Archive for March, 2017

Eat better, live longer

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

With a study showing that 400,000 cardiovascular-disease deaths could be prevented each year with dietary changes, it’s time to consider adopting a healthier eating approach. Limiting unhealthy foods is a good start, but it’s also important to eat more healthful foods.

Find your exercise style

One of the biggest challenges to sticking with any fitness routine is finding the type of exercise you most enjoy doing, so you will look forward to your activity and stay motivated. Think about activities that appeal to you, and consider their pros and cons.

Our planet, ourselves: Climate change and health

Climate change is not merely relevant to human healthcare issue, but in fact, directly affects them. Air pollution, drought, famine and flood are just a few things caused by climate change that have an immediate impact on the health of people all over the world. Though it is an incredibly broad and global issue, individual efforts to reduce personal carbon footprints are important.

Why the AHCA would have been bad for children — and an unavoidable truth moving forward

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Regardless of whether the government eventually creates a suitable replacement for the Affordable Care Act, providing adequate health insurance to as many children as possible is crucial to healthy development. Regular health care can help ensure that nothing gets missed — like a high lead level, serious allergy, a smoldering infection, autism — because left unrecognized, the effects can be lifelong, or even deadly.

Long-term use of opioids may depend on the doctor who prescribes them

Scott Weiner, MD


With opioid addiction such a serious problem, new research indicates that some doctors are more likely to prescribe opioids to their patients than others, and those patients are more likely to end up taking these medications long term. That means it is crucial for consumers to educate themselves about the risks of taking opiates, and to consider alternative medications and treatments if possible.

Eating better: 3 keys to healthy grocery shopping

Dominic Wu, MD

Contributing Editor

Dr. Wu offers some advice on simple ways to navigate the grocery store to maximize shopping for a healthier diet. For example, fresher foods – produce and meats – tend to be found on the outer periphery of grocery stores. So start there and stock up on healthier items before moving toward the center of the building where more processed foods are kept.

5 habits that foster weight loss

The hardest part of weight loss is making healthy choices part of your daily routine without constantly feeling as if you’ve deprived yourself of something. We offer five proven strategies to help you shed pounds based on the experiences of people who have lost weight and kept it off.

Home remedies that may be worth a try

Beverly Merz

Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Sometimes a home remedy (one making use of inexpensive items already on hand or easy to obtain) can be as effective as a medical treatment, and far less costly. Because seemingly benign home remedies can have dangerous side effects you may want to check with your doctor to see if there are any risks involved.

Teen drug use is down: Better parenting, or more smartphones?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Data from an annual survey show that use of illicit drugs among teenagers is in decline, and has been for some time. It’s possible that this can be partially attributed to the popularity of smartphones.

Can you virtually improve your knee pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of people with osteoarthritis of the knee found that at the end of the study period, those participants who received more personalized attention via the web (including physical therapy sessions and information about pain management) had less pain and better movement function.