Thursday, March 20, 2014

Water Fluoridation Map

US CDC has recognized community water fluoridation as one of the 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.  Fluoridation is a cost effective community heath measure for all regardless of education, socioeconomic status, or access to dental care.

The Pew Charitable Trust Foundation has developed an interactive map to show the percentage of residents served by public water systems in each state who are receiving fluoridated water.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

National Nutrition Month

The Nutrition Month 2014 theme is Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right. Consumer research suggests that people tend to purchase and eat more of the foods that taste great to them. The trick lies in convincing people that foods low in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars and rich in color, fiber, and poly- and monounsaturated fats are tasty.

The 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data and the 2011 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey data tell us that 28% of Maine's adult and 13% of Maine's youth population are obese. These data also show that only one third of Maine's adult and youth population meet the fruit and vegetable recommendations.  Many of the most common chronic diseases that cut Maine residents' lives short are influenced by food intake, activity level, and weight status, so it's important that Maine focuses on strategies to aid people in enjoying the taste of eating right.

Here are a few suggestions from the US CDC Division of Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention:
  • Increase access to healthy foods
    • o   Consider which foods are readily available at work, school, and the childcare center. Aim to make the environment support the words "making the easy choice the healthy choice."
    • o   Is there a grocery store with affordable and varied produce within 10 miles of residents in rural areas? Or 1 mile in urban areas? If not, what could be done?
    • o   Is there a farmers' market in those areas that live greater than the 10 or 1 mile from a grocery store? If not what can be done about it?
    • Support farm to school and farm to institution.
      • o   Farm to School programs introduce youth to healthy foods in their natural state and often include taste testing. This has been shown to increase youth's likelihood of eating foods like fruits and vegetables.
      • o   Does your child's school have a garden? Growing a vegetable garden is another great way to create interest in eating fruits and vegetables.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Maine CDC encourages Mainers to talk with a health care provider about when and how to be tested for colorectal cancer.

The number of deaths from colorectal cancer and the number of new colorectal cancer cases diagnosed in Maine has been decreasing over the last decade due to screening and improvements in treatment. However, colorectal cancer still remains the third-leading cause of Maine cancer cases and deaths.

While many people know that early detection of cancer is important to a positive long-term outcome, some cancers such as colorectal cancer (also referred to as colon cancer) can be prevented. Colorectal cancer starts as a polyp, which is a small collection of abnormal cells in the colon or rectum. Polyps tend to grow slowly and can take many years before they become cancerous.

The recommended age to start screening is 50. There are three types of tests recommended for colorectal screening: the high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) (annually); flexible sigmoidoscopy (every five years); and colonoscopy (every 10 years). For those younger than age 50 who have a family history of colorectal cancer, screening may start earlier.

It is important for people to talk with their health care provider about their risk for all cancers.  For additional information and resources: