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Last year, Consumer Reports sent a survey team to several schools to find out how much weight kids were lifting , in their backpacks.  Parents were shocked to learn that of the students surveyed, the average weight hauled by second-graders was 5.3 pounds, fourth-graders carried 4.6 pounds and sixth-graders averaged 18.4 pounds.

Backpack Weight

To help alleviate some of the back pain and stress, Consumer Reports suggest that parents should keep the following factors in mind:

  1. Check for good stitching that can hold a decent amount of weight.
  2. Shoulder straps anchors should be about 1- to 2- inches below the top of the shoulder.
  3. The bottom of the backpack should go along the curve of the lower back and the backpack itself should not fall more than 4 inches below the waist.

If you are lactose intolerant or if you know someone who is, here are some things that will help you to learn more about this condition:

  • Our bodies produce an enzyme called lactase and when you drink a glass of milk or eat cheese, lactase helps to break down the milk sugar, or lactose, into simpler sugars that are eventually absorbed into your bloodstream.  People that are lactose intolerant have a lactase deficiency.
  • Many other illnesses have symptoms very comparable to lactose intolerance.  It's best to check with your doctor regarding your symptoms and he/she may suggest that you cut out dairy and denote any changes.  A breath test or tests of your stool can determine whether you are lactose intolerant.
  • Undigested lactose can cause a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, typically within two hours of having a dairy product, including nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea.  Although some people may have a lactase deficiency and have none of these symptoms at all.
  • While a few babies are born with a lactase deficiency, most people become lactose intolerant from age 2 to 12.  And even though most people become lactose intolerant during their childhood, they typically do not show signs of the intolerance until late adolescence or early adulthood.
  • Almost 65% of people worldwide or nearly 30 million Americans suffer from some degree of lactose intolerance.  It is more common among Asians, Africans, Hispanics, or Native Americans and less likely if your ancestors are from northern or western Europe.
  • Lactose intolerance is not the same thing as a milk allergy.  If you are allergic to milk, then your body is fighting dairy as if it were a harmful intruder in your body.  Symptoms are far more severe than lactose intolerance and may include itchy eyes, rash and wheezing.  People who are allergic to milk must avoid it entirely.
  • People with lactose intolerance can consume some amounts of dairy without any symptoms.  Most people can drink up to a half-cup of milk without it affecting them at all.

No one ever wants to admit that their breath may not be the best smelling or that they are an insomniac, but they are both issues that many people must deal with, among other pesky health problems.

Life Issues

Fortunately, there are some easy “food hacks” that will tackle bad breath and much more!

Food is your “best weapon” when it comes to helping your body deal with some of these not-so-pleasant situations.

Here are some foods that can help:

Have bad breath?  Try eating some yogurt.  According to experts, eating unsweetened yogurt can reduce the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide bacteria in your mouth.  Good bacteria found in yogurt, like streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus, overpowered the hydrogen sulfide and helped lower levels by more than half : helping to eliminate the smelly mouth odor.

Can't sleep? Try some kiwi.

Because of the high levels of antioxidants and serotonin in kiwi, many people with sleep disorders have found that eating kiwi one hour before bed will help with their insomnia.  People with sleep disorders have increased levels of oxidative stress and low levels of serotonin can cause insomnia.  Eating kiwi counteracts this process and can help people catch their ZZZZ's.

Have a hard workout? Eat some ginger.

If you hit the gym hard and are dealing with the aftereffects of a tough session, munch on some ginger.  Eating just 2 grams of raw or heated ginger per day can reduce post-workout muscle soreness by 25 percent.   Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds and oils called gingerols that contain painkilling and sedative effects in tests conducted.

Have acne? Indulge in some salmon.

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which decreases inflammation.  Studies show that inflammation is one of the underlying causes of acne and pimples.

The statistics can be staggering, more than 50 percent of men over the age of 50 are experiencing some form of hair loss, making the hair loss industry worth more than 3.5 billion dollars.

Hair Loss Myths

And while many of the creams or treatments that are currently out there for hair loss that don't work, it is hard to determine what is a fact and what is a myth when it comes to hair loss.

MYTH: Hair restoration never looks natural.  There are plenty of great hair restoration techniques out there, compared to years ago when the hair restoration process was more noticeable than present day.

MYTH: Baldness comes from your Mother's side. Your “hair future” is determined from both sides of your family and you are more likely to have a mix of your parent's hair genes.

MYTH: Pull out a grey hair and three more will grow in its place.  Repeatedly pulling out hairs can cause traction alopecia, where the trauma of plucking hairs can scar the hair follicle to the degree where it will no longer produce hair.  So, pulling them out on a regular basis can make your hair go away for good.

FACT: Mistreating your hair can cause hair loss.  Overworking your hair can damage your hair, make it weak and break easily.  Hair troubles can be caused by aggressive brushing, back combing, dying and straightening.  Shampoos and even too much UV exposure can also damage hair.

FACT: Propecia works.  Most of the hair loss falls into the category of male-pattern baldness.  This inherited condition makes a man's hair follicles stop producing hair in reaction to hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  Propecia blocks an enzyme that would otherwise turn testosterone to DHT, although it must be taken every day and may take up to three months to see any noticeable changes.

Tired of your same old treadmill routine?  Why not spice things up this week and try this easy treadmill work out that will help you burn a quick 2,000 calories in just seven days.

Treadmill Workouts

Day One:

Power walk : 30 minutes

Strength train : 20 minutes

Day Two:

Warm-up (walk easily, then briskly) : 3 minutes

Power walk : 2 minutes

Run fast (don't sprint) : 2 minutes

Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 10 times

Cool down (walk easily) : 2 minutes

Day Three:

Warm-up (walk easily) : 5 minutes

Do your favorite strength-training move : 12 reps

Power walk (4-6% incline) : 3 minutes

Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 6 times

Cool down (walk easily) : 5 minutes

Day Four:

Warm-up (walk easily, then briskly) : 3 minutes

Power walk : 2 minutes

Run fast (don't sprint) : 2 minutes

Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 6 times

Cool down (walk easily) : 3 minutes

Day Five: 

Repeat Day One's Routine

Day Six:

Warm-up (Walk easily, then briskly) : 5 minutes

Power walk : 2 minutes

Run fast (don't sprint) : 4 minutes

Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 6 times

Cool down (walk easily) : 4 minutes

Day Seven:

Rest

Repeat this workout weekly or every other week.  Remember to mix up your workouts to keep things fresh and exciting.