The secret to scoring a second date? Sushi and politics

Getting up the nerve to ask someone out on a first date can be tough. But how do you create an experience that leads to a second date and potentially a lifelong romance?

Dating pic

Going for sushi ups your chances of a second date by 170 percent, according to the latest Singles in America study.

According to this year’s Singles in America study from, sushi, political discourse and an after-dinner drink can help singles score that second date.

“First dates can be tricky, balancing expectations and nerves. But it turns out that second dates can also be quite influential, as you get to learn more about someone and try to decide if you might be a match,” said Justin Garcia, assistant professor of gender studies and research scientist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and co-author of the Singles in America study.

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Online session focuses on helping men improve physical, mental performance

Who doesn’t want to perform at their top of their game?

Having the energy to chase the kids or grandkids around the yard. Harnessing the focus and drive to finish that big work project. For most men, it’s not about being Superman, but about being the best man you can be.

Men's Health

Healthy IU is encouraging men to think more about their health with an upcoming online session.

For men, daily habits affect testosterone levels, which in turn can affect their quality of life. Healthy IU is hoping to provide a little encouragement for men to think more about their health, make healthy choices and essentially improve their overall daily life.

Steven Lalevich, Healthy IU dietitian at the IU Health Center, will host an online session, “Men: How to Be at the Top of Your Game,” from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 25. The presentation will focus on ways for men to naturally improve their testosterone levels to increase both physical and mental performance.

“Just about every aspect of a man’s lifestyle could be influencing his testosterone level, one way or the other,” Lalevich said. “Things like sleep, diet, physical activity and stress can all have significant effects on testosterone production.”

Testosterone, the hormone that helps maintain a man’s bone density, muscle strength, facial and body hair and sex drive, can affect both a man’s physical performance — such as strength and endurance — and mental performance, such as memory and concentration. It also supports feeling energized and having a positive sense of well-being.

Sleep, diet and exercise are the most common and effective ways to improve overall well-being, Lalevich said, with exercise being one of the best ways to improve testosterone levels.

Steven Lalevich

Steven Lalevich, registered dietitian with Healthy IU

“Exercise not only has a direct effect on raising testosterone, but it also helps manage stress and burn body fat,” he said. “Too much stress or body fat can lower testosterone, so exercise is a great option for multiple reasons.”

In addition to sleep, diet and exercise, environmental toxins can also impair a man’s testosterone level, while also causing excessive levels of estrogen.

“Endocrine disruptors, such as bisphenol A (BPA), are often found in plastic containers and can leach into foods and beverages and alter sex hormones in the body,” Lalevich said. “It’s best to limit use of plastics, and especially avoid heating plastic containers, which increases the amount of these compounds that leach out.”

Lalevich encourages anyone interested in learning more about improving their testosterone level to tune in to the Feb. 25 session. Registration and more information about the session are available on Healthy IU’s website.

IU Bloomington hosting first National Symposium on Parks and Recreation in Public Health

Experts from across the nation will travel to the Indiana University Bloomington campus Feb. 10 to 12 for the first National Symposium on Parks and Recreation in Public Health.

Doug Knapp

Doug Knapp

“The vital role that parks and recreation play in promoting and improving national public health will be the centerpiece of this symposium, which is the first of its kind,” said symposium organizer Doug Knapp, professor at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. “The symposium will focus on the vital role that the nation’s public parks and recreation agencies and organizations play as essential partners in combating some of the most complicated challenges our country faces: poor nutrition, hunger, obesity and physical inactivity.”

The IU Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Studies and the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington are hosting the event.

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IU dietitian encourages people to think of healthy eating as a lifelong process

It’s the new year. For the past few months, as you helped yourself to another holiday cookie and stuffed yourself with turkey, you’ve been telling yourself, “After the new year, I’ll replace these cookies with celery sticks.”

Steven Lalevich

Steven Lalevich, registered dietitian with Healthy IU

But as Americans, we are inundated with information touting the latest diet, the most recent research and recommendations from everyone, including the government, on what we should and should not be eating. That revolving door of information can make it overwhelming to decide how to make even the simplest changes.

“The public is continually bombarded with news headlines about diet and nutrition, as seemingly every nutrition study is deemed newsworthy,” said Steven Lalevich, dietitian for Healthy IU. “This can be overwhelming for people as they try to make sense of the news reports, which often contradict each other.”

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Quitting smoking is ‘the number one best decision an individual could ever make in their life’

Now that the holidays are over, many people will start the New Year looking to make a change.

quit-smokingFor some, that change might be to eat healthier or exercise more. Others will look to be less stressed or to spend more time with family. But the new year can also be a time to make one of the most important decisions in some people’s lives: to quit smoking.

“The new year is a perfect time to think about quitting,” said Cathy Wyatt, Assistant Director of Disease Prevention Programs at Indiana University’s Health Center. “Even if you start out reducing your smoking, now is a great time to take a first step.”

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for one in every five deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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IU Student Association encourages students to educate themselves about the Lifeline Law

As chief of staff for the Indiana University Student Association, Sara Zaheer has heard about the fear some fellow students have when it comes to contacting law enforcement under circumstances that involve drinking or similar activities.

lifeline_stroke2That is why the Indiana Lifeline Law — which provides legal immunity for underage students who call for emergency medical attention for a person experiencing an alcohol- or drug-related medical emergency or who witness a crime or sexual assault — is so important.

“The Lifeline Law does a great job to encourage students to make the call to request emergency medical assistance for a friend in need,” Zaheer said. “It takes away some of the hesitation for students. Many students are worried about the consequences of interacting with law enforcement if they’ve been drinking underage or under the influence of other illegal substances.”

Although the law has been around since 2012, students are still hesitant about using it, said Patrick Lockhart, director of state and legislative affairs for the IU Student Association.

“Students oftentimes won’t take advantage of the law because they are with a larger group or at a party and don’t want anyone else to get in trouble,” he said. “As we talk to students around campus, there are also many misconceptions as to what protections the lifeline law actually provides.”

The Indiana Lifeline Law provides legal protection to minors under the influence of alcohol who call to report a medical emergency or a crime, and it also allows first-responders to administer medical treatments that counteract the effects of a drug overdose.

Currently, the law applies only to the person who makes the call and surrounding parties. The caller must provide his full name and relevant information requested by law enforcement; remain on the scene with the person who needs medical assistance; and cooperate with emergency medical assistance personnel and law enforcement officers.

If these steps are followed, the person cannot be prosecuted for public intoxication, intoxication on public transportation or illegal possession of alcohol.

Although the law does not apply to the person being called for, it does allow a court to defer entering a judgment of conviction for a person arrested for an alcohol offense if they were arrested after a report that the person needed medical assistance due to the use of alcohol.

It also establishes a mitigating circumstance for someone convicted of a controlled-substance offense if the person was charged in part because they requested emergency medical help for an individual suffering from an alcohol- or substance-related emergency.

State Sen. Jim Merritt, who sponsored the law, has traveled the state to bring awareness to both students and parents. He has spoken to more than 50,000 people about the law since its inception and has led a widespread outreach initiative each fall to inform students and parents about the law through the Internet and radio.

In response to concerns from students and parents, Merritt is drafting proposed changes to the legislation that will include providing immunity to the person who needed medical attention in regard to alcohol or drugs who is under the age of 21.

“The bottom line is we want kids to be safe, and we know kids make mistakes,” he said. “We just don’t want a bad decision to be their last decision.”

The IU Student Association has also made it its mission to educate students and to work with Merritt, IU administrators and law enforcement to clarify the law and encourage students to make the call.

“Student health and safety is a big component of the advocacy that IUSA does,” Lockhart said. “We want every student to enjoy their time here but also be able to take care of each other if anything should ever happen. The most important thing to remember is that this is meant to save lives. Don’t hesitate to make the call. This was made to encourage you to watch out for you fellow Hoosiers, so take advantage of that.”

IU health policy expert Beth Meyerson among panelists at upcoming legislative conference

Throughout the past year, addiction and its related pitfalls have been on the minds of health care professionals, experts, educators and the public.

Beth Meyerson

Beth Meyerson, co-director of Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention.

Scott County faced a major crisis when HIV cases skyrocketed because of intravenous drug use. Needle exchange programs have popped up in three counties since, and the state continues to find ways to combat an increase in drug addiction.

Beth Meyerson, assistant professor of applied health science at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, will discuss addiction and health care during the Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP Legislative Conference on Dec. 16.

“This is an important part of being a university and a school of public health,” Meyerson said of attending the conference. “Our work is focused on the translation of public health evidence for policy consideration. This means that we must be engaged, communicate effectively and respond with evidence when needed for policy-maker consideration.”

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Health experts mark World AIDS Day with discussion on Scott County HIV outbreak

Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

World AIDS Day both celebrates the scientific and medical advances in treating HIV/AIDS and commemorates those lost to the decades-long epidemic. Globally there are an estimated 35 million people living with HIV, and 39 million have died of HIV/AIDS since discovery of the virus in 1984. Although it is a global epidemic, this year Hoosiers did not have to look beyond their own backyard to experience the virus’s havoc.

The panel included both local and national experts.

The panel included both local and national experts. | Photos by Benedict Jones

In January, the Indiana State Department of Health opened an investigation into the 20-some HIV cases in Scott County. In under two months, over 184 Scott County residents became infected, largely by IV drug use; 92 percent of those infected also contracted hepatitis C.

Scott County garnered national attention as it declared a health emergency, brought in a national team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and passed emergency legislation allowing for an unprecedented needle exchange program.

A panel of local and national HIV/AIDS experts met Dec. 1, the 27th annual World AIDS Day, in IU’s Whittenberger Auditorium to discuss the challenges in Scott County, the future of fighting the virus and the role of Indiana University in research and advocacy. The event was hosted by the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention.

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IU experts provide tips for minimizing stress during the holiday season

The holidays.

For some, the time of year consumed by parties, family gatherings and gift-buying excursions can be seen as the best of times and the worst of times.

In fact, in the last few weeks, my friends and I have already started grumbling about “figuring out the holidays” — where will we go, how long will we stay there, and knowing along the way we’ll never have enough time to plan and go everywhere we want to go.

Cathlene Hardy Hansen

Cathlene Hardy Hansen

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the stressors that can accompany the holidays. Whether it’s managing your time off, finding the perfect gift for your loved one or simply trying to stave off the feeling of loneliness that can come with this time of year, the holidays can be a trying time for some.

But it doesn’t have to be a time of anxiety and sorrow, said Cathlene Hardy Hansen, director of health and wellness at the Indiana University Health Center.

“With all the demands and expectations of the season, the best tip for reducing stress is to simply acknowledge your feelings and think through what is best for you and the ones you care for,” she said.

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Ready to Move IU program pairs student health coaches with university employees

Amy Hull knows she needs to be more active.

But when it comes to movement, the associate director for IU’s Office of Student Financial Assistance admits she needs a little extra encouragement to keep her on the right path.

Move IU

IU employee Bridgett Milner, left, walks with student Katherine Zukerman, middle, and IU employee Amy Hull as part of the Ready to Move IU program. | Photo by IU Communications

So when she heard about the Ready to Move IU program — which pairs employees with graduate students from the School of Public Health-Bloomington — Hull used the opportunity to get motivated and get moving.

“I am very sedate in my job and in my home life,” Hull said. “So I wanted an opportunity to have someone give me that kick in the pants to get moving and take more steps. I need to be more active, and I thought this was a good catalyst to get that going.”

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