Healthy Saint Paul 2018!

We’re excited to bring you the 2018 Healthy Saint Paul Well-being Program now offered through Medica

By choosing from a variety of Health Activities, you can earn points towards the Healthy Saint Paul Well-being Program incentive AND My Health Rewards by Medica gift cards!

Well-being Program Highlights

How to earn points

Select from the following Health Activities to earn points.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES
POINTS
TIME TO COMPLETE
COMPASS™ Online health assessment 100 15-20 minutes
Biometric Screening(deadline 2/28/18) 100 15-20 minutes
Phone health coaching 100 Three phone calls
Omada Program 100 Varies 9+ weeks
NEXT STEP CONSULT™ 25 15 minutes
JOURNEYS™ 50/each 4-6 weeks
TRACK™ 1/day Up to 200 days
CARE SUPPORT™ 200 Varies

You can select any combination of the Health Activities above to earn your points.

You can select any combination of the Health Activities above to earn your points.

Short on time? Complete the online health assessment, biometric screening and phone coaching to earn 300 points and the $900 well-being program incentive.

Medica Reward gift cards

For even more motivation to get healthy and stay healthy, Medica will send you a $20 gift card for every 100 points you earn (up to 500 points and $100 in gift cards per year). Choose gift cards from a variety of retailers including Target, Amazon, Best Buy and more.

Program dates

The Well-being Program begins January 1, 2018 and runs through September 30, 2018. More details are available on www.healthy.stpaul.gov

Well-being Program eligibility

Employees who are insured with Medica through the City are eligible to participate.

Joe Beatty

Joe Beatty has worked for the City since May, 2013. He presently is a heavy vehicle mechanic for the Fire Department.

As a teenager, Joe was very overweight. He recalls a vacation to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with high school friends during which he almost sunk the canoe. At that time, he was 100 lbs. heavier than he is now. After that, he decided to make a change. He began to exercise and control portion sizes.

When Joe first started working for the City, he had just come back from his second military deployment to the Middle East. It was the lightest he had ever been. His job overseas had him moving around a lot. Also, there weren’t distractions to his fitness routine or temptations to overeat.

It was a struggle when he first returned from that deployment to get back into “normal society”. Gradually though, he got back into an active exercise routine. He was living close to work so he decided to bike to work. He soon added biking to the gym every day. He enjoyed biking so much that even when he moved to where he presently lives in St. Louis Park, 12.5 miles away, he continued to bike to work. Joe isn’t just a fair weather biker either. He will bike to work every day throughout the winter unless the temp drops below 0 or there are glare ice conditions. He misses only a few days each winter because of weather. He is happiest when he is biking.

Joe is 45 years old now and much healthier than he was as a teenager. At one time he thought that being overweight was just the life that he had been dealt but he knows now it is all about choices. That doesn’t mean it is always easy for him though. He admits to not getting in the fruits and vegetables he knows he needs. Portion sizes can also be a challenge. He would like to lose 20 lbs. He recommends when snacking to avoid foods that come in a wrapper unless its one that Mother Nature provides.

Joe knows bicycling isn’t for everybody; it is what he enjoys. He believes you owe it to yourself though to find something to keep you active and to live the healthy life that you deserve.

photo: Joe pictured with girlfriend Hope

September is Suicide Awareness Month

Each year, about 36,000 people in the United States die by suicide. Most people who seriously consider suicide do not want to die. Rather, they see suicide as a solution to a problem and a way to end their pain. People who seriously consider suicide feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless. They may not seek help because they feel they cannot be helped. This usually is not the case. Many people with suicidal thoughts have medical conditions that can be successfully treated. People who have suicidal thoughts often have depression or substance abuse, and both of these conditions can be treated. It is important to seek help when suicidal thoughts occur because medical treatment usually is successful in diminishing these thoughts.

Most people who seriously consider or attempt suicide have one or more of the following risks:

  • A personal or family history of suicide attempts or completed suicide;
  • A personal or family history of severe anxiety, depression, or other mental health problem, such as bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) or schizophrenia;
  • An alcohol or drug problem (substance abuse problem), such as alcoholism;

The warning signs of suicide change with age:

  • Children and teens – preoccupation with death or suicide or a recent breakup of a relationship.
  • Adults -alcohol or substance abuse, recent job loss, or divorce.
  • Older adults – the recent death of a partner or diagnosis of a life-limiting illness.

Anytime someone talks about suicide or about wanting to die or disappear, even in a joking manner, the conversation must be taken seriously.

A suicide attempt—even if the attempt did not harm the person—also must be taken seriously. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone you think may be considering suicide. There is no proof that talking about suicide leads to suicidal thinking or suicide. Once you know the person’s thoughts on the subject, you may be able to help prevent a suicide.

People who are considering suicide often are undecided about choosing life or death. With compassionate help, they may choose to live.

Beverly Farraher

Beverly Farraher has been working for the Public Works Department as the Operations Manager since March 2016. Before coming to the City, Beverly worked the previous 27 years at MnDOT, particularly for 12 years in Metro District Maintenance Operations. During her tenure there, due to noticed trends in injuries that were preventable that front line field workers were experiencing and the awareness of other businesses’ success in accident reduction, she instituted a daily stretching program that had been developed and implemented by the St. Cloud District of MnDOT. In a short time, a drop in workplace injuries resulting in workers compensation claims was seen.

When Beverly began working at Public Works, it became clear that the work done by the field employees here was equally tough on people’s bodies. The Department cares about its employees and wanted to be able to send them home each day with their body in at least the same condition as when they came to work. Knowing the amount of time a stretching program would involve and weighing the pros and cons, a mandatory stretching program was instituted throughout Public Works. Each day, the stretching program begins promptly at the beginning of each division’s shift. Everybody (except those with documented medical limitations) must participate. Office workers are invited to join as well. It takes about 12 -14 minutes to complete all the stretches.

The feedback on the program has been mostly positive. Employees are reporting feeling better. Since the program starts promptly at the exact beginning of the shift, it also encourages employees to be ready to go for announcements and assignments at that time. Before or after that, a lot of chatting goes on among the employees too while doing their stretching, and there is a sense of community building as a side benefit. Some employees also voluntarily stretch again after lunch. As the program has been rolling out over time, there will be an opportunity to review trends in workers compensation injuries but Bev notes that it is not possible to measure events or injuries that do not occur. The investment of time into employees’ wellbeing is the right thing to do and a wise long-term investment.

Eric Whalen

Eric has worked for the City as a Library Associate for the past five years. His job mostly entails after school programming for youths and adults of all ages. He works in the homework center program at the Rondo branch. He also coordinates the volunteers and academic support for the library.

Despite working for the City for five years, Eric had never participated in the well-being program. This year he decided to take advantage of it.
Participating in the Omada program to fulfill the coaching requirement of the well-being program appealed to him. While he admits he is not at his ideal weight, he wasn’t overly concerned about losing a lot of weight but rather getting more physically fit and eating healthier.

After signing up for Omada, he received their “fancy scale” which automatically sends his weight to his coach each time he weighs. His phone has a step tracker that he turned on to make reporting his activity easy too.

Because he was also interested in improving his strength, he joined the Jimmy Lee Rec Center, taking advantage of the $30 yearly membership fee for City employees to any rec center in the City.

The Omada program requires tracking what you eat as well, which Eric admits he is not that fond of doing. However, he feels it is valuable to do as it is so easy to not really look at what you are eating. His coach provides positive feedback that helps keep him going. The weekly lessons provide tips that are helpful in selecting better choices at the grocery store. He chooses turkey bacon now over regular bacon, for example. Eric was never a “fruit person” but now has eaten more fruit this year than he thinks in his whole life – and he likes it!

Eric has completed the nine lessons he needs to count towards the well-being program but will keep going through the rest of the program. He said he would probably do it again next year if offered – though his goal will be to not qualify for it!

IMMUNIZATION PROTECTS ALL OF US: Don’t Wait. Vaccinate!

In the United States, vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines. Every year, thousands of Americans still suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.

Measles in Minnesota

This year in Minnesota, 78 people came down with measles, but thousands were exposed, including hundreds who were not vaccinated or did not have natural immunity from a previous measles infection. The Health Department identified 8,880 people who were potentially exposed to known cases in day care centers, health care settings, schools and other community settings. Public health officials contacted many of them or checked their vaccination status using the state’s immunization registry. That work identified 596 at-risk people, and they were asked to voluntarily limit their activities to avoid exposing others.
Because measles no longer occurs naturally in the United States, officials believe this outbreak started with someone traveling from abroad. Measles is prevalent in many African countries, China and Europe, which has seen a resurgence in infections. However, the exact source has not been identified.

Here’s why you shouldn’t wait:

  • Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in the U.S.
  • Those that are not common here are still found in other parts of the world, and can still be a threat.
  • Some of these diseases are very contagious.
  • Any of these diseases could be serious – even for healthy people.
  • Certain people may be at higher risk for getting some diseases or having more serious illness if they were to get sick, like young children, older adults, and those with health conditions.

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical experts update vaccine recommendations based on the latest research and evidence-based science on vaccine safety, effectiveness, and patterns of vaccine-preventable diseases.

You have the power to protect yourself and the ones you love. Talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you and your family.
To learn more about vaccines and take a quick quiz to find out which vaccines you may need, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults

They Made A Move!

The Make a Move six week team challenge ended on May 19. This month we want to acknowledge all the employees who participated. The Make a Move challenge was somewhat different than past challenges as teams tracked minutes of activity that could include flexibility and strength training as well as steps. Twelve teams competed and by the end of the challenge, they had averaged more than 13,000 steps per day, far ahead of the recommended 10,000 steps. The winning 12 member team was the DSI Step Warriors. They pulled way ahead averaging 19,725 steps per day! So amazing! Now, you may think that this was a group of young, highly trained marathon runners or fitness fanatics. The truth is the team was made up of average employees who recognize the benefits of exercise and were up for a challenge. How did they do this? Well, we asked them to tell us about themselves and their experience with the challenge. Below are responses from a few members of the team.

Diane LaCasse:

Diane has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her knees, spine, ankles, shoulders, hands, etc. Seven years ago, she had her left hip replaced and her right hip was replaced last year. She is acutely aware of the need to move. Despite the osteoarthritis, Diane has been walking a lot for years, using her FitBit to track her distance with a goal of 12,000 steps per day. For the Make a Move Challenge, she upped her daily steps to help support her team.

Zoua Lee:

Zoua joined the challenge because she thought it would be fun to be on a team and compete against other teams. She enjoyed walking with teammates and getting to know her co-workers more. Now that the challenge is over, she plans to continue walking.

Herlinda Kamas:

Herlinda knows that walking will help with her diabetes. Her co-workers urged her to join the in this challenge because she walks all day in her job anyway, and it would be a way to get motivated to get in even more steps. Her teammates encouraged her every day. Herlinda says that being part of a team is like having cheerleaders! Now that the challenge is over, she plans to continue walking and tracking her steps.

Annette Wald:

As part of the Omada Program in which Annette has been participating, she was already walking regularly before the challenge. She was motivated to join the challenge to be part of a team. As they walked together, they would talk about their daily steps and activities and where they could do better. She plans to continue walking to help reach her weight loss goal.

For winning the Make a Move Challenge, the participants received our new long-sleeve Healthy Saint Paul t-shirts.

Healthy Saint Paul will continue to offer challenges in the future. We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to challenge yourself with the support of teammates and have fun at the same time.

When to say ‘Whoa!’ to your doctor

Common tests and treatments you probably don’t need

DOCTORS OFTEN ORDER TESTS and recommend drugs or procedures when they shouldn’t–sometimes even when they know they shouldn’t. In fact, nearly half of primary- care physicians say their own patients get too much medical care, according to a survey published in 2011 by researchers at Dartmouth College.
All that unneeded care can be hazardous to your health–and your wallet. For example, X-rays and CT scans expose you to potentially cancer causing radiation, and can lead to follow-up tests and treatment with additional risks. And the cost can be substantial. A 2011 study found that the price tag for 12 commonly overused tests, such as annual electrocardiograms (EKGs) for heart disease and imaging tests for lower-back pain, was about $6.8 billion.

The problem has become so serious that such groups as the American College of Physicians, the National Physicians Alliance, and a coalition of medical societies have compiled lists of tests and treatment doctors themselves say are done too often. Below are examples culled from those lists.

EKGs and exercise stress tests for heart disease

The problem: For many people, an EKG-which records the heart’s electrical activity through electrodes attached to the chest is a standard part of a routine exam. Some also regularly get an exercise stress exercise test, which is an EKG done as they walk on a treadmill. Both are key if you have symptoms of heart disease or are at high risk of it. But for other people, the tests are not as accurate and can lead to unnecessary follow-up treatment.

The risks: Those follow-up tests can include CT angiograms, which expose you to a radiation dose equal to 600 to 800 chest X-rays and coronary angiography, which exposes you to further radiation. Inappropriate testing can also lead to overtreatment with drugs or even surgery.

The costs: An EKG typically costs about $50 and an exercise stress test about $200 to $300, according to the HealthCareBlueBook.com. Subsequent interventions that are prompted by unneeded tests can add thousands to the tab.

When to consider the tests: An EKG and exercise stress test should often be ordered if you have chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, or other symptoms of heart disease. They can also make sense for people with diabetes or other coronary risk factors who are just starting to exercise.

Imaging tests for lower‐back pain

The problem: Getting an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI can seem like a good idea. But back pain usually subsides in about a month, with or without testing. Back pain sufferers in a 2010 study who had an MRI within the first month didn’t recover any faster than those who didn’t have the test-but were eight times as likely to have surgery, and had a five-fold increase in medical costs.

The risks: One study projected 1,200 new cancer cases based on the 2.2 million CT scans done for lower-back pain in the U.S. in 2007. CT scans and X-rays of the lower back are especially worrisome for men and women of childbearing age because they can expose testicles and ovaries to substantial radiation. Finally, the tests often reveal abnormalities that are unrelated to the pain but can prompt needless worry and lead to unnecessary follow-up tests and treatment, sometimes including even surgery.

The cost: An X-ray of the lower back typically ranges from about $200 to $285, an MRI from $875 to $1,225, and a CT scan from $1,080 to $1,520. Imaging accounts for a big chunk of the billions Americans spend for lower-back pain each year. When to consider the tests: They often make sense if you have nerve damage or signs of a serious underlying condition.

Red flags can include a history of cancer, unexplained weight loss, recent infection, loss of bowel control, urinary retention, or loss of leg strength.

Bone‐density scans for low‐risk women

The problem: Many women are routinely screened for weak bones with an imaging test called a DEXA scan. If it detects outright osteoporosis, the results can help you and your doctor decide how to treat the problem. But many people learn they have only mild bone loss, a condition known as osteopenia, and for them the risk of fracture is often quite low.

The risks:
A diagnosis of osteopenia often leads to treatment with such drugs as alendronate (Fosamax) and ibandronate (Boniva), which pose numerous risks. Those include thigh fractures, throat or chest pain, difficulty swallowing, heart-burn, and more rarely, bone, eye, joint and muscle pain, bone loss in the jaw, and possibly abnormal heart rhythm. But there is little evidence that people with osteopenia benefit from the drugs.

The costs:
A DXA scan costs about $132. The price for a month’s supply of generic alendronate is $38 to $70, and $125 to $148 for Fosamax, the brand-name version. People often take the drugs for years.
When to consider the tests: Women should have the scan at age 65 and men at age 70. Younger women and men ages 50 to 69 should consider the test if they have risk factors such as a fracture from minor trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, low body weight, a parent who had a hip fracture, or if they have used corticosteroid drugs for a long time, or they drink excessively or smoke. Whether follow-up tests are needed depends on the results of the initial scan.

Ask these Questions:

Do I really need this test or procedure? The answer should be direct and simple. Tests should help you and your doctor decide how to treat your problem, and procedures should help you live a longer, healthier life.

What are the downsides? Discuss the risks, the chance of inaccurate results or the need for further testing.Weight the potential complications against possible benefits and symptoms of the condition itself.

Are there simpler, safer options? Sometimes lifestyle changes will provide the relief you need.

What happens if I do nothing?
Ask if your condition may worsen- or improve if you don’t have the procedure now.

How much does it cost? Ask whether there are less expensive alternatives for procedures and medications.

The above article was reprinted from the Consumer Reports Choosing Wisely Campaign. Choosing Wisely aims to promote conversations between doctors and patients by helping patients choose care that is:

  • Supported by evidence
  • Not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received
  • Free from harm
  • Truly necessary

Information from Consumer Reports is for you to use when talking with your health care provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment.

The full library of Choosing Wisely reports and interesting patient stories is available at consumerhealthchoices.org/Minnesota

How to Free Your Family From Sugar Without Losing Your Mind

Tips from celebrity nutritionist and mom Keri Glassman on changing your family’s food culture.

Begin with these five tips and incorporate them into your family’s lifestyle over the next 10 days or so. Breaking it down little by little will help you all ease into the process.

Tip #1: Ditch the nonsweet sweets

It begins in your own home. Get rid of anything that’s “sweet” and has added sugar but isn’t “sweet” at all.
Not sure what I mean? Open up the fridge and check out the salad dressing. Now check the labels on your sandwich bread. Go on, take a look at the box of “healthy” crackers you serve peanut butter on. Oh, and check that peanut butter while you’re at it. Sugar, fructose, corn syrup, brown rice syrup — it’s all sugar. Ditch all of this. They’re not worth it and can be easily replaced. Here’s a place to start: http://naturallysavvy.com/recipes/made-by-me-kid-friendly-salad-dressing

Tip #2: Set your food culture

Chances are you have a food culture, but you just haven’t looked at it or talked about it openly. Meatless Mondays, grocery delivery, organic and unprocessed as much as possible, pizza and movie night, are just some food culture traditions and practices. But when you don’t set out with a plan or value system for food in your home, things often go awry — and fast, especially once kids come into the picture.

I’m not going to tell you that you should never have dessert, or that organic foods are always best. That’s something for you and your partner to decide together. If your kids are old enough, ask them what they think are family food values. Bringing everyone into the conversation, maybe at your next dinner, is one of the best ways to stay on track.

Tip #3: Plan your weeknight dinners

You’ve heard this one before: Planning is key to dinner success. But, in reality, when we’re running to pick our kids up from school and dropping them off and running errands ourselves, that’s easier said than done. One of the moms I work with makes planning meals for the week almost a game. At the beginning of each week, she takes out the calendar and her three kids go in order picking dinner for each day. They have mentally committed to the menu and are genuinely enthusiastic about it.

Tip #4: Snack time is nutrient time, not dessert time

Yet, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the “I just want them to eat and get calories in” so as not to mind the cookies. But the truth is, snack time is the perfect time to get in nutrients. Not just calories, but real nourishing nutrients. The trick isn’t to redefine or get rid of snack time, but to adjust it. So if that whole sandwich wasn’t eaten at lunch, serve the other half at snack time. Or, if lunch was finished, take a different approach with sliced turkey rolled up around a carrot or a sliced pear with almond butter.

Tip #5: Hydrate right, and don’t fall for ‘all-natural’ juice

Sugar is sneaky. It doesn’t just hide in foods, but in most beverages too. Read the label carefully and remember that If you’re consciously consuming it for the fruit benefits, know that one piece of fruit has approximately 15 grams of sugar. So perhaps you’d be better off eating a banana instead. And just say no to soda and fruit-flavored juice. Go for plain water or even seltzer with a spritz of lemon or a splash of 100 percent juice instead. Another key thing to remember is all rules apply for your kids too. Kids don’t come out of the womb asking for apple juice. We get this habit started and we can break it for them too, because if you’re sipping on water, then they’ll likely follow suit and do the same.

Written by Keri Glassman, MS, RD | Excerpted from www.healthline.com › Food & Nutrition › #BreakUpWithSugar , October 24, 2016

Daphne VanBuren

While Daphne VanBuren, Assistant City Attorney, was in law school she liked to say the only reason she would ever run is if she were being chased. Back then, she was attending law school nights and weekends and working during the day. She was in what she calls survival mode. She wasn’t getting enough sleep, not exercising and eating poorly.

In 2012 at age 34, years after graduating and working as a lawyer in the Attorney General’s Office, Daphne was inspired by a coworker to try running. The first miles were not easy. But a group of coworkers decided to take on the challenge of Grandma’s half marathon and Daphne signed up as well. As she looks back, she recalls how rough she felt after the race. Everything hurt. Over the next couple years, she continued signing up for different races and events to stay motivated.

By 2014, Daphne was ready to take on the challenge of the Twin Cities Marathon. This time she followed a training program and was well prepared to run it. At the end of that race, she felt better than when she had finished the half marathon two years before.

Training for a marathon is not all running; Daphne also realized the importance of eating a healthy diet. The change in her diet evolved over the years. As a result of the physical demands of running and a better diet, Daphne lost several clothing sizes, losing fat and gaining muscle.

While many people would be satisfied with reaching a goal of completing a marathon, Daphne was ready for more. Her first 50K (approximately 31 miles) was the Grand Island Trail Marathon along Lake Superior. She loved the beautiful, serene trail and felt great at the finish line. She plans on another 50K on the Superior Hiking Trail this fall.

Daphne continues training throughout the winter averaging 30 miles a week. When it is really cold, she just dresses for it and is motivated by thinking about running in May when this winter training will all pay off.

Daphne turns 39 this year and feels that she is in the best shape of her life. While there still are the occasional potato chips, etc. she has lost a little more weight, has plenty of energy and sleeps well. It is sometimes hard to leave work at the office at the end of the day and going out for a run provides a good mental break. She believes that running makes her nicer, calmer and a much better office partner.

As long as her body is able, Daphne plans on continuing to run. The physical and emotional rewards she gets out of running are something she can’t quantify. While she understands marathons and 50K races are not goals for a lot of people, getting outside and moving, whether bicycling, walking, running, or something else can benefit anyone. The important step is just to begin.