wellness online header
  November Health News
   November is Diabetes Awareness Month
  • Could You Be at Risk for Diabetes?
  • Great American Smokeout
  • Give Holiday Recipes a Makeover
  • Avoid Overeating During the Holidays
  • Dr. Oz Video: Five Questions to Ask When Shopping for a New Doctor
  • Source4Women: Fast Track to Wellness: Simple Healthy Habits for Busy People
  • Healthy Recipe
wellness online header

blood sugar testing









Could You Be at Risk for Diabetes?

Learn how to reduce your chances of developing this serious disease.

Nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes. Two thirds of them have been diagnosed. That leaves one third (or about seven million people) who don't yet know that they have diabetes. Could you be one of them?


Diabetes can lead to serious problems, such as kidney failure, blindness and heart disease. Some of these problems can be prevented, but only if the disease is diagnosed and treated.


If you could be at risk, get tested so you can take steps to slow or stop the damage that diabetes can cause.

Am I at risk?

A number of factors increase your risk of developing diabetes. You're more likely to get diabetes if:

  • You are overweight
  • You are 45 or older
  • You have a parent, brother or sister who has diabetes
  • You are African American, Native American, Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • You have high blood pressure (140/90 or higher)
  • You have a cholesterol problem, such as low "good" HDL cholesterol (35 or lower) or high trigylcerides (250 or more)
  • You don't get much exercise (less than three times a week)
  • You had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds


The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing diabetes.


What should I do?

If you have any risk factors, talk to your doctor about being tested. A simple blood test can tell if you have diabetes. In most cases, experts recommend a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test. This test is done after you've had nothing to eat or drink for at least eight hours.


In the meantime, you can start taking steps right away to lower your risk of diabetes:

  • Lose some weight if you're overweight. Even losing five to seven percent of your weight can make a real difference. For a 200-pound person, that's just 10 to 14 pounds.
  • Eat a healthy diet that's low in fat and salt and rich in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. Need help getting started? Talk to a dietitian, or try following the DASH diet, which is proven to lower blood pressure.
  • Get some exercise at least five days a week. If you haven't been active, start slow and work up to 30 minutes a day. Always talk to your doctor before increasing your activity level.


These steps will not only lower your risk of diabetes, they can also help you get your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. And you may find you feel a lot better, too.

wellness online header
quit smoking

Join the Great American Smokeout

Whether you’re just thinking about kicking the habit or ready to choose a quit date, there’s no better time than now to join the Smokeout.

In 1971, a high school guidance counselor in Massachusetts asked people to quit smoking for one day. He also asked them to donate the money they saved on cigarettes that day to a local college scholarship fund. In time, that small-town event grew into what is now known as the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. The nationwide event is held the third Thursday every November.


An estimated 443,000 people die each year from smoking. About 38,000 of those who die are nonsmokers who have been exposed to secondhand smoke. If you smoke and have been trying to quit, why not join the Smokeout? It’s one of the most successful one-day quit programs in the country. More people quit on this day than any other time of the year – including New Year’s Day. You could be one of them. Cigarettes are highly addictive. They can serve as a major gateway to drug addiction. According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, children who smoke cigarettes are eight times more likely to use illegal drugs and abuse alcohol than those who don’t smoke. And most adult smokers started before they were 18. Research shows that teens can become addicted to nicotine more quickly than adults.

Tips for kicking the habit
The American Cancer Society offers Quit for Life (1-866-784-8454) for those who are trying to stop smoking. Using Quit for Life can more than double your chances of quitting successfully. Counselors at Quit for Life can connect you with smoking cessation programs in your community as well as support groups and internet resources.


Here are some more tips if you're ready to quit:


  • Set a date for quitting. Take one day at a time, and set short-term goals.
  • Tell your family and friends about your plans. You will need their encouragement when you feel the urge to light up. Having social support is one of the keys to quitting successfully.
  • To avoid temptation, get rid of all cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.
  • Talk to your doctor about using a medication or nicotine replacement therapy as an alternative to quitting "cold turkey."
  • When you first try to quit, change your routine. If you usually light up during your morning coffee, then eat breakfast in a different place or drink tea instead of coffee.
  • When you quit and still get the urge to smoke, talk with someone, go for a walk, drink water or get busy with a task. Reduce your stress by taking a hot bath, exercising or reading a book.
  • Lastly, take advantage of the Great American Smokeout. You'll be surprised at how quickly your body starts to recover when you don't smoke. For instance, 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure will go down toward your baseline level and your heart rate will become slower. After 12 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your lungs will return to normal. And that's just in the first day!

Even if you're not ready to quit just yet, joining the Great American Smokeout will teach you that you can go a day without cigarettes. And maybe even a lifetime.

wellness online header
holiday cooking

Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

Eat, drink and be merry without gaining weight. Delicious meals and sweets make it hard to avoid gaining weight during the holidays, but a little planning and preparation can make it possible.


Before eating anything, think carefully about what you’d most enjoy. Select a few foods that truly will be treats, but skip the others. Whenever possible, try to choose foods that might offer health benefits, such as an appetizer containing fruits or vegetables or a whole-grain cracker.


Use a small plate, limit your portions and eat slowly. Your brain needs time to recognize that your stomach is full.


Go low-cal and alcohol-free with such drinks as hot cider, water, or alternate a low-calorie beverage after drinking a higher-calorie beverage.


Try to maintain your exercise schedule or look for creative ways to be active. It’s important to balance the calories you take in with the calories you burn, so take a walk in your neighborhood to see holiday displays, for example.


Give holiday recipes a makeover. Often, simple substitutions can make a favorite holiday recipe healthier. Low-fat or nonfat milk products, for example, sometimes can take the place of whole-milk products. Applesauce can take the place of butter or oils in some baked goods. And, frozen yogurt might take the place of ice cream on a holiday pie.


Don’t be scared of all the holiday food choices out there. Focus on one or two of these tips and continue being active. A little planning with your indulgence at this time of year can satisfy your cravings.

wellness online header

Better Health with Dr. Oz: Five Questions to Ask When Shopping for a New Doctor

People who have doctors live longer and live better. Here's what to ask when shopping for a new doctor.

Click here to view the program.

wellness online header

Source4Women Online Seminar
Fast Track to Wellness:
Simple Healthy Habits for Busy People

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD

November 12, 12:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. CT

Think you are too busy to eat healthy and squeeze in fitness? Think again. One step at a time, you may improve your lifestyle and health. Making simple changes to your lifestyle habits may add up to a healthier you. Learn the secret healthy habits that may put a zip in your step, whittle your waistline and promote wellness. Healthy habits can be as easy as 1-2-3, realistic and good for the entire family. This seminar may change your life and help you on your journey toward better health and wellness.


To register for an upcoming Source4Women online seminar, visit www.Source4Women.com and click on “Online Seminars & Events.” All seminars are recorded and archived for viewing after the live seminar date.

wellness online header

November Healthy Recipe: Heart Healthy Pumpkin Soup


This creamy soup is the perfect starter before dinner or satisfying enough as a main course.

1 large onion, chopped
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cumin
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 (29 oz) can pumpkin without salt
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup apple juice or cider
2 cups low fat milk
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds kernels, toasted

Heat a heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and yellow peppers in olive oil 5-7 minutes until caramelized; add garlic, nutmeg and cumin and continue cooking 3-5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, sweet potato, chicken stock and apple juice; simmer covered until sweet potato is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Use a blender to puree soup until smooth. Add milk, salt and pepper; simmer but do not boil. Serve, garnish with parsley and pumpkin seeds.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 153
Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 3mg
Sodium: 259mg
Carbohydrate: 24g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 12g
Protein: 6g

© 2013, UnitedHealthcare. Please contact your employer if you do not wish to receive these e-mail notifications.