Friday, March 4, 2016

Attention Day Care Providers! Farm to Child Care in Colorado

According to a February 29, 2016 news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is building on the success of the 20-year-old National Farm to School Program by developing a Colorado Farm to Child Care Program.

The program will help child care centers and homes participating in CACFP have access to more locally grown produce and increase children’s acceptance of vegetables and appreciation of locally grown food through hands-on gardening, cooking, nutrition education and taste testing. "A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits sugary beverages helps prevent obesity in children,” said Jennifer Dellaport, manager of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Early Childhood Obesity Prevention program. “By exposing young children to high quality, locally grown food, we can help them build healthy food habits that last a lifetime.”

The 2014 Colorado Child Health Survey shows 48.9 percent of children aged 1-14 years eat the recommended two daily servings of fruit and just 13 percent consume the recommended three daily servings of vegetables. Skipping vegetables means missing key nutrients such as fiber and potassium.

By the time children start school, many of their food preferences are already established. Early and repeated exposure to new foods, such as vegetables, can help shape children’s taste preferences and increase their willingness to try unfamiliar foods. Because approximately 106,000 Colorado children spend a significant amount of their time in child care centers and homes, the farm to child care program can help ensure children in care receive high quality food, are exposed to new foods and have an active role in learning where their food comes from.

“While growing a garden with the help of 3-year-olds may not be the easiest thing I have ever done, it is by far one of the most rewarding,” said Kat Paula of the Family Learning Center. “Being able to see that moment when a child realizes they are eating something they helped to grow is phenomenal. I had one child who had declined to eat bell peppers at snack for four years. When we grew them in our garden, he wanted to try them and he LOVES them now. If I could just get one child to eat more vegetables, I would consider our garden a success. I am overwhelmed by the positive response I have seen from the children!”

More about the Child and Adult Care Food Program:

The CACFP is funded by the USDA and administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The CACFP provides reimbursement for nutritious meals and snacks served to participating child care centers, preschools, Head Start programs, adult day care centers, homeless and domestic violence shelters, at-risk afterschool programs and family day care homes. The program reimburses care providers for serving healthy meals and snacks based on the income of the participant’s family. Foster children, Head Start participants and children whose families participate in the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) are eligible to receive free meals.

For current eligibility guidelines, go to

If your child or adult care program would benefit from participating in CACFP, share this information with staff members and encourage them to learn more by contacting the program at 303-692-2330 or visiting the CACFP website at

View this information on the CDPHE web site.

Zika Virus – Travel Associated Cases in U.S. up to 153

Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Specific areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. If traveling, please visitthe CDC Travelers' Health site for the most updated travel information. Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus and has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant. CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women. Pregnant women should consider delaying travel to areas with Zika. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. The number of travel associated cases in the United States continues to grow. For more information:

Connect with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Connect with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Read the Denver Post article

Celebrate Healthy Food Choices: National School Breakfast Week

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) wants all Jefferson County children as healthy and strong as possible in order to make the grade this school year! National School Breakfast week from March 7-11, 2016 is right around the corner. The NSBW 2015 theme, “Wake Up to School Breakfast” is about making sure students, administrators, teachers and parents understand and encourage the importance of a nutritious breakfast. 

According to a report “Breakfast for Learning, 2014 by the Food Research and Action Council, students who participate in school breakfast show improved attendance, behavior, standardized achievement test scores, and decreased tardiness. Providing students with breakfast in the classroom setting is associated with lower tardy rates and fewer disciplinary office referrals.

JCPH understands the importance of fostering a healthy diet and making healthy food choices for children from day one. Our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program can get answers to your health and nutrition questions. WIC helps mothers make infant feeding choices and provides breastfeeding support, children's growth checkups and referrals to other health services. Additionally, you can get one-on-one help to learn how to make healthy meals for your family to ensure everyone in your family is getting the proper nutrition and therefore achieving optimal health.

For toolkits, handouts, activity sheets and more information and fun activities, visit the School Nutrition Association’s National School Breakfast Week webpage.  

Take Action to Help Prevent Brain Injuries

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Jefferson County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage everyone to spread the word and help prevent traumatic brain injury, including concussion. Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30% of all injury deaths.

There are many ways to reduce the chances of sustaining a traumatic brain injury. View this CDC web page with prevention tips for different age groups:

In addition, the Concussion Foundation Learning Center has a wealth of educational information, including a concussion checklist for parents and coaches; a link to scientific publications; and information about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which is a progressive degenerative brain disease found in athletes and military veterans.

Colorado Health Report Card . . . Being a healthy state is not easy, but progress is being made!

The Colorado Health Foundation, in partnership with the Colorado Health Institute, released its 2016 Colorado Health Report Card on February 17, 2016. The report marks 10 years of ranking Colorado against other states based on 38 health indicators across five life stages, revealing data trends that showcase Colorado’s progress and struggles in health over a decade. View the infographic. In addition to sharing 10-year trends for some of Colorado’s most pressing health issues, this year’s Health Report Card features the latest annual rankings across five life stages and “deep dive” workbooks focused on specific health indicators.

Over the past decade, Colorado’s Report Card rankings have faltered on the following health issues: 
  • Healthy Beginnings: The percentage of children between 19 and 35 months who received all their recommended immunizations dropped from 80.3 in 2007 to 74.3 in 2016. 
  • Healthy Children: The number of children living in poverty is on the rise, from 14.4 percent in 2007 to 20.1 percent in 2016. 
  • Healthy Adolescents: The percentage of teens living in poverty has increased from 10.3 percent in 2007 to 17.7 percent in 2016. 
  • Healthy Adults: Adults experiencing poor mental health increased from 11.8 in 2007 to 13.7 in 2016. 
  • Healthy Aging: Colorado struggles to improve immunization for seniors, with a decrease from 62.2 percent in 2007 to 52.8 percent in 2016. 
While these are concerning trends, there is progress to note from the past 10 years. Both babies and children earned their highest grades in this latest 2016 Health Report Card. The Healthy Beginnings category climbed from a C to a C+, mostly because Colorado moms-to-be reached sixth place nationally for timely prenatal care, jumping 12 places. And Healthy Children also took home a C+, with higher health insurance coverage driving their rise from a C.

The Jefferson County Health Improvement Network (JCHIN) and each of the integrated coalitions are all working to address the drivers of poor health and/or the social determinants of health in our communities.

“Savor the Flavor” March is National Nutrition Month

Jefferson County Public Health and the JCPH WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program encourage everyone to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” as the theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month suggests. “Savor The Flavor of Eating Right” focuses on aspects of nutrition we don’t always think about, such as culture, traditions and mindful eating practices. When, where and with whom we eat can be just as important to our food experience as what we eat. While eating on the run has become the rule and not the exception for many, the theme, “Savor the Flavor” is a reminder to take time to slow down and think about where the food came from, the person who took the time to shop for and prepare the food, as well as to appreciate the nutrients the food provides to our bodies. This March, make an effort to “Savor the Flavor” by turning off the TV, sitting down with family or friends, or just enjoying the peace and quiet of being alone and eating.

Tips for eating mindfully:
  • Take a breath as you sit down at the table before you take the first bite of food; separate the activity you were just doing from what you are about to do: enjoy a meal.
  • Chew your food slowly and put down your fork in between bites. This will help to not only enjoy the taste of your food, but will prevent overeating as your brain has time to receive the signal from your stomach when it is full.
  • Experiment with different spices and flavors in place of salt. Not only will you reduce sodium which will help keep blood pressure in check, you may find that different herbs and spices help to bring out the true flavor of your food instead of covering it up. Spices are also a defining part of food’s culture. Click here for spicy tips! 
  • Before reaching for seconds, wait a few minutes to make sure you are still hungry. If a few more bites of food will cause you to feel uncomfortable, finish your meal. You can always have a snack later when you are truly hungry.
  • If you’re interested in tracking your food and calories, check out a web site or app such as My Fitness Pal.
Budget Friendly Meal Planning, Shopping and Recipes

Celebrating healthy food traditions doesn’t have to be costly. There are many resources with healthy recipes that can be made quickly and that use every day items and common ingredients. Below are links to a few sites offering healthy recipes and help with shopping.

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

Visit for more information on Jefferson County Public Health and the WIC Program.

The Jefferson County WIC Program is an active member of the Jefferson County Community Health Improvement Network. The Network and its coalitions are working together to increase physical activity, healthy eating and psychosocial well-being among low-income families with children ages 0-18.

A big thank you to dietitians! Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day (RDN) is Wednesday, March 9. As the nation's food and nutrition experts, registered dietitian nutritionists are committed to improving the health of their patients and community.

And a big thank you to all those who work to encourage and support breast feeding! A special congratulations to those who are International lactation consultants. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Day (IBCLC) was celebrated on March 3, 2016.