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May 2014 Is National Fitness and Sports Month

The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is supporting the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and sports Month. During the month of May, we challenge all adults to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Did you know that regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life? It also reduces your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Yet in our area most individuals don't get the recommended amount of physical activity.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults:

  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.  Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, swimming, and raking leaves.
  • Do muscle-strengthening activities – like lifting weights and using exercises bands – at least 2 days a week.
Physical activity is for everyone. No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and get more active during the month of May!

Be a Force of Nature in Your Hometown

Severe weather could happen anytime. In May 2013, tornadoes devastated part of central Oklahoma. This outbreak included the deadliest tornado of the year on May 19 in Moore, Oklahoma. In just one month, November 2013, at least 70 tornadoes spanned seven

Midwestern states.

Each year, people suffer or are seriously injured by severe weather despite advance warning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have partnered for the third year to highlight the importance of making severe weather preparedness a nationwide priority.

We all want the peace of mind of knowing that our families, friends, homes and our businesses are safe and protected from threats of any kind. And while we can't control where or when the next disaster will hit, we can take action by preparing ourselves and loved ones for emergencies and learning what actions to take.

Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you could take to be better prepared to save your life and others.

Know your risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. During active weather, stay alert of the forecast by listening to radio or television, check the weather forecast regularly on weather.gov, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio and listen for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on your cell phone. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take action: Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter before a severe weather event. Post your plan in your home where visitors can see it. Learn how to strengthen your home and business against severe weather. Take action and participate in a local event on April 30 through America's PrepareAthon and ensure you know what to do when severe weather occurs

Be a Force of Nature: Once you have taken action, tell your family, friends, school staff and co-workers about how they can prepare. Share the resources and alert systems you discovered through your social media network. Studies show that individuals need to receive messages a number of ways before acting – be one of those sources.

Learn more at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov. Follow the National Weather Service @nws and FEMA @readygov.


2014 Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department wants you to know that there's a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV (human papillomavirus), the most common sexually transmitted disease. HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer.

The good news?

  • HPV can be prevented by the HPV vaccine.
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Paptests) and follow-up care.
In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department encourages:

  • Women to start getting regular Pap tests at age 21
  • Women to get the HPV vaccine before age 27
  • Parents to make sure their pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12
  • Men to get the HPV vaccine if you are under age 22

Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family members may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company.  

To learn more please contact your local Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department office.


Importance of HIV Testing

Around 50,000 people get infected with HIV in the United States every year.  The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You could have HIV and still feel healthy. Everyone ages 15 to 65 needs to get tested for HIV at least once. All pregnant women also need to get tested. 

It's especially important to get tested regularly if you are at high risk of infection. Get 
tested for HIV at least once a year if you: 
  • Have unprotected sex (sex without a condom) with someone who might have HIV
  • Have sex with men who have sex with men
  • Use drugs with needles
  • Have a sex partner who is HIV-positive (has HIV)
  • Have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
For more information, call or visit your local Rutherford-Polk-McDowell District Health Department Office. To find an HIV testing location near you, text your zip code to KNOWIT (566948) or use this online locator (http://locator.aids.gov). 


2013 National Diabetes Month

In observance of National Diabetes Month 2013, the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) and its partners want you to know that Diabetes is a Family Affair.

Diabetes is a challenging disease that affects the entire family in many ways. If you are living with diabetes or have a loved one with the disease, family support is very important when it comes to managing diabetes and preventing serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and nerve damage that can lead to amputation. It's also important to know that if you have a family history of diabetes – such as a mother, father, brother, or sister – you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

NDEP and its partners are working with individuals, families and communities to take action and encourage simple, but important lifestyle changes to improve their health – particularly if they have diabetes or are at risk for the disease.

To help you get started, the NDEP offers many resources to help you make healthy lifestyle changes as a family. The NDEP also has resources that can be used in community settings that are part of the extended family, such as schools, businesses, and the health care community, among others. Some resources include:

4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life shares four steps to help people with diabetes understand, monitor, and manage their diabetes to help them stay healthy.

Help a Loved One with Diabetes provides practical tips for helping a loved one cope with diabetes and things you can do to help.

Family Health History Quiz. Knowing your family health history is important. Take this quiz to learn more about your family history of diabetes.

Tasty Recipes for People with Diabetes and Their Families is a bilingual recipe booklet that can help families make healthy food choices without giving up the foods they love.

Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel is a comprehensive guide to help students with diabetes, their health care team, school staff, and parents work together to help students manage their diabetes safely and effectively in the school setting.

Do you know the risk factors for Diabets?  If not, please visit the American Diabetes Association at this address:

This November, use these resources and more to make healthy lifestyle changes as a family. Learn more at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org/DiabetesMonth2013.

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