Archive - September 2017

1
What Is a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Baby?
2
A Tale of Too Much Sitting
3
3-4-50 Vermont
4
6 Mindful Eating Tips
5
Are You Prepared?
6
How 336 Dimples Helped Me Lose 20 Pounds

What Is a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Baby?

By: Valerie Valcour

 

According to the CDC, in 2016 there were 4.5 infant deaths in Vermont. (CDC, 2017) This is the number of infant deaths (before age one year) per 1,000 live births.

The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) would like to help families not to have this experience. VDH has a web page where you will find 10 tips for making a Safe Sleep Environment for your baby.

VDH is having a discussion group about infant safe sleep. This is your opportunity to share your thoughts with JSI Research and Training Institute (JSI). JSI will be developing a well-researched infant safe sleep education campaign for our Vermont families, professionals and community organizations.

Please join us for a 1.5-hour conversation and snacks! 
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 – 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Copley Hospital, Stephen’s Conference Room. To thank you for your time, each person will be provided with $50 in cash. Please let us know if you plan on attending. For more information, contact Lauren at 603-573-3352, lauren_smith@jsi.com.

 

References

CDC, National Vital Statistics System Retrieved from https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/2015-annual-report/measure/IMR/state/VT

PHOTOS BY: Aurimas Mikalauskas/CC BY-SA 2.0, Alick Sung/ CC BY 2.0, Sami Nurmi/ CC BY-NC 2.0, Sharon Mollerus/ CC BY 2.0, Derek Alfonso/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Kate Williams/CC BY 2.0


Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

A Tale of Too Much Sitting

By: Tricia Follert

In our offices at Morrisville Water & Light we sat. All day long. Sure, we got up to use the copy machine or grab our stuff from the printer. Sometimes just to stretch or move around a bit. But for the most part, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., you would find us sitting at our desks. And all that sitting was a pain in the rump. Literally.

Since I joined MW&L just over a year ago there has been an ongoing conversation about the detriments of sitting so much. On any given day after lunch, the conversation would inevitably turn to aches and pains, numb body parts, and the lethargy that accompanies sitting in the same position for long stretches of time. Have you ever heard of “Sitting Disease?” This refers to the negative effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.  Research has linked prolonged sitting with a number of health concerns, including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess waist fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Have you ever heard of “Sitting Disease?” This refers to the negative effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.  Research has linked prolonged sitting with a number of health concerns, including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess waist fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Equally bad is that the ill effects of sitting do not seem to be negated by the amount of exercise you do. Sitting is the new smoking.

Armed with this worrisome information, we decided to take a stand. Literally. With the help of a grant from VLCT, we acquired five convertible workstations which allow us to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. With the turn of a crank, we can now stand for as much of the workday as we choose.

The next time you visit our office you will likely find us standing. You might notice our posture is better. We won’t be grimacing in pain or shaking out our numb limbs. We may seem more alert. This might make us more efficient. We’ll be exuberantly happy! Okay, maybe that’s too much of a stretch.  But we are starting to reap the positive benefits of this lifestyle shift. Personally, my sciatic nerve is grateful.

Personally, my sciatic nerve is grateful.

And an unexpected fringe benefit? Upper body strength from all that cranking. It’s a great workout!


Tricia Follert is the Community Development Coordinator for the Town of Morristown, where she coordinates and implements activities for the town. She currently sits on two local boards, River Arts and the Morristown Alliance for Commerce and Culture, and works closely with many local nonprofits on community projects. She is also actively involved in the community gardens, the rail trail, and the arts.

3-4-50 Vermont

By: Valerie Valcour

Have you heard about 3-4-50 yet? If you haven’t, you will. 3-4-50 represents 3 behaviors (tobacco use, lack of physical activity and poor diet) that can lead to 4 chronic diseases (cancer, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes and lung disease) that can lead to more than 50 percent of all deaths in Vermont.

The good news about the 3-4-50 message is that good health is contagious and the Vermont Department of Health is spreading this good news along with tips and recognition for positive behaviors.

On the 3-4-50 website, we show how communities can support bike paths, sidewalks, smoke-free public spaces, farmers markets and community gardens. Employers can make it easier for employees to take physical activity breaks, support tobacco cessation efforts and add healthy options in vending machines. Schools and child-care centers can provide drinking water all day and activity breaks throughout each day. Your organization can complete a “Sign-On” form and be recognized for your efforts to make your environment healthy.

Over the next few months, I hope to see several schools, businesses and communities get recognized for their efforts because when the environment around us supports positive behavior, it’s easier for all of us to make healthy choices.


Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

6 Mindful Eating Tips

By: Rorie Dunphey

When we are mindful, we are aware of the present moment without judgment. When it comes to eating, being mindful helps us tune into our body’s cues so we can hear more clearly when we are hungry or full.  Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to listen to our bodies. Mindfulness helps us break free from long standing habits by examining thoughts and feelings that affect how, why and when we eat (or don’t eat!)

Here are some ideas to be a more mindful:

Shift out of Autopilot Eating: What did you have for breakfast? Be honest. Many people eat the same thing day in and day out. Notice whether you are stuck in any kind of rut or routine.  It can help to keep a food log to become more aware.

Take Mindful Bites: Did you ever eat an entire plate of food and not taste one single bite? Bring all your senses to the dinner table to experience each bite from start to finish. Breathe in the aroma of a fresh loaf of bread, notice the texture of yogurt on your tongue and truly taste each mouthful.

Attentive Eating: Sure, you’re busy and have a lot ‘on your plate.’  It is hard to make eating a priority rather than an option or side task. If you get the urge for a snack while doing your homework or studying, stop and take a break instead, and give eating 100% of your attention. Try to avoid multitasking while you eat. When you eat, just eat.

Mindfully Check In: Ask yourself, ‘How hungry am I on a scale of one to ten?’ Gauging your hunger level is a little like taking your temperature. Each time you eat, ask yourself, ‘Am I physically hungry? Am I eating out of habit? Am I eating because of an emotion like stress or boredom? Aim to eat until you are satisfied, leaving yourself neither stuffed nor starving.

Thinking Mindfully: Observe any critical or judging thoughts like ‘I’m so stupid, why did I eat that!’ Just because you think negative thoughts doesn’t mean you need to act on them. Negative thoughts can trigger overeating or stop you from making healthy choices. Remember: A thought is just a thought, not a fact, and you can choose how to respond to thoughts without judgment. Be kind to yourself!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Are You Prepared?

By: Valerie Valcour

September is National Emergency Preparedness month. Now is a good time to dust off or create that emergency plan and checklist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers four weeks of activities to help you be prepared.

Week 1: READY… Build a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

Many emergencies happen without warning, so it is important that you take steps ahead of time to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. One important way you can prepare is by having a kit ready in case you do not have access to food, water, or electricity for several days after a disaster. In addition to building a kit, talk to your loved ones to develop an emergency plan with the steps you all will take in different types of emergencies and how you will contact one another. Finally, stay informed to make sure you get the information you need when an emergency happens.

Week 2: STEADY…Review your plans and update your kit.

Preparing does not stop after you have your kit ready and your emergency plan in place. In a real emergency, you may become overwhelmed or confused, so it is important to practice your emergency plan. Review the plans and hold practice drills with your whole family. Review and replace the contents of your emergency kit every six months. Be sure to check expiration dates on food, water, medicine, and batteries and add any personal items that are unique to your needs.

Week 3: SHOW… Inspire others to prepare.

Research shows that talking about preparedness increases the likelihood of others taking steps to get prepared. Talk to your family and friends about the important steps they can take to be prepared. Be a preparedness role model – volunteer in your community, take a first aid and CPR class, or share a photo of your emergency kit or share a selfie  of you and your family at your emergency meeting place.

Week 4: GO! Take immediate action to save lives.

It is vital that people take not only immediate but also the appropriate protective action when an emergency happens. Local officials will ask you to shelter in place (take shelter in a basement or windowless interior room) in some situations and to evacuate your home, workplace or community in response in others. Know when to go (or stay), where to go, how to get there and what to do BEFORE an emergency. The most important thing is to take immediate and decisive action.


Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

How 336 Dimples Helped Me Lose 20 Pounds

By: Todd Thomas 

I don’t get to sleep-in much anymore. Believe it or not, I am thrilled with this change.

Most mornings, I now jump out of bed, grab a granola bar, and walk up the hill to Copley Golf Club. As I arrive on the first tee of the golf course, I am alone. Save for the glance and scurry of the occasional mama fox and her kits, there is not a sound to be heard. My (usually wayward) first tee shot is often the first human sound heard each morning in the heart of the village. Then I am off, pounding the fairways, chasing the 336 dimples of my golf ball around the 66 acre golf course.

By the time I complete my morning 9 holes of golf, I have already taken about 10,000 steps, all before 8 AM. As I walk to work with my golf round (and dreams of joining the Senior Golf Tour) firmly behind me, I feel energized and refreshed. Getting more exercise in is so much easier now because I enjoy it. Chasing that little white golf ball around Copley Golf Club has helped me lose more than 20 pounds during the last two years. That weight loss is a pretty cool accomplishment. It is not as cool as playing golf for a living on the Senior Tour, but being healthier, skinnier, and feeling better about myself is still pretty fantastic.

So please feel free to join me for some sunrise golf at Copley (membership is a bargain there at only about $600 a year). You may not improve your golf game, but walking those 9 holes before work a few times a week will definitely make you healthier.

What’s your favorite way to get moving? Let us know in the comment section below.


Todd Thomas has a Master’s Degree in City Planning from Boston University and has worked both in Massachusetts and Vermont as a consultant and as a land use planner for town government. Todd is currently the Planning Director for Morristown, Vermont.

Todd’s recent work includes helping to revitalize downtown Morrisville, making it the fastest growing city and/or historic downtown in the State since the 2010 Census. Todd attributes much of the downtown’s housing and population growth to zoning reform as it relates to minimum parking requirements.