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Texas Health Stephenville Offers Tips for a Healthy Holiday

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The holidays are fast approaching, but just because we all get busy with a flurry of parties and shopping and other festivities doesn’t mean we have to neglect our health.

“At Texas Health Stephenville we want to be your partner in creating a healthy lifestyle,” said Christopher Leu, hospital president. “Our caregivers and physicians on the medical staff spend each day working to heal others, but we find it very rewarding to help keep people well and home with their families for the holidays.”

Mae Marcell
Dr. Jeffrey Edwards

The season for holiday treats is well underway and even if Thanksgiving’s turkey feast didn’t catch up with you an array of cookies and candies and Christmas feasts is still looming.

“It’s important that people take time for themselves over the holidays,” said Dr. Jeffrey Edwards, chief quality officer and a physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Stephenville. “Keep in mind that holidays are a short period of days to celebrate with family and friends, not an opportunity to overindulge from Halloween to New Year’s Eve.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend ways to prevent sliding off healthy routines during the holidays. Those tips are:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day;
  • Limit foods and drinks that are high in calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol;
  • Be active for at least 2 1/2 hours a week by including activities that raise breathing and heart rates as well as strengthen muscles and bones.

Another question that seems to come up every year is how to avoid getting sick around kids and others gathered around the Christmas tree.

“For many people, hugs from family at holiday parties and gathering closely around the Christmas tree are givens during the holiday season, but individuals need to remember to wash their hands and take simple steps to ensure they aren’t sick before New Year’s Eve,” Edwards said.

The CDC recommends individuals practice simple things, such as covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze (sneezing into your elbow is often the most efficient way), cleaning your hands often, and reminding children to practice healthy habits.

When it comes to healthy hand hygiene, many people could use a refresher on the proper hand-washing technique. To ensure hands are effectively cleaned, follow these steps:

  1. Wet hands with warm water.
  2. Apply soap.
  3. Rub hands together for at least 15 seconds (sing "Happy Birthday" twice or the "ABCs.") Be sure to wash front and back of hands, between fingers, around and under fingernails.
  4. Rinse well, letting water drip off fingers, not run down arms.
  5. Dry hands with paper towel.
  6. Turn off water with paper towel. (Remember that dirty hands turned the water faucet on.)

And with New Year’s Eve around the corner, it is important to set attainable goals.

For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children as young as preschoolers can set resolutions such as brushing their teeth twice a day, washing their hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.

The AAP suggests that children ages 5 years old to 12 years old could try to:

  • Drink milk and water while limiting soda and fruit drinks;
  • Find a sport or activity that they enjoy and can participate in at least three times a week, such as basketball, jumping rope, dancing, or playing tag;

Wear their seatbelt every time they get in a car and sit in a booster seat until they are tall enough to use a regular seat belt. The AAP also recommends that teenagers could commit to:

  • Eat at least one fruit and one vegetable a day;
  • Remove negative thoughts, such as “I’m so dumb,” out of their vocabulary; and
  • Find positive ways to deal with stress, such as through exercise, reading or talking problems out.

“By setting goals as a family and including children in the process parents are setting their children up for a healthy lifestyle for many years to come,” Edwards said. “By cooking healthy meals and engaging in physical activity together families can build healthy habits and avoid the usual pitfalls of quickly forgotten resolutions.”

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is a 98-bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital's services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women’s services, advanced diagnostic imaging, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and wound care. Texas Health Stephenville, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health is a partner in eight additional hospitals or surgery centers. Texas Health Physicians Group provides a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas Health SingleSource Staffing is a joint venture designed to help Texas Health hospitals improve patient care by recruiting and retaining quality nurses and allied healthcare professionals. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.

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