Blog Posts by The Editors at Sharecare

  • 6 Worst Backyard Safety Mistakes

    Over 200,000 kids visit emergency rooms each year for home playground-related accidents.Over 200,000 kids visit emergency rooms each year for home playground-related accidents.By Melanie Haiken, for Sharecare

    My friend's first unfortunate mistake: Ignoring the broken ash-catcher on the bottom of his ancient Weber grill, which was loose enough to allow an ember to slip through. His second mistake: Grilling on the deck, rather than in the back yard. Add the two together and you have a tragic equation: A three-alarm fire that damaged the entire back half of his Florida home.

    Grilling isn't the only way summer fun can suddenly turn dangerous. Here's a checklist to make sure your entire backyard is as safe as your living room.

    - Grills: Make sure your grill is in good working order. Don't use your barbecue on a flammable surface. And don't grill too close to the house. Close grill vents and douse coals with water when you're done if you don't plan to keep an eye on them.

    - Playground equipment: Follow installation instructions carefully when setting up swing sets, climbing structures and slides. Avoid equipment made out of pressure-treated

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  • 6 Clever Ways Your Smartphone Makes You Healthy

    Find out how motivating your Smartphone can be.Find out how motivating your Smartphone can be.By Deborah A. Wilburn

    Anyone can download a fitness or health app onto his or her smartphone--it's how you use it that matters. Here are 6 ways to get the most from your high tech gadgets to meet any health goal.

    1. Set up "be healthy" appointments. Let your reminder function prompt you to do more than get to your next meeting on time. You can use it to remind you to take your medication or vitamins and schedule workouts (making it less likely that you'll bail). If you tend to be a night owl, set the alarm in the evening to prompt you to go to bed.

    2. Use your timer. We know we're supposed to brush our teeth for two minutes. But how many of us do it? Let your smartphone timer help you. Have time management issues? Use the timer to track how long it takes you to do basic things (clean up the kitchen, write a weekly report). Once you know how long something takes (what seems like 15 minutes is really half an hour) you'll be better able to schedule tasks and prioritize.

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  • 6 Ways to Train like an Olympian

    Push yourself to see progress. Push yourself to see progress. by Su Reid-St. John, for Sharecare

    With the 2012 Olympic Summer Games upon us, we've been wondering just what those athletes do in their training sessions to put them over the top. So we turned to Elite Trainer Joel Harper, who has worked with Olympians--gold medalists among them--in such high profile sports as swimming, rowing and track-and-field. (In fact, some of his clients are competing for Team USA in London.) Here are Harper's top tips on getting the most out of your exercise routine, even if the only thing you intend to compete for over the next couple weeks is a place in the shortest supermarket line.

    - Always work out as if the cameras were rolling. "Give it your all every single time you train," Harper says. "People who do the best--celebrities, pro athletes, Olympic gold medalists--live in the moment and don't get sloppy or back off just because no one's watching."

    - Focus on your breathing. "Without good breathing, you won't have enough energy to train

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  • 6 Easy Ways to Save Money on Medical Costs

    Save medical costs later by eating healthy now.Save medical costs later by eating healthy now.By Michael F. Roizen, MD

    If the shaky economy's got you worried about the high cost of healthcare, you're not alone. Maybe you're like the 45% of people who are cutting back on medications. Or the 42% buying fewer fruits and vegetables. Or the 43% of baby boomers concerned about future medical bills.

    As a society, we need more affordable healthcare for all, and soon! And if everyone in North America gets their blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar normal and stops smoking, the United States and Canada will save over 33% on lifetime medical costs and balance budgets for as far as the eye can see (past 2082!). But until the politicians sort out health costs, here are a few simple swaps you can make now:

    • Grill a salmon burger instead of a beef burger. Save $20 every time you do. I'm serious! If you're still asking, "Where's the beef?" instead of, "Where's the fish?" start socking away $10 per burger to cover the cost of future heart disease, and another $10
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  • Top 6 Weight Loss Myths to Ignore

    Which is better: regular or diet soda?Which is better: regular or diet soda?

    It's so easy to forget -- your keys, where you put your cell phone, your glasses (which are probably perched on top of your head). Here are top weight loss myths you'll want to forget -- plus the facts behind them to keep your weight loss on track.

    Myth 1: Potatoes and bread are fattening.
    Reality: It's just the opposite. Starchy vegetables and bread (whole-grain bread, that is) are quality carbs needed to fuel every part of you, from your brain to your muscles. What gets you into trouble is how you eat them: Smear butter on a slice of whole-wheat bread or deep-fry potatoes and you can double, triple, or quadruple the calories.

    Weight Loss Expert Q&A: Should l eat a low-carb or a low-fat diet to lose weight?

    Myth 2: Drinking a glass of water before a meal curbs appetite.
    Reality: Yes and no. Water tames appetite if it's incorporated into food, such as soup, or a thick drink, like V8 100% Vegetable Juice. Apparently, when water is bound to food, digestion is slower,

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  • Vaccination Benefits Far Outweigh Risks

    Before vaccines, measles, mumps, and chickenpox claimed thousands of lives.Before vaccines, measles, mumps, and chickenpox claimed thousands of lives.By Michael F. Roizen, MD

    Mae West once said, "Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from." Well, I know what we want to protect kids from: diphtheria, flu, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rubella (German measles), tetanus, and chickenpox. These are vaccine-preventable diseases, and until the vaccines were developed, these diseases claimed thousands of lives annually.

    Here's a vaccine most adults should have.

    Unfortunately, there's widespread anxiety about vaccinations. I know you're trying to do right for your child, but rumors spread across the Internet that vaccines cause diseases, that natural immunity is better and safer than vaccination, and that newborns aren't ready for vaccines.

    I want to be very clear: I interviewed more than 150 experts on every side of the issue for YOU: Having a Baby and YOU: Raising Your Child. My bottom line is this: Vaccinations have more benefits than risks. Are they

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  • What Your Jeans Say About You

    By Chris Freytag, for Sharecare Here's a better way to measure belly fat.Here's a better way to measure belly fat.

    I know so many women who are married to their scales when they should be married to their jeans.

    If you vacillate from triumph to despair depending on those three numbers on the scale, remember that your weight can vary depending on the time of the month and other factors. A more accurate gauge of how you are managing your weight is to put on and zip up those jeans in your closet. Your jeans could suddenly be baggy (score!), fit as they always have (terrific!), suddenly be snug (red flag!) or be too tight to get on (alarm bell for behavior change!).

    Just as I advise people to find out their body composition-ratio of body fat to lean muscle--jeans also can give you a better assessment of how you are doing than your scale does. Head into your closet and find out how your jeans fit.

    Fitness Expert Q&A: How is body fat calculated?

    Your body is the only place you have to live
    Don't get me wrong, I am not talking vanity and all

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  • Danger in the Hospital: It's Worse Than You Think

    Check your local hospital's Safety Score before you have a health problem.Check your local hospital's Safety Score before you have a health problem.By Melanie Haiken, for Sharecare

    In May, when Sean Williams' 78-year-old father, Alan, took two sudden falls, he did the right thing: He called the doctor to report he was in terrible pain -- pain that was bad enough to wake him from a deep sleep. Yet two doctors prescribed pain pills and sent him home without performing a physical exam. It took a third doctor (seeing him for an unrelated condition) to realize something was seriously wrong and order x-rays and a CT scan. At which point, it was revealed he'd broken his back in five places. But it turned out those mistakes were just the beginning.

    Once in the hospital, his wife arrived to visit him post-surgery and found him vomiting wretchedly. A nurse had given him 17 pills -- his entire day's medication regimen -- all at once on an empty stomach. The nurse's explanation: "I was instructed to give him 'all' his medications before breakfast." Later the Williams' learned that the medication overdose could have been fatal if

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  • Can't Lose Weight? 4 Reasons It's Even Tougher Than You Think

    Overcoming obstacles is tough -- but doableOvercoming obstacles is tough -- but doableBy Su Reid-St. John, for Sharecare

    I've gained and lost a lot of pounds in my life, but I've got nothing on fitness trainer Drew Manning. In his new book Fit2Fat2Fit, he tells how, in a single year, he gained the weight equivalent of a good-sized Labrador retriever (75 pounds, to be exact) to learn what it was like to be overweight so he could better identify with his heavy clients -- then lost it all again. (Don't try this at home.)

    Gaining the weight, which Manning did in just six months, was easy. All he had to do was eat junk food and fast food, drink soda, and trade his gym membership for a spot on the couch. No surprises there. But losing the weight?

    Manning thought that part would be simple, too. His starting view, he admitted, was that his overweight clients simply weren't trying hard enough. But he ended up encountering bumps along the way that challenged even his iron will. Here are some of them - along with expert advice on how anyone trying to lose weight

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  • Empathy: The Secret Sauce to a Happy Marriage

    Communication is key to a happy marriage Communication is key to a happy marriage by Julie Hanks, LCSW, for Sharecare

    Are you empathetic? Is your partner? It might be the secret to a happier marriage. According to a recent study from Harvard University, being able to accurately read a partner's emotions--and believing that your partner is trying to understand your emotions--is related to couple relationship satisfaction.

    Expert Q&A: How can I improve my relationship?

    This study highlights certain gender differences that echo dynamics I've seen in my clinical practice and in my 23-year marriage:

    1. Women are more satisfied in their relationship if their partner accurately empathized with negative emotions.
    2. Men were more satisfied when they could read their partner's positive emotions accurately.
    3. Women's ability to read their partner's negative emotions was positively linked to both men's and women's relationship satisfaction.

    10 Things Happy Couples Do

    The authors suggested that for men, being able to understand and be

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