Monday, July 18, 2016

9Health is #BusyBeingHealthy

Have you ever wondered how 9News anchors and reporters like Corey Rose, TaRhonda Thomas, Marty Coniglio and the rest of the team stay so healthy? You know their schedules must be crazy since they’re on the air before many of us even get out of bed. How do they do it? Well, you’re about to find out.

The #BusyBeingHealthy Campaign

We are launching our own social media campaign to encourage all of you to get #BusyBeingHealthy. Our goal is to tackle this idea that many of us have that we’re just too busy to be healthy. Between work and family obligations we just don’t have time to make our own health a priority.

Well, the 9News crew is about to show us all that is it possible to busy and healthy. Few people have a crazier schedule than they do. They are the perfect group of people to share their tips and inspire you to get #BusyBeingHealthy.

Starting August 1st with Corey Rose, we’ll feature a different 9News team member for an entire week. They’ll write a blog post with all of their strategies for staying on top of their health, they’ll share videos of them in action fitting healthy habits into their busy schedules, on Thursdays they’ll take turns taking over our Instagram page sharing videos and pictures and on Fridays they’ll do a live chat with all of you on our 9Health Fair Facebook page to answer any questions you have about how they do it.

And it doesn’t stop there. We want to hear from you! And we want to see you! We are encouraging all of you to share your own videos and pictures of you getting #BusyBeingHealthy. Just use our hashtag (#BusyBeingHealthy… you probably figured that out by now, right?) and tag 9Health Fair! Did you know that sharing your goals with others makes you more likely to achieve them? It’s true! So we want you to share your healthy habits with all of us, so together we can all hold ourselves accountable.

No more being “too busy” to be healthy. Now it’s time to get #BusyBeingHealthy! Make sure you’re following us on all of our social media channels so you can be a part of it. There will be prizes for sharing your #BusyBeingHealthy posts along the way. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Shout Out to Health Links Colorado

Naturally, we at 9Health Fair think health in the workplace should be a top priority for businesses. So of course we get really excited when other organizations think so too. Which is why we want to give a very big shout out to HealthLinks Colorado

Health Links is a nonprofit initiative run by health and safety professionals from the Center for Health, Work and Environment which is a part of the Colorado School of Public Health. Every year, they award business that make health in the workplace a priority. Just this last year, 9Health won the Certified Health Business Partner Champion of Wellness award. Here’s just a few of the ways we make our health a priority during the work day:
  • Time to Stand Up and Stretch – Every day at 10:00 and 2:00 we have chimes that go off in the building to remind us to stand up and stretch. Taking a moment to stand up and stretch can help you feel refreshed and hopefully makes you more productive.
  • We Take the Stairs – Come by our office and you’ll see signs everywhere motivating you to take the stairs instead of the elevator. When you choose to take the stairs, you’re burning a few more calories than you would otherwise. It also helps give your heart rate a nice, little boost!
  • Recess Time – Our Wellness Committee (if you don’t have one, encourage your company to start one) comes up with fun little “recess” activities for us all the time. Drive by our building and you never know what you might see us doing. Sometimes we’re jumping rope, sometimes we’re playing four square or throwing the football around.
  • Afternoon Walks – You know that sluggish feeling you get in the afternoon. Well, take a walk! That’s what we do. Afternoon walks are a great excuse to get outdoors in the sunshine, burn a few calories and give your eyes a break from the computer screen.

    These are just a few of the things 9Health Fair does to reinforce healthy habits among our employees. You can’t talk the talk and not walk the walk, right?! If you’re interested in improving wellness in your workplace we encourage you to check out
    HealthLinks Colorado Worksite Wellness site. Here you’ll find tips on being healthy at work and get help bringing health awareness to your organization. Thanks Health Links Colorado!

    You can also talk to our Director of Corporate Wellness Partnership and Sales, Steve Dodder. He can give you all the information you need on bringing biometricscreenings to your workplace!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What to do if You Need Medical Care While Traveling

We are in the midst of summer, and for many of us, that means we’re traveling! The last thing you want to worry about while sightseeing is having to find medical help, but it can happen. So what should you do? Obviously, if it’s an emergency, don’t worry about insurance, just get yourself to a hospital. However, what do you do if it’s minor… such as foot pain that won’t go away, a toothache or you forget a prescription?

Outside the Coverage Area for Insurance? Here’s What You Do

If you’re traveling to an area that is outside of the area your insurance covers and you run into an issue, don’t panic. So what about that prescription you forgot? Joel Giles, Clinical Pharmacy Sales Manager with King Soopers, has a lot of insight into this dilemma. “Patients can seek care and have prescriptions filled in any state in the country,” says Giles. For instance, the computer system at King Soopers is linked to all pharmacies nationally.

If you need medical attention, you can still get help says Giles, “patients can utilize their commercial insurance or Medicare throughout the country. Depending on the plan, higher copayments and other coverage options may be diminished when using out-of-network providers.” However, he points out that you can still receive care and use your insurance plan.

What If You’re Traveling Abroad?

This can be a really scary situation. If you’re traveling abroad, the possible medical care you can receive and the quality of it will vary from country to country. According to Giles, “For most U.S. citizens traveling abroad, one of the greatest risks would be encountering infectious diseases that are not endemic in the U.S. This is why it is appropriate to receive the proper vaccines depending upon the destination country to prevent diseases such as Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, meningitis, hepatitis A and typhoid to name a few. Also, it is important that travelers are up-to-date with vaccines that are recommended in the U.S. such as flu, measles, tetanus, pertussis, etc.” Giles also notes that you can take antibiotics and other treatments if you’re going to an area where a vaccine is not available for prevention.

While it’s not exciting, it never hurts to do a little research before you travel about what possible medical issues you need to be aware or how to get care if you do run into an issue. You can always call your doctor’s office and let them know where you’re traveling to what, if any, recommendations they have for you before you go. Here’s to safe travels!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What's Fresh and Where Can You Find It?

During these hot summer months, there is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a fresh, juicy (insert fruit of your choice here). Maybe the only thing just as good is visiting the farmer’s market where it came from. So what’s in season and what produce is locally grown? Where can you find a farmer’s market when you need one? We’ve got your answers right here!

Fresh and Local Produce

Colorado is well-known for its agriculture. You don’t have to go far outside of the city limits to find yourself some good farmland. There are a variety of crops grown around the state. We all know Palisade for its peaches (sorry President Underwood, but we think Palisade can give Georgia peaches a run for their money…or pits, whichever). Rocky Ford has its watermelons and cantaloupes, which no summer BBQ is complete without. And you can’t forget what may be one of the most versatile vegetables of them all – the potato. Coming from the San Luis Valley, you’ll find varieties such as Yukon Gold, fingerlings and purple majesty, just to name a few.

What’s in Season?

I think this is a question many of us ponder at some time during our health journey. What’s fresh? What’s in season? It can be hard to remember, especially these days when a lot of grocery stores will carry the produce regardless of whether it’s in season or not. Here’s a list of crops in season and grown in Colorado:
  • Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  •  Beets
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  •  Melon

(For more information on growing seasons, check out Colorado State University Extension.)

Where are the Farmer’s Markets?

The real question may be where aren’t they? Here’s quick overview of where you can find a handful of Farmer’s Market near you:

When: Wednesdays from 4 – 8 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Cherry Creek
When: Wednesdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

When: Saturdays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Highlands Ranch
When: Sundays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

These are just a few. There are many, many farmer’s markets in our area. For a complete list, check out the 2016 Colorado Farmer’s Market Locations guide. We’d love to see you at your neighborhood Farmer’s Market. The next time you go, take a picture and tag us on social media!

Monday, July 4, 2016

What Dehydration does to Your Body

Hopefully, you’re spending these hot summer months soaking up some Vitamin-D (with your sunscreen on of course!) and enjoying a good amount of healthy outdoor activities such as hiking or mountain biking. However, as you find yourself out in nature instead of cooped up indoors, we can’t stress enough how important it is for you to be drinking water. Even if it causes a little extra hassle as you’re heading out the door, your body will thank you later - take some extra time to fill up that water bottle so you can have access to H2O throughout your entire day. Here’s what dehydration does to your body:

No More Temperature Control
When you’re not drinking enough water, it makes it even harder for your body to regulate its temperature. Think about it. When you sweat, you’re releasing heat, but if you aren’t drinking water, you have no water to sweat out. Therefore, your body can’t regulate its temperature. (9 Weird Things Dehydration does to Your Body) If it’s really hot out and you’re not getting enough water, you could end up suffering from a heatstroke. Heatstroke is a very serious heat injury that can damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles.

High Blood Pressure
Your blood is mostly made up of water. So you truly do need lots of it. When you deprive yourself of water, you are depriving yourself of life. When you’re dehydrated your blood will thicken. This will then cause resistance to blood flow which will cause your blood pressure to rise. Not good. (Lack of Drinking Water Deteriorates the Human Body: Adverse Effects of Dehydration)

We all have electrolytes in our body. These electrolytes carry signals to the brain. If you’re dehydrated this can cause those electrolytes to get out of balance, meaning the messages being sent to your brain are out of whack. This can cause involuntary muscle spasms or even the loss of consciousness. (Diseasesand Conditions: Dehydration)

Symptoms of Dehydration

So how do you know if you’re just really thirsty or actually dehydrated? Here are a few indicators that you might be dehydrated:
  • Fatigue
  • Dry Skin
  • Constipation
  •  Little or No Urination
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Fever

(For more, visit the MayoClinic website.)

Ideally, if your urine is clear that’s a good sign that you’re well-hydrated. If your urine is dark, you’ll want to drink water right away.

We do hope you’re making the most of your summer and spending a lot of time in the great outdoors, just make sure you always have enough water with you. Remember, the hotter the weather and the more active you are, the more water you should be drinking.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

You Have Your Results. Now What?

First of all, we would like to thank nearly 50,000 people who decided to own their health this spring by attending one of our 115 9Health Fairs. Now that you have your results, the next thing you should do is take them to your health practitioner so they can help you understand exactly what your results mean for your health.

By keeping your results from year to year, your health care provider can compare your results to previous year results and notice any trends that may need attention. If you don’t have results from previous years, that’s okay too. We still suggest taking them to your doctor so they can keep copies in your medical records.

You can also go to any King Soopers or City Market pharmacy or call 9Health Fair for help understanding your results.

Zeroing in on Your Results

Now that you have your results back, take a look at them. Do you see any areas in bold? Those are areas you will want to look at and most likely discuss with your health care provider. Here are a few areas on your screenings that you may want to focus on:
  1. Areas that have already been identified as concerns. Maybe you already know that you have high cholesterol, thyroid issues, etc. If you know that you have certain health concerns, take a look at those first. If anything has changed since your previous test, you’ll want to discuss those changes with a medical professional. Hopefully, when you look at your results, you’ll see improvement and know that whatever changes you’ve made have been working.
  2. Cholesterol. Take a look this area, particularly your numbers for HDL (the good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol). If you have any results in bold, you’ll want to get with your doctor to discuss strategies to correct it. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease.
  3. Glucose and A1c. These tests will let you know if you may be at risk for developing diabetes. Diabetes is a preventable disease. If you detect it early enough you can reverse your risk of developing the disease. (Diabetes Screenings: Which One is Right for You)

If anything extremely serious or urgent is found in your results, you will receive a phone call within 24-72 hours. If you haven’t received a phone call, but still have results that are noted in bold, you should schedule an appointment with a medical professional to discuss those results in more detail. Your test results are a great way to get a snapshot of your health and work to reverse anything concerning before it becomes a serious and costly issue.

Keep Your Kids Occupied All Summer

School’s out, which probably means the kids are around the house all summer. With all that extra time, and no homework, you’re probably going to hear phrases like “I’m bored!” and “Let’s do something!” quite a bit the next couple of months. Don’t let yourself fall back on the TV and electronics to keep the kiddos entertained. Get them outdoors! They need the exercise and the vitamin D (but don’t forget the sunblock). Here are some ideas.

Introduce Them to Your Favorite Childhood Outdoor Activity
Isn’t it amazing how much the world has changed since we were kids? We had TV and video games, sure, but we didn’t have all the different phones and laptops and electronic readers… and, well, everything there is now! Think back, though, what was your favorite thing to do outside? Did you play sports? Did you like to play in any lakes or streams? What about the playground at the park? This is a great way to bring back your inner child and share that inner child with your children!

Make a Homemade Slip-n-Slide
The next time the temperature is really soaring, just make your own slip-n-slide. All you need is some plastic sheeting, something heavy to hold the corners in place and your water hose. It will be great fun, but don’t be surprised if the other kids in the neighborhood show up!

Ride Bikes
There are so many great places to ride bikes. You can ride around your neighborhood, you can go to a nearby park or if you have mountain bikes then you can head up to the foothills and ride around there. Kids love to ride bikes, and let’s be honest, so do us adults!

Go Fish!
We’re not talking about the card game. Why not actually take the kids fishing? There are a lot of great places to fish here in Colorado. You might even be surprised how the act of fishing can actually calm your kids. You can bask in the sun and nature, and have some great family talks while waiting for your big catch!

Water Balloon Fight
Water balloons are a great and inexpensive way to have some fun outside. All that running around and tossing of the balloons is sure to help your kids burn quite a bit of energy. You’ll probably just want to stock up on the water balloons because the kids are sure to want to do this over and over again all summer long, especially on the very hot days.

Here’s another fun one most of us remember from our childhoods. Grab some colored chalk and let the kids create their own hopscotch on the sidewalk. It should last for at least a few days. Once it fades away you can create a whole new one that’s different from the first.

Create an Obstacle Course
Encourage their creativity by using only things you have around the house to create an obstacle course. Then, make a competition out of it by seeing who can get through the course the fastest. This will keep the kids entertained all day!

What are your favorite things to do with your kids during the summer months? Do you have any unique ideas? Share with us on Facebook!

A Great Mix of Summer Fun!

Cherry Blossom Festival
Whether you’re into music, a foodie or an art critic, there are great events for everyone this next month. Many of them are even free to get in!

A Celebration of Japanese American Culture
You don’t have to be Japanese American to appreciate and enjoy the Cherry Blossom Denver Festival. Running the weekend of June 18th and 19th, there will be several events, food and vendors at this free festival. Events include Japanese Drumming and Martial Arts.

Music Festival
Check out the 2016 Annual Juneteenth Music Festival in Denver’s Five Points Neighborhood on June 18th. Their mission is to celebrate liberty by engaging the public with the historical importance of Juneteenth (a celebration commemorating the end of slavery). They also strive to reinforce ties between their historic area and its neighbors.

Go Greek!
June 17th – 19th is the weekend of the Denver Greek Festival. There will be plenty of Greek food to try and live Greek dance performances to watch. On Saturday, Bonfils Blood Center will be at the festival for a blood drive. Why not donate, and then reward yourself with some tasty Greek food?

All About Art
If you really enjoy art, you don’t want to miss the Denver Arts Festival at Stapleton June 18th and 19th. The fine art and fine craft exhibit features numerous Colorado artists, as well as some national renowned artists. Best part is it’s free to the public!

Free Day at Denver Botanic Gardens
On June 23rd, everyone is welcome to check out the Denver Botanic Gardens for free! This is thanks to the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore and appreciate the beauty at the Botanic Garden.

As you can see, Denver has a lot to offer its community during the summer. Make sure you put on the sunblock before you head out and take some water too!

3 Ways to Create Healthy Exercise Habits

It seems that many of us have our excuses for not making a habit of exercise. We’ve got too much going on, we need to put our families first, we need to put our careers first, etc. Well, none of that is going to matter if your health is too poor for you to do anything or take care of anyone. You have to put yourself first, and a huge part of that is developing healthy exercise habits. Here are three ways for you to do that.
  1. Wake Up Earlier. I hear your groan, but if you want to fit more exercise into your day (and you should) then you need to get up earlier. That also means you might want to start going to bed earlier. There’s nothing wrong with that! Health magazine recommends you lay out all your exercise gear before going to bed, that includes workout clothes and your gear (be it yoga mat or running shoes). Don’t snooze. Just get up and get going. It might be hard at first, but probably after a few days, it’ll get easier and eventually you’ll be waking up on your own just as the alarm is going off.
  2. Set a Goal. Active recommends you set a goal, but remember, make sure it’s reasonable. If your long-term goal is to drop 30 pounds, you can have several short-term goals along the way. Maybe your short term goal is 10 pounds. Every time you reach that short-term goal, you know you’re on track for your long-term goal. That should help keep you motivated.
  3. Have a Deadline. Zen Habits suggests that once you have your goal, you have a deadline to reach it. As you’re making progress you’ll also see the end in sight. Zen Habits recommends you write your goal and deadline down and set it somewhere you’ll see several times throughout the day. Maybe your deadline is a wedding you’re attending, a high school reunion or a holiday party. Whatever it is, having a deadline and monitoring your progress can help you keep on track.
As you work towards creating healthy exercise habits for yourself you may find areas you struggle with. That’s okay. If you do, head over to 9Health Ready and check in with our fitness expert Jamie Atlas. There, you can email him your questions and concerns and he can give you advice and tips to help you continue making daily exercise a habit. When we asked him how he helps people stay motivated he said, “Large circus animals. Just kidding. I like to get into the reason of why someone is here in the first place. What does the change mean to them? To their friends and/or family? What will they do differently this time around so they don't fail like last time? The more I know about what is important to them, the more I have to help keep them on track when they need a spot of motivation.”

So, what does this mean for you? Share that information with your friends and family so they can help keep you motivated and not get in the way of your ability to develop healthy exercise habits.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Best “Poke” Ever!

This is a testimonial sent to us by 9Health Fair participant Ellie Gaccetta. We hope those of you who have attended a 9Health Fair this spring had a similar experience. For those of you who are nervous to attend, we hope Ellie’s experience will encourage you to overcome the fear so you too can Own Your Health.

I had a blood draw at the 9Health Fair on Sunday at YMCA. The phlebotomist who "poked" me was one of the best I've ever had and I am considered a “difficult draw”. I've had a huge bruise and swelling from needles; I've had numerous techs attempt to draw my blood. But Sunday I was in and out of that chair in less than 5 minutes - one stick, one vial of blood, gauze, tape and goodbye. What a pleasure and what a personable, nice young woman. Kudos.

I've participated in 9Health Fairs for 16 years. After the death of my eldest brother in 2001, I decided it was time to take charge of my health. That first blood test was littered with highs and lows, and virtually nothing was normal. It was a wake-up call to change my life - from eating habits to exercising regularly. I joined a weight loss entity and lost 30 pounds, began exercising 5 days a week and today at age 65, I'm still 30 pounds lighter and probably the fittest and healthiest I've ever been. I went from busting out of a woman's size 16 pants to a petite 10. I attribute a lot of my success to 9Health Fair and how it opened my eyes to the necessity of taking charge of your health and life, starting with what is happening on the inside.

I might just end with saying that being healthy is essential for me because for the past 8 years I have been the full-time caregiver to my now 101-year old mother. It is a job that requires strength and stamina, a good mind and healthy body - oh and a lot of prayer! Thank you for sponsoring this event annually and I'll be back next year!

-Ellie Gaccetta

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Why Your Diet Should be as Unique as You Are

Exercise and diets are not one size fits all. We all have our own distinctive health issues, our family histories, and our own bodies. Just because your best friend is on the Paleo diet and doing CrossFit doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you too. The same goes for your family member who is taking calcium supplements. That doesn’t mean you need calcium supplements as well. Here’s a deeper look into just how unique we all are when it comes to our healthcare needs.

Family History

Everyone’s family history is unique. “If our parents or grandparents have a history of obesity, cardiac disease, diabetes or high blood pressure – that does put us a higher risk of developing that disease,” says Stacey Brake, 9Health Fair Health and Wellness RN, BSN. She says knowing our family history is important because our diet can play a key role in reducing the risk of developing those diseases. Plus, if we know certain diseases run in the family, it just might be the motivation we need to eat healthy and exercise.

If you know that certain diseases run in your family, you may want to consider taking a close look at them and what you can do to prevent them. The SurgeonGeneral has a great site to help you with this. It even allows you to print your family history so you can share it with others in your family.


While some supplements are beneficial for some people, the same supplements or dosage may not be good for others. For instance, Brake explains that “some supplements for weight loss may cause a racing heart in one person while others aren’t affected. It’s important to know that just like other medications – supplements aren’t one size fits all. Pharmacists can look up interactions between supplements and other medications.

“I also worry about the supplements that claim to help you lose X amount of weight in a month without dieting or exercising….I find those to be misleading and can have ingredients that raise heart rates or blood pressure which can be very detrimental.”

TheNational Institutes of Health (NIH) has several examples of how supplements react differently with different people and their individual health. For instance, if you take Vitamin K and are on blood thinners, that supplement will reduce the effectiveness of the blood thinner. They also remind you that just because a supplement is considered “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe. The herb comfrey may be natural, but it can cause liver danger. You really should talk with your doctor before taking supplements, according to Brake.

Gut Bacteria

We all have bacteria in our gut. Brake says we are born with our own set of bacteria, much of which we inherit from our mothers and the environment. “We have common ones but even these can be different for each person and among different populations,” she says.

ThePhysicians Committee for Responsible Medicine describes the job of our gut bacteria:
  •  Helps digest and absorb nutrients
  • Synthesize certain vitamins
  • Protect against intruders, such as the flu
  • Boost our immune system
  •  Let the brain know how to regulate our metabolism

They state that the more diversity you have in gut bacteria, the better of you’ll be in the long run.

According to ScientificAmerican, your gut bacteria may also play a role in your weight – “New evidence indicates that gut bacteria alter the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes, it seems, can help set the stage for obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth.” If you’re struggling with your weight, you may want to consider incorporating foods into your diet that will boost healthy gut bacteria, such as artichokes, polenta and blueberries.

Don’t Buy into the Blood Type Diet

There are people out there who say your blood type should influence your diet. Don’t fall for that. “I tend to be a person that believes in a well-rounded, healthy diet,” says Brake. “I just don’t think there is enough information out there to know how if effects our health or improves it. It seems that it would take a lot of work and diets that are a lot of work just aren’t successful in my opinion.  I think speaking with a registered dietician about dietary concerns or suggestions is the best bet.” She suggests talking with a registered dietician at one of our Spring or Fall Family 9HealthFairs if you want to learn more.

Bottom line – just because your friends are doing it doesn’t mean you should too. Remember, when it comes to nutrition, we all have our own “baggage.” It’s always good to talk to a medical professional before making changes in your diet.

5 Outdoor Activities for May

This is the time of year where the temperature is usually quite lovely. It’s a great time for some outdoor fitness activities. Here are five things to do this month that will give you the perfect excuse to get your blood pumping and enjoying the nice weather.

Gather your friends and head to Sunken Gardens Park for this free event. It takes place on several days throughout the summer. There’s live music, yoga and meditation for all levels. After your yoga practice, there are several wellness vendors to explore, as well as food and drink.

It is baseball season after all! Grab your friends and family and find a baseball field near you for a fun game. Pack a picnic lunch and now you have your whole day planned.

This free class is for everyone. Explore the Audobon Sanctuary at Heritage Golf Course in Westminster. Learn all about birding and how the golf course protects them. Binoculars are available, but feel free to bring your own if you have them. You must register for this class through the City of Westminster’s Activity Registration Webpage.

There still may be too much snow high up in the mountains, but that doesn’t mean there’s not any hiking to be had. Just head to the foothills! There are plenty of good hiking locations within a half hour of the metro area. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate shoes and sunblock and don’t forget the water.

Volleyball in Wash Park is a big thing here in Denver. You have to get up early to get a good spot, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of space in this park. Fill your cooler and spend the day playing with your friends. You can even bring your dog. Afterward, you can grill out on any of the numerous grills provided in the park and keep the fun going!

What are your favorite activities this time of year? Take a photo and share with us on our Facebook page.

Mingle with the People

While we can appreciate our solitude from time to time, human beings tend to crave socialization as well. According to PsychologyToday, maintaining healthy social connections can improve your overall well-being. This month, get out and into the crowd. Mingle with those you know, and make an effort to meet some new friends. Here are five places to do that.

Keep an eye on the weather and when it’s just right head to the ballpark! Tickets are usually fairly affordable and no matter where you sit there’s always a great view. Whether it’s the field, the mountains or the city – there’s not a bad seat in the house. It’s a great way to spend the day outdoors with your fellow Coloradans.

This festival is free and takes place on May 21st. It celebrates the rich history of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood which used to be home to numerous jazz clubs where you could find popular jazz musicians such as Miles Davis or Thelonius Monk.

This free music event aims to raise awareness of the children in our community.  It takes place on May 28th from 2:30pm – 9:30 pm on the 16th Street Mall. There will be 5 stages set up around the mall area with a variety of rock bands performing.

If art is more your thing, this event takes place May 28th and 29th at the Denver Pavilions. The event will showcase numerous works including paintings, illustrations, furnishings and locally designed and crafted goods.

Take in the art and music while mingling with others. The fair runs June 4th and 5th at Civic Center Park and aims to bring together a diverse population to celebrate “family, entrepreneurial spirit and community.” At the fair, you have the opportunity to explore gifts, wine, craft beer and a variety of music. Plus there are plenty of free and low-cost activities for children. Before you go to the People’s Fair, stop by our 9HealthFair at the Fillmore and we’ll be handing out free pedometers! It’s also your last chance to attend a 9Health Fair this Spring.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Report on 2015 9Health Fair Numbers

You probably know that tens of thousands of people attend a 9Health Fair each year. But did you know, that beyond that number, there are other numbers that can teach us about the health status of our community? With this information, you can better understand the health issues you need to watch out for – not just for yourself, but for your family. We recently got these important numbers back from our 2015 Spring and Fall 9Health Fairs. Here is what we learned:

Our 9Health Fairs were held at 147 different sites in 2015. Of those, 57 percent were in the Denver Metro area and the rest were around the state (and one in Nebraska!) With so many sites hosting 9Health Fairs, there was ample opportunity for most Coloradoans to check up on their health.

Individuals Served
Over 61,000 people attended a 9Health Fair in 2015 - that includes 650 children. Approximately 15,000 people volunteered their time at a 9Health Fair in their area. That’s outstanding! Here are some more great numbers:
  • Over 58,000 people had a blood chemistry screening, which gives you baseline levels for 28 different areas such as cholesterol and thyroid
  • Over 25,000 people had a blood cell count screening
  • Nearly 14,000 men had their PSA screening
  • There were well over 15,000 A1c screenings which is a test for diabetes
  • We had 14,000 Vitamin D screenings
  • 980 women were able to receive a free Pap smear
  • Over 5,000 people took home a Colon Cancer Screening Kit

One of the best aspects about the 2015 9Health Fairs was that it gave us the opportunity to help provide medical care for those in underserved communities. Through this work, roughly 2,500 people used their free blood work vouchers to learn more about their personal health.

On top of that, nearly 2,000 people received a personal critical or alert follow-up by a medical professional. These calls are made within 24-72 hours of their blood draw. Those participants are informed of potentially serious medical results and encouraged to see their doctor right away for further evaluation. As the 2016 season wraps up, we can’t wait to share with you the results from this year!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Healthy Recipes for Your Next Cookout

As the weather warms up, many of us will be inviting friends and family over and firing up our grills for a fun-filled cookout. That doesn’t mean you have to spend all summer eating greasy hamburgers or boring hot dogs. There are a lot of healthy recipes perfect for the grill! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Spiedini of Chicken and Zucchini with Almond Salsa Verde

This recipe from Cooking Light is so simple to prepare!  Cut up some chicken and zucchini, alternate them on the skewers and grill them up. Plus, the Almond Salsa Verde gives it a flavorful punch that’s sure to please your guests.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts

The Food Network has all kinds of great ideas for recipes on the grill, especially when it comes to Brussels sprouts. Remember, your plate needs some green on it! This is a great way to add veggies to any cookout.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Dressing

The grill is not just for burgers and chicken. This fish taco recipe comes from All Recipes. If you’ll recall, the FDA recently updated their food recommendations and one recommendation was to cut back on the protein, particularly for men. Many people say they don’t like fish, but I think you’ll find this recipe to be quite satisfying, especially the Chipotle-Lime Dressing!

Rosemary Shrimp Skewers with Arugula-White Bean Salad

If fish isn’t your thing, how about shrimp? Plus, every good cookout needs a salad! This recipe comes Fitness magazine. It has a lot of flavor and little fat. It’s perfect for a hot summer day.

Pork Chops with Quick Rhubarb Sauce

The Rhubarb Sauce certainly makes this dish a little different, but it’s sure to please. According to Eating Well, this recipe is low calorie, low sodium and a great option for those with diabetes.

Grilled Herb Scallops with Balsamic Syrup

Want to get fancy? This scallops recipe from Better Homes and Gardens is sure to impress your crowd. While the dish may look complicated, the marinade is actually pretty simple.

Grilled Eggplant With Ricotta Salata

You don’t just want meat and greens on your plate. You want lots of color on your plate! This recipe from Delish is a great way to round out your plate. Interesting tidbit, did you know that eggplant is actually a fruit, not a vegetable. Just like the tomato.

If you try these recipes, make sure you share photos with us on Facebook using the hashtag #9HealthFairEats. Also, if you have ideas for healthy swaps for those staple summer cookout recipes, we want to know! Share those with us on Facebook too.

Monday, May 2, 2016

May is Mental Health Month but Colorado Crisis Services is Available Year Round

May is Mental Health Month, a time to bring awareness to the issue of mental health and the resources available for those seeking help. It’s the perfect time to remind Coloradans about Colorado Crisis Services, the statewide resource available year round for anyone experiencing a mental health, substance use or emotional crisis.
Colorado Crisis Services offers support, information and referral services to anyone dealing with a crisis. Services include:
  • The Colorado Crisis Services Line, 1-844-493-TALK (8255): This toll-free hotline is available 24/7, 365 days a year for anyone affected by a mental health, substance use or emotional crisis. All calls are connected to a mental health professional that will provide immediate support and connections to further resources. This resource provides interpretation services in more than 100 languages, including Spanish.
  • Chat Crisis Service: Available at, this service allows users to chat online with Masters level crisis clinicians or chat specialists to receive emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide assessments. This chat feature is available seven days a week from 4 p.m. to midnight.
  • Text Crisis Service: Available 24/7, seven days a week, this text service is the latest resource for individuals needing mental health, substance abuse or emotional help. Anyone can text the word TALK to 38255 from anywhere in Colorado about any type of crisis and text with a Masters level crisis text counselor.
  • In-person Services: Individuals can access in-person services through 24-hour walk-in crisis locations, mobile response teams and respite care facilities throughout the state. A list of the walk-in crisis center locations can be found at

Often times, the hardest part of getting help for an emotional issue, mental health, or substance use is knowing where to begin. Colorado Crisis Services is designed to be a single point of entry for any individual experiencing a crisis of any kind.

To learn more, visit

Monday, April 11, 2016

Breathtaking Fun and Fitness Activities for Spring

Spring is here and summer is around the corner, which means many of us are trying to get into shape before we take our annual beach vacations. Exercise doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym, though! There are plenty of things you can do to burn calories yet still breathe fresh air. Here are 5 ways to not only get some exercise outdoors but have fun while doing it.

Run a Marathon
It’s not too late to sign up to run the Colfax Marathon. There are 7 race options over the two days of the race (May 14th-15th) Plus, you can run on behalf of 9Health Fair! If you do, you get a special bib symbolizing your support for us. 

Talk a Walk and Enjoy the View
Take a walk around the lake at City Park. There, you can get a great view of both downtown and the mountains.

Take a Hike
Have you been to Centennial Cone Park yet? It offers a 12-mile trail that is said to be as close to a backpacking experience as you can get without actually backpacking. Just make sure you bring along plenty of water, snack and a lunch!

Play ball!
Whether it's baseball, basketball, football, kickball or even bocce ball, it’s a great way to spend time in the outdoors. Find a park in your neighborhood and just go play!

Spend some time in the garden! According to Michigan State University, nature has long been known for providing much-needed tranquility and healing. It also is a great way to relieve stress. Plus, it’s known to increase property values!

Remember, the more the merrier! Invite your friends and family to join you for some of these activities. Maybe you can make it a weekly event to keep you moving (although we understand if you don’t want to run a marathon once a week!)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Spring is in the Air... and the Soil!

Have you noticed? Maybe your nose already has! Spring is here! The trees and flowers are blooming, the sun is out longer and the temperatures are warming up. So why not visit a few local gardens to give yourself some ideas for your own planting this Spring?

Denver Botanic Gardens
Maybe you’ve lived in Denver for a while now and every year you think to yourself that you should go and check out the Denver Botanic Gardens, but then never do. Well now is the time! This year, make a point to actually do it. Why wait? Look at your calendar, and find the next day you don’t have anything scheduled. Got it? Great! Now invite someone to go with you. Now you’re going. You’re welcome!

The Hudson Gardens
There are so many reasons to visit The Hudson Gardens. Did you know that they offer classes? It’s a great way to learn more about all aspects of gardening. Who knows, after a few classes you just might be inspired to turn your own home into a botanic garden!

Denver Botanic Gardens – Chatfield Farms
You might think if you go to the Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street that there’s no need to visit the Chatfield Farms location, but that’s just not true. The biggest reason? They have chickens! And they have other animals too, but if you’re interested at all in urban homesteading you must go and check out their chickens and their coop setup.

Feeling Inspired?

After you’ve visited the gardens you’re likely to find yourself feeling inspired. Why not try container gardening? Colorado StateUniversity has some great information on container gardening with vegetables. Just know that it will take a little more work than growing flowers, but you can eat what you grow! Warm season vegetables that grow well in Colorado include beans, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.

Also, don’t forget to hit up a 9Health Fair while you’re out and about. Maybe you can find one before or after your trip to the gardens.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

7 Healthy Food Swaps for a Healthier Life

Getting healthy doesn’t have to be a big deal. Whether your goal is to cut back on calories, unhealthy fats, sugar or cholesterol, there are tons of healthy alternatives out there that won’t leave you feeling unsatisfied with your meal. Try a few small swaps and see how it works for you. Here are 7 healthy (and easy) food swaps.

Choose Oatmeal Over Granola
According to HealthMagazine, “A half-cup cooked serving of Quaker Steel Cut Oats contains just 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of sugar… Meanwhile, a half-cup of Quaker's Apple, Cranberry, & Almond Granola clocks in at 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, and a whopping 13 grams of sugar.”

Use Olive Oil Instead of Butter
EatingWell recommends swapping butter for olive oil because it has unsaturated fats versus the saturated fat found in butter. Unsaturated fats are the good kinds of fat.

Eat an English Muffin, Not a Bagel
Eating Light Magazine says you can save yourself 100 calories by choosing an English Muffin over a bagel. Forgo the cream cheese and use peanut butter instead.

Instead of White Bread, Go for Whole-Grain
This recommendation comes from the Mayo Clinic. They have a whole list of substitutions that can help you reduce the amount of fat and sugar you consume.

Select Broth Based Soups Over Creamy Soups
The American Heart Association also has a slew of suggestions that can help you cut down on saturated fats and cholesterol. This suggestion is especially helpful when eating out.

In Place of Ice Cream, Enjoy Some Sorbet
This one comes from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It’s a great low-calorie alternative!

Rather than Drink a Pop, Drink Water
FitWatch recommends drinking water instead of pop, and truly, this goes for any drink. Most people don’t realize how many of their daily calories are coming from what they drink.

Have you already made healthy swaps in your diet? If so, sharewith us on Facebook and help others in their quest to eat healthy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The More You Do It, The More Natural it Becomes

Eileen Sokolovic is a shining example of how Owning Your Health can drastically improve your quality of life. She credits the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, led by Keri-Ann Parodi, as a life-saving support group for her. “I am a 67-year-old woman, who through 9Health Fair was put in touch with this program.” She says her A1c level was elevated and her weight was on the obese end. She says she was starting to feel depressed. But now, Sokolovic says, “I’ve gained my life back, lost double the amount of goal weight loss, I’ve been taken off of several medications and have become a more healthy active person, feeling good about myself.” Here’s how she did it.

Commitment and Determination

Eileen says once the YMCA sessions started, she dedicated herself to learning and attending all the classes. “The learning curve for “Lifestyle Balance” as one shares with others what you eat and how you implement physical activity, totally pays off to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.”

For Sokolovic, one of the most difficult chores has been tracking fat grams and calories on a daily basis. However, she’s one very determined woman and she has her “bible” as she calls it – The Cal-Fat Book. She considers that book as a guiding resource for success.

She notes that grocery shopping used to be a challenge for her. “However, at the weekly meetings, the program supplied us with examples of healthy eating habits. I quickly found out that self-discipline and the support of others in the group is like any other new learning experience – the  more you do it, the more natural it becomes.” If you feel like you may be facing a similar journey as Sokolovic, she would remind you of what’s most important – you. And like anything else in life that will make you healthy and happy – it takes work.

So far, she has achieved her goal of seven percent weight loss. She’s committed to doing a daily activity and healthy eating. She also notes one small habit that she feels is important to her success – her intake of water each day. She drinks eight eight-ounce glasses per day and continues to track fat grams and calories, along with being active each day.

Sokolovic says her 16 weekly YMCA meetings have proven to be the most rewarding experience for her success. “To date, my A1c number has dropped (no longer pre-diabetic), BMI has dropped (no longer considered obese), I’ve gained my life back, lost double the amount of goal weight loss, I’ve been taken off of several medications and have become a more healthy active person, feeling good about myself,” and she says that it’s all made her a better person to be around.

Her story began with a trip to 9Health Fair, and it’s been a journey that has drastically improved her quality of life. We hope it will inspire you to Own Your Health too, and begin a similar journey of self-discovery and good health.

Diabetes Screenings: Which One is Right for You?

Nearly 10 percent of the American population has been diagnosed with diabetes, that’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also report that there are over eight million people with diabetes that are undiagnosed. The Colorado Health Department estimates that here in our state, more than one-third of adults and half of all adults age 65 and older, have prediabetes.

This is a health issue you can turn around by making the right lifestyle changes! However, for one-third of people at risk, they will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. With that in mind, you may want to consider getting tested at one of our Spring 9Health Fair locations. 

Diabetes Screenings Available

All 9Health Fairs this spring will have a few different ways to identify if you’re at risk for diabetes. Our Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator, Lynn Sauve, explains, “A1C is a blood test and is one of the screening tools used in Pre-Diabetes screening. The other 2 screening tools used to determine Pre-Diabetes are BMI (Body Mass Index), which is a calculation based on height and weight, and a Risk Screening Assessment that asks questions about your family health history and level of activity then scores your responses.”

If you’re over the age of 18, have a history of diabetes in your family and have problems with your weight, Sauve recommends you have the A1c test. She also suggests you find out your BMI and take the Risk Screening Assessment. She especially recommends you get tested if your mother, father or a sibling has diabetes. You can also get the Blood Chemistry test, which includes a blood sugar test, among the 28 baseline levels it test for.

If any of this sounds like you, Sauve would also like to stress how important it is for you to get checked now. “Pre-Diabetes can be reversed by proper diet and exercise,” she says.

There are many people who have been able to turn their health around before developing type 2 diabetes. If you think you may be at risk, read the inspiring story of Eileen Sokolovic. Hopefully, her story inspires you to get tested, and if you are at risk, make the necessary lifestyle changes need so you can live a full and healthy life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Caregiving with Heart - What You Need to Know

At some point in our lives, nearly all of us will have to come to terms with the idea of caregiving. Whether we’re the ones who need the care or it’s our aging parents who need the care, it can be a confusing and difficult time. How do you broach the subject? When is it the right time? What are the options available? There are just so many questions. 

The Facts About Caregiving

The National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP conducted a study on caregiving in 2015.  Here are some of their key findings:
  • The “typical” caregiver tends to be a 49-year-old woman taking care of a relative.
  • The typical higher-hour caregiver (who provides unpaid care for at least 21 hours a week) has been caregiving for an average of 5-1/2 years and expects to continue care for another 5 years.
  • The average household income for caregivers is $45,700.
  •  Approximately one-quarter of caregivers in the U.S. are millennials between the ages of 18 and 34.
If you are considering taking on the role of caregiver for someone else or need care yourself, 9Health Fair is partnering with the AARP to provide insights into caregiving at four 9Health Fair locations. This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered and learn more about the help available to you. 

Spring 2016 Caregiving Seminars

April 3: Temple Sinai 9:00am - 10:30am
Caregiving in the Twenty-First Century
We'll examine the demographic trends and societal changes in the United States fueling the growing concerns related to aging, illness, and caregiving. Caregiving today poses different challenges and opportunities than those encountered by previous generations. We'll consider how the changing nature of families, family legacies of caregiving and illness, and the geographic dispersal of families inform our experience. We can't anticipate everything that will happen. However, we can proactively plan for the certainties of life. We will age. Most of us will need to access health care as we age. We will need more help than we ever imagined. Hence, we need to prepare to care for ourselves and our loved ones.

April 10: Community College of Aurora 9:30am -10:30am
Called to Companion
We will all serve as caregivers numerous times over the course of a lifetime. And, we will all need care at some point in time. So, there are some questions worthy of consideration. How will you respond to the call to care? Will you (must you) assume full responsibility for care? Or, are you able and/or willing to share the responsibilities of care with other family members, friends, or caregiving professionals? When called to companion, it's important to know that there are alternatives to flying solo - collaborative approaches to care that are beneficial for the caregiver and care receiver.

April 16: Sky Ridge 8:30am - 9:30am
Plan Well to Age Well
No doubt, you have planned vacations, parties, and holidays. Furthermore, we're encouraged to plan for things such as the educational needs of our children, our retirement, and final arrangements. But, how many of us have planned to age well? Quite often, our aversion to death and to the aging process causes us to ignore the need for planning related to our inevitable physical and cognitive decline-advance care planning. It takes courage to consider the "what ifs" of life - to contemplate the unknown.

April 16: Red Rocks 11:30am - 12:30pm
Hospice and Palliative Care: FEAR NOT!
Contrary to popular belief, hospice is not a four-letter word nor is it something to be feared. Hospice -a type of palliative care (specialized medical care for those with serious illnesses) - is a philosophy and model of health care designed to serve persons in compassionate, life-giving ways. So why does the word cause such angst and trepidation for patients and families? More often than not, our reactions are rooted in a lack of knowledge, fear of death, denial and avoidance. Take the first step in overcoming your fears by learning how hospice and palliative care can serve you, your family, and your clients.

While attending any of these seminars, don’t forget to participate in our health screenings as well. You can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself!
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