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If the pounds you dropped in time for summer are working their way back on, there’s a time-tested gadget that might halt the creep. It’s your bathroom scale. Research shows that people who weigh themselves regularly after reaching a goal weight do a much better job of keeping the lost pounds off.
We've celebrated the mothers, now it's time for father's to be paid their due. With less than a week to Father's Day, you're probably pondering what to get the special man in your life especially as you got him soap-on-rope last year, a tie the year before that and crabs the year before that, so you're mulling between maybe a bottle of cologne or the latest gadget. But this year, why not opt to give the special dad in your life the gift of health? This Father's Day what better way to say you love your dad than to take him for an annual physical which will not only be good for his health but ensure that he will be in your life strong and vibrant for years to come.
Ensuring your dad is on top of his health is a timely gift to undertake as men tend to shy away from the doctor's office if they have a choice in the matter, says Dr. Patrick Whitfield, a family medicine practitioner who operates out of Oxford Medical Center.
"It is important to encourage all persons, but men in particular, to get a regular check-up so that a medical professional can assess risks for common conditions that develop among the population," says the doctor. "Although many men may feel that there is nothing wrong with them and delay visiting a physician for as long as possible, in the medical field we practice preventative health which means we like to examine patients before they get sick so that early signs of conditions are picked up. This will in turn ensure that illnesses aren't prolonged or progress too far before treatment is sought. It is very important to get men more aware of their health and well-being because not only in The Bahamas, but universally men live seven to eight years less than their female counterparts and this does not have to be".
The family medicine specialist says that as a loving family member urging your father, no matter his age, to see the family doctor is one of the best ways to show him that you love him. As you will want to see your dad around for many years to come, Dr. Whitfield says helping him take care of his health now is a good gesture to give your dad for Father's Day. But he says when your father makes his doctor visit there are certain things that he should be checked for depending on his age. The doctor said men are screened for illnesses based on their age. He says there are illnesses that are more prevalent in certain decades of life, and that the doctor assesses what he considers are your dad's needs and risk levels, and screens for them.
Men in their 20s and 30s
"This age group is low on the scale for most illnesses so their screening tends to be more so to assess their risk factors due to lifestyle habits and guide them on ways to avoid problems due to lifestyle choices. Men in their 20s don't commonly suffer from things like cancers, heart attacks and strokes, so looking for early signs for these things aren't usually prioritized much in screenings. What you can expect in a screening at this age is a basic full body physical to ensure nothing obvious is wrong physically. Other things like blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index [BMI] are also checked. It is also important at every age on an annual basis that blood tests for sexually transmitted illnesses are also taken. Your doctor should also take his time to sit and talk about family health history and the normal practices of the patient to further assess risk factors for common illnesses developing in the future so preventative measures can be taken while [your father] is still young."
As long as there are no ongoing health issues or high risk for certain illnesses due to genetics and family history, men, he says, are likely to only have to undergo simple physicals and blood screenings until their 40s when the likelihood of developing certain conditions greatly increases.
Men in their 40s
"While more intense physicals that are undergone more often tend to occur after you are 40 [years of age], it is important not to believe that this means while men are young that they shouldn't be taking care of their health. What happens later in life is greatly determined on how you take care of yourself while young. So simple things like wearing seatbelts to avoid harm in case of a car crash, amount of alcohol consumption, choices of coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, amount of sleep you get at night, and eating and exercising habits are important factors to determine how healthy you are in the years when the likelihood of common lifestyle illnesses developing increases. So even if your father has lived a good life in his youth and is relatively healthy by the age of 40, in addition to the annual physical and blood testing he should still start his screening for cancers of the prostate and colon. If he starts screening at this age any early signs of cancers developing can be caught and treated to avoid greater problems later in life."
Men in their 50s and 60s
In his 50s and into his 60s, your father will continue to have heightened physical examines by his physician, especially as it relates to weight management, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is during these years when things like heart attacks, strokes and other ailments are more likely to occur says the doctor.
He also says most people tend to overlook updating their immunizations. Dr. Whitfield says it is becoming more common to see older persons suffering from common childhood ailments like chicken pox. To avoid contracting any of those childhood diseases, he said to let your family physician readminister all immunization shots every few years as required.
Men in their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond
When your dad is in his 70s, in addition to regular check-ups and screenings it is important to have your father checked for ailments such as glaucoma and cataracts if he is diabetic or complains about visual problems. A hearing exam among other tests may also be recommended depending on the growing needs of the patient.
"At the end of the day, screenings are personal due to the needs of the patient and we as physicians can only determine what is needed once the patient comes to us," says the family medicine practitioner. "It is important to get patients to come to see the doctor before they feel ill so that if anything can be done to prevent conditions from developing they are done in time. It is better to prevent than to cure and men need good health just as much as anyone else. So help the men in your life to take care of themselves now so they won't have to worry about it later," says Dr. Whitfield.
Several talented students will start their new academic year off right thanks to Custom Computers Ltd.
After randomly drawing 25 student names from the entries in the “As for Excellence” campaign, the winners of the top three prizes were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements with the latest technological gadgets sure to make project research and writing for school a little sweeter.
Last week, in response to what he described as an intolerable level of crime and "the most pressing issue in our nation", Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham addressed the country. It may be one of the more important addresses of his political career, and not for the reason some may suspect.
Though critical for various reasons including politically, the prime minister did something even more compelling and far-sighted. In tone and text, he demonstrated that he understood the national mood and deep worry at the level of crime and the need to address its root causes.
He addressed the soul of crime, speaking to the fears and hopes of Bahamians.
Only the most churlish and the inveterate Ingraham-haters would deny that he spoke from the heart, the latter point noted by a woman who lost a family member to murder.
Moreover, the prime minister elevated the national conversation on crime and violence from finger-pointing to shared responsibility.
And he did something even more compelling: He seized the national imagination by urging a new era of national volunteerism, inclusive of enhanced community service programs for thousands of students in the government school system.
Ingraham also called for a renewed civic compact to address the desire not only for safety and security, but more broadly for community and social peace. His call to action was issued to parents and teachers, civil society and the business community, as well as to the nation's youth.
In the lead up and the immediate response to the half-hour address, the prime minister's critics stumbled badly, misreading the deep concern over crime as a moment for political posturing, pandering and gamesmanship.
DNA Leader Branville McCartney, in typical publicity stunt mode, showed up for a press conference with a gimmick graph in the background. Unconvincingly, it showed the level of crime, long in the making and with multiple causes, falling precipitously under the DNA.
Also unconvincing was McCartney's tough guy performance after the address.
He shot down the idea of a gun amnesty as if it was the only proposed measure on guns, and bemoaned that the prime minister's ideas appeared not to have any teeth.
His assertion was at stark variance with that of the Police Staff Association, which praised the address and whose members are actually on the frontline, battling crime.
One measure with additional teeth is the expansion of CCTV monitoring in New Providence, a measure advocated and applauded by the high command of the police force.
So predictable was the post-address press release issued by the PLP that it easily could have been written before the prime minister spoke. Using the hackneyed phrase, "too little, too late", too liberally, too quickly, the Opposition misjudged the public's mood and overwhelmingly positive reaction to the speech.
In all likelihood, though few Bahamians may remember what the Leader of the Opposition said in his crime address just a few months ago, many may recall a general impression with which they were left. It was the suspicion that they were hearing familiar promises, few of which they remember being fulfilled.
There was also the suspicion that the Leader of the Opposition was offering a jumble of slogans. In an editorial the day after the prime minister spoke, The Nassau Guardian opined in reference to recent pronouncements by the Opposition:
"Coherent and plausible plans on crime and the economy actually do not need quirky names. They simply need to work and have the will of a competent government behind them.
"When a party announces multiple named programs at every speaking engagement, and it does not explain how they would be paid for, who would lead them and if they have been fully planned out, that party could come across as less than serious."
Two days after the crime address, tech-revolutionary and Apple Founder, Steve Jobs died. Jobs leapfrogged his competitors with devices and software which went beyond tinkering with existing operating systems and gadgets.
In his own way, Prime Minister Ingraham has essentially done the same by proposing significant innovations in social policy. The Opposition proposed Urban Renewal 2.0 if returned to office. The ambitious and impressive range of social intervention measures offered by Ingraham is more like Community and Urban Renewal 10.0.
With the prime minister superceding the Opposition's proposal by a wide magnitude, it looked foolish by calling his proposals "reasonable". This is akin to the Sony Corporation calling the iPad a "reasonable" improvement on its Walkman introduced in 1979. The next generation of social intervention innovations proposed by the Ingraham administration offers a variety of key features.
They include: the development of an Outward Bound-type program; a National Volunteers Register; the expansion of community service-learning in government schools; support for additional initiatives in urban areas geared towards young men; greater support for alternative sentencing programs like that offered by groups such as the Peace and Justice Institute of the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church, among others.
Ingraham was clear that it takes more than government action to address the roots of crime and anti-social behavior. To support his administration's initiatives, he proposed the expansion of public-private partnerships and collaboration calling on faith-based groups, NGOs, corporate citizens and philanthropists to help craft, manage and fund such initiatives.
His call for a new era of volunteerism recognizes the critical need for citizen-volunteers to help to bring about social change while addressing crime and violence. In essence, his was a message of "we the people". One of the more novel initiatives proposed is for an Outward Bound-type program.
Outward Bound is an experiential outdoor learning program with great success in youth development, including for at-risk youth. Its well-tested model has helped transform the lives of thousands, inclusive of practical and customized courses "developed for struggling teens [and] groups with specific health, social or educational needs".
Outward Bound or a similar program has the extraordinary potential to re-socialize and effectively intervene into the lives of young men and women, replacing destructive mindsets and behavior with healthier lifestyles and attitudes.
Its potential may extend to young people involved in gang activity, as well as residents of "the Simpson Penn and Willamae Pratt facilities with a view to improving the results being achieved in preparing these young people for reintegration into the community with skills to pursue productive lives." It may also involve students enrolled in the Ministry of Education's SURE program.
The National Volunteer Register "will enable Bahamians to sign up to be available to volunteer their time for mentoring our young men and women; assisting in community centers with afterschool programs; outreaches to urban neighborhoods to encourage parental and child involvement in school activities; to work with existing youth organizations in their programs; and a host of social activities that can positively impact upon our society."
The revamping of community service programs in government schools with an emphasis on ethics, service learning and character development holds considerable promise. The Prime Minister noted that implementation of a more comprehensive community service model is intended to help, "more young people develop a sense of belonging in our community, and [a] deeper sense of responsibility for its well-being, while better respecting themselves and others."
With the National Volunteers Register and a new community service-learning model, Prime Minister Ingraham has launched a new era of volunteerism redefining national service and fulfilling a dream long-held by various leaders.
Sir Lynden Pindling often spoke of a version of national service that was more paramilitary in nature and mandatory for youth between certain ages. Mr. Ingraham's version is voluntary, more practical and extends to every age group.
It holds the promise of becoming a singular accomplishment of national development and one of Mr. Ingraham's greater achievements, as well as a milestone of progressive governance.
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