Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Utah Leaders “Choose Health,” Encourage Others to Do the Same

(Salt Lake City, UT) – State agency directors, members of Governor Gary Herbert’s office, and legislators continue their commitment to better health.  The Governor’s Choose Health Challenge began September 25 and runs for 10 weeks, ending December 6, 2012.
Participants chose a personal goal for better health and signed a pledge to track their commitment to things like physical activity, nutrition, and sleep.  They were screened for weight, body fat, and blood glucose levels at the start of the challenge, and will repeat the screenings at the end of the challenge and be awarded points for improvements.
Governor Gary Herbert continues to work toward his exercise goals through regular running and playing tennis, and has dramatically reduced his soda intake.  In addition, the Governor's office has extended the challenge to all staff to set goals and created additional weekly activities that staff may participate in. Goals and activities are tracked, and employees reaching their goals will be recognized.
Dr. David Patton, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), reached his personal health goal of riding his bike nearly 20 miles from home to work. “It’s important for state leaders to demonstrate a strong commitment to health, and support the employees we work with to do the same,” said Dr. Patton. 
Challenge participants also earn points by starting or supporting a worksite Wellness Council.  Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Executive Director Kim Hood created a DAS Walk & Talk Program for staff.  “I encourage everyone who wants to reduce their stress level, improve their energy, and just start feeling better in general to take the challenge and get that daily focus on their health and their exercise,” said Hood.  “The Challenge has made me focus on making changes and I know that it is something that I have to do every day.” 
The UDOH Wellness Council hosted an educational “brown-bag” lecture on managing stress, and hosts two weekly, mile-long walks for employees. 
The Capitol Hill Wellness Council planned five events for the Challenge, giving employees opportunities to hike, walk, or run.  An average of 22 employees participated in each event. And several Wellness Councils organized teams and participated in the recent Utah Marathon.
Though a 10-week challenge will not solve Utah’s health problems, it shows the Governor’s commitment to ensuring state employees work in an environment that values wellness.
For more information on the Governor’s Health Challenge, visit: www.choosehealth.utah.gov.
Media Contact:
Heather Borski 
Manager, Bureau of Health Promotion
(o) 801-538-9998  (m) 801-499-1018                                                                                                                                        

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

UDOH Joins National Effort on World Diabetes Day

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The American Diabetes Association (ADA), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition, and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Diabetes Prevention and Control Program are teaming up to let Utahns know that they can prevent and manage diabetes, a disease diagnosed in nearly 130,000 Utah adults (7.2%). 45,000 more Utah adults have undiagnosed diabetes.

Diabetes is especially prevalent among Utah’s Pacific Islander population, with 15.5 percent of adults affected, and 44 percent among those who speak Tongan. More Pacific Islanders live in Utah per capita than any other state outside of Hawaii.
"We are at a diabetes crisis breaking point, with more and more children and adults of all ethnicities being diagnosed each year," said Laura Western, executive director of the JDRF Utah chapter. “If current trends continue, 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes by 2050 and will cost America $174 billion, or $1 billion in Utah.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 25.8 million people in the United States (8.3% of the population) have diabetes. Of these, 7.0 million have undiagnosed diabetes, and another 79 million have pre-diabetes. 
Risks for diabetes include:
  People over age 45
  People with a family history of diabetes
  People who are overweight or do not exercise regularly
  Certain racial and ethnic groups (Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian
• Americans, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives
  Women who had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing 9 lbs. or more at birth
  People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)

Symptoms of diabetes include:
  Frequent urination
  Unusual thirst
  Extreme hunger
  Unusual weight loss
  Extreme fatigue and irritability
  Blurred vision
  Dry mouth
  Slow-healing sores or cuts
Complications of diabetes include
  Vision loss
  Heart disease and stroke
  Kidney disease
  Nerve damage

4 Tips to help Utahns Prevent, Treat and Cure Diabetes
  Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  Incorporate one more vegetable into your meal every day
  Visit your doctor regularly and get checked for diabetes if you are at risk
  Join your local chapter and get involved with the JDRF, ADA or UDOH

“Every 17 seconds, someone in this country is diagnosed with diabetes,” said Tami Featherstone, executive director, ADA for the Utah/Nevada markets. “The disease impacts everyone in different ways. Whether you have diabetes or are a caregiver or a friend of a person fighting diabetes, the ADA is here to help.”
“The prevalence of diabetes in Utah is rapidly growing but we can make a course correction by helping people prevent diabetes and its devastating complications,” said Vivian Giles, MPH, health systems specialist, Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Utah Department of Health. “By working together, we can reduce the impact of diabetes in our communities over the coming years.”
To participate in National Diabetes Month, Utahns can visit the following websites to take action: www.jdrf.org, , www.stopdiabetes.com  or www.health.utah.gov/diabetes.
Media Contact:
Cyndi Bemis
Public Information Specialist
(o) 801-538-6348 (m) 801-865-0648

Friday, November 9, 2012

Improving Health Care Access in Rural Utah

(Salt Lake City, UT) – For many Utahns, getting medical care means much more than just hopping in the car and driving 15 minutes to the nearest health facility.  Many residents who live in rural areas must drive an hour or more to get care. 

Utah isn’t the only state with residents facing that dilemma.  For that reason, on November 15, 2012, state and national leaders will spotlight the importance of rural health by observing National Rural Health Day.  In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert has named November 11-17 as Utah Rural Health Week.  The designation is meant to reinforce the commitment from all sectors to improve access to and quality of health service in rural communities.

Utah statistics underscore the need to focus on small communities. One in every four Utahns lives in a rural (more than six but fewer than 100 people per square mile) or frontier (six or fewer people per square mile) county. Of Utah’s 29 counties, only four are urban, while 12 are rural and 13 are frontier.

As part of Rural Health Week, the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health is holding a photo contest.  Entries should “communicate the concept of rural,” and will be judged on creativity, originality, photo quality, and the picture’s overall appeal.  Submissions must be original and taken during 2012.  Prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  Winners will be selected on Friday, November 16, 2012.  Entries may be e-mailed to Owen Quinonez at oquinone@utah.gov.

All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health (SORH) to foster relationships, disseminate information, and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and quality of, health care for its rural citizens.

As Utah’s SORH, the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH) contributes $540,000 in grants to rural health organizations to help residents access primary care and mental health and dental services. Additionally, OPCRH provides more than $160,000 in grants to rural hospitals to support projects to improve health care in their communities.

For more information about National Rural Health Day, visit www.celebratepowerofrural.org. To learn more about NOSORH, visit www.nosorh.org. And for more information about the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, visit http://health.utah.gov/primarycare/ or contact Owen Quinonez, Community Health Specialist, at oquinone@utah.gov  or by phone at 801-273-6620.

Media Contact:
Owen Quinonez 
Program Manager
(801) 273-6620

Thursday, November 8, 2012

UDOH and Subway® Partner for Great American Smokeout

What:   In an effort to give smokers a head start on quitting for the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Subway are offering every Utahn who pledges to give up tobacco a free quit kit and a 6-inch Subway sandwich.
Additionally, anyone who calls the Utah Tobacco Quit Line between November 14 and 25 will receive a smoking cessation kit that includes a card good for a free 6-inch sub at any Subway in Utah.
Why:     Each year, more than 1,100 Utah adults die as a result of their own smoking.
When:   Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where:  Salt Lake County Government Center
               2001 So. State Street, Salt Lake City

Additional locations giving free quit kits and cards good for a free six-inch sub for the first 40 people are:
·   Magna Recreation Center (3270 South 8400 West, Magna)
·   Pride Center (361 North 300 West, Salt Lake City)
·   Salt Lake County Archives (4535 S. 5600 W., West Valley City)
For information on quitting, call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW or visit Utah QuitNet at www.UtahQuitNet.com.
For a Subway location near you, visit www.subway.com.
For more information, contact:
Amy Oliver
Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
(o) 801-538-6917  (c) 801-783-9067

Statewide Push for Mammograms Underway

(SALT LAKE CITY) – Utah has the 2nd lowest screening rates for breast cancer in the nation. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Cancer Control Program (UCCP) hosted the first-ever Utah Mammography Action Summit to directly address why women are not getting screened.
The gathering brought stakeholders and advocates together to map out a plan to increase the numbers of Utah women who get regular mammograms.  The invitation-only event was held Thursday, November 8, at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. One of the goals of the conference was to join efforts to overcome some of the barriers that keep women from getting screened.  These include time limitations, the cost of the screening, and not understanding the importance of mammograms.
“Breast cancer will affect 1 in every 8 women in this country,” said Lynne Nilson, UCCP Breast and Cervical Cancer Program Manager.  “By getting mammograms, breast cancer can be found early.  This summit has brought together a stronger, united team of professionals to uncover why women don’t get screened, and make a plan for changing their thinking about mammography,” Nilson added.
Partners included representatives from all major hospitals, local and state government, nonprofit organizations, and members of the media. The Summit will educate about plans of action through presentations from state and national experts and large and small group discussions.  The hope is that participants were empowered to take action steps to promote breast cancer screening in their own capacities. 
Outspoken cancer advocates, including KUTV2 news anchor Mary Nickles, were featured speakers. Nickels shared her experience of getting a mammogram for a feature story through KUTV2 News.  As a result, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has shared her story publicly through KUTV and other venues. 
“We wanted community leaders to come together as one force to improve the number of women who receive this life saving screening.” Lynne said, “We want to see women in Utah like Mary Nickels taking steps to save their own lives,” she said.
Media Contact:
Sylinda Lee
Media Coordinator
(W) 801-538-6829 (C) 435-760-0685

Friday, November 2, 2012

Death of Georgia Newborn: It Doesn’t Have to Happen Here

 (Salt Lake City, UT) – An investigation in Georgia is revealing grim details of a 21-year-old woman who gave birth alone in her family home. It is suspected that the woman then stabbed her newborn to death.  She is now in a hospital recovering from blood loss due to the delivery and is under arrest for suspicion of murder.

“This horrific incident did not have to happen. There are alternatives and women need to be informed about safer options here in Utah,” says Utah Rep. Patrice Arent.

One alternative is adoption; another is the Utah Newborn Safe Haven law, sponsored by Rep. Arent more than 10 years ago.

November is National Adoption Month. Planning ahead to give a newborn to an adoptive family is the best alternative for a woman who isn’t ready to take care of a child. When adoption is not arranged prior to the birth of the newborn, Utah’s Newborn Safe Haven law allows anyone to turn over a newborn to any staff member at a 24-hour hospital ― no questions asked.

“The law protects newborns from injury or death by providing a safe place, but also protects the identity of the person giving up the newborn,” said Nan Streeter, R.N., Director, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Utah Department of Health.  “This identity protection may save lives. It is important for the public to be aware of this option so that tragic events like these don’t happen in Utah.”

Women who harm or abandon their infants come from all walks of life; however, research shows most are young, healthy, unmarried, of various races and incomes, and are probably not addicted to drugs or alcohol. These women have been silent about their pregnancies while living with a relative or friend, and have had no prenatal care.
They feel isolated and are in denial. 

A toll-free 24-hour information hotline is available at 1-866-458-0058. Women in a crisis pregnancy can also visit the Safe Haven website at www.utahsafehaven.org.  The site includes more information on Utah’s law, frequently asked questions, and contact information for Utah hospitals that take newborns.

Adoption centers can be found at http://www.myadoptionagencies.com.

Media Contacts:
Julia Robertson
UDOH Pregnancy Risk Line
Rep. Patrice Arent
Utah Newborn Safe Haven Advisory Cmte.
(801) 930-0836