Tuesday, May 24, 2011

‘One Good Reason’ Member Named Nat’l Youth Advocate of Year

(SALT LAKE CITY) – The national Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (CTFK) has honored Taylorsville student Kiley Atkins as “Youth Advocate of the Year.” She was chosen for her leadership in the Utah Department of Health-sponsored anti-tobacco youth group One Good Reason. Atkins recently returned from the nation’s capital where she accepted her award at a CTFK gala.

Kiley’s fight against the tobacco industry began early. She first learned about tobacco in 3rd grade, and went directly home to inspire her grandparents to quit smoking. In 2009, Atkins related that personal experience with a moving story to members of the Utah Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee

“I’m so proud of all that Kiley has accomplished during her three years of service in the youth group’s presidency,” said Andrea Deming, One Good Reason adult coordinator. “Her friends come from different backgrounds and most of them are exposed to tobacco. Kiley has been great at building up One Good Reason through lasting friendships, creating exciting events, and helping people quit smoking.”

Kiley was chosen for the award because of accomplishments like:
   Running anti-tobacco events, rallies and demonstrations
   Fighting the tobacco industry’s sponsorships of Utah college rodeos
   Conducting a study to determine the influence of tobacco flavors and dual-use products
   Meeting face-to-face with lawmakers to educate them about tobacco

“One of the coolest things we did with One Good Reason was collecting surveys about how youth perceive tobacco product packaging,” says Atkins. “Basically half of Utah teens would consider using tobacco products based on their colorful, candy-like packaging.” 
Kiley is just one of many great anti-tobacco crusaders in One Good Reason, a youth group that shares a tobacco-free lifestyle. One Good Reason is open to all youth ages 12-18. The group is accepting applications for youth members. To apply or for more information go to http://www.onegoodreason.net/

The Youth Advocate of the Year Award is a national honor presented to youth who have promoted tobacco prevention legislation in their home states, helped reduce tobacco marketing in their communities, and worked to stop their peers from using tobacco.

The tobacco industry spends $60 million each year in Utah marketing its drugs. The Utah Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program efforts, combined with local health department efforts, have helped drive the youth smoking rate down by 29 percent since the campaign began in 1999. Ninety percent of adult smokers begin lighting up before age 19 and one in three will eventually die of their addiction. For more information and resources visit http://www.onegoodreason.net/.

Media Contact:
Andrea Deming
UDOH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program 
(o) 801-538-7085 (m) 801-836-4066
Kiley Atkins
CTFK Youth Advocate of the Year
Mobile: (801) 403-5327

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Staying Healthy Around Water - Raising Awareness about Recreational Water Illnesses

(Salt Lake City, UT) –The week before Memorial Day (May 23–29, 2011) is Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week. Recreational illnesses include diaherreal illnesses which are caused by germs such as Crypto, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E.coli 0157:H7.  The observance is aimed at increasing awareness about healthy and safe swimming behaviors, including ways to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries.
RWIs can occur when a person:
• swallows water
• breathes in water, or
• comes in contact with contaminated recreational water.
Recreational water includes:
• swimming pools
• hot tubs
• water parks
• water play areas
• interactive fountains
• lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water
This week also begins the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Bureau of Epidemiology’s surveillance efforts for cryptosporidium.  In the summer and fall of 2007, Utah experienced the largest reported recreational water-associated outbreak of cryptosporidiosis (crypto) in the United States. Between June and December, public health officials confirmed more than 1,900 cases of crypto throughout the state.

Most of the victims reported swimming at a recreational water facility prior to getting sick. Infection with cryptosporidiosis causes watery diarrhea, stomach cramps/pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and as a result of the diarrhea, dehydration and weight loss. Symptoms usually last about one to two weeks, and may go in cycles in which a person may feel better for a few days, and then feels worse again.   
To keep yourself and others safe from crypto, follow the guidelines below.

• Do not swim if you have diarrhea and don’t let family members, especially young children, either.
• Wait two weeks after diarrhea has stopped before swimming.
• Take a shower with soap and water before swimming (referred to as a “cleansing shower”).
• Do not swallow pool water or get pool water into your mouth.
• Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
• Take regular bathroom breaks while swimming.
• Change diapers often. Change diapers in the bathroom, not at the poolside.
• Wash your child’s bottom with soap and water after changing a diaper and then wash your hands with soap and water.
For more information on RWI prevention, visit www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/rwi/rwi-prevent.html
For more information on drowning prevention, visit www.cdc.gov/SafeChild/Drowning/index.html.
For more information about healthy swimming, visit CDC’s Healthy Swimming website at www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming.

Media Contact:
Theron Jeppson
Health Educator
(801) 538-6783

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Honoring Utah’s Emergency Responders

(Salt Lake City, Utah) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness paid tribute to the emergency medical professionals representing the many dedicated heroes whose mission is saving lives.  Today’s EMS Awards Ceremony commemorated 2011 National EMS Week, May 15-21, 2011. 

Special recognition was given to those who responded to a State Parks and Recreation Law Enforcement Officer who was shot while patrolling a trail area in Grand County.  Officer Brody Young was approaching a vehicle when a man confronted him and shot him nine times.  Recognition was also given to two nurses from Brigham City Community Hospital who responded when their colleague, an emergency room physician, collapsed in the ER while on duty.

“The theme for this year is ‘EMS: Everyday Heroes’ which gives us the opportunity to recognize the value and the accomplishments of emergency medical services providers,” said Bureau Director Paul Patrick.  “The EMS system consists of emergency physicians, nurses, medical technicians, trauma surgeons, paramedics, firefighters, educators, dispatchers, administrators, and others who spend thousands of hours obtaining specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills,” he added.

“As I reflect on the many lives the men and women in the EMS profession have affected, my respect and admiration for their commitment and fortitude continues to expand,” said Paul Patrick.  “It is one of the highlights of the year to have the opportunity to thank them and acknowledge their remarkable service.”
For more information on the EMS Awards Ceremony, visit the UDOH Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness website at www.health.utah.gov/ems.

Media Contact:
Tamara Goodin
Emergency Medical Services Systems
Cell: (801) 230-2963
Office: (801) 273-6672

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Gold Medal Schools Program Moves Forward

Salt Lake City, UT -- For the last 10 years, Gold Medal Schools (GMS) has helped Utah students eat better, get active, and avoid tobacco through school policy and environmental changes. During that time, 382 elementary schools across the state have participated in the Program. This year, 81 schools improved their performance and reached a new level of achievement. They’ll be rewarded for their efforts with monetary prizes.

“We’re excited that GMS has been able to help schools implement healthy behaviors and changes in their environments,” said Sarah Roundy, GMS Program Coordinator. “Schools are eager to take that step forward and give students the opportunities to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” she added.

Awards range from $200 to $1,000, depending on the level the school achieved. The levels include Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Focus. The award money is used by the schools to help create a healthful environment for students, teachers, faculty and staff, and the community.

For a list of schools that received awards, or information about the Program, please visit www.health.utah.gov/gms.

Media Contact:
Tania J Charette, MPH, CHES
Media Coordinator
(801) 538-6423

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

UDOH Releases New Data on the Uninsured

SALT LAKE CITY - New data released by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) show little change in the number of Utahns who went without health insurance in 2010.  During a monthly meeting of the State Legislature's Health System Reform Task Force, the UDOH reported 301,700 Utahns, or 10.6 percent of the total population, lacked health insurance coverage last year.  The data represent a slight improvement from 2009 when 314,300, or 11.2 percent of the population, had no coverage.  The change from 2009 to 2010 was not statistically significant.

"Despite the fact that nearly 13,000 fewer Utahns were uninsured last year, it's tough to take any comfort in these data," said UDOH Executive Director Dr. David Patton.  "The state's uninsured rate has held relatively steady over the past several years, which is an indication that we must continue to pursue policies and strategies - such as the Utah Health Insurance Exchange - that will provide our citizens with access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage."

Other highlights of the 2010 data include:
  • The uninsured rate of children who are eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program (ages 0-18 with parents' income up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level) remained relatively steady at 12.3 percent compared to 16.3 percent in 2008 when the program was permanently opened to new enrollees
  • 28.6 percent of adults ages 19-26 were uninsured, the highest rate of any age group
  • Among adults who are eligible for coverage under the Primary Care Network (ages 19-64 with an income up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level) 39.9 percent did not have health insurance coverage
  • Self-employed adults ages 19-64 had an uninsured rate of 23.9 percent
  • Among adults ages 19-64 who are employed part-time, the uninsured rate was 18.8 percent
The UDOH provides an annual estimate of the state's uninsured population through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).  The BRFSS is a state-based, random-digit-dialed household telephone survey conducted by the UDOH in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  BRFSS collects data on a variety of health-risk behaviors, health status, and use of preventive health services.  Health insurance coverage and health care access questions from the Utah Healthcare Access Survey (UHAS) were added to the BRFSS in 2009 so that trends in insurance coverage can be tracked from year to year.  The BRFSS is representative of the Utah population living in households with landline telephones. 

Media Contact:
Tom Hudachko
Public Information Officer
(o) 801-538-6232
(m) 801-560-4649

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