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Remains/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has named people who oppose vaccination among the top 10 "threats to global health" this year.

"Vaccine hesitancy -- the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines -- threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases," such as measles, polio and cervical cancer, the WHO, the global public health arm of the United Nations, said in a list released this week.

"Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease," the WHO said. "It currently prevents 2 to 3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved."

Vaccine hesitancy is a complex global issue; but complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines and lack of confidence are the key underlying reasons, according to a vaccines advisory group to the WHO.

An estimated 100,000 young children have not been vaccinated against any of the 14 potentially serious diseases for which vaccines are recommended, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in October. Although most children are routinely vaccinated, the number of children who have received no vaccines by age 2 has been gradually increasing.

The WHO has vowed to ramp up work this year to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide by increasing coverage of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. The agency said 2019 may also be the year when transmission of wild poliovirus stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are two of only three countries in the world where the highly infectious disease remains endemic and which have come agonizingly close to zero cases.

Meanwhile, polio has been eradicated in the United States since 1979 due to widespread vaccination nationwide, according to the CDC.

The WHO also deemed air pollution and climate change another top threat to global health this year. Nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air every day, according to the agency, which said it considers air pollution "the greatest environmental risk to health" in 2019.

Microscopic pollutants in the air can penetrate the lungs and enter the blood stream, damaging the lungs, heart and brain. An estimated 7 million people die prematurely each year due to exposure to these fine particles in polluted air that lead to diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and lung disease, according to the WHO.

"Around 90 percent of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, with high volumes of emissions from industry, transport and agriculture, as well as dirty cookstoves and fuels in homes," the agency said.

The main cause of air pollution -- the burning of fossil fuels -- is also a major factor in climate change, which is detrimental to people's health as well.

"Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress," the WHO said.

Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever, was also on the WHO's list of 10 threats to global health in 2019.

The Democratic Republic of Congo saw two separate Ebola outbreaks last year that both spread to major cities. The second outbreak began in August in the eastern part of the nation, just a week after one in the country's west was declared over.

The latest outbreak is ongoing and has become the second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. One of the outbreak's hot spots where people are infected is in an active conflict zone.

"This shows that the context in which an epidemic of a high-threat pathogen like Ebola erupts is critical," the WHO said. "What happened in rural outbreaks in the past doesn’t always apply to densely populated urban areas or conflict-affected areas."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Rawpixel/iStock(NEW YORK) -- This year, Good Morning America is bringing you the exclusive Indie Beauty Expo's "Best in Show" 2018 winners.

Indie Beauty Expo was founded by celebrity esthetician Jillian Wright and entrepreneur Nader Naeymi-Rad in 2015 to "recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty brands and to support the growth and success of the entrepreneurs behind them." The expo started in New York and has since been expanded to Los Angeles, Dallas and London.

Wright told GMA her goal is to get, "better made beauty into the hands of more people at all different price points."

She also hopes the expos are a place to, "educate people on how they can upgrade their skin care and body routine without necessarily breaking the bank."

More than 280 brands and 350 products were nominated for the 30 categories, from best moisturizer to best clean ingredient brand.

The nominees were selected from those exhibited at the 2018 Indie Beauty Expo shows in Los Angeles, Dallas, New York or London.

According to the Indie Beauty Media Group, a panel of professional beauty experts evaluated the products based on, "functionality, efficacy, texture, durability, packaging, scent, ingredients, performance, design and social responsibility."

For more information on these winning products and where to purchase the full collection made up of more that $1,000 worth of products, visit Indie Beauty Expo.


Winner: Level Naturals
Vanilla Activated Charcoal Bar Soap

Price: $8

Soothe your soul with the sweet and smoky sensation of warm vanilla and a deep cleanse of dark charcoal. Pure plant oils and extracts help to relax the senses while detoxing the body.

Nominees: Ari Rose™, Brother’s Artisan Oil, Cosmydor, Indie Goat Soap, The Seaweed Bath Company, Vervan, Woodlot


Winner: HoneyBelle

Nominees: Enfusia, Holistic Hemp Company, Kanya Life, Laki Naturals, Level Naturals, Magic Organic Apothecary, Makana, Olverum, Shea Terra Organics, The Seaweed Bath Company, Verdant Alchemy


Winner: Restorsea
Retexturizing Body Butter

Price: $120

Specially formulated to provide instant relief and comfort as well as intense, long-lasting nourishment to the most dehydrated areas of the body such as feet, elbows and knees.

Nominees: Ayuna, Basd Bodycare, Ellie Bianca, Kanya Life, Kreyol Essence, Mademoiselle Provence, Max and Me, Olive M, OSEA Malibu, Pistache


Winner: SpaRitual
Instinctual Sand Scrub

Price: $49

Harnessing the rejuvenating powers of Bora Bora White Sand and Volcanic Black Sand, the scrub effectively exfoliates skin, while a blend of organic Moroccan Argan Oil and Coconut Oil deliver a veil of essential moisture.

Nominees: Evolve Beauty, First Salt After Rain, Fytt Beauty, Laki Naturals, Sumbody, True Wild Botanics, Visha


Winner: Province Apothecary

Nominees: Au Naturale Cosmetics, Ayuna, Blüh Alchemy, Brother’s Artisan Oil, Ere Perez, Ethique, Fitglow Beauty, Innersense Organic,Beauty, Kaibae, Kanai, Max and Me, Pangea Organics, Shaffali, Shea Terra Organics, Tracie Martyn, YuYo Botantics


Winner: Ere Perez
Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint

Price: $25

A vegan lip and cheek tint that adds a natural pop of color to your complexion.

Nominees: Ellis Faas, Fitglow Beauty, Gabriel Cosmetics, Hue Noir, Jane Iredale, Jet Cosmetics, RealHer, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Saint Cosmetics, Sarya, STARE Cosmetics, The Organic Skin Co


Winner: Brother’s Artisan Oil
Artisan Oil Deodorant

Price: $24

Be confident in every hot circumstance with Brothers Artisan Oil Deodorant in Jasmine & Geranium. Made with natural ingredients that truly work.

Nominees: Black Chicken Remedies, Cleo & Coco, EiR NYC, Ethique, Everyday for Everybody, Evolve Beauty, FatCo, Honestly Phresh, Kanai, LaVigne Natural Skincare, Little Moon Essentials, Smarty Pits, Sumbody, Type A, WAY OF WILL, Zatik


Winner: Elate
Elate Cosmetics Essential Mascara

Price: $28

Whether it’s a long day at the office, an afternoon of downward dog, or a night out dancing, this is the only mascara you’ll ever need.

Nominees: Able, Au Naturale Cosmetics, Clove Hallow, Ere Perez, Fitglow, Jane Iredale, RealHer, Saint Cosmetics, Sarya


Winner: Beauty By Earth

Nominees: Anjali MD, Blüh Alchemy, Circ cell, Herbal Dynamics Beauty, Jenetiqa, Olive M, Restorsea, Zatik


Winner: Apoem

Nominees: Aveseena, Cocoon Apothecary, Evolve Beauty, Herbal Dynamics Beauty, Lovinah, O’o Hawaii, Pangea Organics, Ranavat Botanics, Shaffali, Shunly, SpaScriptions, taila, Terra Beauty Bars


Winner: Crave Skincare, Code of Harmony

Nominees: Alder New York, Amaranthum, Bryt Skincare, Coco Ensoleille, Emma Hardie, FREEDOM Naturals, Moss Skincare, O’o Hawaii, Sahara, Rose, Scändic, Shunly, SkinKick, Snow Fox


Winner: Restorsea

Nominees: Amaranthum, AveSeena, Cannabliss Organic, Dr. Macrene 37 Actives Skin Results, Ethique, Herin, OSEA Malibu, Primal Dermam, Skin Dewi, Snow Fox, Venn


Winner: O’o Hawaii
Bird Seed Detoxifying Face Scrub

Price: $95

As the Hawaiian O'o bird would forage for wild seeds, fruits and exotic nuts, our Birdseed Detoxifying Face Scrub features a foraged collection of Hawaiian nutrients that have been formulated into exfoliation magic.

Nominees: Awake Organics, Aavrani, Blüh Alchemy, Kanai, Krisana Vigus, LANATURALE COSMETICS, Pure Nut, Seaweed Bath Company, Shaffali, SkinKick


Winner: Dr. Macrene 37 Actives Skin Results

Nominees: Aveseena, Black Chicken Remedies, Blüh Alchemy, Carter and Jane, Code of Harmony, Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare, Everyday for, Everybody, Immunocologie, Le Prunier, Naya, Skin Authority, Skin Dewi, Sunia K., The Sunscreen Company, Undefined Beauty


Winner: Way of Will

Nominees: Balade en Provence, IYOU, Parodi, Sparitual


Winner: Flora Remedia

Nominees: 18.21 Manmade, LUA Skincare, Raw Chemistry, Raw Spirit, The LyfeStyle Company, The Sage LifeStyle, Villa of the Mysteries, Zodica


Winner: Sweat Cosmetics
Skin-Balancing Cleansing Towelettes

Price: $20

Cleanse and balance your skin on the go with these vitamin and mineral-enriched towelettes from Sweat Cosmetics.

Nominees: Alka Glam, Ducalm, EiR NYC, Hum Nutrition, Jane Iredale, Ogee, Olika, SPHYNX, Yuni Beauty


Winner: Eleni and Chris

Nominees: 18.21 Manmade, ECRU, From Molly With Love, Groh, Copperhed, ikoo, Innersense Organic Beauty, LaVigne Natural Skincare, Loba, Mane, Spoolies, TruHair, Velvette Organics


Winner: Elvis & Elvin

Nominees: Balade en Provence, EssenHerb, Gallinee, Karite, Lifetherapy, Mademoiselle Provence, Marin Bee, Parodi, Vervan, Yuni Beauty


Winner: Olika
Birdie Boy Band

Price: $24.99

Birdie’s function is to help you stay clean. He is 3 inches tall and 2 inches wide. Birdie contains two level of cleaning power: a spray and wipes. Birdie is TSA friendly containing 20 mL of sanitizing liquid.

Nominees: Beauty Steep, Flickable Lip Glosses, Glamcor, Indaia, Kiss Your Cravings Goodbye, Make Up Eraser, My Magic Mud, Petitie Amie, PMD Beauty, Prana SpaCeuticals, SPHYNX, The Good Patch, The Mighty Patch, The Vanity Project


Winner: Hum Nutrition
Daily Cleanse

Price: $25

Helps clear your skin & body from toxins. Cleanses your skin, liver, bowel, kidneys and lungs.

Nominees: Hair Detox, Holistic Hemp Company, La Sirène (Marine Collagen), Ora Organic, SkinTe, The Tonik, Vital Proteins, FiTONIC


Winner: Ogee
Ogee Sculpted Tinted Lip Oil

Price: $26

A silky, solid blend of organic cold-pressed Jojoba Oil and Butters that melt instantly onto lips to moisturize and nourish, with an emollient layer of beauty-enhancing, buildable natural color.

Nominees: Au Naturale Cosmetics, Axiology, CLE, CLOVE HALLOW, ECRU, Fitglow Beauty, Hickey Lipsticks, Impromptu, Luk Beautifoods, Muskaan, Nude Envie, RealHer, Saint Cosmetics, STARE Cosmetics, The Organic Skin Co.


Winner: Big Boy
Big Boy Beard Balm

Price: $30

The highest quality Beard Balm handcrafted in Sicily, in an Artisan Lab near Palermo.

Nominees: 18.21 Manmade, AndMetics, Brayden, Brother’s Artisan Oil, Groh, Hair Detox, Malechemy, Raw Chemistry, Vitruvian Man, Way of Will


Winner: SpaRitual
Nail Lacquer

Price: $12

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer gives your nails a classic appearance with long-wear.

Nominees: Dermalect Cosmeceuticals, Gloss Naturals, *hype nail, Karma Organic Spa, Piggy Paint, Sara Elizabeth


Winner: Alka-White Mouthwash LLC.
Alka-White Alkaline Mouthwash Tablet

Price: $19.99

Rinsing and brushing with the portable effervescent tablets increases salivary pH to create an alkaline oral environment, which strengthens enamel, freshens breath, and makes teeth less sensitive.

Nominees: Black Chicken Remedies, First Salt After Rain, My Magic Mud, Pursonic, Terra Beauty Bars, The Vanity Project, VIP Smiles Dentistry


Winner: Girl Undiscovered
Stumbled Across Paradise Face Mask

Price: $45

Our velvety, energizing exfoliant mask has been formulated to leave your skin blissfully radiant and renewed.

Nominees: Alder New York, Arôms Natur Skincare, Cannabliss Organic, Everyday for Everybody, Flora Remedia, O’o Hawaii, Olika, The Sage, LifeStyle, Zodica


Winner: Groh

Nominees: ECRU, Eleni and Chris, Elvis Elvin, Ethique, Innersense Organic Beauty, Lena Japon, Loba Mane, Marinella, Ola Tropical, Apothecary, Sumbody


Winner: When

Nominees: AVARELLE, Bawdy, Bio Republic, Eleni and Chris, Elvis & Elvin, Florapy Beauty, FROWNIES, IYOU, Kaibae, KNESKO, Knours, MidFlower, Milu, Petite Amie, Snow Fox


Winner: Prep Cosmetics

Nominees: Beauty By Earth, DNARenewal, EiR NYC, Everyday for Everybody, KlenSkin, Love Sun Body, Moss Skincare, New Heights Naturals, Prana SpaCeuticals, Sara Elizabeth, UnSun, Zatik


Winner: Sahajan

Nominees: Adsorb, Cannabliss Organic, IYOU, Kreyol Essence, Lavigne, Lovinah, Magic Organic Apothecary, Naya, Pili Ani, Restorsea, Science Serum, Temana Skincare, Venn, Zaman Skincare

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PeopleImages/iStock(NEW YORK) -- At a time when more than six million people in the U.S. have had the flu so far this season, ABC News' Good Morning America explored some apps that can help keep you and your family informed and healthy this winter.

Of course, always remember to consult your doctor if you're feeling sick and to read the fine print when downloading any app.


Smart thermometers have been increasing in popularity in recent years, and Kinsa is one of many currently available on the market. You have to buy one of their thermometers for $20 (it's available on places like Amazon or Walmart), but you can download the Kinsa app for free.

The app lets you build a profile for you and your family, and it allows you to track their symptoms if they're not feeling well.

You can also plug in symptoms such as cough, earache or fatigue, and it can tell you steps you can be taking to feel better.

The app is especially helpful for parents because you can plug in children's symptoms and it can offer guidance based on their age. For example, it can tell you when you should consult a doctor and give you guidance on how to soothe children's symptoms. A fever for a 1-year-old means something very different than a fever for a 10-year-old, so this app can help give your child the care they need.

Good Rx

If you're not feeling well that might mean you need to go pick up a prescription, and according to one recent study, prescription drug prices are rising faster than inflation rates in the U.S.

Good Rx is an app that can help you save money by finding the cheapest options out there for the drugs you need.

For example, the app can help you find a generic version of common drugs such as Tamiflu, possibly saving you more than $100.

The app is free to download.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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South_agency/iStock(NEW YORK) -- On Monday, police in Mankato, Minnesota, responded to a report of a 2-year-old who was found in the middle of the road and still strapped to a car seat. The child, who was uninjured, was properly fastened to the car seat, but the car seat was not properly installed inside the vehicle, the city said.

Placing a child in a car seat correctly can help decrease the risk of death or serious injury by more than 70 percent, according to nonprofit child safety organization Safe Kids Worldwide and the American Academy of Pediatrics. But installing the car seat properly is equally as important as safely strapping a child in, according to Lorrie Walker, a technical adviser at Safe Kids.

"It's the whole package," Walker told ABC News' Good Morning America. "It's just as important to have the car seat installed correctly in the car as it is to have your child placed and harnessed into the car seat correctly. They work together."

Here are the car seat checkup tips to ensure your child is properly protected, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Ensure your child's car seat is facing the right direction

In 2018, the AAP issued new car seat safety guidelines encouraging parents to keep their children's car seats in the rear-facing position until they have reached the manufacturer's height or weight limits in order to protect their developing heads, necks and spines in the event of a crash. Previous guidance for rear-facing car seats was age 2.

When a child has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, the child should then use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, lead author of the AAP policy statement and chair of the AAP council on injury, violence and poison prevention, said that car seat manufacturers now produce seats that allow children to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds or more, "which means most children can remain rear-facing past their second birthday."

When a child's whose weight or height is greater than the forward-facing limit for their car seat, parents should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, "typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age," according to the AAP.

Children should remain in rear seats until the age of 13, the AAP added.

Use LATCH or a seat belt to secure a car seat inside a vehicle

LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) is an attachment system that can be used instead of the seat belt to install a car seat. LATCH can be found in nearly all car seats and passenger vehicles made on or after Sept. 1, 2002.

Parents may use LATCH or a seat belt, but Walker said to choose "one or the other" and remember to take your time.

"They're both equally safe, but sometimes you find when you do the installation [one over the other] has a tighter, better fit," she added. "That's the one to go with if it works for your car, car seat and child."

Properly installing the seat

The reality is, and Hoffman agrees, installing a car seat isn't the easiest task.

"We know that over three-quarters of car safety seats are installed with critical errors that may impact the way the car seat works and lead to increased risk of injury for children," Hoffamn told GMA Wednesday. "We know that over 95 percent of families leaving hospitals with newborns also make serious mistakes. This is not the family’s fault, as I said, car seats are hard."

To use LATCH, the AAP advises fastening the lower anchor connectors to lower anchors located in between where the back seat cushions meet. All lower anchors are rated for a maximum weight of 65 pounds, or the total weight of the car seat and child. As always, check the car seat manufacturer's recommendations or car seat label for the maximum weight a child can be to use lower anchors.

Following your car seat's instructions, pull LATCH strap tightly, applying a significant amount of weight into the seat. The same should be done if using a seat belt.

The top tether from the car seat improves safety provided by the seat, the AAP says. Use the tether for all forward-facing seats and check your vehicle owner's manual for the location of tether anchors.

Always follow both the car seat and vehicle manufacturer instructions, including weight limits, for lower anchors and tethers. Weight limits are different for different car seats and different vehicles.

After the car seat is installed, it should not move more than an inch side to side, or front to back. If the car seat shifts, it's not tight enough.

"We want the car to do most of the work in terms of absorbing all of the force in a crash," Hoffman said. "A loose car safety seat will transfer more of that energy to the child, and the risk for injury will go up."

"Each seat in each vehicle are a little different, and there are tricks that can be learned to achieve a tight installation regardless," Hoffman added. "One check that I will often use is to put my knees on the seat and press it into the cushion as I’m tightening either the vehicle seat belt or the lower anchors."

If you install the car seat using the vehicle's seat belt, make sure the seat belt locks to keep a tight fit. Check your vehicle owner's manual and car seat instructions to ensure you are using the seat belt correctly.

On their website, Safe Kids Worldwide offers an ultimate car seat safety guide complete with car seat buying tips, safe installation tips and more. All the information is based on your child's age and weight.

Strapping in your precious cargo

While buckling your child into their car seat, test that the harness is snug enough where you cannot pinch any slack between your fingers and the harness straps over your child's shoulders.

The harness chest clip should be placed at the center of the chest and even with your child's armpits.

The fire station myth

Walker said many parents may have heard the rumor that every fire station knows how to properly install a car seat into a vehicle, but that's not always the case.

Walker said it's important to ask each facility if they have Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) who are certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to properly install a car seat. Certified technicians can sometimes be found at fire stations, hospitals, GM dealers, police stations or Safe Kids events, according to Walker.

Know your car seat's history

Both Walker and the AAP say not to use a car seat if you don't know its history.

Walker said that when a car seat has been involved in any sort of crash or collision, it needs to be replaced to ensure it'll meet all safety standards.

"Do not use a car seat that has been in a crash, has been recalled, is too old (check the expiration date or use 6 years from date of manufacture if there is no expiration date), has any cracks in its frame or is missing parts," the AAP states on its website.

You can find out if your car seat has been recalled by calling the manufacturer or the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or by going to the NHTSA website at

Read more about the AAP's car safety guidelines for children here.

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Cn0ra/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A few weeks into January can be a time New Year's resolutions starts to die.

People are no longer saying "happy New Year," the reality of being back at work and school has sunk in and it's easier to grab a glass of wine than go to the gym or write in your journal.

If you find yourself in that grind, there are four things you can do to reset your 2019, according to Dana Cavalea, author of Habits of a Champion.

Cavalea trained some of the world's top athletes, including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera, in the 12 years he spent as the New York Yankees' performance coach.

He learned goal-setting from the very best, including that you don't have to make it complicated.

Here, in his own words, are Cavalea's four tips to make 2019 your best year yet:

Tip #1: Connect your goal to something bigger

Resolutions almost never work without a true commitment to something greater than vanity goals like making X more money or losing that 10 to 20 pounds you most desire.

You must create links and associations to those goals you desire.

Meaning: I am sluggish and tired most days. I am tired of being sluggish and tired since I know it is costing me my raise at work, the desire to exercise and get fit and the energy to play with my children.

So, if I start eating well, exercising even 20 minutes each day and drinking more water, I will then not be sluggish and tired most days.

This translates consciously and subconsciously, too: By taking care of myself each day, I will have more energy, and as a result, I will work harder, be more productive, feel healthier, get that raise and lose that stubborn 20 pounds.

Just saying you want to lose weight or make more money and not connecting it to anything bigger never works. You must always link your goal to something bigger than just you.

Tip #2: Focus on one goal

We can only focus on one goal and one to two actions at a time max.

For example, say your singular health goal is, "I want to lose 10 pounds over the next 90 days."

Action one is, "I am going to do cardiovascular exercise Monday through Friday for 20 to 30 minutes before work."

Action two is, "Monday through Friday, I will not eat starch and sugar-based carbohydrates like bread, muffins and baked treats."

After 90 days, you will continue doing what you have been doing for your physical health goal, and use the same process again to work on your next set of goals (possibly career, business, family, relationships or faith).

Tip #3: Start with a health goal

I always believe in starting with health goals because if you feel better and look better, you will have the energy and excitement to do more. You will feel so energized and proud of yourself that you will be ready to take on the next set of goals.

Remember, nothing happens over night. Stay patient. The results will showcase themselves with consistent behaviors.

Tip #4: Remember these 4 steps

These are the steps that will take you places you have been dreaming of:

1. Plan for success by determining what it is you most desire and creating clear associations and action steps.

2. Schedule your daily actions (similar to the above example where Monday to Friday you will do your morning cardio and stay starch and sugar free).

3. Do it. Take action on those action steps daily. Do not miss your scheduled action. If something comes up and you have to miss it, make up for it on the weekend. Without consistent action, you will never form the habits you need to become a true goal-setting, resolution achieving champion.

4. Celebrate it. Not just the big victory, but each day that you take action. We love rewards. For many of use, just telling ourselves we did a great job and stuck with the plan is enough. We have to be our biggest fan. Celebrate the process, since the process gets us closer each day to our desired outcomes.

Apply the steps above, along with patience and daily celebration, and you will be surprised how exciting it is to win 2019.

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WoodysPhotos/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New court documents from the Massachusetts attorney general claims to offer proof that the family that owns the company that makes the powerful opioid drug OxyContin was behind years of efforts to deceive doctors and patients about the safety of the drug and increase profits.

The Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, “made the choices that caused much of the opioid epidemic,” according to a court document filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The Sacklers “directed deceptive sales and marketing practices” at Purdue Pharma for more than a decade and “are responsible for addiction, overdose and death that damaged millions of lives,” the documents say.

Purdue Pharma did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

However, in a broader statement, it called the accusations “biased and inaccurate characterizations” of the company and its executives, and said that it would “aggressively defend against these misleading allegations."

“In a rush to vilify a single manufacturer whose medicines represent less than two percent of opioid pain prescriptions rather than doing the hard work of trying to solve a complex public health crisis, the complaint distorts critical facts and cynically conflates prescription opioid medications with illegal heroin and fentanyl,” the company said.

More than 11,000 people in Massachusetts died from opioid-related overdoses in the past decade, and over 100,000 people survived overdoses that were not fatal, “but still devastating,” the documents say, blaming Purdue and other drug companies. Nationally, opioid-related overdoses killed 72,000 people in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Several executives at Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty in 2007 to misrepresenting the dangers of OxyContin but the Healey’s lawsuit directly implicates members of the Sackler family. The Sacklers weren’t personally accused of any wrongdoing in that lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in June last year but the newly filed documents quote Richard Sackler — the son of the company’s founder — boasting about a “blizzard of prescriptions” at an OxyContin launch party, despite warnings from a Food and Drug Administration official and the drug’s inventor about the need for controls.

“The prescription blizzard will be so deep, dense and white,” he said, according to the court documents.

Years later, evidence of the growing abuse of OxyContin began to surface, according to the lawsuit. A sales representative for Purdue told a reporter that they were directed to lie about the drug. Another sales rep pleaded with Richard Sackler after attending a community meeting at a local high school in January 2001, where mothers spoke out about their children who had overdosed. And a month after that plea, the documents say, a federal prosecutor reported 59 deaths related to OxyContin in a single state.

In response to the mounting evidence, Richard Sackler advised blaming the addicts.

“We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible,” the lawsuit quoted Sackler as writing in an email. “They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

From 2007 to 2018, the Sacklers doubled down on pushing for increasing sales, according to the documents, directing sales reps to visit the most “prolific prescribers” and to encourage them to prescribe more of the highest doses of the drug to gain the most profit. They also allegedly studied “unlawful tactics to keep patients on opioids longer.”

Richard Sackler even went into the field to promote the drug to doctors with sales reps, a level of micromanagement that led the vice president of sales and marketing to write to the CEO of Purdue.

“Anything you can do to reduce the direct contact of Richard into the organization is appreciated,” they wrote, according to the documents.

The attached court filing represents the first evidence presented by the attorney general to tie the Sackler family to Purdue Pharma’s campaign of deception. There is a hearing on Jan. 25 to eliminate the remaining redactions.

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Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he believes everyone should have a right to health care.

"Let's face it, the emergency room is the family doctor now for millions and millions of Americans," de Blasio said in an interview on ABC's The View on Wednesday. "And tax dollars pay for it. It is expensive, it's backwards and it means people get really, really sick before they ever seek help."

That's why de Blasio said he unveiled a new health care program last week that would guarantee health care to all city residents, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status.

The program will be called NYC Care, and will provide health care for an estimated 600,000 New Yorkers who currently don't have health insurance, including about 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers "who are our neighbors," de Blasio said.

"If they get sick, everyone gets sick. If the whole community isn't healthy, then we all suffer," de Blasio said. "That's the blunt reality of this country — undocumented immigrants are part of our economy."

Undocumented New Yorkers will receive a health care card and have access to a primary care doctor through the program, de Blasio said. Co-host Meghan McCain questioned how well NYC Care will work compared to flaws in federal-run health care programs, like the Veterans Administration's.

"We're closer to the ground and we're accountable to our own people," de Blasio said in response.

Eric Phillips, De Blasio's press secretary, tweeted that while the city already has a public option for health insurance in place, NYC Care will pay "for direct comprehensive care… for people who can’t afford it, or can't get comprehensive Medicaid."

Correct. NYC already has a public option. This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can’t afford it, or can’t get comprehensive Medicaid - including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers.

— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) January 8, 2019

The program, which will begin this summer, is starting in the Bronx and will have a 24-hour hotline available. It's estimated to cost the city $100 million a year, but de Blasio said he thinks it will save the city money in the long run.

"Right now we're hemorrhaging money because we’re giving healthcare the backwards way," he said.

The mayor has also recently proposed legislation that would give two weeks of paid time off to all workers. If the City Council approves de Blasio's proposal, New York City would be the first U.S. city to require paid vacation.

De Blasio also touted the city's reduction in traffic fatalities last year to the lowest it's been since 1910, with the addition of miles of bike lanes throughout the city.

As announcements of presidential campaigns begin to ramp up, de Blasio has been eyed as a potential 2020 candidate.

When asked by co-host Sunny Hostin if he was running, de Blasio didn't rule out the possibility but said he's focused on his job.

"I'm mayor of New York City," de Blasio said. "That's what I'm focused on."

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anouchka/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New research suggests that people’s illusion of knowledge could be fueling the broader population’s opposition to genetically modified (GM) foods. “Extreme views often stem from people feeling they understand complex topics better than they do,” said Phil Fernbach, the lead author of the study, in a press release.

The study, titled “Extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least but think they know the most,” found that as a person’s opposition toward genetically modified (GM) foods became more extreme, their objective knowledge of the science and genetics dropped.

Fernbach called the results “perverse,” but said they were “consistent with previous research on the psychology of extremism.” GM foods are foods that have been genetically altered in a way that doesn’t occur naturally, according to the World Health Organization. By modifying these foods, they fulfill “some perceived advantage either to the producer or consumer… This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both.”

Some the most common foods to be genetically modified include soybeans (82 percent of global total crops), cotton (68 percent of global crops) and maize (30 percent of global crops). In the United States, more than 95 percent of food-producing animals consume GM feed.

WHO says each GM food and its safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and that it’s not possible to make a blanket statement on all GM foods. It also said that it’s confident in the products that end up in your supermarket.

“GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by general population in the countries where they have been approved,” according to the WHO website.

Despite the consensus among the scientific community that GM foods are safe, they have been met with tremendous opposition in the public eye. Since the introduction of GM foods in the 1990s, discussions surrounding the topic have been riddled with skepticism, misconceptions and concern. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 37 percent of people said they believed eating GMOs was generally safe, while 57 percent said it was unsafe.

For the study, over 2,000 adults in Europe and the United States were surveyed on their opinions of GM foods by business and psychology researchers at the Leeds School of Business; the University of Colorado, Boulder; Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Toronto and the University of Pennsylvania. Over 90 percent of the survey respondents reported some level of opposition to GM foods.

Researchers then asked the participants how much they thought they knew about the subject and compared those results to an objective test so that they could determine how much they actually knew. The test asked them to say whether scientific statements, such as “all plants and animals have DNA,” were true or false. (The answer is true.) Their questions came from the National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Indicators Survey.

They found that many people did not know the answers, with those who thought they knew the most actually knowing the least. The complex nature of the subject lends itself great potential for misinformation, and prior attempts by the scientific community to bridge the gap in knowledge have largely been unsuccessful. The findings of this study shed light on a major barrier to achieving a consensus on the subject.

“Those with the strongest anti-consensus views are the most in need of education, but also the least likely to be receptive to learning; overconfidence about one’s knowledge is associated with decreased openness to new information,” the authors wrote. Because of the potential public health, agricultural and nutritional benefits GM foods offer, the scientific community is pushing to change people’s attitude toward GM food through education.

“Our findings suggest that changing people’s minds first requires them to appreciate what they don’t know,” said study co-author Nicholas Light, a Ph.D. candidate in marketing at Leeds School of Business, in the press release. “Without this first step, educational interventions might not work very well to bring people in line with the scientific consensus.”

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UPMC Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh(PITTSBURGH) -- On Bodie Blodgett's last day in the neonatal intensive care unit at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, he was dressed in an adorable cap and gown for his graduation ceremony, celebrating his last day in the NICU.

Bodie was carried through the hallway of the hospital surrounded by his doctors, nurses and many others from the hospital staff as "Pomp and Circumstance" played.

"It was really special," Bodie's father, Todd Blodgett, told GMA. "We will look back on this day for many years to come."

The cleaning staff, different therapists, secretaries at the front desk and other hospital employees lined the hallways to join the celebration.

"We sometimes forget that the families who are at the bedside build relationships with not just the nurses, but also people around the hospital," Dr. Melissa Riley, associate medical director of the NICU at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, told GMA.

"Everybody there is kind and there for you," Bodie's mother Nicole Blodgett shared with GMA. "It feels like I left another family behind there. You can never have enough love for your child, so to have this was incredible."

The hospital's NICU has been hosting graduation ceremonies for the past six months as a celebration for the families and hospital staff that helped the babies who have been in the unit the longest.

"You see the tiny little baby who has such incredible resistance, but it might not have started that way," Riley said. "If you take all of the medical assistance and technology, all of those things add up to give you the healthiest, strongest baby."

Nicole shared that she felt "relieved" that in 60 days, Bodie went from not being able to breathe on his own to being able to be taken home.

"[The ceremony] felt bittersweet," she said. "I'm leaving my support team that kept him alive, but I can't wait to be home and be a mom to him."

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nehopelon/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The foods we should be eating -- fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats -- are well-known, but many don't realize that the timing of when you eat affects how you feel and how healthy you are too.

The idea that timing matters when it comes to food is the focus of a new book, What to Eat When, by Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, and Dr. Michael Crupain, chief of the medical unit at The Dr. Oz Show.

"Your circadian rhythm changes your metabolism throughout the day and it gets your body ready to eat the right thing at the right time," Crupian told ABC News' Good Morning America. "The job of your circadian rhythm is to get your body to do the right thing at the right time, so you want to align what you eat with when you eat it."

"Then you're really hacking your metabolism get better health, sleep better, to have more energy and to even help you lose more weight," he added.

Crupain and Rozin shared with GMA what they learned while writing the book, from how long to wait to eat between meals to why they like to eat dinner for breakfast. Watch the video below to learn more:

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Motortion/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest in history and the worst the country has ever seen.

At least 658 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the Central African nation's eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, which share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. Among those cases, 609 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, according to a daily bulletin from the country's health ministry on Tuesday night.

There have been 402 deaths thus far, including 353 people who died from confirmed cases of Ebola. The other deaths are from probable cases of Ebola.

"No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are currently experiencing," the country's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a statement Nov. 9.

The rising number of cases in the ongoing epidemic has exceeded that of the 2000 outbreak in Uganda, making it second only to the 2014-2016 outbreak in multiple West African nations that infected more than 28,000 people, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The development comes six weeks after the World Health Organization (WHO), the global health arm of the United Nations, concluded the current outbreak does not yet meet the criteria for an international public health emergency -- a proclamation that would have mobilized more resources and garnered global attention.

Here is what you need to know about the deadly virus:

What is Ebola?

The Ebola virus is described as a group of viruses that cause a deadly kind of hemorrhagic fever. The term "hemorrhagic fever" means it causes bleeding inside and outside the body.

The virus has a long incubation period of approximately eight to 21 days. Early symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, sore throat and headaches.

As the disease progresses, the virus can impair kidney and liver function and lead to external and internal bleeding. It's one of the most deadly viruses on Earth with a fatality rate that can reach between approximately 50 to 90 percent. There is no cure.

The WHO has received approval to administer an experimental Ebola vaccine, using a "ring vaccination" approach, around the epicenter of the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some 37,000 people, including children as well as health and frontline workers, have been vaccinated in the outbreak zone since Aug. 8, according to the country's health ministry.

The vaccine, which was developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck, has proved effective against the country's previous outbreak in the western province of Equateur.

How is it transmitted?

The virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment. A patient is not contagious until they start showing signs of the disease.

Thankfully, the virus is not airborne, which means a person cannot get the disease simply by breathing the same air as an infected patient.

Where have people been infected?

In this current outbreak, people have been infected in North Kivu and Ituri, which are among the most populous provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

Those two provinces are awash with conflict and insecurity, particularly in the mineral-rich borderlands where militia activity has surged in the past year, all of which complicates the response to the outbreak. There is also misinformation and community mistrust of the medical response, partly due to the security situation, and some residents delay seeking care or avoid follow-up.

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is the 10th outbreak the country has seen since 1976, the year that scientists first identified the deadly virus in the small northern village Yambuku near the eponymous Ebola River.

This outbreak in the country's eastern region was announced on Aug. 1, just days after another outbreak in the western part of the country that killed 33 people (including 17 who had confirmed cases of Ebola) was declared over.

Where did the virus come from?

The dangerous virus gets its name from the Ebola River in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was near the site of one of the first outbreaks. The virus was first reported in 1976 in two almost simultaneous outbreaks in areas that are now South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreaks killed 151 and 280 people, respectively.

Certain bats living in tropical African forests are thought to be the natural hosts of the disease. The initial transmission of an outbreak usually results from a wild animal infecting a human, according to the WHO. Once the disease infects a person, it is easily transmissible between people in close contact.

An outbreak that began in the West African nation of Guinea in March 2014, and soon spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, was the largest in history, infecting 28,652 people and causing 11,325 deaths. The outbreak, which the WHO deemed a public health emergency of international concern, was declared over in June 2016.

Who is at risk?

The virus is not airborne, which means those in close contact can be infected and are most at risk. A person sitting next to an infected person, even if they are contagious, is not extremely likely to be infected.

However, health workers and caregivers of the sick are particularly at risk because they work in close contact with infected patients during the final stages of the disease, when the virus can cause internal and external bleeding.

In the current outbreak alone, 55 health workers have been infected so far and at least 18 of them have died, according to the WHO.

There are also a high number of young children infected in the current outbreak. Children, who are at greater risk than adults of dying from Ebola, account for more than one-third of all the cases, while one in 10 Ebola patients is a child under the age of 5, according to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.

"We are deeply concerned by the growing number of children confirmed to have contracted Ebola," Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF's regional director for West and Central Africa who returned this week from Beni, said in a Dec. 12 statement.

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Abbott(NEW YORK) -- One in 10 babies are born premature and Irie Felkner and her twin brother, Judah Felkner, were two of them.

Born 13 weeks prematurely, they were unable to breathe on their own after birth and had to be placed on ventilators. They were transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit at Nationwide Children’s in Columbus, Ohio. Judah was able to breathe on his own and come off the ventilator after a week. But Irie could not.

"She had a hole in [the artery coming off] her heart, a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)," the twins' mother, Crissa Felkner, said. "Doctors tried to take her off of the ventilator nine times but she was unable to sustain herself since the PDA was there. A machine was keeping her alive."

What sounds like a mother’s worst nightmare is actually a reality for many families. The U.S. is sixth on the list of countries with the most preterm births. India, China and Nigeria top the list.

Of the 15 million premature babies that are born each year, one million of them die of complications from being premature, according to the World Health Organization. One of these deadly complications is a PDA.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the groundbreaking use of a minimally-invasive device to close the hole and treat PDA in premature babies.

This device, called the Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder, was used to treat the PDA in Irie. It is a small self-expanding mesh device (smaller than a pea) that is inserted through a tiny incision in the leg. It goes into the arteries of the body through a minimally-invasive catheter, enters the PDA and seals the hole.

“It is based on similar technology that Abbott has used for the past 20 years to perform minimally invasive procedures but that technology was previously only available for larger-sized babies,” said a spokesperson for Abbott Technologies, the company behind the research and manufacture of the device.

“We were given four options, one of them being the Piccolo Occluder, which is what we eventually went with,” Felkner explained. “The other options were waiting and seeing if the hole would close on its own, medications to try to close the hole (but those are not always effective and have side effects), or open heart surgery.”

The Piccolo Occluder was not FDA-approved at that time which did concern the Felkners. It was also the reason they waited a few days before deciding to go ahead with the procedure.

After about a week of waiting and watching, a repeat echocardiogram, or ultrasound, of her heart showed that it had enlarged and that her condition was getting worse. She was not a candidate for surgery since she still only weighed 2 pounds. Suddenly, the procedure with the Piccolo Occluder turned out to be Irie’s only option for survival.

“She wasn’t getting better so we had to take a leap of faith that this device would work,” Felkner said.

What is a PDA?

The ductus arteriosus (DA) is a normal small artery that all babies have before they’re born that connects the two bigger and main arteries of the body, the aorta and the pulmonary artery. Its purpose is to shunt blood away from the lungs of the fetus and to the aorta since at that stage the fetus is getting its oxygen supply through the umbilical cord, not the lungs.

Right after birth when babies are able to take their first breath, their lungs expand and the DA is no longer needed and closes on its own within the first five days of life. But in some babies, usually ones who are premature, the DA doesn’t close like it normally should and remains open.

This heart defect, called a PDA, can cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the blood that is delivered to the body's organs. Sometimes blood can flow in the reverse direction through this open defect, or “hole,” and into the lungs, causing fluid in the lungs and heart failure in babies, which is what happened to Irie.

From clinical trial to FDA approval

“Three days after she had this procedure done, she was off of the breathing machine. This minimally-invasive procedure saved my daughter’s life and did not even leave a single scar. She has no limitations now. She is a normal toddler and can do anything her brother can,” Felkner said.

Before the approval issued Monday, there was no minimally-invasive option to correct this heart defect urgently in babies the size of Irie. They would either have to grow bigger in order to get a minimally-invasive device or have an invasive open heart surgery that had a high risk of complications, including death itself.

Irie was treated as a part of the U.S. clinical trial called the ADO II AS, which enrolled 50 premature babies over the age of three days at eight centers across the U.S. Its results combined with that of a continued access protocol involving 150 more patients supported its safety and efficacy which led to the FDA approval.

As the rates of prematurity in the country continue to increase, the addition of this modern technology is a big step forward in treating some of the smallest -- and most vulnerable -- population of all.

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Janine Lamontagne/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Colin O'Brady hiked 932 miles across Antarctica and made history in the process as the first person to travel the continent from coast to coast solo.

The 33-year-old is also a three-time world record holder who has conquered everything from Everest to Kilimanjaro, Denali and the 50 highest points in the United States.

O'Brady powers up for his extreme adventures by sticking with a daily routine in which he takes time to meditate, journal and more.

Here are the five essential parts of O'Brady's wellness routine:

1. I wake up without checking my phone and get moving right away

When I wake up in the morning, I don’t check my phone, don’t check my email. First I put my running clothes on and get out the door to get my body moving.

So I’m a three-time world record holder. That’s what I’m most known for. I’ve set a few of the most prestigious mountaineering records.

I’ve been a professional athlete for so long that my body is really attuned to that. Since I travel a lot, I like to have a few workouts that I can really do from anywhere.

That’s usually squats, lunges, pushups, some body weight exercises to just kind of get my heart rate up, get my muscles working early in the morning. If I can get up, move my body, get a little sweat going, everything else throughout my day feels better.

2. I nourish my body with a healthy smoothie and supplements

There’s a couple of key components of the smoothie, like greens, some nice veggie protein powder and some berries.

My dad is an organic farmer in Hawaii, so I was raised around someone who really valued fresh, organic produce.

My supplements for the day: Magnesium, Omega 3s and a probiotic.

Getting that smoothie and supplements in my body, it really sets me up for a great day.

3. I meditate midday

When I feel that mid-afternoon lull, or maybe just a little bit over stimulated, I make sure to take 10 or 20 minutes in the afternoon to sit, meditate, calm my mind, regroup and I feel rejuvenated for the rest of the day.

I think sometimes people think of productivity as just getting as much done as possible, so the idea of sitting still and closing their eyes for 10 or 20 minutes seems like a waste of time, where I would argue it’s the complete opposite.

By taking 10 or 20 minutes to kind of stop and reset, I often find that I’m full of energy. I’m also full of creativity. A problem I [may have been] working on earlier that morning that I’m having some frustrations or challenges with, all of the sudden I have a clear idea of an answer, a solution or a pathway forward.

4. I journal in the evening before bed

I like to journal in the evenings. I’ve been doing that since I was a teenager, just to reflect on the day and unwind. It’s always nice after staring at screens all day to just grab an old fashioned pen and paper and write down my thoughts.

Sometimes it’s in bullet points but more often than not it’s just kind of a linear stream of consciousness.

5. I sleep with an eye mask and ear plugs

I sleep with an eye mask and ear plugs to make sure that I get the maximum amount of sleep to be revitalized and rejuvenated for the next day.

The reason I started sleeping with an eye mask and earplugs is it’s almost like my little security blanket.

I’m on the road quite a bit. Wherever I’m sleeping, whether that’s a hotel room, or a trail head before a hike, you know, I’ve got my eye mask on and my ear plugs in. It’s nice to have that recurring thing as part of my routine.

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Courtesy Tina Westmoreland(QUINLAN, Texas) -- They didn't hear the gunshot.

But when Tina Westmoreland went to water the plants in the front yard of her home in Quinlan, Texas, on Sunday morning, she found her daughter's diabetic alert dog laying there.

The 39-year-old mother of four had just made pancakes for the kids and was unsure how the 4-year-old golden retriever got outside. She immediately called the vet but didn't see the puddle of blood until her father lifted the dog into the car.

They rushed the dog, named Journey, to an animal hospital where he died from the gunshot wound. The family is devastated.

"It's been awful for us all," Westmoreland, a fourth-grade math teacher, told ABC News in an interview Tuesday.

Journey was trained to detect high or low levels of blood sugar in Westmoreland's 15-year-old daughter Hannah, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.

"He was amazing," Westmoreland said of the dog. "He would poke her with his nose on her leg. He got in front of her, made sure she stopped and listened to him."

Journey had been with the family for the past three years and went everywhere with Hannah: to school, church and even camp.

"She is struggling, but hanging in there," Westmoreland told ABC News. "She has an amazing support system."

Westmoreland said she reported the incident to the Hunt County Sheriff's Office, and then a game warden contacted her Monday night to tell her he was investigating.

The sheriff's office did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed that a Hunt County game warden is assisting with the investigation.

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gpflman/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Being thankful for what you don’t have might be just as important as being thankful for what you do have.

Home organization guru Marie Kondo has sparked an international phenomenon with her KonMari method of tidying up. Her process is based on figuring out which possessions “spark joy” in you, and getting rid of the rest.

Kondo is the star of a new Netflix series, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in which she travels across the U.S. to teach American families how to get organized. She previously published a book by the same name in 2014.

Spoiler alert: getting organized does not just mean cleaning, sorting, and putting your things away. It is also about deciding what you need and love.

One in 11 Americans have so many possessions that they pay for storage space outside their home, according to the Self Storage Association. Recent scientific research backs up the KonMari method, and shows that having too many things in your home may not only make it difficult to find your keys, but significantly impact how you feel.

Increased stress

In 2009, researchers at UCLA found that mothers who described their homes as “cluttered” had a stress hormone profile indicative of chronic stress. These moms also tended to have a more depressed mood throughout the day, were more tired in the evenings and had a difficult transition from work to home.

Decreased focus and productivity

Princeton researchers published an article in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2011 that found in a cluttered visual environment, multiple objects compete for your attention, leading to poor focus. Clutter is distracting, and a person’s ability to be productive suffers.

Unhealthier eating

In a 2016 joint Australian-U.S. study, college students were twice as likely to reach for sugar-rich foods when they were stressed in a messy kitchen. Researchers found that the combination of feeling vulnerable and being left in a chaotic environment led to more unhealthy eating habits.

Decluttering is easy…but difficult too

Clutter accumulates for many reasons. A study published in The Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders in 2015 about our motives for collecting objects suggests that people have strong emotional attachments to their belongings. Those belongings can serve as a source of comfort, an extension of self and sentimental reminders of life events. People are also concerned about waste, and fear that they will lose or forget things if they are discarded.

Interestingly, a 2017 study published in The Journal of Marketing showed that people are more willing to part with their possessions if they were able to keep its memory by photographing it. A box of old toys is easier to part with if there is a memento.

Decluttering -- a trend centuries in the making

Despite recent “declutter” trends, the act of purging one’s possessions can be found throughout history. The idea of “spring cleaning” has been practiced for centuries around the world, sometimes in preparation for a new year, as in China and Iran, and often linked to religious practice such as Clean Week prior to Lent in Catholicism or Passover in Judaism.

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