We Can Leave Tobacco Behind

It was the summer of 1957, and the way my parents met was like something out of an Elvis movie: a waterskiing blind date. My mother, Annette, a skinny 17-year-old, hit the water so hard at Denver’s Cherry Creek Reservoir that it pulled off her bikini top. Mortified, she hid behind her best friend Dee, who struggled to cover Mom while my 20-year-old eventual dad, Sherman, reclaimed her top.

Could you blame him for asking her out on a second date? And another after that?

To be that young in 1957 was to be hale, hearty, and invincible. They went to sock hops and double features. They went spelunking in the Rockies and took entry-level jobs with odd hours. Soon they eloped and started a family. My two sisters and brother came just a year and a half apart from one another. It was a typical home full of chaos and kids – and cigarettes.

Want to Make America the Healthiest Nation by 2030?

Logo for National Public Health WeekAmericans, you need to take better care of yourselves. Most of us who feel passionate about healthy lifestyles know this, which is why we fight so hard to schedule you for screenings, sign you up for health care, help you put down that cigarette, and encourage you to watch your diets.

Every April, people who feel passionate about public health come together as part of National Public Health Week in an effort to understand the issues and strengthen policies. The goal is to make America the healthiest nation in the world by 2030 – just one generation away. The effort, organized by the American Public Health Association, “develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers, and practitioners about issues related to each year's theme.”

Report on Washington State’s Popular CHW Training Program

Community health workers in Washington are getting better at their jobs.

Washington State’s Popular CHW Training Program Evaluation

That’s according to the results of a state-wide program survey published by the Washington State Department of Health’s Office of Healthy Communities. Since 2011, the program has trained over 1000 people in the role of community health worker (CHW) in everything from core competencies such as organizational skills to health-specific topics such as behavioral health care.

Family Health History Initiative Starter Kit

Family Health History Initiative Starter KitUnderstanding and addressing the health history of a client is the best way of knowing what kind of treatment he or she needs. Digging a little deeper into family health history is even better, especially as part of National Cancer Prevention Month. Your health staff can recommend screenings and referrals based on what kind of conditions patients are genetically predisposed to.

Gathering family health histories can easily be added to any at-home or in-clinic visit. Your staff can fill in a form based on patient responses, or they can give them a worksheet to complete at home.

Food for Thought

A container of yogurt six months past its "expiration date" might be one of the oldest things I’ve eaten. Then again, that piece of cheddar, carefully pruned of mold, I had last week might have been older. My husband will tell you with a cringe that I’m much more likely to excavate something from the back of the fridge, give it a sniff, and decide to eat it only if the smell doesn’t knock me out.

"Better By," but Still Good

I don’t give much weight to meaningless dates. All you need to do is look at the inconsistency of these labels to know how little they mean: "Best Before," "Sell By," "Use By," "EXP," or my favorite, "Enjoy By." These ambiguous terms are not a reliable indication of how long food will keep, but they do mean that 90 percent of consumers say they toss food because of safety concerns.

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