January: Well-Being

Sustainable choices you can make…

Rethink your drink. The average American consumes 45 gallons of sugar-sweetened beverages per year.[1] Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.[2] Calories in liquid form do not trigger the same sensation of fullness as solid foods. In fact, drinking an extra 150 calories a day for a year on average would lead to a 10 pound weight gain![3]

  • Tip: Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages – it’s an easy way to save money, cut empty calories, and improve your health!

Many plastic and metal food and drink containers are made with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical with potential human health effects which has been associated with reproductive abnormalities in animal studies.[4]

Walk More, Drive less. Regular physical activity helps improve overall health and reduces risk for many chronic diseases.[5] Driving less reduces air pollution and health risks such as asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease, and cancer.

  • Tip: Integrate physical activity into your daily commuting routine by walking or biking to work and between meetings. Visit the Yale Transportation Options website for commuting resources. For walking in cold weather, dress in layers and be alert, particularly in inclement weather when drivers may have reduced visibility and control.
  • Tip: Being Well at Yale offers wellness activities and challenges throughout the year. Stay tuned for the next challenge coming in March! In the meantime, use the platform to track your daily activity and invite colleagues to “quick challenges.”

Breathe Better. Vehicle idling (running the engine when not in motion) causes local air pollution. Did you know that idling can damage engine components and that today’s cars warm up more efficiently when they’re driving than sitting in a driveway?[6]

  • Tip: When you drive, avoid idling. See an idler on the street? Let them know that vehicle idling is actually illegal in Connecticut and kindly ask them to turn it off for their health and yours.

Smoking is the #1 cause of preventable death and cigarette butts are the #1 littered item in the United States.[7],[8]

Tip: If you smoke and are thinking about quitting, there is support! Visit Being Well at Yale for resources to help you quit smoking. Sign up for the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program, which is free for all Yale employees. Check here for dates and locations.

Additional Resources

Get Healthy CT has information on healthy eating and physical activity, as well as local resources.

Use the Healthy Eating Plate, developed by the Harvard School of Public Health as a guide for creating healthy, balanced meals.

Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ to determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic.

Visit Sustainable American’s national Turn It Off campaign to learn more about vehicle idling, take the idle free pledge, and commit to turning it off!

Live locally? Take the New Haven Healthy City Healthy Climate Challenge today!.

[1] Andreyeva T, Chaloupka FJ, Brownell KD. Estimating the potential of taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce consumption and generate revenue. Prev Med 2011; 52:413-416.

[2] Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “Rudd Report: Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes – An Updated Policy Brief.” October 2012.

[3] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “Balance Food and Activity.”

[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity Guidelines.

[7] American Lung Association. “Health Effects.”

[8] Keep America Beautiful – Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. Cigarette Litter and the Environment.