Thursday, October 17, 2013

My StrataRx Ignite Presentation: Fitbit - You Had Me at Smooches

As promised, here is the video from my September 2013 Ignite talk at the Strata Rx conference about my quantified self mission to track my Couch-to-5K runs with Fitbit. I'm proud to have accomplished this communication 'challenge' given that the Ignite format is pretty prescriptive.

Take a peek and let me know what you think! Share your comments here on the blog or you can tweet me on Twitter. Always excited to hear your health, fitness, and wellness success stories too! **Smooches**

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This is MY Moment: The Girl Declaration

"I was not put on this earth to be invisible. I was not born to be denied. I was not given life only to belong to someone else. I belong to ME. I have a voice and I will use it."
These are the first few lines of The Girl Declaration. So empowering! Even more inspiring when you hear Yaweta Chavula and Laiba Shahzadi announce the initiative on behalf of Nike at the Clinton Global Initiative. Watch until the end of the video below to see how they steal some of the thunder from Chelsea Clinton!

On this Blog Action Day, I've decided to write about Girl's Rights, since the health and well-being of girls has been shown to be an indicator of how well all humans are doing. You could argue that if we protect the rights of girls that we are protecting the rights of all people.

I'm inspired by this Girl Declaration as a woman and as someone who didn't always believe in the power of my voice. I've since learned how important it is for me (and all girls and women) to speak up for that in which we believe. The words of the Declaration are based on research and consultation with over 500 girls, ages 10-19, living in poverty in 14 countries around the world. It was written with girls, for girls. I think this Girl Declaration should be posted in every classroom to remind girls of the power in their voice. Of course, that presumes that girls are allowed and encouraged to attend school in their community!

The goals of The Girl Declaration are so powerful in their potential to impact everyone -- given that there are close to 600 million girls aged 10-19 living in the world today or approximately 8.5% of the population. [UNICEF State of the World's Children 2011]

Girls reach adulthood with relevant skills and knowledge to participate in economic, social and cultural life.

Adolescent girls have access to safe, age-appropriate health and nutrition information and services, and possess the confidence to make healthy transitions to adulthood.

Adolescent girls are free from violence and exploitation and are supported by enforced laws, child protection systems and their communities.

Adolescent girls know how to build and protect their economic assets and earn a safe income. Governments, communities and the private sector uphold girls' economic rights.

Adolescent girls have equal access to services, opportunities, legal rights and personal freedom, and are able to fully participate as citizens of their communities.

The Girls Declaration was written because girls were left out of the original Millennium Development Goals to eliminate extreme poverty around the world by 2015. Now that girls have been included, what will we do to support the growth and development of girls around the world? What can YOU do to support a girl in your family or community? Share your thoughts and ideas here in the comments, or you can always tweet me on Twitter.

This is OUR Moment!

Friday, October 04, 2013

I Traveled 8 Hours to Give a 5-Minute Talk About My Fitbit

Data Makes a Difference was the tagline for the Strata Rx 2013 conference on using "Big Data" to drive innovation in Healthcare.  In my opinion, so does community ... and, of course, so do we as empowered patients ... make a difference, that is. This was an underlying theme for my #Ignite talk last week -- Fitbit: You Had Me at Smooches!

This is me speaking below. You can hardly tell that I had just traveled 8 hours to get to Boston ... from New York! I was so fortunate that the Amtrak train delay/power failure en route didn't cause me to miss my 5-minute appearance.

Strata Rx 2013

For those not already familiar with #Ignite talks, the format is you have only 20 slides and 5 minutes to tell your story. Even more fun for presenters is that your slides are automatically advanced every 15 seconds!

I've previously shared my journey to becoming an "urban datasexual" who has become part of the Quantified Self community by tracking my steps (and often my sleep) using my Fitbit. In fact, my June blog article was the basis for my #Ignite talk -- given the first time in Denver at the Healthcare Unbound conference (July), and last week at Strata Rx.

What's changed since July is that I'm now in Week 8 of my Couch-to-5K training, sustaining runs of at least 25 minutes long. As a result, my distance/steps have increased to an average of about 7,000 steps per run. My personal best day is 14,123 steps and 6.65 miles in one day in August. I've noticed that my motivation to run is also changing.

I'm still motivated by the personal challenge of running; yet, I'm also inspired by the "likes" I get on my Facebook page whenever I post my latest accomplishment. That's why I believe that community makes a difference in health care and our overall well-being. I heard that sentiment echoed in many of the Strata Rx presentations -- that our social connections impact our decisions and health behaviors. Observing our friends and family making positive health choices can lead us to do the same. And, of course, the opposite is true -- we're, perhaps, even more strongly influenced when we observe others making unhealthy choices.

I'll share the link to a video of my talk as soon as it's available. In the meantime, I'm curious about what makes a difference for your health? Do you have a "health posse"? What health behaviors are you looking to increase (or decrease)?