracts is so important."

    "Women seem to have an almost self-imposed glass ceiling when it comes to expansion of their businesses," a senior official in the Obama administration said Monday, noting that, according to studies by the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, women tend to

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  • Breastfeeding moms protest at mall after woman is kicked out of store

    Two weeks after Shannon Smith, a 36-year-old mother of three, was asked to leave a children's clothing store for discreetly nursing her 5-month-old in an out-of-the way corner, about a hundred people gathered to protest at the mall, many of them with babies in tow.

    At 1 p.m. on January 19, the group-which had assembled in front of the same store in the Complexe les Ailes in downtown Montreal-settled down to business: Feeding their babies lunch in the most natural way possible.

    "I think that, basically, you should be able to do it anytime and anywhere," said Frances Moxant, 40, told AOL as she fed the youngest of her four children. "Even my parish priest tells us to go ahead and do it in church. Jesus was breast-fed-he wasn't bottle-fed. So it's definitely all right."

    The mall does have two dedicated rooms for nursing moms which are very popular with shoppers, though some parents say that not always possible or comfortable to haul a screaming baby through the mall just to feed him.

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  • 5 ways to save your kids' artwork (without cluttering up your home)

    Of course your kid is an artistic genius. Whose isn't? Problem is, once your pint-size Picasso masters crayons and magic markers, he or she can scribble through a ream of paper in minutes. Pretty soon, you're inundated with mini masterpieces-and, of course, they're all adorable. How can you possibly throw any of them away?

    Do the math. If your child brings home one piece of artwork every day for a single school year, you'll have about 200 pieces of paper on your kitchen table by the time summer vacation rolls around. Actually, 400-no child brings home just one piece of paper each day (my 6-year-old routinely has 4 or 5 drawings and worksheets crammed in her backpack). Now, multiply that by five (kindergarten through fourth grade, which is when those photocopied worksheets tend to taper off). Then multiply that by the number of kids you have. By they time they're done with elementary school, you'll be buried under an avalanche of art and paperwork unless you figure out a way to decide

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