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WALLET WISDOM WEBINARS– The K-State Research and Extension family resource management team is launching a series of free webinars to help participants sharpen their financial skills. Three family resource management team members, Cindy Williams, Gary Fike and Monica Thayer discuss how this series can help people boost their money management skills. The webinars begin April 22nd and continue through May 27th. The session topics include: performing a financial checkup, emotions and money, spending plans, increasing savings, debt management, and all about credit.
IMPACT OF PANDEMIC ON KIDS– The coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone’s life over the past year. While there have been some benefits, such as working remotely and spending more time with family, there have also been many deficits. Since the pandemic began, K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says there have been a lot of disruptions, including things that are critical for children and their development. He says the emotional impact the pandemic has had on children is still being discovered and that its true effect probably won’t be known for years. However, Wiles expects we’ll need to have a more intentional focus on social and emotional development because that’s how we relate to one another.
ACHIEVING FINANCIAL GOALS– April is National Financial Literacy Month. According to K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss, (kish) establishing a budget and a plan to meet immediate, intermediate and long-term financial goals can help us gain better control of our finances.
BUILDING A HEALTHIER LIFE– Being physically active is one of the most important actions we can take to improve our health. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provides recommendations for all ages to help foster normal growth and development and make people feel better, function better, sleep better, and reduce the risk of a number of chronic diseases. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says those benefits are easier to achieve when we make physical activity and healthy eating a habit.
WALK KANSAS: MOVE YOUR WAY– Activity can be a big player in disease prevention. K-State Research and Extension family and consumer science specialist and the state coordinator of Extension’s Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, says it is also a big player in managing disease. This year’s Walk Kansas, which begins March 28th and runs through May 22nd, has added new features to focus even more on physical and mental health. Jackson discusses the benefits of participating in the eight-week program that encourages physical activity and healthy eating.
SOCIAL MEDIA DANGERS– The facts regarding social media use by children are sobering. According to the Kansas Attorney Generals’ Office, 2 in 5 teens say they tell their parents very little about what they do or where they go online. In addition, 1 in 5 say they have received a sexual solicitation online. After hearing a presentation by the director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Safe and Secure Schools Unit, John Calvert, two K-State Research and Extension agents in the Chisholm Trail District, Mirna Bonilla and Tristen Cope, asked him to discuss apps that parents should be aware of on their child’s phone and how the agency works to address the issue.
PERSONALIZE YOUR PLATE– The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizes National Nutrition Month each March to bring focus to healthy living. This year’s theme, Personalize Your Plate, encourages people to choose foods that are healthy and that appeal specifically to them. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans and this year’s theme fit nicely together. She also says it’s never too late to start making healthier food choices and improve quality of life.
SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS– The peak tornado season in Kansas runs from April to June with the state averaging 95 tornadoes per year. Kansas also experiences damaging winds, large hail, and both general and flash flooding during the spring and summer. Kansas State University assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp says now is the time to prepare a plan for what you’ll do when severe weather alerts are issued for your area.
DINING WITH DIABETES ONLINE– In Kansas, 9.4% of the adult population have been diagnosed with diabetes and it is the 7th leading cause of death. It is also costly. Those who have diabetes have medical expenses that are nearly two-and-a-half times higher than those who do not have the disease. K-State Research and Extension is launching an online course designed specifically for prediabetics, people with type 2 diabetes and their caregivers. Kansas State University professor and Extension specialist Gayle Price, program director for Dining with Diabetes, and Sedgwick County Extension nutrition, health and wellness agent, Sara Sawer, says this new, self-paced, online course provides the skills needed to promote good health.
MAKING A PLEDGE TO SAVE– According to the U.S. Financial Capability Survey, about 52% of Kansans have a rainy day fund that could cover expenses for three months. However, that leaves a lot of Kansans who need to set up an emergency fund or increase their existing fund. K-State Research and Extension resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says America Saves Week, February 22nd through the 26th, is an opportunity for everyone to do a “gut-check” on their finances and make a plan to achieve better financial stability. This includes daily themes on ways to save. She discusses the five themes, with an emphasis on the importance of saving automatically and saving for the unexpected.
PANDEMIC EATING HABITS– The International Food Information Council conducted a year-end survey to see what changes were made since consumers spent more time at home. 47% of the respondents said their eating habits stayed about the same, but 32% said their eating habits became healthier. Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee takes a closer look at the survey findings and how preparing and eating more meals at home creates opportunities and challenges.
RELATIONSHIPS AND HABITS– The weekly online series, Living Well Together, being offered by K-State Research and Extension agents, specialists and guest experts, continues in February and March. One topic for February focuses on how relationships grow better when we understand how everyone gives and receives love differently. Another looks at making active habits stick. We’ll take a deeper dive into each of those topics.
LIVING WELL TOGETHER– K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents and specialists in the northeast region are offering a weekly series of one-hour virtual programs covering a wide variety of topics designed to improve health and well-being. Northeast area family and consumer sciences specialist Sharolyn Jackson says the pandemic gives this series added importance.
RESOLUTIONS FOR OLDER ADULTS– Nearly 75% of the U.S. population – about 189 million people – are making resolutions for 2021. Research shows that as we age, we’re less likely to make resolutions. However, K-State Research and Extension specialist on aging, Erin Yelland, says older adults benefit from setting goals and making resolutions. She discusses some of the resolutions older adults might want to set for 2021.
PANDEMIC HEALTH BEHAVIOR – A global survey, conducted during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, confirms that people experienced dramatic changes in health behaviors, prompting them to consume more junk food and cut back on physical activity. In turn, this drove anxiety levels higher and disrupted sleep. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says the study provides a snapshot of how people reacted – positively and negatively – to changes in their normal routines.
2021 HEALTH OBJECTIVES– COVID-19 has been the primary health focus for much of 2020. However, the Healthy People 2030 Health Objectives – which sets national objectives to improve health and well-being over the next decade – contains more than 350 core or measurable objectives. As the Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor for Kansas State University and K-State Research and Extension, youth development specialist Elaine Johannes, is working to identify and address the health issues impacting Kansans.
SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH– Eating healthfully and exercising regularly is directly connected to aging well. But, those two factors alone aren’t enough. K-State Research and Extension aging specialist Erin Yelland says external factors, such as environment, geographic location, education, socio-economic status and others contribute to a person’s health as they grow older.
BUILDING RESILIENCE IS A PROCESS– The pandemic has presented an opportunity for those with young children to spend more time together. However, K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says it could be a wasted opportunity if that time isn’t used to strengthen their relationship and to help them build resilience – which he says is a process.
DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM– Kansas State University and the University of Kansas Medical Center are using a National Institutes of Health grant to determine if having K-State Research and Extension deliver a diabetes prevention program across Kansas is an effective way of getting information out to rural communities. K-State Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter, a trained coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, says the six-month pilot program will be launched in Lyon and Dickinson counties.
FINANCIAL RISK MANAGEMENT– With many people making decisions regarding health coverage for 2021 and conducting year-end reviews of existing insurance policies for homes and vehicles, this is a good time to think about ways to manage financial risk. K-State Research and Extension resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) discusses four risk management strategies that can impact us financially.
A DIFFERENT THANKSGIVING– Like many events since the pandemic began, Thanksgiving will be a little different this year. To help keep their friends, family and communities safe, many people are taking the CDC’s recommendation to limit in-person gatherings to people they live with or small group they’re in regular contact with. As a result, many Thanksgiving Day meals will feature a lot less food. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare and enjoy your favorite foods. All you need to do is downsize those favorite foods or make plans for how to use the leftovers.
ADDRESSING AGEISM– In its simplest form, aging can be defined as changes that happen to us as a result of time. Unfortunately, ageism – the prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of age – is a growing concern. As part of a three-day virtual conference between Kansas State, South Dakota State and North Dakota State University Research and Extension, three specialists in aging and gerontology talked about the consequences of ageism, implicit bias, and preparing Extension to better serve older adults.
THE “SEASON OF EATING” BEGINS– K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences specialist Sharolyn Jackson says Halloween marks the beginning of what some refer to as a food and party marathon that doesn’t end until after the Super Bowl in February. She says eating in moderation, being physically active and identifying the things you struggle with during the holiday season can help you maintain your current weight.
TOOLS FOR CAREGIVERS– The number of Americans providing unpaid care for family or friends continues to climb. According to a report by the Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, the number of family caregivers in the U.S. has increased from 43-point 5 million in 2015 to 53 million in 2020. K-State Research and Extension is offering an educational program to help caregivers improve their self-care behavior, manage their motions, bolster self-confidence and learn about community resources. Adult development and aging specialist for the Wild West Extension District, Nancy Honig, is a master trainer for the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program.
U.S. OBESITY RATES CLIMB– The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released obesity statistics for 49 states and two territories. Data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System shows Kansas is among 12 states that have topped 35 percent or greater in the prevalence of obesity in its population. Kansas was just below the 35% threshold last year. The health risks due to obesity include an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. It all begs the question: what can we do? K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says the quick first answer is if it were easy, we would have done a better job already, but there’s no simple solution.
PLANNING FOR THE HOLIDAYS– While it’s definitely too soon to start dragging out the Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, it’s not too soon to begin budgeting for end-of-the-year holidays. According to Gallup, U.S. consumers spend $175 per person for Thanksgiving – with 82% of that going for food, and more than one trillion dollars on holiday shopping. K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says the coronavirus pandemic makes this an especially important year to plan and budget for how you want to celebrate the upcoming holidays, including Halloween and New Year’s.
WINTER PREPAREDNESS– With leaves just beginning to fall from the trees, it may seem a little early to be talking about preparing for winter. However, there are several things we can do now to make sure our house and vehicle are ready for the cold, snow and ice arrive. Kansas State University assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp has a list of things we can tackle now to be prepared for the coming winter.
A NEED FOR CONNECTION– There’s no question that COVID-19 poses a serious health risk for those who test positive for the virus. However, we’re starting to see evidence that its health impact extends beyond the virus itself. Research shows that social isolation – especially among older adults and teenagers – is causing an increased level of stress, depression and anxiety. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland and Extension youth development specialist Elaine Johannes explain how these two age groups can help one another by finding creative ways to stay connected.
OLDER ADULT MEDICATION MANAGEMENT – As we get older, we may face more health conditions that require regular treatment and medication. As a result, we need to be playing an active role in our health care management. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland says it’s important for older adults to completely understand why they’re taking a medication, how to take it properly, the potential side effects and how to properly dispose of any outdated or unused medications.
FOOD SAFETY EDUCATION – September is Food Safety Education month. A Kansas State University food safety specialist says using basic, safe food handling practices can reduce opportunities for foodborne illness. Karen Blakeslee, who is also coordinator of the university’s Rapid Response Center, says there are four core principles we need to be aware of: clean, separate, cook and chill.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO LEARN– Children returning to school this fall will be learning in a variety of ways. One learning model is in-person classes with added safety measures, another involves a hybrid schedule where students attend in-person classes a few days a week and have remote classes the rest of the week, and another is strictly remote learning. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says one thing all these learning models have in common is that they pose a challenge for students and parents.
WHEN YOUR INCOME DROPS– The loss of income or a job can be a traumatic experience. Many people in the workforce have experienced – and continue to experience – this trauma due to the coronavirus. For some, it’s the first time they’ve had to seek help from family or community sources. K-State Research and Extension resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says Extension has a series of publications dealing with what to do when your income drops, including Using Community and Family Resources.
THE EFFECTS OF TOXIC STRESS– A landmark study found that more than three out of five youth in the U.S. will experience at least one adverse event during their childhood. K-State Research and Extension family and child development agent in the Frontier District, Rebecca McFarland, author of the Extension publication, Understanding the Impact of Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress, says family and community are among the important buffers for alleviating or preventing the effects of toxic stress.
COVID 19’s IMPACT ON EATING– Stories about eating habits changing because of the coronavirus have been common. Now, there’s data to back up some of those claims. The Hartman Group’s Eating Occasions Compass offers some key insights on COVID 19’s impact on eating – and a lot of them are positive. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter looks at some of the key findings from the report.
HOME FOOD PRESERVATION– Kansas gardeners are in the middle of canning season – which generally runs from June-October, with some carryover into the Christmas season. The goal is to extend the life of homegrown fruits and vegetables for later use – typically within one year. K-State Research and Extension food specialist Karen Blakeslee, coordinator of the university’s Rapid Response Center, says the freshness and quality of the produce being canned plays a major role in the quality of the final product.
IMPROVED NUTRITION LABELS– A refreshed design and updated information on the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and drinks will make it easier for consumers to make healthy, informed choices. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says consumers are the winners because the new labels allow them to control what they put into their bodies.
A TEEN SUPPORT SYSTEM– A National 4-H Council survey on the state of teen mental health found more than 70% of the 1,516 respondents said they’re struggling with their mental health. Kansas 4-H state leader Wade Weber and K-State Research and Extension youth development specialist Elaine Johannes think the survey can help parents, 4-H, and community partners provide a better support system for teens.
STATE OF TEEN MENTAL HEALTH– A survey commissioned by the National 4-H Council said more than 7 in 10 kids between the ages of 13 and 19 are struggling with mental health, and that they are feeling more pressured to hide their feelings, rather than talk to a supportive adult. K-State Research and Extension youth development specialist Elaine Johannes and Kansas 4-H state leader Wade Weber discuss the findings of the survey and how the findings can be used to help teens.
KEYS TO AGING IN PLACE– Studies show older adults overwhelmingly want to stay in their homes and live independently for as long as they can. However, home modifications may be necessary for them to safely age in place. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland likes to break the modifications into three categories: free, lower cost and higher cost.
RETIREMENT PLANNING – As the country begins to reawaken from the COVID-19 pandemic and more people return to work, it’s a good time to reassess financial priorities, including retirement strategies. If you made spending adjustments during the pandemic, K-State Research and Extension resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says those savings, if continued, can help you meet short-term goals, such as paying off debt or be shifted to long-term goals, like saving for retirement.
HEALTHIER SUMMER EATING– It’s common to eat lighter during the summer. One benefit of eating lighter is that we tend to eat healthier foods, especially low-cost, in-season fruits and vegetables. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says summer also provides an opportunity for parents to talk to children about nutrition, preparing healthy meals, and growing their own food.
CHILD-DIRECTED LEARNING– One of the most challenging school years is finally over, but the impact of closing schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic will probably be evident when classes resume this fall. As a result, K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says parents need to find ways to keep children engaged in learning this summer. Because of the learning fatigue of the past few months, he recommends putting away the text books and using what’s called child-directed learning.
COLLECTING WEATHER DATA– The Weather Data Library, part of Kansas State University’s Department of Agronomy and home to the Office of the State Climatologist and Kansas Mesonet, serves as a repository of information about the weather and climate of Kansas. Assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp (nap) explains how data is collected, how it can be accessed, and how volunteers provide a clearer picture of weather events occurring across the state.
OUTDOOR FOOD SAFETY– Restrictions on large gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rainy weather over the Memorial Day weekend may have reduced outdoor grilling but there’s still plenty of time to fire up the grills before winter arrives. Over the past few months, we’ve all become more aware of protecting our health and the health of others. K-State Research and Extension food safety specialist Karen Blakeslee says that’s also critically important when we prepare, cook, serve and store food.
CONTINUE HEALTHY HABITS– As we head into the third month of staying-at-home or working-from-home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthy lifestyle changes that have been made are now becoming a habit. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says there are a number of positive health and nutrition changes we should carry forward post-coronavirus.
AN UNUSUAL WALK KANSAS– Walk Kansas, an annual K-State Research and Extension health initiative, ended its 8 week challenge May 9th. Nearly 7,000 participants, on teams of 6, picked one of three challenges to complete. While the event was impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, state coordinator of Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, says they adjusted and were able to provide information and resources at a stressful time.
GETTING CREATIVE TO STAY OPEN– Even during normal times, residents in rural communities across Kansas often struggle to find a reliable and safe source of food nearby. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus which causes the disease COVID-19 has made that struggle greater. David Procter, the director of the Center for Engagement and Community Development at Kansas State University, has studied the importance of grocery stores to rural communities. He says they are often a barometer of the economy in small towns. In response to COVID-19, many rural grocery stores adjusted their operations. Procter says the changes may become permanent if sales increase and consumer demand remains strong.
BUILDING RESILIENCE– We all experience life’s ups and downs. According to the American Psychological Association, we generally adapt well over time to these life-changing and stressful situations. As the spread of COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives, it’s also enabling young people to build resilience. By adapting to life-changing situations, K-State Research and Extension youth development specialist Elaine Johannes says we can emerge stronger than before.
SUDDENLY IN CHARGE– As officials in the U.S. took steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus by closing non-essential businesses, colleges, schools and preschools, parents with young children were scrambling to find help. In some cases, older children were asked to look after their younger brothers and sisters. To help these teens and “tweens” better handle their new role as a caregiver, K-State Research and Extension has launched a new program called Suddenly in Charge. Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says the program offers basic safety elements and age-appropriate activities.
PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING– In addition to adjusting to social distancing and not being able to go to many of our favorite places, we’re also adjusting to spending more time at home – where the kitchen is just steps away. Couple that with working from home, home-schooling children, and dealing with a worldwide pandemic and you have a perfect storm for stress eating. As a result, people are reporting eating more of their favorite comfort foods – which are typically high in sugar, salt and calories. While we can’t change the stress, K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says we can control what we eat.
SUPPORTING YOUNG ADULTS– The safety measures implemented to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 have forced everyone to adjust how they live. More people are working from home, others have been furloughed or are now unemployed, and students are being home-schooled or taking classes online. While these changes are difficult for everyone, K-State Research and Extension youth development specialist Elaine Johannes says this might be an especially challenging time for emerging adults – those Gen Zers between the ages of 19 and 25. She says Caroline Miller, editorial director of the Child Mind Institute, has compiled six tips from doctors and psychologists for parenting teenagers and young adults that she finds helpful during this stressful time.
OLDER ADULTS AND COVID-19 – One way to lower the risk of older adults catching COVID-19 is to limit in-person visits. However, this can be difficult because they look forward to spending time with family and friends and often rely on others for care or running errands. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland says social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation or loneliness. She says we can use new and old technology to stay connected.
FACING COVID-19 TOGETHER– In one way or another, COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives. Many adults are now telecommuting, children have had school cancelled for the rest of the spring semester and parents and caregivers have become their new teachers. Many businesses are closed and we have to observe a safe social distance when we’re in public spaces. These changes can create stress and anxiety in both children and parents. As a result, parents need to talk to their children and explain what’s going on. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says it’s important to be honest about what’s happening and to use words children are familiar with – not technical or scientific terms or the latest jargon.
MENU PLANNING AND SHOPPING– One of the precautions for reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 includes social distancing. As a result, many people are spending less time in public places, such as grocery stores and restaurants. However, they still need to buy groceries and eat. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter discusses how to plan meals to reduce trips to the grocery store and how to purchase foods that offer flexibility in how they’re used.
ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT– K-State Research and Extension’s publication, Elder Abuse and Neglect: What You Should Know, describes the six common categories of elder abuse, warning signs of abuse, who’s at risk for abuse, who’s most likely to be an abuser, and how elder abuse can be prevented. Kansas State University assistant professor and Extension adult development and aging specialist, Erin Yelland, says no one is immune to elder abuse and that it occurs at a much higher rate than is being reported.
HELPING RURAL COMMUNITIES– Rural Kansas communities contribute greatly to the state’s economy and its identity. However, many smaller communities are struggling to thrive and survive. Researchers from 19 different states, including K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles, are part of a project to work with rural communities to improve their health and sustainability.
SEVERE WEATHER SEASON– Spring arrives March 19th, and with it comes an increased risk for severe weather, including thunderstorms, lightning, flash floods and tornadoes. In addition to causing widespread damage, these severe weather events can result in fatalities. Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp (nap) says the best protection is to have a severe weather plan, practice that plan, and immediately put it into action when a watch or warning is issued for our area.
BIG PICTURE OF HEALTH– Walk Kansas, an 8-week K-State Research and Extension health initiative that encourages people to make healthy lifestyle changes, begins March 15th. This year’s Walk Kansas is taking a “big picture” approach to healthy living. K-State Research and Extension northeast area family and consumer sciences specialist and state coordinator of Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, says that includes focusing on “Blue Zones” – regions of the world where people live much longer than average.
THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET – Eating like those who live in the Mediterranean region has been shown to promote health and decrease risk of many chronic diseases. K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents recently learned more about the diet and its benefits from Dr. Carolyn Dunn, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Department Head of Agricultural and Human Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Dunn is part of a group of nutrition and health professionals that created Med Instead of Meds – an online resource with information and tools to help people transform their eating to the Med Way.
SAVING BY PLEDGING – America Saves Week – February 24th though the 29th – is designed to help people commit to saving by setting a goal and making a plan to achieve better financial stability. K-State Research and Extension resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says participants will spend the week navigating through different areas of their finances to learn how to better position themselves for success.
FOCUSING ON YOUR HEALTH– Walk Kansas, a K-State Research and Extension health initiative that encourages people to be more physically active, begins March 15th. Each six-member team picks one of three challenges to complete during the eight-week challenge. In addition to being physically active, team members also receive newsletters and other information to help them improve their overall health. K-State Research and Extension northeast area family and consumer sciences specialist and state coordinator of Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, discusses the benefits of Walk Kansas and how it helps participants make healthy lifestyle changes.
REDUCING GROCERY EXPENSES– Avoiding center aisles as much as possible and sticking to the outside of the grocery store generally provides better nutritional food at a lower cost. To reduce grocery costs, K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter suggests planning meals and snacks, seeing what food is still available in the house, and then making a list of the items you need to purchase.
KITCHEN ORGANIZATION– If you don’t remember the last time you cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom, it’s time to give appliances, cabinets and drawers some attention. K-State Research and Extension food scientist Karen Blakeslee says this is also a good time to eliminate clutter and better organize your kitchen.
PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING – Being mindful means being fully present without judgment. When it comes to eating, being mindful helps amplify our body’s signals about when we’re hungry and when we’re full. Kansas State University Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says this can help us break free from our routine eating habits and allow us to better understand what our body is trying to tell us. She discusses some of the ways we can be more mindful when eating.
BE INTENTIONAL WITH KIDS– The start of a new year brings resolutions to be more active, improve our food choices or bolster our savings account. However, Kansas State University child development specialist Bradford Wiles says that one of the best resolutions parents can make is to strengthen the connection with their children. In fact, he says the biggest thing he’d advocate for is intentionality.
MAKE HOLIDAY MEMORIES – Holiday gatherings for most families involve some small talk, lots of food and exchanging gifts. However, it can be so much more. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland says holiday gatherings can also be a time for building memories, strengthening relationships, learning about family traditions and establishing the foundation for new traditions.
COLD WEATHER ACTIVITY – The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends moving more, sitting less and getting children as young as three to be active. The guidelines also stress that any amount and any type of activity improves health. As cold weather begins to settle it and days get shorter, it’s often more difficult to be physically active. According to K-State Research and Extension northeast area family and consumer sciences specialist and state coordinator of Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, that’s when we need to make a conscious decision to be physically active.
THE SCIENCE OF COOKIES – December 4th is not an official holiday. However, cookie lovers know that it’s National Cookie Day. The cookie has come a long way since Dutch bakers discovered them when they used small amounts of batter to test oven temperatures. However, making a cookie isn’t easy. In fact, there’s a lot of science involved. K-State Research and Extension food scientist Karen Blakeslee and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter offer timely tips for preparing, baking and storing cookies.
BENEFITS OF FAMILY MEALS– Research shows everyone benefits from eating meals together. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter have co-authored a new publication that focuses on how to get the most benefit from eating together. Procter says family meals play a large role in child and family development and how families become and stay connected.
A THANKSGIVING DAY FEAST– Americans really like turkey for Thanksgiving. In fact, the National Turkey Federation says nearly 88% of Americans will eat turkey that day. However, turkey is something we typically don’t prepare on a regular basis. As a result, many people have questions about the size of turkey they need, how long it takes to thaw a frozen turkey, how to prepare it, what to do with leftovers and how to plan such a large meal. Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee covers the basics of how to successfully prepare a Thanksgiving Day feast.
THE SEASON OF FEASTING– We have entered into what a professor of food nutrition at Kansas State University calls the season of feasting. That season, which started last month with Halloween, continues through Super Bowl Sunday in February. Tanda Kidd, who is also a food nutrition specialist with K-State Research and Extension, explains how we can enjoy traditional holiday foods while reducing the fat, sugar and sodium in those foods.
FOOD DONATIONS– Food insecurity refers to the USDA’s measure of lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. In 2015, an estimated one in eight Americans were food insecure – that’s 42 million Americans, including 13 million children. In addition to federal nutrition programs, local food pantries assist people in putting food on the table. However, they often struggle to meet the demand and to provide a variety of food choices. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says that’s why it’s important that donations to local food pantries and community food drives are the same nutritious foods we purchase for our families.
LAWN AND GARDEN TASKS– As leaves continue to fall and form a thick layer on the lawn, it’s important to have a strategy for removing those leaves before they cause long-lasting damage. However, leaf removal is just one of many lawn and garden tasks that should be tackled over the next 30-to-45 days. Johnson County K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent Dennis Patton discusses what we can do now to prepare our lawn and gardens for the winter.
WINTER WEATHER SAFETY– Winter officially arrives December 21st. However, winter-like conditions could arrive well before then – and in Kansas – winter can be pretty unpredictable. As a result, now is a good time to start preparing for what could be rapidly changing conditions. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp looks at some of the things we can do to be better prepared for another Kansas winter.
TIME, MONEY, AND TALENT– Teaching children about earning, spending, sharing, borrowing, and saving helps them learn about the ways their time, money and talents are valued. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles and family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) have co-authored the publication, Through a Child’s Eyes: Helping Children Understand the Concepts of Time, Money, and Talent. Wiles says the publication provides strategies and activities for adults with young children to use to help them better understand these concepts.
WHAT DO CONSUMERS WANT?– A survey shows 39% of U.S. consumers would switch from the brands they currently buy to others that provide clearer, more accurate product information. In addition, 73% have a positive feeling about brands that share the “why behind the buy” information about their products. As product information becomes easier to find, consumers are using that knowledge to make their selections carefully, and for specific purposes. K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (Kish) says a variety of factors can influence which products consumers buy.
IMPROVING FOOD SECURITY– Most U.S. households have consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living…making them food secure. However, an analysis by USDA’s Economic Research Service found just over 11 percent of U.S. households – or about 14.3 million households – are food insecure. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter discusses the factors contributing to food insecurity in Kansas and the role Extension plays in providing nutrition education.
FOOD PRESERVATION SAFETY– In addition to eating home-grown fruits and vegetables in-season, gardeners can also preserve some for later. However, food preservation is a science which must be done correctly to prevent microorganisms from re-contaminating the food. K-State Research and Extension food scientist and coordinator of the Rapid Response Center, Karen Blakeslee, covers the basic guidelines for safely preserving food.
MANAGING FAST FOOD– A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that just over one-third of adults consume fast food on a given day. Convenience was the number one reason given for eating fast food. However, with a little planning, K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says those fast food trips can be reduced. In addition, when fast food is the only option, she says we can still make healthy choices.
AGING-RELATED OUTREACH– An effort to meet the needs of an aging population by getting Extension resources and research-based information into the hands of those working at the local level resulted in the creation of the North Central Region Aging Network. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland is a contributing member of the Network. She discusses how this online resource is improving aging-related outreach across the country.
PACKING A SCHOOL LUNCH– The new school year is underway and that means parents are scrambling to get sack lunches put together before the kids head out the door. Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says parents need to be practicing good food safety habits when packing the lunch. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says approximately one in six Americans – or about 48 million people – get sick each year from foodborne diseases. Children are the most vulnerable to food poisoning, so it makes sense to take extra precautions when making the lunches they take to school. Blakeslee says that starts with washing your hands before preparing the sack lunch.
FOOD SAFETY EDUCATION– September is National Food Safety Education Month. K-State Research and Extension food scientist Karen Blakeslee discusses the steps we can take – both at home and at the grocery store – to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. The steps have been broken down into four broad categories: clean, separate, cook and chill.
PREPARE KANSAS 2019– In Kansas, it’s possible to see a variety of weather-related events throughout the year, such as severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, blizzards and ice storms. These weather events often cause power outages. In conjunction with September being National Preparedness Month, K-State Research and Extension’s Prepare Kansas 2019 – an online challenge to be prepared ahead of a disaster – is focusing on knowing what to do when the power goes out. Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says the challenge helps prevent food loss and reduces the risk of consuming contaminated food.
GROCERY SHOPPING TRENDS– A new study finds grocery shopping in the U.S. is evolving. According to the 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends report by the Hartman Group for the Food Marketing Institute, baby boomers, millennials, gen Z and gen X all have their own unique shopping habits and preferences. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter finds the study particularly interesting because it details shopping trends for a wide range of consumers.
PERSONAL FINANCE ECOSYSTEM– Financial literacy is defined as the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being. However, there are several key terms, including financial literacy, comprising a personal finance ecosystem. K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) discusses this ecosystem and how it can help us better understand finances and improve our financial well-being.
CANCER-SAFE GRILLING– If you routinely grill once or twice a week, experts suggest taking some small steps to lower exposure to compounds that are tied to cancer. These compounds get generated when food especially meat, is cooked – often overcooked or charred – on a grill. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter discusses the concerns associated with frequent grilling and ways to lower potential cancer risks.
COMMON SENIOR SCAMS– The most common form of elder abuse in Kansas is financial abuse – and it’s often carried out through a variety of scams. These scams, which often seem legitimate, can be financially devastating. Unfortunately, determining the legitimacy of something can be challenging because scam artists will work tirelessly to gain your trust and are skilled at persuasion. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland discusses some common “senior scams” and how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
OLDER ADULT MEDICATION MANAGEMENT – As we get older, we may face health conditions that need to be treated on a regular basis. As a result, we need to play an active role in our health care management. According to K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland, older adults need to understand why they’re taking a medication, how to take it properly, the potential side effects, and how to properly dispose of outdated or unused medications.
BUILDING RESILIENCY– Research has identified a set of factors that can help children achieve positive outcomes in the face of significant adversity. Kansas State University assistant professor and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says that when communities and families strengthen these factors they optimize resilience across multiple areas.
SUMMER MEALS FOR KIDS– Just as learning doesn’t end when students go on summer break, neither does the need for good nutrition. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program works with communities to provide free, nutritious meals and snacks when school is out. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says Extension is playing an active role in helping communities across Kansas to participate in this program and increase the number of children receiving summer meals.
OUR TOWN OUR KIDS– As part of the state’s effort to reduce the number of youth at risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system, Kansas State University, K-State Research and Extension and Fort Hays State University are working collaboratively on a pilot project that helps local stakeholders investigate, analyze and develop healthy youth initiatives. Extension specialists Elaine Johannes and Bruce Chladny are both involved in the Our Town Our Kids pilot project.
FOOD SAFETY FOR OLDER ADULTS – According to the Food and Drug Administration, a lot has changed in the way food is produced and distributed. We know that some people, including those 65 and older, are more susceptible to getting sick from bacteria in food. K-State Research and Extension food scientist Karen Blakeslee says seniors who handle food safely can help keep themselves healthy.
HEALTHY SUMMER FOODS– The summer months are a perfect time to try new fruits and vegetables. They’re fresh, abundantly available, and typically less expensive than at any other time of the year. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter looks at eight healthy summer fruits, vegetables and drinks that taste great and offer a variety of health benefits.
BE READY FOR AN EMERGENCY– It may seem like a daunting task, but organizing your important papers, documents and family photographs and placing them in a waterproof, fireproof container offers protection and peace of mind. K-State Research and Extension resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) offers suggestions for making a “grab-and-go” box, compiling a household inventory, and steps that can be taken to make life less stressful in the event of an emergency.
A LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE– Blue Zones are regions around the world where the healthiest, oldest people live. In addition to diet, exercise and rest, other lifestyle and social factors may contribute to their longevity. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland says nine healthy lifestyle habits shared by those living in Blue Zones have been identified as being key to a longer, healthier life.
CONVERSATIONS ON HEALTH– K-State Research and Extension utilizes a wide variety of research and evidence-based information to aid Extension agents in tackling local issues and concerns. In the area of public health, Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter and adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland point to the Culture of Health initiative as one way Extension encourages community conversations about health topics.
|05-10-19||EDUCATIONAL TRANSITIONS– As one school year winds down, another is just around the corner. For students moving from pre-school to kindergarten and from kindergarten to first grade, the move often creates uncertainty and anxiety. However, K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says the skills they’ve been learning – both social and behavioral – will make the transition easier.||SL 05-10|
|05-03-19||SALAD TAKES CENTER STAGE– A salad, typically served as an appetizer to the main meal, is starting to become the star of the show. In fact, consumers want restaurants to serve salads that are filling, healthy and delicious. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says a salad provides an easy way for us to eat more fruits and vegetables, cut calories and control the amount of fat in our diet.||SL 05-03|
|04-26-19||PREPARING FOR GRILLING SEASON– May is National Barbecue Month and Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says while there are a number of food safety concerns associated with outdoor grilling, a meat thermometer is the best defense against foodborne illness and checking for proper doneness.||SL 04-26|
|04-19-19||MAKING HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES– Healthy eating habits are a front line defense against obesity – which in simplest terms – happens when we take in more calories than we burn. In the United States, almost 25% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and sleep apnea. Two Kansas State University nutrition specialists say children who develop healthy eating habits early in life are more likely to maintain those healthy eating habits over the course of their life.||SL 04-19|
|04-12-19||ACHIEVING FINANCIAL GOALS– April is National Financial Literacy Month. According to K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss, (kish) establishing a budget and a plan to meet immediate, intermediate and long-term financial goals can help us gain better control of our finances.||SL 04-12|
|04-05-19||ENGAGING IN THE USE OF DIGITAL MEDIA– It’s common to see parents and young children interacting with digital media on smartphones and tablets. But is the child being entertained or are they actually learning. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says children as young as 18 months who co-view or co-play with an engaged adult may be able to learn from digital media. He says this can bolster a child’s cognitive, linguistic and social-emotional development through dialogue and interaction. However, when digital media is used a babysitter, it can isolate family members from one another and slow a young child’s social development.||SL 04-05|
|03-29-19||HEALTHY EATING MADE SIMPLE– As part of its effort to help Americans make healthy food choices and in honor of National Nutrition Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a campaign to help simplify the nutrition information we see each day. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says the Start Simple with MyPlate campaign provides tips from the five MyPlate food groups to improve our health and well-being over time.||SL 03-29|
|03-22-19||INVESTING IN RURAL CHILD CARE– Access to affordable, quality child care in rural areas is often difficult to find. However, studies show access to child care is vital for long-term viability of rural communities. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles, Pottawatomie County Extension family and consumer sciences agent Erin Tynon and Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation executive director Jack Allston are working with a local task force to identify barriers and find solutions that will improve child care options for rural communities.||SL 03-22|
|03-15-19||THE IMPORTANCE OF READING– March is National Reading Awareness Month and a K-State Research and Extension child development specialist says spending at least 15 minutes a day reading with – not to – young children helps them succeed later in life. Bradford Wiles says reading with a young child can boost school readiness, helps them become better readers, increases their vocabulary and enables them to learn about world.||SL 03-15|
|03-08-19||SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS– Spring officially arrives March 20th, and with it comes an increased risk for severe thunderstorms, lightning, flash floods and tornadoes. Those severe weather events can cause widespread damage – and, in the worst case – loss of life. Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp says having a severe weather plan, practicing that plan and putting it into action when the weather turns bad is the best way to stay safe.||SL 03-08|
|03-01-19||REDUCING FOOD WASTE– Walk Kansas, which begins March 17th and runs through May 11th, is not just about being physically active. It also includes information on nutrition, recipes, eating in season, food safety and food waste. K-State Research and Extension northeast area family and consumer sciences specialist and state coordinator for Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, along with Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter, discuss one of this year’s educational components: reducing food waste.||SL 03-01|
|02-22-19||NAVIGATING THE GROCERY STORE– Avoiding the center aisles as much as possible and sticking to the outside of the grocery store generally provides the biggest bang for your buck. However, K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says the grocery shopping process really starts at home with planning meals and snacks, seeing what food items we already have and making a list of the things we need.||SL 02-22|
|02-15-19||TIPS TO STAY HEART-HEALTHY– Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? It’s also one of the most preventable. K-State Research and Extension adult development and aging specialist Erin Yelland says Extension has several heart-healthy programs that can help improve an older adult’s endurance, strength, balance and overall health.||SL 02-15|
|02-08-19||SAVING FOR THE UNEXPECTED– America Saves Week, February 25th through March 2nd, is about more than helping Americans understand the importance of saving – it’s about getting them to save automatically. K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says saving for the unexpected – an unanticipated expense or an opportunity – is highlighted in this year’s campaign.||SL 02-08|
|02-01-19||KANSAS 4-H SERVES YOUTH– Kansas 4-H offers a variety of programs and projects that are helping over 74,000 youth develop the skills necessary to be successful now – and in the future. State 4-H program leader and 4-H youth development department head, Wade Weber, and Kansas 4-H culture and communication skills specialist Aliah Mestrovich Seay, discuss how 4-H is continually changing to meet the needs of youth.||SL 02-01|
|01-25-19||IT’S TIME TO GET UP AND MOVE– Walk Kansas is an eight week K-State Research and Extension health initiative designed to get people up and moving. This year’s program begins on March 17th and runs through May 11th. Northeast Area family and consumer sciences specialist and the state coordinator of Walk Kansas, Sharolyn Jackson, discusses the benefits of participating in the program.||SL 01-25|
|01-11-19||NEW PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES– The updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends moving more, sitting less and getting kids as young as three to be active. The new federal guidelines, according to K-State Research and Extension northeast area family and consumer sciences specialist Sharolyn Jackson, put an emphasis on getting people to move more throughout the day.||SL 01-11|
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