Health reporter Alicia Booth signs off after a decade at NewsChannel5

Trades in reporting to be full-time mom

CLEVELAND - There aren't many jobs that can leave with you with the kind of memories I have from 10 years at NewsChannel5.

Several of the most meaningful events of my life I have shared with my co-workers at NewsChannel5 and the loyal viewers to whom we have brought the news every night.

Danita and I have laughed over and over about how we had parallel dating lives and in the blink of an eye we were both married and raising young children. In fact, some of my favorite memories were made when she and Susanne Horgan (now doing the weather in Louisville) and I anchored NewsChannel5 at Noon together. We all got married within a few weeks of each other and I remember having so much fun shooting a story about the three of us trying on wedding dresses.

I met my husband, Dr. Robert Sprecher, while putting together a story on tonsillectomies. I even surprised him by playing the video during our wedding rehearsal dinner. I'll never forget the night the story aired, and anchor Ted Henry said, "I like that doctor!", and I thought, "So do I."

With the birth of our daughter, Lexi, my perspective on health stories changed. I started looking at everything as a parent, not just a reporter. I felt like it was important to be educated about how to take care of my child, and myself, so I could be around for her as long as possible.

As a health reporter, you read a lot of research. I continue to be amazed at how some issues come up over and over, too many times to ignore.

The following advice is what I try to follow myself. It comes from research, my visits with Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen and the numerous local physicians I have interviewed in the last decade (including my husband). I am not a doctor, so take my advice as you would take it coming from a girlfriend.

• If you can't pronounce the ingredients on the label, don't eat it or feed it to your kids.
• If you're worried about the cost of organic produce, invest first in fruits and veggies whose skin you eat.
• Exercise is not just important for your body, it's vital to your brain, especially as you age.
• Medicine can be life-saving, but you probably have more control over serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes than you realize, just by regular exercise and watching what you eat.
• You don't have to work up a big sweat or run five miles to benefit from exercise. A good long walk every day is just as good, maybe better.
• The best thing you can do for your health, ever, is to quit smoking.
• Get a second opinion. If your doctor doesn't want you to do so, get a new doctor.
• The majority of ear infections resolve themselves without antibiotics.
• If you're feeling down, try some exercise.
• You have a better chance of living longer if you have at least two close friends.
• If you have to choose between sleep and almost anything, choose sleep.
• A flu shot doesn't just protect you, it also protects the at-risk people around you, like the unsuspecting person who uses the grocery cart after you.
• Sleep deprivation makes you crave carbohydrates.
• Processed food doesn't taste good anymore when you stop eating it.
• No surgery is routine.

Finally, thank you to each of you who have watched and read my health stories over the years and given me feedback on what you think is important.

It's been an incredible experience. I will miss all of my friends here at WEWS, and all of you.
Wish me luck as a stay-at-home mom.

See you at the playground!

Alicia Booth
"Former" WEWS Health Reporter

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