Live your Life with December’s Habit of the Month

When we came up with the calendar for the Live your Life social marketing campaign, I wanted December to be about a celebration of food (rather than a finger waving nag about what you shouldn’t be doing). That’s because December is holiday times for many, and with holidays come the joy of cooking and family recipes. So in December, reclaim that love of cooking, or experimenting with cooking, and make it a habit that sticks for the rest of the year. But time! Ah we know. If you can figure out a way to make it work, and eat less fast food, you’ll be Living your Life.

Community Transformation Grants Available

Community Transformation Grant (CTG) Partnership for a Healthier New York Neighborhood Contractors

11/20/12: The Fund for Public Health in New York (FPHNY), on behalf of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) and the Partnership for Healthier New York City, is requesting proposals from Neighborhood Contractors to work with the Borough Lead Coalitions in order to advance the work of New York City’s Community Transformation Grant.

Live your Life with November’s Habit of the Month

Live your Life with November’s Habit of the Month: Eat smaller amounts.

Sometimes it’s not about what you’re eating but how much you’re serving yourself. Celebrate food with balance this month, and transition into better portion sizes. For more information visit the CHALK and Vive tu Vida/Live your Life Campaign website. Zoe Health is a proud campaign participant of the Vive tu Vida/Live your Life Campaign. 


Gripe with Technology… When Library Books Become Contraband

Salvaged in a book sale

It’s best to start off by saying technology is a marvelous thing. We live longer, live more comfortably and spend more time thinking beyond surviving a winter and where our next meal will come from. One of the many times it interferes with progressive living though, is when it becomes Grendel’s dragon on a pile of gold: it wont share share the goods it’s supposed to safeguard. Things don’t work. Medical facilities go through this when computer systems are down and patient records can’t be accessed. Here’s an example in the world of parenting, in the setting of Hurricane Sandy and the New York Public Library. After a few days of being closed, some of our libraries opened. That’s great. With schools and parks closed, and a subdued Halloween, for many parents this was welcomed news indeed. Libraries continued to offer some of their great programs free of charge–story telling, browsing through a book or a newspaper. Or lounging quietly (if you live by a lucky branch) in a plush new seat. But one thing you couldn’t do was check out books. Their system was down. In the world of vaccines, we call this a Missed Opportunity to Vaccinate (MOV). It’s sort of like when we took our daughter to get a second dose of the flu shot, but were refused at the doctor’s office because the office failed to communicate their walk-in hours correctly and timely, and instead told us to come back another time. One hurricane and busy schedules later she’s a few weeks late for her second dose and theoretically disease vulnerable.

The library example I’m calling a Missed Opportunity to Educate (MOE). A MOE. It’s a Missed Opportunity to Reduce Screen Time, a Missed Opportunity to Open New Worlds… I’m a novelist so I’m going to cry Chicken Little when I see a child at the check-out desk being denied from taking home a book that is perfectly ready to be read at home. The rebel in me will snicker gleefully when I witness a sympathetic security guard sneak the book into the child’s hands and whisper to the parent, “I’ll know you’ll return it.” I wanted to give that guard an “Employee of the Month” award for staying true to the institutional goals of the library instead of a drone to its operational beauracracy.

Would the child ever have an opportunity like this again (no school, maybe no TV or computers because of power outages) where they could be saturated in the world of books, giving reading a fighting chance of becoming a lifestyle habit? Don’t laugh- it happened to my husband. One broken arm in youth he was home-bound for a week and discovered the world of literature that has remained a life-long love of his.

So why make it harder to live a balanced life? It’s moments like these when we shouldn’t let our own inventions created to serve us, dictate another way of life. Time to think out of the system. Undust those stampers with return dates. Pick up those (what?!) pencils and write down names, okay, library card numbers if you must. Enter the data into the computers when the system is back on.

I’m not doing away with technology. But when library books become contraband it’s time to step out of the system box and operate with a little bit more carbon based brain power instead of the unhuman rules of computer codes.

Only 2 days left to submit your question to my TEDMED Panel

Hope everyone is well and safe after Sandy.

Wanted to nudge those of you who are still interested in submitting a question to the TEDMED Great Challenges on Promoting Active LifestylesThere are only a few days left for you to make your splash on the TEDMED page before they close the question bank and prompt panelists for a response to generate discussions. All questions must be in by Monday November 5th.

As of Thursday night 2 of the 3 questions submitted are from my network (thanks Heather of Flip2BFit and Alan of Focused Fitness NYC)! (UPDATE- We’re now at 9!) A great start. It would be wonderful to hear from you as you add a unique voice and industry perspective to the conversation, and it’s a great way to be seen. The question should center around the challenge: The average American adult burns 500 fewer calories per day than farmers and factory workers did 100 years ago — while consuming many more calories. How do we invent ways for people to become more active, so as to replace those “lost” energy expenditures? 

Here is the link to participate– just login in to the “submit a question” section.

The comment section is always open for ongoing discussion as well. Hope you can dive in there too if something moves you.

Be well,


“TEDMED’s Great Challenges Program, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is an opportunity for a diverse community to come together and achieve a better understanding of what makes these challenges so complex and difficult to solve. Ask questions and share ideas – together we’ll gain a deeper understanding of these Great Challenges.”

Dan Buettner TEDMED 2011: A must see if you work in promoting health

This article in the New York Times and TEDMED 2011 talk really sum up some compelling ideas around the whole healthy lifestyle discussion. Dan Buettner gives a wonderful TEDMED 2011 talk that makes the case for building an ecosystem for healthy lifestyle habits that stick, with proven health results. The “Blue Zone” has a lot of the elements I worked to weave into the CHALK program and Vive tu Vida/Live your Life campaign, knowing that it takes a supportive environment to help people live their lives with health.

Dan Buettner TEDMED 2011 Video

The Island Where People Forget to Die NY Times Magazine October 24th 2012

Stephanie and Zoe Health are Welcomed into TEDMED2013: The 20 Great Challenges of Health and Medicine

Exciting news for Zoe Health! I’ve been selected as a TEDMED Great Challenge leader for Promoting Active LifestylesTEDMED is a branch of the TED folks (TED talks), which focuses on issues in health and medicine that have no magic bullet or cure. The mission of TEDMED’s Great Challenges Program is not to solve these complex problems, but to ” provide America and the world with an unbiased and broadly inclusive view of these challenges, incorporating thoughtful, multidisciplinary perspectives”. From now until April 2013 I’ll serve as a moderator and panelist who seeks to engage in meaningful dialogue around the question: “How do we invent broadly popular and achievable ways for people to become more active…?” I’ll serve among a distinguished team of 4 for the challenge. The forum is online and in addition to the ongoing text dialogue, I’ll be producing creative formats for answering curated questions these discussions generate.

Contribute to the online discussions on any of the Great Challenges. Join me and my teammates and contribute directly to the Promoting Active Lifestyles discussion here. Why? Besides the interesting thoughts that can arise from our discussions, it also adds visibility and relevancy to your own work to an international audience.

It is truly an honor to have been recognized as a “thought leader” by the TEDMED community to help further evolve a public health issue that I’ve spent the past 8 years tackling. See you in TEDMED!


My heart fluttered when I saw the “WE CAN BE HEROES:  Darkness & Light” exhibit at Columbus Circle. It’s a great marriage between a public health cause and the art world. To “raise awareness and funds for the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa”, the exhibit utilizes imagery and marketing from DC comic characters (DC Comics’ Justice League). Check it out at

Happy October! Live your Life with a New Healthy Habit

Happy October!

If you want to focus on improving “Living your Life” with a healthy habit this month, the Live your Life Campaign promotes “Snack on healthy foods.” in October. Snacks are always on our minds as parents, especially with Halloween at the end of the calendar when we can amass a frighteningly big pile of sugary candy. Snacks can also be a source of angst in the office, or when we might not have control of what’s available. But snacks can be yummy, filling and nutritious with a little balance in what you eat, portion sizing (how much you

eat), and planning. Visit the campaign’s website for some snacking tips this month, especially tips for kids. Also available on their site are some cool snack signs for businesses for free download (made by our team long ago!).

Zoe Health, LLC is a proud campaign participant of the Live your Life Campaign.

Consulting services for public health solutions. Art meets health.