REMAX 440/Central Blog

Avoiding Non-caloric Beverages Can Help Avoid Weight Gain in Teens

September 25, 2012 2:36 am

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that adolescents who eliminated sugar-sweetened beverages for one year gained less weight than those who didn't, shedding light on an effective intervention to help combat adolescent obesity.

This is one of the first high-quality randomized control trials to examine the link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and their direct impact on weight and body mass index (BMI), as well as how a teen's home environment impacts sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in general.

Adolescents who received deliveries of non-caloric beverages for one year gained an average of four fewer pounds than their peers who continued to drink sugar-sweetened beverages. Within the two-year study, the one-year intervention also included motivational calls with parents, check-in visits with participants and written intervention messages to stop drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.

The 224 study participants were overweight or obese 9th or 10th graders who regularly drank sugary beverages. The study intervention was designed to reduce consumption of these beverages. Researchers used a novel method of intervention: delivering non-caloric beverages to participants' homes for participants and their families.

During the year-long intervention, the experimental group of adolescents—who virtually eliminated consumption of sugary beverages—gained four fewer pounds and had essentially no BMI increase compared to the control group, which continued to drink sugar-sweetened beverages regularly (although at reduced levels possibly due to local public health efforts). In addition, Hispanic adolescents showed the greatest benefit—gaining 14 fewer pounds than the control group. No other single food product has been shown to change body weight by this amount over a year simply through its reduction.

This study underscores the need for healthy choices to be more easily available to adolescents, as well as the need for more research into effective interventions among minority populations with particularly high obesity rates.


Published with permission from RISMedia.

Lattes: A Nutritious and Delicious Breakfast Complement

September 25, 2012 2:36 am

There's good news for the millions of Americans who start each day with a cup of coffee. Making a latte at home for breakfast is not only a delicious start to the day, but it can provide much-needed nutrients including calcium, Vitamin D and potassium that most Americans are lacking. Your morning latte delivers a full serving of milk's nine essential nutrients, including eight grams of high quality protein – even more than an egg.

Breakfast with milk, whether in a latte, your cereal or straight from a glass, can help you feel satisfied, focused and energized, so you can make the most of your day. At a time when specialty coffeehouse prices can be high, being your own barista at home could also help save you money. For only a quarter a serving, coffee's latte counterpart, milk, adds nutrients without breaking the bank.

Whatever your personal latte order, the National Milk Mustache "got milk?"® Campaign has at-home recipes for easy ways to make your morning latte the way you like it. Whether it's a simple two parts milk, one part espresso drink or a triple shot with extra foam, caramel drizzle and cinnamon, being your own barista is as easy as:

-Espress-o Yourself: Thinking about getting an espresso machine? Great! If not, no problem... just brew your coffee beans stronger than usual.
-Get Frothy with It: Milk frothers are a great gift. But you can also heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave, then whisk for extra foam.
-Have Fun with Flavor: Check your spice cabinet to add great flavors like cinnamon or nutmeg. You can also buy your favorite syrups for a coffee shop-worthy flavor boost.


Published with permission from RISMedia.

Light up the Landscape - How to Make the Most of Outdoor Lighting

September 24, 2012 2:36 am

Outdoor lighting is one sure way to make your home more secure. Done right, it adds a welcome air of warmth and glamour that can enhance any home.

Illuminating walkways, steps and entryways gives the property a lived-in look even when you are away—and provides a measure of safety for you and your family when you arrive home after dark. Wall lanterns and fixtures are readily available in a variety of styles and materials. A walk through your local home store will give you lots of ideas—and here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan:

-For security and safety, light up driveways, walkways, stairs and grounds with post lanterns, tier lights and floodlights.
-Enhance the ambiance by using low-voltage landscape lighting to light up trees, shrubs and flowerbeds. Low voltage lighting uses only 12 volts of electricity and is very safe to install.
-Floodlighting is a versatile way to illuminate wide areas, such as garden ponds, ivied walls or gazebos.
-Use path lighting to increase safety by lighting up areas where people walk, drive or climb steps.
-Use up-lighting techniques to add visual interest to trees, statues and fountains.
-Use sufficient wall lighting to add visibility around the swimming pool or walkway areas.
-Unique landscape features such as sculptures and shaped shrubbery can be highlighted using spotlights. A sequence of spotlights creates an interesting mosaic of colors and textures.
-For maximum safety, lights and cables should be installed at least five feet from the edge of a swimming pool.
-Light fixtures should not be covered by foliage, tree branches or bushes. To ensure maximum light output, check the areas around all fixtures several times a year and prune surrounding foliage as necessary.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

How to Sleep to Improve Alignment and Help Alleviate Back Pain

September 24, 2012 2:36 am

If you're waking up with back pain, it may be due to the way you're sleeping rather than a medical ailment. That's according to renowned balance expert Jean Couch, founder of the Palo Alto-based Balance Center.

"Misaligned bones create chronic tension," Couch explains. "We can alleviate tension and pain by sitting, standing, bending and sleeping differently. Practicing proper alignment in bed takes stress off the joints and allows the muscles to relax for a more restful sleep."

Here are a few tips on how to achieve optimal spine alignment during sleep:

-Sleep in an elongated position, not in a ball. This lengthens the spine and increases moisture and nutrition to spinal discs. People often curl up because of back pain. An elongated alignment promotes a healthy back.
-When sleeping on your side, place the upper arm on hip or side. If the arm drops forward, consider putting a pillow under the armpit. This widens the shoulder girdle and aligns the entire shoulder area.
-Position your pillow properly. If lying on your side, your pillow should be positioned as high as your shoulder is wide. If the pillow is too low, your head will drop down and your neck will kink; if too high, it will push the head up. Either situation is hard on the neck and spine.
-Make sure your pillows can be shaped to provide the right support. Down pillows can also help, as they can take shape depending on comfort needs at any given moment.
-Back sleepers should create a wedge shape with their pillow, with more height and dimension toward the top of the head. This forces the chin down and lengthens the neck, decreasing snoring and possibly helping with sleep apnea. The wedge shape also helps to relax the lower back.

Source: McRoskey Mattress Company

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Luxurious Bathroom Ideas for the Home

September 24, 2012 2:36 am

A great bathroom could add real value to your property, so it's vital you spend the time and effort creating the perfect sanctuary. By handpicking the finest accessories to fine-tune your bathroom, you can turn it into a luxurious haven.

Sharp lines and clean appearances can boost a simple washroom into a cutting edge design. Dogi's Fontane range is a stunning collection of natural furniture pieces made from solid wood ash, providing a minimalist feel for your home. Enhancing your bathroom's shape and size through discrete storage, each piece is custom-made, maximizing surface space through multi-storage units. With a range of styles, colors and sizes to choose from, you won't be short of ideas to match existing bathroom features.

Fittings and accessories should never be ignored when furnishing your washroom. A key piece, such as a basin, can really enliven the look and bring a touch of luxury to any space. Glass Design creates washbowls that are a great example of cutting-edge design meeting decadence. Each piece is uniquely designed, using materials that capture the soul of the product, adding a new lease of life to your abode.

If you have a medium- or large-sized bathroom, consider investing in a freestanding bath. It provides a focal point, adding grandeur to your bathroom. Make sure you think about the look and feel you want before investing, as this is a key product that will influence the whole look and feel of your room. From traditional Victorian to industrial-inspired designs and Japanese influences, there is a great range of inspiring pieces to choose from.

Source: C.P. Hart

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Many Adults Would Plan to Live Frugally if They Won the Lottery

September 21, 2012 2:34 am

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams? While it's easy to fantasize about what one would do with a lottery jackpot, a new survey reveals that many U.S. adults would continue to live normally if they won the lottery. In fact, 64 percent of U.S. adults said they would be extremely or very likely to continue to live frugally and 55 percent would still be extremely or very likely to use coupons. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from September 5th – 7th, 2012, among 2,570 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

In addition to frugal living and coupon use, hypothetical lottery winners said they would be extremely or very likely to maintain other cheap living habits, including:

• Shopping at dollar and/or discount stores – 53 percent
• Only buying items on sale – 51 percent
• Continuing to work at current job – 36 percent

Regardless of lottery-winning plans, nearly four-in-ten (37 percent) of U.S. adults buy lottery tickets at least sometimes, while 13 percent of buy them very often or often. Those in the Northeast (43 percent) are significantly more likely than those in the West (30 percent) and Midwest (35 percent) to buy lottery tickets at least sometimes.

Comparing gender, more males (42 percent) buy lottery tickets at least sometimes than females (32 percent). When it comes to age, significantly less U.S. adults ages 18-34 (28 percent) buy lottery tickets at least sometimes, than those ages 55 and up (41 percent).

When asked what they would do with the money if they won a large amount in the lottery, some U.S. adults took the practical route while others had more creative dreams. A random sampling of U.S. adults shared the following plans for if they won big lottery payout:

• Build a homeless shelter.
• Pay for medical procedures that my insurance won't cover.
• Establish a charitable foundation.
• Set up college funds for my children and grandchildren.
• Get a divorce.
• Get rid of my student debt.
• Find a job that I really want to do, rather than work at a place I can't stand just earn a paycheck.
• Endow a scholarship at my college.
• Buy my parents a home closer to me so I can take care of them.
• Donate 10 percent to my church.
• Makeover my home and hire a maid.
• Get prescriptions that I can't currently afford.
• Hire a hairdresser and masseuse daily and have a chauffeur.
• Take my family to Disney World.
• Open an orphanage.
• Buy a Steinway D Concert Grand piano.
• Pursue my dream job of teaching.
• Purchase a large RV and travel the country visiting family and friends, and camping and hiking with my spouse.
• Start my own business.
• Work for free for a non-profit.

Source: Coupon Cabin

Published with permission from RISMedia.

New Research Unveils Impact of Breakfast in the Classroom

September 21, 2012 2:34 am

Most parents know that breakfast is important for their children, yet a significant number of children still aren't getting the breakfast they need each day and teachers are seeing the effects in the classroom.

In fact, new research reveals that more than three quarters (77%) of teachers have given food to a student they thought was hungry. This startling number reinforces that even though parents may think their kids are fine when they leave the house without eating, the effects of skipping breakfast kick-in an hour into the school day - leading teachers to take measures to cope.

Canada's Breakfast Report, a study of Canadian moms and teachers, shows big discrepancies between what parents think and say about breakfast and what teachers are seeing at school. Only 7% of moms claim that, they have let their children go to school at least once a week without eating breakfast. Conversely, teachers believe that number is actually four times higher (29%) based on the behavior of kids in the classroom. Critically, more than half of teachers (56%) believe poor grades can be related to children not eating the breakfast they should each day.

Though parents are struggling to overcome some barriers, experts say it's crucial that they make it a priority to get their children back to the breakfast table.

"Spending the time as a family to eat breakfast is like putting money in people's physical, mental and emotional banks," says developmental psychologist Dr. Tony Volk. "Not eating breakfast goes beyond the food itself - it can impact a child's ability to concentrate which affects their grades, behavior and ability to socialize."

The good news is that when children come to school after eating a balanced breakfast, teachers see encouraging results:

• 82% of teachers agree that breakfast improves a student's capacity to learn;
• 62% see an ability to retain learning;
• 69% say it improves a student's ability or willingness to interact with other students.

The report also shows that two-thirds (66%) of moms agree that ideas for making breakfast more fun could help their family eat breakfast more frequently. Moms cited a number of ways that breakfast could be more fun including; changing up routines, listening to music and trying new and fun foods.

Source: Nutella

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Protect a Home from Severe Weather with a Metal Roof

September 21, 2012 2:34 am

Hailstorms, hurricanes, heavy snow and wildfires can all cause extensive damage to a home. The roof takes the brunt of extreme weather, protecting everything and everyone from the elements. Choosing the right roofing product can mean the difference between a minor repair or a major problem. In the U.S., approximately 10 percent of homeowners now choose a metal roof when remodeling.

Metal roofing systems are designed to stand up to extreme weather conditions. In extreme cases, such as high wind conditions common in a wildfire, burning pine needles and debris can easily ignite a traditional asphalt roof. A metal roof may be the best protection one could get.

For homes in hurricane-prone areas, metal roofing's durability is a key factor to consider when re-roofing. Many metal roofing systems have a 120-mph wind rating and uplift resistance that exceeds new building code requirements. Metal roofing materials interlock, forming a protective barrier that other roofing materials do not provide. The interlocking system makes the roof stronger and more resistant to high winds.

In addition, naturally durable metal roofs are highly resistant to hail damage. Hail will not penetrate a metal roof. Metal roofing products have the highest impact resistance and hail rating granted by Underwriters' Laboratory (UL). Most metal roofing products earn a UL2218 Class 4 rating, meaning that a sample of the product did not crack when it hit twice in the same spot by a 2-inch steel ball, which would translate into a huge hailstorm.

If you are looking to buy a new roof for your home, you should at least consider the investment value in a metal roof. In fact, 61% of consumers who choose a metal roof cite durability as the top reason for their choice.

For more information, visit

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Is it Time to Buy a New Mattress? If So, What Kind Should You Buy?

September 20, 2012 2:32 am

Most mattresses should last up to 10 years. But it is time to buy a new one if: you wake up tired and achy, your mattress looks saggy or lumpy, or you find yourself sleeping better in hotels than in your own bed at home.

If any of these profiles fit, and you decide to buy a new mattress, what kind should you buy? That is a matter of comfort and personal choice.

Basically, there are four types to choose from:

Innerspring – Usually sold with a box spring, these conventional mattresses come with varying coil counts. Prices vary widely, as they are sold under various brands and store labels, but any number of coils over 390 in a queen size should be all you need.
Memory foam – Led primarily by Tempur-Pedic, these mattresses are a matter of opinion. Some testers call them ‘supportive and cushiony’ while others found they caused pressure, ‘like sleeping on hard or wet sand.’
Sleep number beds – led by Select Comfort, these mattresses are air-filled and allow you to set a different firmness for each half of the bed. Some testers said they would not buy the traditional model, but found the more expensive pillow-top model plush and comfortable.
Duxiana – Most testers found these more expensive mattresses, made with the springs in layers, quite comfortable. But many felt they are not worth the price.

What is important is that you try before you buy. They recommend spending at least 15 minutes in different sleep positions on each mattress you try out in the store.

Remember that price isn’t everything, and that firmness is a matter of personal choice.
When choosing a mattress, make sure you look for:

A sale or bargain on the mattress you like. It could save you up to 50%.
A comfort guarantee – Some retailers will give you several weeks–or even months–to return or exchange a mattress you don’t like.

And don't count on warranties. Typically good for 10 years, they cover defects in materials and workmanship, but they do not cover comfort.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Ladder Dos and Don'ts for Fall Maintenance

September 20, 2012 2:32 am

With homeowners clambering up ladders to paint, clean gutters and perform other fall chores, the autumn months can be an especially dangerous time

Ladders play a big role in thousands of accidents around the home. A Consumer Reports analysis of data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission found more than 160 deaths and 170,000 injuries related to ladders in 2007, the latest year for which full data is available. And over the past five years, more than 500,000 ladders have been recalled "due to fall hazards."

The following dos and don’ts will help keep you safe while you are performing chores that involve the use of a ladder this season.

Inspection and maintenance
-Keep ladders clean and dry. Wipe the ladder off after each use to prevent deterioration.
Wear and tear can cause a ladder to fail. Check all types—aluminum, fiberglass and wood—for cracks, dents and missing components.
-Tighten reinforcing rods beneath steps and hinges, and check the lanyard on an extension ladder for deterioration.

Getting ready
-Set up your ladder on a firm, level surface. Use leg-levelers if necessary. Never stack objects, such as lumber or stones, beneath a ladder leg to level it.
-Lean a straight or extension ladder against a wall or other even, fixed object—never against a narrow tree or surface that cannot support both of the side rails.
-Set up an extension ladder with the base 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder reaches up- that's 3 feet at the base for a 12-foot ladder, or roughly a 75-degree angle.
-Use your stepladder only in the open, A-shaped position, never when folded. Make sure the spreaders are fully open and locked.
-Be sure that your extension ladder extends 3 feet beyond the roofline or work surface.
-When raising any extension ladder, be mindful of overhead power lines and other hazards.
-Before climbing, inspect the area where you'll be working for insect and bird nests. Check the area from below with a pair of binoculars.

Ups and downs
-Use the right ladder for the job. Always select a height that doesn't require you to reach up or out in a way that destabilizes the ladder; keep your belt buckle centered between the rails. Don't use a stepladder to get to the roof.
-When doing electrical work or working near an electrical power line, use only a wooden or fiberglass ladder. And remember that any ladder can conduct electricity when it's wet.
-Don't allow anybody else on the ladder with you.
-Climb and descend slowly, facing the ladder and holding the side rails with both hands (keep tools in a tool belt).
-Keep both feet on the ladder and center your weight between the rails at all times.
-Don't try to move the ladder when you're standing on it or try to "walk" it into a new position.
-Don't step above the labeled maximum height. Beyond that point, the odds of an accident increase significantly.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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