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.”

Prevent Insect-Borne Disease While Traveling

Traveling for Spring Break? Be sure to protect yourself from insects and insect-borne disease, like Zika virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, areas in the southern U.S., Mexico, South and Central America all have reported active Zika virus transmission. Zika can be spread through mosquito bites, from a pregnant woman to her fetus, sexually or through a blood transfusion.

Take the following steps recommended by the CDC to protect yourself from Zika when traveling! 

  • “Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Treat clothing and gear with insect repellent
  • Use insect repellent and always follow label instructions
    • When used properly, most insect repellent is safe on pregnant and breastfeeding women. 
    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
    • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3. 
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
  • Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex.”

For more information on animal- and insect-borne diseases, visit

Flu activity in Colorado still on the rise

Flu activity in Colorado continued to increase throughout February.

So far this flu season, which started Oct. 2, 2016, and as of the most recent available data on February 18, 1,797 people in Colorado have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of influenza. Jefferson County accounts for 179 of the state’s 1,797 lab-confirmed flu cases this year, about one-tenth.  

Be a Flu Fighter

Flu season continues through May — it is not too late to protect you and your loved ones from the flu. JCPH offers regular immunization clinics at 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood. Please call 303-239-7078 and make an appointment today.

For the latest information on influenza in Colorado, go to

A sticker sits on the table where children received their vaccines February 4, 2017 
at the Shots For Tots and Teens clinic in Arvada.
Photo by Nikki Work

New Report Shows High Cost of Vaccine-Preventable Disease

In 2015, Colorado ranked 14th among U.S. states for childhood immunizations, with over 24 percent of children under-immunized at 36 months of age and 472 Colorado children hospitalized with vaccine-preventable diseases, resulting in $35 million in hospital and emergency department charges. 

That’s according to an independent report released today by the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) and Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado). The report, Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in Colorado’s Children, also finds that in 17 Colorado counties less than 50 percent of children are up to date on routine immunizations – well below the coverage level necessary to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Prepared annually by pediatricians and researchers from the Department of Epidemiology at Children’s Colorado, the report provides an analysis of the state of health of Colorado’s children based on the most recent National Immunization Survey, Colorado Hospital Association inpatient and emergency department data and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data. 

The report examines vaccination rates, hospitalizations and costs associated with vaccine-preventable disease in children. For the first time, the report also includes emergency department visits for vaccine-preventable diseases, county-level rates and school exemption data. Findings show that, despite improvement, there are significant gaps in vaccinating Colorado’s children.

Working toward a change

Local health departments in the Denver Metro area work to increase vaccination rates in our communities as an important and life-saving public health practice. Colorado’s current rate of children immunized with all of the recommended vaccines remains well below the majority of U.S. states and the national goal of 90 percent, with under-vaccination resulting in preventable childhood illness, hospitalization and death.  
Jefferson County Public Health is part of the Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention, a regional collaborative working to increase human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates across five counties in the Denver metropolitan area. Other members include Denver Public Health, Tri-County Health Department, the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition and the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science. The project is funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Amendment 35 grant program to address cancer, childhood obesity, and tobacco use and exposure in and around the Denver Metro area. For more information, please visit

Get your child vaccinated!

Jefferson County Public Health will offer low cost immunizations to the children in the community at the Shots for Tots and Teens clinic on Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Arvada Fire Station #2, 5250 Oak Street. 

Orlando Lucero, 7, watches as Mountain View Fire Rescue fire-medic Micah Arnold applies a bandage to 
the site of his vaccine at the Shots for Tots and Teens clinic Feb. 4, 2017 in Arvada.
Photo by Nikki Work
To learn more about this program, call (303) 239-7078 or visit