Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Rising Among Women

Globally, people are spending more and more time engaged in sedentary behaviors. Computers, television, and other electronic devices are encouraging physical inactivity as well as sedentary jobs and modes of transportation.

In a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who  were physically inactive and spent 10 hours or more sitting each day were at 63% greater risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) when compared with women who were regularly active.
It is also important to note that women who met physical activity guidelines but sat for long periods each day had an increased CVD risk. Due to the results of this study, the Jefferson County Public Health Department challenges you to get up and move around throughout your day!

Here is an idea to help take care of your heart and your loved ones hearts!  Participate in the Million Hearts Initiative, an effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years.  

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Throughout the month of October, all Americans are encouraged to take a stand and work together to end domestic violence. Jefferson County Public Health recognizes that members of our community suffer needlessly due to domestic violence. Many JCPH programs provide education and support to families including, Nurse Family Partnership, WIC, Prenatal Plus and Family Planning.

If you or someone you know is being abused, there is help. Please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Watch the White House’s video entitled, “1 is 2 Many”.

To learn more about creating healthy relationships in your life or to find more resources for getting out of a relationship that is unhealthy, watch this special episode of Sex Ed With Mel. . . In 30 Minutes or Less.

World Food Day - Oct 24th

On October 24th, people all over the country will celebrate World Food Day, the nationwide movement for healthy, affordable, sustainable food. The goal of this day is to help people “eat real.” That means, no sugary drinks, processed and pre-packages, salty foods and fatty meats. On this day, we encourage you to eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and sustainably raised protein.

Today’s typical diet is contributing to some of the leading causes of death and disease in our country, including heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The reality is that these health issues are costing Americans almost $150 billion every year. By eating healthier, you are not only saving your health, but your tax dollars too. And, who knows? You may find that you enjoy eating nutritious foods. Let this October 24th be the start of a new healthier you!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1st is the kick off date for Breast Cancer Awareness month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American women. (Skin cancer is the first.) In 2009, over 211,000 women were diagnosed with the disease. By getting the necessary exams, you can increase your chances of finding out early on, if you have breast cancer. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. JCPH offers breast examinations during regular visits to the Family Planning Clinic and refers clients out for mammograms as needed. For information on mammograms, or to schedule one, please visit the Women’s Wellness Connection.

“I Am a Smoke-Free Zone”

Jefferson County Public Health is proud to help launch “I Am A Smoke-Free Zone,” a new education campaign with a focus on limiting children’s exposure to secondhand smoke. “The campaign’s message that children are “smoke-free zones” is important,” said Donna Viverette, JCPH Tobacco Prevention Initiative Supervisor. She also stated, “We know secondhand smoke is harmful to everyone and that children are often the innocent bystanders. This campaign reminds people to protect kids by not smoking around them and helping them to avoid others’ tobacco smoke as well.”

The campaign focuses on common myths about secondhand smoke:
  1. The myth that blowing your smoke out a window or door prevents secondhand smoke exposure, 
  2. The myth that ventilation in a home or car is a good strategy, 
  3. The myth that room deodorizers can minimize risk, and 
  4. The myth that if it’s not enough to smoke in another room, open windows, and get rid of the odor, then the only other option is to quit.
According to Viverette, “The only way to fully protect children against secondhand smoke is to make cars and homes 100% smoke-free and never smoke around children,” said Viverette.

In children aged 18 months or younger, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports secondhand smoke exposure 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 more information on how to protect children from secondhand smoke go to IAmASmoke-FreeZone.org or visit Tobacco-Free Jeffco online.

After the Rain

The recent floods in Jefferson County have caused severe damage and left many homeowners with significant challenges to recovery. Jefferson County has put together a new disaster recovery web page to help community members impacted by the flood. Public health also offers important resources on water quality, food safety and other issues that may arise.

The next few months, even years, will be a time to come together and rebuild. There are many opportunities for you to get involved. Visit HelpColoradoNow.com to make donations that will also support area hunger-relief organizations.

If you have been affected directly by the recent floods, there are resources to help. The Hunger Free Hotline is a free, bilingual and confidential hotline that can connect you to food and nutrition resources. It's open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (855) 855-4626

Cleaning up after a flood can be a very difficult task. The Colorado State University Extension Office has created this fact sheet with cleaning tips and information to help you know what food items you should keep or discard. This not only applies to those directly impacted by the floods but individuals and groups wanting to donate produce or other foods to local food banks and pantries.

For more information on mold, please see the Environmental Protection Agency’s fact sheet.

Public Health is here to help with resources and information. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has compiled this list of resources that may be of help.  If you have questions regarding water or food safety issues, please call Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Health Services at 303-271-5700. If you are in need of a Tetanus shot before beginning clean-up, please call 303-232-6301. 
  • For current information on the flood in Jefferson County, visit the Disaster Relief page.

The Community has Spoken and Mental Health, Physical Inactivity and Poor Diet are Top Concerns

Healthy People, Healthy Places Jeffco, a collaboration of community organizations, health and other service providers, government agencies, worksites, and residents, committed to building a healthier Jefferson County completed its community engagement process and the results are in. Input was gathered during five community meetings, from an online survey and from members of a multi-sector on the newly formed Jefferson County Health Council. Information about the five risk factors (physical inactivity, psychosocial stressors, poor diet, tobacco use and exposure and alcohol use) was presented to all participants. These five risk factors play a role in Jefferson County’s leading causes of death. Participants were asked to prioritize which risk factors the community should commit to working on in their community health improvement plan (CHIP). Prioritization of the risk factors was accomplished by having all participants distribute $100 in play money on the risk factors they felt deserved the most attention.

The community has spoken and physical inactivity, poor diet and psychosocial stressors were overwhelmingly ranked as the highest priorities to address. With the combined rankings from all engagement efforts, $100 would be distributed as follows:

  • Physical inactivity - $29
  • Psychosocial stressors - $28
  • Poor diet - $25
  • Tobacco use and exposure - $9
  • Alcohol use - $9

Healthy People, Healthy Places Jeffco has responded to these results by convening work groups on physical activity and access to healthy food. Both work groups will also tackle psychosocial stressors as it relates.

The problem of psychosocial stress in our communities is real and it can directly impact the choices people make around physical activity and eating. For example, people who have trouble paying the rent, or who don’t live in safe neighborhoods, or don’t have an opportunity for higher education and better living wages, live with higher levels of chronic psychosocial stress. This chronic stress puts them at a greater risk of developing a range of diseases. In addition, the social and economic factors that produce this stress make it harder for them to make healthy choices: people who live in lower-income neighborhoods tend to be surrounded by liquor stores and corner stores that sell non-nutritious food items and cigarettes, and they’re less likely to have places nearby to buy healthy food and safe places to be active . By looking at ways to remove barriers to healthy eating and active living, the work groups hope to also reduce psychosocial stress in Jefferson County.

The CHIP process is an effective way to translate data into action by building partnerships, focusing on key priorities and targeting resources. Ultimately, our goal is to improve the health of all Jefferson County residents.

For more information:
  • To watch the video used in the survey about the risk factors related to health in Jefferson County, please click here. (Please note that the survey is no longer active.)
  • To read our Community Health Assessment, please click here.
To get involved in creating a healthier Jefferson County, please visit healthypeoplehealthyplacesjeffco.com or contact Erika Jermé, MScPl, JCPH Community Health Improvement Planner, at 303-271-5737 or at ejerme@jeffco.us.