Physical Health

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Gym class used to be as simple as learning the rules to a sport, practicing that sport, playing a scrimmage, and moving on. Now, the bar is set a bit higher. Charity Campbell is a physical education teacher at Norwalk Middle School. She says physical education has shifted to instilling habits that go beyond the classroom.

"As we're making that shift with our health crisis today, we're making sure our students are active the entire class. We're giving them a variety of activities to try and do, but not perfect the skills."

Flickr / ceiling

The benefits of exercise are well documented, but it can difficult to make time to hit the gym. But when developing a good workout schedule, is it more important to focus on forming habits on how you exercise, or habits that make you decide to exercise?

According to ISU health psychologist L. Alison Phillips, it's the latter. She says strong patterns that prompt you to initiate exercise are key to frequent workouts. 

It’s been about three months since Daniel Finney wrote his first column in the Des Moines Register about his efforts to lose more than 300 pounds. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Daniel Finney about his weight loss journey.

"The little things are a tremendous life improvement," says Finney, referring to walking to the mailbox and household chores. "You go from dreading simple basic daily tasks to not really thinking about them, and you become really grateful of the fact that you are on this journey to recover."

Organizers of the Branstad administration’s fourth annual 1-K walk say they expect as many as half a million people to participate. 

Sasha Wolff / Wikimedia Commons

36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, but understanding why exactly these types of headaches happen has been elusive. Until recently, scientists thought migraines were a vascular issue, caused by irregular blood flow to the brain, but Dr. Lynn Rankin of Unity Point Health in Des Moines says we’ve come to a new understanding in the last few years. Migraines are most likely a brain disorder that has to do with pain circuitry. 

Courtesy RADiUS-TWC

Just who’s to blame for the childhood obesity epidemic? Over the years, the finger has been pointed at parents, video games and vending machines, to name a few.

To the makers of the new activist documentary, “Fed Up,” the bottom line of blame lies with a simple substance poured into our diets every day: sugar. And the pushers of what this film calls a drug and “the new tobacco” are the food industry and our own government.

“What if our whole approach to this epidemic has been dead wrong?” the film’s narrator, TV journalist Katie Couric, says in the film’s open.

Iowa State University Extension LIFE; used with permission /

People are living longer, but are they living better, more healthy, more active lives?  Colin Milner is CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, and is visiting Iowa to talk about opportunities for governments, organizations, and individuals to take advantage to the changes that are ahead for people and communities.  Also on the program is Iowa State University Assistant Professor Sarah Francis, who also oversees ISU Extension's program Living Well Through Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise.

Jeff Wasson

The Winter Olympics begin tomorrow, which got us thinking about the young athletes who will be watching the games... who may one day compete at state, national , or international levels.

Now more than ever, children and their parents are faced with the decision of whether or not to specialize in a sport at an early age – some children being only a few years old. Today on Talk of Iowa, we explore the concept of specializing children in sports.

Thomas / flickr

To keep a baby entertained, parents often need to introduce new objects or toys every few minutes. When you do that, you are not just distracting the baby, you are helping them learn about the world. In this archived edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe finds out about new research into how infants learn, and she talks with a life-long friend of Dr. Ignacio Ponseti about the Ponseti Method for correcting clubfoot.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

For 25 years has ranked the best and worst jobs. Their rating is based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. 

Host Ben Kieffer revisits conversations with a biomedical engineer and an audiologist, two jobs that made the best list.  He also speaks to an oil rig worker and a newspaper reporter, two jobs on the worst list.

Library and Archives Canada

Humans developed in warm climates, but eventually our ancestors made their way into colder and more inhospitable regions.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with physiologist Kevin Kregel and anthropologist Robert Franciscus of the University of Iowa about how humans have acclimated to cold and challenging environments.


"For virtually any health outcome...

David D / Flickr

Today we listen back to a show from September 2012 on how physicians can help their patients lose weight.

Have you ever been to the doctor and was told, "You really need to lose some weight."  While many of us  need to slim down, dropping the pounds is easier said than done.  Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Dr. Lawrence Apple who  studies the best and most efficient ways for physicians to help their patients lose weight.

BodyTel / flickr

Type II Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and in Iowa 7.5% of all adults have been diagnosed with the disease. Today on Talk of Iowa, we listen back to a conversation from last year about diabetes, Type I, Type II and gestational diabetes. We discuss risk factors, prevention, advances in treatment and find out what it’s like to live with the disease.

Curvatude / Jaye Gipson

What if you got hurt and went to see your doctor, but the doctor didn't take you seriously?

D. Sharon Pruitt / Flickr account

To keep a baby entertained parents often need to introduce new objects or toys every few minutes. When you do that, you're not just distracting the baby, you're helping them learn about the world.

Host Charity Nebbe finds out about new research into how infants learn, and the remarkable Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, the creator of the Ponseti Method for correcting clubfoot, is remembered by a life long friend.

Detailing Trauma

Nov 5, 2012
UI Press

The human body can be subjected to a variety of physical and spiritual inflictions and yet it often finds resilience to continue to love in spite of the pain. Charity Nebbe talks with author Arianne Zwartjes about her reflections in her new book Detailing Trauma: A Poetic Anatomy.


Mindless Eating

Oct 15, 2012

Why do you eat what you eat? You may think the decisions you make about what food you put in your mouth is entirely yours but Brian Wansink says you’re wrong and he can prove it. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Wansink, a professor and director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University about eating habits. His research reveals how people’s diets can be influenced everyday on a variety of factors and how to use that information to eat less.

David D / Flickr

Obesity has reached epidemic levels in this country and along with it many Americans suffer from serious related health problems. We know that we should lose weight, but how? There is no definitive answer. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Dr. Lawrence Appel about the clinical research he has done on weight loss and what he has discovered.

Diabetes in Iowa

Aug 23, 2012
BodyTel / flickr

Type II Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and in Iowa 7.5% of all adults have been diagnosed with the disease. On today's "Talk of Iowa" we talk about diabetes, Type I, Type II and gestational diabetes. We discuss risk factors, prevention, advances in treatment and find out what it’s like to live with the disease. 

David D / Flickr

Losing weight sounds simple in mathematical terms. Burning more calories than you consume equals weight loss, but reality is far more complicated. Host Charity Nebbe explores the science of weight loss with several doctors and nutrition experts to find out why it so difficult for some people to lose weight and why keeping the weight off can be a daily challenge.

Many people know the basics of skin safety- wear sunscreen, protective clothing, avoid sunburns, but there are still many misconceptions and questions on sun-related concerns. On today's "Talk of Iowa" we explore the myths and questions you have about skin cancer and the sun. We also discuss the prevalence of tanning salons in the state, as well as find out why vitamin D is so important, and how you can be sure you are getting enough.

Having a child changes everything including how you eat and how you move.  On today's Talk of Iowa, Charity talks with Dr. Helene Laroche, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Iowa about how becoming a parent can change your diet.  Later, we hear from Matt Stancel, Assistant Director of Fitness Programs for Recreational Services at the U of I about how becoming a parent might change your exercise routine.  


We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for you, but is "God" good for you too? A study published last year found an 18% lower mortality level for patients who had higher rates of spirituality or religiosity. This hour, we explore the link between spirituality and physical well-being.  Charity speaks with Dr. Richard Deming of the Mercy Cancer Center in Des Moines, who has taken cancer survivors and caregivers on journeys to such places as the Mt. Everest Base Camp and Mt. Kilimanjaro.  He's planning to take his next group to Mt.