This is the latest Live Well Allegheny e-update, with information to help make Allegheny County a healthier place for all. Please feel free to share with your own networks.
We have 350+ partners united in our efforts to make Allegheny County healthy for all!
A Letter From Our Deputy Director
Hello Live Well Partners!
April is the official kick off for our “Rethink Your Drink” campaign. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet. People who regularly drink these sweet drinks are more likely to face health problems, such as weight gain, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and cavities.
Some tips to rethink your drink include:
- Choose water
- Add flavor enhancers, such as berries, lime, lemon or cucumber to water
- Add a splash of 100 percent juice to sparking water
- Bring a reusable bottle to help remind you to drink water
April is also Minority Health Month. The focus of this health observance is to raise awareness about improving health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority communities by providing its members with culturally competent health care services, information and resources.
Improving health outcomes for our residents of color is a priority in Allegheny County. The Plan for a Healthy Allegheny has set a goal to decrease disparities in life expectancy and chronic diseases in the county. We are working with our partners on a number of strategies, including increasing community-based screenings and the number of health care providers of color. Learn more in our Live Well Story.
Bureau of Community and Family Health
Allegheny County Health Department
Welcome New Live Well Partners
North Hills School District
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald celebrated the Live Well Allegheny Schools designation for the North Hills School District by visiting Highcliff Elementary School and taking part in a food demonstration where he helped students make and taste green smoothies (packed with fruits and vegetables). This is part of the district’s commitment to the Pennsylvania farm to school partnership that incorporates more local foods into school meals. The partnership also educates students through monthly food demonstrations, like the one that took place at Highcliff.
MEE Productions Inc.
MEE (Motivational Educational Entertainment) Productions Inc., is a communications, marketing research and social-marketing firm that specializes in developing cost-effective, cutting edge and culturally-relevant messages for hard-to-reach, low-income and underserved audiences. MEE worked with the Health Department and Department of Human Services to develop and execute the United Against COVID campaign, a community engagement initiative focused on supporting ethnic and minority communities in Allegheny County that were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
View the campaign website!
To become a Live Well Partner each organization pledges to further the Live Well Allegheny mission of promoting health and wellness in their organization.
Live Well Allegheny Story
REACH: Minority Health Month
April is National Minority Health Month. This year’s theme is “Better Health Through Better Understanding,” which highlights how improving communication can help us advance health equity for racial and ethnic minorities.
The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, a CDC-funded initiative managed by the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Program, works to reduce racial health disparities by addressing several of the risk factors associated with chronic disease in our Black communities. A diverse coalition of partners are working together to ensure access to healthy food, safe outdoor spaces, and health care.
Here are some examples of the work supported through the REACH project:
- Safer, healthier conditions. Through municipal partnerships, traffic calming, and safety solutions are being put in place to make it safer and easier for people to walk or bike to their destinations. School lunch guidelines are being evaluated to make meals healthier and more connected to local farms.
- Nutrition support starting at birth. Breastfeeding offers health benefits for babies and moms. Breastfeeding circles breastfeeding 101 classes, and 24-hour-on-call Latch Line helps more Black families start and continue nursing.
- Increase in healthy behaviors. REACH has helped Black residents get screened, keep their doctor’s appointments, and eat healthier foods to reach goals of achieving healthier weights, improving blood pressure, and lowering blood sugar.
The REACH Coalition recently released a video that highlights the successes of the past grant year, you can learn more on the REACH page.
April Health Observances
April is Stress Awareness Month
Stress is a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. This is a natural human response that alert us to address challenges and threats. Everyone experiences stress. Learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will help you, the people you care about and those around you become more resilient.
Helpful ways to manage stress include:
- Take breaks from news stories and social media
- Eat healthy
- Get enough sleep
- Focus on moving more and sitting less
- Limit alcohol and smoking
- Connect with others
For more stress reduction resources check out the link here.
Live Well, Be Well
Move Your Way
Kids need 60 minutes of activity each day. That may sound like a lot for a school day, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Move Your Way has physical activity resources just for kids. Check out this fact sheet to help motivate your kids to be more active.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Announces Parks Rx
Pittsburgh’s parks are yours for the playing! Getting outside and moving your body is a great way to stay healthy. Use these three steps to get started:
Some local parks also offer park activity sheets. You can find them here.
If you don’t live near a Pittsburgh park, be sure to check out the closest Allegheny County park near you here.
Save the Date: Ultimate Play Day
This event, brought to you by the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, will be held on Sunday, May 7 from 1-4 p.m. at Lower McKinley Park (Bausman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15210) will celebrate playfulness for people of all ages! This is a free, family-friendly event that encourages play through hands-on activities, entertainment, and refreshments. For more information about Ultimate Play Day, visit their website here.
Health Department Updates
Rethink Your Drink Campaign
As part of Live Well Allegheny, the Health Department has launched a campaign to educate residents on the effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages and to encourage healthier beverage options, called “Rethink Your Drink!”
The campaign has three main objectives:
- Educate about the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on overall health and wellness
- Empower children and families to rethink their drink choices by choosing healthier options
- Provide resources to residents and community partners
Campaign partners will receive access to the Rethink Your Drink toolkit, which includes:
- Activities to educate about sugar-sweetened beverages
- Social media messages
- Sample newsletter content
The campaign information can also be found at: livewellallegheny.com/rethinkyourdrink
We are currently looking for community organizations, municipalities, and schools to partner with us to educate our residents about the health benefits of rethinking their drinks.
To partner with us, contact:
Public Health Educator
Chronic Disease Spotlight
According to the CDC, six in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease and four in 10 adults have two or more chronic diseases. Each month this section will highlight a common chronic disease and provide educational resources.
Obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults. Obesity prevalence was 12.7 percent among two- to five-year-olds, 20.7 percent among six to 11-year-olds, and 22.2 percent among 12 to 19-year-olds, based on data from the CDC. Obesity prevalence was 26.2 percent among Hispanic children, 24.8 percent among Black children, 16.6 percent among White children, and 9 percent among Asian children.
Childhood Obesity in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, obesity prevalence among high school students:
- White students 14.3 percent
- Black students 8.6 percent
- Hispanic students 14.6 percent
- Asian students 6.4 percent
Source: Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System (2019)
The leading source of added sugars in the U.S. diet are sugar sweetened beverages, desserts and sweet snacks. The average daily intake of added sugars was 17 teaspoons for children and young adults aged 2 to 19 years.
- By sex, the average intake was 18 teaspoons for boys and 15 teaspoons for girls
By age and race/ethnicity:
- Among 2 to 5-year-olds, the average intake was 13 teaspoons for Black children, 12 teaspoons for White children, 11 teaspoons for Hispanic children and 7 teaspoons for Asian children.
- Among 6 to 11-year-olds, the average intake was 19 teaspoons for Black children, 18 teaspoons for White children, 16 teaspoons for Hispanic children and 12 teaspoons for Asian children
- Among 12 to 19-year-olds, the average intake was 20 teaspoons for Black young people, 20 teaspoons for White young people, 15 teaspoons for Hispanic young people and 14 teaspoons for Asian young people
- Poor nutrition
- Physical inactivity
- Medication use