Thursday, April 3, 2008
Leadership 2008 mixes business, health matters
By SUE WATSON
Leadership Marshall 2008 heard about Mississippi and county economies and got a double dose of healthy lifestyles information during a March meeting.
In the morning module, Alan Barefield with Mississippi State University Extension provided data summarizing the national, state and county economic outlook to illustrate factors that affect job creation and tax revenues generated from 1998 to 2007.
He said the quality of education is the most important factor that drives job creation. Industry and business looks at education first before choosing a site. Thus, counties attract new business as they cluster into patterns. Northeast Mississippi and southeast Mississippi and some central counties are thriving better than others due to education and location, he said.
Judith Ward, nutritionist with Mississippi State Extension, talked about how the food pyramid has changed in 50 years. The United States Department of Agriculture presented the five basic food groups. She said the old pyramid did not provide specific information so nutritionists now use MyPyramid as a teaching device.
Exercise has been added to the pyramid as well as steps illustrating the how healthy food choices are made gradually.
Processed foods contain a higher caloric, salt and fat content than fresh or dried fruits, grains, vegetables, dairy, meats and beans.
Healthy choices means balancing the amount of the five food groups to ensure that essential minerals and vitamins are taken in daily.
Dr. Russell Mauk, graduate of Leadership Marshall 2007 and in chiropractic practice in Holly Springs, talked about stress management without addictive medication.
“Stress is literally killing America,” he said, citing statistics that 85 percent of all illnesses and diseases are caused by stress. “It’s a detriment to your health and $200 to $300 billion in losses each year to business is due to stress-related disorders.”
Symptoms of stress include fatigue, loss of hair and libido, insomnia, restless anxiety, irritability, mood swings, feelings of insecurity and impotence, he said.
Women and men cope with stress differently, he said.
Stress is associated with sadness, depression, withdrawal, overeating, decreased productivity, bad habits, job dissatisfaction, relationship difficulties and depression of the immune system, he said.
“Women under stress are at high risk of building up abdominal fat and fat on the hips,” he said. “Bad stress includes death of a loved one, being fired from a job and divorce.”
Stress is also categorized according to how it presents as an emotional stress, physical stress or chemical one.
Good stressors are those that are temporary, he said.
“At the most basic level, stress is equal to survival,” Mauk said.
But today’s humans do not run stress off like the caveman did.
Pent up stress contributes to allergies, skin problems, headaches, bad sleeping, bad digestion, heart attack and stroke.
“All number one killers are children of stress,” he said.
Addictions are attempts to relieve stress, Mauk said. Some strategies people use when under stress is to drink alcohol excessively, take legal and non-legal medicines, work too much, get into destructive relationships or to shut down.
“There is no magic bullet, no magic pill,” he said. “Everything has to be a new way of living.”
Mauk suggested taking vitamin supplements and eating healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables to counteract stressors.
Stretching and deep breathing are stress releavers.
“We all are shallow breathers,” he said. “Practice relaxing in a chair and reeducate yourself to breathe from the gut.”
Mauk demonstrated some simple stretching exercises people can use to reduce stress.
April is stress awareness month.
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