Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Healthy Maine Walks

Scientific research has shown that regular physical activity not only promotes health and well-being, it also reduces the risk of developing many chronic diseases and of becoming overweight or obese. Walking routes offer a safe and fun way to get health-promoting physical activity. Walking requires little or no equipment and can be enjoyed by most individuals, regardless of their abilities. Many routes are also wheelchair accessible.

Healthy Maine Walks is the most comprehensive listing of walking routes in the state. A Healthy Maine Walk is an accessible indoor or outdoor walking route that most people can walk in one hour or less at a brisk pace. Walking routes may be a local high school track, a downtown "museum in the streets" trail, or a portion of a larger trail system. This website is designed specifically to provide users with information about where to find a place to walk near where they live, work or play to help them lead an active healthy lifestyle.

This online resource has just undergone its first major overhaul since being launched more than ten years ago. The new site is more user friendly and provides more information about the walking routes listed. Most of all it enables people across the State who manage and maintain walking routes to upload their route information directly by becoming a HMW “Walk Liaison”. To learn how you can become a Walk Liaison, or to find a walk near you, go to www.healthymainewalks.com, or contact Doug Beck (doug.beck@maine.gov) Physical Activity Coordinator in the Maine CDC Division of Population Health for more information.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness

Maine CDC recognizes October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In 2012, it is anticipated that 1,170 Maine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 180 women will die from the disease.

Eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly are two important steps to lessen the risk. To increase the chance of finding breast cancer early, it is important that women be screened regularly. Early detection is the best protection and mammograms are still the best screening test. The 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey found that more than 80% of 221,241 Maine women age 40 and older reported having a mammogram in the past two years.

Help is available for women age 40 and older who are in need of breast, cervical, and colorectal screening tests if they meet program qualifications. The Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health and Colorectal Cancer Control Programs can provide information about cancer screening tests as well as resources for free cancer screenings.

Interested women are encouraged to call 1-800-350-5180 or 1-207-287-8068, TTY users call Maine Relay 711. More details can also be found at: http://go.usa.gov/Y4b3

Friday, October 5, 2012

Recognizing Disease Intervention Specialists

Maine CDC, in conjunction with the National Coalition of Sexually Transmitted Disease Directors (NCSD), will be participating in the first National Disease Intervention Specialists Recognition Day on Friday. Intended to be an annual event celebrated the first Friday of October, the day has been set aside to honor the Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) workforce, which is the underpinning of all STD and HIV programs.

DIS personnel provide confidential interviews to people diagnosed with an STD to address concerns about their diagnosis, treatment, counseling, and referral needs. In addition, they work to obtain the names and contact information of sexual and needle-sharing partner(s) in order to confidentially notify them of their possible exposure and offer counseling, testing, and treatment. This service effectively breaks the chain of disease transmission and protects public health.

In 2011, DIS in Maine worked 1,768 cases of individuals diagnosed with an STD or HIV. All of those diagnosed with HIV and 85% of those with an STD were successfully linked to treatment and services.

For additional materials and information on HIV and STDs in Maine, visit: www.mainepublichealth.gov/std

Thursday, October 4, 2012

National Food Day, Oct. 24

The focus of National Food Day is very close to home here in Maine. Setting aside one day to focus on food reminds us of:

  • the connection between health and great tasting food, like Maine apples;
  • what we can do to end hunger; and
  • the importance of having Maine farms and farmers that produce some of the best tasting fruit, vegetables, meats, chicken, fish, and grains in the nation.
Every day truly could be food day here in Maine. Take some time this month to stop and think about what you eat.  
  • Are the food choices you are making keeping you well?
  • Did you ever wonder where your apples or carrots or meat comes from?
  • Do you take time to enjoy the flavor of your food?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, take action by taking the Food Day Challenge:
1. Take a small step to eat like your life depends on it - it does.
  • Add one more veggie to your meals.
  • Switch to lower fat dairy, whole grains, and grilled, baked, or broiled foods.
  • Eat a little less.
2. Look for local produce in season. Farmers markets go all year long now.
3. Savor your food with a family member or a friend.
4. When you donate foods to the food bank, think about health.

For healthy recipes, check http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/, which allows you to search for healthy and affordable recipes. Each recipe includes nutritional information, ingredients, instructions, and cost per recipe and per serving.