Monday, November 16, 2015

I Exercise and Eat Right. How Can I NOT Be Healthy?

I have always been weight conscious, and I’m not alone. Roughly 45 million Americans go on a diet every year and spend approximately $33 billion dollars on weight loss products, according to the Boston Medical Center.

No Symptoms

Because of my family history, I have never let my weight get more than 5 or 10 pounds beyond what I consider a healthy weight. I would never wait until my weight was out of control to do something about it. If I noticed I gained five pounds, I would immediately take measures to lose the weight. Which means, I eat healthy most of the time and I work out on a regular basis. Plus, I’m fairly active. When I’m not working out, I like to hike and ski. This sounds like a person who would have great health, right?

Wrong. When I received my 9Health Fair results earlier this spring, I found out that my cholesterol is too high. If left unchecked, it could increase my risk for heart disease. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got the news. I have no risk factors – not overweight, not older (I’m 32) and not sedentary! But I found out I have one risk factor that I have no control over – my genetics! Like my green eyes and 5’1” stature, high cholesterol is just part of me. My Triglycerides and LDL Cholesterol were both higher than they should be. LDL is known as the bad Cholesterol. HDL is known as the good cholesterol. Overall, my total cholesterol was at 228.

If you have high cholesterol, there will be no symptoms to tip you off. The only way to find out is through a blood test. I don’t typically do a blood draw when I go in for my yearly wellness check, and my doctor would never order one if I have no symptoms to report, so I would have never known my cholesterol was high if it were not for 9Health Fair.

Your cholesterol levels have a lot to do with your chances of getting heart disease. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your blood. Too much of it can lead to heart disease, which is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. The higher your cholesterol the higher your risk. The Mayo Clinic recommends having a blood test done at the age of 20 and then doing it again every five years. If you have a family history of high cholesterol like me, you may want to do it more often.

Owning My Health

After I got the results, I tried to schedule an appointment with my doctor. Navigating insurance can be tricky, as I found out. I’m still waiting to see my doctor, but in the meantime, that doesn’t mean I should continue on like nothing is wrong. This is when I Own My Health. The first step in owning my health was research. Thanks to 9Health Fair, I have the information I need to start.

Once I got my results back, they gave me a lot of information as to what I could do to be healthier, particularly in regards to lowering my cholesterol. Exercise, of course, was one suggestion, as well as food recommendations such as choosing oatmeal, whole-wheat toast or whole-grain muffins.

I realized that even though I already eat healthy, I am still going to have to step it up a notch, both in my workouts and with what I eat. The Mayo Clinic recommends the Mediterranean Diet, which consists of less meat and more fish and seafood. I also read the nutrition labels when I’m shopping at the grocery store and try to avoid foods that are high in cholesterol.

Next Steps

My next step in owning my health is seeing my doctor. I’m curious to see whether or not the changes in my eating habits have impacted my cholesterol, and if so, by how much. I’m the type of person who would rather take care of my health through my diet than pills and other medications.

Now that I’m aware of my high cholesterol, I will need to monitor it for the rest of my life. Thankfully, 9Health Fair makes it easy and affordable to keep tabs on this issue.

I share my story because I think it’s important for all of us to be aware that no matter how healthy we think we are, it is imperative to check in once a year and make sure. If everyone received the recommended health screenings each year, 100,000 lives would be saved each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is one 9Health Fair left this fall to check out if you’re interested, and of course, we’ll be back with more in the spring.

Grab Your Coat and Head Outside

The days are certainly getting shorter, which can lead to a serious case of wintertime blues. That is why it’s really important for you to make some time to get outdoors and get your Vitamin D. Here are a few outdoor activities to get you out of the house and moving.

Visit a State Park

There are tons of parks around Denver and the metro area. It’s one of the great things about living in the Mile High City. But even with such easy access, a lot of the time we’re lucky if we make it to our neighborhood park. This fall, why not head to one of our fabulous state parks. Go for a hike, or take your dog and visit one of the parks with a dog park. And if there’s snow, rent some snowshoes!

Turkey Trot

Lace up those shoes and get a workout in before that big Thanksgiving Dinner at the annual United Way Turkey Trot. If running is a little out of your league, you can also volunteer. Or just show up and cheer on those who are racing.

A Story for Your Walk

Have you ever done a Denver Story Trek? If not, now is the time. It’s a great way to learn more about our Denver neighborhoods. Just go to their website and plan your walk. Then dial the number as you stroll around the neighborhood and learn more about the fascinating history behind our city. It’s free and easy to use. This could be a great activity for your lunch break during the week, especially since it is most likely dark when you get to work and dark when you leave work.


Geocaching is a lot of fun no matter your age. It’s considered the “world’s largest treasure hunt.” Once you sign up on the website, you’ll use your phone to start hunting for a geocache. According to the Geocaching website, there are currently over 600 geocaches in the Denver area.

This winter, aim to get 15 minutes of outdoor time each day. Whether it’s one of the above activities, or just taking a quick walk around the block, your mind will thank you! If you’re worried about staying warm, check out these layering tips!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

All the Recipes You Need for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Let’s be honest, it’s easy to over indulge when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner. The good news is that all of your favorite dishes can be made a little healthier while keeping their delicious taste!

Roasted Turkey by World’s Healthiest Foods Cookbook
According to the World’s Healthiest Foods Cookbook, the healthiest way to cook a turkey is to roast it.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Rub 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and a little salt and pepper on the outside of the turkey. Lift up the skin and rub some directly on the flesh.
  2. Place the turkey breast side down in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes for every pound it weighs.
  3. Roughly 30-60 minutes before it is done, measure the internal temperature. Once it has reached 125 degrees, flip the turkey and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees for the remainder of the time.
  4. When it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, the turkey is done. Remove it and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to become moist throughout.

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower by Allrecipes

By swapping out the potatoes for cauliflower, you’ll save yourself when it comes to starch and sneak another vegetable on the table!

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Transfer half the cauliflower to a food processor; cover and blend on high. Add remaining cauliflower florets, one at a time, until vegetables are creamy. Blend in garlic, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, and black pepper.

Cider Gravy by EatingWell 

No matter what kind of gravy you’re making, it’s recommended that you go with a reduced-sodium chicken broth. There will be plenty of salt throughout the feast, so cut back where you can.

4 cups Turkey Giblet Stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
Ground pepper to taste

  1. When you remove the turkey from the roasting pan, skim off any visible fat from the pan juices.
  2. Whisk 1/2 cup Turkey Giblet Stock (or chicken broth) and flour in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
  3. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Add cider and vinegar; bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups stock (or broth). Increase heat to high; return to a boil, whisking often. Boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, 8 to 12 minutes.
  4. Whisk the reserved flour mixture into the pan. Boil, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the gravy through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup. (Discard the solids.) Season with salt and pepper.

Simple Cranberry-Citrus Relish by

A fresh, homemade cranberry relish is much better than the canned stuff! And with only 2 steps in the directions, it’s incredibly easy to make this at home.

1 (10 oz) package fresh cranberries
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 3-inch orange rind strip
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until cranberries pop and mixture thickens.
  2. Remove the cloves and the cinnamon stick with a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.

Farro, Caramelized Onion and Wild MushroomStuffing by MyRecipes 

This one is sure to impress the guests. You might find yourself hosting Thanksgiving every year!

3 cups boiling water
½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
1 ½ cups uncooked farro
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
6 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup dry white wine
Cooking spray
¼ cup celery leaves

  1. Combine 3 cups boiling water and dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cook 30 minutes or until onion is tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add reserved porcini liquid, chopped porcini, farro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until farro is al dente and liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Remove from heat.
  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add shiitake mushrooms, celery, thyme, and sage; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Sauté 6 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add wine to skillet; cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add shiitake mixture to farro mixture; stir to combine. Spoon stuffing into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; cover dish with foil. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, and top with celery leaves. 

What are your tricks for making your Thanksgiving a touch healthier? Share with us on Facebook.

Monday, November 9, 2015

9Health Fair & Anschutz Medical Campus Serve the Community

This guest post is authored by Vicki Hildner of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

By the end of the morning on Saturday, October 10th, more than 300 participants had been helped by more than 200 volunteers at the Family 9Health Fair at Anschutz Medical Campus. The volunteers provided life-changing intervention and information at more than 30 health screening stations—from blood-pressure checks to breast exams, skin screening to stroke education.

“We are in the Aurora community, we have a mission to do community outreach and this is definitely a great way to do it,” said Hillary Duffy, MPT, manager of outpatient rehabilitation therapy at the University of Colorado Hospital and medical coordinator for this year’s Family 9Health Fair. “9Health Fair has been doing this so long, and they are so good at it, it’s a perfect way to get connected to more families in Aurora.”

By the end of the morning, volunteers left knowing their time had been well-spent serving the community—and many of the participants left with stories of care that could be life-changing. Here are just a couple of examples.

Joanna Scott

Joanna Scott smiled proudly as her 5-year-old son Savaughn had his height measured. This mother of two—her 8-year old son Maurice also attended—came to the Family 9Health Fair to have her children’s overall health checked, but she was especially focused on the children’s diabetes screening and an eye exam.

Scott said she likes the fact that there is so much information and health care available in one spot. Her sons liked the games and prizes. “It doesn’t feel like you’re going to the doctor,” Scott said. “We came for their eyes, but we stayed for everything else!”

Reuel Hunt

“Instead of going to eight different doctors, I come here,” Reuel Hunt said as he filled out the paperwork to have his eyes checked.

Hunt read the eye chart like an expert. He is a Family 9Health Fair success story, as he lost 50 pounds after learning that his blood pressure and cholesterol were high. Now, he says, “I keep checking them! And I always come to a 9Health Fair!” Students, residents and School of Medicine faculty handled the steady stream of visitors to the Family 9Health Fair vision screening.

“This gets us out of our routines and into the community,” said Frank Siringo, MD. “We get to interact with medical students and younger professionals and have fun while we are teaching and learning.”

Isabele Hernandez

Isabele Hernandez navigated the Family 9Health Fair with an invaluable aide—a volunteer translator, Thelma Rodriquez. Rodriquez, who normally works at the CU College of Nursing clinic at Sheridan Health Services, said that helping is “the least I can do.”

Hernandez, who works full-time at Wendy’s, heard about the Family 9Health Fair on the radio, and came because it was on a day she did not have to work. Working as a team, the participant and the translator asked questions and got answers about many health issues, including how to get a mammogram.

Hernandez also stopped by the skin screening station run by Tamara Terzian, Ph.D., and Neil Box, Ph.D., from the Department of Dermatology at the CU School of Medicine. Hernandez looked into the camera and within seconds, the Canfield Reveal facial imager had rendered an image that highlighted places on her face that had been damaged by ultraviolet rays.

“As professionals in public health, we have a responsibility to work in the community to raise awareness about skin cancer,” Box said. “This is a personalized way to show people what the sun has done to their face over a lifetime. Research shows this helps people pay attention to suns safety.”

With Rodriquez translating, Terzian talked to Hernandez about what the image reveals. Hernandez leaves with a clear understanding. “More sunscreen!” she said, pointing to her cheeks.

“We show the damage, but we also give them hope,” Terzian said. “We let them know that it’s never too late to use protection from the sun.”

The stories that came out of the Family 9Health Fair at Anschutz Medical Campus were just a few examples of the way that each fair has an impact on the community. Thanks to the thousands of dedicated volunteers, Coloradans can rest easy knowing a little more about their health this fall.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

5 Volunteer Opportunities for You to Support Your Community

This time of year, the idea of volunteering and supporting our community at the forefront of our minds. Not only can you help others with your kind acts, but you can also help yourself. Research shows that volunteering is linked to positive physical and mental health, according to PsychologyToday. Plus, it can be a great bonding experience for your family. Here are five ways you can make a difference in our community this month:

Assistance for Senior Citizens
Elder Helpers is an organization aimed at supporting our older citizens. Whether it’s helping them around the house, preparing meals or just keeping them company, you can be the person that brightens up their day. A background check is necessary.

Creative? Use Your Talents to Help a Local Museum
The Wow!Children’s Museum in Lafayette is looking for volunteers to help with all sorts of fun areas around the museum. Opportunities include exhibit guide, activity developer, preparing materials and so much more. It’s a great way to support the education of our youth! Volunteers are asked to commit 25 hours or six months of service.

Help Feed Your Community
The Food Bank of theRockies is always looking for volunteers. You can support them by helping with food distribution, packing boxes, helping in the community kitchen, and office work. Plus, you can volunteer in area schools with their After School Snacks and Totes of Hope programs. Certain age requirements apply – check their website for details!

Volunteer with Us at 9Health Fair
Did you know that 9Health Fair is the largest volunteer organization in the state? We’re always looking for those who can volunteerin the following areas: site coordinators, non-medical and medical coordinators, bilingual volunteers, hotline volunteers, special events, and marketing and social media.

Looking for More Opportunities?
MetroVolunteers is a local organization with all kinds of volunteer opportunities in our community. They also make it easy for you to get everyone in your office together through their Employee Volunteer Program. It can provide your company with a great team building experience.
Check out their online calendar to find a wide variety of ways to give back. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

In Gourds We Trust

(This guest post is authored by Cristina Rebellon, King Soopers RD Nutritionist)

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re getting pretty tired of hearing about pumpkin spiced everything and it’s not even Halloween yet! In that spirit we thought, why not shine a spotlight on some other wonderful varieties of winter squash? They’re pretty darn special too…although we don’t recommend flavoring your coffee with them.
If you have shopped the produce department at your favorite King Soopers lately, you may have noticed that winter squash season is in full swing! Our stores offer familiar varieties of winter squash including acorn, butternut and spaghetti, but what about those other ones? You will find an incredible selection of winter squash that have different colors, shapes and sizes. More unique varieties include buttercup, delicata, kabocha, and red kuri to name a few.

In addition to the beautiful, vibrant color they bring to any serving platter, all of these varieties offer a slew of health benefits. Winter squash is one of the best sources of plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as omega-3’s and beta carotene. These nutrients are good for night vision and protecting against this season’s cold and flu. Additionally, diets rich in carotenes like those found in squash, offer protection against cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Working in the kitchen with a winter squash might be a little intimidating, so here are a handful of tips…

How do I choose them?
Choose winter squash that are firm, heavy for their size and have dull, not glossy, rinds.

How long do they last?
Winter squash have a long storage life. Depending upon the variety, it can be kept for up to six months. If you’re using them as a decoration first, be sure to keep them out of sunlight and extreme hot or cold.

Can I eat the skin?
Yes! Kabocha, butternut, and delicata squash are varieties that have an edible skin. However, if you’re going to remove the skin before you cook or eat it, use a potato peeler or sharp knife and be careful!

What’s an easy way to prepare it?
Don’t bother peeling it! Leave the skin on, cut it in half lengthwise and bake it. Scoop out the seeds (which you can save and make into a snack later!) and bake with your favorite seasonings and spices. Cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and good ol’ salt and pepper can be a spicy sweet combination. 

Did you know…spaghetti squash can be used as a pasta replacement in just about any dish that calls for spaghetti or angel hair noodles?!

What else can I do with winter squash?
Squash bowling of course! Great for kids and grandkids to play on sunny fall weekend days.

  • Squash
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Vinyl sticker numbers
  • Painter's tape


1. To make the pins: Attach vinyl sticker numbers to 10 butternut squashes.

2. With painters' tape, cover portions of each squash to create stripes. Fill in stripes using acrylic craft paint, and let dry.

3. Carefully peel off stickers and tape. Designate a lane, and set up the pins, placing lower numbers in front and higher ones in back. Have each player stand about 15 feet away, grip a small pumpkin by the stem, and bowl. (Should the stem fall off after a few tries, players can grab onto the whole pumpkin.) Give everyone two turns, and award each player the number of points on the pins knocked down.

Be sure to swing by your favorite King Soopers to pick up one of these gorgeous gourds for a hearty fall dish, or a fun fall activity!

Just How Stressed Out Are You?

Are so you overwhelmed with everything going on in your life that you just need a mental health day? A day to check out - no work, no responsibilities, no to-do lists. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Stress has become embedded in our culture

It seems like there’s a social mentality that if we’re not crazy busy and stressed out all the time, then we’re not working hard enough. It’s an idea that’s prevalent in our workplaces (Stress: a social issue). We have 40 hour a week jobs, but let’s be honest, most of us are working at least 45 hours a week because we’re working through our lunch breaks. You hear people venting all the time because their employer is constantly increasing their workload. Because of this pressure, not only are we plowing through our lunch breaks while mindlessly stuffing our faces with either fast food or a frozen meal we microwaved; we put off important things like going to the doctor, especially if it’s for preventive care. We wouldn’t want our employer to think we’re not committed or reliable, or worse, ask why we’re going to the doctor. And really, our jobs are one of our greatest stresses. We stress about how secure our jobs are, whether we’re performing to the high expectations set upon us by our bosses and, of course, work-life balance.

“I have actually heard couples get into arguments about who is busier and who is more tired,” says 9NEWS psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel. “It is like they are competing with each other to be the family's hardest worker…there is pressure to be busy and to work hard...It comes from an expectation, either internal or external, that we be perfect in every way. We have to be perfect at work, and we need to be the perfect parents, and we have to have fantastic social lives. Every moment ends up getting booked, and all of a sudden, we find ourselves folding laundry at 1:00 in the morning because we've run out of time.”

Stress is not the same as busy

It’s important to note the distinction between being busy and being stressed. Just because you are really busy, doesn’t necessarily mean you are stressed out. Stress is when we feel like things have just become too much to deal with. Some stress can actually be good for you. It can get you going or save your life (think “fight or flight”). But when the stress starts to take a toll on your mental and physical health, that’s when it becomes a problem (What is Stress? How to Deal with Stress).

How stress affects your body

Stress can affect your body in many ways, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can cause headaches, anxiety and even impact eating habits by causing you to overeat or not eat enough. Some symptoms of stress can lead to even more health problems if you don’t address the causes of your stress. (50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress)

According to Dr. Wachtel, stress can really cause us to be less productive. “Stress can actually cause us to be less efficient--if we are exhausted and feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to figure out how to prioritize and get tasks done…It seems counterintuitive, but if we try to accomplish fewer tasks, we tend to get more done in a day and we tend to complete those tasks more effectively.” 

Ways to de-stress

If you really are stressed out, it’s time to seriously think about ways to alleviate it. You can’t keep putting the issues off or have the mindset that “this is just how it is for everyone.”

“You need to prioritize,” says Dr. Wachtel. “You can't get everything done that you want to finish in one day, so pick the top three tasks, and focus on those. Also, realize you don't need to have every moment of your life completely booked--some down time to relax is okay, and it will probably help you to get more done in the long run. It is extremely important to carve out some time for yourself, too. Focus on an old hobby you used to enjoy or try learning a new skill. Exercise, meditation, prayer, yoga--those are all great for stress too.”

Do you need help coming up with ways to unplug and recharge? Here are a few more suggestions:

Rent a funny movie.
Laughter is the best medicine. Someone once said that, didn’t they? Not to mention, renting a funny movie can provide you with another positive opportunity – family bonding time! (10 Tips to Help You De-Stress)

Listen to relaxing music.
This is a great one because whether you’re in the car or at the office you can usually put some music on. Choose something with a slow tempo and preferably with no lyrics. Think spa music. (Stress Relief: 8 Ways to De-Stress Your Life)

Identify your stress triggers
This one is especially important. By identifying what stresses you out, you can be prepared to deal with it ahead of time. You may not be able to eliminate the stress trigger, but just knowing what it is, when it’s likely to occur and how you plan to deal with it is a huge part of the battle. (10 Ways to De-Stress Your Mind and Body)

When to seek professional help

“If you are trying to de-stress and still struggling, professional help may be a good idea. A therapist can help you prioritize and understand how to relax,” adds Dr. Wachtel. If you feel you would like to speak with a professional check to see if your employer has an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or call your insurance for referral or go to one of our 9Health Fairs for a stress screening.
Here are some signs you may need professional help dealing with stress, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
  • Experiencing a marked decline in work/school performance
  • Excess anxiety
  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Unable to cope with demands of daily life
  • Having irrational fears
  • Experiencing significant change in sleeping or eating habits
  • Having suicidal thoughts or urge to hurt others
  • Engaging in self-mutilation, self-destructive or dangerous behavior
  • Having a sustained withdrawn mood or behavior

    What’s your favorite way to de-stress? Share with us on our Facebook page.

Saving Lives One Blood Draw at a Time

Here at 9Health Fair, we know we can count on Barbara Webb to attend one of our many 9Health Fairs each fall. Barb has only missed one year in the last 12 or 13.

Like many people have experienced at one point or another in their lives, Barb did not have insurance when she attended her first 9Health Fair. She was self-employed and just couldn’t afford the rates. She recalls not feeling the greatest at that time. “Extremely tired, no energy, weight gain, digestive issues and very moody,” says Barb.

It was through a blood-draw at her first 9Health Fair that her hypothyroid issue was discovered. “Being a first-year attendee I had no idea what all the fair had to offer,” says Barb. “I took complete advantage of the services.  Everyone was helpful and eager to offer information on the services provided. In addition, when my hypothyroid issue was discovered, my numbers were at a dangerous level. I was contacted by phone by a 9Health Fair nurse who advised me to get to a doctor as soon as possible. They even supplied me with a list of thyroid specialists in my area.”

Nowadays, Barb only has to do a blood screening once a year as long as there are no changes in her health. “I work out, try to eat right, drink plenty of water and stay very busy socially and in my career.” 

“I would recommend anybody, whether you have insurance or not, to go,” she says. “Nobody can beat the price of a full-screen blood draw. In addition, everybody there is kind and takes their time to answer your questions thoroughly.  In my prior experiences with doctors often times you end up with questions that may go unanswered due to the doctor’s time limit of your appointment.”

Attending a 9Health Fair is now a tradition with Barb and her friends. They go to one each year, and afterward they all go out to breakfast together. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?

Do you have a 9Health Fair tradition? Share it with us on Facebook!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Latest News in Diabetes Research

Pharmaceutical company Lilly recently announced it has a new drug they say is making significant headway in the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes and their risk of cardiovascular disease. The drug, Jardiance, is a glucose-lowering agent, and according to Lilly, is the only drug that has demonstrated an ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In a report by NBC News, doctors admit they’re not sure how the drug is lowering this risk, but it is.

While this is good news for adults with type 2 diabetes, it does not help those with type 1 diabetes or children with either type. It’s also important to stress that the ideal situation is to prevent diabetes from even happening. Those who are considered high-risk for developing type 2 diabetes can delay or avoid the disease from developing altogether by losing weight through regular physical exercise and eating a diet low in fat and calories, according to the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Are You at Risk?

86 million American adults fall into the prediabetes category. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s 1 out of every 3 adults. To find out if you’re at risk for prediabetes, the Denver YMCA Diabetes Prevent Programs (DPP) offers an online assessment through their website. You can also visit one of our Family 9Health Fair’s this fall where we offer two blood tests that can help determine if you’re at risk.
Some general risk factors are:
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Age (particularly for those 45 or older)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity

What’s the Difference between Type 1 and 2 Diabetes?

While their symptoms can be similar, type 1 diabetes can be developed at any age, but usually arises during childhood and adolescence. Type 2 diabetes is more common. It too can be developed at any age, but usually occurs in adults over 40.  However, last month a Texas toddler made headlines when a doctor presented her case at an international diabetes conference in Europe. At age 3, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The doctor examining the cause of the girl’s condition concluded it was due to poor family nutritional habits (Toddler Adult Onset Diabetes?).

The case highlights the importance of a well-balanced family diet, particularly for the prevention of diabetes and obesity. Take a moment to evaluate your family’s diet – is there room for improvement? If so, take action now!

If you need help adding better meals to your family’s menu, visit our Facebook page, where we commonly share healthy recipe ideas!

Evaluating the Sugar Situation

There’s regular sugar, then Sweet-n-Low, Splenda and Equal. Oh, and don’t forget cane sugar and brown sugar and powdered sugar. Maybe you should be substituting sugar with honey…or Stevia…or applesauce? It seems these days everyone has something to say about your choice of sweetener. Let’s break it all down and take a look.

Sugar: A Raw Deal

As the American Heart Association points out, there are really only two types of sugars in our diet – naturally occurring sugar and added sugar. Naturally occurring sugar is fairly self-explanatory. It’s what you find in fruit. Added sugar is also just how it sounds. It’s anything you add to your food – think sweet tea, lattes or soda (Sugar 101).

While white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar and honey are considered natural sugars, they are still added sugars when you add them into your food. According to the American Heart Association, “You can use sugars to help enhance your diet. Adding a limited amount of sugar to improve the taste of foods (especially for children) that provide important nutrients, such as whole-grain cereal, low-fat milk or yogurt, is better than eating nutrient-poor, highly sweetened foods.”

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners can actually be much sweeter than regular sugar. That, along with the fact that they often have no calories, are why many people prefer them. The Mayo Clinic says artificial sweeteners have a bad reputation due to a study that came out in the ‘70’s linking saccharin, a sweet-tasting synthetic compound used as a substitute for sugar in many artificial sweeteners, to bladder cancer. However, they say there’s no sound evidence that artificial sweeteners approved in the U.S. cause cancer or any other serious health problems (Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes). So it’s okay to swap out real sugar for artificial sugar and save yourself some calories.

Limiting Sugar in Your Diet

No matter what type of sugar you prefer, the bottom line is that with the exception of fruit, most Americans need to limit the amount of sugar in their diets. The World Health Organization is calling on adults and children to decrease their free sugar intake by 10% (10 Easy Ways to Slash Sugar from Your Diet). Most of us should be eating 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of fruit per day. That should be primarily where our sugar comes from. If you’re not already eating fruit on a daily basis, try swapping out your morning or afternoon snack for some fresh, in-season fruit instead.

Another place to watch out for sugar is in processed foods. Make sure you’re checking the nutritional label to see how much sugar there is. You may be surprised, but processed foods can be high in sugar, even with products like catsup or pasta sauce.

What is your sweetener of choice? Tell us on Facebook!

How to Keep Halloween from Haunting Your Smile

It all starts off innocently enough. Whether you buy the candy to hand out to the trick-or-treaters and end up with some left-over, or you treat yourself to some of your kids stash, the next thing we know everyone in the house is filling up on candy.

4 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

Eat candy shortly after mealtime.
According to the American Dental Association, our saliva production increases during meals. This then helps to cancel out any acids produced by bacteria in our mouths, which will help rinse away food particles.

Choose chocolate.
When Delta Dental surveyed dentists to get their take on Halloween candies, they found that those dentists who do pass out treats mostly prefer to give chocolate. The reason being that chocolate dissolves much more quickly in the mouth which lessens the amount of time the sugars are in contact with the teeth, unlike with chewy and hard candies.

Or choose gum.
Colgate recommends gum. Even though it stays in the mouth longer, it stimulates extra saliva production. They recommend sugar-free, all-natural gums approved by the American Dental Association.

Brush and floss.
You should already be doing it every day. By brushing and flossing your teeth, you’re getting all that excess sugar out of your mouth. Sugar can cause tooth decay, which will kill your smile (What About Sugar).

Do you prefer to pass out healthier treats on Halloween? If so, share your candy of choice with us on our Facebook page.

Get Out in the Crisp Air

This time of year is perfect for spending time outside. It’s cooling down, but still not too cold. The warm sun feels good mixed with the cool air. Here are a few outdoor activities to get you moving and having fun.

Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun for the whole family and who knows, maybe even your neighbors will want to get in on the action. Plus, you’ll have fun creating riddles and clues for others to solve. (How to Create a Scavenger Hunt)

Pumpkin Patch Visit
It’s not hard to find a farm with a pumpkin patch this time of year. Take the family and see who can find the biggest pumpkin. (How to Choose a Pumpkin for Halloween)

Leaf Pile!                      
Whether you’re a kid or an adult, when you rake a pile of leaves together you know you have the urge to jump in. So why not? It’s one of the best ways to make a chore fun! Sure, when you’re done you might have to rake the pile back up again, but it is well worth it.

Fly a Kite
This time of year is great for flying kites. It also creates a great opportunity for visiting a park in or near your neighborhood. Bonus points if you make your own kite!

Grab a blanket and a mug of hot apple cider and check out the constellations in the night sky! This time of year you can see Andromeda, Aquarius, Capricornus, Pegasus and Pisces. (7 Places to Stargaze in Colorado)

Play Football
Well, fall is the beginning of football season after all. Get your friends and family together and head to a nearby park and play some football. If you go Sloan’s Lake, there’s even a designated football area on the northwest side of the park.

Share your outdoor fun with us on our Facebook page!

Fall Fun for the Whole Family

This time of year you know what it’s all about – Halloween! Here are 3 great Halloween events to bring out your inner child:

Open every weekend during the month of October, this festival is fun for the whole family. There’s so much to do including a corn maze, petting zoo, an obstacle course, a playhouse, face painting and food trucks. Plus, on Halloween they will have “Fright-Free Family Day” which will include a costume contest and (peanut-free) trick or treating.

How cool is this! An aerial Halloween dance performance. Performing in Broomfield on October 17th and 18th the Iluminar Aerial is sure to put on an amazing show fitting for this time of year. Nightmare in the Air is inspired by Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s sure to be and is considered family friendly. Plus, Halloween costumes are encouraged!

And before you head out to see Nightmare in the Air, you can make a whole day of it by attending Bug-A-BOO at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. And of course, Halloween costumes are encouraged, especially because there will be a costume parade along with trick-or-treating, face painting and crafts!

And if you’re looking for something not related to Halloween…

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin will be at the Douglas County Library in Castle Rock to talk about his new book, Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet. He will also be signing the books, so if you’re a fan of space exploration, this event is for you.

Let us know what you end up doing. Share your photos with us on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First Ever Broncos Health and Wellness Expo

Cheers to everyone who attended the first ever Broncos Health and Wellness Expo over Labor Day Weekend!

Over 20,000 people gathered at the home of the Broncos to take part in the inaugural event over two days at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. 9Health Fair joined forces with the Broncos and 9News to promote healthy living and taking charge of your own health. From demonstrations about brain health and concussions to free screenings for diabetes and kidney health, 9Health Fair offered a plethora of information and health screenings for everyone who attended.

Broncos Cheerleader Ashley Harhigh joined the fun, demonstrating how movement can increase your heart rate by teaching the audience two of the dances the cheerleaders perform on the sidelines during Broncos games. Who knew getting in better shape could be so much fun?

9News anchors such as Belen  DeLeon, Gary Shapiro, Mark Kobrich, and more were on hand as well to support the healthy event and meet the folks on both days. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet some of the players, sample health food and talk with experts on a variety of health topics.
On Sunday, 5,700 runners donned their orange and blue and participated in the Broncos 7K run which finished with a run through the inflatable bronco and on the field – a rare and treat for the true Broncos fan.  Players and cheerleaders were on hand to welcome the runners on the perfect sunny Colorado day.

Broncos faithful and the community joined togethe
r to celebrate a healthy lifestyle and kickoff the 2015 football season. That truly is “Owning Your Health!”

Tone it Up with the Broncos Cheerleaders

If there’s a shining example of how cheering on your favorite sports team can actually help you tone up, it’s the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders. Now, to be in this good of shape they obviously do more than just cheer on the home team. They eat healthy and work out off the field as well. But it’s worth noting that the simple act of cheering your team on from the stands, or your home, can be good for your health.
The average football game lasts about 3 hours. If you stand during that time rather than sit, you can burn roughly 400 calories (Shape Magazine). That’s an extra 100 calories than you would sitting.

On top of that, every time your team scores you’re probably jumping up and down a little bit with excitement, giving your friends a high five or clapping. This all burns calories. Maybe not a ton, but over the course of the game you’re still burning some calories.
It’s also a great way to de-stress, even if your team is losing, which is good for your overall mental health. You’re usually surrounded by close friends and family while you’re watching. Plus, you’re keeping your mind active (6 Reasons Being a Sports Fan is Good for Your Health). 

Of course you have to keep in mind that if you truly want to use one of your favorite pastimes as a way to burn a few extra calories, you’re may have to lay off the nachos and soda.

In the meantime, you have a new cheer to learn before the next Broncos game, courtesy of the Broncos Cheerleader Ashley Harhigh. Learn the victory dance and the endzone dance here!

4 Outdoor Activities for Our Perfect Weather

The end of September is the best time of year for outdoor activities. First off, the weather is usually just perfect. Not too hot. Not too cold. Then there’s the beautiful scenery everywhere you look with the changing of the leaves. It truly is a great time to get outdoors. Here are four outdoor activities we recommend:

1. Go for a Run. You may have noticed that our mornings and evenings are starting to get a little cooler, which makes them a great time for an outdoor run.
Cheeseman Park – Since there are no lakes at this park there are very few geese, which makes it one of the cleaner parks to run in.
Mesa Trail – For those who are into trail running.
High Line Canal Trail – This trail is 71 miles long running from Aurora to Roxborough State Park.

2. Fit in one last camping trip. Hurry, before the snow starts and get in one final camping trip. You’ll be glad you did when winter gets here.
Rocky Mountain National Park – Not only is it a great place for camping, it’s a great place for sightseeing!
Arapahoe Bay Campground – This one is located near Lake Granby, which you should definitely check out as well while you’re out that way.
Rampart Range Road – Free! Need we say more?

3. Go for a bike ride. Whether it’s a mountain bike or a road bike, this is a great time of year to pedal around anywhere.
Cherry Creek Bike Path – Yes, by now we all know the bike path is there. So why is it we never think about it when we’re heading downtown? Maybe instead of driving the next time you head out, hop on your bike instead.
Lair O’ the Bear - If pavement and concrete aren’t really your thing, you don’t have to go too far to get out on your mountain bike.

4. Bird Watching. According to the folks at eBird, this is the peak time for bird migration.
Audubon Society of Greater Denver – Grab your binoculars and head out with the experts to learn about the birds along the Front Range. They offer a variety of tours in several different locations.
Denver Field Ornithologists – Each month the DFO schedules trips around the Denver Metro area.

Share your favorite outdoor activities with us on Facebook and help motivate others in the community to get out and about in our beautiful state!

Family Fun in September

Summer is winding down and fall is just starting. We’re all just starting to think about pumpkin patches, piles of leaves and shorter days.

Whether it’s the usual fall activities with hot apple cider that strike your fancy or one of the many cultural events that take place this time of year, get out into the community and check out many activities taking place this month.
  1. Celebrate the beginning of fall with a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms’ 8 acre Corn Maze!  Tickets include a hayride and unlimited jumping on a giant pillow. If you’re brave enough, you can also try the Blackout Maze with a glow stick as your only light source.
  2. Photograph the fall foliage along the Peak to Peak Highway. You’ll see why a day trip along this section of the Front Range is still so appealing to most Coloradoans in the fall. Who knows? You might even see one of the state’s elusive moose while you’re out there. (Just remember to keep your distance if you do.)
  3.  Support your local artists and craftspeople at one of the three Handmade in Colorado Expos. The event is free and includes live local music.
  4. Take in a show. Celebrate Dance and Music at the Broomfield Auditorium. The show will feature a variety of music and dance including Russian folk dances and opera.
  5. There are not a lot of toys that have stood the test of time, but Legos definitely have. Check out the Nature Connects, Art with Legos Exhibit at the Denver Zoo. No matter how old you are, the zoo and Legos exhibit is sure to take you back to your childhood and create a bonding opportunity for you and your friends and family.
  6. Explore fashions of the past at the Glitterati exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. On display, you will see portraits and jewelry from Colonial Latin America. Plus, admission is free for kids every day.

Whatever activities you decide to do, make sure you share your adventures with us on Facebook.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Back to School Health Checklist for the Kids in Your Life

As you and your kids get back into the school routine things can feel a little hectic, especially if you have children in different age groups. To help the kids in your life be successful, you want to make sure they’re getting plenty of the following:
·         Sleep
·         Nutrition
·         Exercise
·         Support


Numerous studies indicate sleep is a vital factor when it comes to your health and well-being. According to the Division of Sleep Research at Harvard Medical School, sleep plays an important role in memory both before and after learning a new task. When children get the required amount of sleep they can focus better in the classroom and feel better.
Too little sleep causes the release of stress hormones and may cause an unhealthy weight gain.
·         Deep Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), which happens early in the sleep cycle, is necessary for laying down memories (like test facts or how to do math problems.)
·         Too little sleep will increase ADD or ADHD symptoms.
·         Too little sleep may increase depression or irritability.

Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure your children are getting enough quality sleep:
ð       Get the recommended amount of sleep (Kids and teens need 9 to 10 hours)
ð       Turn off and keep out electronics - Computers, TVs and phones should not be kept in bedrooms. They can prevent or disrupt good sleep.
ð       Establish a routine at bedtime and stick to it (including going to bed at the same time every night)


You know the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” According to the medical journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, “Breakfast has been suggested to positively affect learning in children in terms of behavior, cognitive, and school performance.” Other studies show this is especially true when it comes to math skills (Facts about Child Nutrition). 
Here’s what you want to keep in mind as you plan your kids’ meals during the school week:
ð       Eat breakfast every morning.
ð       Serve 5-9 fruits and vegetables every day.
ð       Cook with whole foods instead of processed food
ð       Consume foods rich in fiber every day.
Note: Children don’t need to diet (unless their doctor guides them) – They just need to eat balanced, nutritious meals and be active.


Speaking of being active, did you know that exercise can lead to better sleep? It will also help you burn calories, think better and fight off cold germs.
Most schools offer P.E. and the younger kids get recess, but if your child’s school doesn’t you need to make sure you take the time to fit some physical activity into their day every day.
Kids and teens need 60-90 minutes a day of active play, exercise or moderate to vigorous movement. Here are some ways to fit in more physical activity during the school week:
ð       Afterschool sports clubs
ð       Walk or ride bikes together to and from school
ð       Go to the park after school and let your kids play on the playground
ð       Sports and games are not the only way to be active; you can do housework such as weed the garden, walk the dog, or wash the car


Another key element to ensuring your kids have a successful school year is to show them just how much you support them. This will help reinforce positive self-esteem and confidence. You can show them you care in several ways, such as:
ð       Ask them about their day and make sure you are taking the time to really listen (30 Questions to Ask Your Kids Instead of How Your Day Was)
ð       Help them with their homework
ð       Read to them
ð       Have them read to you
ð       Have dinner together as a family
ð       Limit the amount of time in front of the TV and playing video games
ð       Parents can also show love and care by having rules and expectations

Sleep, nutritious food, exercise and loving support all go towards ensuring a successful and healthy school year for your child. And remember, these aren’t just important for your kids, it’s important for you too. You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your children. Visit one of our 19 Family 9Health Fair’s this fall for affordable and convenient health screenings to ensure your family is on the right track to a healthy school year.
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