UK Cooperative Extension Service KSU Cooperative Extension Programs
at the Henry County Web

The Cooperative Extension Service   
of Henry County, Kentucky


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Praise Your Children
Celebrate...Your Family
Popular Weight Loss Diets
Healthy Activity

OPT-OUT of Direct Marketing Mail
Caring for Chenille

Going Green Exclusive
Skills for Solo Parents...
Consumer Tips
Credit Identity Fraud
Cranberry Juice
Warm Up With Breakfast

Know all that you should about The FLU?
Dressing for an Interview
Dress To Impress for Interviews
Making Your Clothes Last Longer
Don't Fall for a Telephone Line
March/National Nutrition Month
Americans Are Sluggish:
UK Biotech Web Site

Family Communications Plan
Free Roadside Help
Tap and Bottled Water, Both Have Benefits
Similarities Between Health and Finances
More Similarities Between Health & Finances

More on Page 2


The Improper use of supplemental heat sources to take the bite off cold winter weather poses a hidden danger--carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a threat anytime we use gas or other fuel-burning appliances incorrectly, or when these heat sources are improperly vented. Carbon monoxide is one of the deadliest gasses because it's colorless and odorless. Plus, a relatively small amount of carbon monoxide released into an unventilated space can cause sickness and even death.

Although most of us normally associate carbon monoxide poisoning with a car exhaust, any device that burns natural gas, liquid petroleum gas, kerosene, heating oil, wood, or charcoal will produce carbon monoxide.

Incomplete combustion of any type of fuel can produce carbon monoxide. The potentially lethal gas robs oxygen from the blood. Low levels can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches and watery eyes--symptoms often associated with other illnesses. At high levels, and without medical attention, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.

You can reduce the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning by using fuel-burning appliances correctly and being sure they're properly ventilated.

All fuel burning furnaces, water heaters and stoves should be properly vented to a chimney or flue. Have vents checked to be sure they are properly connected and that the chimney or flue is open and in good condition. For extra protection, install an Underwriters Laboratory approved carbon monoxide detector in or near sleeping areas.

Some of the newer gas space heaters and artificial gas fireplace logs are approved for use without a vent. Be sure these heaters and logs are installed according to the manufacturer's specifications. Also, be sure they have oxygen depletion sensors to detect reduced levels of oxygen and shut off before hazardous levels of carbon monoxide accumulate.

It's a good idea to review the operation instructions for gas fireplace logs because some types must be used when the chimney flue is open, just as with conventional wood logs. Use kerosene heaters only in open, well ventilated areas. Never use un-vented appliances, such as a kitchen range, to heat a home.

Another potential danger is to use a barbecue grill or hibachi inside the home. It's tempting to use a grill or hibachi to cook a meal indoors during a winter power outage rather than going outside. However, this practice is very dangerous. In addition to the danger of fire or smoke, charcoal briquettes produce large amounts of carbon monoxide.

Wood-burning stoves usually aren't a problem because they are vented to the outside. When using a fireplace, avoid closing the chimney when a fire is smoldering because incomplete combustion produces carbon monoxide. Don't close the chimney flue until the fire is completely extinguished.



Have you noticed how good it feels when somebody gives you a sincere compliment? Or how nice it is to have someone notice an extra effort that you've made? Your children also like positive attention. In fact, they thrive on it. It's one of the ways they learn to feel good about themselves and others.

To praise your child means to express approval or admiration. Another word for praise is encouragement. When skillfully used, praise builds an individual's confidence and courage.

Whether a toddler or a teenager, your child is a marvel--a one-of-a-kind soul with special abilities and talents. He or she is a wonderful, precious human being who has so much to teach and learn and give.

One of your important jobs as a parent is to see the goodness, beauty and talents of your children. Then make sure they know exactly what you see in them and how filled with appreciation, pride and admiration you are.

As a parent, you are one of the most important people in your child's world. When you are patient, kind and positive with your child, it makes a big difference. Never underestimate your influence. Praise your child for who he or she is, and for the many gifts he or she brings into our world.

The more you encourage your children, the more you bring out the best in them and you. Children watch you and learn from you. When you praise their strong points, they learn to see the positive in themselves, in you, and in those around them. Some tips for praising and encouraging children:

  • Catch the youngsters in your life being good; make a big deal about it. Be sincere. Focus on what you like about your child, and express your appreciation. Without overdoing it, give praise freely and frequently.
  • Use a positive, caring tone as you regularly share words of encouragement from the heart, such as: Keep at it. Great! It's nice to have you around. I love you. We all make mistakes. That was very kind of you. Nice going. You'll do better next time. Thank you!
  • Help young children feel capable. Instead of "That's not the way to do it," say "That's a big job--let's see if we can do it together."
  • Help your child recognize talents he or she may have. "Jamaal, you draw really well. I think you inherited your grandfather's artistic ability." "Kayla, you must have motors inside your legs! How do you run so fast?"
  • Ask your son what he learned in school today. Smile and give him your full attention. Say "Wow!" or "Hey, that's interesting." If he's having trouble at school, listen well and see if you can help him figure out a good way of handling it.
  • Talk with your daughter as if she were one of the most important people in the whole world, because she is.
  • Another important way to encourage your child is by attending his school events or being involved in other activities or hobbies that interest him.
  • With your words and actions, convey this message to your child: "I like you just because you're you." Similarly, let your children know that you love them no matter what, with no strings attached. "Sasha, I love you when you are happy, and I love you when you are angry or sad. No matter what, I will always love you."
  • Think how blessed you are to have these marvelous children in your life. As a way of showing your appreciation, give each of them a hug, a kiss, a wink, or a smile.

The Extension Office has a few copies of a wonderful publication that is designed to be used as a self-study unit for parents called, "I'm Positive-Growing Up With Self-Esteem", call our office at 845-2811 to receive a copy.



With the Holidays rapidly approaching everyone is thinking about celebrating. We need to think about celebrating our own family. Ask yourself: What is different and special about our family? What strengths, talents and learning experiences do we have? Raise similar questions with other family members. Ask young children, too. Often they come up with funny answers and interesting insights.

Think about the benefits of being in your unique family. Pay attention to these blessings. Help family members see and appreciate them. Also make it a point to focus on what your family has learned from hard times as well as fond memories that you share. All of these are reasons to celebrate.

Some suggestions for celebrating what is special about your family:

  • Every now and then, have a Family Celebration Dinner. Prepare a menu that includes at least one favorite of each family member, or go out to a restaurant everyone enjoys. Propose a family toast for a recent family achievement-Nathaniel taking his first steps, Jesse getting two "A's" on his report card, or Kristen making the basketball team.
  • Focus on one family member at a time, and let everyone present say one thing they appreciate about him or her. Conclude by playing a game, sharing a moment of prayer, telling a funny story, or holding hands and singing a favorite song.
  • Give each family member a chance to talk about some things he or she loves to do. Can you do some of these activities together as a family? Can you do one of them right away? Is there another activity you could do together in the future?
  • Gather family members together, perhaps over a big bowl of popcorn. Let each person answer the following question: "What are two things you really like about our family?"
  • Celebrate your family's history. Take a trip to see the neighborhood and home where you grew up as a young child, or visit some of the oldest living family members. Take them fresh flowers or a homemade gift, and ask them to tell you and your children what life was like when they were growing up.
  • Create a family story. Start off by sharing the beginning of a story. Then let the next person briefly continue the story in any way he or she wants. Then it's the next person's turn. Whether there are two or five people in your family group, let your imagination go and have some fun. No telling what kind of story you'll wind up with!
  • Hold a potluck picnic for your extended family. Besides a dish, ask those attending to bring along some special family photographs. After the meal, have a time for "show and tell."

By celebrating what is special about your family, communication will improve and your home life will become more positive and enjoyable. As your children grow older, they will naturally tend to remember these times of celebration and use them as they create their own families.



Spring has traditionally been thought of as the time for job changes as well as entry into the world of work. Rapid developments in technology and many changes in society have made the timing factor somewhat outdated. Today people are changing jobs and interviewing throughout the year. Even so, the interview remains an important stepping block in the job getting process. The few minutes you spend in an interview can seal or destroy your fate. Being prepared and looking the part conveys your work ethic. Your appearance can and does make a difference!

The "any thing goes" trend of recent years is rarely an acceptable mode of dress for the interview process. If you want to find out how to dress for a specific interview, there are some techniques to try. If appropriate, make plans to attend a meeting or workshop conducted by the business. Call the personnel office anonymously and ask about a dress code. Talk with persons in the community or individuals who work for the company. Make time to visit the location and observe workers coming to or leaving the place of business. Being clean, dressing classic and conservative is never incorrect.

Regardless of the type of job you are applying for, your appearance should always be neat. Clothing does not need to be new or expensive, but it should fit well--not too tight, not too loose! Many professional interviewers consider the following as dressing:


  • scuffed shoes or heels higher than 2-inches, worn heels, sandals
  • sheer or shiny apparel
  • skirts shorter than 2-inches above the knee
  • excessive or noisy jewelry
  • pattern or bright hosiery
  • backpacks, large handbags
  • lots of makeup
  • extreme hair styles, unkept hair
  • long, bright fingernails
  • dirty fingernails, chipped nail polish

So remember as you head out in search of that perfect job, take some time to plan your appearance-it may make or break the job interview.



Interviews can be stressful for interviewees but determining the appropriate attire to wear should not. Appearance speaks volumes for a person, long before he or she ever says a word. The way you look and project yourself through clothing selection, proper grooming and body language can help a prospective employer determine if you are the right candidate for a job. While proper interview attire does not make up for lack of education or job qualifications, it can make or break your chances of getting a job offer.

You should plan interview attire in advance, at least by the night before. The most important thing to remember when selecting clothing for an interview is simplicity. Clothes should be neat, clean and properly fit your body. Solid colors are best, but simple patterns such as stripes and checks may be appropriate for women.

Sometimes, the job you are applying for can determine the appropriate attire for an interview. A good tip to remember is to dress for the job position above the job you are applying for. If you are nervous about selecting the appropriate attire, you can arrive at the interview site a couple of days before to observe employees coming and leaving the job site.

There are certain clothing rules that hold true to all types of jobs. All clothing should properly fit. If you have questions about how a particular outfit looks on you, evaluate your choice in a mirror the night before the interview. In the past the rule has been to avoid wearing anything sleeveless. Shoes should be neat, clean and freshly polished if possible. Socks should match the color of the shoe and hosiery should be a neutral color. Women should not wear heels higher than two inches. Dresses should be at least knee length.

In addition to the proper dress, grooming is essential. Shower the night before or the morning of an interview. Brush your teeth. Make sure your fingernails are clean and trimmed. Men should neatly trim facial hair. Tie back hair longer than shoulder length with a band that closely matches your hair color. Women’s makeup should flatter the outfit without drawing attention away from it. You should choose soft eye shadows and lipsticks. Sparingly apply cologne or perfume.

During the interview, sit and stand tall with shoulders square. If extended a handshake, always firmly shake hands. Look prospective employers in the eye when speaking or listening. You should place your hands neatly in your lap. Avoid fidgeting with your clothing. Always be courteous to any additional employees you may have contact with because they could potentially be your coworkers.

Projecting yourself as a confident, capable person in an interview can help you land the job of your dreams.



And speaking of your work wardrobe, good quality clothing can be expensive! The purchase of new apparel to replace old or damaged garments can take a sizeable chunk from your budget especially if the replacement has not been planned for. There are a number of habits we can practice and teach our family members to do that will prolong the life of our clothing. All are easy and within the reach of everyone!

Hang hangable garments immediately after wearing to allow the wrinkles to fall out. However, don't "stuff" them back into a crowded closet for several hours.

Never hang wet or damp items in the closet until completely dry. This is a quick way to invite mildew.

Repair all rips, tears, pulled hems and the like immediately, especially before items are subjected to a cleaning process.

Do not store dirty or soiled clothing from one season to the next. Soil invites insects and/or can become permanently set.

Clean (launder or dryclean) only as needed to remove soil and stain. DO NOT launder or dryclean to remove wrinkles. Use an iron or pressing device, or simply permitting the item an opportunity to relax on its own will do the trick.

Avoid direct contact with perfumes, hair spray, or lotions as these may contain alcohol or other substances that can cause color loss.

Do not store or allow garments to stay in direct or prolonged artificial or sun light. If your closet has a window that permits sunlight to shine in, consider a shade or covering to block the light.

If possible, permit your clothing to rest at least one day between repeat wearings. This is especially true with shoes.

Treat your clothing as one of your nearest and dearest friends. It truly is a good friend! As with all friends, a little tender loving care goes a long way to promoting a long-lasting relationship!



Cranberry juice has long been recommended as a folk remedy for urinary tract infections. People commonly believe that drinking cranberry juice lowers the pH of urine. The more acidic conditions presumably help prevent infections. A new study suggests that this is not the case. Scientists now have evidence that chemical compounds called condensed tannins are responsible for the beneficial effect. The cranberry juice helps prevent E-coli, the usual culprit in these bacterial infections, from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. Research also shows that blueberries contain the compounds which help keep bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. So, cranberry juice really can help prevent or treat urinary tract infections. And now we know why.



Why not warm up your winter mornings with some hot breakfast treats? Hot cereals are some of the most nourishing and satisfying foods for this time of year. Try using your microwave to cook oatmeal, wheat cereals, or grits. Cereals are part of the base of the Food Guide Pyramid and the basis for a heathy diet. If you like to eat breakfast at a mid-morning break, measure a serving of hot cereal in a microwave-safe container. Then just add water and heat in the microwave. To make creamier, heartier hot cereals, cook them with milk instead of water. To keep things interesting, try adding a banana or some applesauce with brown sugar to your hot cereal. If you are in the mood for something savory, try some cheese or garlic grits for breakfast. Hot cereals are a warm way to start your day.



Some will decide they are ready to make some changes to improve health and well-being. If part of your plan includes losing weight, consider the following. Research suggests that people who are successful at managing their weight have three things in common:

  1. They have carefully considered what goals are right for them.
  2. They know what eating habits they are willing to change.
  3. They have made a commitment to be more active.

When researchers checked with women one year after they had lost an average of 25 pounds, those who were most physically active had regained the least amount of weight. Regular, moderate activity such as brisk walking, gardening, or cleaning will help move you along the road to better health.



As we end Consumer Education Week we want to share this information on identity theft which is becoming more and more of a problem. Identity theft occurs when a con artist assumes your name, address, Social Security number, or other personal information and uses this information to obtain new credit cards, access existing credit accounts, obtain loans in your name, or steal from your checking, savings, or investment accounts. Thieves usually are able to steal someone's identity by rummaging through mailboxes or trash cans for credit card receipts. Government records also provide addition information enabling thieves to steal your identity, such as driving records, civil and criminal court records, licensing records, and property records.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft is one of the most difficult crimes to prove in court. Usually, consumers are not able to provide law enforcement officers with ample evidence that the identity thieves incurred the charges, rather than themselves.

To protect your identity do the following:

  • Safely dispose of all items that may contain personal information using a shredder or at least tear into several pieces.
  • Disclose your Social Security number only when absolutely required. Try to use alternative numbers whenever possible.
  • Limit the number of credit cards you carry with you. If you lose a credit card, notify the creditor immediately and ask that a "fraud alert" be placed on your file.
  • When you dispose of mailings such as "pre-approved" credit card offers, tear or shred those mailings before putting them in the trash. The same goes for advance loan checks from credit card companies.
  • Pay attention to credit card billing cycles. If bills do not arrive on time, your monthly statements may have been stolen by thieves.

For more information on keeping your records private, call our office at 845-2811, and ask for the publications entitled "Do You Know Where Your Social Security Number is Right Now?", "How Private is Your Ride on the Internet", and "Do Your Medical Records Really Belong to You?



Here are some tips from our U.K. Extension Family Resource Management Specialists designed to help you recognize a good deal from a bad one.


You may want to think twice before getting a paycheck loan, even though it's a pretty easy procedure. Usually, all you need to do is take in a pay stub or other proof of employment, have a local checking account, and a valid picture ID.

For a $100 loan, you just write the check cashing company a printed, personal check for $120, post-dated two weeks from the present date. First time customers often receive a $5 discount. You can walk out in a few minutes with $100 in cash.

Put a pencil to it and you might think again. Consider the $100 loan as it truly is. To pay $15 interest for two weeks means you really pay an annual interest rate of 390 percent!

Before using one of these services, consider delaying your purchase or alternate sources for loans. Is there a credit union at your place of employment? Joining one and getting a loan through a credit union can often save you money. Likewise, many times consumers qualify for a loan from a bank or savings institution but do not realize it. Interest rates are much lower through this type of facility.

Some banks offer an overdraft line of credit along with their checking accounts. This feature, usually provided for a low monthly fee, actually is a loan that protects you from overdrawing your account and allows you to pay back at a predetermined rate of interest and payment schedule.


Every year hundreds of people fall prey to credit repair scams in the State of Kentucky, according to Jodie Bernstein, Director of Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection. He says, "the schemes often target consumers who are unemployed, divorced, or have medical bills-people who are vulnerable and susceptible to scams."

A recently passed law now bans deceptive claims made by credit repair organizations. One feature of the law prohibits these organizations from collecting any fees before completing the services promised. These services have to be spelled out in a written contract explaining all the terms and conditions of payment, including any guarantees as well as deadlines to complete services promised.

Consumers also have a 3 day cooling-off period to cancel the contract if they decide not to use the credit repair service. By contacting the credit reporting agency directly, consumers can correct any mistakes themselves, and do not need to use credit repair companies.

For more information, contact the Federal Trade Commission for a free publication detailing the law. This publication can also be obtained on FTC web page under publications.


"The company guaranteed I would get the loan if I paid $250 processing fee. I never got the loan and they won't refund my $250."

Advance-fee loan scam artists advertise or may call you saying that they will be able to get or arrange a loan for you, regardless of your credit history. Legitimate lenders rarely guarantee a loan or extension of credit before evaluating a consumer's creditworthiness. Legitimate lenders may require you to pay application, appraisal, or credit report fees for a home equity or mortgage loan, but rarely for other types of loans.

Advertisements that promise loans generally appear in the classified section of newspapers and magazines. Often, the ads feature "900" telephone numbers, which result in charges on your phone bill. Advance-fee loan scams also are promoted through direct mail and radio and cable TV spots. The appearance of an ad in recognized media outlets, such as your local paper or radio station, does not guarantee the legitimacy of the company behind the ad.

You can avoid advance-fee loan sharks by ignoring any advertisement or any caller that guarantees a loan in exchange for an advance fee. Never give your credit card or bank account numbers, or Social Security number on the telephone unless you are familiar with the company.



Several diets that are currently very popular are based on a high protein, low carbohydrate content that is promoted as affecting fat metabolism in the body. We do not generally recommend these diets to anyone.

Why are these diets popular? Well media hype is one reason, you will notice that most of these diets are being promoted to sell books or products. And many dieters have become bored with the low fat message. Like all diets, these high protein diets will work for some, unfortunately it is usually a quick but temporary weight loss. When most people "go on a diet to lose weight", they pay more attention to what they eat and drink. They often start to exercise more. And, then they lose weight. The National Heart Blood and Lung Institute's new guidelines for treatment of overweight provides scientific proof that moderate restriction of calories will lead to weight loss.

So, people starting one of these diets will likely lose weight. People who lose weight want to tell everyone. Their friends ask them how. Word of mouth along with marketing makes these plans popular. There are many people who have not lost weight on these diets, or who lost weight but later gained more back, but they are usually not talking.

These high protein diets are low in carbohydrate (and by default, fairly high fat, about 60% of its calories from fat).

What is the Theory behind the high protein diet:

  • Although some of these plans suggest you can eat all you want, the person going "on a diet" almost always cuts back the number of calories they eat or drink. Cutting back 500 calories each day from food and drink will lead to about 1 pound of weight loss per week. It does not matter if these calories comes from fat, carbohydrate or protein. Psychology is at work.
  • At first, on a high protein/low carbohydrate diet water is released from tissues. The body is using the little bit of carbohydrate it has stored as glycogen. After the glycogen is gone, the body starts burning its protein stores or muscle. When your body uses up its glycogen stores and is not being replenished (by eating carbohydrate), water is released from the cells which hold 3-4 parts water to 1 part glycogen. That results in 2-4 pounds lost but it is water not fat.
  • A body deprived of carbohydrate acts as if it is starving; and some lean body tissue is lost. The theory is that if your body doesn't have a carbohydrate source readily available, it will turn to stored fat for the energy it needs. A high fat diet causes "ketosis" (a state where the liver starts converting fat into ketones for fuel). This suppresses hunger and reduces calorie intake. Presumably ketones are burned inefficiently and therefore waste calories. Remember that carbohydrate is the main fuel for the brain. Ketones are flushed out in the urine and through the lungs. A person in ketosis has the fruity smell of acetone.
  • Most dieters on high protein/low carbohydrate diets will experience constipation, nausea, weakness, dehydration, fatigue, vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Who should not follow these diets:

  • People whose work or lives demands mental alertness and concentration (e.g., pilots, students).
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding generally should not be on any type of weight restriction diets.
  • Children, even overweight children, should not "diet". Children should increase their physical activity and follow the dietary guidelines found in the Food Guide Pyramid.
  • People with diseases like diabetes and kidney disease can both positively and negatively affect their health by the combinations of protein, fat and carbohydrates in their diet. Without talking with their physician and a registered dietitian, first, they should not change their diet prescription.
  • People with history of gout might have an attack on a high protein/low carbohydrate diet
  • All people at risk for osteoporosis.


If it works, why shouldn't I follow it?

  • The results are temporary unless you make changes when you return to eating carbohydrate. As your cells rehydrate the weight comes back.
  • These diet plans are not health promoting for the long run. They lack the dietary fiber, phytochemicals and many vitamins and minerals known to reduce your risks of colon, breast and prostate cancer, boost the immune system, strengthen bones. These diets contain high amounts of saturated fat, which promote heart disease.

So what do we recommend that you do to lose those extra pounds?

Lots of scientific evidence shows that people who are successful at maintaining a health-promoting weight do the following:

  • Follow the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and the plan outlined in the Food Guide Pyramid. If you don't have these valuable tools, give us a call at the Extension Office (845-2811), stop by the health department ask your doctor or registered dietitian or visit the site on the World Wide Web.
  • Have a positive self-image
  • Be active and move almost every day of the week for at least 30 minutes.
  • Plan ahead for calorie-compromising situations like travel, parties, vacations or other high risk situations,
  • Monitor your food and beverage intake and your weight on an ongoing basis not just as a New Year's Resolution
  • Get support and education as needed from their physician or registered dietitian.



One of the "hottest" fashion items this winter is chenille. There are scarves, sweaters, gloves, hats, jackets and many other apparel items made with chenille yarn this season. And, just what is chenille?

It has been defined by the International Fabricare Institute as "a fuzzy pile yarn that resembles a pipe cleaner commonly found in rugs, bedspreads, and bathroom accessories but is also used in sweaters, blouses, and dresses."

If you or a family member happens to have been remembered by ole Santa or one of his working elves this holiday season with a chenille item, you're going to need to know how to care for it. Small items of apparel are exempt from care labeling, and thus, may not give you a clue as to how to handle.

Here are some timely tips:

Warm, fuzzy bathrobes-almost everyone loves them! Some of the most colorful and comfortable are made of chenille. In fact the word "chenille" is French for caterpillar. Chenille yarns are used in both woven and knit constructions and are popular for use in both apparel and home furnishings.

On loosely woven or knitted constructions, the yarns tend to snag and pull out easily. Normal rubbing and friction on the fabric will initiate the condition. The necessary agitation or cleaning will further aggravate the condition.

For chenille articles that are labeled as washable, it is safer to hand wash, even it the articles are labeled machine washable. Machine   washing even on gentle cycle, can cause excessive fabric damage. Hand washing reduces the degree of mechanical action, which reduces the likelihood of snagging the fabric distortion.

If you choose to machine wash, use the delicate cycle. Laying the articles flat to dry will reduce the possibility of fabric damage.

Once the articles are nearly dry, it may be necessary to place the articles in a net bag and tumble dry. This will help restore the loft or fluffiness of the fabric and/or yarns.

Snagging and fabric distortion cannot be entirely prevented in wear or cleaning, but taking some precautions in clean can help reduce or eliminate problems.



Raising children is a tough job today and single parents may find it especially challenging. Play can be a wonderful tool for single parents to use for building strong, healthy relationships with their children. When you play with your children, you are putting yourself into their world. Children like to having their parents there!

Play has been described as a child's work. It is an essential part of his or her overall development. It is as important to a young child as your job is to you. Play gives children a fun way to learn skills that will prepare them for adulthood.

Play also motivates children and teaches cooperation and trust. It builds a child's self-esteem, sense of independence, and self-sufficiency. It gives children the chance to get to know themselves, their world, and people around them. Even as children grow into the teenage years and beyond, play continues to be important.

There are many delightful ways to play with your children. Here are some idea-starters:

  • Play board games. They're fun and also a good way to teach children how to pay attention and take turns. Board games can also teach children that winning and losing aren't the most important things in life. They show that how you play and how much you enjoy yourself are much more important.
  • If you have more than one child, chances are they do not all like to play the same games. Allow each child to take a turn picking what you will play as a family. Even older brothers and sisters can enjoy some of the games that younger kids like to play. Encourage siblings to participate in and take interest in what each other is doing.
  • Here's another idea for helping young children play together: Put suggested activities in a hat and draw one out. Everyone participates--no grumbling.
  • Turn housework into play. Take the time to share chores with your children by making a game out of it. Washing dishes in lots of detergent bubbles can be loads of fun. Your children will enjoy this activity and get in on the working fun.
  • Find out what your child likes to play and participate with him or her. Encourage outdoor or physical activity. If your children are older, why not join them in a game of tennis, volleyball or basketball?
  • Try to limit the amount of time you play video games if this is the type of play your child requests. Encourage your child to develop other interests as well. Variety is important.
  • Set aside an hour or two each week for family play time. This type of activity will open up the lines of communication between you and your children. Let the kids lead the play time. It will build their leadership skills. It also gives them a chance to feel like they are in charge for a change.
  • Make one night a "no-TV" night. Don't even turn it on. Use the time to play games of hide-and-seek, charades, Pictionary™ , or put on your own production by acting out a skit or drama. Chances are it will be much more entertaining than that rerun you would have watched on TV.
  • Make up stories with your children. Create imaginary characters.

Follow your child's lead. You never know where your story might take you.

Maybe you don't think you have time to play with your children, or perhaps you feel too tired to play with them. Very young children can wear you out quickly with their high energy and activity. One parent said he even got tired just watching his daughter play.

However, before you decide you cannot play with your child, think about how important the play time is to your child's growth and development. Consider the valuable communication that you and your child will share during this time together. Then remember how relaxed you feel when you play. Let the child within you come out and play with the child in your home.



Although most Americans are aware that physical activity is an important aspect of overall fitness and health, many of us do not incorporate this knowledge into our lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 60% of U.S. adults do not include enough activity in their leisure time to produce health benefits. Twenty-five percent aren't active at all. Not surprisingly, CDC data also indicates that as we age we tend to decrease activity levels. But even the young are sluggish; data on youth indicates at least one-half of 12-21 year-olds do not have regular physical activity.

When we reflect on our lifestyles, it's easy to see that many of our most common "activities" really are sedentary; two examples are watching television and using computers.


Increased physical activity can decrease our risk for several diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. Other benefits of increased physical activity, even in small increments, include:

  • helps in weight loss;
  • can improve joint mobility;
  • strengthens bones;
  • tones muscles;
  • promotes self-confidence;
  • promotes a feeling of well-being;
  • helps promote sound sleep;
  • speeds up wound healing;
  • increases body leanness; and
  • helps regulate appetite.


Ideally, we should include about 30 minutes or more daily of physical activity such as walking, biking, or swimming. But it doesn't have to be all at once. Studies have shown that activity does not have to be in one continuous time period to be beneficial. Exercising several times a day of shorter duration (ten minutes or less) can provide many of the benefits of activity sustained over a longer time period. And many folks can stick to an intermittent schedule better.

Walking is an activity which can be done this way. To begin:

  1. Try walking five minutes three days a week.
  2. Then increase to 5 minutes five days a week.
  3. Next increase in small steps, such as 5 minutes twice a day.
  4. Later you can increase to longer periods 3 or 4 times a day or all at once.

Other walking tips:

  • Walk up and down the stairs in your school or work area at least once a day instead of taking the elevator;
  • walk a pet -- don't just watch it walk;
  • if you need a place to walk in-doors why not call the Community Life Center in Eminence at 845-2135.


For instance:

  • Start now growing some garden vegetables or flowers from seeds or start bulbs for use later in an outdoor garden project;
  • Give a gift of labor. For a friend's birthday, donate your time to paint a room or to help an older person clean a garage.


  • Get a workout friend -- Having a walking partner who reminds you it's time to go can be a help. Check around your neighborhood for folks who might want to join you.
  • Check out "virtual fitness." Health Magazine, January/February1999, gives tips for finding fitness support groups or partners by E-mail. These range from buddies to give you encouragement to groups which stage contests; others offer plans where you provide information about your workout program and get help on calories expended. One example is a site where you can choose one of three characters to encourage you to increase physical activity -- a gentle Mom, cheerleader, or coach who is tough.


Even non-exercise activity can help according to a Mayo Clinic report in a January, 1999 issue of the journal Science. A study was conducted with 16 normal weight young adults who for eight weeks daily were given 1,000 more calories than needed to maintain their weight. At the end of the study results showed that each participant gained weight -- but there was a wide range from 3 to 16 pounds. Since exercise levels were not changed during the study, the conclusion was reached that those who gained the least amount of weight had expended energy in increased non-exercise type physical activities, like fidgeting or squirming in their seats.

Other researchers have agreed that small changes in non-exercise activities can make a big difference. For instance, getting up to change channels on the television can add up to calorie expenditure over a period of time.

BOTTOM LINE: Take an ACTIVE role in pursuing good health with nutrition and physical fitness.



All of us know that unhealthy eating is one factor leading to chronic diseases such as heart disease and some cancers in the U.S. We also know that cutting down on fat intake and increasing our dietary fiber can be important components of a healthier diet. But it can be confusing to wrestle with guidelines like "cutting back to no more than 30% of calories from fat each day" or to "include 25 grams or more of fiber a day in our diets."

Taking small steps can be a beginning that may lead to more permanent habits, resulting in better health.

Here are some easy tips:

  • skip second helpings;
  • eat breakfast (you won't be tempted to eat fatty snacks before lunch);
  • enjoy some foods you like;
  • bank some calories (if going out for a big dinner, skimp on the noon meal);
  • do not have lists of "bad" foods; just eat them in small quantities;
  • eat small meals several times a day instead of 2 or 3 large ones;
  • eat nutrient-dense foods (those that give you more nutrients with fewer calories such as grain foods, vegetables and fruits);
  • eat a variety of foods; and
  • try new foods.

Nutrition goals can be more difficult to reach when eating out. Try these tips at fast food restaurants. Instead of:

  • ordering juice, take a whole fruit such as tangelo, orange, tangerine, apple.
  • ordering fries, eat raw cut vegetables brought from home.
  • a fried pie at the burger place, munch on a low-fat granola bar from home.
  • "upsizing" to "biggie" or jumbo portions, downsize to small or junior portions

When eating out anywhere, instead of:

  • eating every bite, leave some food on the plate.
  • having a whole dessert, split one with someone.
  • having pie or cake, order a flavored beverage (coffee, tea, etc.) for a sweet ending.
  • being tempted, plan ahead by studying menus of places you frequent and learn what's lower in fat. It is estimated that 75% of restaurants now offer foods lower in fat and/or calories than their regular menu items.
  • having full-size portions, order a luncheon portion at dinner time.


Think in terms of smaller portions. To visualize portions, use these tips from the American Dietetic Association on choosing meat dishes. Visualize:

  • one ounce meat as a matchbox
  • 3 ounces meat as a deck of cards or bar of soap
  • 8 ounces meat as a thin paperback book

Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want a burger that's a pound?
  • Do I really want an 8 or 10-ounce steak? Or could I get full on 3 ounces? Or, how about ordering a 10-ounce steak and sharing or taking leftovers home for another meal?

Some of these tips apply when eating from vending machines too. Take some time to check out the best choices -- don't wait until you are ravenous and will eat anything available.

Remember, taking small steps is a smart start to reaching your nutrition goals!



Our guest speaker at RSVIP was Trooper John Bradley of the Kentucky State Police post in LaGrange spoke on telemarketing fraud. There are over 140,000 telemarketing firms operating in the U.S. Up to 10 percent, or 14,000 of these firms may be fraudulent, and the FBI says consumers lose an estimated $40 billion each year to criminal telemarketers. AARP did a study and found that 56 percent of the telemarketing fraud victims were 50 years of age or older. Federal law enforcement officials report that one name on an active criminal telemarketer's "hit" list (often called a "Mooch" list) can be worth more than $200 on the black market.

It is important that you learn the signs that indicate that you may be on a criminal's "hit" list. For example do you get phone calls from people who solicit charity donations, offer fantastic prizes, and no-risk investments, all with a fee that needs to be paid immediately. Do they ask for you to courier money or give a credit card number in order to claim a prize. Do you receive unsolicited phone calls from people who seem to know a lot about you and are interested in helping you win the big prize, or get rich from a no-risk investment. Or mail solicitations promising big prizes, wonderful vacations, and no-risk investments, and all they want is for you to pay the tax, bond fees, or delivery charges.

Criminal lines that will drain your wallet include the following:

  • "You are the guaranteed winner of one of three valuable prizes...all you need to do is pay a fee."
  • "You have won a fantastic prize...and all you do is buy our vitamins."
  • "Donate to charity and win a spectacular vacation."
  • "Magazines at fantastic, low prices...I can process you now if you give me your bank account number."
  • "We'll help you get back money scammed from you...all we need is a small fee to cover the costs."
  • "Invest in a no-risk investment opportunity of a lifetime...but you need to do it today. I'll send a courier to pick up your money."

Telemarketing fraud is a crime. It violates federal and state laws and regulations. The Federal Trade Commission regulations require the following:

  • In the beginning of a call, the caller must identify the company's name and, if it's a sales call, what is being sold.
  • If a prize is offered, you have to be told immediately that no purchase or payment is necessary to win.
  • You must not be asked to pay in advance for services. Pay for services only after they are actually delivered.
  • You must not be called before eight in the morning and after nine in the evening, your local time.
  • You must not be called repeatedly or be intimidated by the caller.
  • You must be told the costs and restrictions before you pay for products or services.

If you think you have been the victim of a telemarketing fraud call the Attorney Generals Office at 502-573-2200 or the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060



Agricultural biotechnology is a growing science that is drawing much national and international attention from industries and consumers alike . With so much, sometimes contradictory, information coming from so many sources, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture saw a need to present science-based information regarding discoveries and use of agricultural biotechnology.

The announcement of a major new initiative to address this need was made at the June 5 groundbreaking for UK's new Plant Sciences Research Building in Lexington.

"The College recently established the Kentucky Biotechnology Research and Education Initiative," Associate Dean for Research at the UK College of Agriculture, Scott Smith, said. "Their charge is to assess the impact of biotechnology on Kentucky agriculture and to provide the public with much-needed and unbiased information about crop and agricultural biotechnology."

"Biotechnology is not new to the college of agriculture," Ric Bessin, Extension entomology specialist, said. "In fact, our college has been a leader in research and instruction in biotechnology and plant sciences. At the same time, biotechnology is not new to Kentucky farmers either; farmers are embracing this technology."

"When we surveyed Kentucky consumers last year, we found their number one concern was food safety and the pesticides used on foods," Bessin said.

The new initiative will develop information sources and educational programs needed by the public to make rational choices about biotech products.

Biotechnology has many positive examples of success. For one, it can help clean up weedy fields. Corn growers in a late planting season are likely to see yield loss from late-season insect pests, but now they have BT corn to prevent that. Vegetable growers now have access to virus-resistant squash, which allows them to be competitive in markets year-round.

Bessin said the bottom line is that Kentucky farmers are adopting biotechnology for two reasons.

"First, biotechnology works; it does what it's supposed to do," he said. "Second, it's economical. It's reducing input costs and preventing yield losses from pests."

While improved pest resistance is the most common application of crop biotechnology at this time, UK scientists see broader benefits. The Tobacco Health and Research Institute and the UK College of Agriculture are using biotechnology to develop new uses for tobacco and other plants. In these new farming systems, tobacco or other crops would produce enzymes, pharmaceuticals, polymers and other materials.

Upon completion, the new Plant Sciences Building on the UK campus will serve, in part, as a research facility for biotechnology.

Smith said agricultural plant sciences recently was designated by UK as Tier One, making it one of a limited number of programs classified as distinguished and nationally competitive.

"The progress, in bricks and mortar, we are making here will undoubtedly allow the growth and preserve the competitive position of these outstanding programs," Smith said. "Kentucky agriculture needs innovative research, development and technology more than ever before."

A web site detailing these goals and challenges was launched this week to share information on agricultural biotechnology. The address is

The BREI (Biotechnology Research and Education Initiative) website will explain the initiative; answer some common questions about biotechnology and agriculture, address issues about food and farm impact; post current research/scientific information regarding biotechnology; and provide links to reference materials. I am serving on the committee to represent consumer concerns so if you have any concerns or questions please give me a call.


Do you know all that you should know about THE FLU?

Many of us have been watching, and aware that the flu this year could be a serious problem.  Following, is a list of websites with good information for you:



When Disaster Strikes

Extension Disaster Education Network

Your family members may be in different areas when disaster strikes, so planning how to communicate before a potential disaster helps. Explore ways you might contact one another and review what you will do in different situations, Use the following check list to develop a family communications plan for disasters.

  • Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for a disaster and know the best way to communicate with each other if separated

  • Talk with your family about how to respond to potential emergencies that could take place in your area.  First, find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area.  Be aware of how to get emergency information, and be ready to adjust your plans according to officials'  instructions. One common method is to broadcast via emergency radio and TV. You might hear a special  siren, or get a telephone call, or emergency workers may go door-to-door.

  • Plan how your household would stay in contact if you were separated. Identify two meeting places:

  • Near your home - in case of fire, perhaps a tree or telephone pole that are at a safe distance.

  • Away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.

  • Ask a friend or relative who lives outside of your area (preferably out of state) to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-state contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. And if you know exactly who to call, fewer telephone lines will be tied up while you search for more information.

  • Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.

  • You may have trouble getting through, or the telephone system may be down
    altogether, but be patient.

  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).

  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.

  • Check with your family members every six months and update contact information if necessary.

  • You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.

  • If you would like a family communications plan worksheet,-please visit DHS' Web site and download the prepared worksheet at

Information gathered from:
The American Red Cross' Family Disaster Planning (,1082,0_601_,OO.htm!) The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Are Your Ready? ( The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (


How to Opt Out-write a request letter to: Tired of all that junk advertising mail? The Direct Marketing Association maintains a database of consumers who prefer not to receive advertising mail and/or telephone solicitations. Once you write to them, you’ll remain on their list for 5 years. Be aware that opting out will not eliminate solicitations from local merchants, religious and charitable organizations, professional and alumni associations, political candidates, and some other types of solicitations:

MAIL Preference Service,
Direct Marketing Association,
PO Box 9008,
Farmingdale, NY 11735


Roadside Help- There is a free roadside service for highways, parkways, and interstates in Kentucky. This is funded by your taxes. They will change your tire, help with battery, or anything needed for an emergency. They do not want any money at all, not even a tip! Keep this number in your car and you can phone them if you need help. I saw a lady with a flat tire and called the other day on I-64 between Shelbyville and Frankfort and the dispatcher said they were on their way already-someone else had already called for help! 1-877-367-5982.


Tap And Bottled Water, Both Have Benefits
Source: Sandra Bastin, Foods & Nutrition Extension Specialist

Water is a vital part of our lives; so it’s no surprise that it is also a big business. The big debate is whether tap or bottled water is better for you. The short answer is each has benefits.

However, sales of bottled water have tripled over the last 10 years. Some believe this is due to marketing ploys; it’s hard to tell if it really is better for you than just plain tap water. In fact, 25 percent of bottled water is taken directly from the same reservoirs where we get our tap water.

There are three different kinds of bottled water: natural mineral water, spring water, and purified water, each having different characteristics. Natural mineral water is drawn from water tables underground and has healthy minerals in it. Spring water is similar to mineral water but does not have the constant mineral composition. Purified water is taken from lakes, rivers, or underground springs and has been treated to rid it of minerals and contaminants, which makes it almost identical to tap water. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration is considering placing more restrictions on bottled water.

If you purchase bottled water there are several things you can do to help the environment. Cut down on the amount of plastic in landfills by saving and refilling your bottles, but be sure to wash and rinse your bottles between each use. After you are finished with the bottles, recycle them. Recycling eliminates landfill waste and the plastic can be used to make a variety of byproducts, including clothing.

When purchasing bottled spring water, look on the label and choose the one whose source is located closest to you. The farther away the source of water, the more non-renewable fuel was used to transport it. This not only increases our dependency on oil, but also pollutes our environment. Some brands of spring water bottled in or near Kentucky include Highbridge Spring Water, English Mountain Spring Water, Appalachian Springs and Sparkles Bottled Water.

Every person has a right to safe, good-tasting water from the tap. If we choose to buy bottled water, we deserve assurances that it too is safe. In addition, whether our water comes from a tap or a bottle, we have a right to know what's in it.



Going Green Exclusive

Thinking of going green? In today's society "green" is used to describe everything from products to communities to blogs. But what does "green" really mean? "Green" equates environmental responsibility. Routine decisions such as which household cleaner to purchase or when to water the garden can affect our global community. Understanding how these daily choices can impact our environment is key to conserving and preserving our natural resources, and ensuring a healthy environment for present and future generations.

Preserving our Earth and Protecting our natural resources. These are huge undertakings. Can the average person make a difference? The answer is YES! You can make a difference!

Consider the tips below. Think about your daily routine. Which of these suggestions pertain to you?

 Reduce waste. Purchase items that use less packaging. Buy items that you use frequently in bulk, and look for items that are sold in reusable or recycled containers.

 Reuse items. Use travel mugs versus disposable coffee cups, repair broken items whenever possible, and donate materials you no longer want to a local charity or church organization.

 Recycle items such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass jars, newspaper, junk mail, and cardboard. In Henry County you can take your recycling to the Henry County Road Department(845-5725) on Property Road or Pleasureville Recycling (878-0075) or for more information visit

 Walk, bike, or carpool to work or school when possible.

 Use reusable bags when shopping. Many stores offer discounts for bringing your own bag. According to approximately 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year.

 Think local. Did you know that, on average, produce in the U.S. travels 1300-2000 miles from farm to table? By buying fruits, vegetables, meats, and other products from local producers you can support local agriculture and conserve resources, such as energy. For information on local Kentucky producers and products visit and plan to visit our Henry County Farmers Market starting the end of April.

 Turn off lights and appliances when not in use to save energy.

 Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater to use on your lawn or garden.

 Compost kitchen scraps and yard waste. Use compost as an alternative to purchasing fertilizers.

 If you planned to be parked for longer than 10 seconds, turn off your engine. Vehicle idling wastes gas and money, and causes increased vehicle emissions.

By making a few small changes in your day-to-day activities you can do your part in caring for our Earth. For more information on going green contact your local Extension office or visit


Similarities Between Health and Finances

Are you experiencing either health or financial stresses? If you aren’t then you are one of the lucky ones. But did you know that there are many similarities between health and financial problems? Here is a listing that might get you thinking.

1. Problems Generally Start Small- An estimated 129.6 million Americans, or 64 percent, are overweight or obese but this didn’t happen overnight. Weight problems usually develop gradually, such as gaining 3 to 4 pounds a year due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, larger food portion sizes, and eating fast foods with added fat, sugar, and calories. Comparable financial examples are “perma-debt” (i.e., a permanent non-mortgage, non-vehicle debt balance) on credit cards and increasingly higher interest and/or fees as outstanding balances rise.

2. Less Stigma Than Before- With almost two-thirds of Americans having “weight issues” and well over one million bankruptcies filed annually for the last decade, both problems have gone “mainstream” and become more accepted, by society. When so many people have the same characteristics, it is hard to view them as something other than the expected standard.

3. Impacts Job Productivity and Discrimination- Overweight or unhealthy people often have a difficult time getting hired and some have difficulty performing the duties associated with their position. Personal finance problems also affects job productivity. One widely quoted study estimated that 15% of workers have financial problems that negatively impact their job productivity.

4. Lots of Technical Jargon- A recent survey found that nearly half of American adults have higher risks of health problems due to trouble understanding medical terms and directions. Likewise, comprehending investing terms is a challenge for many people. Worse yet, both health and personal finance information often contains contradictory “expert” opinions or research results, making it very difficult for us to interpret and utilize it.

5. Need For Programs at Schools and Work Sites- Much has been written about poor school lunch choices and children’s lack of adequate exercise as physical education programs have been cut. There are many youth financial illiteracy problems and many continue to fail basic financial literacy tests. Just as children can be reached with school health and personal finance programs, employer-sponsored programs can enhance adults’ knowledge and prompt behavioral changes. Examples include a company gym or exercise programs, healthy vending machine or cafeteria options, health screenings, seminars on company benefits, and tax-deferred retirement savings plans with employer matching.

6. Fear of Drastic Changes- Many people believe they must make major lifestyle changes to be healthy and wealthy. So, instead, they “freeze” and do nothing. But consumers don’t need to go to extremes—such as joining a gym or taking part in the latest diet plan—to make improvements in their health. But they do need to get active and eat healthier. Similarly, some people fear never having “enough” money saved for retirement because they’ve seen gloomy reports about unprepared retirees needing seven-figure sums. The take-home message we need is that small, positive changes make a difference and that any positive change (e.g., saving 50 cents a day or walking for 10 minutes) is better than none.

Next week we will share six other similarities between “health and wealth” problems! If you would like to obtain a free copy of “Small Steps to Health and Wealth” an Extension Book that provides you with 25 tried and true steps to improving your personal health and personal finance give us a call at 845-2811 (we have a limited number of copies available).



More Similarities Between Health and Wealth:

Last week we discussed six similarities that experts have noticed between the health and wealth problems that we face. This week we will share another six similarities designed to get you to thinking about ways that you might improve both your health and your wealth. And don’t forget my offer-I have several free copies of the textbook, “Small Steps to Health and Wealth” that will provide you will twenty five strategies designed to assist you in making small changes with big impact!

Need for “Point of Purchase” Information- Unlabeled food items, like restaurant meals, are a challenge for people trying to eat healiter. There is no nutrition label to look up calories, fat content, etc., making it difficult to tell a 300-calorie sandwich from one with 800 calories. A helpful control strategy is carrying around a “Calorie Counter” pocket book that lists the calorie content of foods to provide at least a rough estimate of the calories consumed (we also have several free restaurant calorie guides-call or stop by). A financial example of needed “point of purchase” information is a proposed “warning label” for credit cards, akin to cigarette warning labels, that would indicate the time and interest cost of a credit card balance where only minimum monthly payments are made.

Need For Realistic Advice- A recent Wall Street Journal article questioned whether government nutrition guidelines are out of touch with the way Americans actually eat. Specifically, it asked whether most American households are able to consume the amount of seafood recommended by nutritional guidelines due to time and money constraints. This same type of “reality test” also needs to be given to “ideal” financial advice (e.g., saving 10% of gross income) that is widely ignored because it is unrealistic. It may be far better to recommend a smaller amount of savings (3% to 5% of gross income with gradual increases in savings as pay rises) than an amount that is intimidating to, or beyond the reach of, so many.

Lack of Limits Causes Problems- Studies have shown that, when people are served more food, they eat more. Upgrading to larger serving sizes (a.k.a., “super-sizing”) often increases food prices modestly but substantially increases calorie and fat content. Although it seems hard to believe many consumers fail to realize that size matters in calories! Many people seem to view a soft drink as a soft drink, no matter how big it is. When I explain that a 64-ounce soft drink container could provide as much as 800 kcal, audiences gasp.” A comparable financial example is consumers who are extended a higher credit line on a credit card. Some charge more than they did before just because they can. Lack of understanding about the long-term cost of credit is also widespread. For years, creditors required credit card users to pay at least 4% of their balances each month. Today, many have lowered the minimum monthly payment to just 2%. On an $8,000 credit card balance with an 18% interest rate, it will take 647 months (more than 50 years!) to pay off the debt with a total interest cost of $22,931.

Restrictions Help Avoid Problems- Some people find it helpful to lose weight by eating portion-controlled foods (e.g., convenience food entrees and nutritional diet drinks) that contain nutrition labels and calorie counts. A buffet meal, on the other hand, with no portion controls or point-of-use caloric information, can make weight loss very difficult. An example of a financial restriction is a fixed rate loan with a defined balance and regular monthly payments instead of an open-ended home equity credit line or credit card balances. Two other common financial restriction strategies are having tax-deferred retirement plan savings automatically deducted from pay, before it can be spent, and automated deposits for investments such as stock and mutual funds.

Drastic Solutions Have Major Drawbacks- There is no easy way to lose weight, accumulate wealth, or dig yourself out of debt. Rather, it generally takes discipline, perseverance, and time. Liposuction and gastric bypass surgery can reduce weight quickly, and several high profile cases have made them seem easy, but there are all the risks associated with any major surgical procedure, including death. Bankruptcy calls off a person’s creditors, the downside, however, is that a bankruptcy filing will also stay in a person’s credit file for up to 10 years and debtors will either have to stay on a stringent budget for up to five years (Chapter 13) or liquidate some of their assets (Chapter 7).

Health and Wealth are Strongly Related- People “invest” in their health (e.g., a good diet and exercise) through healthy lifestyle choices, just like they invest in wealth-building assets such as stock or a college education. Good health is a form of human capital and has been identified as a major factor in the accumulation of household wealth. Healthy people are often more productive at work and more likely to get promoted and earn larger salaries than others. They also have fewer work absences and medical expenses that erode their wealth. In addition, the longer one lives, the longer the power of compound interest increases the value of their savings. Eliminating unhealthy behaviors can also result in huge financial windfalls (e.g., saving the money not spent on junk food or cigarettes).




BACK TO Family and Consumer Sciences

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