NASA Makes New Discovery in Outer Limits of Solar System
There’s a new addition to the neighborhood!
NASA researchers have discovered an object whose orbit is beyond the known edge of our solar system. The possible dwarf planet’s orbit stretches farther than Pluto and beyond Sedna, which was previously believed to be farthest object in the solar system.
This discovery shows scientists that the outer-limits of the solar system are not the “vast wasteland” they were once thought to be, and there is much more out there to explore.
The senses of smell and taste can fade with age, affecting your ability to taste foods. Learn what can cause loss of smell and taste—like certain types of medications or chemotherapy—and what can be done to help with these problems.
The number one consumer complaint of 2013 was identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s annual report. Overall fraud complaints cost Americans $1.6 billion in 2013.
Of the two million complaints received by the FTC in 2013, 14 percent of those were identity theft related. The highest reported age group for identity theft complaints was among 20-29 year olds, totaling 20 percent of the total identity theft complaints.
The FTC urges every American to take preventative measures to protect themselves from identifty theft at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
Debt collection, banks and lenders, imposter scams and telephone and mobile services were the other top categories for consumer complaints in 2013. You can find all the complaint data from across the nation, state-by-state and from the top 50 metropolitan areas in the country.
New consumer protection rules went into effect in January to help protect homebuyers and homeowners from predatory lending, taking on more debt than they can afford, not getting complete info from their mortgage holder and more.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules ensure that anyone being paid to help you find a mortgage treats you fairly at key points in the process. The rules are aimed at empowering you to shop for loans to buy and own a home with more confidence.
The new mortgage rules will make the market safer and easier to understand. Lenders now have to make a good faith effort to determine if you have the ability to repay your loan. In the end, only you can decide how much you are comfortable paying for a mortgage.
You will get a copy of any appraisal or valuation at least three business days before you go to closing. Appraisals can provide you an estimate of what a home is worth. You may also obtain your own independent appraisal.
Any company that is paid to help you find or get a mortgage must train its agents, brokers and loan originators and make sure they have been through a background check. The people you hire to help you find a mortgage should be licensed or registered at the state or federal level. Ask your loan originator about their credentials.
New CFPB mortgage rules limit the fees a lender can charge and still make what is called a Qualified Mortgage. These rules do not require lenders to cap fees. You still have to decide for yourself whether it’s a good idea to pay high fees to get a loan.
Mortgages are complicated, get help from CFBP if you have questions.
By Holly Greuling RD, LD/N, Nutritionist, Administration on Aging, U.S. Administration for Community Living
Happy National Nutrition Month! During this month, take stock of your nutritional habits.
Eating a healthy balance of nutritious foods is more important than ever as you age. Eating the right foods, eating the right amount of foods and regular physical activity will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Almost 45 percent of people over age 65 have one or more chronic conditions or disease. Eating right helps prevent and manage many diseases that affect older people, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Healthy eating tips for older adults include:
Eating many different colors and types of vegetables and fruits. Choose dark green vegetables or fruits such as spinach, kale, kiwi or avocado; consume bright orange-red colored vegetables or fruits such as tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, oranges, pomegranate, mangos or strawberries.
Making sure at least half of your grains are whole grains. This will help provide nutrients that you need, but also will add fiber to your diet. Choose brown rice, whole wheat bread or oatmeal to help increase your fiber and nutrient intake.
Eating only small amounts of solid fats and foods with added sugars. These foods add calories to your diet but few or no nutrients. Cut back on solid fats. Butter, doughnuts, candy bars and sweetened soda/pop add calories but little else.
Limiting saturated or solid fat found mostly in foods that come from animals. These foods provide nutrients, but also more fat than you need. If you consume animal products, choose lean meats, fat free milk, and skinned chicken. Choose baked, steamed or broiled rather than fried foods.
Drinking fluids. Drink plenty of water, 100 percent juice, skim or low fat milk, and coffee or tea to stay hydrated. Our ability to detect thirst declines as we age, so drink fluids routinely and do not wait until you are thirsty.
Eating a variety of foods. This will help to insure that your diet includes the 40+ nutrients you need to keep your body healthy.
Some older people have trouble consuming the nutritious foods they need to stay healthy and independent. Some have trouble chewing, take medications that prevent them from eating certain foods, or simply do not like to eat alone. Others have physical problems that make it hard to shop for groceries or cook.
If you have trouble getting, preparing, or eating a healthy diet, you should know about the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program (OAANP), a program of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency within the U.S. Administration for Community Living. The OAANP is a nationwide program for frail or vulnerable people aged 60 and older that provides food and nutrition services including:
Meals served at senior centers and other community gathering places.
Home-delivered meals for homebound persons.
Nutrition screening, education, and counseling.
The OAANP serves all 50 states, six territories and 256 tribes through a network of more than 5,000 local nutrition service providers. If you suspect that an older loved one or neighbor isn’t able to get proper nutrition, then help them find a local aging service provider by visiting the Eldercare locator website.
Mental Health Survey Finds 18 Percent of Americans Suffer From Mental Illness
The newest mental health data released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found that nearly 18 percent of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness.
The report shows national estimates of the prevalence of mental health disorders and mental health service use in the past year for youths between the ages of 12 and 17 and adults ages 18 and older.
Some findings from the survey include:
An estimated 43.7 million adults — 18.6 percent of adults in this country — suffered from a mental illness in the past year.
Women aged 18 or older were more likely than men to have a mental illness in the past year (22.0 vs. 14.9 percent).
An estimated 34.1 million adults or 14.5 percent of the population aged 18 or older received mental health services, like treatment or counseling, during the past 12 months. This is higher than in the previous year. (31.6 million people and 13.6 percent).
There were 2.2 million youths aged 12 to 17 (9.1 percent) who had a major depressive episode during the past year.
Among youths, females were more likely than males to have a major depressive episode in the past year (13.7 vs. 4.7 percent).
The most common reason for youths receiving specialty mental health services was feeling depressed (50.7 percent).
Get on Board with Let’s Move! for National Nutrition Month
By Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move!
In the midst of a growing epidemic, First Lady Michelle Obama created the Let’s Move! initiative in 2010 to help kids grow up healthy and have the opportunity to live up to their boundless potential. Since then, Mrs. Obama has encouraged families across the nation to make healthy eating and staying active a top priority.
Four years later, parents, teachers, local leaders, and faith-based organizations have come together in communities across the country to support the health of all kids, and we’re already seeing results. March is National Nutrition Month, which gives us an opportunity to focus on ways to eat better and move more.
First Lady Michelle Obama harvests vegetables with students in the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn, May 28, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
This March, bring healthy to your community with these fun tips, tools, and activities:
Eat Healthy! Let’s Move! offers parents and kids the support and information they need to make healthy choices. An easy tool to use, MyPlate is a quick visual reminder to make healthy food choices. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables! And, eating healthy doesn’t have to cost more. Click here to find out how to eat healthy on a budget or try some new healthy recipes!
Start Your Own Garden! In 2009, the First Lady broke ground on the White House Kitchen Garden with students from Washington DC’s Bancroft Elementary School. In the four years since it began, the Garden has produced hundreds of pounds of food, fed the First Family and visiting dignitaries, and supported local food pantries. To learn how to start your own garden, click here. Or, visit a garden near you to spend a day with your family at a Let’s Move! Garden for ideas on how to model your own garden at home or at school.
Get Active! To stay healthy, all kids need at least 60 minutes of play before, during, and after school. Let’s Move! Active Schools helps champions create active environments that enable all kids to get moving. Sign your school up today!
Incorporating a nutritious diet into our daily routine is key to leading a happy and healthy life. Follow Let’s Move!, HHS, and USA.gov’s lead during National Nutrition Month by providing your family with the nutrients they need to reach their full potential.
Going on a long road trip is an exciting experience for both young and old – you get to experience beautiful scenery, walk around in new places and get to know the customs and traditions of each destination you visit.
To avoid any disappointment and enjoy the best trip possible, planning for the journey must begin long before you get in the car. So if you’re planning to take a road trip, consider the following ideas.
A budget will help you manage your expenses properly and can include:
Car maintenance. A qualified mechanic can check the condition of your brakes and tires. The mechanic can also tell you if you need any additional maintenance or parts replaced, and if the car is in its best condition for the trip.
Fuel expenses. Gas prices tend to vary by location. Find out the actual price of gas and calculate how much you’ll spend during the trip. It’s a good idea to estimate a bit on the higher side in case there are any emergencies.
Lodging, food and entertainment. Figure out your food and hotel expenses depending on how many people will be joining you on the trip. Remember to budget for family activities like visiting a museum, a park or a fair.
Routes and safe driving
Before and during your trip it’s important to:
Choose your destination. Each state has tourist attractions that are open to the public. America’s Byways has a search engine that helps you find things to do depending on where you are.
Drive with caution. Drive carefully when traveling on the road, this way you’ll avoid getting a ticket and you’ll be sure that the people on your trip are safe. Always make sure that your passengers have their seatbelts fastened.
Make frequent stops. The car ride itself may be fun, but remember to make frequent stops to stretch your legs, use the restroom, have a meal or just enjoy the scenery.
On long trips, children have special needs. Remember to:
Provide safety seats. There are many car seats and boosters specifically for children that can be placed in the back seat of your car. Find the appropriate seat for your child’s age or size and make sure it’s properly installed. Use the Car Seat Inspection Station Locator to find the nearest place where a technician can verify the seat is installed correctly and according to the law.
Bring snacks. Pack a cooler with healthy snacks that are portioned appropriately for your child’s age. These snacks help ensure that children are getting enough to eat and drink on the trip.
Immunize your children. All children under age six should receive their necessary vaccines (PDF) to avoid picking up illnesses or diseases that could be transmitted through direct contact, or by food and water. Also remember to pack cold, allergy, headache and stomach medications.
Between late nights cramming for exams and the overwhelming number of food selections in the dining hall, trying to make healthy food choices on a college campus can be daunting. For the second week of National Nutrition Month, we rounded up some resources to help you avoid packing on the pounds during your college years.
If you haven’t enrolled by March 31, you won’t be able to apply until the next open season, unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. The next open enrollment is proposed to run from November 15, 2014 through January 15, 2015.
Healthy Eating Tips for Kids: A Round Up from our Live Twitter Chat
As part of National Nutrition Month, Kids.gov (@Kidsgov) hosted a live twitter-chat (#NNMforKids) last week to give people the opportunity to share ideas and tips on how to get kids to eat better and live healthier.
If you couldn’t make the chat, we’ve rounded up just a few of the many resources that were shared.
As National Nutrition Month continues, this week we’re focusing on how to eat healthy while in college. Next week, we’ll share tools to help create healthy meals for your family. And finally during the last week of the month, we’ll highlight advice for eating healthy as we age.
Designate a Driver for your Saint Patrick's Day Celebrations
By David Friedman, Acting Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the rich history and culture of the Irish. Regrettably, it is also a day when many make the dangerous choice of driving after they’ve been drinking.
From 2008 to 2012, drunk driving claimed 268 lives on St. Patrick’s Day alone—an average of 54 deaths on each St. Patrick’s Day in the past five years.
Drunk driving is a crime—a crime that can rob families of loved ones and turn a day of celebration into one of mourning.
Safe driving is about personal responsibility. So, whether you’re planning an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebratory weekend, or just an outing with friends and family on Monday, plan ahead for a sober ride home.
Speak out, designate a sober driver, and share— with family, friends, and neighbors—the important safety message that drunk driving kills.
At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we take drunk driving seriously, and we need your help to make sure that your friends and loved ones do, too.
Please help us leverage the power of social media to warn of the dangers of drunk driving. On Wednesday, March 12, at 3 p.m. ET, we’ll be on Twitter — @NHTSA – sharing stats, tips, and ways to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day without drinking and driving.
To have the most impact in this fight to save lives, we need YOU to join us. Here’s how:
Follow @NHTSA on Twitter. When you see this hashtag—#buzzeddriving—retweet it to remind your followers that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
And, if you want to do more to fight drunk driving right now, here are a few ideas for tweets to share to get more people involved on March 12 to spread the word and save lives:
Don’t rely on luck to get you home safe this #StPatricksDay. Join @NHTSAgov on 3/12 @ 3pmET to talk about #buzzeddriving.
Get tips on how to stay safe this #StPatricksDay from @NHTSAgov. We’re joining their Twitter chat 3/12 @ 3pmET. #buzzeddriving
91 people died from drunk drivers on #StPatricksDay in 2012. Save a life: join us and @NHTSAgov on 3/12 @ 3pmET. #buzzeddriving
Think a 4 leaf clover will get you home safe on #StPatricksDay? Join us & @NHTSAgov 3/12 @ 3pmET to find real safe ways home. #buzzeddriving
No matter how much green you wear, it won’t save you if you’re driving drunk. Follow #buzzeddriving & @NHTSAgov on 3/12 @ 3pmET.
The loss of life on St. Patrick’s Day—a day that should be about joy and celebration—is tragic. It’s also preventable, and it’s up to us to spread the word.
Help us let everyone know: it’s great to don the green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, but don’t even think about driving after you’ve been drinking.