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K-State Research and Extension News

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Sound Living is a weekly public affairs program, hosted by Jeff Wichman, and distributed to radio stations throughout the area.  It addresses issues related to families and consumers.

The program is now available as a podcast. You can subscribe and listen to the program in its entirety on our podcast page at soundlivingksu.libsyn.com

To listen to the latest episode, simply click play below.


You can also subscribe to the podcast feed and listen on your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. After you subscribe through one of the sources below, every new episode will download automatically to your device as soon as it is available. Alternatively, you can stream episodes whenever you wish. 

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Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

Program Date

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HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY BRAINAccording to the recently published K-State Research and Extension Fact Sheet, Healthy Body, Healthy Brain, what you eat, how much you move, how well you sleep, and how you mange stress all play an important role in your overall well-being. Research also shows a connection between heart and brain health. By Keeping your heart healthy, you also lower your risk for stroke, dementia, and other brain problems. Co-authors of the Fact Sheet, Sharolyn Jackson, the northeast area Family and Consumer Sciences specialist, and Wyandotte County Family and Consumer Sciences agent, Lori Wuellner, say age-related cognitive decline is common. However, while the death rates for heart disease and cancer are declining, the death rate for Alzheimer’s disease is increasing. They discuss some ways to protect the health of your body and brain.

SL 06-24

TIPS FOR CUTTING GROCERY COSTS”Sticker shock” is typically associated with big ticket items, such as vehicles, major household appliances and electronics. However, “sticker shock” is now hitting Americans at the grocery store checkout line. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers paid 11.9% more for food eaten at home in May than in May 2021. Lisa Martin, an agent for K-State Research and Extension’s Shawnee County Office, says it’s possible to control rising grocery costs and still maintain a healthful diet.

SL 06-17

PRESERVING HOMEGROWN FOOD Canning season typically runs from June to October, with some carryover into the holiday season. Harvesting garden produce at its peak freshness and canning as soon as possible – ideally that day or the next – produces the highest quality product. However, canning is a science and Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says there are a number of steps involved in safely preserving food.

SL 06-10

CANCER: EARLY DETECTION AND PREVENTIONHeart disease is the leading cause of death in men, accounting for one in every four deaths. After that, according to the CDC, are lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. The good news is that these health threats men face are largely preventable. However, a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent says early detection is key to detecting and preventing these types of cancers. Holly Miner, who focuses on nutrition, food safety and health programs for the Wildcat Extension District, has authored a Men’s Health Guide Fact Sheet that provides practical advice to help men defend against three types of cancer: prostate, colorectal and testicular.

SL 06-03

MAKING BLACK GOLDCompost is the ultimate soil amendment. It provides nutrients plants require and increases the water holding ability and workability of the soil. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, says compost is often called “black gold” because of its value in improving garden soil. So, how do you build a good compost pile? Patton, who considers composting to be both a science and an art, suggests thinking in terms of greens and browns.

SL 05-27

SUMMER FOOD SAFETY TIPSThe warmer weather provides an opportunity to move much of our meal preparation outdoors. Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says food safety needs to be a priority, especially when grilling food outdoors and hosting large outdoor get-togethers. This includes washing our hands, using a food thermometer to check for doneness and keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

SL 05-20

GROWTH IN EXTENSION HEALTHHelping to promote healthy lifestyles in Kansas is one of the missions of K-State Research and Extension. Gayle Price, an Extension specialist at the Southeast Kansas Research Center in Parsons, has been a part of that mission for 35 years – and she’s seen a lot of changes during that time. Price, who is retiring later this year, has seen partnerships work successfully with Extension programs that address opioid addiction, food insecurity, child nutrition and wellness, physical activity and much more.

SL 05-13

SUSTAINING RURAL GROCERY STORESResearch shows grocery stores are critical to maintaining vibrant, healthy and thriving communities. Unfortunately, rural grocers are facing a challenging and ever-changing retail landscape that makes it difficult to stay in business. The Rural Grocery Initiative – housed within K-State Research and Extension – aims to sustain locally-owned rural grocery stores to enhance community vitality and improve access to healthy foods by identifying and sharing resources that support grocers and rural communities. As part of that effort, the Rural Grocery Initiative hosts the National Rural Grocery Summit. This year’s summit is being held June 20th and 21st in Wichita. RGI program manager, Erica Blair, says there are many rural grocer success stories that’s need to be shared and that’s why this biennial event is so important.

SL 05-06

LEARNING TO MANAGE STRESSStress is how we react when we feel under pressure or threatened. If it lasts for a long time it can impact physical, emotional and mental wellness. K-State Research and Extension’s Stress and Resiliency Team provides educational information about stress, stress management and resiliency to Kansans. Extension behavioral health specialist Brad Dirks says stress impacts us all and that we all react to stress differently. However, there are steps we can take to manage stress and live a healthier life.

SL 04-29 

THE OPPORTUNITY COST OF SCREEN TIMETV, smartphones and tablets are part of our culture. That doesn’t mean we should spend every waking minute staring at a screen. In fact, research shows both adults and children benefit from limiting screen time to just a few hours a day. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says not establishing rules for screen use or having screen-free zones in the home comes at what he calls an “opportunity cost” – the things we miss out on by watching our screens instead of engaging in activities with our children and family.

SL 04-22

INITIATING PUBLIC HEALTH EFFORTSPublic health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. In the U.S., there’s an expectation that no matter where we live, work, learn or play, we all have an equal opportunity to be healthy. However, that’s not always the case. Kansas State University Extension agents Tristen Cope and Clara Wicoff were selected to participate in an 18-week course titled Public Health Essentials, designed to build capacity of non-traditional public health organizations, such as Cooperative Extension, to engage in multi-sector initiatives to improve community health. They talk about the public health gaps that exist in their communities and how this course can increase their knowledge and skills to identify ways to help close those gaps.

SL 04-15

DEALING WITH HIGHER PRICESThe cost of everything seems to be going up. So how do you deal with increased prices? A K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist says strategic budgeting, planning, and cutting costs where possible can help reduce the financial impact of higher prices. Elizabeth Kiss (kish) also suggests buying only the things you actually need, cooking at home to reduce your overall food costs and shopping with a list to avoid impulse buying.

SL 04-08

BONDING THRU BOARD GAMESResearch shows newer style board games, such as Euro-style games – also called Eurogames – can be used as a tool to strengthen family relationships and expose children to life skills that enable them to have success at home, school and – eventually – the workplace. K-State Research and Extension family life and resource management agent for Sedgwick County, Liz Brunscheen-Cartagena, is familiar with Eurogames and has written two publications on the benefits of playing board games.

SL 04-01

SMALL SPACE GARDENINGIf you’re limited on space, don’t have enough time or energy to care for a large garden or simply don’t want to plant more than you can consume, container gardening or raised bed gardening are a great alternative. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, says the only difference between a traditional in-ground garden and container gardening or  raised bed gardening is that you’re doing it in a more confined space where you have more control.

SL 03-25

COMMUNITY HEALTH EQUITYWe all make choices every day that impact our health. However, linking our health solely to the choices we make doesn’t tell the whole story. There are other factors that influence our health and individual behaviors. K-State Research and Extension has developed a framework for health and well-being that focuses on three core themes – health equity, social determinants of health, and working through coalitions to increase community health assets. Associate professor and Extension specialist in youth development in the Department of Applied Human Sciences and Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor of Health at Kansas State University, Elaine Johannes, discusses Extension’s role in community health.

SL 03-18

AVOIDING IDENTITY THEFT AND SCAMSWhether it’s called a scam, con, fraud or theft, people taking advantage of others financially continues to be a major problem. K-State Research and Extension agent for the Southwind District, Barbara Stockebrand, says it can happen anytime to anyone and that technology has opened the door for people with bad intentions to steal your identity or coax you into a scam simply by gathering personal information from an email or financial transaction. Stockebrand and Janae McNally, an adult development and aging specialist with the Frontier Extension District, are hosting an upcoming Living Well Wednesday webinar on steps consumers can take to avoid identity thefts and scams.

SL 03-11

SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESSKansas experiences a wide variety of summertime severe weather events, including tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail, lightning and flash flooding. Assistant meteorologist for the Kansas State University Weather Data Library and manager of Mesonet, a network of environmental monitoring stations across the state, Chip Redmond, says we need to prepare for all types of severe weather – and know what to do if we’re at home, outdoors or in a vehicle.

SL 03-04

PREPARE FOR UNEXPECTED EVENTSAs students, we practiced what to do in the event of a fire or a tornado. The goal was to learn what to do in an emergency. As adults, we know how to protect ourselves when a tornado warning is issued or what to do if a fire occurs. However, we may not know the steps we can take to protect our family and business finances from unexpected events. K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent in the Central Kansas District, Deb Wood, and the family and consumer sciences agent in the Southwind Extension District, Joy Miller, say just one flood, fire or tornado can wipe out a lifetime of savings. On March 9th, as part of the Living Well Wednesday webinar series, they’ll discuss how to prepare your finances for times of disaster. On this week’s Sound Living, a preview of their upcoming webinar.

SL 02-25

EIGHT WEEKS TO A HEALTHIER LIFEWalk Kansas, K-State Research and Extension’s annual physical activity and wellness program, attracts thousands of participants each year. This year’s event runs March 27th through May 21st. Extension family and consumer sciences specialist for northeast Kansas and Walk Kansas State Leader, Sharolyn Jackson, discusses how this eight week challenge helps participants lead a healthier life.

SL 02-18

HELPING CHILDREN COPE WITH STRESSChildren start developing many new emotions around two years. These strong emotions, including frustration, anger, embarrassment and excitement, can sometimes be overwhelming and they may need to calm down. K-State Research and Extension child development specialist Bradford Wiles says there are number of steps that can be taken to help children cope with normal childhood emotions and the stress caused by the pandemic.

SL 02-11

KANSAS VALUE ADDED FOODS LABThe Kansas Value Added Foods Lab at Kansas State University includes facilities, equipment, and instruments to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs with food product development, packaging, and physical, chemical and microbiological analyses of foods. The KVAFL also allows undergraduate and graduate students to develop new food products and work with entrepreneurs to develop their products to sell commercially. On today’s Sound Living: a look at the role the Kansas Value Added Foods Lab plays in assisting small food producers.

SL 02-04

LANGUAGES OF APPRECIATIONK-State Research and Extension’s Living Well Wednesday webinar series continues in February with programs on the Five Languages of Appreciation and the MIND Diet. The series, produced by family and consumer sciences agents and specialists from across the state, covers a variety of topics to improve our overall health and well-being. LaVerne Williamson, employee relations and engagement specialist with Kansas State University’s Human Capital Resources, will present Languages of Appreciation on February 9th. Participants will learn about their own language of appreciation and receive practical tips on how to express genuine appreciation throughout the workplace. Also, northeast Extension family and consumer sciences specialist Sharolyn Jackson previews the February 23rd webinar on the MIND Diet.


SL 01-28

STRATEGIES FOR TRANSITIONSTransitioning from one activity to the next can be challenging for young children and their providers. However, K-State Research and Extension family and youth development agent for the Chisholm Trail District, Tristen Cope, says there are strategies that childcare providers can use to help young children better manage transitions and routines. This includes providing an advanced warning, using a visual calendar and teaching them songs that signal it’s time to move from one activity to the next.

SL 01-21

FOOD SAFETY HAZARDS AND CULPRITSProtecting against foodborne illness involves more than just practicing the four basic food safety principles: clean, separate, cook and chill. To ensure our food is safe to eat, Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says we also need to learn about the three types of food safety hazards: biological, chemical and physical.

SL 01-14

PLANNING THIS YEAR’S GARDENSWhether you’re an experienced gardener or just a novice, winter is a good time to plan spring and summer gardens. According to Dennis Patton, K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, it’s an opportunity to think about what you want to plant, research new varieties and consider any changes you’d like to make. He also says planning for spring and summer gardens during winter will save time, energy and money when planting season arrives.

SL 01-07

IMPROVING HEALTH AND WELL-BEINGK-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents and specialists are offering a winter webinar series in January, February and March to improve our health and well-being. Extension family and community wellness agent for the West Plains District, Jennifer LaSalle and community health and wellness agent for the Chisholm Trail District, provide an overview of the first two webinars in the series: Parents Guide to Social Media and Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude.

SL 12-31

BEING INTENTIONAL WITH KIDSThe start of a new year often brings a variety of resolutions: to be more active, improve our food choices or bolster our savings. However, Kansas State University child development specialist Bradford Wiles says strengthening the connection with their children is one of the best resolutions a parent can make. In fact, he advocates for parents to be intentional with kids.

SL 12-24

STRETCHING GROCERY DOLLARSExpect to keep paying more for groceries in 2022. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month, prices shoppers paid for groceries in October were 5.4% higher than at the same time last year. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says planning meals before shopping, being aware of what you already have, looking for bargains, substituting lower-priced items for similar products, and planning for leftovers helps stretch food dollars while still providing healthful meals.

SL 12-17

THE LONG VIEW ON GOALSOften when it comes to goal-setting, Kansas State University family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) says we think it’s all or nothing…”We think ‘I have to do this or ‘I have to be focused…’ However, that’s not necessarily the best or most successful way to achieve what your goals. Instead, Kiss says to take the long view on goals – which is a kinder, gentler approach. To improve your success rate, she recommends writing down your goals, sharing them and reviewing them periodically; but not obsessing over them.

SL 12-10

THE “WHY” FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITYWinter, because of its shorter days and colder temperatures, can be a challenging time to be physically active. However, K-State Research and Extension northeast family and consumer sciences specialist and coordinator of the Walk Kansas program, Sharolyn Jackson, says if we can identify our “WHY” for wanting to be physically active, have a plan for being outdoors and identify ways to stay active when we’re stuck indoors, we can enjoy the benefits that come from being physically active.

SL 12-03

CONNECT AND COMMUNICATEFamily dynamics can be difficult, particularly during the holiday season. As part of its Living Well Wednesday series, K-State Research and Extension Regional family and consumer sciences specialist JoEllyn Argabright and Chisholm Trail District family and youth development agent Tristen Cope, are hosting a webinar on December 8th that focuses on communicating effectively with family members to reduce stress, creating an inclusive environment and making the most of the holiday season. They provide a preview of the webinar, including methods for connecting with family members – near and far – and tools to add to your toolbox to reduce stress through the holidays.

SL 11-26

HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY REMINDERSThe holiday season has arrived. Food – usually a lot of it – is part of the holiday celebration. Whether it’s the traditional large meal with family and friends, potlucks at work or the company party, food is everywhere. While we often worry about gaining a few extra pounds during the holidays, Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says we should be equally concerned about food safety. She says following four basic food safety principles, along with regularly washing our hands – is the best to prevent foodborne illness.

SL 11-19

A HEALTHIER THANKSGIVING FEASTThe cost of a typical Thanksgiving feast will be more expensive this year. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, prices will be higher on just about everything because of inflation. The average cost of preparing Thanksgiving dinner last year was about $47. This year the cost is expected to be at least 5% more. While we can’t control costs, we can control what we serve and how it’s prepared. The typical Thanksgiving meal – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pie – is relatively healthy. Unfortunately, K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says we often take those foods and prepare them in a not-so-healthy manner.

SL 11-12

LIVING WELL WEDNESDAY SERIES K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents and specialists are getting ready to launch a new series of virtual webinars that cover a variety of topics that improve our health and well-being. The Living Well Wednesday Webinar Series kicks off with a soft launch on November 17th and December 8th with two webinars focusing on managing stress through the holidays.

SL 11-05

HEALTH EQUITY AND WELL-BEINGIn a 2020 report on America’s Health Rankings, published by the United Health Foundation, Kansas ranks 26th among the 50 states on health outcomes. A team of K-State Research and Extension professionals is receiving training from the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health to foster community conversations about creating a more robust and effective approach to health. Ed Ehlinger, the senior assistant surgeon with the National Health Service Corps and the ‘coach’ of the team, was a pre-conference speaker at Extension’s recently held annual conference.

SL 10-29

REDUCING SALT IN OUR DIETThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a recent request for food manufacturers to voluntarily reduce salt in their products by 12% over the next two-and-a-half years. More than 70% of the sodium Americans eat comes from what has been added by the food industry to products later purchased in stores or restaurants. K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says that’s why the FDA is asking those two groups to reduce sodium levels in 163 categories of the most consumed processed, packaged and prepared foods.

SL 10-22

SIMPLE HOLIDAY TOY IDEASAs children start making their holiday wish list, A Kansas State University child development specialist encourages parents to consider whether a toy promotes creativity and engaging with others, such as puzzles and board games. Bradford Wiles says toys with lots of bells and whistles often do things children would do on their own with a simpler toy.

SL 10-15

MANAGING HOLIDAY SPENDINGHalloween is fast approaching. For many, that marks the beginning of the end-of-year holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and other December celebrations, and New Year’s Eve. Kansas State University family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss (kish) retailers want us to be thinking about the holidays. She says they’re already starting to stock holiday merchandise, so this a really good time to plan ahead, think about how you’d like to celebrate this year and then determine how much your budget can handle.

SL 10-08

DINING WITH DIABETES E-MAIL CHALLENGEIn 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 34.2 million Americans are living with diabetes. In Kansas, 9.4% of the adult population have been diagnosed with diabetes. K-State Research and Extension offers “Dining with Diabetes” – a program designed for pre-diabetics, people with type 2 diabetes and their caregivers. In November, they are offering a four-week Dining with Diabetes E-mail Challenge. Gayle Price, program director for Kansas State University’s Dining with Diabetes program, and an Extension specialist at the Southeast Kansas Research-Extension Center in Parsons and Sara Sawer, the Dining with Diabetes lead trainer and a family and consumer sciences agent in Sedgwick County, discuss what’s covered in the challenge and how participants will benefit from the program.

SL 10-01


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