Tag Archives: Blog Post 4 – Exercising Public Voice

Likes Don’t Define You

I have never been a big social media poster. I’m the person that will scroll through and like other people’s posts, but I rarely post myself. I haven’t really thought much about why I don’t. I’m not sure if it’s because my mom posts often on Facebook (for a couple of years straight she bought a “Facebook Book” that was a photo album of all your posts for the year, so she documented everything she/we did) or because my brother got rid of most social media  (kept Twitter) and never posts. I have just never been one to post on social media, although at times I would like to. I recently started to think more about why I don’t post even when I want to. I don’t really want to commit to saying that I get “social media anxiety” but that could be part of it. We’ve all heard that social media can affect your mental health. It can cause FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), you may feel inadequate in your own life, and it can even cause you to feel more alone. 

For me, I worry about how many likes I get. For example, if I don’t get a certain amount of likes, it means people don’t like me. When it comes to friends and family, I know that that is not true. I have amazing loving and supportive friends and family, so why do I worry about how many likes I get on a post? Shouldn’t social media be for you and not cause you to worry about it? I think it should, but that is not the case for many people. 

I recently heard on a podcast I like that the host, Alex Cooper, is turning off her likes and comments on Instagram. She’s doing it mainly for all the hate comments she gets sent, but also says that she’s doing it for herself. She got caught photoshopping a photo and was aggressively called out for it. There were multiple viral TikTok’s addressing the photoshopping. She also got messages on Instagram from people saying they hate her for photoshopping and telling her to kill herself. 

Hearing about the ability to turn off likes got me interested and thinking more about it. If I turned off the likes I get on my post, would that make me feel more confident in posting?

When you turn off your “likes” on a post, you can still see who’s liked the post, but others can’t see. On Instagram, it will say “Liked by @username and others” so other people won’t be able to see how many people liked the post, but you still will know. But will turning off your likes big be as big of a benefit as some people think?

Sophia Choukas-Bradley, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, says that this may be a step in the right direction, but they do not believe that will be a majorly transformative change. Jeff Hancock, founding director of the Stanford Social Media Lab, also agrees. “Do I think it’s going to have a huge impact on mental health? I don’t think so”. Not many professionals think that this is going to be a huge drastic change to people’s mental health when they use social media. They all say that it is a step in the right direction. That there are some problems to work out with getting rid of the likes feature, such as being able to apply it to all posts and not individual posts. 

I believe that this is a step in the right direction and a good one for Facebook and Instagram. For me being able to apply that feature will ease my mind more of thinking people will judge me for knowing my post didn’t get thousands of likes.

Obesity is a Growing and Troubling Health Concern in Children.

According to CDC, about 1 in 5 American children has obesity. Children who are overweight or obese are prone to higher health risks.

Causes of Obesity in Children
There are many causes and risk factors leading to childhood obesity, including a poor diet, lack of exercise, genetics, socioeconomics, environmental and psychological factors.

The Health Risks of Childhood Obesity
Children with obesity are more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, joint problems, heartburn, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
There are future health risks associated with obesity that become more severe as the child ages, such as cardiovascular disease, coronary health disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, body pain, and a number of cancers.

Prevention and Treatment of Children with Obesity
The ideal way to treat childhood obesity starts with prevention. The school environment and your local community can contribute to a child’s weight, but the source of prevention and treatment begins in a child’s home.

“Big Kid Lunch #465” by Wendy Copley is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There are many ways to help prevent and treat childhood obesity in the home. The first factor is offering a healthy diet by preparing healthy meals, keeping healthy snacks available, limiting sweetened drinks, and providing non-food rewards. The healthiest lifestyle requires children to eat a healthy diet and to receive daily physical activity.
Many studies show that at least 60 minutes of moderate activity or 20 minutes of more intense physical activity is important for children. Find activities that your child enjoys, whether sports, exercise, hiking, playing at the park, climbing, dancing, etc.

For a child accustomed to a more sedentary life, start with slow activity such as walking. The Mayo Clinic says physical activity is a critical part of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It burns calories, strengthens bones and muscles, and helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during the day.

“Jumping Rope” by LongitudeLatitude is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another way to promote activity in a child and move away from a sedentary lifestyle would be to limit screen time on TV, laptops, smartphones, and gaming devices. The Mayo Clinic states screen time should be limited to no more than two hours a day for children older than two years old, and children under that age should have no screen time at all.

An important way to motivate your child and to create realistic goals is by modeling a healthy lifestyle. Serve healthy portions of food, be active with your child, and limit your own screen time.

If your child’s weight cannot be controlled beyond regular diet and exercise, there are other options. The Optimal Wellness for Life (OWL) program recommends a low-glycemic diet. Visit their site for more information.

You Should Have an Active Part in Your Child’s Health

Parents have a role like no one else in their child’s life, and that is in the control they have over what their child puts in their body. The microwave and fast-food culture is killing children and it is time for you to stand up and decide to bring nutritional meals into the home. It is up to you, as the parent, to establish a healthy lifestyle in your child that will follow them into adulthood and reduce their risk for health complications due to being overweight or obese. Set your child up for success in their eating and activity habits.

Bring your child to wellness checkups with their doctor at least once a year to identify whether your child is at risk.




Negative Impacts of Steroid use on Athletes

The use of steroids by athletes has been identified to post detrimental impacts in their life. Even though most of the long-term effects of steroid use have been contained within the epidemiological studies, these adverse effects have been underreported because they occur many years after the actual service. One recent review has linked 19 deaths of athletes between 1990 and 2012 to anabolic steroid use (Reyes-Vallejo, 2020). Nonetheless, many athletes who use steroids also use other drugs, making it challenging to link their deaths with steroid use.

The use of steroids negatively impacts the cardiovascular system of athletes. For instance, it results in high blood pressure and decreased functioning of the heart’s ventricle, necessitating cardiovascular diseases such as artery damage, strokes, and heart attacks (Reyes-Vallejo, 2020). Furthermore, steroids also increase an athlete’s risk of blood clots within their blood vessels, thus disrupting the efficient flow of blood. Moreover, steroid usage is also responsible for causing infections among athletes. The sharing of contaminated needles while injecting the steroids puts these athletes at a higher risk of contracting viral diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C (Reyes-Vallejo, 2020).

Besides increasing the risk of contracting viral infections, steroid use also disrupts the average production of hormones in the body. The male athlete may experience decreased sperm production, reduced functioning of the testes that leads to low testosterone levels, and the shrinking of the testicles also referred to as testicular atrophy (Reyes-Vallejo, 2020). Furthermore, it may increase the risk of males contracting testicular cancer, especially when steroids are combined with insulin-like growth components. Among female athletes, steroid use causes masculinization, where the breast size and body fat decrease, the skin grows coarse, and the voice begins to deepen (Reyes-Vallejo, 2020). Finally, steroids use among athletes exposes them to liver damage, tumors, and a rare health condition identified as peliosis hepatis, where blood-filled cysts develop in the liver (Reyes-Vallejo, 2020). These cysts may rupture hence resulting in internal bleeding that may even cause death


Reyes-Vallejo, L. (2020). Current use and abuse of anabolic steroids. Actas Urológicas Españolas (English Edition)44(5), 309-313. Retrieved on 15th November 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2173578620300627

five negative impacts of use of steroid among athletes constitutes;

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Trouble in sleeping
  • Restlessness

Alternatively, the link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI5ycbNYa6U) also weighs the option between the negative influence of steroid use by the athletes. It indicates that steroids increase an athlete’s risk of blood clots within their blood vessels, thus disrupting the efficient flow of blood. Moreover, steroid usage is also responsible for causing infections among athletes. The sharing of contaminated needles while injecting the steroids puts these athletes at a higher risk of contracting viral diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C. Besides increasing the risk of contracting viral infections, steroid use also disrupts the average production of hormones in the body.


Recycling is Important!

In my household we always try to recycle everything we can, including handing clothes down from kid to kid. In other words my oldest son is the only one that gets “fresh new items” when he grows out of them. And my youngest daughter gets “some” new stuff too (since she is the only girl) but my middle son pretty much gets about 80% “hand downs.”

 We realize this doesn’t seem fair for our middle child, but so far it doesn’t seem to bother him and it is worth the sacrifice. Also, we have separate recycle containers for our plastic and glass, and we donate all toys and clothes to the Salvation Army. We do this because we care about our planet, and we believe that recycling is very important for the future and welfare of us and planet earth.

Recycling is Important for us and the Planet

So, the reason recycling is able to do such amazing things like “save the planet!” is because every time you recycle a bottle or donate a clothing item you are preventing the development and creation of another new product. And every time a new plastic product is developed, we are risking the development and generation of Green House gases and an overabundance of carbon dioxide. When left alone these things can result in global warming and potential life-threatening consequences for everyone.

As a matter of fact, did you know that “The clothing industry accounts for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions?” which sounds small but when you think of all the other things out there that are hurting our planet I think this one has the easiest solution, “just donate!” There are plenty of people on the planet that would give anything just to have clothing to wear. There is no reason why with all of the “Stuff” circulating in and out of our stores that everyone shouldn’t be able to have an unlimited supply of clothing without ever needing to produce another stitch of material!

Get involved!

Our planet does depend on us to be responsible but believe it or not we are much more dependent on it then it is on us. We have the power to keep this beautiful planet as an infinitive space where us humans and animals can live on from generation to generation or doom it to an inhabited planet where no life form can survive ending our existence as we know it. Either way the earth will remain here with or without us the choice is truly ours. I know my previous statement seems dark and depressing and while I am being a little extreme it is time to get involved!

Please click here to learn how to take-action and make a difference!

Paid Parental Leave

Congress has been negotiating President Biden’s spending bill, which includes paid family leave. This particular issue has been a struggle to get passed, it went from 12 weeks to cut completely, and most recently 4 weeks.

This is not enough, and Americans deserve better.

America is one of seven countries, and the only wealthy country that does not have any paid family leave. The international average is 29 weeks of paid leave.

Paid leave is not a new phenomenon in the US. The first record of a formal effort for 12 weeks of paid family leave was the Maternity Protection Convention of 1919. The real start in American history for paid family leave was the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) act which offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave job protection.

Paid Family Leave:

Food Insecurity in America

Food Insecurity is a public issue that I believe should not exist. Food insecurity is defined as “as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.” This issue affects countless individuals, majority being in low-income families. The community’s food insecurity most affects are seniors, children, rural communities African Americans, and Latinos.

Growing up I was lucky enough to have food provided by my parents, but it’s sad to say we all know someone in our past or present that has struggled with food insecurity.

We all know food banks exist as well as food stamps but how good are these programs ran? I’ve seen how food banks mostly consist of a lot of bread, sugar and not many real food options. By real food I mean fruit, vegetables, and meat.

Food stamps are also an ongoing process that takes time and is not always guaranteed. It’s not right that the government has control over whether an individual will have enough money for food. I know college students have use food stamps which is an amazing resource, but is $150 really a lot of money for groceries per month?

I just believe that there needs to be change. I want to share a Tik Tok that I recently watched, and it provided me with a prospective on food insecurity I have never thought about before.

I don’t know what change needs to happen, but I know that there needs to be awareness first.

 Feeding America


The Healthy People 2020

Kratom: A Drug of Concern

Articles that promote the use of Kratom and ignore its addiction potential are reckless.

Kratom is a psychotropic substance that is made from the leaves of a tropical tree that grows in Southeast Asia. Kratom is currently legal in the United States. In the state of Minnesota, you can buy Kratom at most Tobacco shops. Six states have banned the supplement including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has labeled it a “drug of concern” because of potential health risks. The medical use of Kratom is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and warnings about its use are increasing. High does produce effects similar to narcotic drugs like morphine or oxycodone. The effects are typically less intense and include euphoria, sleepiness, diminished pain, cough suppression, and itching. Additional effects include reduced blood pressure, nausea, constipation, and decreased respiration. In low dose amounts Kratom has been known to cause effects similar to stimulant drugs, decreasing fatigue and increasing energy levels. Frequent Kratom users may experience facial redness, excessive perspiration, weight loss, dizziness and dysphoria.

At the present time, Kratom is legal in the United States. Some states, however, have implemented their own regulations on the substance. These regulations are as follows: Alabama has categorized it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance since May of 2016, and it is banned in the state; Arkansas, which has categorized it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance since February of 2016, and it is banned in the state; California has banned Kratom use in San Diego only; Florida has banned the use of this drug in Sarasota Country only; Legal use of Kratom in Illinois for consumers over the age of 18 years old with the exception of the town of Jerseyville where it is completely banned; Indiana has banned Kratom use completely; New Hampshire permits the sale of Kratom to those over the age of 18; Tennessee has banned Kratom use completely; Wisconsin has banned the use completely. The banning of Kratom at the federal level is a hot topic due to overwhelming research that concludes its potential for abuse and addictive qualities. Research shows that the body can build a tolerance to Kratom, leading to compulsive drug seeking behavior and increases the risk of overdose.  

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has published warnings about the negative side effects of Kratom including nausea, excessive sweating, dry mouth, itchiness, constipation, increased need to urinate, reduced appetite, seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis. The development of physiologic dependencies after long-term use has been reported in some cases. People may also develop a tolerance to Kratom resulting in the need for higher doses to produce the desired effect. Withdrawal symptoms may include sweating, irritability, high blood pressure, cravings, and muscle pain. The DEA has indicated that long-term use can lead to symptoms of addiction such as mental confusion, delusions, weight loss, and insomnia. The FDA warns against the use of Kratom because of its risk of dependence, abuse, and addiction.

Kratom use amongst adolescents is on the rise because of its availability. Popularity of the widely available substance continues to grow. Online marketing of Kratom can be found with a simple Google search.  It is easier to buy than alcohol, in most states, and can be delivered right to your doorstep.  Media portrayal of Kratom health benefits and herbal qualities are misleading to consumers who are uneducated on the potential risks. Our country already faces a substance use disorder crisis. Allowing available access to a dangerous substance like Kratom is the last thing we need.

Black women and Health Care

A couple semesters ago I did a research paper about the unconscious biases Black women face in business. I read through numerous sources and along the way found some alarming statistics about the level of care black women receive compared to women of other races

What is the problem?

As I mentioned before, there are disparities in healthcare for Black women that directly cause poor health outcomes and a higher maternal mortality rate.

There are many statistics that also support these claims. One issue is that Black women are underrepresented in clinical trials along with biomedical research datasets. Along with these we see that according to the Black Women’s Health Imperative, “Black women are 60% more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have high blood pressure, according to the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.” However, some of the most alarming statistics are related to the reproductive health of Black women. Research shows that “Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications and 3-4 times more likely to suffer from severe disability resulting from childbirth compared to White women.” These are just a few of the disparities in health that Black women face and many of this issues are not being addressed.

What needs to change?

There are numerous changes that need to be made in order to address these health disparities, but I will highlight a few that I found to be incredibly important for the health of Black women.

  1. Many organizations agree that healthcare professionals should all receive high levels of anti-racism and implicit bias training in medical school. Along with this, state licensing boards and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology should be taking the initiative to address these issues.

2.There also needs to be expanded access to quality, patient centered reproductive health care. Since this is one of the biggest disparities that Black women deal with, there should be a strong focus on making this type of health care accessible.

3.It has also been suggested by Piraye Beim from the Endometriosis Foundation of America that “The FDA should update its policies guiding clinical trial enrollment to better incentivize drug companies to increase enrollment of black clinical trial participants. The NIH should also revisit policies and incentives to expand research and address data disparities for People of Color.” In order to understand more about how medications and procedures affect Black women, there needs to be more involvement in trial testing.

If you are interested as a individual in how you can help this cause, there are also organization’s such as the Black Women’s Health Imperative that provide resources on how you can be involved and make changes. I have linked below how you can take action and I encourage you to read more the issues they are tackling

How Do We Get Back to Normal?

Dawn Edwardson, MDST 485, Post #4, Type #4


We, as a society, want to get back to normal. We want to do the things we used to do, the way we used to do them. This includes not wearing face masks as we enter any indoor space where people come together such as the grocery store, restaurants etc. Many people are fine with riding this whole corona virus epidemic out via mask wearing and they’re holding on to hope of heard immunity via the massive vaccine campaigns. I’m mainly supportive of the thought that we are living in a pandemic and extra precautions are necessary and need to be a part of daily life in order to stay well. I must admit however, that there are many things that are not making entire sense to me such as, masking required to enter and exit a restaurant/brewery/bar but you can readily remove your mask for the entirety of your time as long as remaining seated.  And social distancing while moving through the airport but not once on the plane? And on the plane, you breathe in recycled air the duration of your flight. And then there’s contact sports…players need to wear their masks while on the sideline or bench but not while they’re actively playing in the game?

In her article, It’s Time to Get Back to Normal, Victoria Knight from khn.org (Kaiser Health News) shares some of the science behind the current recommendations related to Covid. She begins her article by debunking a Facebook and blog post by conservative radio show host Buck Sexton in which he makes false statements related to science indicating schools need to be re-opened, no facemasks outside, and low risk individuals should start living normal lives. Knight shares the current stance from public health experts, based on science, in three key areas: opening schools, discontinuing mask wearing outside, and low risk individuals should start living normal lives.

What I glean from her article is that we, as a society, would benefit from letting scientific data inform our thoughts and actions throughout the entirety of the pandemic, as related to Covid, just as we do for all other health related issues. I think it is so challenging for many of us because this is new, and we’re not used to it. It doesn’t help that we had a president that was absolute loose cannon, in my opinion, trying to poke holes in scientific data to push the country back into getting the economy up and running again. I understand the rationale on this; however, his approach was less than professional. He was semi effective at getting a large portion of the population to push back against the advice of public health officials. Not a good strategy during a health crisis.

People with Disabilities Should be Paid (at least) Minimum Wage

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to prohibit discrimination based on disability. However, there are loopholes that some taken advantage of. I want to specifically mention the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provided employers with the opportunity to fill out the 14 (c) certificate which allows them to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the minimum wage. These individuals include student-learners (vocational education students), as well as full-time students employed by retail or service establishments, agriculture, or institutions of higher education. Also included are individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, for the work to be performed.

I do not believe in paying anyone less than minimum wage. It is not unusual to request equal pay for doing the same job. For example, 18.0 percent of people with a disability were employed in the service industry in 2020 compared with 15.4 percent of people without a disability. They may have been more likely; however, the service industry is where many people find employment. You probably either work or have worked in the service industry or someone you know has.

A few points to consider are, people with disabilities often have more day-to-day expenses than people without disabilities. Additionally, costs of healthcare are typically more expensive. Of course, all costs are dependent on the persons needs. Yet, on average, a household with an adult with a disability spends $17,690 more each year than a household without to achieve the same standard of living.

There are policies and legislation in place to try and mitigate the costs, however, according to research conducted by the National Disability Institute, “Whatever the measure of poverty that is used, individuals with disabilities are more likely to be poor than their nondisabled peers.” This implies that current policies and legislation are not effective. The first inch towards the first step is paying people with disabilities a livable wage.

Finally, people with disabilities deserve the opportunity for a dignified and productive life. They are less likely to be employed, yet, still they’re more likely to be working when they’re 65 or older. Everyone should have access to the tools they need to live comfortably. This has just been an entry level discussion of this issue. I highly encourage all of us to continue learning about this issue and support policy makers that prioritize people with disabilities.

You can use go to this link HERE to see which businesses applied for the 14 (c) certificate. If you see a business that you support on that list, consider reaching out and requesting they do not apply in the future or finding an alternative that pays all their employees a fair wage. I recognize that sometimes that will not be possible because of proximity or other barriers. However, I still urge you to check and then just think about other possible ways we can help people achieve equity.