Thursday, March 2, 2017

Jefferson County Youth Stand Up to Big Tobacco and Break Up with Nic O. Tine

National Kick Butts Day, an annual day of activism empowering youth in local communities to “stand out, speak up, and seize control” against tobacco use and the targeting of youth by tobacco companies is Wednesday March 15, 2017

Tobacco use continues to plague our youth, and the cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies still heavily target youth spending more than 9 billion dollars on advertising and promotional expenses in the U.S. The Surgeon General reports that nearly nine out of 10 people who smoke, start by age 18, and 99% start before the age of 26.

Although Kick Butts Day is only one day out of the year, Breathe Easy (BE) Teams in Jefferson County are participating in activities to reduce the toll of tobacco in their schools and communities, thus making every day a day of activism and empowerment. BE Teams are youth clubs that are supported by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health that educate their peers and community members about the problem of tobacco and advocate for sustainable solutions, including policy change. 

During the month of February, BE Teams participated in an interactive activity where they wrote break up and rejection letters to “Nic O. Tine,” a fictional character representing all tobacco products and the tobacco industry. Letters stated, “You’re killing my mom – stop taking her money,” and “I need a breather. You’re killing me.” The BE Teams helped organize and facilitate this activity during their schools’ lunch hours in order to educate, involve and inspire their peers. Watch Jeffco Public Schools’ video highlighting the BE Teams’ work!

For more information about efforts in Jefferson County to reduce the toll of tobacco, visit, email or call 303-275-7555.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

St. Anthony Hospital, Public Health and Jeffco Public Schools Team Up to Keep Youth Hydrated

The pink water bottle Emmy Adams, a junior at Golden High School, carries around isn’t just a way to stay hydrated. It’s a chance for change.

Emmy Adams, president and founder
of the Golden High School Environment
Club fills her water bottle at one of the
school's new filling stations.
“I think that by having refillable drink stations, it helps people drink more water so much more because it is so much more accessible and easier to make the right choice in what you’re drinking,” said Adams, president and founder of the school’s environmental club. The club was instrumental in highlighting the need for water filling stations at Golden High School.

Water filling stations are just one way to encourage children and teens to drink more water and less of other drinks, like sugary beverages. Healthy Jeffco and its community coalitions, specifically the School Wellness Coalition and the Jeffco Sips Smart Coalition, are working to increase healthy beverage consumption through education and collaboration. Key partners in this effort include, Centura Health’s St. Anthony Hospital, Jeffco Public Schools and Jefferson County Public Health.

It is estimated that more than half of children in the U.S. don’t drink enough water. A national study published in June 2015 in the American Journal of Public Health found that more than half of American children are dehydrated at any time.

Thanks to the generous contribution from St. Anthony Hospital, eight Jefferson County public schools now have water bottle refill stations to help keep youth and staff hydrated. In addition, posters encouraging healthy beverage consumption were distributed throughout the schools.
Golden High School currently has two filling
stations, thanks to donations from Centura Health's
St. Anthony Hospital. The school also received
donations from other community organizations,
which means it will be receiving four additional
water bottle filling stations soon.

“Centura Health believes that high quality health happens in our clinics and in the community,” said Dr. Kimberly Bentrott, a Primary Care Physician with Centura Health Physicians Group. “This project is a great example of health happening in schools, and we are proud to be a partner of this work.”

Golden High School currently has two water filling stations, and thanks to donations from other community partners and the hard work of the environment club, four more are on the way.

“People definitely use it,” said Mike Mendoza, a teacher at Golden High School and the sponsor for the environmental club. “It’s just becoming the new norm.”

Drinking water has become a game for the students at Golden High School. Many of them carry around plastic water bottles and throw them in complicated flips to land on the water filling station sensor pad.

Shamik Bhat, a senior at Golden High School,
fills his water bottle in one of the two
new water filling stations at the school.
Some of them, like Emmy, even regularly check the LED display on the filling station to see how many plastic bottles have been saved. The first week after the stations were installed, Emmy said she checked each hour.

Not only do the water filling stations fulfill the Healthy Jeffco mission to ensure better access and education about healthy beverages, but they also support the Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Health Services goal of maintaining healthy environments. Water filling stations reduce plastic waste from water bottles and other drink containers.

“This planet is such an amazing place that we live in, and there’s just so much to explore and do, and it just makes me realize that you can’t do anything if you don’t have clean air to drink and clean air to breathe,” Adams said, smiling as she explained that her passion for the environment is what makes her want to advocate for sustainable changes, like the refillable drink stations. “My generation are the ones that are really going to have to take action.”

Emmy Adams, junior at Golden High School and president and founder of the school's environment club, fills her water bottle at one of the school's new water filling stations. Both of the school's stations have saved the environment more than 2,000 plastic water bottles. 

Photos by Nikki Work // Video by Tony Aaron Fuller

“Put Your Best Fork Forward” - March is National Nutrition Month

Jefferson County Public Health and the JCPH WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program encourage everyone to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” for this year’s National Nutrition Month®.  

“Put Your Best Fork Forward” acts as a reminder that each bite counts. Making just small shifts in our food choices, can add up over time. More specifically this year’s theme focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. 

Making small changes during National Nutrition Month®, and over time, helps improve health now and into the future. 

The National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests everyone try the following five ways to make eating healthier easier: 
  1. Create an eating style that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods. 
  2. Practice cooking more at home, and experiment with healthier ingredients.
  3. How much we eat is as important as what we eat. Eat and drink the right amount for you, as MyPlate, a healthy eating tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, encourages us to do.
  4. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  5. Manage your weight and lower your health risks by consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. Registered Dietitian Nutritonists (RDNs) can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

Eating healthy also means paying close attention to what you and your family are drinking. Many parents and caregivers are not aware of the hidden sugar in many of the beverages that they give to their children. That’s why Jefferson County Public Health, in conjunction with the Healthy Beverage Partnership,  is promoting a new campaign aimed at educating parents and caregivers about the harmful effects of sugar, and informing them of the high sugar content in many of the beverages they may be giving to their kids. 

Parents are encouraged to visit and take a pledge to reduce the amount of sugary drinks they provide to their children. Pledge to serve your family healthy beverages for 30 days and you’ll be automatically entered to win a family plus membership to the Denver Zoo, Children’s Museum, or the Museum of Nature and Science. 

JCPH also has more about this topic on display in the Jefferson County libraries throughout the months of March and April, with educational handouts available. 

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day is celebrated March 8 and raises awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services. JCPH recognizes RDNs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives. Click here to download flyer and Meet the JCPH RDNs. You can also learn more about what they do for the JCPH WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program by watching this video. 

For more information on National Nutrition Month, please visit Eat Right, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Visit for more information on Jefferson County Public Health and the WIC Program, one of the communituy nutrition resources JCPH offers.

The Jefferson County WIC Program is an active member of Healthy Jeffco, a network of over 300 community partners working collectively to make Jefferson County a healthier place to live, learn, work and play.

APHA Invites YOU to Help with the 1 Billion Steps Challenge

By April 9, the American Public Health Association (APHA) has a goal of taking 1 billion steps, and needs your help.

One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to walk — going for a 5-10 minute walk before breakfast, after dinner or up and down the hall while talking on the phone or during television commercials is a quick and easy way to get more exercise during the day.

Starting on Jan. 9, the APHA encouraged anyone interested to sync their step-counting device, such as a Fitbit or a smart phone, or to enter their steps manually on the National Public Health Week website. The challenge runs until April 9, the end of National Public Health Week. Walk on your own or with a team — just start walking!

Dr. Margaret Huffman, Director of Jefferson County Public Health's Community Health Services, along with some Public Health Nurses, have developed a team for the APHA Billion Steps Challenge. The team has a goal of walking 380 miles. They have also challenged the public health nurses from Wyoming, who have also created a team for the Billion Steps program.

Dr. Huffman is the current president of the Public Health Nurses Association of Colorado (PHNAC).

To learn more about the 1 Billion Steps Challenge, including how to register and get others involved, click here.  

Healthy Jeffco, a network of more than 300 community partners dedicated to furthering our community’s health, also has an Active Living coalition. To learn more or get involved, visit

Have a Happy — and Safe — St. Patrick’s Day

Public Health wishes you a happy and safe St. Patty’s Day 2017. 

If you’re celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland on March 17 with a pint Green Beer, remember that moderation is key.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a variety of short- and long-term health risks are associated with alcohol consumption, including motor vehicle crashes, sexual risk behaviors, violence, high blood pressure and various cancers, like breast cancer. 

The more you drink, the higher the risk.

The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that if you consume alcohol, you do so in moderation — up to one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men and never for underage persons or pregnant women.

One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor.

Binge drinking — or a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol content to .08 percent or higher — is more than 4 drinks in a single occasion for women or more than 5 drinks for men.

More than half the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S. is consumed by binge drinking, and binge drinking is associated with many health problems, like unintentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, liver disease, unintended pregnancy, cardiovascular disease, neurological damage and more. 

Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive impaired than non-binge drinkers, according to the CDC.

In 2016, nearly 400 impaired drivers were arrested on St. Patrick’s Day in Colorado. In 2017, that number more than 500, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

This year, be safe AND have fun on St. Patrick’s Day. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation. 

Jefferson County Board of Health Meetings to Change Locations

The Jefferson County Board of Health will be meeting in the Mt. Bierstadt room at Jefferson County Public Health, 645 Parfet St., Lakewood, CO 80215. The next Board of Health meeting will be March 21, 2017 at 7:30 a.m.

The Board of Health meetings for 2017 are:
  •          March 21
  •          May 16
  •         July 18
  •         September 19
  •         November 21

The Board of Health conducts a public hearing on the third Tuesday of every other month. The purpose of the public hearings are to give consideration to variance and review cases as they pertain to Individual Sewage Disposal System Regulation and other Jefferson County Public Health business. Each meeting convenes at 7:30 a.m. and devotes the first half hour to a study session on a Jefferson County Public Health program or service. The study session is followed by the Board’s general business meeting at 8 a.m. Consideration to variance and review of cases follows the general business meeting.

Interested citizens are welcome to attend. For more information, please call the clerk to the Board of Health at 303-271-5716 or visit the Board of Health web page.

March is the Snowiest Month of the Year in Colorado – Be Snow Safe

Though March 20 marks the first day of Spring, March is also the snowiest month of the year in Colorado. On average, according to the National Weather Service, the state gets more than 10 inches per month, and in some cases, has gotten more than 30.

That means it’s more important than ever to Be Snow Safe when walking outdoors, traveling, enjoying winter sports or even going about your day-to-day life.

Here are some helpful tips from the Centers for Disease Control for the cold, snowy days to come: 

  • “Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: wear a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
  • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
  • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
  • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Above all, be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.”