Columbia Association’s Community Health Division collaborates with health and wellness organizations in order to improve the health of our community — offering wellness programs, promoting good health, and providing educational awareness of good health practices.

We provide a comprehensive approach to whole body health by offering guided physical activity, lifestyle coaching, and nutrition education. We also work with numerous medical practices to ensure a continuum of care for their patients.

Click here to learn more about Healthy Living.

Health Focus

As our community ages, CA wants to help support healthy aging initiatives. The University of Maryland’s Department of Kinesiology (under the direction of Dr. J. Carson Smith) and CA’s Columbia Athletic Club are joining hands in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Click here to learn about the Exercise for Brain Health study and how you can participate for free.

New! Monthly Recipes

his month’s recipe is Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Curry from Chef Akemi Parker, author of Superfoods: Powerful Foods that Beat Cancer and Chronic Illness. The recipe includes these wonderful, good-for-your-heart spices: curry, ginger, turmeric, and garlic.

How to Make Positive Lifestyle Changes

February is the month of love, when Valentine’s cards, candy, flowers, and dinner specials abound. But what do you do if you don’t have a significant other to celebrate with? Now’s a great time to focus on loving yourself. You can start with these tips:

  1. Become healthier. When you exercise and eat properly, you naturally start to feel better. Click on Fit Beginnings on the left of this page to learn more about this fitness program, which helps those who need guided exercise.
  2. Journal. Whether you use a paper journal or computer, jot down things that make you smile. It might be songs, inspirational quotes, or memories. Reflect on what you wrote and enjoy feeling happy.
  3. Make connections. People who are involved in their community, especially when volunteering, feel good about their accomplishments and themselves. You can find some volunteering ideas at


Is dark chocolate healthy?

Not all chocolate is created equally. Dark chocolate is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree and contains much larger amounts of cacao and less sugar than milk chocolate. High quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) contains antioxidants and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and potassium.

Dark chocolate contains compounds that may provide anti-inflammatory benefits and may help to reduce inflammation in the body. Dark chocolate also can improve blood flow in your arteries and helps to increase blood flow to the brain. 

More research is needed to fully understand the benefits of eating dark chocolate, but one thing is known — dark chocolate is high in sugar and calories, so be sure to eat it in moderation.

Janice Schneider, MS RD FAND, is a Registered Dietitian for Columbia Association.

From the Doctor

Dr. Sean GlothYour Blood Pressure: Get it Checked, Get it Treated.
Dr. Sean Gloth is a board-certified cardiologist with ISIM, Inc. and a member of CA’s Medical Advisory Board.

We all know that nearly every health care provider we see throughout our entire lifetime is interested in our blood pressure. Think of it: From childhood to advanced age, someone has taken your blood pressure reading. Why?  More than 1 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure (hypertension). And hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This means it can make us sick (morbidity) and dead (mortality). It puts us at risk for stroke, kidney damage and heart attacks.  That’s the bad news. The good news is we can control it.

Here is how you can help keep hypertension from adversely affecting your health:  Read more

Healthy Eating