As the holidays come blazing through, it’s tempting to place the things you’ve been intending to do to improve your health into an ever-growing “New Year’s Resolutions” heap. You may start the new year full of optimism but, if you’re like the majority of people, that heap begins melting into a puddle of best intentions and neglect by February.
It can be daunting to attend the first spin class of a new session or to start a marathon training schedule. And, the more daunting the resolution, the less realistic it is that you will actually achieve your goal. However, New Year’s resolutions do not have to be drastic switch-ups. Instead, research shows that small, specific lifestyle changes are easier to follow through with than changes that are more abstract, and they can make a big impact on your health.
Check out these six healthy habits that can kick start your wellness in 2022.
Find a New Way to Move
Physical activity is paramount when it comes to sustaining good health and longevity—in fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of physical activity a week. However, it can often feel unattainable to reach that weekly target when you have a fixed schedule and not a lot of extra time.
One simple way to add physical exercise and movement into your pre-existing routine is to visualize the layout of your current workspace (whether it’s a home office or corporate floor) and then devise creative ways to move your body in a new manner. For example, if you work in a large office, can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Can you park on the far side of the parking lot to guarantee a few more steps?
You have many things to consider when planning to launch a COVID-19 public health campaign. First, you must understand and appreciate the unprecedented need for clear, accurate, and action-oriented information dissemination and engagement. With the amount of false information propagated by social media, it's imperative to be consistent with messaging.
You must identify what types of information people are looking for and acknowledge the diversity of the communities you want to reach. The goal is to incorporate best practices from successful campaigns and avoid messaging that fails to connect, communicate, and convince.
Generalized crises require customized advertising efforts for various communities and societies and also an evolving, multi-stage approach not recognized in prior research on health messaging.
Examples of a few successful COVID-19 public service announcements (PSAs) and campaigns are described so you can identify best practices to incorporate as you craft your own COVID-19 public health campaign.
On November 2, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that all children ages 5 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccination. More than 11 million older children in the U.S. have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, and this new recommendation further widens the blanket of protection against this formidable public health threat.
However, despite the CDC’s recent recommendation, if you have young children—or if you’re involved in supporting young children—you may harbor legitimate questions and concerns when deciding whether or not to vaccinate them. It can be daunting to sift through the available information to make the best possible health decision for your family. However, experts note that vaccinating young children is the best decision for children and the communities they live within.
Here’s what you need to know about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines for the 28 million children in the U.S. who are between the ages of 5 and 11.
Timeline of the Recent Vaccine Approval
The CDC’s recommendation of COVID-19 vaccines in the 5 to 11 age group follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine in young children, which was granted on October 29, 2021. The CDC evaluated the research and data from clinical trials involving children and made this decision based on the evidence they saw of vaccine safety and vaccine efficacy in this age group. The same day that the CDC announced its recommendation, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) ushered forward its support and updated its own vaccine recommendations for young children.
What spreads faster than COVID-19? Misinformation on COVID-19. Misinformation (false information shared unconsciously) and disinformation (false information shared consciously to cause harm) are in fact harbingers of the modern pandemic. So how did we get here?
The year 2020 hit us with a massive global health threat, and along with it, extreme socioeconomic damage. When this is the case, the mass population can react out of fear. Disinformation is just a reflection of societal anxieties. In the history of pandemics (the Bubonic Plague, the “Black Death,” the Columbian Exchange, and the Spanish flu), these anxieties were often projected onto other groups or nations as an attempt to distance fear.
Misinformation dominating the pandemic response is nothing new, and this era of disinformation and scapegoating echoes historical patterns. That said, pandemic responses have deadly consequences. In an era where social media spreads misinformation at viral speeds, it’s time to treat the “infodemic” like the health threat it is.
History as an Example
During World War I, the outbreak of a new virus spread through troops, ramping up fear and threatening morale. The “Spanish Flu” (which more likely originated in Kansas) erupted as one of the deadliest outbreaks in history, killing an estimated 50 to 100 million people.