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Hanging onto good health Life lessons culminate in fitness event hosted by Cerner Corp.

Friday, December 14, 2012

By Lynn A. Wade

Nevada Daily Mail

Students in Nevada High School health classes have been getting unique lessons in taking charge of their own health through Cerner's STAT! program, made possible in Nevada through a partnership between Nevada R-5 schools and the Healthy Nevada Initiative; and on Wednesday, 30 students traveled to Cerner's south Kansas City-area campus to learn even more through hands-on experiences.

Anna Hennes, STAT! program manager, shows student Kendra Blunt how to use a body fat percentage meter. Users input height, weight, age and gender in to the machine, which sends electrical pulses and interprets all of that data to determine body fat percentage; it's useful, Hennes said, because Body Mass Index doesn't take into account how much of the body is muscle; compared to how much is fat.
Through online resource provided by the STAT! program, the students spend weeks learning about one of a wide variety of preventable health conditions. Through a fictitious electronic health record -- which STAT! staff members explained was prepared by clinicians to reflect a realistic scenario -- the students learn about what aspects of the patients' lifestyles led to the condition from which the "patients" suffer, what happens to them as a result, and how making different choices throughout their lives might have prevented the health condition.

Lauren Butler, program manager, said the program's "designed to educate the students" about health issues, "and to help them have a proactive view of their own health," as well.

The hope is that students will use the information presented about preventing these health issues to begin making better decisions about their own health, now, to help them avoid the pitfalls and consequences of unhealthy choices as adults.

"They're at an age when they start thinking about their own choices," Butler said, explaining that teens make dietary and lifestyle choices now that can have long-term impact; and students said they'd learned a great deal from the online tools they've been using.

Students Candice Stone and Raymond Dunfield both followed melanoma cases. One was a soccer coach who enjoyed spending time in the sun, but didn't wear sunscreen. Stone said, "I learned a lot," and photos of the cancer, especially in the eyes, made an impression. Sunglasses may become a more important part of Stone's wardrobe; but she didn't think she'd start wearing sunscreen right now, because, after all, it's winter. Dunfield said he's already in the habit of wearing sunscreen.

Printed information provided by STAT! staff also noted that it "also introduces students to career roles in health care delivery and provides an understanding of the future of health care information technology."

Brent Bartlett's classes took part in Wednesday's event. Students arrived at about 9:30 a.m., and the healthy excursion began with a long walk that involved three staircases to reach an in-house fitness room where most of the day's activities took place. Students played a game of "fitness charades," in which groups acted out a fitness activity while others in the room guessed what they were doing. Students also learned the proper way to do squats, underwent body mass index evaluations, viewed demonstrations on fitness and nutrition and took part in a 30-minute fitness activity. Today, another group of Nevada students, from Gail Wilson's and David Cox's classes, will travel to Cerner's corporate facility for a similar experience.

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Actually, there is no medical consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer, it is proven they block Vitamin D absorption, and some chemicals in some sunscreens may have hazardous effects.

-- Posted by IcedGreenTea on Fri, Dec 14, 2012, at 9:14 AM

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