Thursday, December 1, 2016

Obesity Rates Decline Among Young Children Enrolled in WIC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly released a report on the decrease in obesity among young children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The study, published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), found that obesity among 2 to 4 year old children enrolled in WIC decreased from 15.9 percent in 2010 to 14.5 percent in 2014. The prevalence of obesity decreased among all racial and ethnic groups and among 34 of the 56 WIC State Agencies included in the report. The data for this study were based on the weight and height measurements taken during WIC certification visits and submitted by State Agencies to USDA for the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics biennial reports.

Obesity during childhood negatively affects a child’s health and increases his or her risk of obesity and its related health consequences during adulthood. Preventing obesity during early life is an important public health priority. The modest decreases in obesity noted in this study are most likely due to a combination of prevention efforts at the national, state, community and family levels. Federal efforts include USDA’s revision of the WIC food package to align with the updated U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to establish successful long-term breastfeeding, CDC’s Early Care and Education Childhood Obesity program, and State Public Health Actions.

Jefferson County Public Health WIC's mission is to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care.

WIC is a nutrition program for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding women (up to one year postpartum)
  • Non-breastfeeding, postpartum women (up to 6 months postpartum)
  • Infants
  • Children until the age of five years
The WIC Program provides:
  • Nutrition education including breastfeeding support
  • Nutritious foods to supplement a person's regular diet
  • Screening and referral
  • Specialty Formulas
  • Prenatal Classes
  • WIC participants must meet certain financial requirements and be "nutritionally at risk" to qualify for the program.

Nutrition Services

For more information on CDC’s childhood obesity prevention efforts, visit

Caring, Sharing and Preparing this Holiday Season

Believe it or not, there is something that you can get for the people on your list that they probably don’t already have, likely will use at some point and will never ruin their healthy eating habits. That’s right: items for their preparedness kits.

Most Americans don’t have a preparedness kit, but we all could use one. Many disasters strike with little or no notice, like tornadoes, wildfires, and earthquakes, and being prepared can help people weather the storm. That hand-crank radio may not be the most sparkly gift your loved one receives this year, but they will be thinking of you fondly when it helps them stay informed during an emergency.

So far this year, FEMA has declared 45 major disasters and 16 emergencies. People from Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between have faced disasters. If you give your loved ones an item or two for their preparedness kit, they will probably need it at some point and it could help keep them safe and protect their health. Isn’t that what we really want for our loved ones?

There are lots of ways that you can show that you care and help your loved ones prepare for emergencies this holiday season. You don’t even have to buy anything - just start a conversation. If the whole family is together, take a few minutes to talk about preparedness and ways that they can stay safe and healthy during a disaster, especially how everyone will get in touch after a storm.

Whether you’re thinking of buying something for a loved one’s preparedness kit or just talking with them about how they could be better prepared, check out some tips from CDC and the Red Cross that will help you stock a preparedness kit, make a plan and stay informed.

At Jefferson County Public Health, Our  Emergency Preparedness and Response staff is here to serve the public health needs of the community before, during and after an event.  Emergency Preparedness involves the resources of public health, emergency response teams, law enforcement, community members and our dedicated volunteers. The Jefferson County Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response website is your resource for information, planning and response needs.

Campaign urges teens to prioritize sleep for optimal health

Like many teens, you may go through each day feeling like your batteries are running low. You need a long-lasting power boost to look, feel and perform your best. What you need is sleep.

With no additives, preservatives or chemicals, sleep is an all-natural energy supplement. It's 100% pure. Sleep is legal in every state, with no prescription required. Best of all, it's completely free.

Sleep is the original performance enhancer. All others are just cheap imitations.
Sleep is your power source. Sleep recharges you.

It’s time to stop struggling to make it through the day. It’s time for optimal health and peak performance. It’s time to look and feel your best. It’s time for more fun and fewer regrets. It’s time to be smarter at school and happier at home.

It’s time to make sleep one of your top priorities.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teens between 13 and 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

Take the challenge: Sleep at least 8 hours nightly this week. See how sleep recharges your mind, mood and body.

How can you make time for sleep? You’ll be surprised to find that sleep will make time for you. When your body is fully recharged by sleep, you will think more clearly and feel energized. You’ll get more done in less time each day. Sleep will help you maximize the time that you have.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Identify a consistent bedtime that allows you to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Make it a goal to be in bed with the lights out by bedtime each night.
  • Set a bedtime alarm to remind you when it is time to get ready for bed.
  • Power down at least 30 minutes before bedtime by turning off your phone, computer, tablet and TV.
  • Silence your cell phone notifications and keep the phone away from your bed during the night.

Don’t settle for less:  Be the best you. Let sleep recharge you tonight – and every night.

LGBT youth face discrimination, serious health risks

Colorado lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth are more likely to be bullied, experience poor mental health outcomes, and use drugs and alcohol compared to their straight and cisgender (non-transgender) classmates, according to an analysis of the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.

However, survey analysis also shows LGBT youth with support at home or in school are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment administers the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey every two years to guide its efforts to improve the health of all Coloradans. Approximately 16,000 Colorado high school students responded to the 2015 survey.

According to survey data, transgender students are twice as likely to be bullied at school, four times as likely to feel unsafe at school, and twice as likely to feel sad or hopeless as their cisgender classmates. They are more than twice as likely to consider suicide and four times as likely to attempt it. The survey also shows greater use of drugs and alcohol among transgender youth.

Similarly, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) students are twice as likely to be bullied at school and electronically, three times as likely to miss school because they feel unsafe, and more than twice as likely to feel sad or hopeless as their straight classmates. They also are more likely to consider or attempt suicide and use drugs or alcohol.

While the data paints an unhealthy picture of LGBT youth, it also shows many factors can support and improve their health and well-being. LGBT students who feel safe at school are significantly less likely to attempt suicide, smoke cigarettes or use marijuana. And those who have an adult to go to with a serious problem are half as likely to attempt suicide.

Health for the Holidays-- the Perfect Gifts!

Health for the Holidays-- the Perfect Gifts!

This year, give your friends and family the gift of health. Jefferson County Public Health professionals have 5 healthy, fun and unique gift ideas.

1. A Reusable Water Bottle: Not only will you be giving the gift of adequate hydration, you’ll save the receiver of the gift money and the world from further plastic bottle pollution! Any reusable water bottle is better than a plastic one that will be thrown away but, ideally, glass or stainless steel bottles are the best because they do not contain chemicals (such as BPA) that many plastic water bottles do. As plastic breaks down over time and loses its integrity, harmful chemicals from the plastic can be released into the water held in the bottle and can be unsafe to drink.

2. A Jump Rope: A classic, proven, tried and true exercise machine, jump ropes are affordable and easy to use. Jumping rope for just 10 minutes is a huge dose of aerobic exercise. This exercise makes you use your arms, your core stabilizer muscles, all the leg muscles, and it gets your heart rate up in that vigorous exercise range. Staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to keep healthy.

3. Electronic Toothbrush for Kids: When we make tooth brushing fun, kids tend to stay at it longer and brush more thoroughly. Today’s awesome technology combined with good oral hygiene provides the perfect oral health gift for children- an electric toothbrush. This fun gadget can make regular tooth brushing fun.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 of 5, or 20%, of children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Tooth decay (or cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Give a child in your life an electronic toothbrush and help minimize visits to the dentist.

4. Yoga Lessons for friends, family, neighbors and anyone else on your list: The science of Yoga has been used for centuries to enhance physical and emotional well-being. Yoga classes are a wonderful gift to encourage mind and body alignment and improve flexibility. “It’s also a great way to reduce the stresses of everyday life. Yoga helps make the body more flexible and helps you relax, Yoga has something to offer for everyone,” says Elise Lubell, Director of JCPH’s Health Promotion and Lifestyle Management Division.  Check with your local recreation center for affordable, beginner yoga classes.

5. A Healthy Cookbook:  Whether you are cooking for just yourself, one to two people, or a larger group, planning meals is a good place to start improving your food choices. Taking the time to plan a healthy evening meal can help you avoid a less healthful "drive-through" dinner. There are many great and simple cookbook options available, as healthy eating is a major health focus and prevention strategy today. To make preparing health foods as easy as possible, choose a cook book with simple recipes involving as few ingredients as possible. A great online resource to get started is the CDC’s Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight website. 

Healthy Holiday Season: Wash your Hands & Stay Home if You Are Sick!

Wash, Wash, Wash and Wash again! December 6-12, 2016 is National Handwashing Awareness Week. It’s the time of year for parties, get-togethers and holiday celebrations. It’s also flu season, and a common time for the spread of disease and illness. The cold weather in Colorado keeps our windows and doors closed, creating an atmosphere for germs to collect and hide. Here is a cheat sheet on the 7 Germiest Places and Things to clean before the holidays.
Following basic public health practices during the holidays, such as washing your hands, can effectively stop the spread of germs and many diseases.

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food;
  • Before eating food;
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick;
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound;
  • After using the toilet;
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet;
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste; and, 
  • After touching garbage.

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Stay Home if You’re Sick (poster); Wash Your Hands (brochure); JCPH Flu shots (web page) Stop the spread of germs (web page). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers an excellent Feature on Handwashing, or visit the CDC Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives page.

Shift toward social determinants transforming public health work: Targeting causes of health disparities

Understanding the complex factors that make up a healthy community is essential to the work of public health and its mission to improve health across the lifespan.  In Jefferson County, Healthy Jeffco, is a network comprised of over 300 community partners, working across seven coalitions to address the many factors that contribute to the health of our communities including: employment, housing, economy, education, access to healthy food, active living, transportation, mental health and health care. Where you live, work and play really do matter when it comes to health, more than you may imagine. Learn more from this article by Kim Krisberg from the American Public Health Association’s monthly newsletter, The Nation’s Health.

First in a series on the role of social determinants of health. Visit for related content.

Several years ago, public health workers in Wayne County, Michigan, embarked on a new endeavor to tackle infant mortality, an issue that affected the community’s black newborns at more than twice the rate of white newborns.
But instead of looking to medicine for answers, workers headed upstream to confront social determinants that put black babies at a disadvantage long before conception occurs.

“We wanted to focus on education, employment, social isolation, structural racism — all those factors combined correlate to an unfavorable birth outcome and the chances of a child not celebrating his or her first birthday,” APHA member Mouhanad Hammami, MD, director of the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness, told The Nation’s Health. “What happens from the time a girl is born to the time she has a child?”
The Wayne County approach is complex, slow moving and requires buy-in from multiple sectors, but Hammami said public health “cannot continue to do business as usual.”

Among the first steps, he said, was reaching across sectors to educate public officials about their role in health. For instance, when Hammami first asked local transportation authorities for help in reducing infant mortality, he said “they laughed — they said ‘we’re not a health department.’” But Hammami persisted, explaining that for many women, transportation was a major barrier to prenatal care. Now, health and transportation officials work together to make women aware of their transportation options, such as shuttles that can be scheduled in advance.

>> link to entire story in Our Nations Health

World AIDS Day: Raising Awareness, Decreasing Stigma

World AIDS Day is held on the first of December each year as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for the people living with HIV, and to commemorate those that have died. World AIDS Day 1988 was the first ever global health day.

Did you know…
Stigma and discrimination continue to be a significant barrier for people to get tested for HIV or access treatment. Visit current anti-stigma campaign information at Act Against AIDS’ or the United Kingdom’s

HIV transmission is preventable. In addition to condoms and abstinence, Treatment As Prevention (TaSP) provides a valuable method to eliminate virus transmission. With consistent treatment, people living with HIV are able to significantly decrease the amount of virus in their system to the point where the virus is undetectable, and therefore unable to be transmitted to others. Additionally, medications are now available (known as PEP and PrEP) to decrease the risk of acquiring HIV from a known or potential exposure to the virus. For more information, visit the CDC HIV website at

With early diagnosis, support, and access and adherence to appropriate treatment, people living with HIV have the same life span compared to those living without the virus.

Denver was the fourth North American city to join an international initiative to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Visit the Fast Track Cities Initiative website at for more information.

Syringe access programs are integral in reducing the risk of disease transmission, including HIV. Jefferson County Public Health began offering syringe access services in February 2016.  The Points West program is free, confidential, and offers injection supplies and equipment, as well as HIV and Hepatitis C testing. The program may be accessed Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm at the Lakewood clinic location. No appointment is necessary.

Jefferson County Public Health offers screening, diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at our Lakewood location. If you have ever had a sexually transmitted disease, you may be at risk for HIV infection. JCPH also offers confidential HIV counseling and testing. For more information or to make an appointment, call: (303) 239-7078.

For more information on HIV/AIDS in Jefferson County or to speak with the JCPH HIV Program Staff, please contact Erin Blau (303-239-7164; or Chris Hammond (303-239-7029;