Step Up For Your City!

Halfway through – register today!

Get a team of co-workers together or participate on your own. Every minute of tracked physical activity counts!
Log in to mymedica.com and click on the Health & Wellness tab on the top right of your screen. Then select Join the Challenge.
Track your physical activity until June 30 to get your team—and your city—to the top of the leaderboard.
Ramp up the rivalry! Share your activities on social media and tag them with #TwinCitiesHealthyRivalry.

What’s the goal?

The city with the highest average of minutes tracked will be declared the winner—and the winning city will receive a challenge trophy (and bragging rights).

Move It and Improve It!

The first 100 to sign up get this awesome backpack!

A Message from the Mayor:

Team Saint Paul:

meQuilibrium, a stress management tool, is newly available to all City of Saint Paul employees. Stressors are all around us and how we react to them can make a big difference in our resiliency and overall health. Our resiliency helps us perform better in all conditions whether at work, at home, or in our community.

We know that stress, anxiety and depression are often silently-borne burdens. As a part of Team Saint Paul, we care about your wellbeing and sought a partner to offer easy and effective resilience tools. meQuilibrium can help with improving your mood and behaviors, and promote healthier choices to enhance sleep, diet, and overall wellness. If you participate in the Healthy Saint Paul program, you can also earn points toward your incentive with meQuilibrium.

How does this work?

Go to www.GetmeQ.com/CityofSaintPaul to enroll in meQuilibrium and answer a few questions. You will discover your stress personality and thinking patterns, uncover habitual reactions to stress, and increase self-understanding. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Based on your responses, a unique program is created for you. You’ll be guided step-by-step through the program to learn new skills through activities and short videos. And you do it at your own pace.

You can also download the meQuilibrium app to your phone. Get quick access to daily stress-busting tips and inspiration whenever and wherever you need it.

Your meQuilibrium journey is personalized to your needs, and your results are completely private. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy the experience of proactively managing your resiliency and health.

Thank you for all you do to make Saint Paul a city that works for all of us.

Sincerely,
Melvin Carter, Mayor

My Health Rewards Journeys*– Helping you develop healthy new behaviors

Take a Journey to better health!

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, be more active or reduce stress, Journeys are interactive online activities that can help you reach your goals. Each Journey can last 4-6 weeks, depending on your unique path. You pick your Journey topic and as you succeed in completing the steps in your Journey, you’ll unlock small celebrations such as challenges.

Go to your member website, mymedica.com, and click on the Health & Wellness tab to get started. On your My Health Rewards homepage, scroll down to the Find a Journey that’s right for you section and click on the SEE WHAT’S POSSIBLE button. If you have completed your health assessment, the site will identify and recommend Journeys that may be of interest to you. To view all Journeys, scroll through the list of Journeys on the page or sort by topic on the left menu.

You can earn 50 points for every Journey you complete, up to 300 points per year.

View the Journeys video to learn more!

*RedBrick Journeys is a registered trademark owned by RedBrick Health Corporation.

MONJ– Helping you improve the way you eat

Monj is an online food and lifestyle program. It’s designed to increase your overall wellness by developing healthy eating skills that will last a lifetime. With an interactive, learn-by-doing approach, the Monj program will teach you to create healthy (and amazing) meals at home and help you navigate restaurant menus, deli counters and social events. You will achieve goals as you advance through an engaging, science-based behavior change curriculum packaged in units called daily missions.

How to access Monj

Log on to mymedica.com and click on the Health & Wellness tab to access your My Health Rewards site. On the homepage, scroll down to the Make life delicious with Monj tile and click on the LET’S START COOKING button.

If you are accessing Monj for the first time, your browser will prompt: Allow the application Make Life Delicious by RedBrick Health to access your account?. Click the Yes button after checking the box next to Remember this decision?. This will ensure that the Monj site syncs with your My Health Rewards site.

Register and complete your Monj profile

To get started with Monj, enter your name and email address and create a password.

Next, click on the personalize button and answer the questions that follow to complete your profile and earn 25 points.

The Monj profile is quick and easy to complete. It provides an opportunity for you to share any preferences you may have, such as a dairy-free, gluten-free or vegetarian diet, as well as goals you may have such as wanting to be healthier, feel more energized, or explore new cooking skills and techniques.

Complete Daily Missions or quizzes

Daily Missions are short commitments you can make ranging from cookbook swaps to trying new food items. Quizzes are fun ways to test your knowledge about healthy eating and cooking.
By participating, you’ll boost your knowledge and earn 1 point (up to 200 per year) for each Daily Mission or quiz you complete. These can change every day, so make sure to check back frequently.

Set goals

Goals customize your experience with Monj and help you track your progress as you work toward becoming a Monj Master.
Earn badges by completing Daily Missions, Cooking Lessons, Power Ups and Essentials. In the My Goals area on the homepage, you can see a snapshot of your progress toward specific goals you’ve set. If you’d like to set or change your goals, click on the My Goals tab at the top of the page.

To set or change your goals, use the toggle switches in each of the categories.

Take Cooking Lessons

Click on the Cooking Lessons tab to explore step-by-step cooking tutorials. On the left side of the page, you can filter cooking lessons by method, level, or dietary concern.
Watch Power Ups videos

Watch Power Ups videos to get ideas about transforming simple staples into power-packed meals and snacks.
Go to your member website, mymedica.com, and click on the Health & Wellness tab to get started.

Watch this video to learn more https://vimeo.com/310864202/a497588f57

Heart Health: Conversation Starters

It can be hard to talk to a family member or friend about making healthy lifestyle changes. Use these tips to start a conversation about heart-healthy changes like quitting smoking or getting more physical activity.

 

Begin by saying that you care.

You can say:

  • “I want you to live a long and healthy life.”
  • “I hope you’ll be around for a long time.”
  • “I want to help you make healthy changes so you can keep enjoying the things you love to do.”

Share the facts.

Let your loved one know how serious heart disease can be:

  • “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.”
  • “Heart disease causes more deaths in the United States than all types of cancer combined.”

Explain that it’s possible to prevent heart disease.

Make it clear that taking these steps can improve heart health:

  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Eat healthy. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Limit saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt).
  • Get active. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.

Offer to help.

Ask how you can help:

  • “What changes are the hardest for you to make? What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can we get healthy together?”
  • “You don’t have to do this alone. What can I do to help you?”

Try suggesting these ideas:

  • Go shopping together for heart-healthy foods. Then cook and enjoy a healthy meal.
  • Get active together. A good way to start is to meet every day for a fast walk.
  • If your loved one smokes, encourage him to get free help quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

For more information on preventing heart disease, visit:
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-lifestyle-changes
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan
millionhearts.hhs.gov/learn-prevent/prevention.html

How to Start the New Year Right

Get your full eight hours. Just as a healthy diet and regular exercise are necessary and important for good health, so is sleep. Cutting back on snooze-time can lead to an out-of-control appetite (some studies show that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight), a greater risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Rise and shine — and eat. Breakfast gets your body’s metabolism going again after a night of sleeping, and gives you the gradual and adequate energy you need to get through the morning.

Wash your hands. From banishing cold and flu germs to preventing food borne illnesses, frequent hand-washing is one of the smartest preventive habits you can adopt. A thorough hand-washing should take about 20 seconds.

Know your family health history. Your family’s medical history can give you important information about your own health. Many diseases, such as heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, and depression, can have a genetic component. The more you know about the health of your relatives, the better informed you’ll be about your own risk factors and how to manage them.

Eat mindfully. One of the significant differences between people who successfully manage their weight and people who constantly struggle is mindful eating. Turn off the TV or computer, sit down at a table with your food on a plate, and focus on eating. Put your fork down between bites, and take time to really enjoy your meal. Chances are you will eat less and feel more satisfied.

Add variety to your diet. Wild salmon and sardines are just a couple of the fish that provide heart-healthy fats such as omega-3, which lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and help preserve your cognitive function. Aim for two servings a week; more than that may add too much mercury to your system. On occasion, indulge in a bite of dark chocolate that contains at least 75% cocoa-both contain antioxidants that can benefit your heart. Try to eat 5-7 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, and minimize your intake of carbohydrates.

Volunteer. In addition to helping others, volunteers themselves often benefit from “giving back” to the communities in which they live and work, and enjoy a rewarding sense of doing something good for someone else.

Maintain strong family and social networks. Research has shown that people who have family and friends they can turn to for support and companionship may be healthier and less likely to experience depression than those who spend most of their time alone.

Take a time out.
At least once a day, close your eyes and focus on taking 10 deep, full breaths. Inhale through your nose, feel your diaphragm expand, and exhale through your mouth. Deep, focused breathing slows your heart rate, calms the body and, as a result, calms your mind and reduces stress. Mix in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week as well… You needn’t do it all at once; two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minutes blocks work equally well.

Drink more water to prevent constipation, dehydration and other related diseases. Whether you drink bottled, filtered or tap, water helps keep your cells hydrated, flushes out toxins, and prevents dehydration. Tea, juices and sports drinks count, too, but watch out for added sugar, artificial flavorings and caffeine, all of which can detract from the benefits.

Reprinted: wikihow.com/Start-the-New-Year-Right

Holiday Drinking

Drinking too much can harm your health. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years.

What is a “drink”?

In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 1.5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

What is excessive drinking?

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.
Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as consuming

  • For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.
  • For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.
  • Heavy drinking is defined as consuming

  • For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
  • For men, 15 or more drinks per week.

Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.

What is moderate drinking?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. In addition, the Dietary Guidelines do not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason.

By adhering to the Dietary Guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself or others.

Short-Term Health Risks

Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

  • Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns.
  • Violence.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Risky sexual behaviors.
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.
  • Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
  • Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
  • Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment.
  • Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism.

By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks.

Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use and Your Health CDC https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/RethinkHoliday/NIAAA_Holiday_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Healthy dining out with diabetes

Yes, it’s possible!

Preparing your own meals is a great way to stick to your diabetes-friendly diet. Realistically, though, you probably won’t feel like cooking for yourself every day. Like most Americans, you’ll likely eat out — at least once in a while!

Dining out doesn’t have to be tough if you have diabetes, and it doesn’t have to be off-limits. With a bit of planning and some smart choices, you can eat out without worry.
For people with diabetes, eating the right foods helps keep your blood sugar in your target range and provides needed nutrients — all critical parts of managing your condition. Individual meal planning can help you get the nutrients you need from the right foods.

That’s why it’s important that you stick to your healthy eating plan.

Try these five tips to do just that:

Know what’s on the menu.
Many restaurants post menus online. If one doesn’t, call the restaurant and ask if they can accommodate your needs. If they can’t, choose another place where you can more easily follow your eating plan.

Eat at the same time you usually do.
If you take insulin shots or diabetes pills, you need to eat about the same time every day.
Schedule dining plans close to your normal eating times.

Make reservations so you won’t have to wait.
If you can’t make reservations, bring a snack in case you have to wait. Avoiding high-volume times may help.
Watch portion sizes.

Many restaurants serve large portions. Try ordering an appetizer for your main course, or splitting an entrée with someone.
Or you can eat half of your meal and take the rest home.

Be vocal.

Ask for substitutions if you need to. For example, order veggies instead of fries. Or ask for sauces and dressings on the side.

Be careful of your drink choices.
Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, with free refills. Stick with water or other unsweetened beverages.

Reprinted with permission
Medica CallLink® 24-hour Health Information and Education
1-800-962-9497

Fish Consumption Guidance

Put Fish on Your Plate!

Fish are a great choice for serving up lean protein with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Fish also are a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids – a good kind of fat!

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are called EPA and DHA. Our bodies cannot make EPA and DHA. Eating fish is the main way to get these important fatty acids that you do not find in other foods. (Supplements may not be as beneficial.)
Here is the best part:

  • DHA is a building block of the brain and eyes.
  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding moms can eat fish to give DHA to their babies.
  • Eating fish can lower the risk of heart disease.

The benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks when eating fish low in mercury and other contaminants. Young children (under age 15) and fetuses are more sensitive to mercury. Too much mercury can cause lasting problems with understanding and learning. But studies show children benefit developmentally when moms eat fish low in mercury during pregnancy.

What to do?

  • Eat fish!
  • Follow the guidance linked below to prevent mercury and other contaminants from building up in your body.
  • Contaminants take time to leave the body, so spread out your fish meals.


Statewide safe eating guidelines

For general guidelines to help you make decisions for yourself and your family about your fish-eating habits, visit: www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/metals/ucm115644.htm. For recipes and information about eating fish, go to www.chooseyourfish.org.

Site-Specific Meal Advice:
Consumption guidelines for lakes and rivers where fish have been tested for contaminants. Guidelines are also searchable by lake at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind.

Reprinted from the Minnesota State Department of Health.
www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/fish/index.html

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. It causes inflammation or swelling, and a narrowing of the airways making it more difficult to breathe. During normal breathing, air flows freely in and out of the lungs. However, during an asthma attack or episode, swelling of the airway’s lining increases, muscles surrounding the airways tighten, and thick mucus clogs the tiny airways making it difficult to breathe.

Who gets asthma? Asthma affects people of all ages and while it can start in adulthood, it most often starts during childhood. Young children who wheeze a lot and have frequent respiratory infections that continue beyond 6 years old are at greater risk. Genetics can also play a role in developing asthma. Having a family history of eczema, allergies, or having parents or siblings that have asthma increases risk. We aren’t exactly sure what causes asthma, but we do know exposure to certain things can trigger an asthma attack.

Asthma symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person and can flare up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include:
Wheezing – Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe out.
Coughing – Coughing from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep. Sometimes coughing can be the only symptom.
Shortness of breath – Some people feel like they can’t catch their breath or feel breathless, as if they can’t get air out of their lungs.
Chest tightness or pain – This can feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.

Asthma symptoms vary from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week and over months and can vary from mild to life threatening. Having symptoms may mean your asthma is not well controlled.

See your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms or are using your quick-relief inhaler (rescue) more than two times a week.
  • You have symptoms that wake you up two or more times a month.
  • You refill your rescue up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include: inhaler prescription more than two times per year.
  • Your asthma is getting in the way of your usual activities like going to school or work.

Don’t ignore asthma symptoms.

Symptoms that are not easily relieved by using a rescue inhaler or that reoccur should be evaluated by your health care provider, or you should go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. TAKE ASTHMA SERIOUSLY.