Healthy foods build healthy minds and bodies.
These days, it is not always easy to find and eat healthy foods. Common foods can include a lot of added sugar, salt, fat, colorings, flavorings, fillers, preservatives and other chemicals.
Many stores do not carry vitamin-rich fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, they have calorie- and carbohydrate-rich foods – so-called "junk food." This problem is at its worst in places that are called "food deserts." Food deserts are urban neighborhoods and rural towns that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grain low-fat milk and other foods that make up a healthy diet. The areas in green in the map below are the food deserts in Greater Cincinnati.
When healthy food is available, some of us cannot afford it, do not know how to cook it, or cannot seem to make it taste good.
And even when everything else is right, fast food is everywhere and so tempting. But when food is cooked for us in restaurants and cafeterias, too often we lose control of our healthy food choices.
A healthy diet can help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, frail bones and several types of cancer.
What should I be eating?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion uses the MyPlate graphic at right to teach people about healthy eating. It recommends that people make half their plate fruits and vegetables, make half their grains whole grains and drink low-fat and fat-free dairy. To learn more visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
How can I eat better?
Several websites can help you plan and prepare healthy meals.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Million Hearts® initiative aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Its website offers heart-healthy recipes and meal plans. http://recipes.millionhearts.hhs.gov
At the USDA's What's Cooking website, users can search for easy-to-make healthy recipes. www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov
Another Department of Health and Human Services website, A Healthier You, offers recipes based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Users can search by preparation time: less than 30 minutes, less than 60 minutes and less than 90 minutes. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/healthieryou/html/recipes.html
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute lists heart-healthy recipes that include information about serving size, number of servings, calories and other nutrients on its Aim for a Healthy Weight website. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/recipes.htm
Interact for Health's Healthy Eating efforts are directed in two areas:
COOK FOR AMERICA®
Many children eat two or three meals at school. School could be where these children learn to eat well. However in recent years, highly processed food replaced the home-style cooking that school cafeterias used to serve.
Interact for Health has worked in recent years to improve students' access to healthy, affordable food by funding participation in Cook for America®. The three-phase program is helping schools serving more than 20,000 area kids to assess their current food program, develop plans and train staff to serve healthier meals within their current food system and budget. The schools are relearning how to obtain and cook healthy food from scratch. They have improved the quality and taste of the food that is served.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION INFRASTRUCTURE
No amount of urging can make someone eat healthier foods if there is nowhere to get them. One of our first efforts is to provide some grants that improve the availability of fresh produce, especially in food deserts. In this effort, we seek projects that improve the growing, transport, quality, cost and availability of fresh food. Our work has supported several projects across the region, from co-op grocery stores, to low-cost access to produce to farmer training programs. These infrastructure and distribution projects are helping get fresh produce to communities that need better access.
We have also funded a regional Food Policy Council. Its nearly 40 members come from a variety of backgrounds, including farms, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. They look at food policy and identify changes in systems that can improve access to healthy food, particularly for those who live in rural areas and food deserts. To learn more, read our Health in Action story about the council here, or visit its website here.
Prescription Drop Box Map
Results show shift in perception from substance abuse being seen as moral failure to a chronic illness.
The Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that 7 in 10 Kentucky adults believe that addiction is a disease (70%). Attitudes towards addiction as a disease were the same both among respondents who have a family member or friend who has experienced problems with substance abuse, and among those who did not indicate such firsthand experience with addiction.
Kentucky adults continue to cite heroin use as causing problems for friends, family
The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) and Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) has found that more than 2 in 10 Ohio adults (23%) report knowing someone who has trouble as a result of using heroin, while just under 2 in 10 Kentucky adults (16%) report knowing someone affected by heroin use.
8 in 10 Ohio adults say it’s easy to buy healthy foods in their neighborhood
A majority of Ohio adults (81%) agree that it is easy to buy healthy foods in their neighborhood. However, responses vary by income. Nearly 9 in 10 Ohio adults in households earning more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (87%) agree. That compares with fewer than 8 in 10 adults in households earning 200% FPG or less.
Half of Ohio young adults have used an e-cigarette
Nearly 3 in 10 Ohio adults (28 percent) reported having ever used an e-cigarette, according to the most recent Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP), sponsored by Interact for Health. This is higher than in 2016 (19 percent) and about the same as in 2015 (24 percent).
Half of homes with children have guns
The most recent Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) found more than 4 in 10 (42%) of Ohio adults report keeping at least one firearm in or around their home. This number has increased from 2013, when 36% reported keeping a firearm.
Number drops to slightly less than half in Northern Kentucky
A majority (56%) of Kentucky adults say childhood obesity is a serious problem in the state, according to the most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll.
Nearly all support having a nurse in each school building.
The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that more than 8 in 10 Kentucky adults (84%) strongly or somewhat favor schools taking a more active role in helping families get health care services for children. Healthy students are able to achieve more academic success than those facing challenges to their health.
More Kentucky adults have favorable opinion about ACA
The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that more Kentucky adults have a favorable opinion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (44%) than a negative opinion (33%). The percent of adults with a favorable opinion has been increasing since the poll first started tracking the ACA in 2010, when it became law. In 2010, 26% had a favorable opinion of the ACA.
One in 4 Kentucky adults concerned about losing their health insurance.
Rate of employer-sponsored health insurance declines; more Northern Kentucky adults lack insurance than in rest of state. The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found one in four (24%) of insured Kentucky adults ages 18 to 64 are concerned about losing health coverage within the next year.
Kentucky adults overwhelmingly favor tobacco-free schools.
The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that nearly 9 in 10 adults (87%) favor schools adopting tobacco-free campus policies in their communities. Support for tobacco-free school policies has been consistently strong -- favored by 85% of Kentucky adults in 2015 and 84% in 2013.
Most Kentucky adults favor raising minimum age to buy tobacco to 21.
The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that nearly 6 in 10 Kentucky adults (58 percent) favor raising the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. This support has held steady since 2015, the first time KHIP asked this question. Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky sponsored the poll.
Nearly half of young adults in Kentucky have tried an e-cigarette
The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that nearly 3 in 10 Kentucky adults reported ever using e-cigarettes. The rate is higher than national statistics, where just over 2 in 10 adults reported ever using e-cigarettes. The highest reported use was among young adults in Kentucky, where nearly half said they had ever used an e-cigarette.
Most Kentucky adults support a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law
The 2017 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that 71 percent of Kentucky adults support a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law. This remains the highest level of support since the poll began tracking this topic.
Half of Ohio adults say they favor needle exchange programs
Half of Ohio adults (50 percent) said they favor and about 4 in 10 Ohio adults (42 percent) said they oppose needle exchange programs, according to the most recent Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP).
6 in 10 Ohio adults favor raising minimum age to buy tobacco to 21
Six in 10 Ohio adults (58 percent) favor raising the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 according to the 2017 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP). This is an increase from 2016. A majority of Democrats (67 percent) and Republicans (60 percent) favored increasing the purchase age to 21. OHIP also asked if Ohio adults support a tax increase of 65 cents per pack of cigarettes; half of Ohio adults (53 percent) were in support.
2 in 10 allow smoking in homes.
The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS), funded by Interact for Health, has found that 23 percent of adults in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area are current smokers. Although the rate has been steadily declining, our region is still higher than the nation, where 18 percent of adults were smokers in 2015.
Greater Cincinnati Health Watch
Greater Cincinnati Health Watch is a free biweekly e-mail newsletter published by Interact for Health. Each issue includes health news stories from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and the nation, with emphasis on topics related to Interact for Health's focus areas of substance use disorders, severe mental illness, school-aged children's healthcare, and community primary care.