Health News and Notes

November 2022 – The Journal of Healthcare Contracting

The health benefits of sharing a meal

Chronic, constant stress can increase lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke, but a new survey from the American Heart Association reveals regular mealtime with others could be a simple solution to help manage stress.

Of the 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide surveyed in September 2022 for the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement by Wakefield Research, the vast majority (84%) say they wish they could share a meal more often with loved ones, and nearly all parents report lower levels of stress among their family when they regularly connect over a meal.

To make mealtime togetherness a little easier and help people claim the heart mind and body benefits that go with it, the American Heart Association will share practical and budget-friendly meal tips each Tuesday through December. People can follow #TogetherTuesday on social media or text 2gether to 51555 to get tips sent directly to their phone.

“Sharing meals with others is a great way to reduces stress, boost self-esteem and improve social connection, particularly for kids,” said Erin Michos, M.D, M.H.S, American Heart Association volunteer, associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins and a co-author of the American Heart Association’s statement on Psychological Health, Well-being, and the Mind-Heart-Body Connection. “Chronic, constant stress can also increase your lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke, so it is important for people to find ways to reduce and manage stress as much as possible, as soon as possible.”

Connecting with friends, family, coworkers and neighbors benefits people beyond stress relief. In fact, the survey found 67% of people say sharing a meal remind them of the importance of connecting with other people, and 54% say it reminds them to slow down and take a break.

The link between diabetes and dental care

The American Diabetes Association® (ADA) recently announced a collaborative Oral Health campaign with Pacific Dental Services® (PDS), one of the country’s leading dental support organizations. The campaign aims to increase awareness of the link between periodontal disease (gum disease) and diabetes and how oral health providers can assist patients in preventing and managing this chronic health condition.

Over 37 million Americans live with diabetes today, and 1 in 5 people don’t know they have it. Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the mouth. In fact, oral health issues are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes or prediabetes.

Dental care is an important part of a diabetes management plan, as there is a two-way link between oral health and diabetes—meaning that high blood glucose (blood sugar) affects oral health, while gum disease affects how well you can manage your blood glucose levels.

Having diabetes can increase the amount of glucose in your saliva, and it can cause your mouth to produce less saliva, which lessens your mouth’s ability to wash away food particles and keep the area moist. Both can lead to an increased risk of developing gum disease. And if you already have gum disease, your gums can become inflamed. Studies show that inflammation in the body can increase blood glucose levels, thus increasing your risk of developing diabetes or, if you have it, making it harder to manage.

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