May 2009 Printer-Friendly Newsletter
Get inspired and get healthy during National Women’s Health Week
Approximately 43% of King County employees are women. During National Women's Health Week (May 10–16, 2009) and National Women's Check-Up Day (May 11, 2009) we encourage you to make your health a top priority by taking steps to improve your physical and mental health and lower your risk of certain diseases.
Women are often the primary caregivers for their families but can forget to take care of their own health. Here are some simple steps you can take to lead a longer, healthier, and happier life.
- Schedule a check-up.
Exams, screenings, and vaccinations can help you stay healthy. Take the time to get a check-up, Pap test, or mammogram, and encourage a family member or friend to do the same. Did you know . . . most preventive care including well-child check-ups, immunizations, and routine health exams are covered by your health care benefits.
- Record your family health history.
Free National Women’s Health Week event
The Department of Health and Human Services is hosting free educational workshops and a resource fair in Seattle on May 13, 2009 to celebrate National Women’s Health Week. For more information go to: http://womenshealth.gov/whw/events/
Knowing your family health history can help you take steps to lower your risk for developing health problems. Keep track of what you learn by using a Personal Health Record and share the information with other family members.
- Become a savvy health care consumer.
According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, women make 85% of health care decisions for their families. Being equipped with information about disease risk factors, prevention, treatment, and quality services is vital in making these decisions. Check out the Logon and Learn web page for a variety of helpful links.
- Join the WOMAN Challenge.
The WOMAN Challenge (Women and girls Out Moving Across the Nation) is an online physical activity program that begins every year on Mother's Day. Thousands of women across the country embark on an eight-week physical activity challenge for better health, including at least 30 minutes of moderate activity or 10,000 steps (measured by a pedometer) most days of the week. Getting involved is a great way to continue your progress after completing your Individual Action Plan.
- Listen and learn.
Listen to podcasts from the Centers for Disease Control on a variety of topics related to women’s health. Most are 5 minutes or less.
- Send a health-e-card to encourage healthy living.
Let your friends, family, and co-workers know you care about them and their health. Choose a card for Mother’s Day, National Women’s Health Week, or other occasions throughout the year and encourage others to make a change for the healthier.
- Take a Pledge.
It is time to put you at the top of your priority list. Take a minute to make a contract with yourself. Print out the King County National Women’s Health Week Pledge, sign it, and post it someplace where you will see it each day. Then start taking steps toward a healthier and happier you!
- Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles.
- Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day. Include activities that raise their breathing and heart rates and that strengthen their muscles and bones.
- Balance work, home, and play.
- Stay positive.
- Take time to relax.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Make sure kids get more, based on their age.
- Get help or counseling if needed.
- Get help to quit using tobacco.
- If you smoke, don’t smoke around your kids.
- Don’t let other people smoke around your kids.
Logon and Learn about women’s health
Your decisions regarding your health care can effect the quality of care you get and the price you pay. The county has free online tools to help you make the best decisions about disease prevention and care.
Here are some online tools that can help you make the best choices for your health:
- The Puget Sound Health Alliance Community Checkup Report can tell you which hospitals and clinics in our region follow evidenced-based guidelines for breast and cervical cancer screening. On the website, select "Prevention" from the "Category" drop down menu.
- Aetna KingCare lets you create a personal health record that can help you understand and manage your medical information. It will also remind you via e-mail when you are due for mammograms and other age and gender appropriate screenings.
- Aetna SmartSourceSM makes it easy to find personalized health information on many conditions. To access these tools logon to Aetna Navigator, then select SmartSourceSM. You can search on a disease, condition, medication, test or procedure and get information on symptoms, treatments and cost for care. Or click on “you might be interested in” to find information about preventive screenings and maintaining your health.
- MyGroupHealth.com lets you to make an appointment, exchange secure e-mails with your health care team, view your test results, and access your child's medical records.
For more information about how to be a savvy health care consumer Logon and Learn.
"It is not enough to simply claim that you care about yourself; when you believe that you are worthy of the space you occupy on the planet, you demonstrate that by insisting that every last one of your choices – from the food that put in your mouth to the commitments you put on your calendar – moves you toward the life you want.
No self-care means no self-love. We all need to … give ourselves as much love and support as we give others.
– Oprah Winfrey, discussing her struggle with weight loss
What you can do about H1N1 virus (swine flu):
1) Stay home when sick 2) Cover your cough 3) Wash your hands 4) Have a family plan and be prepared
For the latest local information, facts for families and tips on how to protect yourself and others from getting the flu ,visit Public Health - Seattle & King County’s H1N1 flu page
Bike to Work Month – This is How We Roll!
May is Bike to Work Month, sponsored by Cascade Bike Club. King County supports your efforts to reduce car commute trips and improve your health by biking to work. To participate:
- Join the Group Health Challenge – Commit to riding five round trips between May 1 – 31 and be eligible for great prizes. Join one of the county teams or form your own team of co-workers, family and friends. Registration is free – sign up online at www.cbcef.org or call 206-523-1952.
- Ride on Bike to Work Day, May 15th. This is your chance to cycle to work and be counted as one of thousands of bike commuters in the greater Seattle area. Cascade Bike Club counts the number or bike commuters this day. This number has become the default indicator for the local bike community. Good news – it’s growing. Throughout Puget Sound there will be biker kiosks set up at commute stations to provide rider treats. Visit www.cbcef.org/btw/btw_stations.html for a map of commute stations, or call 206-523-1952 for details.
New to bike commuting?
No problem! There are local resources to help you get started on your commute including a free Bike Buddy program – meet your bike buddy for tips and ride in to work together. Visit the Health Matters bike resources page or call 206-205-5017.
Nervous about bike commuting?
Free bike commute classes are being held at the Chinook building. These classes are open to the public. You’ll leave with introductory information on rules of the road, how to choose a route and more. Classes will be held on April 21st in room 123, May 7th in room 115 and May 19th in room 123. All classes are from noon to 1:30 p.m.
See you on your bike in May.
Eileen Kadesh, county Transit Planner, is a true Health Hero. Most people would think a Costco trip by bike was too daunting. Not Eileen and her husband! Follow this link to read Eileen's story.
Health Hero Eileen Kadesh
Eileen Kadesh, county Transit Planner, is a true Health Hero. Most people would think a Costco trip by bike was too daunting. Not Eileen and her husband! Thank you, Eileen for sharing your story.
Years ago, when living in Northern Virginia, I didn’t drive a car and used a bicycle as my primary mode of personal transportation. When I moved to the Seattle area at the age of 32, I started driving a car. How easy it is to become lazy, even when the nearest market is only a third of a mile from your house!
About six months ago, my husband and I got motivated to try running our errands by bike again. In fact, there was a little unspoken competition between us to see which of us would use the car less on our days off. Given that most of our errands are for grocery shopping within our own Kirkland neighborhood, there’s rarely any good reason for not cycling to make our non-commute trips. However, like most people, we were deterred by “the hassle factor” before figuring out some strategic tips to make it easier and actually enjoyable to bike to the store.
Two of the primary lessons we learned that made all the difference were to 1) use a simple lock and cable, rather than dragging a heavy U-lock, and 2) purchase bags for the bike that are designed specifically for the purpose of grocery shopping. The bags we use most are called “Townie baskets”, purchased online from Bike Nashbar for about $17 each. They attach easily to a rack on the back of the bike, readily accommodate a full bag of groceries and fold up when not in use. In case of rain, a zippered compartment at the bottom of the bag holds a handy rain cover that protects the groceries.
Knowing where the bike rack is at the store is also helpful. If the store does not have one, you should talk to the manager to see if one can be installed.
I have also found that wearing a cycling jersey or some type of shirt or jacket with pockets is very useful. When I cycle for errands, I generally take my keys, a wallet, my cell phone and a lock and cable. After locking my bike, I like to place the cell phone and keys in a jersey pocket, leaving my hands free to carry my wallet and cloth grocery bag into the store. I generally leave the small things like sunglasses and bike gloves in my bike bag on my bike and strap my helmet to the handlebars. I’ve stopped worrying about people stealing these small items.
For large shopping trips, my husband purchased a large Rubbermaid tote with wheels featured on Craigslist to haul behind his bike. The first time he used this for a trip to Costco, I looked at this get-up skeptically and said “Are you sure it’s really going to haul such heavy items?” He assured me that it would be no problem, so he loaded the tote up, and cycled out of the parking lot. As I looked back, I saw the wheels of the cart start bowing and scraping. Sure enough, the axle was too weak for the load. My husband had to cycle home and get the car while I waited with the groceries. But, he was determined to make this work and has since fitted the Rubbermaid cargo tote with a sturdier axle. It now carries four to five large bags of groceries and works great.
The most important advice for motivating yourself to use a bike when running errands is to “do it when it makes sense”. If you’re really strapped for time or simply have no energy, don’t beat yourself up about taking the car (hopefully, a hybrid). But, if it’s warm and sunny out, you have plenty of time, you only need small items, and you could use a little exercise anyway, then try biking. Once you get into a routine, it actually becomes addictive!
Strong turn out for King County ID Day
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) partnered with King County and its 14,000 employees to prevent and manage diabetes in the workplace. This partnership was part of ADA's Winning at Work program which helps employers detect, prevent and manage diabetes in the workplace. The ADA provides comprehensive tools and resources to help employers achieve success in each of these areas.
On April 2nd, the ADA offered a limited number of free health screenings as part of the I Decide to Fight Diabetes Day (ID Day) campaign, one of three diabetes awareness events held during the month of April.
During the day-long ID Day, more than 160 people got health screenings and up to 200 visited the health resource fair to learn more about how to get and stay healthy with diabetes. Find more details on this event in the April Newsletter.
Didn’t get a chance to attend one of the diabetes awareness events?
There are lots of great on-line resources available to help you and your family manage diabetes. Go to the American Diabetes Association site to get the latest diabetes news and diabetes research. And check out these tools:
- Diabetes PHD – Use this risk assessment tool to understand your current risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, as well as foot and eye complications. By changing certain variables in your profile, like stopping smoking, losing weight, getting a regular foot exam etc., you will be able to see how making these changes would affect your future health.
- My Food Advisor – Tracking what you eat can help you manage your diabetes and in turn prevent the onset of complications. Use this tool to learn about different types of food and make meal planning fun and easy.
Logon and Learn – King County provides links to several free online tools to help you make the best decisions about diabetes prevention and care at an affordable price.
Health Hero Helen Subelbia
Because of her family history, Helen Subelbia has known for some time she was at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. But having been engaged in healthy activities most of her life the long-time DNRP employee assumed her health was fine; she became absorbed instead with work, family life (husband, two children) and a busy volunteer schedule.
"It finally hit home in January of 2008 when I went to my doctor and we had a talk about my family history and diabetes. I was 40 pounds overweight and getting concerned."
Healthy IncentivesSM played an important role as Helen worked with her health coach to map out an action plan. "My coach really laid out what a future with diabetes would mean, and talked to me about weight loss and physical activity. Everything she said made sense!"
Helen checked out King County’s Gym Discount Program and soon discovered a new exercise passion: aerobic kickboxing. She also replaced her all-day coffee habit with healthy snacking and regular meals.
As of this writing, Helen has lost those 40 pounds and says she has never been healthier. “I work out at the gym everyday except Saturday, and only because there’s no class that day. My health coach really got behind my progress. It was exciting to get that kind of support, right when I needed it.”
Helen's family and friends have followed her lead. Her daughter now goes to the gym regularly. Her son plays basketball and her husband walks. At work Helen’s manager says she is more energetic and even more focused than before.
Helen's advice for those looking to change, especially mothers: "King County offers so many options to help you get healthy. Take advantage of them. And remember to begin by including yourself on that list of the top three priorities in your life."
New study supports shaking the salt habit
Results of a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 7 out of 10 American adults should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day to prevent or reduce hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure).
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a maximum daily sodium intake of 2,300 mg of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). The Guidelines also recommend a lower limit of 1,500 mg (about two thirds of a teaspoon of salt) for specific groups including individuals with high blood pressure, African-Americans, and anyone age 40 or older. The new study indicates that most adults should follow the lower limit.
Wellness Assessment results suggest that most King County employees and their spartners probably do not meet this recommendation. In 2008, only about one-third (35%) of Wellness Assessment respondents reported that they “rarely cook with salt or add it at the table and rarely eat processed foods or salted snacks”.
But the U.S. food supply contains excessive amounts of salt, which makes limiting sodium consumption to less than 1,500 mg difficult. According to the CDC report, Americans over the age of 2 consume a daily average of 3,436 mg of sodium. Here are some tips to help you lower your sodium intake:
- Limit “convenience” foods. The majority of sodium (77%) comes from eating prepared or processed foods. Cut back on frozen dinners, frozen pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings — these often have a lot of sodium.
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Most fresh produce is naturally low in sodium and has a variety of other health benefits.
- Choose fresh foods whenever possible. Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned, smoked, or processed types. When using canned and frozen foods look for ones labeled as "low salt" or "low sodium." Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, beans and vegetables, to remove some of the excess sodium.
- Eat fewer cured foods and condiments. Limit cured foods (such as bacon and ham); foods packed in brine (such as pickles, pickled vegetables, olives, and sauerkraut); and condiments (such as mustard, horseradish, ketchup, and barbecue sauce). Also limit the use of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, even low sodium versions. Treat these condiments sparingly as you do table salt.
- Avoid using salt when cooking. Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Also cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
- Use non-salt seasonings. Select unsalted, fat-free broths and bouillons for cooking. Flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free seasoning blends.
- Read the Nutrition Facts label. Current food labels follow the general guideline of 2,300 mg a day. So don’t use the % Daily Value when considering sodium content. Instead, use the number of milligrams of sodium.
- Try low-sodium recipes. Adopting an eating plan such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (D.A.S.H.), which is reduced in sodium and rich in potassium and calcium, has been shown to decrease blood pressure. Check out the links to heart healthy recipes (low in both sodium and fat) under "External Recipe Resources" on the Recipe Box page.
- Be salt savvy when eating out. The King County Board of Health's nutrition labeling regulation requires some restaurants to provide sodium information to customers. Look for this information on menus and menu boards. When ordering, request that your dish be prepared without salt.
The high cost of high blood pressure
Hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) is the most prevalent and costly disease among King County benefits eligible employees and their dependents.
In 2008, more than 4,700 King County employees and their covered dependents were treated for hypertension. King County spent almost $33 million on medical claims and an additional $900,000 on prescription medications to treat high blood pressure in these individuals.
During the same period, total out of pocket expenses to King County employees for prescription medications to treat hypertension exceeded $500,000.
Looking for a low-sodium recipes?
Check out the Italian Gazpacho (soup) located in the Recipe Box.
Serves 4 (3/4 cup serving)
Gazpacho, a Spanish soup served chilled or at room temperature, goes Italian with the addition of lots of fresh basil. You won't miss the salt in this great tasting dish Ingredients:
- 10 ounces grape tomatoes (about 2 cups)
- ½ medium cucumber, peeled
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- ½ medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds discarded
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil (extra-virgin strongly preferred)
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1 medium lemon, quartered
Add all ingredients except lemon to a food processor. Process until mixture is the desired consistency. For a finer texture, add all ingredients to a blender and pulse mixture until it is the desired consistency (pulsing keeps the mixture from foaming).
- Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with the lemon wedges.
Be creative and try other seasonings for the soup. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Replace the basil with other fresh herbs, such as a combination of oregano and parsley (about 2 tablespoons chopped oregano and 2 tablespoons snipped parsley)
- Try kalamata olives (about 8) or Louisiana hot sauce (about 1 tablespoon) instead of the capers.
This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Patient Education program. Recipe copyright © 2008 by the American Heart Association.
|TEXT VERSION OF NUTRITION FACTS:|
Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe (187 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4 (3/4 cup)
||Amount per serving|
|Calories from fat
Stress Less: May is Mental Health Month
Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.
Everyone is ready to talk about it but no-one ever wants to admit they might have any kind of problems with their mental health. That’s because no matter how much any of us talk about it there is still that invisible stigma attached to the idea that one could be anything other than completely mentally healthy at all times. That, of course, makes as much sense as expecting to be completely physically healthy at all times.
The truth is none of us goes through life without having some kind of physical illness, from something relatively minor like a cold or the flu to something major and even life threatening like organ disease or failure. The truth is also that none of us avoids experiencing some of the emotional consequences of Life, from disappointment and anger for not getting a promotion to more serious depression and even thoughts of suicide when it all gets overwhelming.
Simply stated, Life happens and the news isn’t always good.
What is good news, however, is that we don’t have to face those hard times alone.
When we get physically sick enough most of us go to our health care provider, talk about what’s wrong, and get checked out to diagnose the problem and have it treated.
When we find ourselves mentally or emotionally not feeling well we should do the same thing: go to a professional, talk about the problem, get it diagnosed and begin a course of treatment to make it better.
King County offers employees and their dependent family members two options to make talking about those kinds of problems not just cheap, but free and confidential: the Making Life Easier Program at 1-888-874-7290 and the Employee Assistance Program at 206-684-2103 or 206-263-4572.
If your best efforts aren’t working, talk to a professional. What do you have to lose?
New Stress Less Resource
During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to know there are tools to help you cope.
This month, Mental Health America is launching the Live Your Life WellSM campaign with 10 specific, research-based tools to help you combat stress and promote health and well-being.
Did You Know . . .
That mental health care is covered at the same coinsurance rates as other medical care?
Making Life Easier/Employee Assistance Program
We have all heard the saying, “work smarter, not harder”. But in general, the trend toward increased productivity also means increased stress.
The good news is that King County provides FREE counseling and referral services to help you deal with stress both at work and at home. Let us work with you in resolving work and personal problems that affect your life.
Making Life Easier Program:
Making Life Easier is a free support and referral program that provides tools and resources to help you resolve personal life problems such as:
- Child care and parenting
- Helping aging parents
- Financial issues
- Legal concerns
- Emotional well-being
- Domestic violence or sexual abuse
- Grief or loss
- Addiction and recovery
The website also provides are variety of useful tools and resources including:
- Get the latest information. The site provides fact sheets on specific stress related topics and tips to manage your stress.
- Take a quiz. This tool will help you take stock of the stresses in your life and provide personalized solutions.
- Watch a video. The video describes workplace factors that can create or exacerbate worker stress and suggests practical measures for reducing job-related stress.
- Listen to audio podcasts. The site provides links to several stress related podcasts by national health experts.
This program is free for benefit-eligible employees, their dependent family members, and anyone living in the employee’s household. Call the MLE program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-874-7290. Visit our new website at www.achievesolutions.net/kcmle
Employee Assistance Program
Our licensed, certified counselors assist you in finding a solution to work-related issues that adversely impact your work performance, conduct, relationships, health, or well-being. This program is free for all county employees, regardless of benefit eligibility or career status. Contact Pam Wyss at (206) 684-2103 or Tony Hansen at (206) 263-4572, or visit our website at www.kingcounty.gov/employees/EAP
Mental Health America also provides tools to help you cope with difficult . This May, Mental Health America is launching the Live Your Life WellSM campaign with 10 specific, research-based tools to help you combat stress and promote health and well-being. Read more.
“Making Life Easier was there for my son and I when we needed it most! They offer free counseling services for children, teens, and adults. My son had the opportunity to meet with a licensed counselor at a time in his life where he needed to talk to someone other than me. As most teens would say, “Parent’s just don’t understand”! It was a great source that I would recommend to other King County employees. It really did help… make life easier.”
King County Sheriff Office
Move More May Events
Bike Commute Intro – May 7th and 19th at the King County Chinook Building. Seminars are from noon to 1:30 p.m. No registration required – just show up. May 7th is in room 115 and May 19th is in room 123. Seminars are taught by Cascade Bike Club representatives, open to all and free. For more info, call 206-205-5017.
Join other King County co-workers in the May 16th Tour de Cure benefiting the American Diabetes Association. The King County team, Blood, Sweat & Gears, is recruiting new riders. Register online at http://tour.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=TC_signup and click on Join a Team or click here for more info on the team.
7 Hills of Kirkland – May 25th. Ride 40, 60 or 100 miles of scenic and challenging routes with food, support and strawberry shortcake at the finish line. Proceeds support KITH’s mission to defeat homelessness. $30 - $60. Info at www.7hillskirkland.org or 425.576.9531 Ext 106.
Bicycle Sundays – starting this month, Lake Washington Boulevard from Mount Baker Beach to Seward Park will be closed to motorized traffic every Sunday. Bike riders and other person-powered vehicles can ride in the middle of the road and enjoy the views from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more info on route, times, etc. go to www.seattle.gov/parks/bicyclesunday or call 206-684-4075.
Bike to Work Day and Month – join a team or ride on your own for Bike to Work Month, or ride May 15th on Bike to Work Day. Read all about it online or call 206-205-5017.
Arboretum Walks – May 16th from the Graham Visitors Center at the Washington Park Arboretum, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. This free, guided walk focuses on season plants, native plants and local ecology. No pre-registration required. Call 206-543-8800 or visit www.depts.washington.edu/wpa/adulttours.htm .
Seattle Architecture Foundation tours – Every Thurs, Fri and Sat. Walking tours begin at 10 a.m. and are about 2 hours long. Topics include art deco buildings, skyscrapers, design details, and neighborhood transformations including Pioneer Square, Ballard, Capital Hill and Harvard Belmont District. $15-$20. Visit www.seattlearchitecture.org or call 206-667-9184.
Carkeek Park Evening Plant Walk – May 6th at 6:30 p.m. Join Brianne Cohen for an evening exploration of the flora of Carkeek Park in celebration of Native Plant Appreciation Week. Free. More info is online at www.wnps.org/npaw or call 206-465-5055.
Early Morning Bird Walk - May 16th at 6:45 a.m. Bring binoculars and meet at the zoo’s South Entrance (N. 50th St.) for a two-hour bird walk. The walk will focus on the migratory birds that flock to the northwest from Central and South America for mating each spring. Limited to the first 50 – free to members, charge to non members. Call 206-548-2500 or visit www.zoo.org to register.
Lake Wilderness Arboretum Tour – May 16th at 10 a.m. Learn about plants and points of interest on this casual walk. Meet at the Arboretum gazebo. Free. More info at www.lakewildernessarboretum.org or call 425-413-2572.
Seattle Brain Cancer Walk – May 30th. Benefit event to support the Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment. $10 fee. Visit www.braincancerwalk.org or call 206-343-1543.
Walk to Empower - May 10th at 9 a.m. Walk benefits Breast Cancer Network of Strength, providing emotional support to people affected by the disease. Free. Info is online at www.walk.networkofstrength.org or call 877-963-7223.
Auburn ’s Dog Trot 3K Fun Run – May 30th at 9:30 a.m. Register in advance for $15 or day of event for $20. The flat route is fun for families of the two and four-legged species alike. Visit www.auburnwa.gov or call 253-931-3043. Event is held in conjunction with Petapalooza.
Great Kilted Run 5K – May 31st at 9:30 a.m. Run or walk in a festive event where participants are strongly encouraged to wear a kilt. Free kids’ dash. $25 - $35. Registration required. Visit www.promotionevents.com/greatkilted/GKR_home for info or call 206-729-9972.
Cedar River Watershed Wetlands Hike – May 16th, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Explore the dramatic and pristine wetlands surrounding the Cedar River that provide fish and wildlife habitat and produce clean water in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed, guided by botanist Clay Antieau. Age 15 and over. Bring lunch/water, rain gear, hiking gear and be prepared for uneven and steep terrain. $15. Go to the City of Seattle web site for more info, or call 206-733-9421.
Issaquah Alps Trails Club – Several hikes during May. Leave from the clubhouse at First and Bush Streets at 9:30 a.m. Hikes vary in difficulty and length. Some allow dogs. Visit www.issaquahalps.org for full schedule and details.
Mount St. Helens Institute hike – May 21st. Open to all ages, hikes ranging from 4-10 miles on easy to difficult terrain. Free but registration is required. For info, go to http://www.mshinstitute.org/Sunday%20Hikes or call 360-449-7883.
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – Nine hikes and walks throughout May to explore flora/fauna, watch birds, or learn about native plants. No pets allowed. For info, call 360-753-9467
Introduction to Sailing – May 16th at 1:00 p.m. Sail on Puget Sound as a passenger or learn basic sailing skills. $55. For more info, call 206-784-9386.
Orienteering – May 23rd at the Gig Harbor Street Scramble. No experience is required and instruction is available. Participate as a race or take your time on an easy stroll. $7 - $12. For info, visit www.cascsadeoc.org.
Share your favorite activity or submit a Move More testimonial. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-263-6085.
King County Walks Week 2009 – Congratulations!
King County employees took to the streets the week of April 6-9 to Move More with their co-workers. Over 100 walk teams around the county signed up to participate in walks and received health calendars filled with tips and places to track health information. Almost 650 employees participated, some sending in stories and photos. Check out the Around the County section of the Web site for a slide show of participating teams.
Thanks to all employees who put on walking shoes and Moved More last week. The Centers for Disease Control recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity plus strength training exercises each week. Activity can be broken down into 10 minute segments – even 10 minutes of activity is proven to have health benefits. Walking can improve your mood, reduce risks of heart disease, help manage your weight, improve sleep and more.
So keep up the momentum and take it outside. Walking maps and resources are found on the Move More site.
Congratulations walkers and thank you for your participation.
Health Matters team
King County Walks is brought to you by King County’s Health Matters program. Health Matters provides tools and resources to help employees Eat Smart, Move More, Stress Less, Quit Tobacco and Choose Well. For information on Health Matters programs, visit www.kingcounty.gov/HealthMatters or contact us at Health.Matters@kingcounty.gov or 206-205-5017.
Weight Watchers introduces the Momentum™ Walk-It Challenge
Several Weight Watchers At Work meetings are renewing in May. If you have been thinking about joining, an added incentive this spring is the Momentum™ Walk-It Challenge, free to all Weight Watchers® members. The new program makes it fun to get active by giving you attainable goals and encouraging you to walk with others.
You can join an existing Weight Watchers at Work meeting or start a new meeting at your worksite with 15 co-workers. Check the Health Matters website for more information.
What is the Momentum™ Walk-It Challenge?
- The Momentum™ Walk-It Challenge is a new program that encourages all Weight Watchers® members to get active this spring.
- Between now and June 6, set an activity goal for yourself – like walking 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) – and Weight Watchers will give you access to the tools you need to get there.
- Members who join or create a walking team or sign up for a 5K event will get access to a FREE 8-week online walking training guide to help reach an activity goal of walking a 5K.
Walking is the perfect way to get moving, burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a great way to improve overall health and can help with weight-loss efforts.
Didyou know that 90% of people who’ve kept weight off successfully include regular activity in their lives?
How do I get involved?
Those employees who are currently participating in our Weight Watchers At Work series are eligible to participate in this special promotion. If you are not a current Weight Watchers member, come join the At Work meeting at our workplace so you can take advantage of this great offer.
Current Weight Watchers at Work members should speak to their Weight Watchers Leader for more information on how to participate in the challenge, join or create a walking team, or sign-up for a 5K event.
For other walking resources, including links to printable walking maps, check out the Move More website.
You must have access to a computer to take advantage of this offer. Offer available from 4/12/09 – 6/6/09, in participating areas only.
 Wing R, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1 Suppl):222S-225S.
Americans, KingCareSM members turn to generics
as compared to a 53 percent rate just four years ago; saving hundreds of dollars each year for members, and more than $1 million annually for the county. Read more
Americans are embracing the switch from brand-name to generic medications like never before. A Wall Street Journal health blog
details a new survey that found generic drug scripts rose 12 percent a year between 2004 and 2008 , while the call for brand-name drugs fell off. According to Express-Scripts Inc., KingCareSM
members are choosing generics about 66 percent of the time,
Quit Tobacco Resources
King County Employee Resources:
- Free Online Customized Support – QuitNet. Provided by King County for employees and their families, this program provides customized information to support quitting tobacco. Call BROS at 206-684-1556 for your access code, then log on to www.quitnet.com/kingcounty to register. Your participation is confidential.
- Free Telephone Support – Call the King County Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-279-0624.
- Reimbursement for the patch and other nicotine replacement treatment – Both KingCareSM and Group Health offer free or remimbursed over-the-counter drugs such as the patch, gum etc. Go to the Health Matters Quit Tobacco site or call 206-684-1556 for details.
- See your doctor - Group Health and Aetna/KingCareSM members may schedule a visit with their doctor for tobacco cessation help including developing a quit plan and discussing available pharmacological and over the counter medications. Visits are subject to regular copays or coinsurance.
- Washington State Quit Line – 877-270-STOP (7867) or online at quitline.com.
- Public Health - Seattle & King Countyree quit kit – call 206-296-7613 for information on community resources and other tools to help you quit.
- American Cancer Society – 800-ACS-2345 or online at www.cancer.org.
Did You Know . . .?
. . . That women are covered for certain physical exams under preventive care?
KingCareSM covers women annually at 100 percent for a breast exam, pelvic exam, Pap test, mammogram (if you’re over 40), and cervical screening performed by a network health care provider. If you’re 45 and older, you are also eligible for cholesterol screening every five years.
The exams, which can occur more frequently if medically necessary, are covered at 70 percent if you see an out-of-network provider. The annual deductible does not apply.
Group Health covers routine mammograms and physicals for women based on age and risk factor. These screenings are covered at 100 percent after you pay a co-pay based on the gold, silver or bronze out-of-pocket expense level you’ve earned.
For more information about preventive care for women, visit www.kingcounty.gov/employees/benefits/YourKingCountyBenefits or call Benefits, Payroll and Retirement Operations at 206-684-1556.
. . . That mental health care is covered at the same coinsurance rates as other medical care?
If you’re in KingCareSM, you’re covered for up to 52 visits a year of outpatient care and for up to 30 days a year of inpatient care. The maximum annual coverage includes both network and out-of-network services combined. After meeting your annual deductible, you pay coinsurance based on the gold, silver or bronze out-of-pocket expense level you’ve earned.
Group Health covers up to 20 visits a year of outpatient care and up to 12 days a year of inpatient care. Mental health care is covered at 100 percent after you pay a copay based on the gold, silver or bronze out-of-pocket expense level you’ve earned.
For more information about mental health care coverage, visit www.kingcounty.gov/employees/benefits/YourKingCountyBenefits or call Benefits, Payroll and Retirement Operations at 206-684-1556.
. . . That generic prescription drugs can save you money?
If you’re in KingCareSM, generic prescription drugs are only $10 for a 30-day supply or $20 for a 90-day supply, whereas preferred-brand drugs cost $15 for a 30-day supply or $30 for a 90-day supply and non-preferred-brand drugs cost $25 for a 30-day supply and $50 for a 90-day supply.
As with KingCareSM, generic prescription drugs under Group Health cost only $10 for a 30-day supply or $20 for a 90-day supply, but preferred-brand drugs cost $20 for a 30-day supply or $40 for a 90-day supply and non-preferred-brand drugs cost $30 for a 30-day supply and $60 for a 90-day supply.
For more information about your prescription drug coverage, visit www.kingcounty.gov/employees/benefits/YourKingCountyBenefits or call Benefits, Payroll and Retirement Operations at 206-684-1556.