Health Tip from UCF- What is Moderate Drinking? You Might Be Suprised

UCF College of MedicinedrinkingContact:    Karen Phillips

For publication the week of July 28, 2014                               


What Is Moderate Drinking? You Might Be Surprised

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had some disturbing news recently about alcohol consumption: Excessive drinking accounts for one in 10 deaths amount working-age adults (20-64) in the United States. That’s 88,000 deaths a year. In fact, excessive use of alcohol shorted the lives of those people by about 30 years not only from violence and car crashes, but from heart and liver disease and breast cancer.

We’ve all heard that moderate alcohol consumption can actually be healthy. But “moderate” is a subjective term that can mean different things to different drinkers. And how many of us are actually measuring the drinks we pour, especially at a social gathering?

Health officials define moderate drinking as just one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. That means .5 fluid ounces of wine a day for women, 1 fluid ounce for men; one 12-ounce can or bottle of beer for women, two for men. If you’re drinking “hard” liquor, moderate means 1.5 fluid ounces of an 80-proof distilled spirit a day for women and 3 ounces for men.

Heavy drinking is considered eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more drinks a week for men. Binge drinking is four or more drinks on one occasion for women, 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men.

So as we look to improve our health, let’s all be honest and careful about our alcohol consumption. In writing about the CDC report, Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Mary Pickett said most doctors consider drinking safe if it’s kept to these limits:

  • For men, an average of 2 drinks per day (no more than 14 drinks per week), and never more than 4 drinks at a time
  • For women, an average of 1 drink per day (no more than 7 drinks per week), and never more than 3 drinks at a time

Dr. Pickett wrote that she suspected “Americans may be seriously surprised” by the CDC’s report. “But as a doctor, I am not surprised at all,” she said. “Alcohol abuse is commonly a well-hidden habit…But we doctors see the heavy drinkers. We see them in the hospital, in the emergency room and in the clinic.”

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Pegasus Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. UCF Pegasus Health includes primary care doctors and specialists who treat patients age 16 and up from across the community and accept most major insurance plans. If you or someone you know needs medical care, call (407) 266-DOCS or visit for more information. Coming in 2015 – UCF Pegasus Health will open a second location in Lake Nona’s Medical City. Stay tuned for more details.


RX for Yoga

 A Health Tip from UCF 

  For publication the week of July 21, 2014                            

 Rx for YogaUCF College of Medicine

Long touted as the antidote for stress and stiffness, many doctors now prescribe yoga as a complementary therapy to Western medicine for conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis pain and diabetes. In fact, yoga can even help cancer patients combat the side effects of radiation.

The scientific jury is still examining the reasons behind yoga’s health benefits. Some say the combination of physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation helps reduce stress like other mind-body therapies, while others believe yoga causes the release of endorphins (natural painkillers and “feel good” chemicals) from the brain. Despite the reasons, when it comes to choosing a yoga class, one size doesn’t fit all.

When starting out, most newbies gravitate toward gentle Hatha yoga, the most widely practiced form of yoga in America. Through nearly 200 postures, Hatha works to increase flexibility, promote circulation, and increase balance and flexibility.


For a more intense workout, power yoga (also referred to as flow yoga and vinyasa yoga) is a popular choice. Based on a series of non-stop poses used in Ashtanga yoga, power yoga builds upper-body strength, overall flexibility and balance. But a word of caution—it’s always best to learn the poses in slower style classes that typically provide more individualized attention.

Particularly effective for those recovering from or living with illnesses or injuries, therapeutic yoga blends techniques to focus specific conditions. For example, gentle yoga postures and deep-breathing exercises can help lower blood pressure and calm the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for generating stress hormones.  Controlled poses, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques also can help control joint tenderness and swelling, often relieving arthritis pain. Yoga also has been shown to reduce production of the hormone glucagon, known to increase blood sugar levels.

Most types of yoga don’t pack the same calorie-burning punch of aerobic exercise, but it can be an important part of an overall weight loss strategy. For example, a 150-pound person can burn approximately 150 calories during an hour of regular yoga, compared to 311 calories burned while walking 3 mph. However, a study with healthy, middle-aged men and women participating in at least one 30-minute yoga session per week for four or more years did show that yoga can help people shed pounds, or at the very least prevent weight gain.


Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Pegasus Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. UCF Pegasus Health includes primary care doctors and specialists who treat patients age 16 and up from across the community and accept most major insurance plans. If you or someone you know needs medical care, call (407) 266-DOCS or visit for more information. Coming in 2015 – UCF Pegasus Health will open a second location in Lake Nona’s Medical City. Stay tuned for more details.


Contact:     Karen Phillips

(407) 882-4803                                                                                                        






Hot or Not: Fire Prevention Tips

In the Community Association Management industry the safety of residents is at the pinnacle of importance. Community Managers go to great lengths to develop emergency preparedness and disaster relief fire-preventionstrategies that will prove effective in the event of a crisis. However, these strategies often prove difficult to implement if the residents are not educated about their necessity. One of the most common dangers in HOAs and Condominiums is a house fire. With more than 3,400 deaths and 17,500 injuries annually in the nation, knowing how to prevent a fire is a vital key in any emergency prevention strategy.  The easiest prevention method is maintenance. Check smoke alarms at least once a month, change its batteries once a year, keep it free of dust, and make sure there is one on every floor and in bedroom. Also make sure to plan your escape route for family and pets. Knowing and practicing this route twice a year will help ease panic in the case of a real fire. As always, hallways and stairs should be kept free from clutter to reduce the likelihood of tripping or falling. Lastly, keep all important documents such as insurance policies, pass ports, and social security cards in a fire safe box.

The most common causes of house fires are heaters, candles, and cigarettes that are left unattended. Use of cracked or fried electrical cords are a serious hazard and can also lead to a fire. Keeping children away from matches and lighters is also an important prevention tip for HOAs and Condos.

Battle Workplace Stress- Weekly Health Tip from UCF

 UCF College of Medicine


 Health Tips      

Contact:     Karen Phillips,  407-882-4803,

For publication the week of July 14, 2014            

 4 Strategies for Battling Workplace Stress


Americans are stressed out, and the workplace seems to be one of the primary breeding grounds. In fact, a study conducted by the American Psychological Association concluded that 69 percent of respondents felt work was the most common source of stress.

Simply put, stress is the emotional or mental tension created when we enter situations where demands are high, but we have limited control. This has been associated with increased rates of heart attacks, hypertension and other health disorders.

When you feel your stress level increasing, consider these four suggestions:

  1. Breathe – Breathing is your body’s built-in stress reliever, so when you feel stressed, stop what you’re doing and concentrate on breathing deeply and slowly for a few minutes. Deep breathing can lower blood pressure, dampen the production of stress hormones and even energize you.
  2. Eat Smart – Stress causes the cortisol levels in the body to rise. Too much of this hormone can result in food cravings, especially for carbs and sweets in women. And research shows the more we eat, the worse our mood gets. So rather than hitting the vending machine for empty calories, consider healthier options like cashews, which are high in zinc (low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression). Blue berries are another great snack because they’re rich in vitamin C, known to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.
  3. Listen to Music – Research shows that listening to music can help by triggering biochemical stress reducers in the body. In fact, one study found that music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage. So if you work in an environment that allows you to play music, even if it’s with the use of earphones, turn on the tunes. But be sure to choose music that doesn’t interfere with your productivity. Also check out smartphone apps like Focus@Will and Take a Break.
  4. Walk – Just like other forms of exercise, walking causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins. They interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain and trigger positive feelings. Even a quick, brisk walk around your building can have the desired stress-relieving effect.

It may take a while to determine what stress-reduction strategy is right for you. But if you’re having difficulty managing it on your own, have a conversation with your physician. Certain underlying medical conditions can contribute to stress, but most can be managed with the right intervention.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Pegasus Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. UCF Pegasus Health includes primary care doctors and specialists who treat patients age 16 and up from across the community and accept most major insurance plans. If you or someone you know needs medical care, call (407) 266-DOCS or visit for more information. Coming in 2015 – UCF Pegasus Health will open a second location in Lake Nona’s Medical City. Stay tuned for more details.




The New Community Outreach Program: Social Media

From 2009 to 2014 the number of users on social media increased 238% and now reaches dfgover 2 billion people worldwide. Statistically, every 1 in 9 of the residents in your community not only has a social media site but accesses it on a daily basis. Utilizing this medium of communication can be a powerful tool for your association. Offering a forum for free mass-communication and a platform to increase resident participation and strengthen community ties, social media can be one of your association’s greatest assets if it is embraced and utilized in a professional, positive manner. Examples of how a social media page can be used are: notifications of board meetings, reminders of assessment due dates, posting governing documents, sharing community event headlines, and spotlighting successes. This type of open communication between CAMs, Board members and residents creates a level of transparency and bolsters a trusting, positive relationship amongst all parties involved with your association. When considering engaging in social media, your association should discuss the parameters they would like to follow and adopt a social media policy beforehand.

Summer Series – Bicycle Safety

School is out and summer days are here.  With that in mind, kids everywhere are jumpingkids-on-bicycles on their bikes to go from place to place. While overall this is a good thing, more exercise for your kids, it is important that everyone follows the safety guidelines for biking in your area.

When you are riding your bike, dressing “fashionable” is not as important as dressing practically. Wear clothes that are neon or bright colored, this will allow drivers to spot you from a further distance. One should wear close toed shoes and stay away from flip flops, sandals, and any other form of open toed shoe as wearing them could hurt your feet. Tying up long hair and keeping things like scarves off the bike will help prevent things from getting stuck in your chain and ruining your bike ride.

Always make sure you plan your route before leaving the house so someone knows where you are going. You should also avoid areas of high traffic, and find bike-friendly streets or trails. It is also important to be audible towards pedestrians and runners so that you do not startle them. Using hand signals is a good way to prevent an accident, as it lets the driver behind you know what you are planning to do. Finally, children should always let someone know where they are going and check in once they get there.

Biking is a fun way to exercise as well as an efficient and eco-friendly means of getting from place to place. By being safe and following the rules you can make it an even more enjoyable experience for you and your entire family.

Free Home Wows War Hero in The Savannas

This article by Hanna Marcus safe_imageoriginally appeared on July 2, 2014 in the Orlando Sentinel.

CLERMONT — Army veteran Socheat “Sok” Mom reacted instinctively after a blast from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

Knocked to the ground bleeding and unconscious, Mom remembers waking up and limping over to help save the other 13 members of his platoon injured in the 2012 explosion. He was awarded a Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device for “valorous actions under enemy fire.”

On Wednesday, he received more accolades for his heroism — and the keys to a newly remodeled, mortgage-free home thanks to a partnership between Bank of America and the Military Warriors Support Foundation.

“It’s so overwhelming,” the former Army staff sergeant said of the 1,350-square-foot home, which had been abandoned. “When I first walked in, all I could think was, ‘This is amazing.'”

Dozens of miniature American flags poked out of the lawn of the tan-and-white home in The Savannas subdivision off U.S. Highway 27 to greet Mom; his wife, Dao; and their daughter, Keira, 8. Eleven veterans from the Patriot Guard held much larger American flags over their hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance as a cluster of Bank of America representatives looked on.

Dad, mom and daughter held hands as they walked toward their new home for the first time. Neighbors gathered across the street, waving, clapping and shouting, “Welcome to the neighborhood.” John Moskos, Central Florida president of Bank of America, slipped a set of keys out of a small red bag and into Dao’s hands.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house had been fixed up after years of sitting vacant. Though it was still devoid of their furniture and mementos, the Moms were happy to see a picture frame filled with their family photos had been hung on a bare wall as a welcoming gesture.

Keira also got another surprise when she stepped into a room with gifts piled up just for her. She looked to her mother, asking, “Is this for me?” before grabbing a bottle of bubbles and blowing soapy circles around the room.

Dao Mom stepped into the fenced backyard, delicately touching leaves and flashing soft smiles at her husband and daughter. Sok Mom’s Cambodian mother and sister, who live in Zephyrhills, shuffled around the kitchen, sharing homemade egg rolls and doughnuts brought in for the occasion.

Mom — who moved with his family to California from Cambodia when he was a young boy — said his favorite part of the house is between the backyard — where there’s room for picnics, one of Dao’s favorite activities — and the “massive bedrooms.”

They already feel at home, but the reality that they own the house will take some time to sink in.

“This is my first house,” Dao said. “When we saw everyone outside, we thought, ‘What do we do?’ We were so overwhelmed — she [Keira] didn’t know what we were doing until we got here and she walked in. It’s not going to hit us until a month down the line.”

The Mom family is among 240 families in Florida given keys to mortgage-free homes to honor their military service. Moskos has been a part of the process twice before, though for him, watching the families see their homes for the first time never gets old.

“It’s just an honor to do that for a returning veteran and his family, and just to see the look on their faces,” he said.

Mom left the army, where he was last stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., in April. He was medically retired because of the severe injuries he suffered when the explosion tore through his leg and splintered his knees and back with shrapnel.

Looking to the future, the former military fire-support specialist said he plans to hunt for a government job. He also plans to enroll Keira in school and support Dao as she continues her education.

But for now, the family will focus on moving in belongings and getting comfortable in the home — celebrating independence on the Fourth of July.

“We’ll probably have some family come over to the house,” he said. “But, you know, we’ve got to wait for the furniture to come in.”

How Will You Spend the 4th?

Organize a Social Event

Across America the 4th of July has evolved to become one of the nation’s supreme holidays. The 4th of July is fun for the entire family as it offers something for everyone. Celebrations in different communities may be different, but they typically share common threads: Red, White and Blue, barbecue, fireworks, and spending time with your friends and family.

Some people celebrate the 4th of July by spending their day around the pool barbecuing and spending time with just their immediate family, but many will choose to celebrate with an extended group of people at parties, neighborhood events and community firework displays.

The 4th of July is a holiday in which all of our nation can put their differences aside and come together to celebrate what it means to be American. It is a day meant to celebrate our wonderful country, enjoy your family and friends, view some spectacular fireworks displays (both professional and amateur), and do a lot of barbecuing.

How will you celebrate the 4th?