Friday, October 26, 2012

Raising a Generation of Healthy Eaters

The news in health lately has focused on the growing issue of obesity in our country. This has many people concerned about their families, especially their children. The CDC states that childhood obesity can cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea and social discrimination. But, the question is, how do we raise healthy eaters? Here are a few tips:
  • Encourage healthy eating habits. 
  • Look for ways to make favorite dishes healthier 
  • Remove calorie-rich temptations 
JCPH reminds everyone that parents and caregivers set the examples for children when it comes to eating. Getting your kids to eat healthier now will help to set a high standard for eating as they get older. Enjoy this fun video by Turn the Tide Foundation!

Health Care Access

Finding yourself without health care can be a scary thing. Jefferson County Public Health is here to help. There are programs to assist you and your family get the care you need.

If you are Pregnant and need immediate prenatal care- Please call 303-232-6301 for Presumptive Eligibility. This program, based on eligibility, can get you the care you need while you are waiting to be approved for Medicaid.

If you are Pregnant and have children- Please call Jefferson County Human Services department at 303- 271-1388 for information on how to get your family covered with Medicaid. While you are waiting for Medicaid approval, you might consider applying for Presumptive Eligibility (listed above) so that your unborn baby can get a healthy start.

If you are already on Medicaid but need help finding medical, dental, vision, or mental health care– Contact Healthy Communities at 303-239-7041. They can assist you in finding the correct care for you and your family.

If you have children and have applied for Medicaid but have been declined- You may be eligible for CHP+. This program can help you get medical care for your children under the ages of 18. There is a small annual fee and co-pays are based on factors such as income and family size. Please call 303-751-9051 for more information.

There is also help for all children enrolled in the R-1 School District. All children who are actively enrolled can apply to get Medicaid for their families through school. For more information, please call 303-982-7276.

Take a Hike Day

November 17, is National Take a Hike Day
Although this may be something you’ve been trying to tell your unwanted house guest, we mean get outside and go for a hike!  Outdoor physical activity can improve your health.  It can lower your blood pressure, your risk of heart disease and even some cancers.  It may even be the answer to your sleepless nights and low energy levels. Did you know that, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, less than half of all adults get enough physical activity to improve their health.  Here’s the answer.  Get Healthy. Stay Health. Go for a Hike. Visit Jeffco for more hiking ideas and here for hiking maps in Jefferson County!

Holiday Food Safety

The holidays are quickly approaching. The scent of turkey, ham, stuffing, and pumpkin pie will fill many homes in Jefferson County!  While creating delectable creations for your dining table, please keep a few of these food safety tips in mind:
  • Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature. Get the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation on how to thaw your turkey!
  • Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey.
  • For optimal safety, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish.
For more information on thawing, storing, and cooking your holiday meals, please click here.  

Healthy People, Healthy Places . . . Jefferson County Public Health Wants You to be Involved in Creating a Healthier JeffCo

Over the next several months and throughout 2013, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) will invite you to participate in the development of a comprehensive community health improvement plan (CHIP). All local Colorado public health departments will develop a community health improvement plan every five years that includes a multi-phased approach made up of a community health assessment, the development of a community health profile, a community engagement prioritization process and finally, the development, implementation, and evaluation of a CHIP.  Current JCPH accomplishments related to this project include collecting existing health data and information on risk factors, quality of life, mortality, morbidity, community assets, social determinants of health and health inequity. We are also gathering information on how well the public health system provides essential services. Additionally, some community outreach has occurred through a mix of methodologies, internal work teams have been formed, a communication plan is being developed, and Dr. Mark Johnson, Executive Director has invited key stakeholders to be a part of a health council. 

The next phase of the process involves members of the community.  JCPH wants as many constituents from multiple jurisdictions to be involved in this important process to ensure a collaborative and inclusive process to improve the health and the environmental conditions of our County.   JCPH believes that when community members engage with health data, notice trends and choose health indicators to track, they will better understand the health issues facing our County and will want to get involved in creating solutions. 

As a resident, employee or stakeholder, JCPH believes you are a key partner in the process. Over the next 14 months, will be a place for you to connect with the CHIP process, JCPH and our many partners in the County.  The overarching goal is to have Jefferson County Colorado exemplify Healthy People and Healthy Places! Keep your eye out for continued communication on this initiative. If you have specific suggestions, or would like more information, please contact Elise Lubell, JCPH Director of Health Promotion and Lifestyle Management, at 303-271-5719 or

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meet My Grandma, She is a Survivor This October, Make Breast Cancer Prevention a Priority

We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds us that the best prevention against Breast Cancer is early detection.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is one of the leading causes of cancer death among women.  JCPH offers breast cancer screenings to women who qualify. 

If you have not made this life saving appointment  and need a little inspiration, meet Alexia.  

“My Grandma, Antoinette Paniagua, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer 12 years ago.  She then went to nursing school so she could work in the field of Breast Health and Breast Cancer.  She even got certified as a Breast Patient Navigator.  She works at Jefferson County Public Health as a Nurse Case Manager and Patient Navigator in the Breast Program.

My Grandma is a survivor and because of that she is passionate about helping people get mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies when they are needed.  She tells me "Early detection is the best protection."

If you are uninsured or under-insured, you can call her to see how you can get some help getting a Mammogram. 
Grandma says "October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but, we need to fight EVERYDAY to find a cure so that my generation won't have to worry about Breast Cancer."  We work hard as a family to raise funds and awareness like participating in the Komen Denver Race for the Cure. I am so proud of my Grandma.”

To contact Antoinette and find out how to get your breast cancer screening, please call 303 239-7044. You can also get more information by visiting JCPH online.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Growing Up With Second Hand Smoke

I had the best childhood ever.  I rode my bike everywhere, hung out with the kids in the neighborhood, and had loving supportive parents who indulged my every whim.  They supported me when I struck out- every time- in baseball.  They watched me practice dances in the living room and always gave me a standing ovation.  We took road trips across the country in the family station wagon, and while we were driving, they even cracked the windows so that I didn’t have to breathe in their secondhand smoke.  Although I know my parents meant well, I don’t think they realized that this didn’t protect me from their smoke.  According to a recent study, over one-fifth of nonsmoking children are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars. This smoke exposes them to more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer. This doesn’t only happen in cars.  Secondhand smoke is also being breathed in by non-smoking children in their own homes.  I don’t think my parents knew this when I was a child. I’d like to believe that if they did, they wouldn’t have exposed me, their only daughter, to such a dangerous environment.

Truth be told, I have the best parents in the world.  But, I also have parents with an addiction to cigarettes.  As a child, their smoking never bothered me.  I mean, everyone smoked.  Yes, my house smelled, and my clothes and hair were always infused with the scent of tobacco. But, wasn’t that just like everyone else? 

In elementary school I began to understand the negative impact my parents’ smoking was having on them and on me.   Several of my friends’ parents stopped smoking and were beginning to care more about their health.  Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda were inspiring our moms to wear leg warmers and head bands.  (Luckily for me, my mom never picked up on those embarrassing fashion trends!) Unluckily for me, both of my parents ignored the 80’s health boom.  They continued to smoke in our house, in our car, at my dance recitals, the mall, the park…  Suddenly my friends were not allowed to stay over because they went home smelling like smoke.  I began arming myself with any brochures I could get about the negative effects of smoking.  I stole their cigarettes and hid them under my bed.  Even as a child, I understood that giving up cigarettes would be difficult.       

I am a grown woman now with children of my own, and I am happy to tell you that I have not personally suffered any major health issues directly associated with my parents tobacco addiction (other than multiple ear infections).  I’ve been very lucky.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to secondhand smoke can cause more than just ear infections.  It is also responsible for severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in children.  In fact, secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 150,000–300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually and approximately 7,500–15,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States for children 18 months old and younger.  Guess I was luckier than a lot of children who grew up in the same environment.

There are over 45.3 million adult tobacco smokers in the US today. According to a 2010 study by the CDC, 69% of these smokers want to quit.  Many of them will succeed.  My father has quit.  I think he has actually quit 5 different times now. Unfortunately his addiction is still winning.

My parents are still smoking- just not in the house anymore.  And not in the hospitals they have been admitted to.  Through cancers and debilitating heart disease, one thing has remained the same.  My parents are smokers.  It is part of who they are, regardless of my persistent pleas, their doctors’ warnings, and the aches and pains they have endured.  They are still the best parents in the world, and I love them more than they could ever know.  But, I will never let go of the dream of them quitting forever.    

I know some of you are reading this and thinking, “Here she goes. Another anti-smoking story…”  I guess, if I have to be honest, it is indeed an anti-smoking story.  But, if you have children and you smoke, I sincerely hope this story is an addition to the smoking brochures left casually around the house, the stolen cigarettes that are hidden under your child’s bed, and the requests to roll down the car windows.  

My name is Tina Thorpe.  I'd love to hear your stories of growing up with second hand smoke.  Please post your experiences below.  Thank you so much for sharing.
Written by Tina Thorpe

- Jefferson County Public Health