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Experts Produce Homegrown Health Advice

Whether you're compiling a summer reading list or just looking for ways to fill your free time, health-related books and DVDs can provide bonuses beyond the average mystery novel or crime thriller.

These recent examples address medical myths, personal nutrition and pregnancy.

Books

"Don't Swallow Your Gum! Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health"

By: Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, $13.95

More info: www.stmartins.com

The scoop: Filled with more myths than you can shake a stick at, this lighthearted book is an outgrowth of research by Drs. Vreeman and Carroll that appeared in the British Medical Journal)in 2007.

"Most of these myths are things that you've heard your mother say or you've heard your father say and maybe you've heard your doctor say," said Vreeman, an assistant professor of pediatrics in Children's Health Services Research at IU. "We've really tried to explain the science behind the myths in a way that almost anyone could understand."

The myths debunked in the book include the belief that the body needs eight glasses of water a day (nope), that sugar makes kids hyper (nope), and that it's important to wait an hour after eating before you go swimming (nope again).

The book also shoots down the idea that if you pick up food within five seconds of it hitting the floor, it's safe, she said. "We're not saying that you're going to get sick necessarily, but you should know that even if it's only been on the floor for one or two seconds, it's still going to have some bacteria from the floor on it."

Vreeman and Carroll, an associate professor of pediatrics, also take aim at mythical hangover cures. "Right now, there's really nothing that has been proven to actually get rid of or prevent your hangover — except, of course, not drinking too much alcohol," she said.

"The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion: A Week-by-Week Guide to Everything You Need to Do for a Healthy Pregnancy"

By: Robin Elise Weiss, a Louisville mother, author and birthing expert, who wrote this book with Dr. Marcello Pietrantoni, a Louisville physician who specializes in maternal and fetal health.

Publisher: Fair Winds Press, $21.99

More info: www.fairwindspress.com

The scoop: Billed as "a week-by-week reference to forty of the most fascinating weeks of your life," this colorful guide explains the changes going on in mom's body as well as the baby's. Checklists are provided to keep mom alert to any potential problems, such as signs of pre-term labor, but the book also seeks to lift her spirit with positive affirmations, such as "My pregnant body is beautiful," ''Being pregnant is enlightening and fun" and "My body and mind are open to the experience of pregnancy."

"My goal in writing this book was to provide women with a very detail-oriented but positive pregnancy manual, so something that helped them celebrate the fun parts of pregnancy and not really incite panic at every page turn," said Weiss, who has given birth to eight children, including twins.

"I want them to really get a sense of ownership of their pregnancy," she said. "I think pregnancy is really a time to stop and say this is the kind of passion and research I need to put into finding a doctor or midwife, which would be the same passion that I'm going to put into buying my next car."

DVDs

"Is Your Kitchen Making You Fat? Lean Secrets From Behind the Cupboard Doors" and

"Is Your Grocery Store Making You Fat? How to Shop Smart to Shed Pounds"

By: Christopher and Kara Mohr, the husband-and-wife duo behind Mohr Results, a Louisville-based fitness-and-nutrition consulting company. Both are degreed in exercise physiology, and he's a registered dietitian.

Cost: $34.95 each or $59.90 for both — plus shipping and handling.

More info: www.mohrresults.com

The scoop: In the first DVD — "Is Your Kitchen Making You Fat?" — the Mohrs offer practical advice on how to better organize and stock your pantry with nutrition in mind. "Your own kitchen or your house can sabotage your efforts," he said. Sometimes, "healthy foods get pushed to the back."

The DVD also shows how to read nutrition labels because "that's kind of a simple way for people to understand what they're putting in their body, and nutrition labels, while they're fantastic, can actually be really confusing, so (we) just wanted to spell that out," he said.

In the second DVD — "Is Your Grocery Store Making You Fat" — the Mohrs take viewers on a grocery shopping tour, explaining how to make smarter food choices and avoid pitfalls, such as dietary fads and high-sodium products.

"One thing we always stress is go back to basics," he said. "Some new research may come out about Product X, but if you stick to those same basic principles — produce is great, whole grains are great, lean proteins are great, those kind of things — you're never going to go wrong."

More national health and fitness titles.

Books

--"Young Runners: The Complete Guide to Healthy Running for Kids from 5 to 18" (Fireside, $15)

--"The Practical Cyclist: Bicycling for Real People" (New Society Publishers, $14.95)

--"Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories" (St. Martin's Griffin, $19.95)

--"Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide" (Rodale, $19.95)

DVDs

--"Dance Off the Inches: Country Line Dance" ($14.98)

--"Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat Boost Metabolism" ($14.98)

--"Element: Tai Chi for Beginners" ($14.98)

--"Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home — The Big Burn: 2 Miles of Intervals" ($14.98)

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