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Practicing mindfulness in the workplace

Photo: Katie Huggins

As summer ends and to-do lists grow longer, stress seems unavoidable. But it’s important to give our minds and bodies a break; our wellbeing and productivity depend on it.

“Research has shown that we literally can’t do it all,” says Mary Jo Kreitzer, Ph.D., R.N., founder and director of the Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota. “When we’re trying to do too many things at once, we’re dividing our brain up and putting less effort and level of detail into each individual activity.”

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How to help an injured raptor during migration this fall

Photo Credit: Amber Burnette

While we might not be thinking of winter quite yet, raptors are already preparing for the change in the season. In the darker, colder months, insects are sparse so smaller birds travel south in search for bugs to eat, and mammals need to adjust their diets to accommodate a smaller seed and plant supply. Frozen lakes pose a challenge for raptors like osprey and bald eagles relying on fish for nourishment.

The environmental changes lead raptors on an annual journey to find food sources, but the trip can be challenging.

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Preventing childhood obesity while promoting a positive body image

Photo: Omar Gurnah/CC 2.0/

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month—a new observance that started five years ago, but is in keeping with mounting public awareness about the problem of childhood obesity. While parents are hit with messages to prevent obesity, they often get conflicting advice. So what can parents do to prevent obesity without instilling an unhealthy obsession with weight?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health recommend parents start by modifying the home environment to make it easier to engage in healthier eating and activity and by modeling healthy eating and physical activity behaviors, a positive body image, and avoidance of weight talk. Their advice is based on research gathered through Project EAT, one of the largest and most comprehensive studies to examine weight-related issues in teenagers led by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D. Neumark-Sztainer used the findings from Project EAT to provide parents strategies in the book, I’m, Like, So Fat! Helping Your Teen Make Healthy choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World.

Health Talk spoke with Colleen Flattum, M.S., R.D., senior program manager with Project EAT.

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The Minnesota State Fair: Where food, fun and exercise (yes, exercise) collide!

Photo: yuan2003/cc 2.0/

The Minnesota State Fair is off and running, bringing with it the symbolic end to summer and the beginning of fall and the school year. The Minnesota State Fair is best known for its shows, rides, livestock and other animals, family fun and of course – the food!

From corn dogs, cheese curds, cookies and basically anything you could possibly imagine deep-fried and/or on a stick, the Minnesota State Fair has something for everyone to enjoy.

Now, at Health Talk, we won’t try to lecture you as to what foods you should and should not eat at the State Fair because we know, honestly, that it wouldn’t be realistic. The old adage, “everything in moderation” still applies, but we can offer you some small and simple ways you can still splurge a little on your culinary favorites AND get some exercise while you’re at it.

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Could sports mouthguards improve athletic performance?

Photo: CC, Jim Larrison,

Want to throw a football more accurately? Wear a mouthguard.

Emerging evidence shows these gummy, plastic-like appliances are linked to a host of benefits, like better reaction time, less lactic acid buildup, enhanced power outputimproved breathing and superior marksmanship.

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Back to school: Getting kids back on a normal sleep schedule

Editor’s note: This post was developed by Michael Howell, M.D., a University of Minnesota neurologist and sleep expert.

It’s that time of year again. From preschoolers to the one-year-to-go high school seniors, students across Minnesota need to adjust their schedules after a summer of flexible sleep times.

This is particularly challenging for teenagers whose body clocks are naturally inclined to run later and due to the long summer days of late sunlight exposure.  This combination creates a delay in a child’s circadian rhythm leading to anxious nights of being unable to sleep followed by impaired, groggy mornings.

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