Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stay in Good Health with 9Health Fair

With friends starting to see ailments more commonly, Brian and his wife, Penny, realized they could no longer take their health for granted.  Retirement was getting closer, and they knew they would need to stay in good health to start tackling their growing bucket list. They vowed to make their 9Health Fair visit an annual tradition – it was an easy step in the right direction! 

It had only been 2 days since their visit to the 9Health Fair at Temple Sinai, when Brian got the call from a volunteer nurse.  She was quick to tell him that his Blood Chemistry Screening results were showing reduced kidney function.

A few years ago, his primary care physician had informed him of his above-normal creatinine levels, but Brian was in the dark about the effects that could have on the rest of his body.  The 9Health Fair nurse urged him to schedule an appointment with his primary care physician for further evaluation, and Brian took her advice.

Following his visit with his primary care physician, Brian learned that a medication he had been on for years was affecting his kidney function.  His creatinine levels had been rising for a long time, but it took a visit to 9Health Fair to bring attention to the matter.  Brian immediately stopped taking that medication and began seeing a nephrologist to make sure he was managing his kidney issues fully.

“Had I not received the call from 9Health Fair nurses, the problem would have worsened,” Brian says.  “Thanks to 9Health Fair, I was able to avert a more serious kidney problem than what already existed – a problem that was completely unknown to me!”

Might you have an underlying issue that is going undetected?  Visit a 9Health Fair this fall to receive the simple, low-cost Blood Chemistry Screening.  The results could provide the information you need to live a healthier life! 

Need a Nice Fix? Head to the Fall Colors!

Colorado is one of the best places to see the change in color that occurs in trees during the fall, but did you know that taking in the scenery could actually make you nicer?

In a set of recent experiments, researchers at the University of Rochester in New York monitored the effects of natural versus artificial environments — and found that nature actually makes us nicer. 

“Previous studies have shown the health benefits of nature range from more rapid healing to stress reduction to improved mental performance and vitality,” says Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“Now we’ve found nature brings out more social feelings, more value for community and close relationships. People are more caring when they’re around nature,” he says.

Researchers found that even artificial and pictures of nature will do the trick, but why not take advantage of the gorgeous scenery this time of year?  The colors generally peak the final two weeks of September and the first week in October – be sure to catch a glimpse before they’re gone!

9NEWS Meteorologist Marty Coniglio has compiled a list of the nine best drives to take in Colorado.
And if you don’t find one you like or need more information, the U.S. Forest Service operates a Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-354-4595.

If you or someone in your life could use a little “nice fix”, get in the car and head to the fall colors to get healthier and nicer!

No Excuses - Get the Health Screenings You Need!

We've all heard the common childhood excuse of, “The dog ate my homework!” But as adults, we come up with new excuses to explain why we don’t exercise, eat healthy or get the health screenings we need.

According to a recent AARP survey, the most common excuses to avoid getting health screenings are:
  • "I’m confused about which health screenings I should get."
  • "Screenings cost too much."
  • "I don’t have health insurance."
  • "Health screenings just aren't that important."  

Do any of these sound familiar to you?  9Health Fair can help you eliminate excuses and overcome obstacles to get the preventative screenings you need. Let’s look at each excuse one by one.

I’m confused about which health screenings I should get.
9Health Fair has medical professionals at every health fair to help you understand which screenings you need based on your medical history, family history, age, gender and other factors. You can also check out this online resource “Which screenings are right for me?” before you arrive at your fair!

Screenings cost too much.
9Health Fair offers screenings at a fraction of the price that you would pay at a lab or medical office. (And, we use the same lab – Quest Diagnostics – that most hospitals and medical offices use.) For example, the Blood chemistry Screening, which measures 28 different levels, costs just $35. See a full list of medical screenings and prices here. There is also a plethora of free screenings such as hearing, vision, blood pressure and more. Find a fair that offers the screenings you choose.

I don’t have health insurance.
Paying out of pocket for medical costs can be expensive if you don’t have health insurance. Think of how much money you can save by staying healthy, or by finding a potential health issue before it becomes a major medical emergency. Additionally, our partners at Connect for Health Colorado are available at several of the health fairs to help answer questions about how to get affordable insurance.

Health screenings just aren’t that important.
This excuse is the most difficult and dangerous. Most people don’t think about their health until something happens that calls it to their attention. We take for granted the ability to care for ourselves and our families, the ability to do breathe, eat, walk and so many other things we enjoy. We are able to do all of those activities because our health allows it.  When your health is compromised, health comes into focus. But why wait until there is a issue before you make health a priority? 9Health Fair makes it simple and affordable to get your health screenings, in a welcoming environment.

Here are some reasons to put your excuses to rest for good!
  • When you feel good, you look good.
  • Getting the health screenings you need will set an important example for your loved ones.
  • Maintaining your health can help you continue to enjoy the things you love for many years to come.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oral Health Screenings for Kids Offered at Family 9Health Fairs

If you could prevent one of the most common threats to your kids’ health, would you do it? Most people would answer yes, but surprisingly only 9.3 percent of children have visited a dentist by the age of one, as recommended by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dental caries (cavities) are the leading chronic disease among Colorado’s children, and they are five times more prevalent than asthma. 

9Health Fair has stepped up its efforts to help children gain access to oral health. Each of the 15 Family 9Health Fairs this fall will offer fluoride veneers for kids and oral health screenings for adults and kids - at no cost! You can find a fair each weekend from September 13 through November 8.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found in the 2011-2012 school year that 39.7 percent of kindergarten children in Colorado had experienced dental caries.  In low-income and minority populations, early childhood caries is an epidemic and public health emergency; we are discovering that large health disparities do exist.

The good news is most oral diseases are preventable when habits like fluoride, teeth brushing, flossing and regular check-ups become a part of a child’s routine. 9Health Fair offers this important oral health screening, so find a fair  for you and your kids to attend this fall.

Fine-Tune Your Health with Blood Chemistry Screening

(This guest post is authored by Dr. John Torres of 9News)

Part of staying healthy is making sure problems are found before they start affecting you.  That means getting regular checkups that look at your overall health.  It also means getting blood tests to detect things early on before they start causing bigger issues.  9Health Fair offers a blood test known as the Blood Chemistry Screening that will give you a good picture of your overall health.  This simple blood test looks at a variety of substances in your blood and can tell your doctor information ranging from your cholesterol levels to how well you are managing your sugars and how well some of your organs are functioning. 

Even though you might not notice it, a high glucose level can be an early indicator of diabetes or a condition known as metabolic syndrome.  The Blood Chemistry Screening will look for that.  It also looks at your electrolytes, the basic minerals in your body, like your potassium and sodium, which essentially keep every cell in your body functioning normally.  The Blood Chemistry Screening also looks at how well your kidneys and liver are working.  Both of these organs might have issues that you wouldn't notice until they've caused other health problems.  The test also looks at your thyroid level, which can affect every part of your body.  One of the bigger issues with the thyroid is that it might be causing overall issues, like fatigue or weight gain, that can sneak up on you and you might not even realize it.  Once detected, this can be managed to bring the thyroid under better control.  Additionally, this test also checks your cholesterol level.  This is another thing you won’t simply notice because it doesn’t have any symptoms you can feel until you start having issues with heart disease or stroke.   

The Blood Chemistry Screening is easy to get, low-cost ($35) and can provide you and your doctor with a large amount of information that can help you both fine tune your health.  Get this screening at any Family 9Health Fair this fall!

Friday, September 12, 2014

King Soopers/City Market is Your Destination for Health and Wellness

(This guest post is authored by Mara McGuin of King Soopers)

People are always looking for easy solutions for balanced living, and King Soopers/City Market is the perfect place to find those answers. King Soopers offers a wide range of products and services that empower our customers to live and eat healthier, because Colorado’s health matters to us!
King Soopers is currently rolling out in-store Wellness Festivals developed by our team of registered dietitians that are free for the public! The festivals feature fun, interactive, and innovative educational booths throughout the store that highlight our outstanding, good-for-you products and services. There are also many delicious samples, giveaways, and valuable information on nutrition and healthy living. Click here for a list of Wellness Festival locations – we would love to see you there!
At the Wellness Festivals you will learn about the diversity of products and services available that make King Soopers your optimal destination for all health and wellness needs, including:
  • Produce: An affordable fresh selection of produce is available in every store, including a wide array of Colorado Proud and organic produce.
  • Natural & Organics: We offer a robust selection of Natural & Organics, including 30 Optimum Wellness Natural Vitamin Centers with Nutrition Specialists who help customers choose the best supplement for their needs.
  • Registered Dietitians: Six registered dietitians are on staff to develop wellness programs, and provide support to customers and associates in achieving nutrition-related goals.
  • Pharmacy: We have over 500 pharmacists, including specially trained patient care managers who provide health coaching & wellness services.
  • The Little Clinic: Located in 15 King Soopers stores, these clinics are staffed by Nurse Practitioners to provide convenient, affordable, quality options for Urgent care & basic health care needs.
  • NuVal: The NuVal scoring system available in every store, guides customers to healthier products by “trading up” – the higher the NuVal score, the better the nutritional value. Look for the tags!
  • HealthCENTERS: Automated HealthCENTERS are located near the pharmacy to provide an easy, user-friendly way for customers to track their key health indicators.
  • CU Health Partners: Our extensive community connections include a strong affiliation with the University of Colorado to offer the best health services. 

To learn more about how your health matters to us, go to https://www.kingsoopers.com/healthmatters  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Protect Your Indoor Space from Mold

(This guest post is authored by Joan Brown of Pinnacol Assurance)

This year, Colorado has seen increased moisture and some long-range forecasts say this year could be wetter than usual.  Mold flourishes in damp weather, so it’s important to make sure your indoor space is protected.  Mold growth may occur when excessive moisture accumulates indoors.  Molds have been associated with adverse health effects and can cause damage to building materials, finishes, and furnishings. Are your indoor spaces protected?

Molds are found almost everywhere in our environment, both outdoors and indoors.  Their spores float continually in the air we breathe.  When mold spores land on a moist surface indoors, they may begin to grow. Molds can grow on just about any substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are available. Mold growth may occur on building materials including carpet, ceiling tile, insulation, paper, wallboard, and wood.

Most people experience no health effects from exposure to mold present in the indoor and outdoor air. However, some individuals with underlying health conditions, such as allergies, asthma, sinusitis, and people with weakened immune systems may be more sensitive to mold. The most common health effects associated with mold exposure include allergic reactions.  Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, coughing, congestion, aggravation of asthma, and skin rash.

Moisture control is the key to mold prevention. Common sources of moisture indoors include plumbing, roof, and window leaks; flooding; surface condensation; and unvented humid spaces, such as crawlspaces, bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas. To prevent mold growth, eliminate or control all sources of potential mold growth by prompt cleanup and repair of all areas where water collection and leakage has occurred; clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24 to 48 hours; remove and discard absorbent materials that are contaminated, such as damp insulation, moldy ceiling tiles, and mildewed carpets; and clean and disinfect hard surfaces where mold growth has occurred, maintain indoor air relative humidity below 60 percent.

If you suspect that there is mold in your indoor space, consult www.epa.gov for more information.

Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60 percent) to decrease mold growth, as follows:
  • Vent bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside. 
    • Use air conditioners and de-humidifiers.
    • Increase ventilation
    • Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. 
  • Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, which may become moldy, may need to be replaced.
  • In areas with a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting – such as near drinking fountains or classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Keep Your Kids Focused - Get Outside!

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

As our kids head back inside for the fall and back to school, it is important to remember the benefits of outside play, specifically on their ability to focus in the classroom. Kids are spending less and less time outside and America is seeing a growing increase in childhood obesity and attention deficit disorders. Kids spend an average of 7 ½ hours “connected” to electronic media and only 4-7 minutes per day in unstructured play outside.

With more and more children being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, parents are often seeking solutions to curb symptoms so kids can be successful in school. Many parents resort to the usual medications and classroom plans but research is showing that there are simpler, healthier ways to help kids keep their focus – nature. A recent study showed that short, 20-minute walks outside in nature helped alleviate symptoms of ADD/ADHD, in kids who were both medicated and not medicated. Kids were able to return to tasks and focus for longer. Other studies and resources show that time spent in nature helped address the hyperactivity/impulsivity axis of ADHD. This, in turn, supported performance on objective tests for impulse control.

There are forums where parents are sharing similar stories of success using time outside to help their children have calm minds and focused attention. Many parents are using this technique in lieu of medication or on days when their child does not take medication.

While this is exciting news for parents of children with ADD/ADHD, it can also be key for parents whose children do not suffer from these disorders. The study done by the University of Illinois demonstrated that the increased focus benefit was apparent in children without a disorder as well. The calming nature of nature is helpful for kids across the board. So, get them outside and set them up for a successful year in the classroom! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Your Health is Everything

The wait is over!  The first fall Family 9Health Fair is September 13 at Saint Pius X Catholic Parish in Aurora from 7:00am to noon.  Find a fair close to you and register online to save time the day of the fair.  This fall, there are fourteen family-friendly opportunities to own your health around our area including Aurora, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Collins, Fountain, Fraser, Golden, Highlands Ranch,  Longmont, and Parker. 

Your Health is Everything - 9Health Fair Can Help You:

  • Enjoy more of the things you like to do:  Get the most out of each day.  Enjoy quality time with family, friends, and your favorite hobbies.  High quality screenings can help you avoid health issues that could slow you down and take time away from your family.  The body is very talkative with the right listening equipment.
  • Save money:  The CDC reminds us that eighty percent of chronic disease is preventable.  Tobacco use, limited physical activity, poor eating habits, and excessive alcohol consumption are  all culprits but can be addressed by each of us.  Change your statistics now with behavior modification and affordable preventive screenings that won’t break the bank.  Whether you have insurance or not, all are welcome.
  • Feel good:  Reducing your risk brings peace of mind that you are in control of your health.  Increasing your overall physical and emotional wellness will help you look your best and live energy-filed, pain free days.
  • Learn new healthy family traditions:  The Family 9Health Fair encourages the entire family to learn more about their health.  Whether you are modeling healthy behaviors for children, challenging them to a jump roping competition in the Wellness Activities Area, or helping those in your family manage current conditions, this is a time to own your health and be more active together.  Start the new school year off right.  Look for children’s height, weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, vision, hearing, and oral screenings at most fairs. 

Do you have time this fall?  It is not too late to volunteer and lend a helping hand in your community.  Sign up on the 9Health Fair website for both medical and non-medical openings and help spread the health!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Modern Day Treasure Hunt

Are you looking for a more creative, engaging way to get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity into your week?  Grab your family, smartphone or GPS device, and start up a modern day treasure hunt.  A recent study from Texas A&M suggested those that participate in geocaching (an outdoor seek and find game) not only reported an average of 130 minutes of activity per week, but an increase in physical and mental health as well.  It’s all about the chase.  Keeping your mind creatively active and having fun while gathering the health benefits of the great outdoors keeps you interested and moving more. 

Geocaching, once thought of for only the most dedicated outdoor enthusiasts who invested in a GPS device, is now mostly limited by interest.  Now with more than 2.4 million active geocaches hidden, chances are there are a few right where you live.  After dinner, spice up your family walk by looking for a treasure!

How to start your geocache adventure:

  1. Download the free smartphone app:  iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone 7
  2. Create a free account at www.geocaching.com for more interaction with fellow hunters
  3. Read all about game play, hints and tricks, and what to bring  HERE
  4. Search for geocaches in your area
  5. Have fun!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sit Less at the Office with 3 Easy Steps

You may not be aware that Americans sit approximately 14 hours per day while we are awake, much of which happens at work.  Sitting does not help insulin get glucose out of the blood and into cells.  Instead, cells will begin to resist insulin allowing glucose to collect in our blood, leading to diabetes.  This fall, 9Health Fair can show you where your glucose levels are as a baseline for change.   Even those that reach the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer if they spend the rest of the day in a chair. 

The idea that “sitting is the new smoking” was a conclusion primarily drawn by Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist for the Mayo Clinic, but has since grown in popularity with numerous corroborating studies.  Dr. Levine’s message is simple: get up more.  Exercise combined with less daily sitting seems to give the most complete health benefits.

How do we learn to stand and move more at the office?
Step 1:  Get up.  Your brain is in the habit of sitting in the office setting.  Set an alarm every hour to remind yourself to stand and stretch your muscles.  Incorporate resistance bands for extra office friendly movements.

Step 2:  Get up more.  Stand up while talking on the phone or eating your lunch.  Use part of a meeting to stand up in the back.  This simple act will also give you a boost of energy to remain alert and remember more of what you heard. 

Step 3: Once you’re up, move.  Master the art of meeting while walking.  Convert your office computer set up to a stand-up workstation.  Place raised shelves on your existing desk for a higher computer workspace.  Fifty more calories per hour are burned by standers than their sitting office colleagues.  In the beginning, only stand at your desk for a couple hours per day so your body has a chance to adapt and develop supportive muscles to prevent back, knee, and foot problems.  Consider comfortable shoes and a supportive mat to stand on as well.

Want to read more?  Check out these sites!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Come On, Get Happy: How getting outside improves your mental health

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

It has been a popular fact for years – getting outside improves your health! While there are a variety of reasons that the outdoors can improve your physical health, another critical benefit is the positive impact the outdoors can have on your mental health. The brain is the only organ that continues to substantially mature after birth. Nature can have a profound positive impact on that development.

Here are three amazing benefits the great outdoors gives your noggin:

1.     Easiest Vitamin D Intake - You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when the sun hits your face on a cool morning? Studies show it is much more than a good feeling. Sunlight on the skin triggers the creation of Vitamin D in the body. Responsible exposure for 10-15 minutes can help the body get all of the good stuff it needs.  Physical benefits of Vitamin D range from protection against osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke and even cancer.  Vitamin D also helps protect against depression and activates the genes that release dopamine and serotonin.

2.     Lower Stress and Increased Focus - Have you ever seen a stressed out tree? Of course not; nature is the antithesis of stress - and you can be too! The great news is that research from the journal Environmental Science & Technology shows it only takes five minutes to lower stress and improve self-esteem and overall mood.  This is especially effective when coupled with vigorous activity or being near water. Nature can help children increase focus and even reduce symptoms of ADD. Time spent outside also helps adults focus and increases work productivity.

3.     Nature Makes You Nicer!  With a boosted mood, people who are exposed to the outdoors and nature are actually nicer. Nature increases social feelings and a sense of value for community.  People who spend time outside build close relationships and even care more about others.

 So come on, get outside and get happy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

An Integral Role Played by the Colorado National Guard

Most everyone living in Colorado today can remember a time when the Colorado National Guard has stepped in to keep us safe and lend a helping hand in the darkest moments of natural or man-caused emergencies.  Floods, forest fires, and events such as the Aurora Theater or Columbine shootings bring out the best in these service men and women who have trained and taken an oath for the people of Colorado and the United States.

We are all acutely aware of our service men and women in times of crisis, but they are also at our service in many other ways, including helping communities all over the state own their health. Starting thirty-five years ago, 9Health Fair had a need to get hundreds of boxes full of medical supplies and materials to fair sites all over Colorado.  Colorado National Guard saw this need and realized it could lend a helping hand.  A perfect union was born!

Every year since, the Colorado National Guard has used delivering 9Health Fair supplies as a training exercise – this continues to be an opportunity to remain in peak performance with procedures for delivering materials and supplies during any number of emergencies Coloradoans might face today. 

“This affords us the opportunity to have a direct daily impact across our state and our local communities,” said Master Sergeant Roger Carstensen.  9Health Fair could not have asked for a more admirable partner with whom to pursue a mission of advancing health awareness. 

This year, 888 boxes of medical supplies and materials traveled with 34 Service Members on a combined journey of 9,200 miles to over 130 sites all across Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming.  Colorado pulled out all the stops this spring for weather, heightening the training experience for the service members.  The spring brought snow storms requiring chains on the semi rear drive axles to make it over mountain passes, followed by frequent rainstorms leading to near flooding conditions.  The National Guard still made it to their destinations right on time.

MSgt Carstensen mused that Air National Guard members always encounter great attitudes and personalities while delivering boxes.  Even having just met, some 9Health Fair site volunteers whisked the service members away to relax Colorado style after a long day’s work.  As a means to say thank you, the volunteers entertained the men and women of the 233rd Space Group at their homes and took them out to enjoy mini fishing expeditions.  

After supplies have been delivered and the 18-wheelers start rolling once again, the same sentiments seem to be had by all.  Full of gratitude and waving, volunteers and service members alike say they can’t wait to see each other next year! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

All Thanks to One Small Choice

Julia, a CPA by trade, had no idea where her gallbladder was in her body (like most of us), nor what the small pear-shaped organ’s function was. But, every spring, Julia makes a point to attend a 9Health Fair because she says it is an inexpensive way to check up on her health. 

Monday morning after a Saturday blood draw at Garden County Elementary, she was surprised to receive a phone call from a 9Health Fair medical professional.  Julia listened to unsettling news that she should immediately book an appointment with her doctor to investigate high liver toxins.  These numbers could indicate many different forms of liver disease, blocked bile ducts, or even liver damage by strenuous exercise.  She was symptom-free, so what was the next logical step?  After the knowledgeable and kind 9Health Fair volunteer explained it all, Julia knew she needed to act quickly - and she was right.

Gallbladders typically range in size between a small pear (before meals when the organ is full of bile) to a deflated balloon (after bile has been released into the small intestine to help with digestion.)  Julia was walking around with an overextended avocado-sized gallbladder without being the wiser.  After reading over the faxed lab results, Julia’s doctor initiated further testing and an ultrasound.  All of the new information pointed to one conclusion: the enlarged gallbladder’s time was up.  Julia was prepared for surgery.  Due to its size, Julia would part with the organ through a five inch incision in her abdomen instead of the less invasive laparoscopic approach.

Living without a gallbladder requires very little alteration to your lifestyle, but not catching an enlarged gallbladder in time can lead to infection, tissue death, or rupture.  Even though Julia did not experience nausea, vomiting, pain, or other ways the body signals a gallbladder problem, one simple blood draw at the 9Health Fair caught the stress signal in her blood.  Julia is now fully recovered and has not needed to cut back on spicy or high fat foods, dairy, caffeine, or alcohol, as some do.  She is back to enjoying all the summer activities Nebraska has to offer, thanks to the one small choice she made in the spring to own her health.  

Dehydration Myths

(This guest post is authored by Kate Jerman of Get Outdoors Colorado)

Coloradoans are excited to be outside all-year round, but this is especially true in the summer. Whether you are climbing a fourteener, paddling on the lake, hiking the local trail, or simply on a picnic at the park, it is important to know your hydration facts.  Living at elevation, Coloradoans are more susceptible to dehydration and therefore require more water to stay healthy.  Anytime you leave your house, don’t forget your water bottle.  Read on as Get Outdoors Colorado busts common dehydration myths.

  1. Myth: Dehydration Is Not Dangerous.
Fact: Wrong!  Not drinking water or not drinking enough water can have dire consequences from headaches and fatigue to more serious complications like swelling of the brain, kidney failure and seizures.  Dehydration symptoms can be especially problematic to identify in children. If you are hiking with little ones make sure to monitor their status closely.
  1. Myth: Thirst Is Not A Reliable Hydration Tool.
Fact: It is not reliable in all cases, but it is a good starting point to see where your body is.  When you exercise, for instance, your body’s thirst mechanism cannot keep up.  Be sure to drink water before, during, and after physical activities.  Maybe not the best summer fun, but monitoring urine color is a reliable way to tell if you are hydrated. Producing roughly six cups of colorless or light yellow urine each day likely means you are getting enough fluids.
  1. Myth: Staying Hydrated Eliminates Heat Stroke Risk.
Fact: While dehydration makes you prone to conditions such as heat stroke, hydration alone does not prevent it.  A number of other factors play a role, such as body size, exercise intensity, health conditions, age, humidity, and air temperature.  Hydration will greatly reduce your risk, but also pay attention to other contributing factors.

You know H2O is the way to go. There are numerous benefits of staying hydrated – mainly it improves your quality of life and keeps you healthy especially when you are playing outside. Keeping hydrated helps you maintain your body fluid levels, keep your energy levels up and keep you having a great time outdoors.

Want more?  Grab a water bottle and quench your thirst for outdoor adventure at:  www.getoutdoorscolorado.org

Beef: It's What's For...Breakfast!

(This guest post is authored by Colorado Beef Council)

Recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating a protein-rich breakfast, such as beef and eggs, boosts satiety and reduces hunger signals and brain activation responses involved with food cravings more than a typical ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Study participants, overweight late adolescents who normally skip breakfast, experienced a significant reduction in unhealthy evening snacking following a protein-rich breakfast.

Lean beef is a complete high-quality protein that contains all the essential amino acids your body needs for optimal health. Even better, a 3-oz serving of lean beef is about 150 calories on average and provides more than 10 percent of the Daily Value for 10 essential nutrients. Lean beef is a perfect partner for fruits, vegetables and whole grains, so it’s easy to enjoy more high-quality protein in your diet.

Is your mouth watering from the picture above?  Get the recipe from Colorado Beef Council here!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sabor Carnaval

With busy and hectic schedules, opportunities to connect with a natural environment can be hard to fit in.  Studies collected by Texas A&M Agriculture show nature can wake the mind and senses and help you improve your memory and attention span by twenty percent.  Capitalize on the health benefits on August 1 at the Denver Botanic Gardens - enjoy the flavor styles of 60 local restaurants for one of Denver’s most popular events, the 7th Annual Sabor presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver.  While nibbling on cuisine that is sure to dazzle your palate, take a stroll through the Gardens.  Let the music, art, flowers, and greenery remove the stressors of the day, leaving you feeling more alive and energized. 

The Denver Botanic Gardens is also currently home to the famed Chihuly glass outdoor sculpture exhibit.  During Sabor, burn extra calories walking beside vivid colors and dramatic glass shapes seemingly coming up from nowhere on land and pond alike.  The creations of artist Dale Chihuly will round out the festive atmosphere unique to this annual cultural experience.

WHEN: Friday, August 1, 2014 5:00pm - 9:00pm
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206

For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.sabordenver.com.

Be Swim Savvy

Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and remains an excellent low-impact exercise that decreases the risk of chronic illness, diabetes, and heart disease.  But for youth, it also has the distinction of being the 2nd leading cause of death overall according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Even though recreational facilities and water parks provide good safety equipment, children are not automatically safe.  Watch for and help them pay attention to how they feel and how comfortable they are being in the water.  Take the Pool Safety Pledge together and follow these steps for a safe and happier summer water experience.

Stay Safe by the Water with These Tips:
  • Watch children at all times and without distractions:  Drowning can happen so quickly - and quietly.  Supervisors should avoid alcoholic beverages and be free of phones, books, and other distractions.  Take turns with other responsible adults watching children so you too can harvest the physical benefits of this popular water activity.
  • Teach young swimmers how to swim:  Even though this is a great method to preventing accidents, children still need to be supervised while playing in and around water.
  • Have immediate access to life jackets: After putting on the jacket, if it moves more than 1 inch in any direction, the wearer needs a smaller size.  Air-filled or foam water toys such as “noodles” or “water wings” are not designed to keep swimmer’s safe.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration:  When swimming, it is harder to notice how much water you have lost through sweat.  Take note of anyone feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseated as these can be signs of dehydration.   
  • Monitor yourself and others for chills and muscle cramps:  It is possible to get too cold while swimming.  Water can quickly drop your body temperature resulting in hypothermia.  Chills and muscle cramps are warning signs to get out of the water and warm up.

Don’t forget to slop on sunscreen with SPF 30 or more while swimming outdoors and take shade periodically to avoid getting too hot. 

For more information, click on the links below:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How Well Do You Know Your Summer Trivia?

Can you score 100% on the University of California Berkeley’s Summer Savvy Trivia Challenge?  Let’s see how you do!  You may choose one or more responses for each if needed.

1.       Which of the following foods/beverages can help cool you off?
  1. Hot tea
  2. Ginger
  3. Chili peppers
  4. Cold water

2.       Which of the following is the least effective low-tech way to keep mosquitoes away in your backyard?
  1. Sit near an electric fan
  2. Burn a citronella candle
  3. Replace porch and deck lights with yellow bug lights
  4. Eliminate standing water

3.       How do you safely remove a tick?
  1. Hold a match to it
  2. Coat it with petroleum jelly
  3. Pull it straight out with tweezers
  4. Twist it out with tweezers 

4.       A “broad spectrum” sunscreen protects against which of the following?
  1. UVA rays only
  2. UVB rays only
  3. Both UVA and UVB
  4. Infrared rays

5.       After applying sun screen, how long should you wait before going out in the sun?
  1. 5-10 minutes
  2. 15-30 minutes
  3. 45 minutes
  4. You don’t need to wait at all


1.       ALL:  Have you ever started sweating after you drank hot tea, or after eating ginger or chili peppers?  Sweating is the body’s natural reaction to excess heat, even in the mouth.  Even though it seems backwards, foods that cause you to sweat will cool your skin and lower body temperature when the sweat evaporates.  A cold beverage is a better choice in humid locations where sweat does not evaporate as quickly.

2.       B:  Candles containing citronella, an essential oil derived from a geranium species, seems to be effective only when a person’s skin is in the smoky plume of the candle.  Since mosquitoes are slow, weak flyers, an opportunity to feed on you when an oscillating fan is nearby might not be possible.  Outfitting your house with yellow outdoor lights instead of white and keeping your yard free of standing water will also help to keep those pesky critters at bay.

3.        C:  Using fine tipped tweezers, gently pull the tick straight up until it releases the skin.  Covering the insect with petroleum jelly and holding a match to it are not effective methods.  Pulling the tick straight out ensures the mouth parts remain intact and lessen the chances of infection.  Ticks are commonly found at higher elevations in grassy fields, woodlands, and shrublands.  Here, Colorado tick fever is the most common disease (only 200 reported cases per year) given to us by ticks in our area.  No human cases of Lyme disease have originated in Colorado.   Read more about ticks and tick-borne diseases from Colorado State University.

4.        C:  When shopping for sunscreen, choose a “broad spectrum” lotion which is designed to protect against both UVA (causes skin wrinkling and age spots) and UVB (burns your skin).  Coloradans must be extra cautious when enjoying outdoor activities.  Due to the elevation, skin cancer here is a larger concern.  After a season of summer sunshine, skin professionals at 9Health Fair can help you at a fair this fall by answering any questions you have and reviewing anything suspicious looking.  Beginning in August, watch our website for a location near you that offers a free skin screening. 

5.        B or D:  It all depends on the ingredients of the sun screen.  If your lotion contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, they physically block the sun’s UV rays and are effective right away.  If the lotion has avobenzone or octisalate, these can take 15-30 minutes to soak into the skin and begin working chemically.  Regardless of which one you have, reapply it at least every two hours or more if swimming or sweating.  Even waterproof sun screens need reapplication after 40 or 80 minutes according to the directions.  Click HERE for more sunscreen facts!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

9Health Fair Brings Communities Together

Barely through recovery mode after the torrential September 2013 rains, a group of dedicated Volunteers in Lyons began organizing a 9Health Fair that would serve almost 400 people.  In the fall, roads to get to Lyons barely resembled their former selves.  Residents were without primary amenities such as water, electricity, and sewage.  Some people were evacuated all together, barred from returning to their home, unless they were issued a day pass that granted permission to do so.  National Guard sightings became as typical as the washed out roads themselves.

After the flood, “the whole leadership team went right into looking toward the future and how to continue to provide this great service,” said Jonelle Tucker, the Site Coordinator for the Lyons 9Health Fair.   In this role, Tucker oversees all aspects of the fair, including Volunteers, screenings, budget management, and logistics.  With even more diligence this year, she wrote (and received) a grant to cover blood work and pap tests for those who could not afford it.  Tucker was so “proud everyone stuck together to pull it off.  Some of our volunteers lost their homes, but they still came to volunteer.”  One such medical screener was paying a mortgage and renting a new home all at the same time.  When asked why he joined the fair to volunteer, he said he felt so blessed and overwhelmed by how much time and assistance the community had given him.  9Health Fair offered an opportunity to help those who helped him.

“The day of the fair was like a big party,” observed Tucker.  Fair participants and volunteers alike saw neighbors and friends, some for the first time since the flood, and exchanged stories and hugs.  “People went out of their way to find and thank a coordinator.” 

To many residents, it feels like a thing of the past now.  “You can’t even tell unless you drive through the canyon.  Life goes on,” Tucker reflected.  Despite incredible environmental odds, Volunteers of Lyons assembled together this spring all for the same reasons; to help one another take care of their health.  Tucker retires from the leadership team with this final extraordinary 9Health Fair experience.  Hats off to her and all of the other team members that made this fair a reality.

Sugar Surprise

Breakfast is still an important start to anyone’s day.  But can you guess what breakfast food might not be as healthy as you think?  If you guessed breakfast cereal you are correct (and more informed than the average parent.) Shockingly, it’s the fifth highest source of added sugar in children’s diets. Heading off to school or work after eating a sugary cereal might leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry much sooner than lunchtime.

According to the latest research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), children’s cereals have 40% more added sugar than those marketed to adults.  The average children’s cereal contains 2.5 teaspoons of sugar (or 40 calories) per unrealistically small serving size.  That is equal to eating three Chips Ahoy cookies…for breakfast.

EWG Recommends Looking for Three Things When Choosing Cereal:
·         Short ingredient list: the shorter the list, the less processed the food is.
·         Fiber content:  A good source of fiber will provide 2.5-5.0 grams of fiber per serving.
·         Very little added sugar:  Cereals with no more than 1-1.5 teaspoons (4-6 grams) of sugar per serving are best.  Watch out for hidden sugar in the ingredient list including honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, corn sweetener, sucrose, lactose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, and malt syrup.

Too much added sugar is a large contributor to child and adult obesity and diabetes.  9Health Fair monitors trends in these areas closely and provides adult participants with helpful screenings such as glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides.  Starting up again this fall, 9Health Fair will offer these screenings at various Denver area locations.  Bring your family and learn and own your health together.

The next time you are in the cereal aisle, don’t despair.  EWG reports Cheerios, Sesame Street’s C is for Cereal, regular and gluten free Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, and Crispix all containing 1 teaspoon or less of added sugar.  Enjoy breakfast cereal with a little less guilt!

Improve Family Health by Camping S’More!

(This guest post is authored by Bernard Taylor of Get Outdoors Colorado)

From setting up a tent and gathering firewood to hiking and exploring, camping has numerous health benefits for the entire family.  Get Outdoors Colorado teamed up with friends at The Coleman Company and the US Forest Service to bring the Denver community family-friendly and efficient camping tips! Here is what we found out from our friends:

Mother Nature is your Gym
·         Camping removes everyone from their screens and places them in the largest gym there is!  Activities such as canoeing and rock climbing will make your family “feel the burn” but have fun while doing it!  Whether you are staying the trail or just setting up your campground, you can burn at least 165 calories per hour and improve your overall health.

Grow in the Outdoors
·         Engaging your child in camping activities will increase self-esteem and add self- worth.  Try assigning your child meaningful tasks such as gathering firewood, steering the group the right way with a compass, or putting them in charge of ensuring your family leaves no trace

What’s Cookin’?
·         After a day of hiking, swimming, or playing, gather everyone for a healthy family dinner.  Provide a serving of lean protein by throwing chicken or fresh fish over the fire or portable stove. Pack vegetables, trail mix, and low-sugar granola to keep your family full of energy. Be sure to look over Smokey Bear’s camping safety guide and take the pledge as a family before your trip to prevent wildfires.

Nature is Affordable
·         You will quickly find that preparing your next camping trip can be affordable. Echo Lake Campground in central Colorado for instance is only $17 per day/night.  Save money by purchasing used camping equipment; especially if you are new to camping.  Craigslist, thrift stores, and yard sales can provide larger items such as a tent and camping stove.  After the one time purchase of gear, only campground fees, gas, food, and ice are left.  A weekend family getaway should cost less than $150. 

When deciding your next adventure visit www.getoutdoorscolorado.org or www.recreation.gov . Remember to check the weather before you depart the house.