9/5/16 Minnesota sees significant drop in obesity rate

State’s adult obesity rate remains lowest in the region

obesity090116The state’s adult obesity rate saw a statistically significant drop between 2014 and 2015, from 27.6 percent in 2014 to 26.1 percent in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Minnesota was the only state in the region, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, to succeed in keeping its obesity rates firmly below 30 percent. According to data released today by CDC, neighboring states’ rates ranged from 30.7 to 32.1 percent.

CDC today released 2015 state- and territory-specific data on adult obesity prevalence using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). All states had more than one in five adults (20 percent) with obesity.

“Minnesota’s obesity rate is markedly lower than our surrounding states and we were still able to achieve a greater decrease in 2015 than our neighboring states,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “Achieving healthy weight for all Minnesotans is one of the key objectives for our Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and its community and private sector partners. By working together we’ve been able to increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for all Minnesotans in every corner of the state.”

“It is humbling to see that our SHIP efforts are having a positive impact on the overall health of those who live in Minnesota. It proves how powerful a statewide health improvement initiative can be”, states Laura Dahl the SHIP Coordinator for Quin County CHS which covers the counties of Marshall, Kittson, Pennington, Red Lake, and Roseau.

Obesity rates can have a major impact on health care costs for related chronic diseases like diabetes. In 2008, Minnesota policymakers responded to skyrocketing health care costs driven in part by rising obesity rates, by enacting SHIP, as part of Minnesota’s bipartisan health care reform legislation. Since that time, Minnesota’s obesity rate held steady until it ticked up from 2013 to 2014 (from 25.5 percent to 27.6 percent). These latest CDC findings confirm that Minnesota has returned to its historically low obesity rate that remains steady on a year-to-year basis even as other states and the U.S. as a whole continues on an upward trend.

According to combined data from the CDC, the adult obesity rate for African Americans in Minnesota was 29.9 percent, which is lower than the national figure of 38.1 percent.

Healthy Eating and Active Living efforts in the five county area include working with the local farmer’s markets, the local food shelves, farm to institution training and support for schools, licensed childcare providers, and medical facilities, the development of a local food network, community gardens, walking paths and trails, the availability of a bike fleet in partnership with the NWRDC, breast feeding support, and the improvement of wellness in the workplace. This list is not inclusive of the work being done in the Quin area, but gives a brief over view of the impact being made in and around the rural communities. For further information please contact the Quin County CHS office at 218-874-7845.

Many factors play a role in obesity, making it a complex health issue to address. Across Minnesota, communities are working together through SHIP to expand healthy eating and active living opportunities along with tobacco prevention with multiple strategies, across multiple setting and sectors. SHIP spends $17.5 million per year supporting grant funding to local community partners that is in all 87 counties and 10 tribal nations. SHIP grants support locally controlled community health boards, which have linked with more than 2,570 active partner sites. These efforts support and leverage the work of a variety of partners such as community groups, schools, employers, farmers, chambers of commerce, hospitals and health care facilities, city planners, county boards, tribal officials and more.


10/16/14 – Almost $500 million could be saved annually by making subsidized housing smoke-free
First state level data shows great variation in cost savings  

Prohibiting smoking in all government subsidized housing in the United States, including public housing, would save an estimated $497 million per year in health care and housing-related costs, according to a CDC study published in Preventing Chronic Disease. The total cost saved comprises of about $310 million in secondhand smoke-related health care, $134 million in renovation expenses, and $53 million in smoking-attributable fire losses. The analysis found that prohibiting smoking in public housing either owned or operated by a government housing authority would yield cost savings of $153 million annually.

The study is the first of its kind to estimate the annual cost savings of making subsidized housing smoke-free in each state. Those cost savings range from $580,000 in Wyoming to $125 million in New York. The range of cost savings for states from prohibiting smoking in public housing alone range from $130,000 in Wyoming to $58 million in New York.  “This important study is further evidence that smoke-free policies are a win-win. They not only protect the public’s health, but also save significant sums of money,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Prohibiting smoking in subsidized housing eliminates one of the leading disparities related to secondhand smoke exposure, as children, the elderly, the disabled and low-income Americans are disproportionately affected.”

Nearly 80 million Americans live in multi-unit housing. Of these, nearly 7 million U.S. multi-unit housing residents live in government subsidized housing, including approximately 2 million in public housing. Multi-unit housing residents are susceptible to secondhand smoke exposure because studies have shown that secondhand smoke gets through ventilation systems and windows and spreads into units where no smoking occurs. The potential for secondhand smoke exposure in public or subsidized housing is especially concerning because a large number of the residents in these units are particularly vulnerable to the impact of secondhand smoke, including children, the elderly, and the disabled. “Already, over 500 public housing agencies have adopted some form of a smoke free policy, protecting approximately 200,000 families,” said Matthew Ammon, Acting Director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes.

“This study reinforces HUD’s work that promotes health and reduces costs by encouraging public housing agencies, multi-family housing owners and agents, as well as residents, to adopt and implement smoke-free housing policies.” HUD is a member of the National Prevention Council and is committed to advancing the National Prevention Strategy’s priority of Tobacco-Free Living. Since January 2012, the number of smoke free public housing agencies has more than doubled, and HUD continues to educate housing operators and residents about the health and economic benefits of prohibiting smoking, and encouraging smoke-free policies. HUD will also continue to provide practical guidance on the adoption and implementation of smoke-free policies.

Providing resources and information on smoking cessation and preventing the initiation of smoking will help increase the number of subsidized housing residents protected by these policies. The Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that only 100 percent smoke-free policies fully protect people from involuntary exposure. Secondhand smoke kills more than 40,000 Americans each year and causes health problems in adults such as cancer and heart disease. Children exposed to secondhand smoke have more frequent and intense asthma attacks, more respiratory infections and higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

For more information on secondhand smoke, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/by_topic/secondhand_smoke.

For smoke-free housing toolkits and other information for owners and managers of federally assisted public and multi-family housing, visit http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/smokefreetoolkits1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation’s health protection agency.

10/16/14 – Middle River Goes Tobacco-Free

With its recent vote, the Middle River City Council paved the way for residents to enjoy tobacco-free outdoor spaces.

The council voted to prohibit the use of any form of tobacco and electronic cigarettes at the city’s tennis courts and public shelter. The new ordinance prohibits the use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes within 20 feet of the outside area of the fenced tennis courts on all sides. It prohibits use of all tobacco products and e-cigarettes within 20 feet of the public shelter on all sides. Anyone violating the ordinance might be asked to leave the property.

“As a city council, we agree that it was a good idea to provide outdoor tobacco-free spaces within the city of Middle River,” councilmember Hilary Gram said. “This provides tobacco-free areas for people to enjoy with their friends and families.”

Efforts on behalf of this ordinance focused on exposure to secondhand smoke, as well as studies have shown that exposure to secondhand smoke can have an adverse effect on an individual’s health. Tobacco products consumed in public spaces are often discarded on the ground and pose a risk to toddlers due to ingestion.

“I am very proud of my hometown for implementing a policy and displaying signage that offers tobacco-free outdoor spaces to enjoy,” said Laura Dahl, State Health Improvement Program coordinator for Quin Community Health Services. “This was an extremely positive experience, and I want to thank the city council for their support and for making an impact on the health of others.”

Helen Anderson, the Tobacco-Free Communities program coordinator for Quin Community Health Services, applauded the council for its efforts to protect more residents and also be a positive role model for youth in these youth-focused areas.
“This was our first effort at working with a city council to discuss tobacco-free outdoor spaces,” Anderson said. “The Middle River City Council was very supportive about the policy work towards signage and about the health of our youth. Congratulations Middle River!”

9/23/2014 – Area Schools Get Active at Recess

The Quin Community Health Services SHIP Grant and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) partnered to bring a dynamic Active Recess training to Northwest Minnesota.  All school districts in the five county area, including the counties of Roseau, Kittson, Marshall, Red Lake and Pennington were invited to attend one of the two trainings that were offered on August 26 at the Plummer Elementary School and on August 27 at the Grygla School.

The three hour free workshop was facilitated by Terri Swartout, School SHIP Coordinator for MDE.  The focus of the workshop was to learn creative ways to turn recess time into an outdoor learning laboratory, to understand the link between physical activity and academic achievement, to investigate current recess programming/policies in addition to identifying effective change, and lastly to leave with a wealth of resources and activities ready to incorporate into productive recess time.

The intended audience was elementary teachers, physical education teachers, para-professionals, and school administrators. The area schools that took advantage of this wonderful training opportunity were Badger, Tri-County, Plummer, Red Lake Falls, Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, Greenbush Middle River (both sites), Goodridge, Grygla, Marshall County Central (Newfolden and Viking), and Roseau with 39 participants attending in Plummer and 27 participants attending in Grygla.  In addition to the training, each site received a complimentary Active Recess Kit valued at $100 which included Bonker bat and ball sets, a soccer ball, Frisbees, jump ropes, and swing balls sets.

Active Recess in Grygla 2

(Area schools “get active” at workshop offered in Grygla.)

This workshop was made possible through SHIP – the Statewide Health Improvement Program which is dedicated to creating healthy communities by decreasing obesity through healthy eating and physical activity, and reducing the number of people who use tobacco and are exposed to tobacco smoke. A Middle River elementary student validated the success of this workshop while panting at the end of recess, “Whew! That Frisbee is a good workout!”