Monday, September 23, 2019

State of Obesity: U.S. Obesity Rates at Historic Highs

9 States Reach Adult Obesity Rates of 35 Percent or More
The 16th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, released today by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) reports on obesity rates for every state and the District of Columbia and by racial and ethnic groups, age and gender.
Newly released data show that obesity rates are at 35 percent or higher in 9 states – up from 7 last year – and that racial, ethnic, gender and geographic disparities in obesity rates continue to persist.

The report includes 31 recommendations for policy action by federal, state and local government, across several sectors, designed to improve people’s access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. The recommendations are grounded in two key principles: the complexity of the obesity crisis requires multi-sector interventions and a systems approach, and, interventions should focus on communities with the highest levels of obesity first as a matter of health equity and because such interventions offer the best opportunity to impact the problem.
Key Findings:
  • 1 in 3 Americans have obesity.
  • Obesity rates vary considerably between states with Mississippi and West Virginia having the highest level of adult obesity in the nation at 39.5 percent and Colorado having the lowest level at 23.0 percent.
  • Nearly half of Latino (47 percent) and Black (46.8 percent) adults have obesity while adult obesity rates among White adults is 37.9 percent and 12.7 percent for Asian adults.
  • African-American women have the highest level of obesity among all population groups at 54.8 percent.
Key Recommendations:
  • Expand the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to age 6 for children and for two years postpartum for mothers. Fully fund the WIC breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program.
  • Increase the price of sugary drinks through excise taxes and use the revenue to address health and socioeconomic disparities.
  • Ensure that CDC has enough funding to grant every state appropriate funding to implement evidence-based obesity prevention strategies.
  • Fully fund the Student Support and Academic Enrichment program and other federal programs that support student physical education.
  • Encourage safe physical activity by funding Safe Routes to Schools, Complete Streets, Vision Zero and other pedestrian safety initiatives through federal transportation and infrastructure funding.
  • Ensure that anti-hunger and nutrition-assistance programs, like SNAP, WIC, and others follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and make access to nutritious food a core program tenet.
  • Strengthen and expand school nutrition programs beyond federal standards to include universal meals, and flexible breakfasts.
  • End tax loopholes and business costs deductions related to the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children.
  • Cover evidence-based comprehensive pediatric weight management programs and services in Medicaid.

Climate Changes Health and Health Equity – Air Quality

Climate Changes Health and Health Equity – Air Quality
FACILITATOR:  Jeff Anderson, MD, Cardiovascular Department, Intermountain Medical Center and University of Utah School of Medicine

Tuesday,   September 24, 2019
12:00-1:00 PM

EHSL 29/30, Lower Level, Eccles Health Sciences Library, Map and Directions

RSVP – Light lunch will be served.   The LibGuide lists readings identified by the facilitators for each session.

Climate change is a significant threat to health and health equity. In the Fall 2019 Climate Changes Health and Health Equity Community Read/Journal Club, we will focus on two reports:  The 2018 Lancet Countdown Report and The 2016 U.S Global Change Research Program Climate and Health Assessment.    The Lancet Countdown was established to provide an independent, global monitoring system dedicated to tracking the health dimensions of the impacts of, and the response to, climate change. It tracks 41 indicators across five domains: climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerability; adaptation, planning, and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co-benefits; finance and economics; and public and political engagement.   The 2016 U.S Global Change Research Program Climate and Health Assessment focuses on the impacts of climate change on human health in the United States.  This scientific assessment examines how climate change is already affecting human health and the changes that may occur in the future with focus on:  temperature-related death and illness; air quality impacts; extreme events; vector-borne diseases; water-related illness; food safety, nutrition, and distribution; mental health and well-being, and populations of concern

IMPORTANT:  Please attend whichever session or sessions work with your schedule.   You do not have to participate in all sessions to participate in some sessions.   Please join us and RSVP to let us know you plan to join us and to assist us in accommodating dietary needs.

The first five sessions in this series will address: air quality; mental health and well-being including eco-anxiety; climate change vulnerability; populations of concern; and public policy/solutions:

Sept. 24th        Air Quality - Jeff Anderson, MD, Cardiovascular Department, Intermountain Medical Center and U of Utah School of Medicine
Oct 1st             Mental Health and Well-Being, including Eco-Anxiety - LeRoy Anderson, MD, Psychiatrist (retired); Clinical Faculty (retired), School of Medicine, University of Utah; and Medical Director (retired), Outpatient Psychiatry Service, Utah Valley Medical Center
Oct 8th             Fall Break
Oct 15th           Climate Change Vulnerability - T. Andrew Dodds, MD, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Intermountain Medical Center
Oct 22nd           Populations of Concern - Royal P. DeLegge, PhD, LEHS, RS, Director, Environmental Health Division, Salt Lake County Health Department
Oct 29th           Public Policy/Solutions - Scott Williams, MD, Executive Director, Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah)

The final three sessions of this discussion will feature systemic action being taken at the University of Utah, in Utah, in the U.S. and internationally to address how climate changes health and health equity:

Nov 5th            Practice Green Health – Smitha Warrier, MD, Anesthesiology, Assistant Professor (Clinical), School of Medicine, University of Utah
Nov 12th          Students Leading the Way on Climate – Piper Christian and Mishka Banuri, Utah Youth Environmental Solutions  
Nov 19th          Climate Changes Health and Health Equity - Rising to the Challenge – Brenda Bowen, PhD, Director, Global Change & Sustainability Center and Associate Professor, Geology & Geophysics, University of Utah

Reading Plan:

Please RSVP to let us know you plan to join us and to assist us in accommodating dietary needs.     

FREE Recreation Grant Workshop

Dates Announced: 2020 Grant Workshop Tour



The Office of Outdoor Recreation is pleased to announce details for the upcoming 2020 grant workshop tour. (And in case you haven't heard, the Office of Outdoor Recreation now offers three unique grant opportunities!)
  • The Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant (UORG) provides matching grant funding to build new outdoor recreation infrastructure. UORG projects offer economic opportunities, enhance quality of life, and provide social and health benefits. Outdoor recreation infrastructure projects include trails, boat ramps, archery ranges, mountain bike parks, and more. 
  • The Recreation Restoration Infrastructure (RRI) grant helps fund restoration and rehabilitation of existing outdoor recreation infrastructure. RRI projects help alleviate the backlog of maintenance for outdoor recreation projects on public lands. Areas that receive the highest visitation will be prioritized, including trails, campgrounds, day-use areas, water recreation infrastructure, and more.
  • The Utah Children's Outdoor Recreation and Education (UCORE) grant program helps fund programs that provide high-quality, outdoor-focused learning experiences to youth ages 6-18, and teaches children the physical skills that can make outdoor recreation part of a healthy and active lifestyle. UCORE complements the state's Every Kid Outdoors (EKO) initiative and hopes to provide more opportunities so no child is left inside.
Check out the list below to register for a FREE workshop in your area.
The OOR team will walk you through the process step-by-step, helping you create a compelling project submission. In addition, partnering organizations will join us to present other grant opportunities available to communities, including Utah State Parks, which administers the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant, and a representative from the National Park Services’ River Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) grant, which helps get outdoor recreation plans get off the ground. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Materials, refreshments, and light snacks will be provided.
Southern & Eastern Utah, November 4-8
Northern & Central Utah, November 12-15

Friday, September 20, 2019

Utah Community Health Centers Receive HRSA Funding to Expand Access to Oral Health Care

HHS Awards over $85 Million to Help Health Centers Expand Access to Oral Health Care

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded over $85 million to 298 health centers to expand their oral health service capacity through new infrastructure enhancements. These investments are the first by HRSA to solely focus on oral health infrastructure and will enable HRSA-funded health centers to provide new, or enhance existing, oral health services.
“Health centers play a key role in providing access to a comprehensive range of services Americans need to stay healthy, and that includes high-quality oral health care,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Early detection of oral diseases can prevent much more costly health challenges and improve Americans’ health, which is the ultimate goal of President Trump’s vision for our healthcare system. These are the first awards HRSA has ever made solely for health centers’ oral healthcare infrastructure, and they will support better access to oral health services in communities across the country, including underserved urban and rural areas.”
The awards of up to $300,000 each will support physical and organizational infrastructure investments for health centers, such as minor alteration and renovation to modernize existing facilities, purchase and installation of dental and radiology equipment, training and consultation to increase oral health integration, and purchase of mobile dental units to increase access to oral health care in hard-to-reach parts of communities.
“Access to high-quality, integrated oral health care is essential to the early detection of oral diseases, which are critical to preventing future, often costly, health issues,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “These awards, which are the first of their kind, will help health centers tackle limitations in infrastructure, such as outdated equipment and insufficient space, and improve access to integrated, oral health services in primary care settings in communities across the country.”
In 2018, HRSA-funded health centers served more than 6.4 m illion dental patients, a 13 percent increase from 2016, and provided more than 16.5 million dental visits.
For more than 50 years, health centers have delivered affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care services to patients. Today, nearly 1,400 health centers operate approximately 12,000 service delivery sites nationwide.
To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit:
To locate a HRSA-funded health center, visit:

Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake Fall Health Fair

Utah Women's Leadership Speaker & Dialogue Series


Vaping Illnesses: Consumers can Help Protect Themselves by Avoiding Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-Containing Vaping Products

The FDA is providing consumers information to help protect themselves while health officials investigate recent illnesses following the use of vaping products

Consumers are likely aware of the recent reports of respiratory illnesses — including some resulting in deaths – following the use of vaping products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration remains deeply concerned about these incidents and is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local public health partners to investigate them as quickly as possible.

While the work by federal and state health officials to identify more information about the products used, where they were obtained and what substances they contain is ongoing, the FDA is providing consumers with some information to help protect themselves.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Climate and Health Symposium

For more details and to RSVP for events, visit the UCAN - Climate Week 2019 page

To purchase your ticket for the Utah Climate Week Kick-Off Party-UCAN Fundraiser

Download your Climate Communications Toolkit! Please utilize the Communications Toolkit to leverage our collective network to help spread the word!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Lung Disease Investigation

New Updates – Monday, September 16, 2019
As of Monday, September 16, 2019, 42 cases associated with vaping nicotine, THC, or both have been reported in Utah, with an additional 14 potential cases being investigated.
Sixty percent of Utah cases self-reported vaping nicotine and 90% self-reported vaping THC.
A total of 39 products have been tested by the Utah Public Health Laboratory. About half (51%) of the samples were collected from nicotine e-juices and about half (49%) were collected from THC cartridges. One hundred percent (100%) of the nicotine e-juices contained nicotine and none have shown unexpected compounds. Ninety percent (90%) of the THC cartridges contained Vitamin E acetate, a known cutting agent. It is still unknown whether Vitamin E acetate is the underlying cause of this outbreak. As such, the Utah Department of Health recommends all Utah residents immediately stop using vaping products.
Current Situation
Public health agencies and health care providers in Utah are investigating several cases of severe lung disease in people who vape nicotine or THC products. As of Monday, September 16, 2019, 42 cases associated with vaping nicotine, THC, or both have been reported in Utah, with an additional 14 potential cases being investigated.
New cases are being reported weekly, and public health agencies are still unsure of exactly what is causing these illnesses. The Utah Department of Health recommends all Utah residents immediately stop using vaping products.
Similar cases have been reported in other states throughout the country, and officials in Utah are coordinating with the appropriate state and federal officials.
What is Happening?
Patients are experiencing symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. Other symptoms included nausea and vomiting. Most patients (94%) have required hospitalization, with some requiring the assistance of ventilators to help them breathe.
Almost all cases report a recent history of vaping either nicotine or THC products, or a combination of both.
The available evidence does not currently suggest that an infectious disease is the cause of the illnesses.
No specific substance or vaping product has been identified that is linked to all cases.
While patients have improved with treatment, it is unknown whether they will experience long-term health effects.
What are Public Health Officials and Doctors Doing?
Public health agencies and health care providers throughout the state are working to determine the cause of these severe illnesses.
Public health workers are interviewing patients to obtain a history of their vaping habits, including the types of products they’ve been using and how frequently they use them. They are also collecting product samples from patients and are coordinating with state and federal partners to test these products to determine if they contain harmful substances that may contribute to severe lung illness.
The Utah Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other state laboratories are testing samples for the presence of a broad range of chemicals, including nicotine, THC and other cannabinoids, along with cutting agents/diluents and other additives, pesticides, opioids, poisons, heavy metals, and toxins.
Preliminary testing results from samples in Utah are consistent with those reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and samples tested by the FDA. There is not a consistent product or brand associated with these lung illnesses and many cases in Utah report using multiple vaping products in the weeks preceding illness onset. Utah public health workers are testing both products marketed as nicotine e-liquids and as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive component of the marijuana plant) cartridges. Several THC cartridge samples that were tested in Utah also contained Vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate is a substance present in topical consumer products or dietary supplements, but data are limited about its effects after inhalation.
There is currently insufficient evidence to conclude THC cartridges or Vitamin E acetate is the cause of the lung injury in these cases.
Health care providers who treat patients with unexpected, serious respiratory illness should ask about a history of recent vaping and are encouraged to report suspect cases to the UDOH or local health departments.
What Should I Do?
Until a cause of these illnesses has been determined, you should immediately stop vaping, including THC oil concentrate cartridges (“carts”).
While, vaping has been promoted as a safer alternative to smoking, the CDC says e-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
If you’ve never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, you should not start. E-cigarettes are devices that deliver an aerosol to the user by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver marijuana or other substances. E-cigarettes are still a relatively new tobacco product, and additional research is needed to better understand the dangers and long-term risks of using them.
If you do use vaping products, you should not buy these products off the street. Do not modify vaping products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your health care provider.
If you experience any type of chest pain or difficulty breathing after vaping you should seek immediate medical attention and let your health care provider know of your past use of vaping products.
Information about e-cigarettes and vapes can be found on the UDOH website at
For information about how you can help yourself or a loved one quit tobacco, including e-cigarettes, please visit, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Program Provides Naloxone to Curb Overdoses: To date, 255 lives have been saved

Program Provides Naloxone to Curb Overdoses
To date, 255 lives have been saved
(Salt Lake City, Utah) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) today reported 255 lives have been saved as a direct result of the Opiate Overdose Outreach Pilot Project created by the Utah State Legislature two years ago.

The report also demonstrates the critical need to continue the project, as Utah experienced an increase in overdose deaths resulting from the use of opioids.

From 2017 to 2018, the number of prescription opioid overdose deaths increased by 1.8% (from 217 deaths to 221 deaths). The number of heroin overdose deaths increased by 17.2% (from 122 deaths to 143 deaths). The number of deaths involving both prescription opioids and heroin increased by 76.7% (from 30 deaths to 53 deaths).

During 2018, 417 total opioid overdose deaths were reported in Utah.

“We still have a long way to go in solving the issues around misuse, abuse, and overdose from opioids, but we are making progress. We have great support with partners at the
state and local level as well as in the healthcare and private sectors,” said Lauren Radcliffe, opioid overdose prevention specialist with the UDOH.

The two-year Opiate Overdose Outreach Pilot Program was implemented in 2016 with one-time funding of $250,000. The goal of the program was to reduce opioid overdose death by distributing naloxone kits. Naloxone is a safe and legal drug that can reverse heroin and prescription opioid overdoses by blocking the effects of opiates on the brain and restoring breathing within minutes.

The pilot program ended in June 2017, and the UDOH has had limited funding to meet the statewide demand for naloxone.

Currently, the UDOH can purchase about 168 naloxone kits per month, far below the number of requests UDOH staff receive for targeted naloxone distribution.

“We hope to continue increasing statewide access to naloxone. We have initiatives involving healthcare providers, pharmacists, and school administrators,” said Radcliffe.  

In addition to distributing naloxone, the UDOH has implemented several initiatives to address the slight increase in prescription opioids deaths. Including:
  • Disseminating more than 257,000 opioid related materials (e.g. brochures, pocket cards, posters, etc.).
  • Encouraging healthcare providers to talk to their patients about the risks of taking opioids and to follow the Utah Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
  • Working with schools to implement an opioid overdose emergency report policy in 25 school districts and helping to ensure 31 school districts have naloxone available.
  • Partnering with the University of Utah Poison Control Center, a “Naloxone for Opioid Overdose 101” training was developed for the public, first responders, and public safety officers. Participants receive a certificate of completion at the end of the training.
  • Funding the Stop the Opidemic campaign since 2016, with messaging around overdose, naloxone, and healthcare provider involvement; the campaign has recently started to share messages of recovery.
“While we continue to address prescription opioids deaths, we also want to share people’s stories of recovery many of which include heroin. We understand that naloxone is what Utahns need in order to reverse an overdose and continue on to recovery,” said Radcliffe.

To learn more about the Opiate Overdose Outreach Pilot Program, visit

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