Mills-Peninsula Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

The Digital Generation



Cell phones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs – it’s hard to imagine life without digital media. Most adults spend 11 hours a day using electronic media, including their computer at work. By 2015, some estimates predict the number will rise to 15 hours a day.

Like us, our kids are growing up immersed in technology. Is there a downside?

“The infiltration of technology in our lives is often so subtle we don’t notice it,” Eric Perez, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula and Palo Alto Medical Foundation pediatrician, says. “Parents might let a child play on an iPad during dinner to keep him occupied and at the table. They themselves may frequently consult a cell phone during a meal. Soon technology becomes a constant guest at the dinner table, and eventually, no one talks to each other.”

While technology offers great ways to learn and stay connected, excessive use can cause problems, particularly for children and teens. Studies show too much media time can lead to attention problems, lower academic performance, family dysfunction, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity.

Here’s how to make the most of technology without letting it rule your family’s life.

Set Limits and Follow Them

Children spend an average of seven hours per day on “entertainment media” – including texting, watching TV, surfing the Internet and playing video games – reports the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). That’s more time than most kids spend in school! Read More

Reduce Stress with Mindfulness


Are you ever aware – fully aware – of your thoughts, your feelings, the sensations on your body? Most of us aren’t. Yet if we could focus our attention on the moment, without judging or analyzing our thoughts, research shows we could use this mindfulness to boost our health in many ways.

“Mindfulness is portable. You can do it anywhere. You don’t need any physical tools, and it doesn’t cost any money,” says Kimberly Erlich, CPNP, nurse practitioner and coordinator of the Adolescent Behavioral Health Project at Mills-Peninsula and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a skill you have to learn, just like riding a bike. But it has great longevity and benefits.”

Read More

Get a Vitamin Boost Through Food

Colorful fruits and vegetables

Instead of taking supplements, look to healthy foods to boost your vitamin intake. Start with these four simple tips from Debbie Kurzrock, a registered dietitian at Mills-Peninsula’s Dorothy E. Schneider Cancer Center in San Mateo. Read More

Vitamin Supplements: Yes or No?


Half of all Americans take vitamin supplements, according to a recent Gallup poll. But are vitamins in pill form really good for you?

“Most adults with a balanced diet don’t need to take supplements,” Tarini Anand, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula internal medicine doctor, says. “In fact, a variety of natural foods, rather than supplements, is the best source for getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to stay healthy.” Read More

Natural Vitamin Recipe: Carrot Apple Slaw with Cranberries

Carrot Slaw Dish

One of the best ways to boost your vitamin intake to stay healthy is by eating a variety of natural foods. Try this recipe loaded with natural vitamins from The Longevity Kitchen, by Rebecca Katz, M.S., a book Debbie Kurzrock, a registered dietitian at Mills-Peninsula’s Dorothy E. Schneider Cancer Center in San Mateo, recommends regularly to her patients.


Your Good Sleep Guide


Can’t sleep but not sure why? Before you assume you have a medical sleep disorder, find out if your personal habits are undermining good sleep.

Do you watch movies or work on the computer until right before bed? Do you have a frothy coffee drink in the afternoon to perk you up? Do you stay up late and sleep in on weekends?

Mehran Farid-Moayer, M.D., a sleep specialist at Mills-Peninsula Health Services, suggests this checklist to improve your snooze. Read More

Your Healthy Weight

Fifty-seven percent of American adults say they would like to lose 20 pounds or more, according to findings of the NPD Group in the 2013 Eating Patterns in America report.

This desire for weight loss comes as no surprise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.

So what’s the magic number you need to reach on the scale for optimal health?

“There’s no such thing,” Heidi Stroessner-Johnson, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula internal medicine doctor, says. “It’s very individual from person to person.”

Family history, genetics, body frame, medical conditions, pregnancy, lifestyle – these are all factors that determine what the scale should read for each individual.

Body Mass Index

“I don’t just look at one thing when I help my patients determine healthy weight goals,” Dr. Stroessner-Johnson says, “but a good place to start is the Body Mass Index.” A simple mathematical formula based on height and weight, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to measure body fat. The CDC offers a free, online calculators you can use to calculate your BMI. Read More