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Julie Bowen: Modern Mother, Modern Family

The actor’s tricks and tips for balancing TV's No. 1 comedy and family -- including three kids under age 3.

Julie Bowen: Flu Shot Spokeswoman

One subject Bowen does sweat is the ongoing debate over vaccinations. Like many other mothers of young children, she felt daunted by anxiety-inducing mixed messages delivered by the media and traded among moms about the risks of annual and seasonal vaccine shots. In the end, she consulted her favorite doctor for advice.

"I cried making the decision, I'm not gonna lie," she says. "But I spoke with my sister, who is an infectious disease doctor -- and then also with my own doctor and my pediatrician, who said to me: “’By not vaccinating your children, you're putting them at serious risk.’ That was it for me. Once I made that decision, there were a few tears -- mostly mine -- but now all three boys are on regular vaccination schedules."

While there are no guarantees in this preventive approach, accepting it led Bowen to join the American Lung Association (ALA) as the national spokesperson in its ongoing public awareness campaign, "Faces of Influenza," about the importance of getting an annual flu shot.

"The flu is a significant disease," says Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer of the ALA. "Each year between 10% and 15% of all Americans get it. An estimated 15,000 to 40,000 die from complications."

"It's a privilege to get to educate people," Bowen adds. "Everybody should make the choice that's right for them. But, please," she adds, "make an educated choice."

Julie Bowen's Fitness Secrets

It's clear that Bowen is a woman on the run. So it comes as no surprise that she jogs nearly every morning. "You can pick up a pair of sneakers anywhere and you're off," she says. "And 45 minutes later, you've had a great workout."

Anyone who's caught Bowen glammed-up and glowing with good health on recent awards shows can testify she looks downright amazing, considering the woman is in her fourth decade of life and has birthed three babies since 2007. What's her secret?

For starters, she's the first one to tell you that staying in shape takes hard work. It also requires sleep, the aforementioned daily runs, plus the commitment to do both.

"I front-load it," she says of getting a good night's rest, meaning she's typically in bed before 10 p.m., a healthy habit that enables her to rise by 5 a.m. and run a few miles before the kids wake up.

Surprisingly, Bowen has worn a pacemaker since she was diagnosed in her early 20s with a cardiovascular condition where the regular heartbeat can drop to dangerously low levels. The pacemaker "serves as a monitor for me," she explains, kicking in when her heart requires it.

And while she doesn't "hear or feel" the device, she's grateful "to live during a time when the technology exists to treat my condition," and is in "excellent health."

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