Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

Healthy Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2013

Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving celebration or attending as a guest, you can help make the healthy choice the easy choice for your friends and family.  Consider making a healthier version of an old favorite to share. This recipe for Corn Bread Crusted Turkey would go great served with this slightly modified recipe for a classic Green Bean Casserole.  

More common Thanksgiving recipes might use ingredients like cream, butter, and canned soups, but these recipes feature low fat dairy, low sodium- basically healthier ingredients.  Once the meal is prepared, you can help keep portions in check by turning off the TV, eating slowly, and filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Stay active after your meal by playing some football with family or friends or taking the pets for a walk. 

If you’ve got multiple holiday celebrations to attend or host, you can check out these 10 tips from to help plan a gathering that supports healthy eating and active living. Most important, don’t forget to enjoy the holiday food, festivities, and fun. Happy Thanksgiving!

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, September 2013

September 5th, 2013

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and is a great time for us to take stock of where we are in the “Winnable Battle” of combatting obesity. Last month, we got some good news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that obesity rates in children and adults are leveling off after decades of going up.

Now we’ve learned that we are also making progress in school policies to promote healthy eating and physical activity. CDC just released the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study which shows the amazing changes that have occurred in schools to help students be healthy and ready-to-learn. For example, the number of school districts that prohibit offering junk food in vending machines has increased from just 4.1% in 2000 to nearly half in 2012 (43.3%).

Even with these encouraging signs, there is still work to do. The childhood obesity epidemic puts nearly one third of America’s children at risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease – conditions usually associated with adulthood. Even greater disparities exist among young Hispanics and children of color. There are opportunities  every day to change these trends and the results can last a lifetime. All children deserve a healthy start in life and it’s our responsibility to make that possible. Let’s use Childhood Obesity Month to renew our resolve and use this opportunity to build awareness and take action where we live, learn, work, play, and receive care throughout Arizona.

The Departments of Economic Security and Health Services are working together to raise awareness of childhood obesity . I invite you to view a similar blog piece by my agency counterpart, Director Clarence Carter.                                                            


Data Shows Progress… but Obesity is Still Rising

March 19th, 2013

Here’s some good news about the battle against the obesity epidemic: national data shows the average intake of calories has decreased for boys and girls over the last 12 years.  While the news is encouraging, our work to promote nutrition and physical activity to reduce obesity remains important. Reducing obesity is a Winnable Battle both nationally and in Arizona

There are lots of resources to help you and your family eat healthier meals and become more active. Check out the Arizona Nutrition Network’s Champions for Change for simple ways to eat better. Find more ideas for healthy eating and active living at, where you can sign up for healthy recipes that are emailed every week.

Chalk Up Another Empower Award

February 21st, 2013

This week the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs gave us the National Best Practice Award for our Empower Program.  As a refresher for those of you that aren’t familiar with Empower…  it’s a program we started in 2009 that focuses on increasing healthy eating and active living in our licensed child care facilities… reaching over 200,000 children throughout Arizona. It’s a voluntary program in which childcare licensees receive a discount on their 3-year licensing fee to become Empower centers by pledging to implement the 10 standards to Empower children to live healthier lives.  The Empower Program was submitted by Adrienne Udarbe to AMCHP’s Innovation Station, a searchable database of emerging, promising and best practices in maternal and child health.  Congrats to our Child Care Licensing and Maternal & Child Health programs for changing the landscape in AZ and across the country.

By the way…  our Baby Steps to Breastfeeding is also recognized as an emerging practice by the same group.  That one was won by our Nutrition and Physical Activity shop.  It’s an on-line class for hospitals to use as a refresher class, train newly hired staff, or become a Baby Steps designated hospital.


New “Empower” Standards Here

November 27th, 2012

It is hard to believe we’re in the 3rd year of our successful Empower Program. As a refresher for those of you that aren’t familiar with Empower, it’s a program that focuses on increasing healthy eating and active living, along with helping to provide smoke-free environments, in licensed child care facilities… reaching over 200,000 children throughout Arizona.  Empower is a voluntary program in which childcare licensees receive a discount on their 3-year licensing fee to become Empower centers and homes when they pledge to implement the 10 standards to Empower children to live healthier lives. The program has received national recognition from the White House and many other state and national partners. 

We’re excited to be rolling out updated 10 Empower standards beginning on 1/1/13.  We updated the standards to better impact the most significant health issues impacting Arizona’s children and families. New standards include those that will improve oral health, breastfeeding-friendly practices, training of childcare providers, and sun safety practices.  We’re committed to ensuring the successful implementation of the new standards, and we’ll be working with childcare providers throughout 2013 to learn how to apply the new standards. Licensed providers can look forward to receiving a new Empower Pack with new tools and resources to support the implementation of the new standards beginning mid-January, along with training and ongoing technical assistance.  

Thank you to all of the Licensing and Prevention Services staff (especially Adrienne Udarbe who helped lead the team) that worked so hard to update the standards…  thank you to the Stakeholders that have provided input along the way…  and thanks to our amazing “Superheroes for Health” out there in the childcares that support Arizona’s children every day!


Outstanding Dietitians

July 10th, 2012

Registered Dietitians are on the front lines of our battle against obesity.  They work everyday to help people understand the importance of balancing diet and exercise – not necessarily an easy task in this junk-food, drive-thru world.  Some of them are really good at it – including our own Adrienne Udarbe and Maricopa County’s Trudes Rodriquez.  The Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognized their work at its annual meeting in June.

Adrienne was honored as the Emerging Dietetics Leader for 2012. Her work in the Champions for Change -Communities Putting Prevention to Work project demonstrated her leadership in mobilizing community networks to create sustainable changes to support healthy eating and active living throughout Arizona. She also represents the Arizona Academy as the Let’s Move Coordinator for Arizona and is known for the creativity and enthusiasm she brings to her work in the field of dietetics.

Trudes Rodriquez from tTrudes Rodrigues & Lynn Laddhe Maricopa County Department of Public Health was chosen as the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year for the Academy’s Central District. Trudes is the Coordinator for the WIC Dietetic Internship and led the Coma Bien, Estar Bien Supermarket Program in collaboration with Food City stores. She also directed the county’s Women Together for Health Program that empowered women to make positive changes through nutrition and physical activity to prevent chronic disease. Since becoming an RD, Trudes has also earned an MBA, achieved certification in Adult Weight Management, has become a personal fitness trainer, breastfeeding counselor, and eating coach. 

True public health professionals.

Earth Day

April 22nd, 2011

Make sure you check out our maturing community garden on the east side of the 1740 building.  The tomatoes are doing very well and producing now.  I ate some celery yesterday which was good too.  New plants are showing up all the time as folks pitch in.  If you have a garden at home or are considering putting one in- remember- it’s not too late for some plants especially if you build in some shade.  I built a shade structure at our garden at home with just rebar and bailing wire (there are a couple of pictures on the Facebook.  Just get some cut ½ inch rebar and pound them straight in the ground at the corners and every 10 feet in between.  Tie some 3/8 inch rebar to the tops for cross pieces using bailing wire and vice grips or pliers (Home Depot will let you use their rebar cutter for free in the rental area).  You can hold the rebar in place with duct tape as you tie the rebar together with bailing wire.  Then stretch 30% shade screen over the top and secure it with bailing wire.

You can pretty much fix and do anything with vice grips, bailing wire and duct tape.

ADHS’ Community Garden

February 25th, 2011

It’s always best to lead by example.  We’ve been encouraging community gardens for years and now we have one!  After much hoping, dreaming and planning the community garden is finally a reality.  In October, Jonathan Manning from Elgin Nursery came out to help us break ground.  We added compost and cottonseed meal to a long strip that runs along the east side of the courtyard under the windows of the JLBC building.  Recently we added compost and cottonseed meal to the soil in the 5 raised planters.

Last week we were surprised by a generous gift of AZ Sweet Vidalia onions from farmer Stella McPhee from Horny Toad Micro Farms.  She brought us several Arizona Sweet Vidalia onion sets to plant.   Yesterday Allison Giles picked up more plants compliments of Elgin Nursery and coordinated the noontime work brigade that planted everything.

This garden is for everyone, and I hope that each of you will take a few minutes to out and enjoy it.  There’ll be sessions arranged for anyone who wants to participate by planting, weeding, picking or just hanging out with others who are doing those things.  Saidee White will be organizing the activities and we’ll make sure that we give information to the Wellness team so that everyone stays informed. But you don’t have to wait for an invitation!  Go out and enjoy the beautiful weather and the beautiful space!  For those of you who don’t know, the garden is located on the east side of the 1740 building in the courtyard.

Childhood Obesity Assessment Grant

June 16th, 2010

Congratulations to our Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity for their grant award announced this month from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Leadership for Healthy Communities program.  Over the coming year, we’ll be strengthening our capacity to make a dent in childhood obesity by conducting a health impact assessment to prevent childhood obesity in Arizona.

We’ll be working with Maricopa County to develop a health impact assessment that locals can access in their land use decisions- helping communities to make development and land use decisions that better support healthy eating and active living.  Communities will be able to voluntarily sign up for the process which will help them look at options like sidewalks, bike paths and green areas to promote physical activity and community gardens to increase access to fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Childhood Obesity Task Force Report

May 17th, 2010

The President signed a Memorandum in February establishing the Task Force on Childhood Obesity and charged them with developing an interagency action plan to solve the problem of obesity in the US.  The Task Force included the Secretaries of the Health, Agriculture, Interior, Education, Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.

The Task Force published its action plan this month entitled  Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation.   Those of you who work in our physical activity and nutrition shop will probably want to read the 99 page report.  In particular, you should take a look at the conclusions and recommendations table.

The task force also announced the Apps for Healthy Kids competition which challenges software developers, game designers, and students to develop fun and engaging software tools and games that drive children, especially “tweens” (ages 9-12) – directly or through their parents – to eat better and be more physically active.