Summer 2018 News
Our goal is to become the healthiest county in Minnesota!
Partnering with local advocates to improve biking in Cannon falls
A bike is a ticket to health, mobility, freedom, and fun. Research has shown that bicycling helps kids arrive to school focused and ready to learn, can improve the overall safety of our communities by slowing traffic and making our streets safer, and can be fun for the whole family. Bicycling is one of the most popular transportation and recreation activities in the world.
This summer in Cannon Falls, a team of advocates are working with David Anderson, Live Well Goodhue County Coordinator, to make it safer and more enjoyable to bicycle so:
- More children bike to and from and school
- More children, families and seniors bike to and from community destinations
- More community members and visitors bike to and from area businesses
Only 1% of all daily trips in the United States are made by bicycle, including fewer than 1% of trips to school by children younger than age 16. However, many more trips could be made by bicycle, as 40% of trips made in the United States are shorter than two miles. Using the Safe Routes to School Handbook as a guide, the team is engaging with students, families and seniors to learn:
- What keeps you from biking to school?
- What would help you bike to school?
- What are the barriers that keep families and seniors from bikingto community destinations?
- What would make it safer and easier for people of all ages to bike to destinations in Cannon Falls?
- Where in Cannon Falls would you like to bike?
Future steps include:
- Encouragement – creating a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling
- Education – giving people of all ages the abilities the skills and confidence to ride
- Enforcement – ensuring safe roads for all users
- Engineering – creating safe and convenient places to ride and park
- Evaluation – measuring the effectiveness
- Equity – ensuring fair and even distribution of bicycle facilities, programs, activities and funding
Additional Bike Friendly Facts
- A community’s infrastructure can have an impact on its citizens’ health, especially in regard to obesity and physical activity.
- Cities have shown bicycle routes have a higher percentage of bicycle commuters.
- Studies have shown that even moderate increases in physical activity can have a substantial impact on health.
- Cycling 30 minutes per day regularly can reduce the risk of a heart attach by about 50%.
- Research shows that increasing the number of bicyclists on the street improves driver awareness and bicycle safety – and saves lives.
- Bicycling one mile instead of driving prevents about one pound of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
If you would like to be a part of Bike Cannon Falls, contact David Anderson, Live Well Goodhue County Coordinator.
Eat Well – Live Well Initiative
Partnering with Red Wing Food Shelf and their clients
For decades, Minnesota food shelves focused on providing enough food to people in need. But these days, many food shelves are trying to offer healthier options. Why? Because healthy food gives us the energy and nutrients to grow and develop, be active, move, work, play, think and learn. And, some of their clients are overweight, or have developed chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiac issues.
Eating healthy is largely predicated on the ability or inability to access healthier food choices. Those with limited incomes often find it difficult or impossible to purchase healthy foods due to cost, limited availability and limited access. Food shelves can provide such individuals with healthy choices that they may not otherwise have, resulting in improved eating habits and improved health.
Sounds simple; however, our food shelves have challenges too, including lack of healthy choices available from food suppliers, limited storage, being unable to secure fresh fruits and vegetables and unhealthy donations from community food drives. During June, David Anderson, Britney Dufrense and Stacey Anderson met one-on-one with Red Wing Food Shelf clients to learn if they would be interested in helping increase the availability of healthier options and sharing what the challenges are to preparing and serving healthy food to their families. In late July or early August, the Red Wing Food Shelf and Live Well Goodhue County will convene an action team made up of food shelf clients, volunteers, board members and community members to explore how we might increase the access to fruits and vegetables and food that is lower in sodium, added sugar and saturated fats. According to David, “The aim of the initiative isn’t to force people to take healthy food, but to increase the options.”
Vaping 101: What you need to know so you can talk to your kids
Youth e-cigarette use is up 50% since 2014! This rapid uptake of e-cigarette and other vaping devices has quickly reversed a long-term trend of declining teen tobacco use in Minnesota, according to results from the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that contain a mixture of liquid nicotine and other chemicals. The device heats this mixture, called e-juice, producing a nicotine aerosol that is inhaled. E-cigarettes are also called e-hookahs, e-pipes, vapes, JUULs, hookah pens or personal vaporizers.
Nearly all e-cigarettes and other vaping devices contain nicotine, which can harm brain development as teens grow. No amount of nicotine is safe for youth. Adolescence is a critical window for brain growth and development, when the brain is still “under construction”, so there could be negative implications for learning, memory and attention. Evidence also suggests that nicotine primes the adolescent brain for addiction, increasing the risk of future addictions not only to tobacco, but other substances like illicit drugs.
Why the rise?
1. Flavors appeal to kids. Over 60% of students who use tobacco reported using menthol or other flavored products.
2. Easy access. Nearly 1/3 of high school e-cigarette users report they got their e-cig from retail outlets, about 1 in 5 got them from vape shops.
3. Aggressive marketing. Most students (88%) have seen ads for e-cigarettes-of those who are heavily exposed on social media, nearly 40% use e-cigarettes.
4. Changing landscape. 1 in 3 high school e-cigarette users reported they had used an e-cigarette to vape marijuana or THC oil/wax.
Tips for Parents
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health created a four page fact sheet about USB-shaped e-cigarettes and youth. It provides credible information about the risk of the products and actions that parents, educators and health care providers can take to protect kids. To review this fact sheet and others, go to https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/youth/index.htm
Communities are taking action to reduce youth tobacco use
Tobacco control has many highly effective, evidence-based strategies to prevent youth initiation and reduce youth access. Local communities are working to:
- Increase the minimum sales age to 21.
- Reduce youth access to e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
- Limit flavored and menthol tobacco sales.
- Increase the minimum pack and price of cigars.
- Increase compliance and enforcement efforts of youth access laws.
If you would like to join our effort, contact David Anderson, Live Well Goodhue County Coordinator.