Thursday, April 17, 2014

More than Meets the Eye

You probably know that 9Health Fair offers many free and low-cost health screenings and there are many sites to attend around Colorado and beyond.  However, there are many lesser known facts and reasons to go to a 9Health Fair.  For instance, did you know that you might run into a medical professional from your doctor’s office at one of the screenings?  Each medical volunteer helping at a fair has been professionally trained in their field and has chosen to donate their skills to benefit the community they live in. 

You also might not know that anyone age 18 or older can participate in a fair, even if they have insurance.  Fairs do not have an attendance cap so insured community members need not worry they are taking a space away from someone who does not have insurance.  Uninsured and insured alike are welcome to attend.

Even when you feel fine, checking on your health is still important because you could discover silent symptoms you might not be able to see or feel.  The skin is your largest organ and unfortunately you cannot easily see all of it.  Due to our elevation, Colorado has a rate of new skin cancer diagnoses 15% higher than the national average.  Melanoma can be tricky to spot in places such as your back, head, and the back of your neck and legs.  Many fair sites offer skin screening, so get checked out and know for sure.   

The most popular screening at each fair is still the Blood Chemistry panel for only $30.  This panel gives you 28 different values to manage the health of your liver, kidneys, bones, thyroid, and more.  Results from this same set of screenings will also give insight into the top silent killers in the United States.  Blood Chemistry will provide HDL (“good”) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose values.  Combined with blood pressure obtained at the fair, these numbers will let you know how your heart, blood vessels, and pancreas are working to circulate blood and metabolize sugars.  High values of LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, or glucose, if left unchecked, may contribute to heart disease or diabetes; sometimes without any symptoms.  Take your results to your health care professional for evaluation.

Lastly, you may not realize that a 9Health Fair is the result of a lot of hard work by volunteers in your own community.  Each site’s volunteers are excited to see their friends and neighbors take part in owning their health with screenings selected specifically by them for your community.  Show them you appreciate their hard work by going and supporting your local fair.  Bond together using your “I Own It” sticker in an annual experience that will help you and each of your neighbors learn more about individual health and how to stay active members of the community. 

Each fair is quite different depending on the community it’s serving, but there is always more than meets the eye.  Register for your fair today to discover secrets of your health and wellness.

Fast-track your 9Health Fair Experience from Home

The 9Health Fair season has begun! Start by finding a fair that’s just right for you.  Go to to put in your search requirements.  You can search by date, by location (city, county, or zip code), or by screenings that interest you.  When you hit “search,” all fairs that meet your requirements will be displayed with site location information, fair date, operating hours, and available screenings.  If you would rather speak with someone that can help you find a fair, simply call 303-698-4455 or 1-800-332-3078.  We are happy to assist you with any questions you might have.

After you find a fair, fast-track your 9Health Fair experience by registering and pre-paying online.  Why stand in a registration or cashier line the day of your fair when you could do the same thing at home over a cup of coffee or tea?   In the comfort of your own home, learn more about each of the fair screenings offered, create your own secure online 9Health Fair account, print off your fair registration, and pre-pay with a credit card for selected blood tests and/or colon cancer screening kit.  When you arrive, you can quickly pick up your materials at the online registration table and be on your way to enjoy the health fair.

One to two weeks after you attend the fair, your results will be delivered to you electronically through your personal 9Health Fair account.  This can be two weeks faster than if you registered the day of your fair.  Make sure to remember your account username and password.  You will be able to compare lab results from year to year, as well as email 9Health Fair staff directly with questions, or update your personal account information. 

Give yourself the luxury of staying in your slippers while you own your health this year.  See you soon!

Experience Joyous Relaxation with Yoga

Stress wreaks havoc on the body.   Cortisol and adrenalin are the hormones responsible for preparing your body for fight or flight.   If left unchecked, Mayo Clinic reports that these hormones will cause anxiety, depression, impaired memory and concentration, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure.  The human body cannot remain on constant alert for long periods of time without unhealthy consequences.  Improving your body’s resilience to everyday stressors through yoga can even prevent or reverse symptoms of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association

How exactly does yoga work on the body?  The age old practice of yoga is an intertwined trilogy of movement, breathing, and meditation.  Long, smooth breathing while moving through various yoga poses will allow the nervous system an opportunity to activate the body’s relaxation response.  Your breath, heart rate, and blood pressure all decrease, as does mental activity associated with the stress response.  Remember that feeling you get when you exhale after a big yawn?  The hairs on your arms and legs stand up and your body feels nothing but joyous relaxation?  That is the nervous system at work.  When the mind is at rest, it helps to condition the body and conditioning the body helps to relax the mind.  Each aspect of yoga has complementary benefits to the body and helps keep you focused, relaxed, and enjoying each day more fully.

Whether you have never tried yoga before or are an experienced yogi, come visit the 9Health Fair’s first Yoga Open, a Healthy Active Lifestyle Celebration at the Convention Center on May 4 from 7:00am-12:00pm.  This event will combine the fun and healthy activity of a yoga festival with proactive and scientific health screenings to help you perform at your peak level in yoga and in life.  All classes and workshops are free of charge but you must register to reserve your space. All participants must register. If you plan to purchase 9Health Fair screenings, you may register online and bring your form with you to the event. If you do not plan to purchase 9Health Fair screenings, please allow time to fill out a registration form on-site.

There are over 100 fairs yet to go this season.  Visit our website at to locate a fair nearest you.

For more information on the benefits of yoga, check out the following resources:

9Health Fair Yoga Open at the Convention Center

This year, 9Health Fair is adding a brand new event to help you take care of your body as well as your mind.  Get out and join us for the first ever 9Health Fair Yoga Open, a Celebration of Healthy Active Lifestyles at the Convention Center on May 4 from 7:00am-Noon.  This unique fair offers all of the same great screenings as other 9Health Fair sites, along with free yoga classes for all skill levels, healthy living exhibits, and other community resources for those who are interested in healthy, active lifestyles.  Yoga classes and workshops are all free of charge but you must register to reserve your space. If you plan to purchase 9Health Fair screenings, you may register online and bring your form with you to the event. If you do not plan to purchase 9Health Fair screenings, please allow time to fill out a registration form on-site, as a 9Health Fair registration form is required for all attendees.
This premier event will have all of the screenings you have come to expect from 9Health Fair.  The most popular screening is the Blood Chemistry.  For $30, you will receive 28 different lab values that give you a great snapshot of your overall health, including liver, kidneys, heart, and bone health, as well as thyroid, glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides.  Having this same panel of blood work done elsewhere would cost between $150-$200!  You may even recognize health professionals from your doctor’s office as all 9Health Fair medical volunteers are professionally trained in their field.  In addition to blood work, 26 additional screenings and services will be offered onsite at the fair.  From adult immunizations, breast, cervical, prostate, and testicular screenings, to blood pressure, vision, hearing, oral health, nutrition, and stress management screenings, there will be something for everyone to own their health.

In the Convention Center hall, 9Health Fair screenings will open into a yoga festival geared towards all experience levels and interests.  Bring a mat and come casually dressed and ready to move, breathe, and learn.  Starting between 7:15am and 7:30am, over 40 classes will be available:  5 conference-style sessions, 9 all-levels classes, 9 beginner classes, and multiple specialty yoga, wellness, and nutrition classes.  Sarah Teddy, Tyrone Beverly, Patrick Harrington, and Jay and Jimmie Hart are featured instructors along with many others from local yoga studios, health clubs, and health organizations who will be onsite to lead inspiring 25-45 minute yoga experiences.

For more information on this and other 9Health Fairs this season, visit  Join the Yoga Open Facebook conversation by clicking HERE.  See you on May 4th at the Convention Center!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gardening: Good for the Body and the Mind

(This guest post is authored by Kate E. Jerman of Get Outdoors Colorado)
Photo from Nutrition You Can Trust Pinterest board

Spring is in the air and it is the perfect time to start thinking about growing a garden or shopping at local farmers markets for fresh grown goodness! Get Outdoors Colorado is here to give you some tips on why getting your hands dirty is beneficial for your health.  Besides providing you and your family with tasty, healthy, locally-grown produce, gardening has other health benefits as well!  Gardening can provide stress relief, improve brain and mental health, and is a terrific form of mild exercise. Recent studies show that people who participate in gardening are less likely to be stressed and report better moods.  Scientists at CU Boulder also suggest that it is good for you to stick your hands in the dirt because the harmless bacteria found in soil may actually have uplifting effects on serotonin levels in the brain. Increased serotonin levels combined with the benefits of low-impact exercise means a happy and healthy gardener!

Researchers have found that gardening also has the ability to lower the risk of developing dementia. These findings are not definitive, but it is safe to say that gardening is a fun and productive activity that has the potential to sprout lasting impacts on health, relaxation, and stress reduction – not to mention putting tasty home-grown treats on your table!  Get inspired to get started in your own backyard by visiting local organizations such as Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Urban Gardens, or CSU Extension.

No space to garden? Don’t worry – check out metro Denver’s farmers market schedule so you know where and when to support local farms and feed your body healthy eats! Visit for more information on local gardening clinics and activities provided by our partners! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Create Healthier Work Environments with FruitRevival

(This guest post is authored by Sara Crocker of FruitRevival)

Although Colorado continues to be one of the leanest states in the nation, our waistlines are eroding – and our workplaces have something to do with it.  Does sitting all day, hitting the vending machine for a sweet treat, or getting stressed about a presentation with a big client sound familiar?

So how do employers shift to a healthier work environment?

For most it is about starting small: creating a smoke-free campus, encouraging walking meetings, offering healthy choices at the office and at catered events, and providing adjustable desks to allow workers to stand or sit.

Wellness matters to employers because a healthy workforce is more engaged and will save an employer money in the long run.  Employees who eat healthy are 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance, and absenteeism is 27 percent lower for workers who eat healthy and exercise regularly, according to a study by the Health Enhancement Research Organization.
FruitRevival is a local Denver company that was created specifically to assist Denver workplaces in becoming healthier.  By delivering hand-selected fresh seasonal fruit to Denver metro offices on a customized recurring schedule, FruitRevival makes it easy for employees to make a good snack choice during the work day.  And that choice, over time, matters a lot!   
Eating well at work is good for the employee and the employer.  FruitRevival’s turnkey service to Denver metro workplaces makes it easy and affordable to create a healthier work environment.  Think traditional coffee service, but much better!
“Our mission is to help make Denver workplaces healthier and more productive," says Melissa Edison, FruitRevival co-owner.  “Our primary service is fresh fruit delivery to offices on a recurring basis. We can provide fresh, healthy snacks for special events, we have a take-home program for employees, and we offer a range of beautiful, healthy gift box options. The bottom line is, we aim to make eating healthy in the workplace affordable, convenient, and delicious!”
Learn more about FruitRevival’s services at  or call them at 303-399-3039.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Persistence Pays Off

Sometimes, the best thing a doctor can provide is support for trusting our own instincts.  Samantha traveled to Windsor to attend a 9Health Fair that was doing free breast screenings.  With breast cancer 7 years in her past, she has remained vigilant and dedicated to receiving regular preventive care.  Samantha was greeted by a doctor in Windsor who was volunteering her time to perform the screenings.  The doctor felt a lump while screening Samantha and recommended she follow up with her regular doctor. 

Soon after the fair, Samantha was scheduled for an ultrasound and mammogram, but both came back normal.  She knew in her gut something wasn’t right and decided to follow up with the 9Health Fair doctor who first found the lump.  The doctor was skeptical of the “normal” result also and referred Samantha to a surgeon colleague for a second opinion.  Sure enough, Samantha’s breast cancer had returned.  She underwent a mastectomy this past July and is now cancer-free!

Samantha credits 9Health Fair and the skilled physician who examined her for her successful treatment.  Had she not made the trip to get checked out at the fair or received support from the doctor to be persistent, the lump would have had an entire year to continue growing.  Samantha feels there is no reason to not get preventative care; especially when it is free.  9Health Fair offers 35 free or low-cost screenings for adults 18 and older.  Check out which screenings are available at a fair near you this spring HERE.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Make the ACA Work for You with 9Health Fair

The Affordable Care Act – also known as the ACA or “Obamacare” – requires certain free preventive services to be included in your health insurance plan.  However, which services those are varies greatly based on age, gender, and risk factors.  

For example, the ACA preventive services do not cover any thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) screenings.  The American Thyroid Association reports that 20 million people currently have some sort of thyroid disease – 1 out of every 16 people – but 60% of them do not know they have it.  Last year, 9Health Fair was able to screen 68,429 people for over-active or under-active thyroids.  Almost 400 people had a critical result that warranted our medical staff personally calling them.  Without insurance, thyroid testing is very costly.  When you come to a 9Health Fair, you can select a 30 point blood inspection (blood chemistry) of the thyroid, liver, kidneys, heart, bones, and more for $30; no appointment needed and no hidden costs.  With comprehensive results in hand, you and your physician can begin health corrections if needed without follow up delays and additional costs.

We’re in our 35th season of putting your health in the palm of your hand with free or low-cost health screenings and blood tests.  With the help of trained healthcare professional volunteers, you make the decisions about which screenings may be right for you without the burden of referrals or paying large amounts up front for services not covered by your insurance.  9Health Fair removes barriers to cost and access to in-depth health information all in one place. 

One of our 130+ fair sites, the Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church, is offering 28 screenings in addition to Blood Chemistry on April 28.  Breast exams, oral health, height/weight/body mass index (BMI), lung function, nutrition, and vision and hearing are just some of the free screenings available there.  This site is also offering $20 colon cancer screening kits as well as $25 prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests for men.  The ACA does not require private insurance providers to pay for any of the above preventive screenings and only mandates coverage for colon cancer screenings for those over 50.  9Health Fair will save you valuable time and money all in one stress free, friendly environment.    

Find the fair closest to you by clicking HERE.  See you this spring to own your health!

Thinking of Skipping a Year? Think Again!

Susan agreed to go to her local 9Health Fair and get the popular Blood Chemistry screening, mostly to please her husband.  The couple had been regularly attending fairs for many years, but this year, Susan felt it was unnecessary.  Though she experienced some liver enzyme trouble in the past, she was feeling great with no symptoms or pain of any kind to prompt testing.  Surely she could skip a year! 

Due to the encouragement of her husband, Susan’s Blood Chemistry results revealed that not only were her liver enzyme levels off the charts, but she was also rapidly approaching liver failure.  Because her test results were so abnormal, a 9Health Fair medical professional called her personally to inform her of the results and to recommend that she see a doctor.  She followed up with her physician who ordered a liver ultrasound which led to an Autoimmune Hepatitis diagnosis.  Susan’s immune system was literally attacking her liver-- and she had no idea. 

Now, under the care of a gastroenterologist, Susan is receiving the care she needs to manage this condition and is doing very well.  When Susan reflects back on her hesitations, she shudders as she remembers she almost did not go to the fair.  Where would she be now?  How long would she go before noticing symptoms of her liver failure?  Another fair season is rapidly approaching and Susan has already used the 9Health Fair website to find out when her area’s fair will be this year.  There will be no more “skipping a year” for her!  

Attending a 9Health Fair This Spring? Thank a Volunteer!

Reaching through Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming, 16,000 volunteers are set to take the stage again this spring for one common purpose: to help others in their communities own their health.  9Health Fair is the largest volunteer agency in Colorado and one of the largest in the country.  Over 70,000 people gain access to free or low-cost health screenings due to this set of extraordinary individuals. 

What fewer know, however, is that 9Health Fair staff do not run the fairs.  Each of the 130+ sites has a strong volunteer team that carries out every aspect of their site, with guidance from the 9Health Fair staff.  Based on their community’s needs and wants, site coordinators decide which screenings to offer, the most effective marketing strategies for the community, and how the overall fair will run on the chosen day.

Wendy and Caroline, volunteers from Lakewood and Pagosa Springs respectively, started volunteering in a leadership role with 9Health Fair for very different reasons.  Wendy loved the chance to get involved and educate her community, while Caroline hoped to once again use her gift of volunteer management and guidance to accomplish something great.  Each site’s leadership team puts in long hours starting months before the actual fair date, but that is not what Wendy and Caroline remember most.  Unanimously, they shared with 9Health Fair that they like seeing the difference they can make in the community.  “I love the opportunity to use my nursing training outside of regular work to help demystify health and break down common health misconceptions,” Wendy said.  Caroline wanted her work to be meaningful and important and has found that with 9Health Fair.  “I love working with the other volunteers and meeting new people.”

When you come to a fair this year, thank a volunteer.  Everything you see and participate in, they organized for you.  Each decision they made was with you in mind.  They wanted to create the best event possible for you to own your health with ease.

If you want to join with others making a difference, there is still time to volunteer with the 9Health Fair this year.  Click HERE to get started and welcome aboard!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Bear Necessities

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

Get Outdoors Colorado is busting a springtime myth to help you get outside with one less wildlife anxiety.  Although there may still be snow on the ground, spring means black bears are coming out of hibernation in Colorado and they will be looking for food.

Myth: Bears coming out of hibernation are more ferocious because they are hungry.

False: They may be hungry, but not for you!  Fresh out of hibernation, bears are looking for grasses, insects, cabbages, roots, berries, fish, or small rodents.  Black bear attacks are very rare. There have been only 61 black-bear related deaths since 1900 in the US. This means your chances of dying from a bee sting, a domestic dog attack, or a car accident are much higher than a bear attack. In fact, of the estimated 750,000 black bears in North America – they kill less than one person per year – and seldom attack unless they feel threatened, cornered, or provoked.

To avoid a close bear encounter – be Bear Aware!  If you do see a black bear, stop, do not run, stay calm, and pick up any small children. If you see cubs, their mother is usually close by, so leave the area immediately. Make a lot of noise so they know you are around and back away slowly. The most likely places to see these bears are around campgrounds because they are searching for food.

You should never feed a bear or leave food out for a bear. Making food available to a bear, even a single time, teaches the bear to associate humans with food. Once a bear learns this association, it can become a returning nuisance and wildlife officers must euthanize the bear. Before you go camping, check with your national forest or park and follow the guidelines for food storage so you don’t run into a an un-bearable encounter! Visit the Myths and Facts at the Get Outdoors Colorado website for more answers to commonly asked outdoor myths.

Looking for something fun and active to do outside? Visit to find your next outdoor adventure – for free! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

(This guest post is authored by Julie Moore of Colorado Beef Council)

It is National Nutrition Month and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants you to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”. Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another.  However, it’s important that we find the balance between choosing foods we like with those that provide the nutrients we need.

There are plenty of delicious nutritious foods, combining both taste and nutrition for optimum health, and lean beef is one of them! Everyone has a “top 10” and beef’s big 10 includes:

1. Iron – helps your body use oxygen
2. Vitamins B6 – helps maintain brain function
3. Vitamin B12 – helps maintain brain function
4. Zinc – helps maintain a healthy immune system
5. Choline – supports nervous system development
6. Phosphorus – helps build bones and teeth
7. Protein – helps preserve and build muscle
8. Niacin – supports energy production and metabolism
9. Selenium – helps protect cells from damage
10. Riboflavin – helps convert food into fuel

Combine this power pack of nutrients with beef’s great taste and you are “enjoying the taste of eating right”! Visit for more great tasting recipes or LIKE our Facebook page at  and we will send you great recipes, health tips and some fun!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Holistic Approach to Healthy Aging

(This guest post is authored by Michael Lockwood, PA of IPC/Senior Care of Colorado)

The term “holistic” comes from the Greek “holism,” which means all, whole, entire, total.  A holistic philosophy encompasses the entirety of an interdependent system. It recognizes that each aspect has an effect on the whole. Taking a holistic approach to aging can make the process more enjoyable and fulfilling. It’s not how long you live - it’s how well you live. 

Here are some ideas to help you feel balanced and well.
  • Make an effort to stay active and engaged. Everyone wants to feel important, loved, and needed; this may be especially true as we get older. It can be all too easy to stay in and become isolated and depressed.
    • Take advantage of social opportunities.  
    • Nurture your relationships with family members, neighbors and old friends.
    • Volunteer your time. 
    • Practice your faith.
  • See your primary healthcare provider regularly.  Stay on top of your healthcare visits and communicate openly with your provider about any and all physical concerns you may have. This is true whether you have ongoing medical concerns, or if you are feeling great. 
  • Feed yourself a healthy, nutritious diet.  Stay away from highly processed, packaged, fast and fried foods; instead, eat your fresh fruits, veggies, grains, and lean proteins. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Regardless of age, the body needs good, sound sleep to restore and recover. A brief catnap during the day is okay, but don’t overdo it. Staying active during the day will help you sleep well at night. Use sleep aides sparingly—they can sometimes do more harm than good.
  • Exercise regularly within your ability. Regardless of whether you’re walking, doing a seated exercise class, or maybe even yoga or a round of golf, exercise has great benefits to the mind and body. It will help keep you physically strong and flexible while feeling good mentally and emotionally. Just check with your medical provider before starting any new strenuous activity to be sure it is appropriate for you.
  • Stretch your mind. Exercising your mind is helpful in staving off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Keep your brain agile and fit by challenging it with crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Join a book club. Teach your grandson chess. Sitting in front of the television does not qualify!
  • Spend time with Mother Nature. Fresh air and sunshine are good for us! Whether sitting outside in the courtyard for an hour, going for a leisurely walk through the neighborhood, or attending your grandchildren’s soccer game, get outdoors when you can. (And wear your sunscreen.)
Our “golden years” can be some of the best times of our lives if we allow them to be. As you face day-to-day challenges, remember that everything you do affects your whole being. Even small steps in a positive direction can have a profound impact on your life as a whole. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Art of Healing

If you love art, you may already know what scientists are now discovering.   Strong connections are being made between viewing or participating in the arts and a reduction in stress, depression, and anxiety.  The artistic process puts focus back on the person as a whole, rather than on individual symptoms or chronic illness.  Writing, music, and art can rid the brain of cortisol, the stress hormone, allowing the body to relax and heal itself.  The American Journal of Public Health reminds us that “through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing.” 

Experts are also delving further into the study of neuroaesthetics – how the brain responds and processes a work of art.  Scientists learned that human brains engage the motor cortex more while viewing art pieces; the brain engages as if it were doing the actions depicted on the canvas.  Could this be a contributing factor that helps psychological ailments, like a form of mental exercise?  Much more research is needed in this budding field of study. 

Here’s an idea to combine art and exercise: Head to the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.  Three fine art galleries await you there and the best part is it is all free!  After walking through the 10,000 square feet of indoor galleries, absorb some vitamin D outside on a walking tour to five locations on the Arvada Center grounds to view 17 additional art pieces.  You are sure to enjoy the stroll and contributions to your health.

If you find you need a bit more help reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, come to a 9Health Fair this spring to speak with a health care professional for free.  They will work with you and give you resources to start you on a calmer, more relaxed lifestyle path.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Young Adults: Health Insurance is About Being Prepared for the Unexpected

The Colorado Division of Insurance wants everyone to know about the importance of having health coverage, including young people. As younger folks tend to be healthier, they may ask, “Why do I need health insurance? Isn’t it just for sick people?” But health insurance is more than just about staying healthy; it’s about being prepared for the unexpected.

Coloradans are active. They ski, bike, climb mountains and don’t plan on getting hurt. Yet something as simple as a broken leg can cost several thousand dollars to treat.

It’s not just recreational activities that pose a risk. When you’re sick, you need to have access to medical care. Health insurance provides the security of knowing that you can get medical care when you need it and that you won’t face major medical bills that could threaten your financial future.

Here are some important points to consider when thinking about health insurance.

  • If you are under 26 years old, you can still be covered on a parent’s plan. In addition, many colleges and universities offer health insurance.
  • Medical bills are the top cause of personal bankruptcies. The average cost of a three-night stay in a hospital is $30,000.
  • The deadline for individuals and families to sign up for health coverage in 2014, whether through Connect for Health Colorado, through an agent or directly from an insurance company, is March 31.

Most importantly, the Division of Insurance recommends preparing for the unexpected by knowing your health insurance options and getting covered. If you have questions about what to look for in a plan or general questions about how health insurance works, the Division of Insurance can help. Visit us at or call us at 303-894-7490 / 1-800-930-3745 (outside of the Denver metro area).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cuisine Celebration

Denver Restaurant Week is fast approaching, but it does not have to put a kink in your healthy eating habits if you decide to participate.  There are many healthier options provided that offer lean meats, steamed vegetables, salads, and sorbets for dessert.  Vegetarian and gluten free options are plentiful as well.  Denver Restaurant Week is a celebration of the culinary scene in Denver which offers discounts on unique, high-quality dishes.  From February 22-28, over 200 restaurants will be offering their best dishes for the fixed price of $60 for two, or $30 for one (prices do not include tax or gratuity).  Search by cuisine or by neighborhood to find the perfect restaurant for you and your family! 

Great Plates of Downtown is the annual celebration of the authentic and diverse restaurants that can only be found in Old Town Fort Collins. This year, from March 1-14, participating restaurants offer dinner specials for $25 to showcase special recipes and ingredients.  Not only will you enjoy a delicious meal out in the historic setting of Downtown Fort Collins, you will also have a chance to support the Food Bank of Larimer County with a special donation. 

Celebrate the unique restaurants that are in your home community, and let someone else do the dishes!  Carving out a chunk of time for yourself and your loved ones to connect over a delicious meal will leave you feeling refreshed and recharged.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fall in Love with the Outdoors

February is American Heart Health Month and a perfect time to fall in love! How about falling in love with the outdoors? Recent studies have shown that physical activity in the U.S. is down by 32%, so 9Health Fair and Get Outdoors Colorado have teamed up to bring you fun and new ways to enjoy the outdoors and get active! Not only will exercising outside give your body an opportunity to improve cardiovascular health and overall fitness, you’ll also get a firsthand look at all of the beauty that Colorado has to offer.

To go along with Heart Health Month, Get Outdoors Colorado has selected two favorite outdoor options: the Trickster Tales class organized by Boulder County Parks and Open Space, and the Emerald Mountain Snowshoe Tour in Steamboat Springs from Yampatika Winter Nature Tours.  Both activities are great opportunities to get outside, engage your brain, and keep your body (and heart!) healthy and active.

Get Outdoors Colorado is a nonprofit partner collaborative dedicated to helping people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities get outside and live healthy, active lifestyles – and find an adventure or two! Get Outdoors Colorado created a free, online resource where you can find your next outdoor experience. Explore the site to find a comprehensive list of outdoor activities happening all around the state. Some activities currently featured are snowy hikes, snow shoeing, skiing, and educational and volunteer opportunities. Search by location, activity preference, calendar date, or skill level, then click on the activity to learn more.  The site will even email you a reminder to get outside and fall in love with the outdoors! Don’t let the cold air stop you from activating your heart and health with some trail hiking, skiing or snow shoeing this month!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Resource Roulette

To learn more about heart disease or how to reduce cholesterol intake, how do you navigate through 644 million active websites to find the few that will provide true, evidence-based suggestions and guidance?  To start with, select websites that end in .gov, .org, or .edu.  These sites have a higher chance of being trustworthy.  In addition, MedlinePlus, a website resource from the National Institute of Health, gives the following criteria on what to look for in a health website. 

Who is the website provider?
  • Find the “About Us” section.  Look for information about the organization’s purpose and strong evidence that they are staffed by experts.  Do they list contact information?
Who pays for the site?
  • Does the site seem to favor a sponsor?  Did the sponsor pay for the cited research?  Advertisements are not necessarily bad, but they should be labeled as such and not part of the site information.
What kind of information quality will the site provide?
  • Look for phrases such as “review process” or “editorial board.”  The information also needs to be based in cited research, not author opinion or unsupported research claims.  Look closely to find a date the website was last updated.  Health information changes rapidly so old websites will not be as accurate.
Will the site collect your personal information?
  • If the site does collect personal information, what will they do with it?  Locate the site’s privacy agreement.  Only share your personal information with the site if you are comfortable with how they will use it.
Click HERE for a closer look at how to choose health resources.  The guide from MedlinePlus uses fictional website examples and a step by step tutorial on how to determine a site’s trustworthiness.

The 9Health Fair website, our medical practices, and all written information received from our office or fair site are fully approved and reviewed by professional medical staff and are overseen by our Medical Advisory Committee.  Each health resource provided to you meets the above criteria as well as our internal medical review process.  We also would like you to know how we handle your personal information by reading our privacy and security policy.  If you have questions about your health, start with us.  We can help connect you to the information you need.

Rainbows Taste Delicious

Do you eat an apple a day?  While that is certainly good for you, experts say “no single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy.”  Harvard School of Public Health says eating a variety of produce rich in natural colors of the rainbow has many health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, lower risk of some cancers, fewer digestive problems, and better blood sugar regulation.  So, which fruits and vegetables are the best?  The American Heart Association simply states, “they’re all good!”  If you eat with variety in color, you will get all the necessary nutrients needed for healthier living. 

The AHA also reminds us that quantity is just as important as quality.   They recommend eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day in order to eat enough nutrients from the rainbow of choices.  That boils down to 4 ½ cups of produce per day.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created this visual,itemized list to help determine what a cup of fruits or vegetables really looks like.

Try to eat all colors of the rainbow each day:
  • Eat red:  Tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, red grapes, pomegranates, cranberries, and red apples.  Count in tomato sauce and tomato juice but choose no added salt or low sodium versions
  • Eat orange/yellow:  Carrots, pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash, mango, apricots, cantaloupe, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, peaches, papaya, pineapple, nectarines, and yellow apples
  • Eat green:  Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, bok choy, avocado, spinach, kale, green beans, green peppers, kiwi, collard greens, mustard greens, and green grapes
  • Eat blue/purple:  Blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, plums, prunes, purple figs, raisins, and eggplant
  • Eat white:  Garlic, mushrooms, onion, chives, cauliflower, bananas

If you find your child needs a bit of encouragement when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, try out these hints from Whole Kids Foundation:
  • Draw a rainbow on a sheet of paper and bring it to dinner.  Give your child crayons or colored pencils in order to draw in all the colorful foods they can find in their meal.
  • Serve a weekly “rainbow dinner.”  Try to have every color represented and challenge your child to find them all.
  • Have your child be responsible for the shopping list in the produce section.  Instruct them to pick out fruits and vegetables that will cover all colors of the rainbow.

To read more ideas on how to get children to eat more of the rainbow, click HERE.

For more fruit and vegetable information, visit

Monday, February 10, 2014

Five Things to Know About Your Health Insurance Policy

Health insurance is important… and complicated, but consumers need to understand what they purchased.  Don’t wait for a crisis to find out what is and isn’t covered in your health insurance policy.  As people take the time to read their policies, the Division of Insurance (DOI) suggests the following 5 areas as key starting points to better understand health insurance.

·         1. Know what the policy covers and does not cover. Are there items or services the insurance will not cover (known as exclusions and limitations)? If consumers have specific health issues which require certain providers, lab work, and particular prescription drugs, they need to understand how, and if, those expenses are covered.

·        2.  What is the deductible and what time period does it cover? The deductible refers to the amount of money that the covered person needs to pay before the health insurance pays for services and procedures. Generally, a higher deductible means a lower premium.

·         3. In addition to the premium, what are the other financial responsibilities? Is there a co-payment for a visit to a health provider or for prescription medication? Does the plan use  co-insurance? If so, what amount does the consumer pay? What is your out-of-pocket maximum? The health insurance policy should state the consumer’s financial responsibilities.

·         4. Does the insurance plan offer coverage for out-of-network doctors? While many plans offer coverage when out-of-network doctors and providers are used, some do not, except for emergency care.  Out-of-network coverage often requires different co-pays, co-insurance and deductible amounts.

·         5. Understand how the health insurance policy may be renewed or cancelled by the consumer or the insurance company. Consumers need to know what they need to do each year to renew the policy, or if it renews automatically.

Consumer Assistance
The DOI is an information resource for consumers.  People with questions or who feel they have been treated unfairly can call DOI or visit our website.

Call 303-894-7490 in the Denver area; 800-930-3745 outside the metro area, or visit:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Valentine’s Day: Denver Style

Want to spend Valentine’s Day a little differently this year?  Here are some suggestions that will take you out and about around Denver with perfect opportunities to spend time with your family or someone special.  You won’t even notice you are getting a bit of exercise too!

Full Moon Snow Hike:  February 14, $2.00 per person, 5:00-6:00pm, 15600 W Morrison Road, Lakewood, CO
  • Join a Bear Creek Lake Naturalist on a memorable hike under the full moon.  This adventure will use your night time senses to experience the park trails and green spaces as you have not seen them before.
  • What to bring: Hiking shoes, trekking poles/walking stick, water, camera, appropriate clothing for the weather.
  • Register online here by February 10th.  Use activity #: 159945-02

Bunk with the Beasts - I Love the Zoo:  February 14-15, $65 per member/$75 per non-member
  • This kids-only event is perfect for parents wanting to get away for the night!  Your child will visit with the animals, make one animal a special valentine, and have fun sleeping over at the zoo!  This event includes a pizza dinner, snack, and full breakfast.
  • Register online here.

Ice skating at Skyline Park: Now through February 16, $2.00 skate rental, 16th and Arapahoe in Downtown Denver
  • Valentine’s Day weekend is the last weekend for ice skating at Skyline Park in Downtown Denver.  Rent or bring your own skates and enjoy Downtown Denver’s outdoor skating experience.  With many restaurants all within walking distance, you can grab a bite before or after skating with family or someone special.
  • For more information and frequently asked questions, click here.

For more activity ideas in and around Denver, check out the following resources:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Young, But Not So Invincible!

Taylor, a 10-year veteran volunteer for 9Health Fair, was incredibly surprised last spring when she received her Blood Chemistry screening results.  She was not experiencing acute symptoms and had recently undergone routine testing with her primary care physician.  Thankfully, the 9Health Fair Blood Chemistry screening - featuring 28 levels - is more comprehensive than typical screenings.  As a result, Taylor’s thyroid result came back flagged as high.  After taking the results to her doctor, Taylor was diagnosed with hypothyroidism; a condition where the thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone.

Looking back, Taylor realized her symptoms had been a slow downward slide.  She didn’t realize how little energy she had and how tired she really was.  She worked with her doctor and began medication to help her thyroid function better.  Now Taylor reports a 50% increase in energy compared to this time last year and she believes she has found just the right dose of medication for hormone maintenance.

Now that it is almost spring fair season again, Taylor is gearing up for another year of making a difference in the lives of others by volunteering at her local 9Health Fair.  However, this year her perspective is different.   She knows firsthand just how important it is to take care of her health.  The body does not always let you know right away when something is wrong.  Even if someone is young and feels healthy, Taylor wants others to know the Blood Chemistry screening is worth it to know for sure.

Has your life been positively impacted by a 9Health Fair?  Share your inspirational story here!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Breathe Easier with 9Health Fair

As a “snowbird”, Pam gets the best of both worlds – the warm, colorful summers of Colorado, and the mild, sunny winters of Arizona.  It was just a few years ago, as winter was winding down in Arizona and she made plans to migrate back to Colorado, that she noticed a shortness of breath – and it wasn’t going away.  Slightly concerned, she pondered her next move.  Her symptoms weren’t severe enough to warrant spending hundreds of dollars on a spew of diagnostic tests, but her conscience told her to not ignore this warning sign. Pam was put at ease when she remembered that her arrival back in Colorado timed perfectly with the start of the 9Health Fair season, and perhaps there was a free screening she could do there.

Sure enough, the 9Health Fair she attended offered a free lung function screening.  A medical volunteer suggested this test after she described the breathing trouble.  The test was simple enough – she was instructed to blow into a tube with all of her might.  She pictured herself blowing hard enough to sway the leaves of the Arizona palm trees.  Within just a few minutes, the results were ready - her lungs were only working at 70%, and a visit with her primary care physician should be scheduled.

A few weeks later, her primary care physician delivered the diagnosis – Pam had lung cancer.  She didn’t smoke, and maintained a healthy lifestyle – how could she have lung cancer?  Her initial confusion and anxiety were mildly calmed when her doctor shared that because the cancer had been detected early, he was confident that surgery would remove the cancer successfully, and chemotherapy or radiation would not be necessary.

The surgery went well, and before she knew it, she was back at her doctor’s office.  This time, hoping to hear good news.  “During a recent follow-up visit with my thoracic surgeon, I wanted to hear the ‘C-word’ – that I was CURED!” Pam says. “He was cautious to not say that promising word, but instead shared with me that I was in remission!”

9Health Fair celebrates this great news and wants to help Pam share this story to urge everyone to go to a 9Health Fair!

Has your life been positively impacted by a 9Health Fair?  Share your inspirational story here!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Make Your Resolutions a Reality

Three of the top ten resolutions people made this year are directly related to health: lose weight, stay fit and healthy, and quit smoking.  At the end of this year, how can you be one of the 46% who are able to turn a New Year’s resolution into a reality?  In addition to setting realistic goals, having an accountability buddy, and taking small steps all throughout the year, the best place to start is by knowing your numbers.  

I was certainly aware of 9Health Fair before coming to work here, but I could not imagine the extent of their impact on people until now.  Coming up in a few short months, 9Health Fair will be entering its 35th year of providing free or low-cost health screenings all across Colorado.  As someone working on a health resolution myself, I plan on attending one of the fairs in April. 

While researching my thyroid (TSH) test, I discovered I will receive results for 28 other tests all from the $30 Blood Chemistry screening.  Furthermore, there are over 30 other screenings available, including blood count, vitamin-D, blood pressure, and colon and prostate cancer screenings - depending on which site you go to.  Approximately two weeks after I attend the fair, I will be provided with a list of my entire test results (TSH, iron, glucose, potassium, calcium to name only a few), how to interpret them, and how to access health care professionals for questions. 

Armed with your numbers, you can refine your goals for the year based on what is most important for you and your body; it is one of those small but really valuable steps!  I personally look forward to being one of the 74,000 people who will be impacted and empowered by 9Health Fair to make changes or consider other actions to improve my health this year.

Keep an eye on our website as we continually update it this spring with 9Health Fair sites and information.

Magical Wonderland Returns to Breckenridge

Transitioning from the holidays to the cold grasps of January can bring unwanted winter blues. Consider reducing stress, fatigue, and depression by taking in the sights and walking through a winter wonderland garden in Breckenridge.  The International Snow Sculpture Championships bring 16 teams from 13 different countries  in to turn 12 foot high, 20-ton blocks of snow into mesmerizing glaciers of culture and detail all within 65 short hours.  This “worldwide artistic camaraderie” is among the top 200 best international events and has been featured on CNN, the Today Show, and National Geographic. 

The event lasts three weeks with each week having its own highlights of excitement and draws.  Technical Week runs January 13-17 where you can observe all 16 blocks of snow being constructed and placed.  Sculpting Week, Jan 21-25, naturally draws the largest crowd as the artists are actively creating their snowy masterpieces.  If you would like to enjoy all that this festival has to offer without the crowds, Breckenridge recommends Viewing Week, January 26-February 2.  The artists have ended their work, but each sculpture remains on display (weather permitting).

Here’s what you need to know if you go:
  • The event is completely free!
  • The sculpture garden will be around the Riverwalk Center at West Adams Avenue, Breckenridge, CO 80424.
  • Runs from January 21 through February 2 (Judging is on Saturday January 25)
  • Dress warmly with high traction shoes!  This is an outdoor event.

Read more about this spectacular snow event or book a room to stay: