Prevention

Mind over matter? How fit you think you are versus actual fitness

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

A study of over 60,000 people who were followed for as long as two decades found that people’s perceptions about their level of activity have a more significant effect on their longevity than their actual fitness.

Ticks and the changing landscape of tick-borne illnesses

Wynne Armand, MD
Wynne Armand, MD, Contributing Editor

Ticks are being found in more places, and they are carrying newly discovered bacteria, meaning it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and your family when you are outdoors.

Does drinking diet soda raise the risk of a stroke?

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

While a study suggests that people who drink a diet soda or more per day may be at higher risk for stroke, there are other factors that could account for these results. Regardless, it’s wise to limit any food with artificial sweetener.

Vitamin D: Finding a balance

Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH
Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH, Contributor

The best way to get the vitamin D your body needs is through sun exposure, but since many people are now more vigilant about sun protection, eating foods rich in the vitamin is preferable to taking a supplement. It’s also important to be aware that too much vitamin D can be harmful.

This just in: Exercise is good for you

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

If you are trying to follow the recommended guidelines for physical activity, the best way to spend your time may be running, but a study of commuters found that those who walked or bicycled to work also had lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

Stay safe in (and on) the water

Celia Smoak Spell
Celia Smoak Spell, Assistant Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Pools, beaches, and boats are great ways to enjoy leisure time in the summer. Following some simple precautions will make your water activities safer for everyone.

Shopping for sunscreen: Are all brands equal?

Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH
Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH, Contributor

The variety of sunscreens available can be confusing to consumers who want to know they are choosing a product that offers appropriate protection from harmful ultraviolet rays. New sunscreen ingredients currently in use in Europe are still in the pipeline waiting FDA approval in the US.

Lifestyle change: “I know what to do, I just need to do it…but how?”

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

Despite willpower, many people find that making significant lifestyle changes is very difficult. Factors both internal and external influence our ability to make changes, but being aware of them is the first step to overcoming them.

Asking saves lives: A simple question can keep children safe from gun injury

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Although talking about guns is difficult and can be awkward, putting children’s safety first means asking if there are loaded guns in any place your child plays.

Sticking to a low-salt diet when eating out

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

People concerned about sodium intake should be careful when dining out, as many restaurant meals are loaded with salt, and it’s not just the fast-food places that are guilty of this.