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WTVD(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- North Carolina school officials said they are investigating an outbreak of an unknown illness, possibly the norovirus, that left dozens of students and some staff members sick.

At least 125 students were sent home from three schools in the Person County School District on Wednesday after reports of symptoms including a low-grade fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Local health officials said in a statement the symptoms were similar to norovirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention has asked for samples to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Jennifer Purdie, whose daughter attends a school where three students became ill, told ABC News television affiliate WTVD in Raleigh, North Carolina, that she was concerned that the school was remaining open.

"I was talking with a lot of the other parents and we're really upset and concerned that they're not closing the school down at least until Friday," Purdie said.

The Person County School Superintendent said Wednesday that the affected schools were sanitized after classes ended on Wednesday and that school would remain open as normal.

Norovirus is a common virus that affects the gastrointestinal system and can spread widely. Every year the virus leads to between 19 million and 21 million illnesses and 570 to 800 deaths, according to the CDC.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A growing number of young children are being diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and increasingly parents are on the front lines of identifying early symptoms, according to a new study.

A third of children with ADHD are diagnosed under the age of 6, and in the vast majority of ADHD diagnoses, family members are the first to identify signs of the disorder, according to the study, published in the National Health Statistics Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers released the findings after examining information from 2,976 families who had children with ADHD.

The number of diagnosed cases of the disorder have shot up in recent years, rising 42 percent from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012, according to the study.

Researchers found that as rates of ADHD went up, those close to the children, including parents, teachers and other caretakers, played a key role in diagnosis.

“We did see that in the vast majority of cases a family member of some kind was the first to express concern for behavior or performance,” explained Susanna Visser, the lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. She said family members who saw signs of ADHD could then, “really [communicate] that to doctors.”

In approximately 64 percent of cases, a family member was the first to show concern about a child’s behavior.

Visser and her team also found that a third of children were under the age of 6 when diagnosed and she told ABC News that new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2013 may have helped spur those new diagnoses.

“In general, once the symptoms start to cause impairment, the child and family can benefit from treatment,” Visser said on the benefits of early diagnosis. “For kids under 6, behavior therapy can benefit.”

Dr. Francisco Castellanos, a professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, said he was gratified to hear about the new numbers and thought that the study showed progress in appropriately diagnosing children with the disorder.

Castellanos, who was not involved in the study, said the findings were “fair” and that it was clear doctors are taking pains to accurately diagnose patients.

Castellanos said the study showed parents are talking to their pediatricians and that those doctors are taking the ADHD symptoms seriously. He said he was especially happy to see that children getting diagnosed under the age of 6 are generally seeing more specialists before their diagnosis.

“The clinicians are being more judicious, more deliberate and [referring] them to child psychiatrist,” he said.

Castellanos said he suspects the sharp increase seen in recent years is a reflection of increased awareness and will level off soon.

“There used to be a real sense of ‘Let's wait it out, it’s going to go away,’” Castellano said of children with ADHD behaviors. “I think that’s pretty much no longer around. That’s why we see a large increase in overall prevalence. I can’t imagine there’s going to continue to be the same increase" in the future.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Fruit. It’s the naturally sweet snack that, according to those well-known food pyramids, we need two to three servings of daily.

But new information about fruit being loaded with sugar has some of us staying away. So how much fruit do you really need?

While fruit contains sugar, it also contains fiber, vitamins, phyto-nutrients and water.

And, not all fruits are created equally with respect to sugar. Lower sugar fruits include berries, oranges and grapefruits.

A good formula is to have one piece of fruit with each meal or snack, matched with a filling protein like peanut butter or nuts. This way, you can safely meet your quota of this tasty, healthy treat.

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Wolterk/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One year after the company stopped selling tobacco products in its stores, CVS Health says it has seen impressive results.

The national pharmacy chain stopped tobacco sales in September 2014, and since that time, the 13 states in which CVS has a 15 percent or greater market share have seen a one percent decrease in cigarette pack sales. The data, gathered by the CVS Health Research Institute, looked at purchases made at drug, food, big box, dollar and convenience stores, as well as gas stations.

In those states, the average smoker, the company says, has purchased five fewer packs. Overall, 95 million fewer packs of cigarettes have been sold in those 13 states since CVS' decision.

CVS also says that there has been a four percent increase in purchases of nicotine patches in those same states, indicating an effect on attempts to quit smoking.

"We know that more than two-thirds of smokers want to quit -- and that half of smokers try to quit each year," CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Troyen Brennan said in a statement. "We also know that cigarette purchases are often spontaneous. And so we reasoned that removing a convenient location to buy cigarettes could decrease overall tobacco use."

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Getty Images(PERSON COUNTY, N.C.) -- Dozens of students at a North Carolina school were sent home after they exhibited possible signs of a virus, according to the local school superintendent.

At least 84 students at the Person High School in Person County were sent home after exhibiting "virus type symptoms," according to a statement from Person County School Superintendent Danny Holloman.

Additionally, six staff members were also sent home after exhibiting the same symptoms. At the Helena Elementary School and Woodland Elementary School, a total of 20 students were sent home after showing symptoms.

Students and staff were asked to stay home if they have vomiting, fever or diarrhea.

What triggered the illness remained unknown as of Wednesday afternoon, but school officials said they were reaching out to the local health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help.

The CDC requested schools send samples from sick kids to determine the source of the outbreak.

School officials said the affected schools would be cleaned overnight and classes were expected to resume as normal Thursday morning. The Person County Health Department did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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Charlotte "Charlie" Godish, 5, donated stem cells to her twin brother Bradley. (Jennifer Godish)(ELGIN, Ill.) — A 5-year-old girl became a hero to her family after she helped her twin brother fight his aggressive form of leukemia by selflessly donating her stem cells to him.

"What Charlie did for her brother and my wife and I was nothing short of amazing," dad Brian Godish of Elgin, Illinois, told ABC News Wednesday. “For us to be fortunate enough for Bradley to have a twin sister who's a perfect match; we were speechless. Not everyone is so lucky.

"We were almost at a loss for words as to how emotional it was."

Back in January, Godish told ABC News Wednesday, he and his wife approached their daughter Charlie, short for Charlotte, and asked how she would feel donating her cells to Bradley, who had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in the fall of 2014.

"She didn't understand the whole medical process, but what she did understand was she wanted to help her brother," he added.

"Her words were, 'Yeah, just let me know when you need me.'"

The surgery took place at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Feb. 17, but the family is speaking publicly now because Bradley's cancer is in remission and the twins recently started kindergarten.

Dr. Jennifer Schneiderman, the twins' transplant physician, said all went as smoothly as can be.

"The procedure itself went just fine," she said. "He [Bradley] had a high risk feature to the leukemia, so a procedure was recommended. We look to parents and siblings to see if they're a match and Charlie, his sister, happened to be a match. She [Charlie] gets general anesthesia and we obtain the marrow. She doesn't feel it at the time, but typically patients will feel some soreness for 36 to 48 hours and then they're fine.

"We do about 60 transplants a year and I'd say about a quarter are of brother and sister," she added. "As far as an age appropriate thing, she was very eager to help him and said she would do whatever she needed to do."

Beatrice Abetti, director of the Information Resource Center at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, agreed that a sibling is always the best chance of a match for a stem cell transplant.

"Donating involves extracting stem cells from the hipbone or bloodstream to be infused into the ill child in order to restore marrow function," she added in a statement. "While the process can involve some soreness or discomfort for the child donating the cells, there is generally little risk in this procedure, and the potential benefits for the child with cancer can be significant."

Now that the procedure is complete, Godish, a father of three, said he is glad the twins have recovered.

"She never complained of pain, which ‘til this day amazes me," Godish said. "She had a huge bandage on her back and she didn't want to take it off. It was sort of a badge of honor to show she helped Bradley. She was so proud.

"We really hope as parents they learn from this--to always be selfless to always help somebody out, to always give," he added. "Charlotte's always been such a selfless person and Bradley's been such a good-natured kid. This shows how valuable love and life is and I hope they never take life for granted."

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Getty Images(PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan.) -- Seven years after finding a lump in his chest, Bret Miller was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer at age 24.

Multiple doctors had brushed off his concerns through the years, telling him it was likely a calcium deposit.

Then, after finally being told he had cancer, Miller, of Prairie Village, Kansas, was dismayed when a doctor recommended a double mastectomy.

“At first, I was listening to what the doctors were saying, but a part of me … I didn’t want to do the double mastectomy,” he said.

A lifeguard at the time, Miller, now 29, worried how he would look, saying, “It would have made me feel awkward and not make me want to be around a pool anymore.”

He'd planned to postpone the second mastectomy for a month so he could recover from the first. But the day before his initial surgery in 2010, Miller’s physician told him that after consulting another doctor they would stick with a single mastectomy because he should not be treated exactly like female patients.

He said he was relieved that he only had to have one procedure.

“I know it affects women more … but men still have breasts, as well,” Miller said of his having a mastectomy and being left with a long scar. “It took a little while to be comfortable with it.”

While breast cancer is among the most common cancers for women, male breast cancer is rare and researchers are still trying to understand how men with the disease are being treated, compared to women.

A newly published study released Wednesday found that more male breast cancer patients are undergoing double mastectomies, electing to remove unaffected breast tissue as part of their cancer treatment.

The study examined 6,332 men with breast cancer undergoing surgery, and found that for the first time, the number of men having both the affected breast and the unaffected breast tissue removed in a double mastectomy had increased significantly.

The percentage of double mastectomies in men nearly doubled to 5.6 percent in 2010-2011 from 3 percent in 2004-2005.

In women, rates of prophylactic double mastectomies have also been rising, especially for women who are younger, white and privately insured, according to the study.

Ahmedin Jemal, vice president of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society and lead researcher in the study, told ABC News it’s unclear why there has been such a dramatic rise in the procedure for men.

“It is concerning because there is no really good evidence” to the benefit in male breast cancer patients, Jemal said.

He explained that for some women with the BRCA gene mutation, which makes them predisposed to breast or ovarian cancer, removal of the breasts prophylactically is recommended. But there is far less evidence that this is an issue in men, he said.

“I think the increase we see is in the general population is not only high risk people but other women and men are getting the mastectomy,” Jemal said.

Men with the BRCA 2 gene have a 7 percent chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control.

About 2,350 men are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year, compared to 231,840 women, according to the American Cancer Society. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 1 in 1,000, compared to 1 in 8 for women.

Thought it’s unclear why there is an increase for double mastectomies in men, Jemal and other researchers said in the study it may be related to genetic testing, family history or fear of the cancer’s return.

Dr. Robert Shenk, a surgical oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said he was surprised by the study’s findings because men have a far lower risk of developing breast cancer in their second breast.

“It doesn’t make sense to me to remove it,” Shenk said, theorizing that it’s possible men may have chosen to remove breast tissue for cosmetic reasons and so they appear symmetrical.

“You also don’t know if physicians who are used to or recommending prophylactic mastectomies in women are doing the same thing for men,” he added.

Both Shenk and Jemal said more studies were needed for male breast cancer patients to figure out why there has been such a large rise double mastectomies for men.

For Miller, he said he hopes the study will help other men be aware that breast cancer doesn’t only affect women. After his diagnosis in 2010, Miller started a nonprofit foundation aimed at raising awareness about male breast cancer.

“Every single day is a new story and it’s scary to know that [they’re] only 1 percent” of breast cancers, he said.

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Larry Marano/Getty Images For SOBEWFF(NEW YORK) — Paula Deen may have dropped some serious weight in the past, but the Dancing With the Stars contestant said she "never" gave up butter.

When asked by Good Morning America what she would do to sweeten up the judges for good scores, she said, "I dunno, bring ‘em butter!"

"I probably will. I’ve asked wherever they put me to stay, if there was just a little kitchen, not much of one, but that’s what I where I go to decompress and to get into my little safety area," she said. "Louis is my partner and I fed him pretty good this last week because we’ve been practicing at my house, so I fed him pretty good this week."

With a lot of dancing in her future, Deen, 68, said she's excited for the challenge and that after she dropped all the weight a few years back, 35 pounds, she feels ready for the show.

"It was a process getting here. But when I finally dropped the weight off I thought well, maybe I can do it," she added. "Maybe I can do it now. And I’ve been eating out of my new cookbook that comes out next week, I’ve been eating that now for a couple of years, which has allowed me to get to where I think I might can do it.”

She said she's going to stay in shape for the show, but that she'll never turn her back on her favorite ingredient.

"I never gave up butter," she stressed. "Never, never. But the big word in my life now is, ‘moderation.’ Moderation, moderation, moderation.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

You know those skinny jeans in the back of your closet from your slimmer days? Are you still hoping and even struggling to fit into them? If so, let them go.

Research shows that holding onto skinny clothes and hoping that you’ll fit into them one day is a common idea but it’s actually linked to negative feelings like failure and disappointment. This can often lead women to start dangerous dieting practices out of desperation.

Instead, embrace yourself as you are today and focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Just because you’re not where you used to be, doesn’t mean that you’re not at your best.

And put those clothes to good use. Donate them or resell them for cash to buy clothes that really fit.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s the post-break-up phenomenon taking social by storm.

Divorcees are now ditching their marriage and instead saying ‘I do’ to “divorce selfies.” The new trend is finding the silver lining in splitting up, turning a heartbreaking situation into a fun photo opp.

“[It’s] A lighthearted way to announce your divorce in one shot and also let people know that they don’t have to feel awkward around you,” Elise Sole, senior writer for Yahoo Parenting, told ABC News.

Florida couple, Keith Hinson and Michelle Knight, were all smiles on their wedding day, but fast forward three years and they’re now happily divorced.

“The most amicable, easy-going divorce in history,” Keith explained.

The exes sealed the deal with a selfie right outside the courtroom.

“She just said, ‘Hey, you want to take a selfie?,’ kind of as a joke and I said, ‘Why not?'” Keith added.

He shared the photo on Instagram with the caption, “Here’s to the most friendly, respectful and loving split imaginable.”

The response was overwhelmingly positive.

“We’re celebrating the fact that we can move forward,” said Keith.

But they’re not the only ones showing divorce can have a happy ending.

Canadian couple Shannon and Chris Neuman declared their 11-year marriage was officially over by snapping a selfie outside of a Calgary courthouse on Thursday.

“We kind of high-fived and did a silly selfie and went on our way,” Shannon explained.

In just a matter of days the candid photo went viral, being shared on Facebook a whopping 36,000 times and counting.

“It shocked me that other people were responding to it,” she said.

Shannon hopes her kids will appreciate it when they're older, too.

"I think that they'll recognize that we love them," she said. "We'll always work really hard to be -- this makes me cry -- to be their parents."

The new “divorce selfie” trend is helping prove divorce doesn’t have to be ugly.

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Jodi Jacobson/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Knee replacements are on the rise, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics says, and the people undergoing the surgery are getting younger.

According to data released on Wednesday, the rate of knee replacements increased for both men and women between 2000 and 2010. The rate of the surgery in men over the age of 45 increased by 86 percent in that time, while the rate in women of the same age jumped by 99 percent.

Women have long been more likely to have knee replacements -- the CDC says that 33 out of every 10,000 women over the age of 45 had the surgery in 2000, compared to 24.3 out of 10,000 men. In 2010, those figures reached 65.5 out of 10,000 women and 45.3 out of 10,000 men.

Perhaps just as notably, the average age of all knee replacement patients fell from 68.9 years old in 2000 to 66.2 in 2010.

The report does not offer reasons behind the increasing frequency of knee replacements, nor comment on the efficacy of the procedure.

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Raphael Gaillarde/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO, Cali.) -- Researchers believe they have found the cause of a mysterious and fatal brain disease that leaves patients with symptom's similar to Parkinson's disease, including rigid muscles, tremors and low blood pressure.

Called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), the disease is rare but devastating, affecting three out of every 100,000 people over the age of 50. Researchers have now uncovered that the disease is likely caused by infectious proteins similar to the ones that cause Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, the human form of mad cow disease.

Those with the disease generally show symptoms in their 50s and their health rapidly declines in the subsequent 5ive to 10 years, with progressive loss of motor function, according to the National Institutes of Health.

In a new study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, researchers have found that tiny infectious proteins called prions are likely behind MSA. Prions are proteins that are folded abnormally and cause other proteins to similarly fold, which can have devastating consequences.

Researchers, led by Dr. Stanley Prusiner, director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at University of California San Francisco, examined the brains of 14 subjects who had been diagnosed with MSA.

They then used specimens from the brains and found that they could infect mice and other healthy cells with the deadly disease. The identification of this prion, called alpha-aynuclein, is the first new prion to be discovered in 50 years, researchers said.

Mark Zabel, associate director of the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University, said while the disease is transmissible it cannot cause an epidemic.

“The main we transmit the disease [in lab animals] is to stick them in the head with the needle, that doesn’t happen to often in human life or wildlife,” he explained.

Zabel, who was not involved in the study, said the mostly likely source of infection is in the clinic or operating room.

While all subjects developed the disease spontaneously, the study authors did caution that doctors should be particularly careful when administering “deep brain stimulation” because of the potential of infecting others with MSA. The authors explain that patients with MSA are often mistaken for Parkinson's disease patients, so in theory if they are given deep brain stimulation therapy, they could put other patients at risk if the surgical tools aren’t carefully decontaminated.

Previous studies found “prions bound to stainless steel wires” tightly even after a decontamination procedure, and “retained their ability to infect mice on brain implantation, as well as in cultures of susceptible cells," according to the paper.

Dr. Valerie Sim, an associate professor in the Neurology Division at the University of Alberta, said it’s not clear from the study whether the disease is easily transmissible, and despite the disease’s outcome, people should not be afraid of contracting MSA.

“Some of the message taken from this study is fear. It’s important to avoid fear,” said Sim, who was not involved in the study. “It’s important that there’s no proof of” human-to-human transmission.

The material was directly injected into the mouse’s brain to infect them, Sim said, noting that the study may have implications about the definition of what makes a prion, since they should be considered transmissible and that more study was needed.

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iStock/Thinkstock(EL DORADO, Calif.) — A high school football player in California is hospitalized in critical condition, one of two teammates who suffered brain injuries during a Friday game.

Authorities say they are investigating whether drug use among players — particularly the prescription drug Adderall, used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD — may have played a role. The investigation includes a review of game footage and other matters, authorities said.

Union Mine High School students Nick Brown and Justin Schwartz had finished playing a junior varsity game against Foothill High School when teammates and onlookers noticed something wrong.

“[Brown] just wasn’t looking right,” Merrill said. “It looked like he was exhausted.”

The two teens lost consciousness and collapsed, and were rushed to hospitals. Schwartz was treated for a concussion and nerve injury before being released. He’s now recovering at home.

Brown, meanwhile, remains hospitalized in critical condition after undergoing emergency brain surgery. His family released a statement, acknowledging that he “suffered a high impact blow to the head that caused a subdural brain bleed.”

Authorities are investigating whether Adderall may have played a role, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. While a fellow 17-year-old student was arrested for allegedly providing the drug to classmates, authorities say they have not connected the suspect to Brown and Schwartz’s injuries. The identity of the student facing charges has not been released.


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iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Putting a new spin on looking “good for your age,” researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have figured out a way to determine if your cardiovascular system is actually aging faster than the rest of you.

In a new study, CDC researchers found the hearts of U.S. adults are often much “older” than their chronological age.

Using data from the large and well-established Framingham Heart Study, researchers looked at information from 578,525 participants between the ages of 30 to 74 and found that men fared worse than women overall. On average, men had a predicted heart age of 7.8 years older than their chronological age and women had a heart age that was 5.4 years older, according to the study.

Researchers determined the “age” of the heart or cardiovascular system by examining each person’s risk profile. This includes if they smoke, their blood pressure, diabetes status and body mass index. A riskier profile meant an “older” heart.

“Too many U.S. adults have a heart age years older than their real age, increasing their risk of heart disease and stroke,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said. “Everybody deserves to be young — or at least not old — at heart.”

The study determined that an estimated 69 million American adults have hearts older than their chronological age.

This study found certain groups fared even worse, with hearts far older than their actual age. For African Americans, heart age for both men and women was an average of 11 years older than their chronological age. Additionally, if people had more education or household income, their heart age tended to “decrease” or become more in line with their chronological age.

In order to help the average citizen see their own heart “age,” the CDC worked with the Framingham Study and created the “heart calculator,” which can determine your cardiovascular age after assessing a few risk factors.

Dr. Sahil Parikh, a cardiologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said he’s hopeful the new calculator will make it clear to patients how a few bad habits can have severe consequences on their health. He pointed out that doctors can currently calculate a patient's percentage risk for a cardiac event but that patients may not really understand the gravity of that risk percentage.

“If you tell a patient that your risk of having a cardiovascular [event] is 10 percent, their take-home is ‘Wow, there’s a 90 percent chance I’ll be fine,’” Parikh said. “We would consider 10 percent a high risk.”

Parikh said he’s hopeful that younger patients in their 40s will realize that their age does not protect them from severe events and that if they are overweight or smoking, they will realize their heart age might be far "older." Patients often do not believe they are at risk until they suffer a heart attack, stroke or other major cardiovascular event, he noted.

“I can tell you story after story of people who have a thunderclap [cardiac] event and it strikes them out of the blue,” Parikh said. “When you go back in retrospect, there are telltale signs. They did not recognize it or felt that it did not apply to them.”

Those with an older “heart age” should not be discouraged and should instead take steps to decrease their risk, such as losing weight, quitting smoking or taking blood pressure medication, Parikh said.

“You can always modify risk,” he said. "There are clearly therapies today that reduce incident of heart attack and reduce mortality of heart attack and stroke.”

If you want to find your own heart age you can check out the heart calculator here.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Talking to kids about their weight is no easy task and you don’t want to hurt their feelings. But it’s such an important conversation to have in order to help your children take control of their health as soon as possible.

Here are some tips on how to talk to them:

  • Tell your children that their health is at stake and you want to help them get better so they can live a healthy life.
  • Never, ever, criticize your children or make their appearance the focal point.
  • Lead by example. Make cooking healthy meals a game, take walks around the park together, or encourage them to join a sports team.
  • Lastly, let your children know you love them unconditionally. This can give your kids the confidence they need to live their best and healthiest lives.

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