Friday, February 24, 2012

Free Screenings, Cooking Demos at Diabetes Expo

What:              The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and American Diabetes Association are hosting a FREE Expo to get important information to people with diabetes, their families and friends. The event will feature cooking demonstrations sponsored by Harmons, product and service exhibitors, and leading experts talking about diabetes management and prevention. The UDOH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program will have a booth where people can find out about community resources and free classes that help manage diabetes, and get their picture taken at the Faces of Diabetes photo booth.

Why:                More than 120,000 Utah adults (about 6 percent of adults, or one in 17) have been diagnosed with diabetes. Roughly 45,000 more have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed (making the total number about 165,000, or 8 percent of the adult population). Because they are not diagnosed, and therefore not being treated, these individuals are vulnerable to complications that could be delayed or prevented. In addition, about one in three adults have prediabetes, which raises a person's risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Who:               Cooking demonstrations at 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. 
                        Presentation by Dr. Jim Chamberlain, MD “Are You and Your Physician Up to Date with Diabetes Care Standards?” at 12:00 p.m.
                        Deni Hill, Biggest Loser contestant and At-Home winner at 1:00 p.m.
When:             Saturday, February 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where:           South Towne Expo Center
                       9575 South State Street
                       Sandy, UT  84070

 For a detailed schedule, visit 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Utah Teens Get Creative to Prevent Dating Violence

(Murray, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recognized several Utah teens for their efforts to bring attention to dating violence during a “Healthy Relationships” rock concert at Murray High School Tuesday evening. The students participated in a multimedia art contest as part of Utah’s 2012 Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, which is observed across the country each February.
AshLee Bambrough urged concertgoers to take dating violence seriously and to get help if they or someone they know is in an abusive relationship. Bambrough was nearly killed six months ago after her boyfriend pushed her out of a vehicle traveling at 65 miles per hour.
Data from the UDOH 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a national survey conducted every two years in public high schools throughout Utah, show that nearly 12% of high school students, or one in eight, said they were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. While many people think of dating violence as physical abuse, it also includes verbal and emotional abuse.
Kolten Cooke, a student from Murray High School, won the YouTube video category for his entry. “We made this video in order to spread awareness of teen dating abuse in what we hoped wasn’t a cheesy way. We wanted to stick with the facts and leave a memorable impression.”
The contest invited 7th–12th grade students from across Utah to create a visual art project, YouTube video, or written work that educates teens about dating violence. Grand prize winners were:
   Molina Phear, Hunter High, West Valley City, Visual Arts Category
   Kolton Cooke, Murray High School, Murray, YouTube Video Category
   Emir Sabic, Valley Junior High School, Salt Lake City, Written Works Category

Honorable mentions were also given to Sierra Moosman, a student at Alta High School in Sandy, and Whitney Staples, a student at Cedar City High School in Cedar City, for their written works entries. Each winner received two suite tickets to a Utah Grizzlies game, a plaque, and a visual arts, film production, or writing class valued at $190-$300 from the Visual Arts Institute, Spy Hop Productions, and Higher Ground Learning Center.
“Our hope in doing this contest each year is to get teens and parents talking about dating violence and how to build healthy and respectful relationships,” said Katie McMinn, UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program.

Help is available for victims of dating violence by calling the toll-free, 24-hour Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis and Information Hotline at 1-888-421-1100 or the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).  For resources on dating violence, visit or join the Utah Teen Dating Scene Facebook page at
Media Contact:
Katie McMinn
Violence and Injury Prevention Program
(o) 801-538-9277 (m) 801-856-6697

Monday, February 13, 2012

Know Your Numbers: UDOH, Harmon’s Promote Blood Pressure Awareness

(SALT LAKE CITY) – Blood pressure is a main risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third leading causes of death in Utah, respectively. In an effort to educate Utahns on the importance of knowing one’s blood pressure numbers, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (HDSPP) is teaming up with Harmon’s Grocery during American Heart Month.

Throughout February, HDSPP’s life-sized “Mr. Blood Pressure” cutouts will be displayed in various Harmon’s locations. Each Harmon’s store will also have blood pressure monitors available for public use, and dietitians will be on hand to offer helpful tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle. 

According to the American Heart Association, 3,500 people die in Utah each year from heart disease and stroke – accounting for more than 30 percent of all deaths. Small changes to a person’s daily routine, like exercising and eating less salt, can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

“Since high blood pressure generally has no symptoms, the only way to diagnose it is to get tested,” said Tania Charette, HDSPP Media Coordinator. “With their emphasis on health and community outreach, Harmon’s is the perfect partner for getting this important message out to the public.”

For more information about HDSPP, visit

Media Contact:
Tania Charette, MPH, CHES
HDSPP Media Coordinator

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More Smokers Than Ever Want Help Quitting

(Salt Lake City) – In January 2012, nearly 1,100 Utah tobacco users signed up for quitting help offered by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Tobacco Quit Line. This represents a 70% increase over the average number of enrollments received in the month of January in the past three years. Radio spots, TV ads, and referrals from family and friends contributed to the jump.

The most recent educational campaign features the animated character Kurtz. It shows the struggles Kurtz goes through when quitting smoking, how everybody wants Kurtz to quit (even the dog), and how quitting takes practice.

“When people who use tobacco see a helpful and friendly media message, they’re encouraged in their quit attempt and they get more confident,” said David Neville, UDOH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. “The Quit Line helps smokers truly believe they can quit by offering the most effective resources based on the latest research,” Neville added. “And the quit staff’s only goal is to help people quit tobacco – at no cost and completely confidentially.”

Quitting coaches at the Utah Tobacco Quit Line are college graduates with additional training in motivational interviewing. They are trained to understand the psychology of a smoker, so they can better help people quit and stay quit. Many of the coaches are former smokers, too, so they understand how tough quitting tobacco can be.

Zo Finney used the Utah Tobacco Quit Line, along with nicotine patches, to quit smoking. “It was the hardest time of my life, but it’s been the most worthwhile effort I’ve ever put into my life,” said Finney. “The friendly staff at the Quit Line were focused on only one thing: helping me stop smoking. I just kept telling myself, ‘If I can stop smoking, I can do anything.’ Well I did, and I can.

“So now if I can help anyone else quit smoking, I will, because I know my life is healthier, and I look forward to each new day with confidence and optimism,” Finney added.

Regardless of insurance, all Utah residents are eligible to call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669), where they can receive free phone sessions with a quit counselor, free information kits, and in many cases free nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges to help them overcome nicotine addiction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more ex-smokers than current smokers, 80% of Utah smokers want to quit, and smokers are more likely to quit with help. In addition to the Quit Line, the UDOH provides, an online stop-smoking resource. includes free chat rooms, expert forums, and quitting tutorials. And, as always, it’s 100% free and 100% confidential.

Media Contact:
David Neville, Media Liaison
Office: 801-538-6917
Cell: 801-386-1316

Monday, February 6, 2012

Utah Kids Have Fewer Cavities, But Too Many Still Lack Early Dental Care

(Salt Lake City, UT) – During the fall of 2010, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Oral Health Program (OHP) conducted a survey to assess oral health status among Utah children in first through third grades. The survey collected information on factors such as access to dental care, tooth decay, urgent treatment needs, sealant placement, and fluoride exposure.  

The results indicate that Utah children have healthier teeth today when compared to five years ago.  Overall dental decay fell from 55% in 2005 to 51% in 2010 for children ages 6 to 8. Untreated decay has decreased as well, from 21% in 2005 to 17% in 2010, which is substantially better than the federal Healthy People 2010 goal of 21%.  However, dental sealants (thin, plastic coatings applied to the surfaces of the back teeth to prevent decay) remain underused in Utah. The study found just 36% of 8-year-olds had sealants, compared to 45% in 2005.

Among 6- to 9-year-old children who received a dental screening, more than half (52%) had prior tooth decay, while close to one-fifth (17%) had current untreated cavities.  Just over a quarter (26%) of children had sealants present on a least one permanent molar.  Of those screened, 2% had extensive tooth decay, infection, and/or pain.

“This means these children needed urgent dental care,” says State Dental Director Dr. Steven J. Steed. “If we take that two percent sample and apply it across the state, we believe there are more than 2,600 first, second and third graders who need to see a dentist today.”

Poverty and lack of dental insurance have repeatedly been shown to affect oral health status.  More than one-fifth (22%) of parents surveyed in 2010 reported their child had no dental insurance, and 13% said there was a time during the past year when their child needed dental care but was unable to get it.  The reasons most frequently cited for not getting care were “could not afford it” and “no insurance”. 

Children with private dental insurance were also less likely than the uninsured to have filled or unfilled cavities or to have lost a tooth due to decay (45% vs. 55%).  Untreated decay was twice as prevalent (27% vs. 13%) among children without dental insurance. And Hispanic and non-white children were more likely to have unmet needs compared to the overall population surveyed.

“There is a common belief among immigrants in the myth that it is inevitable to lose most of your teeth at an early age,” said Mauricio Agramont, Midvale Community Program Manager. “This is a direct result of a lack of access to basic oral health information and preventive care,” he said. “The gap in knowledge that Latino immigrants bring with them to this country is passed on to their children, creating a vicious cycle of poor dental health.”
Community water fluoridation has been considered the cornerstone of dental decay prevention and the most economical way to deliver the benefit of fluoride to all residents of a community. The UDOH study found that children who received long-term optimal levels of fluoride, either from fluoridated water or supplements, had 42% fewer decayed and filled tooth surfaces compared to children who had no fluoride exposure. 

Although dental decay is preventable, it remains the most common chronic childhood disease.  The OHP promotes dental education and decay prevention methods such as checkups, sealants, and fluoride (varnish, rinses, water, and supplements) for all youth. For more information or a copy of the complete report, contact the OHP at 801-538-9177 or visit the web site at