Your guide to family events, stories and news in Western Wisconsin.

Improve Health With Less Screen Time

Screens have become a big part of life. Growing evidence shows less screen time positively affects health through: Improved physical health, decreased obesity, increased time to try new activities, improved mood, enhanced relationships. Try these tips to slim your screen time:

Be accountable. Make an agreement with a group of friends or family to intentionally reduce screen time.

Be realistic. Start by setting small, attainable goals. Instead of jumping right to the recommended one to two hours or less a day, start by cutting your current screen time in half.

Go outside. Put the phone down and take a walk outdoors. Doing so increases your endorphins and provides that feeling of happiness in your brain, boosting mood and improving physical health.

Create a phone-free zone. Make family meals a phone-free zone. 

Use devices with your children. It’s important to interact with your children when screens are involved. Take the time to use screens with your children.

More than anything, adults should model appropriate screen time behavior for their children and disconnect to connect. Quality time with people in your life is important, and there’s no app for that.

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How to Get Kids Cooking in the Kitchen

Research shows when kids are allowed to help prepare the food they eat, they’re more likely to try the foods they create. Getting kids in the kitchen and experimenting with new foods increases the chance they’ll also actually eat it.

Try these techniques to get them involved:

  • Don’t be nervous. Yes, there are knives and sanitation issues, but kids need to learn somehow, and you’re there to help.
  • Make it fun with a fun attitude – and expect a little mess. Give the food fun names, turn on some music, put on an apron, and make them feel like a chef.
  • Invite them to help with some of the prep work, including rinsing fruits and vegetables or using kitchen shears or a vegetable peeler. Some of these tools are good for brain development, too.
  • Once your child has safely mastered those steps, move on to using knives and large kitchen gadgets, such as a blender.

The best part is having your helpers try the fruits of their labor and watching them try new foods. Use the prep time to explain the health benefits of the new foods. You just never know what kids might end up liking. Even the pickiest of eaters may surprise you. So go ahead – try something new and get your kids cooking in the kitchen.

Can Stress Lead to a Heart Attack for Women?

Many people underestimate the impact that stress can have on the body, especially the heart. Risk factors for coronary artery disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity, affect both women and men. However, other factors have been identified as playing a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women, including:

• Mental stress and depression

• Smoking

• Alcohol consumption

• Menopause

• Pregnancy complications

• Diabetes or inflammatory diseases

Women are also more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain. Mental stress may often trigger these symptoms, which could include:

• Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort

• Shortness of breath

• Pain in one or both arms

• Nausea or vomiting

• Sweating

• Lightheadedness or dizziness

• Unusual fatigue

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways you may use to manage stress – such as watching television, surfing the Internet, or playing video games – may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term. Curb stress and-heart related issues by making lifestyle changes now and incorporating more over time. Go to for more information about maintaining a healthier lifestyle.


Learn the Signs of Stroke to Save a Life

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or severely reduced. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial, as early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications. The acronym F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke:

1. Face drooping 

Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven?

2. Arm weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

3. Speech difficulty

Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

4. Time to call 911

If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get to the hospital immediately. Check the time, so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Remember: Every minute counts. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential of brain damage and disability. Call 911 right away at the first signs of a stroke.

An Active Winter Outdoors: Tackle New Activities


When the daylight gets shorter and the temperature drops, it can be especially challenging to get inspired to exercise. Venturing outdoors is a good option, physically and mentally. It allows you to breathe fresh air, see different sites and move your body in various ways. Here are some reminders on how to stay comfortable outside:

Wear the proper winter attire. Dress in layers and wear warm boots or footwear that have grips to prevent from slipping on ice. Don’t forget your hat and gloves.

Don’t overlook your backyard. Make family memories while you’re out there. Make snow angels and snowmen, build forts, throw snowballs, play games, paint the snow, blow bubbles, or hang homemade bird feeders.

Try something new. A favorite summer spot can look totally different covered in snow. Connect with friends or family who enjoy an activity you’d like to try.

Get a good calorie burn. Try tackling cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or winter mountain biking. Don’t forget: shoveling also packs a big calorie burn.

And if being indoors is more your style, there are plenty of opportunities to help you stay active:

Try a new fitness center class.

Walk a local shopping center or mall.

Create a fitness space in your home. You can use your own body weight or get a fitness ball, yoga mat, and a few weights.

Whatever you choose to do this winter, remember--regular exercise is essential to a healthy and happy life. Finding activities you enjoy will help you be more successful.

Brought to you in part by:

Mayo Clinic Health System »