TMA Foundation Award iConquer Project
Citgo “Hands For Hillcrest” 2014 iConquer Project
Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation Award 2013 iConquer
LaVerene and Thomas Howell Foundation Award 2013; iConquer
Coastal Community Foundation Award 2013; iConquer
EdRachall Foundation 2013; iConquer
Earl C Sam Foundation 2013; iConquer
Junior League Corpus Christi 2013; iConquer
Helath Care Heroes Award: Community Service, Finalist 2014
Caller Times Health Care Community award 2014 “iConquer”
Citgo “Hands For Hillcrest 2015 Grant
Ed Rachal Foundation Grant 2015; iConquer: Diabetes
Coastal Bend Community Foundation Grant 2015; iConquer: Clean Wisely
GYSD Lead Agency Grant for Youth Advocacy 2015
TMA Champion Award 2015
Putting the I in Conquer: Featuring iConquer on Bend Magazine
iConquer on Bend Magazine
Best way to start the New Year of 2016 is with a newspaper article on iConquer!
Smoking and vaping: why you should say “no” the first time and every time
By: Dr. Salim Surani
Vaping, smoking, puffing, sniffing, chewing and snorting seems like an adrenaline-pumping and exhilarating activity – at least, that’s what the tobacco and e-cigarette producers would like for consumers to believe. Cigarette smoking kills 480,000 Americans each year. This is equivalent to four jumbo jets crashing every single day, with no survivors.
If we consider tobacco issues worldwide, every six seconds, a person dies due to tobacco-related illnesses, and one in 10 people dies due to smoking. Unfortunately, this is not just limited to adults. In the United States, every day, 2,800 children try their first cigarette, leading to more than 250,000 new underage smokers per year. Surprisingly, 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking while they were in their teens and younger.
Tobacco industries spend almost $9 billion a year on tobacco marketing. According to research, 90.7 percent of middle-school children and 92.9 percent of high school children are exposed to tobacco advertising and marketing in some form. Smoking-related health care expenditures are $260 million a day and $260 million a day in loss of productivity.
Worldwide tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century. If current trends continue, it will kill one billion people in the 21st century. With this data in hand, it is no surprise that the United States still ranks in the top five tobacco-consuming countries worldwide.
Enormous effort has been made to educate the community worldwide regarding the hazards of smoking, ranging from chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) to lung cancer. A new wave of e-cigarettes has taken over the nation. Whether it is helpful (which it may be in some cases) or harmful all depends on how it is used.
Those who make e-cigarettes claim that e-cigarettes are safe; however, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) says, prove it. The marketing and advertisements for e-cigarettes are growing exponentially, with e-cigarette makers spending $60 million in promotion and advertisement. To date, e-cigarette sales have hit $2 billion.
Companies are increasing their marketing budgets by 300-plus percent, with major marketing strategies revolving around the idea that it is safe (which is an unproven claim). The FDA has not yet approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device, but e-cigarettes have been widely used.
The major concern that has shaken the health care workers is the potential for nicotine addiction, which is the most addictogenic substance, and the drastic increase in the numbers of new users, including teens, who feel the product is safe. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as several medical organizations, have raised their concern regarding the increased youth addiction on nicotine due to e-cigarette usage. In some of the e-cigarette cartridges of liquid, they have found 18mg or more of nicotine. For children, 10mg or more of nicotine can be dangerous.
The International Respiratory Society forum has also advocated against the use of e-cigarettes and suggested that it should be banned, at least until more information is available.
Now, how does an e-cigarette work? When the user inhales the e-cigarette, it activates the heating element. The e-cigarette solutions, which are composed of nicotine (the most addictogenic substance), liquid solvent (as propylene glycol) and the flavoring agent, are vaporized at that high temperature and inhaled by the person.
A recent study published in a major journal showed that high-voltage vaping creates formaldehyde, which is a cancer-producing substance. The risk of cancer from this substance was felt to be much greater than conventional cigarettes. Since e-cigarettes are not regulated, it is tough to know if the premier brand may be using higher voltage to give an extra nicotine kick and inadvertently increase the risk of cancer.
Despite the possible benefit to help in reducing the cigarette usage, the e-cigarette has not been approved as a smoking cessation measure, and it has been a potential route for creating more future smokers. In essence, tobacco and nicotine in any form may be habit forming and harmful. The best measure is to say “no” to smoking – the first time and every time.
For details on programs to combat smoking among children, visitwww.itsyourlifefoundation.org.
Snails can sleep for three years, and dolphins never sleep. What about us?
By: Dr. Salim Surani
Sleep, dream, siesta, snooze, tranquility, downtime, break, quietude and quiescence have become a second priority in this technology-driven society. The research and data have shown that humans are the only mammals who willingly delay sleep. Most people can survive for up to two months without eating, but only 11 days without sleeping.
Even the marginal sleep they get is distracted by phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages and tweets. The technologies have imprisoned the developed society, and people feel threatened to be disconnected.
Though not stigmatized, caffeine is the most popular drug worldwide. People consume caffeine in the form of coffee, tea, cocoa and energy drinks that can help block the adenosine receptor in brain to keep them up.
Before the advent of electric bulb by Thomas Edison in 1879, the work schedule had been centered on human circadian rhythm with people working in the daytime and resting at nighttime. But following the Industrial Revolution, we have come to live in a 24-hour, technologically driven society.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to several major accidents, including the Exxon Valdez oil spin and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as well as accidents related to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is responsible for 76,000 to 100,000 crashes per year in the United States – which is considered to be an underestimation, as drivers’ inattention may be due to sleep deprivation. One of the studies has shown that almost 55 percent of drivers have driven while sleepy in a year, and 23 percent have dosed off while driving at some point in their life.
Besides causing accidents and industrial hazards, sleep deprivation also has severe health consequences. For example, it can cause:
• An increase in blood pressure
• A higher risk of heart attack, stroke, depression, gastrointestinal disturbances, mood disturbances and falls in the elderly
• A greater likelihood of poor school performance among children
Studies have also shown that sleeping less than seven hours every night can result in weight gain and may reduce your life expectancy.
In the United States, 50 million adults have difficulty with sleep, and only one-fifth of them discuss their problems with physicians. Sleep need is variable throughout life.
Studies have shown that only 15 percent of teens report sleeping eight-and-a-half hours on school nights. This can impair their ability to concentrate, potentially bringing about a decline in their grades, health issues, inattention and behavior challenges.
Technological advances like social media outlets have been major challenges contributing to the compromising of teen sleep. Moreover, adults and older folks are also getting hooked to social media and compromising their sleep, thus making the United States one of the most sleep-deprived nations in the world.
There are some basic sleep hygiene principles that have been helpful in combating sleep issues. It is important that individuals try to implement one or two pointers at any given time, rather than implementing all of them at the same time.
Healthy sleep tips
• Avoid daytime naps.
• Avoid stimulants like caffeine, tee and energy drinks, especially after noontime.
• Avoid alcohol within four to six hours of bedtime, as alcohol helps you go to sleep, but then causes fragmentation throughout the night.
• Establish regular times for going to bed and waking up.
• Avoid watching TV or working on computers while in bed.
• Exercise regularly, but avoid vigorous exercise three to four hours prior to bedtime.
• Keep the room dark and quiet while you are sleeping.
• Avoid large meals before bedtime; however, eating a light snack may help promote sleep.
• Avoid extremes of temperature in the bedroom.
• Ensure that you have a good mattress.
• Avoid smoking, as nicotine is a stimulant that may disturb your sleep.
Average Sleep Requirement
Sleep, in essence, is an integral part of adequate functioning of human body. For details about iConquer: Sleep Wisely, to combat teen sleep and to view/download the 3-D animated movie for free, please visit www.itsyourlifefoundation.org.
Salim Surani, M.D., has written the first complete book on sleep deprivation risks, “Sleep & Safety,” as well as several manuscripts that have been published in major journals worldwide.
Wavebreak Media Ltd/bigstock.com
iConquer kids with Bannunu educating community in Channel 6 Corpus Christi 5/2015
iConquer educating community in Channel 3 Corpus Christi 5/2015
Coastal Bend Medicine: March/April 2015
Local high school students are taking a stand against diabetes and childhood obesity by creating a program called “I-Conquer.”
They’re teaching youngsters how to stay healthy…through a little song and dance.
Saherish Surani, a tenth grader from Mary Carroll High School said, “Well, diabetes is really prevalent in our society.”
She along with several other students created the I-Conquer program.
“This is project I Conquer. We actually found it to increase awareness about diabetes and childhood obesity as well as teach children how to live healthier lives,” Surani said.
Showing kids eating healthy and exercising can be fun.
“Our mission is to create habits instead of changing them and we do this through puppet shows, Zumba dances, moves and then fun little jingles and songs,” Surani said.
Kindergarten students at Luther Jones are just one of the schools participating in the I-Conquer Program and it seems to be catching on.
“I was learning about if you eat junk food, you will, you can’t exercise and you’ll be lazy,” David Lee, a Kindergarten student at Luther Jones Elementary said.
Molly Gowan, another Kindergarten said she learned, “Apples make you smile. Carrots make your eyes look pretty and stuff.”
Surani says teaching kids at a young age will help them live a healthier life in the long run.
“So, we thought that this was very important. we’re geared toward 3 to 7 year olds because at this age, the children are like sponges. They absorb anything we can tell them,” Surani said.
So, if you too much junk food then…Kindergartner Molly Gowan says, “You won’t be healthy.”
Caller Times 4/18/2015
CORPUS CHRISTI — Preparation for a 5K often occurs on a track, a trail, a treadmill or on the street.
Years before that, though, preparation for the It’s Your Life 5K walk and run April 26 has already begun in school auditoriums and gymnasiums.
“What are healthy foods?” a high school volunteer asked at a recent presentation to about 100 kindergartners at Corpus Christi Independent School District’s Hicks Elementary School. The volunteer is part of iConquer, a diabetes and obesity prevention program by It’s Your Life designed and presented by teenagers for elementary students.
“Bananas. Apples,” a few kids called out, tentatively.
They had reason to know. This was the third of four iConquer presentations at the school. The kindergartners had already seen a puppet show and a short animated movie on healthy eating, learned a song about fruits and vegetables, and met Banunu, the life-size yellow fuzzy mascot who vouches for the benefits of healthy snacks.
As the high school volunteers gave smiles and nods of encouragement, the younger students’ excitement built.
“Carrots! Spinach! Blueberries!” kids shouted.
The excitement is contagious to the older students as well, who have given themselves healthy fruit and vegetable nicknames.
“We like to see how excited they are to see us,” said Jason “Jalapeño” Dominguez, a volunteer from Carroll High School.
Early preparation is a key strategy of the It’s Your Life Foundation, which aims to reach children with messages of healthy living before unhealthy habits are ingrained. In addition to iConquer, the nonprofit encompasses other projects: the Anti-Tobacco prevention program and the KNIGHTS (Keep Nurturing and Inspiring Good Habits in Teen Sleep) program against sleep deprivation in teens.
Volunteers estimate that It’s Your Life, now in its fourth year, has reached 30,000 children with its programming. Proceeds from the 5K will benefit projects including a new animated movie about diabetes. The event also funds a special incentive: the top three schools with the most 5K finishers earn grants for their physical education programs.
The benefits of joining as a community to walk and run are equally valuable, organizers said.
“It’s not just about raising money, it’s also about raising awareness,” said Sara “Strawberry” Surani, one of the core group of high school volunteers. “We’re seeing more and more students coming out each year and getting motivated to live healthy lives.”
IF YOU GO
What: It’s Your Life 5K run and walk
When: 7:45 a.m. April 26
Where: Cole Park
Cost: Free/17 and under; $30/adults in advance; $35 at packet pickup, race day
Arise-n-Run 5K run & walk: 8 a.m. Saturday, 3115 Ocean Drive
Rockport Earth Day & Redfish Run 5K run & walk, 2-mile walk, & 1K kids fun run: 8:45 a.m. Saturday, 111 N. Austin St., Rockport
CASA Superhero 5K run & walk, 2-mile walk, & 1K kids fun run: 8 a.m. May 3, Heritage Park, 1581 N. Chaparral St.
Details and registration available via www.corpusroadrunners.com
© 2014 Corpus Christi Caller Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Local group teaches healthy eating, risk of diabetes with iConquer program
PHOTO BY RACHEL DENNY CLOW, CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER-TIMES
Rachel Denny Clow/Caller-Times Yeager Elementary School kindergarten students Daniel Soliz (left) and Cameron Salinas, both 5, try a healthy snack of a cracker, cheese, grape and carrot during an iConquer Chews Wisely presentation by Corpus Christi Independent School District students in October.
PHOTO BY RACHEL DENNY CLOW, CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER-TIMES // BUY THIS PHOTO
Rachel Denny Clow/Caller-Times Zoya Surani, 13 (left), and Leslie Salomon, 16, presenters of the iConquer Chews Wisely dance with students at Yeager Elementary School in October during a presentation. Students from Carroll High School and Baker Middle School use puppets, songs and food tastings as teaching tools for healthy eating habits to curb obesity and diabetes.
CORPUS CHRISTI — A group of middle and high school students are helping kids fight off bad eating habits taking the message of healthy eating into elementary schools.
Yeager Elementary kindergartners recently learned about better eating habits and diabetes risks through theiConquer: Chews Wisely program, which is funded solely by a parent of some group members.
Students from Carroll High School and Baker Middle School use puppets, songs and food tastings as teaching tools. The group of girls, in which three are sisters, also associate their first names with fruits or vegetables so their monikers can resonate with the younger students.
Many kindergartners first considered candy a healthy food option at the start of the program, which began in schools this year as part of the nonprofit organization It’s Your Life Foundation.
“They didn’t know it was bad for them,” said Sara Surani, a Carroll senior who is part of the program’s team.
That changed by the third meeting.
“What leads to diabetes?” group members asked the 41 kindergartners in October as they gathered in the school cafeteria.
“Candy!” students yelled in unison.
The program also emphasizes the importance of students exercising and eating fruit and vegetables to make strides in preventing diabetes.
Celestine Barnes, 5, said she tried carrots for the first time during an October visit.
“They were healthy,” she said after clearing her plate, which also had other foods, such as grapes, apple slices and cheese cubes.
Group members said they rely on the fact that students are at an age where they absorb information quickly and maybe they will share what they learn with their families.
Rachel Denny Clow/Caller-Times Yeager Elementary School kindergarten students Emylei Head (left) and Dalena Dunn, both 5, try a healthy snack of a cracker, cheese, grape and carrot during an iConquer Chews Wisely presentation by Corpus Christi Independent School District students in October.
“It really makes a difference to know that we inspired one kid,” said Saherish Surani, a Carroll freshman and Sara Surani’s sister.
The program also inspired one of its own members, Leslie Salomon, who plays an active role in her family’s health.
Her 13-year-old brother, Jacob, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 3 years old, and she has a grandmother diagnosed with Type 2. Salomon used to be a key caregiver for her grandmother.
Salomon, a 17-year-old Carroll junior, buys the groceries for her immediate family and often opts for healthier foods, such as lean chicken and greens.
She said her family started cutting meal portion sizes and eating healthier after her brother’s Type 1 diagnosis.
Salomon, who often helps her brother count carbohydrates, said childhood diabetes affects the whole family.
“It’s basically, like, a parasite,” she said. “It takes over everything.”
Salomon’s father, Ray, 37, said he has relatives with Type 2 diabetes who have vision problems, limb amputations and loss of teeth as a result of the disease.
“It’s kind of bad,” he said, adding he makes sure his children routinely get screened for risk factors.
He said a family has to work together to stay active and eat healthier.
“It’s a team effort, he said, “on everyone’s part.”
iConquer Team at Domingo Live
Surani Trio in Channel 3 Kiii TV promoting Healthy Habits
iConquer Team article in Caller Times Corpus Christi
iConquer Team teaching healthy messages to Yeager Elementary School Children
A group of middle and high school students are helping kids fight off bad eating habits taking the message of healthy eating into elementary schools. Published in Caller Times on 11/24/2013