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A Look Back on Health, Lifestyle in 2015


Read to children! According to a Health & Lifestyle report in 2015, this is the best way to raise a child to love reading. (AP PHOTO)

Read to children! According to a Health & Lifestyle report in 2015, this is the best way to raise a child to love reading. (AP PHOTO)


Hello and welcome to the Health & Lifestyle year in review.

As 2015 comes to an end, we look at the stories that you, our audience, found interesting and useful.

In early 2015, we aired an original story on choosing to be a single mother.

This story features the author Kerry Reichs. Reichs was getting older and found herself without a partner. But she wanted kids. So, she went through the long and complicated process of using a sperm donor.

In the article, Reichs describes her experience and the difficult choice to become a parent on her own.

Kerry and Declan Reichs (Courtesy Photo)

Kerry and Declan Reichs (Courtesy Photo)

The story caused some interesting debate in the Comments section. Some of our listeners said they thought she was very brave for having children on her own.

A listener named Kiki from Spain wrote: “It’s better than waiting for a wrong man.”

Some wrote that they thought it was not the best family structure for the child.

Regardless of the viewpoint, the online discussions were thoughtful and polite.

Another story about parenting was also very popular with our readers.

How to raise a reader, another original story, suggests ways parents can raise their children to love reading. Experts say reading to a child – no matter how young or how old – is the best way to create a love of reading in that child.

Many of you shared your favorite books from childhood. You also shared stories of being read to or reading to others. The conversations in the Comments sections were heartfelt. And the advice was, hopefully, helpful.

One listener from Ontario, Canada, asked how to choose the right books for her child. We supplied many links and resources for her to check out.

And Maria Victoria from Bogota, Colombia writes, “Thank you so much. I am 55 years old and I trying to learn, read and someday speak English. When I have time I enjoy reading and practicing with VOA Learning English. You are so nice and kind. God bless you!”

Home continues to be the place where many of our listeners find common ground.

Organizing expert Marie Kondo keeps clutter out of a kitchen drawer. (Photo Credit: Natsuno Ichigo)

Organizing expert Marie Kondo keeps clutter out of a kitchen drawer. (Photo Credit: Natsuno Ichigo)

Keeping the home clean and organized is important not only to our listeners but to people all around the world. One of the most influential people in 2015 by Time magazine is a cleaning expert.

In the story “Could Organizing Your Home Change Your Life?we share Marie Kondo’s advice.

Kondo got everyone talking about getting rid of anything in your life that does not “bring joy.” Her name became a movement and it even became a verb. Social media was alive with the question, “Do you Kondo?”

At the heart of being human is perhaps trying to make the happiest life possible. For those who may not feel secure or confident that is sometimes not easy.

That is again where our listeners from different backgrounds and different languages met.

Many listeners found Amy Cuddy’s research in the story, “Your Body Posture Can Change Your Brain” helpful and interesting.

Work-life balance

Managing work well is a topic that affects everyone all over the world. If you work, you can relate to working smartly.

After reading the article “Change in Work Schedule Could Cure 'Social Jet Lag'” many of our listeners shared how they are affected by their working schedules.

Be careful with technology

We live in a world filled with technology. Knowing how to use this technology safely is of interest to our readers.

Two stories we ran early in 2015 reminded listeners to watch their posture and the volume of the sound on their devices.

This chart shows the stress put on the neck and spine as a result of hunching over a smartphone (Courtesy Dr. Ken Hansraj M.D.)

This chart shows the stress put on the neck and spine as a result of hunching over a smartphone (Courtesy Dr. Ken Hansraj M.D.)

"Too Much Gaming is a Pain in the Neck" explores the dangers of bad posture when using technology.

The story “One Billion Young People Risk Hearing Loss From Loud Music got the attention of many of our listeners. Many were interested in learning how loud is too loud when listening with earphone or ear buds.

Many of our listeners also enjoy our articles on fitness.

But not all who read For a Longer Life, Go Running agreed with the article. But it did cause some interesting conversations in the Comments section.

Where are the World’s Happiest People? Many listeners wrote in about their views on happiness. It was great fun to see all the listeners talking to each other within the Comments section.

Bacon and bananas

From eating nuts to stay healthy to using sweet potatoes as medicine, food stories continue to be popular among our listeners.

Many of you wanted an answer to the question, should there be A Tax on Sugar?

The World Health Organization says people around the world are eating more sugar. As a result, it says, health problems related to weight gain and tooth damage are increasing.

Listeners shared their views on whether to tax the sweet stuff to keep people from eating too much of it.

Hot dog

Hot dog

Our listeners must like their bacon and hot dogs! Many of you enjoyed the story WHO: Bacon, Hot Dogs Can Cause Cancer.

And many of you wrote in about a favorite food – bananas! But not just bananas as a popular food. In the story Banana Protein May Be Virus Killer we explore research that shows bananas may have virus-killing properties.

Go bananas!

And that is the Health & Lifestyle Year-in-review for 2015.

We here at VOA Learning English will try even harder to bring you more stories you want about Health & Lifestyle in 2016.

I’m Anna Matteo.

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