Quitting smoking takes time. But did you know that your body can benefit from quitting after just 20 minutes without a cigarette?

  • After 20 minutes – Heart rate drops. social-media-ad
  • After 12 hours – Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
  • 2 weeks to 3 months – Heart attack risk begins to drop. Lung function begins to improve.
  • 1 month to 9 months – Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease.
  • 1 year – Increased risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • 5 years – Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s five to 15 years after quitting; Lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s.
  • 10 years – Risk of cancer of the mouth throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
  • 15 years – Risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmokers.

In addition to improved health and body function, there are many other positive reasons to quit!

  • Food Tastes Better
  • Clothes and Hair Smell Better
  • Healthier Family
  • Healthier Pets
  • Save money
  • Whiter teeth
  • Better sleep
  • Cheaper life insurance
  • Improved stamina when exercising
  • Reduced coughing and wheezing
  • Longer, Healthier life!

Ready to quit? Here are some quick tips to help you get on track to quit.

  • Set a firm quit date.
  • Throw away all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices.
  • Take a pledge to have a tobacco-free home and/or vehicle.
  • Set up a good support system.
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Think about what activities you will do when you have a strong urge to use tobacco products.
  • Electronic Smoking Devices are not an FDA approved smoking cessation aid.

Use Quitline Iowa to help you make YOUR plan and support YOU through the process!

Enroll now for free. Call 1.800.QUIT.NOW (1.800.784.8669) or visit www.quitlineiowa.org.

My thanks to Ashley B. Johnson of the American Lung Association of Iowa for her assistance with this contribution.


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Partnership Hosts a Workshop on Securing Your Retirement – Using Social Security Strategies

The Healthy Altoona Partnership is hosting a FREE Workshop on Secure your Retirement Using Social Security Strategies at the Altoona Library on Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. This workshop is made possible through a collaboration with our Steering Committee Member, Walt Mozder and Syverson Strege and Company/Sherpa Investment Management. REGISTER NOW to reserve your place at the workshop at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/secure-your-retirement-using-social-security-strategies-tickets-28168451597



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Support the Fitness for Food Fundraiser Hosted by Altoona East Coast Tae Kwon Do

Help Support the 6th Annual Fitness for Food Fundraiser hosted by East Coast Tae Kwon Do – East Coast Students are gathering sponsors and for every dollar the sponsor donates, the student pledges to perform 4 exercises for each dollar. (Last year students performed 16,000 different exercises). All funds donated go toward turkey dinners for SEP Food Bank familiesfood-for-fitness (70 families served last year).
What an awesome event! Not only are students getting some great exercise but families in need are able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal!

Thanks East Coast Tae Kwon Do for supporting our community!

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Partnership Hosts Healthiest State Walk

Mark your calendars and join us at the Healthiest State Walk at Noon on October 5, 2016. This is an easy and fun 1 k walk. This event takes less than an hour and it is a great way to get a little exercie, walk with and meet community members and enjoy the great Fall weather.

Our partners for this event is Hy-Vee, Fareway, Altoona Chamber of Commerce and the Altoona Campus.



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Join the Community Conversation on Suicide Prevention Strategies

The Healthy Altoona Partnership Steering Committee members spent our February meeting talking about the tragedy of suicides in our community. It was a very emotional and needed conversation. It is a topic that many of us avoid thinking or talking about. Unfortunately, suicide is a reality. In fact, it is the second leading cause of death in Iowa for teens and young adults. There are many community-wide strategies that can be instituted to help prevent suicides. And, if we don’t prevent one, there are strategies on how to appropriately respond when one does occur and ways to support friends and family who have lost a loved one.

So, PLEASE give us one hour of your time to find out how we, as a community, can join in the fight to reduce the number of deaths by suicide.  JOIN us in the Community Conversation on Suicide Prevention, see below:

Join the Conversation! Pic





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Don’t Let the Holiday Madness Get You Off Track – 2016 Change 3 Challenge – Join Now

It’s that time of year that I call holiday madness. It is so easy to slip into Holiday Madnessoverachieving and the stress goes up and up and up. We  have to-do lists longer than our arm, deadlines to meet, more obligations than usual, not enough time and we are exposed to holiday feasts and treats that cave our willpower. So we think something has to give and it is usually whatever time and strategies we have incorporated into our life that help us with being happy and healthy. This leaves us feeling guilty and sometimes resentful. Unfortunately, once we let go of a routine that keeps us happy and healthy it can be difficult to get back on track.

It's a new day

So, right now is the perfect time to join the Change 3 Challenge set a specific time to start and goals to help you either get back on track or take incremental steps to make some new changes or additions that you feel would make your life and your family life happier and healthier in 2016.Change 3 Challaenge LogoGive yourself 5 minutes right now, let go of the to-do list and overachiever hat for a minute. Identify three things you would like to try, sign up for the Change 3 Challenge, and decide on a start date. And since you will be seeing a lot of family and friends during the holiday get them to join you in the challenge and pledge to support each other.



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Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Last year, a participant at the annual Central Iowa Survivors of Suicide Loss event wrote this afterwards:  It was excellent.  It was nice to know there are others who have lived through/thought/done the same things I have.Suicide Prevention

This free event on November 21st is designed for people who have lost someone to suicide, whether a friend, co-worker, neighbor, spouse, parent or child.  One of the most powerful parts of the day is a panel of persons who have all survived the loss, and will tell stories of what has helped them heal.

Register here.

A suicide loss is a major tragedy in the lives of people, regardless of whom they lost.  Our fastest growing category of attendees is people who have lost a friend or colleaguePlease, if you know of anyone who has experienced a suicide loss, print this flyer and hand it to them. They will appreciate you thinking of them.

 Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

November 21, 2015

10 AM3 PM

Des Moines University Student Education Center

3300 Grand Avenue

No cost – free lunch provided ($40 value)

Register here.

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Join in on the Altoona Fall Fun!

Altoona has several major events planned for this fall that you can’t miss out on! Mark your calendars and join in on the fun. Read all about the events:

The TTaste of Altoonaaste of Altoona is hosted by the Altoona Chamber of Commerce. It is an amazing food tasting opportunity with approximately 70 different local businesses offering food sampling. You won’t leave this event hungry! Plus you get to  spend a little down time connecting with your local businesses and neighbors.

Tickets on Sale Now!


Each fall communities are encouraged to host a Noon Healthiest State Walk. The Altoona walk is being hosted by Hy-Vee and Healthy Altoona Partnership on October 7th at Noon starting at the Enabling Gardens.

No registration just show up at the Enabling Garden and enjoy a brief walk on a lovely fall day! Individuals, family, employer groups, are encouraged to take this 1 K walk.  The whole event will be finished in less than an hour.

Nippy Hippy

On November 7th, join in on community spirit and good health!

This event is hosted by the Altoona Chamber of Commerce. A portion of proceeds will be given to the Kids Cafe.

Taking Registrations Now!

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Words of Wellness

    ISU WellnessISU Coconut

Your extension connection to nutrition and fitnessISU Stars

The Hype about Coconut Oil

Many claims tout the health benefits of coconut oil, including weight loss, cancer prevention, and Alzheimer’s disease. So far the scientific evidence does not support these claims.

The three types of coconut oil—virgin, refined, and partially hydrogenated—are all high in saturated fat.

Saturated fat is solid at

room temperature, tends to raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, and comes mainly from animal food products. Some examples of saturated fats are butter, lard, meat fat, solid shortening, palm oil, and coconut oil.

The two main types of coconut oil used in cooking and baking are “virgin” coconut oil and “refined” coconut oil. Virgin is considered to be unrefined. Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut pulp that is often chemically bleached and deodorized. Since coconuts are a plant and virgin coconut oil has some antioxidant properties, some individuals may view it as healthy. However, virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a type of fatty acid that can raise both good and bad cholesterol levels. Manufacturers may also use another form of coconut oil that has further processing— “partially hydrogenated” coconut oil, which would contain trans fat. Some research suggests coconut oil intake may be associated with a neutral, if not beneficial, effect on cholesterol levels.

Tips for using coconut oil:

  • Use “virgin” or unrefined coconut oil.

  • Use it in moderation.

  • Limit foods made with partially hydrogenated coconut oil like baked goods, biscuits, salty snacks, and some cereals.

Allergy Alert: Coconut is considered a tree nut. Individuals with tree nut allergies should talk with their health care provider before using or eating foods containing coconut oil.

Source: Jody Gatewood, MS, RD, LD, Assistant State Nutrition Program Specialist, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

ISU RecipesISU Anday Picnic Salad

Serving Size: 3/4 cup Serves: 4


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced

  • 1 apple (cored and diced)

  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped (about 1 rib)

  • 1/3 cup light ranch dressing or creamy salad dressing

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)


  1. Combine chicken, apple, and celery in a medium bowl. Add dressing and pepper and stir to coat. Stir in pecans or walnuts, if desired.

  2. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Serve on a lettuce leaf; spread on bread, tortillas, or a sandwich; or spoon into a halved tomato or cucumber.

Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories, 10g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 80mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 11g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g sugar, 25g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart website. For more recipes, information, and videos, visit  www.extension.iastate.edu/ foodsavings/.

ISU Eggs

Food Preservation 101 is a fun overview for parents and older school-age children on the old-time (and still practical!) arts of drying, freezing, pickling, hot-water bath and pressure canning fruits and vegetables. Find out about the equipment, time and money each method requires. Learn how to avoid common food preservation mistakes and take home recipes and complete food preservation instructions. No food preparation or preservation will be done in this class. No need to register!

Location: Franklin Avenue Library 5000 Franklin Avenue Des Moines, IA

Time: Tuesday July 28 6:30-7:30 PM

Thursday July 30 7-8:00 PM
Contact: Mary Krisco, MS, RD mkrisco@iastate.edu 515-957-5797

Eggs and Poultry: Safe to Eat

Avian influenza has been in the news recently as it spreads throughout poultry flocks in Iowa. Avian influenza does not impact the foods eaten by consumers and cannot be contracted from properly cooked and prepared meats by consumers.

The disease is caused by an influenza virus that can infect poultry such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks, and geese, and it is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese, and shorebirds. It’s possible that humans could be infected with the virus only if they were in very close contact with sick birds.

Following safe food handling and cooking practices for poultry foods will keep you safe.

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw eggs and poultry.

  • Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep poultry or eggs from contaminating other foods.

  • Sanitize cutting boards using a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.

  • Cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Consumers can cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preferences.

  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Casseroles and other dishes should be cooked to 165°F.

  • Use pasteurized eggs or egg products for recipes that are served using raw or undercooked eggs, such as Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream. Commercial mayonnaise, dressing, and sauces containing pasteurized eggs are safe to eat.

The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has additional information for consumers at www.ans.iastate.edu/EIC/Templates/AvianInfluenzaConsumers.dwt.

Source: Angela Laury Shaw, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Fitness for People with DisabilitiesISU Disability

Everyone age 2 years and older should be physically active. However, sometimes our activity is restricted by physical limitations. The key is to focus on what you can do.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that if a disability is limiting your ability to achieve 150 minutes of weekly activity, take part in any regular physical activity as you are able. It’s important to avoid inactivity.

There are many ways to be physically active, so finding an activity you enjoy even with a disability is possible.

  • Water sports offer a weightless, low-impact option for those with knee, back, or foot problems. Examples include swimming laps, water aerobics, water jogging, or water walking.

  • Use alternative machines that mimic sports but remove the physical barrier. For example, if you love riding a bike but can’t due to paralysis or a leg injury, try a hand cycle. For runners with leg, hip, feet, or back issues, try a weightless treadmill. Local physical therapy offices or hospitals may have these machines available for use.

  • Chair exercises are another great option if you have difficulty standing. The National Institute on Aging has a free chair exercise DVD you can order (nia.nih.gov/exercise-dvd) or try this free online 5-5-5 Chair Workout video (www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/2887/5-5-5-chair-workout/).

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Keep Food borne Illnesses Away from your Summer Celebrations!

Article by Nola Aigner, Health Educator/Public Information Officer, Polk County Health Department

As the month of  July brings us beautiful weather, we want to enjoy it by having picnics grilling opicnicut, or having celebrations with family and friends. Before you lay that steak on the grill or whip up a bowl of your famous potato salad, make sure there is enough ice to keep your potato salad cold or you have a meat thermometer to indicate your steak is thoroughly cooked. Here are the following guidelines to ensure grilling and picnic tips:

Cook food thoroughly — Meat and poultry cooked on the grill often brown quickly on the outside. But use a meat thermometer to be sure food has reached a safe internal temperature.

  • Whole poultry should reach 180 degrees F.
  • Chicken breasts should reach 170 degrees F.
  • Hamburgers made of any ground meat or poultry should reach 160 degrees F.
  • Beef, veal and lamb steaks, roasts and chops can be cooked to 145 degrees F.
  • All cuts of pork should reach 160 degrees F.
  • NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking it later. Cook food completely to destroy harmful bacteria.

Keep hot foods hot — After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, at home or at a picnic, keep it hot until it’s served. Keep it hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could become overcooked.

Keep cold food cold — When having a picnic, avoid opening your cooler lid, which lets cold air out and warm air in. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in another cooler or container. When handling raw meat, remove from the cooler only the amount that will fit on the grill.  Use an insulated cooler filled one-third with ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40 degrees.

Serving the food — Never put your cooked meat on the same platter that held the raw meat. Any bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate the safely cooked meat or other grilled foods. During hot weather food should never sit out for more than ONE HOUR.

Storing leftovers — Once the food has been removed from the grill, it should be refrigerated within two hours. Discard food that has been sitting out more than one hour after it was removed from the grill. Avoid using picnic leftovers since the temperatures at the picnic are questionable.

Marinate foods in the refrigerator — never on the counter top. Do not reuse marinade unless it has been boiled.

For additional food safety tips, visit www.foodsafety.gov. Eat healthy but safe too!

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