More than Physical Health

by Jasmine Wise

Last Thursday I was invited to a Pilates class at the Baylor Stadium by one of my dear friends in Waco. Neither she nor I had any idea what to expect.  Even as we pulled up I questioned her on things like, shoes or no shoes; does it cost or not; where exactly is the class? She knew none of those answers.  The whole thing was a surprise to us both. We walked up the hill toward the Robert Griffin III statue and saw people preparing themselves for the class by placing mats on the ground and directing their children about what to do while they were working out.  The instructor was introducing himself.

exercise class infoAt first, I was so excited for this free exercise class and to stretch out my body that I didn’t notice much about the other people stretching out around me.  I soon realized something was different about this class. This was not an ordinary free workout for those associated with Baylor. This was a Waco community workout.  The workout students were a diverse group of people. I do not mean in exercise level. (But there were some people doing level three the entire time, and it wasn’t me).  I mean in class, race, and gender. I saw people from all ends of the spectrum.  I do not want to speculate what those people did for a living nor their education level, but let’s say we represented Waco.  You had my friend and I both childless African American Baylor graduates and the middle-aged Hispanic women next to me with her three children.

I took particular interest in two women. The first was a middle-aged white woman with two middle school-aged children. Honestly, the reason I took interest was negative. Both of the children were right in front of my friend and their mats kept blowing towards her. I was confused as to why neither the woman nor her kids tried to stop them. The mat blowing towards my friend thing happened a few times. I must admit, at first I was frustrated. I take exercise seriously! This seemingly unnecessary distraction was messing with my workout!

God quickly quieted my spirit and reminded me that this is the Church. This is what the community I say I want to be a part of looks like. There are Hispanics mothers, black men, Baylor students and graduates, all sharing the same space.  I quickly got over my frustration, changed my attitude, and continued exercising.

The second women I took interest in was a black woman in her late 50s or early 60s.  She sat elevated in the back of class.  She was not on the ground for apparent health reasons and could not complete all of the exercises.  Her determination to move and get healthy inspired me.  She never quit moving, and I saw focus on her face as she completed each exercise.  She gave me some new perspective on health. She showed me that every little bit helps. My only regret from this day is not talking to her. I should have asked her about her life, what brought her out on that day, what her family is like? I let this moment pass by.

When you are a part of something great you do not always realize until you take a step back.

I reflected on the experience the next day. I gained more appreciation for the town I live in.  I loved Waco before.  I love it a little bit more each time I interact with its people. This day was no different. This one event showered me with lessons. I realized how important it is to model healthy behaviors for the next generation as mothers exercised in front of and with their children.  I saw diverse groups coming together with a common goal and nothing negative happened…something that felt like a contrast to what is happening in our country right now.  I saw how important it is to take opportunities for conversation when they arise. These conversations create bridges across lines that usually divide us.  This community workout is ripe with men and women from different backgrounds. Imagine what I could have gained from talking to that older lady for five minutes.


Jasmine WiseBy day, Jasmine Wise is a graduate student in the department of Sociology at Baylor University working on her Ph.D in Applied Sociology. By night, she is a youth leader at Acts Church in Waco, TX. By weekend, she develops her passions for public speaking, growing churches, developing communities. She wrote her first book, “Confessions of a Sinner”, in the Summer 2015. If you want to get in contact with Jasmine, please visit her website: drjkaw.com.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Healthy Outdoor Summer Celebrations

By Meilana Charles

Even as the Waco temperatures rise into the triple digits, many holiday celebrations still move outdoors. Here are a few tips on how to have happy, healthy summer celebrations outdoors.

my plateEnjoy healthy options– Incorporate My Plate into the menu. Replace food high in sugar, salt and saturated fat with 100% whole grain, fruits, vegetables and lean meat and seafood options. Try fruit parfaits, grilled vegetable kabobs, 100% whole wheat buns and salmon patties. Additionally, use smaller plates to help with portion control.

Incorporate physical activity into the celebration-After the meal, enjoy the warm weather by going on a brisk walk with family members, have a scavenger hunt, play tug-of-war or have a jump rope competition.

Keep water handy-Stay hydrated by sipping on cold water instead of soda or other drinks. Too many caffeinated beverages are high in sugar and calories and can lead to dehydration. Try alternating caffeinated drinks with water.

 Keep food safe-To reduce the chance of foodborne illness, use the four food safety principles-Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.

  • Clean – Wash hands by using warm water and soap for 20 seconds before rinsing. Also, clean and sanitize surfaces and appliances and thoroughly rinse produce.
  • family eatingSeparate – Always keep fresh produce and cooked food separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Use different cutting boards, utensils and plates for cooked and uncooked foods.
  • Cook – Keep hot food at an internal temperature of 140 F or higher. Use a food thermometer to make sure cooked foods are safe until it’s time to eat. For safe cooking temperatures of meat, poultry and seafood go to: https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html
  • Chill – Keep cold food at 40 F or below by transporting and storing it in an insulated cooler with ice, dry ice or frozen gel packs. Additionally, keep food safe and out of the “Danger Zone” (40 F – 140 F) by eating or storing it within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is 90 F of higher).

Meilana CharlesThis Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Meilana Charles. Meilana is a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent at Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University. Meilana’s priority areas for providing educational resources to McLennan County are general nutrition, money management and parenting. She has a M.S. in Child Development from Texas Woman’s University and is a certified Human Development and Family Studies professional through American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.


References: MyPlate Tip Sheet-Be food safe: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet23BeFoodSafe.pdf MyPlate Tip Sheet-Enjoy your food, but eat less: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet18EnjoyYourFood.pdf MyPlate Tip Sheet-Make celebrations fun, healthy and active: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet20MakeCelebrations.pdf MyPlate Tip Sheet-Make healthier holiday choices: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet32MakeHealthierHolidayChoices.pdf

Successful Diabetes Study Results May Inspire Insurance Companies to Cover Prevention

By Crystal Hernandez

Sometimes good things just keep getting better, and it may have for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. You may remember that it wasn’t very long ago when I shared with you that those at risk for developing type 2 diabetes are not necessarily destined to a lifetime of checking blood sugar levels and managing medications. Perhaps you recall hearing about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and being excited and encouraged to know the year long program that has been proven to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in those that have pre-diabetes by 58% and by 71% in those over the age of 60 is right here in Waco, available to you.

Well, you weren’t the only one excited. It appears that insurance companies were also intrigued by the possibilities of this program. That’s why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) funded a 3-year study to see just what the results and cost savings would be if this program did indeed do what it said it would do.

They watched as 17 YMCA’s implemented this program and they awaited the results of the 8,000 folks that were served during the 3-year study. And do you know what they found out? Medicare estimated cost savings in a 15-month period to be $2650 per person when compared to similar beneficiaries not in the program. This is the first time a CMMI pilot has been proven to lower the incidence and reduce the cost of type 2 diabetes.

There are several gems that are a result of this study. One is that those in the Waco community have a program available to them that can help them receive the same results as the 8,000 people in this study. Another jewel here is that this has begun a discussion and started the process, although it may be lengthy, of making this program a covered benefit to those insured by Medicare.  This could also mean that other insurance companies may follow Medicare and Medicaid’s lead. Perhaps it even means that in the future other prevention programs may be covered benefits.  How nice it would be to know your desire for better health is supported by your insurance company.


crystal hernandez2This Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Crystal Hernandez. Crystal is the Chronic Disease Specialist for the Waco Family YMCA. She received her degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the University of Memphis. She and husband Shawn are blessed to be the parents of 4 beautiful children. In her free time, she loves hitting the pavement and pounding out a good run.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

 

Nurse Family Partnership working hard for Families and Children

by Alyssa Holloway

HBC PurpleAs one of the graduate assistants on the Healthy Babies Coalition in Waco, I have had the amazing opportunity of serving this growing community alongside organizations and agencies devoted to the health of women and children. These agencies truly make up the backbone of Waco. They work hard without the publicity, fame, or acknowledgment they deserve. The Healthy Babies Coalition started from the Healthy Texas Babies Initiative, an initiative of the Texas Department of State Health Services developed to help Texas communities lower their infant mortality rates. Waco is in the top 10% of highest infant mortality rates in Texas, and the Healthy Babies Coalition is determined to fight these terrible odds. Our community initiative includes partnering with agencies to create a plan for inter-conception health information to be provided to clients, encouraging the creation of a reproductive life plan with clients, as well as encouraging clients to see their physicians and enter in to early prenatal care.

NFP PurpleOne of the members of the Healthy Babies Coalition working on these goals is Nurse Family Partnership (NFP). These loyal nurses of NFP are concerned above all about the relationships between mothers, children, and nurses. They are now performing home visits in Waco for first time mothers who qualify for these benefits. The goals of the partnership are to improve pregnancy outcomes, improve child health and cognitive development, and improve economic self-sufficiency. These nurses want to serve the moms and children of Waco in their home environments where they are the most comfortable. Not only does this eliminate the money and time of traveling for the new moms, but it also allows the nurses to teach and guide moms in an intimate setting through healthy pregnancies, labor, delivery, and motherhood.

As a young mother, Andrea noticed that “There isn’t a class in school that tells you how to raise a kid. Nurse- Family Partnership is like an instruction book that gives you the knowledge and positive encouragement to raise a baby.”

Fathers are just as important as mothers in the pregnancy and child-rearing stages of life, and NFP honors the fathers of these families tremendously. Research shows that families who participate in NFP have a 68% increase in having a father in the household because this program knows the major benefits to fathers and children in that growing relationship.

As of this writing, the nurses in McLennan County plan to start visiting homes in January 2016. They are taking referrals for first time mothers who are due after March 10, 2016 and/or before the end of their 28th week of pregnancy. In addition, mothers must qualify for Medicaid or fall below 185% of the poverty line.

Nurse-Family Partnership of Waco is located at 120 Hillcrest Medical Boulevard #303, phone number 254-202-1130. Visit their website in English and Spanish at http://www.nursefamilypartnership.org/ to hear more personal stories and testimonies of the thankful mothers who have participated thus far and to connect with the program in Waco.


Alyssa HollowayAlyssa Holloway moved to Waco in August 2015 from Santa Barbara, California and loves her community. She is studying for her Masters in Social Work at Baylor University, and is working with the Healthy Babies Coalition at the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. She enjoys baking, running, being outside, reading, laughing, going to church, and traveling.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Don’t Let Arthritis Keep You Down

By Crystal Hernandez

Arthritis pain can be excruciating – it doesn’t have to be. We can help through EnhanceFitness®.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can reduce pain; improve function and emotional well-being in those suffering from arthritis. Programs, such as EnhanceFitness, have been approved by the CDC to help those with the disease.

EnhanceFitness is a 16-week program that meets three times each week. The curriculum helps participants to improve cardiovascular function, muscular strength and endurance, balance, range of motion and flexibility.

Instructors are able to work with all levels and abilities because both the cardiovascular and resistance training can be performed seated or standing. To alleviate the need to grasp weights with hands and fingers, which can be difficult and painful, wrist and ankle cuffs are used. These secure around the limbs and as the participant becomes stronger they can gradually increase the weight by ½ pound increments.

Assessments are performed at the start of the program and again at the end of the 16-week program. This allows participants to see the improvements that they’ve made in their fitness.

EnhanceFitness classes require registration and can hold 15-25 participants. Classes are held at both the Doris Miller Family YMCA and the Waco Family YMCA. It is free to YMCA members. For non-members it is $100 for the full 16 weeks. The next program will begin on April 4. For more information, contact Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist, Crystal Hernandez at 254-776-6612 or crystal.hernandez@ymcactx.org .


crystal hernandez2This Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Crystal Hernandez. Crystal is the Chronic Disease Specialist for the Waco Family YMCA. She received her degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the University of Memphis. She and husband Shawn are blessed to be the parents of 4 beautiful children. In her free time, she loves hitting the pavement and pounding out a good run.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

 

Game Plan for Super Bowl 50: Are You Drinking or Are You Driving? This is NOT the time for an option play!

By Meilana Charles

The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event. On Super Bowl 50 Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, there will be lots of game day socializing that may include drinking. That’s why the Cooperative Extension Program of Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service “Watch UR BAC” program is urging football fans to call the play now: Drinking OR driving. If you plan on drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, designate a sober driver to get you home safely.

“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent Colleen Follen “All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice — drink or drive, but never do both. Law enforcement agencies will be out in large numbers to stop anyone who makes the dangerous decision to drive impaired.”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 1,041 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2014, accounting for 29 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in Texas. Super Bowl Sunday is a risky day for drunk-driving crashes.The “Watch UR BAC” program advises that if you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:

  • Designate your sober driver, or plan another way to get home safely before the party begins.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, then ask a sober friend for a ride home; or call a cab, friend or relative to come and get you. If you are at a friend’s house, stay the night.
  • Never let friends drive if they have had too much to drink.

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:

  • Make sure all your guests have a non-drinking driver to take them home, or arrange for alternate transportation to see that they get home safely.
  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks at the party.
  • Host your party just like they do at the stadium. Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game, and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.
  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk- driving crash.

Cooperative Extension Program of Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Watch UR BAC program is a free, statewide program to promote alcohol awareness, the dangers of impaired driving, and friends watching out for friends. Contact ldmooney@ag.tamu.edu for booking information.


Meilana CharlesThis Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Meilana Charles. Meilana is a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent at Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University. Meilana’s priority areas for providing educational resources to McLennan County are general nutrition, money management and parenting. She has a M.S. in Child Development from Texas Woman’s University and is a certified Human Development and Family Studies professional through American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Healthy Waco: Excited about a Smoke Free City!

by Courtney Restivo Wollard

The City of Waco is preparing to be designated as a Smoke Free City in January. As an advocate for health, I felt it was time to discuss this ordinance and the positive impact it will have on our city and its residents.

Smoke Free WacoFirst of all, smoke free laws are not a new concept. In fact, as of July 2015, twenty-six states and 763 municipalities in the U.S. have placed bans on smoking in restaurants and bars as well as non-hospitality workplaces. These laws are being implemented all over the country and all over the world. Ninety-two nations have enacted some sort of 100% smoke free law, sixty-two of those laws include both restaurants and bars. On October 1, 2015, it became illegal to smoke in vehicles with those under the age of 18 in England and Wales. The Texas statewide ban has stalled, but numerous cities in Texas are taking action and enacting their own smoking bans including Robinson, Woodway and soon Waco.

Do you remember when it was legal to smoke on airplanes? I’m a little too young to remember that, but I do notice the ‘No Smoking’ signs on airplanes today and know the history. It has been 25 years since smoking was banned on airplanes and now there is an entire generation that could not even imagine smoking on an airplane. That’s a huge accomplishment for public health! The City of Waco smoke free ordinance will contribute to another generation not knowing what it was like for smoking to be allowed in indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars along with bingo and pool halls.

smoke free group shotSecond, it is a known fact that secondhand smoke causes disease and premature death for nonsmokers. Countless studies published by leading health agencies have affirmed that secondhand smoke is a completely preventable cause of death. According to the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General, there is “no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure and the only way to ensure health protection is a 100% smoke free environment.”

Smoke Free laws are designed to protect the public health and welfare of the community from health hazards such as heart disease, various cancers, stroke, and respiratory infections induced by breathing in secondhand smoke.

more smoke free folksThere are several health benefits that we should see with this new smoke free ordinance. The ordinance will reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and produce a drop in ER visits due to heart and asthma related issues. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the nation for men and women. Smoke free environments have been shown to decrease the rate of heart disease. Smoke free laws move us in the right direction – hopefully soon heart disease will no longer being the number one killer of Americans. These laws will also encourage people to quit smoking and prevent youth from starting to smoke; this will ultimately reduce the number of smoking related deaths.

Essentially, our community will be healthier, happier and will continue to prosper after this ordinance goes into effect.

I am very excited to soon be living in a designated smoke free city! I applaud the City of Waco for taking this step towards protecting the health of its residents in order to have a prosperous Waco!


Courtney WollardCourtney Restivo Wollard is a lifelong Waco resident who works as Lead Health Services Coordinator at the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. She serves as Chair for the Live Well Waco/Obesity Working Group of the Prosper Waco Health Committee. She is also an alumnus of the Waco Foundation LeadershipPLENTY Institute. Courtney graduated with her Masters of Public Health from Baylor University and right away began her career as a health advocate. She is married to Kyle. They have a Chihuahua and a Labrador retriever and are in the midst of building their dream home. Courtney hopes to continue to help create a healthier environment for McLennan County residents filled with healthy eating and physical activity opportunities.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

References:

U.S. smoking bans –

World smoking bans –

Smoking ban in vehicles in England/Wales –

Smoking ban on airplanes –

Benefits –

 

 

 

 

Supporting Prematurity Awareness

by Meilana Charles

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month and Tuesday, November 17th is World Prematurity Day. This month, individuals, groups and organizations around the world will provide information on the impact of early births on babies and their families.

What is Premature Birth? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2013) a baby born at 40 weeks is defined as full term, however, if born 3 weeks prior to its due date the baby is considered premature.

The March of Dimes states that 15 million babies are born prematurely worldwide each year (March of Dimes, 2013). In the U.S., one in every nine babies or about 450,000 babies a year are born premature (March of Dimes, 2013). In Texas 12.3% of babies were born premature. Of those percentages, African-American women were more likely to deliver a premature baby regardless of her age, income and education level (Unnatural Causes, 2008). Health Implications associated with premature births include:

  • Feeding and digestive problems
  • Breathing problems such as Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Severe infections
  • Jaundice
  • Brain injury
  • Retinopathy
  • Anemia
  • Hearing Loss
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Intellectual disabilities later in life

But there is good news! In 2013, thanks to the collaborative efforts of several organizations, premature deliveries have declined to just 11.4 % nationwide. However, there’s still a long way to go. With all the workshops and resources available, it’s still up to the individual to work toward decreasing the likelihood of a premature birth. Here are some ways individuals can decrease the possibility of premature labor:

Preconception Health – Prior to pregnancy women and men alike should visit with a primary care physician in preparation for the pregnancy. They should also continue eating healthy, maintain a physical activity routine, research family health history, update necessary immunizations, reduce stress and avoid products containing alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. Additionally, women should take a multivitamins that includes at least 400 mg. of Folic Acid.

baby and dadEarly Prenatal Care – As soon as pregnancy is suspected, a doctor’s appointment should be scheduled. This will confirm pregnancy and a due date. A physical exam, ultrasound and several tests may be ordered, and a family health history will be taken. The earlier prenatal appointments begin, the more the probability of prenatal and fetal complications that can lead to premature births can be reduced.

Watch your Weight – Moms should eat a balanced diet with the appropriate amounts of folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D and mineral while avoiding seafood high in mercury. Primary care physicians will work with pregnant moms to develop an appropriate eating and physical activity plan. This may decrease unhealthy weight gain or preventable diseases, both of which can negatively contribute to premature deliveries.

No Stress – Prenatal stress during pregnancy has been associated with miscarriages, premature births and low weight. Additionally, behavioral and emotional difficulties later in life can be attributed to stressful pregnancies. That is why it’s important to find suitable coping strategies to avoid or limit stressful situations.

Food Safety – Although rarely discussed, bacteria such as listeria, toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and campylobacter can severely impact a pregnancy. Exposure may lead to premature birth, birth defects, later learning disabilities and even intrauterine or infant death. To avoid the likelihood of ingesting harmful bacteria, follow the 4 principle of food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill. Click on the link for more information on the food safety principles: http://homefoodsafety.org/food-poisoning/four-easy-steps

The prevalence of premature births is a worldwide epidemic impacting families and communities. However, with access to preventative care, resources and information, families can become aware its lifelong implications and take steps to have happy, healthy full-term babies.


Meilana CharlesThis Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Meilana Charles. Meilana is a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent at Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University. Meilana’s priority areas for providing educational resources to McLennan County are general nutrition, money management and parenting. She has a M.S. in Child Development from Texas Woman’s University and is a certified Human Development and Family Studies professional through American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Sources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Four easy steps. http://homefoodsafety.org/food-poisoning/four-easy-steps

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Preconception health and health care-Information for men. http://www.cdc.gov/preconception/men.html

Center for Disease Control. (2014). Preconception health and health care-Planning for pregnancy. http://www.cdc.gov/preconception/planning.html

Center of Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). National Prematurity Awareness Month-What is premature births? http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PrematureBirth/

California Newsreel. (2008). Unnatural causes: Is inequality making us sick? http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/about_the_series.php

March of Dimes. (2012). Born too soon: The global action report on preterm birth. http://www.marchofdimes.org/materials/born-too-soon-the-global-action-report-on-preterm-birth.pdf

March of Dimes. (2014). Texas premature report card. https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/pdflib/998/premature-birth-report-card-Texas.pdf

March of Dimes. (2014). U.S. premature birth report card. http://www.marchofdimes.org/materials/premature-birth-report-card-united-states.pdf

 

Are you headed for Diabetes? Time to take a different route!

by Crystal Hernandez

Imagine you’re driving down the road. You see a sign that the bridge up ahead is closed. You decide moving forward along this path is not safe, so you choose a different route. What if your body is displaying signs the road ahead is not safe? Do blood tests reveal your glucose levels are above the normal range? Are you sedentary and above your healthy body weight? Are you seeing indications that you’ll develop type 2 diabetes and other health problems if you continue along this path? The YMCA can help you map out a new route toward a healthier future. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight in order to reduce their chances of developing the disease.

The number of Americans with diabetes is 29.1 million. That’s a big number, but even bigger is the number of Americans that have prediabetes: 86 million. But only 10% of those know of their risk status. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the U.S. The risk for stroke and heart attack is 2-4 times higher in individuals with diabetes. The disease accounts for 17% of all deaths for adults older than 25. If dollar signs impact you more, let me share with you what that might look like. The average annual out-of-pocket medical cost for someone without diabetes is about $3,670. However, for the person with diabetes and its related medical conditions, that cost could be more than $17,000!

Maybe that’s the motivation you need to see where your body’s GPS is leading you. If so, schedule a visit with your doctor. Simple blood tests can tell you whether you need to turn around and take a different route by enrolling in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Results from blood tests that are in the prediabetes range, (tests include A1-C or fasting glucose),or a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes will qualify you for the program. You must have a BMI of 25 or higher and be over the age of 18 to participate. If you are unable to access a blood test, take the risk quiz to find out whether you are at high risk. Individuals who score a 9 or higher on the risk quiz are also eligible for the program.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program uses a Center for Disease Control (CDC) -approved curriculum and is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Program. The 12-month program is facilitated by a trained lifestyle coach that helps you and other classmates begin to make the changes needed to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. The program focuses on helping participants reduce their body weight by 7% and increase their physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week.  Cost for the whole 12-month program is $429.  Click here for a flyer.

If you’re ready to change the direction of your health, the YMCA can help. For more information on when the next session will begin, contact Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist Crystal Hernandez at (254) 776-6612 or crystal.hernandez@ymcactx.org.


crystal hernandez2This Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Crystal Hernandez. Crystal is the Chronic Disease Specialist for the Waco Family YMCA. She received her degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the University of Memphis. She and husband Shawn are blessed to be the parents of 4 beautiful children. In her free time, she loves hitting the pavement and pounding out a good run.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

DISCLAIMER: [YMCA] and the National Council of Young Men’s Christian Association of the United States of America (“YMCA of the USA”) have made a commitment to collaborate with the nation’s YMCAs on efforts to support a national movement to increase awareness and take measures to prevent diabetes and its complications among groups at risk, and to help support treatment outcomes for individuals who have confirmed diagnoses or indications of prediabetes by promoting an effective lifestyle change. YMCA of the USA nor any YMCA offering the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program warrants or guarantees any specific outcomes for program participants with respect to diabetes prevention.]

 

 

 

Wonderful Waco, lots of Nutrition, and some Zumba… What a summer.

by Kaylyn Schultz

I’m a big believer in the idea of “loving where you live”. Not just ‘liking’ where you live but loving it—loving the city, its spirit, and its people. Loving on the people (those amazing fellow Wacoans) and helping out those people in any way one can—whether it be mighty and life changing or the little everyday random acts of kindness. This summer I had the incredible opportunity to help our city and some of its people in my own way. It was a blessing and a wonderful, eye-opening experience. I was given an internship at the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.

Now I saw pictures of some of the more exotic places my friends went off to for their internships (*cough cough* HAWAII.) and may have sighed once or twice with longing after that more glamorous summer life. However, staying in Waco, Texas, was definitely the best fit for me and for a couple reasons. One, I had to take a British Literature class and being in the same city as your class is usually a good plan to accomplish said class. And two, I really wanted to learn what my city and its people needed from a health standpoint. Let me tell you: I got a good picture.

gang at whri

OCTN team at Waco’s World Hunger Relief Farm

I got to work on a few projects in my internship. I was in charge of running all social media platforms for the Health district (Cue shameless plug. Go ‘like’ the Health District on Facebook!) and updating their website for Live Well Waco (check that one out too. It’s pretty awesome). I got to have so much fun and learned a ton about reaching out to people and getting their attention. I was also a part of the Health district’s Our Children, Their Nutrition team. This program, OCTN, was created to bring nutrition education to children ages 8-12 years old. This is a crucial age and we want them to be armed with a full arsenal of nutrition knowledge so they may make the smartest choices concerning food. We taught kids detailed nutrition information and tips like the amino acids in protein, the different kinds of carbohydrates and fats, and to check the color of their urine in order to see how hydrated they are! [That last one really seemed to stick with them all for some reason!] I was also fortunate enough to help out with the 8 Week Zumba Challenge!—I have consequently discovered that I really love Zumba and want to become an instructor. I gave a short nutrition lesson before the workouts started and tied in how these parents can take it home to their kids and stop poor dietary habits before with baby uprightthey begin. I also got to hold some babies while their awesome mommas got to work out and I didn’t mind one bit.

And I loved it all.

I was all over Waco, sometimes all in one day, teaching nutrition and health and spreading awareness for exciting opportunities to improve people’s wel-lbeing. I got to experience some awesome things. But also some not so awesome things.

I loved teaching the kids for OCTN. They are absolutely hilarious. That time frame of life, 8-12 years, is certainly an interesting time. At 8 years old they are DESPERATE to be called on. They want to answer a question. They’ll raise their hands even if they have absolutely nothing to say. They just want to show they are making the effort. It is so sweet and they still give hugs! At 9-10 years old, they learn SO quickly. They grasp the scientific side of nutrition well and ask further questions. (One time, we were asked how salt is made. Uhhh… Mind blown.) They don’t want to be considered young like the 8 year olds and they look up to the 11-12 year olds. Then… something terribly scary happens. They want to be “cool”. Desperately. [Dun Dun Dahhhhh!] Our beautiful, funny, sassy, intelligent 11 and 12 year olds just wanted to look cool in front of their friends. And, unfortunately, answering our questions and being respectful isn’t what the ‘cool’ kids are doing. These kiddos were by far the most challenging. But they certainly gave me the best stories.

On DAY ONE, a 12 year old boy said to his friends as I walked away (and so he apparently thought out of earshot) that I am “hot”. Ladies, haven’t you always dreamed of being called ‘hot’ by a twelve year old?? Dreams coming true here folks. Another day, while I was actually leading the lesson on dietary fats, one 11 year oteaching classld boy winked at me as I walked up to his table. Oy vey. I swiftly kicked him out. Now, I can appreciate the hilarity of this ‘compliment’ of sorts perhaps in another situation. Though maybe not one in which I am in a teaching position and am 10 years older than the giver of the wink. All of this was explained to him and he was allowed back in for the snack. [*cue awkward eye contact here*] You’d think he expected me to thank him. How are 11 year old boys so confident?? I had to talk to some of my guy friends here in Waco to attempt to glean some sort of understanding into the 11 & 12 year old male mind… as you may imagine I did not have much luck. They don’t even understand their own minds is the best I could come up with.

While some lessons left me laughing and shaking my head in wonder, others left me somewhat heartbroken. One day, at one of our three locations, I was tying a braided yarn bracelet this little lady had made in our activity part of the lesson that day. She looked up at my face and asked if I was wearing makeup, to which I replied “Yes, some mascara.” She then told me that she likes “the stuff that makes your skin lighter”. I asked if she meant foundation, the stuff that makes skin all even toned. She said yes… because she doesn’t like the color of her skin, it’s “too dark” she said. This sweet, beautiful, incredible, smart little girl told me she wished her skin was lighter. I needed a moment. I then told her that makeup like that is for hiding things and she had absolutely nothing to hide. I told her that her skin is beautiful, smooth, flawless. Now why in the world wasn’t she hearing this every day at home? Why??? We, unfortunately, are surrounded by things telling us, especially women and young girls, to compare ourselves to others, that the way we are just isn’t quite good enough. Improving ourselves in order to be healthier is one thing, disliking how God made us is another matter entirely. Negativity is everywhere. However, something I will take from these beautiful, fun-loving kiddos is, no matter what’s going on in my personal life or in the stress behind the scenes, I can still be happy, positive, and kind to those around me. I’ve learned that whether someone is struggling with their weight, causing chronic health issues or if their struggle is on the inside and they’re dealing with something along the spectrum of mental health, we can all be kind, take it seriously, and be aware of what a simple encouraging word can do for someone. I’ve learned how important education and spreading the word about the importance of being active every day are. I’ve learned how I can help people to learn how important it is to really understand the food we put in our bodies. And I’ve learned it doesn’t take too much to begin to make a difference.

It starts with kindness and encouragement. Throw in some fun, maybe versatile nutrition education, and some opportunities to come together and get active. We may just end up with a healthier, happier Waco for generations to come. I’m so thankful to the Public Health District and can’t wait to start the rest of my life, helping people, and trying to make a positive difference in their well-being.

Lots of love to you beautiful people.


 

kaylyn schultzThis Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Kaylyn Schultz. Kaylyn is originally from Celina, Tx and is going into her senior year at Baylor University, majoring in Health Science Studies. After graduating in May of 2016 she plans to begin working toward obtaining her Master’s degree in Public Health. Kaylyn is also a high jumper for the Baylor Track and Field team and loves the challenge, teammates, discipline, and Christian atmosphere being a part of such an incredible team provides. Kaylyn can usually be found reading any book she can get her hands on or watching movies with friends, her stupendous little sister, Lauren, or her wonderful and supportive boyfriend, Marcus. Her main goal for her future career is to decrease the prevalence of obesity and resulting chronic disease in our nation and thus improve quality of life for millions of children and adults.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.