North Shore Times : November 26th 2010
6 NORTH SHORE TIMES, NOVEMBER 26, 2010 NEWS Mums in dark over sun's vitamin D By SARAH CODDINGTON A survey of more than 9000 mothers has exposed gaps in knowledge about vitamin D s role in health. Researchers from Massey University Albany say they are concerned more than half of the Maori, Chinese and Indian mothers did not know people with darker skins need more sun to absorb the same amount of vitamin D as fairer skinned people. And a parallel survey of health workers, including doctors and nurses, found high levels of knowledge but a lack of understanding about what to tell patients. Study authors Cath Conlon and Pamela von Hurst say about 90 percent of respondents knew vitamin D comes from the sun and is needed for bone development. The survey also revealed many South Islanders are unaware they are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than people in the North Island because of the sun s less intense UVB rays in the south. The full results of the sur- vey were released at a sym- posium held at the univer- sity s Albany campus. A speaker at the sym- posium suggested people should go out in the midday sun to increase their vitamin D levels. Cancer Society health pro- motion manager Jan Pearson agrees that adequate vitamin D is essential for general health, particularly for bone, joint, muscle and neurological function. Sensible sun protection practices should not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency. A balance is required between avoiding an increased risk of skin cancer and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels, Dr Pearson says. She says most Kiwis will get enough vitamin D by just being out and about during summer without deliberately exposing their skin. Dr Pearson warns against the use of sunbeds as a way of getting vitamin D. The intensity of radiation at some wave lengths from some sunbeds is several times higher than the inten- sity of radiation that occurs in sunlight at the earth s sur- face, Dr Pearson says. The sun s UV radiation is at its highest between Sept- ember and April. It s important not to underestimate the power of the sun at this time of year and to remember that it s not the sun s heat that burns, but UV radiation, she says. Natural healthcare advocate By SARAH CODDINGTON Changing times: Global Health Clinics operator John Coombes with a microscope that allows him to analyse blood cells. Photo: SARAH CODDINGTON Natural healthcare practi- tioners are urging Waitemata District Health Board to con- sider alternative medical practices. The western medical sys- tem is costing New Zealand billions of dollars that could be spent on education and business, Global Health Clinics operator John Coombes says. A projected shortfall of 23,000 health workers by 2021 is a key threat to the country s health system, he says. This is a serious issue. People and families lives are at stake, we need to sort this out now. Waitemata District Health Board chairman Lester Levy agrees but says there are pre- ventative measures in the mainstream health system. There are anti-smoking initiatives, immunisation programmes, and nutrition programmes in place at Wai- temata, Mr Coombes says. He would like to see natu- ral healthcare workers included in the health sys- tem. He is preparing a pro- posal for a pilot programme to put to the board. Mr Levy says how or if natural healthcare could be included at Waitemata will be looked at in a February meeting. Mr Coombes turned to natural healthcare when his wife Deirde Trask was diag- nosed with cancer. She died 10 years ago leaving four sons behind. He says by the time they found the right help it was too late. My clinic is dedicated to her, he says. Mr Coombes says natural healthcare focuses on diet and exercise. Currently 94 percent of doctors visited end up with drug prescriptions and 6 percent result in exercise and diet advice, Mr Coombes says. Costly vet's bill after mauling By LISA HONEYBONE A Mairangi Bay resident has been left with a $2000 vet bill after her cat was mauled on her property by an unleashed dog. Philippa Hawken says she heard a commotion and rushed outside to see that the dog had her cat Tom in its mouth. She yelled at the dog s owners to do something because they were stand- ing there watching, she says. They put the dog on the leash and sauntered off, she says. As they were leaving, Philippa took Tom to the emergency vet where he had to stay for the week- end. She had a nervous wait to see if Tom would sur- vive. He had to have some bones removed from his sternum and over the fol- lowing week he had to take daily trips to the vet for fluids because he wasn t eating. Philippa says Tom has also had a slight person- ality change. He has a shell-shocked look on his face, she says. He is more timid and not so keen to wander outside but she is hopeful he will bounce back. She is also hopeful that she will find the dog s owners. Sunnynook community constable Penny Rustbatch says police visited the scene on the day but they have no leads. Buddies bond over free day at the supercross By SARAH CODDINGTON Best mates: Jarrod Hunt and Mark Talbot enjoying their day at the supercross event at North Harbour Stadium. A day at the supercross was the best thing Mark Talbot and his little buddy Jarrod Hunt had ever done together. The pair was lucky enough to receive two free tickets to the motorcycle racing sport event at North Harbour Stadium. Ten free tickets were given away to the Big Buddy Mentoring Trust. The scheme means boys without fathers are given an opportunity to have a male role model in their lives. Big Buddy Mr Talbot first thought of becoming a mentor when he read an article in the North Shore Times four years ago. At the time my wife was pregnant with our first child and it made me think about my own childhood and what it would have been like grow- ing up without a male role model in my life, he says. Jarrod s mum Rhonda Gorst decided to get a big buddy for her son when he was having behavioural problems. Mark does an amazing job. Sometimes I wish he was his dad, he has two young chil- dren himself and has still taken on Jarrod, Ms Gorst says. Mr Talbot is just pleased to make a difference in someone else s life. He knows he just has to pick up the phone and call when things are not going so well for him, Mr Talbot says. Jarrod, 11, has grown up with the Talbot family and is regularly included in birth- day celebrations and comes along when they are going to the park. The Big Buddy Mentoring Trust is looking for more male volunteers to be role models to young boys. Call Stephen Bell on 488-7181 for more information or go to www.bigbuddy.org.nz.
November 25th 2010
November 30th 2010