Partnership Adopts a Tobacco & Nicotine Free Policy for Hosted Outdoor Events

At Pic for Tobacco Free Nicotine free Eventa recent Partnership Meeting the Partnership unanimously agreed to adopt a policy that all hosted Healthy Altoona Partnership outdoor events will be tobacco and nicotine free. Below is the policy that has been adopted by the Partnership for all of our hosted outdoor events.

The Healthy Altoona Partnership also participates in events hosted by other organizations in the community. Although we have no control over the policies of these events, we  encourage all community event hosts to consider adopting a similar policy.

A special thank you to our partner, American Lung Association, for providing technical assistance and support throughout our partnership discussions and in the adoption of this policy.

Healthy Altoona Partnership 

Tobacco-free/Nicotine-free Outdoor Places and Events 

Fact and Purpose:

The Healthy Altoona Partnership finds that:

  1. Tobacco/nicotine use in the proximity of children and adults engaging in or watching outdoor activities is detrimental to their health and can be dangerous to those using such facilities; and
  2. All Healthy Altoona Partnership hosted events are unique opportunities to create and sustain an environment that supports a non-tobacco and non-nicotine norm through a tobacco-free/nicotine-free policy, rule enforcement, and adult-peer role modeling during; and
  3. Parents, leaders, and officials involved in community events are role models for youth and can have a positive effect on the lifestyle choices they make; and
  4. The tobacco industry advertises at and sponsors events to foster a connection between tobacco use and community events;
  5. Tobacco products (extends to all types of tobacco and nicotine products that are not FDA approved for tobacco cessation), once consumed in public spaces, are often discarded on the ground requiring additional maintenance expenses, diminish the beauty of outdoor facilities, and pose a risk to toddlers, pets and exhibition animals due to ingestion; and
  6. The prohibition of tobacco and nicotine use at all times will serve to protect the health, safety and welfare of the participants and all attending.

Tobacco and nicotine use is prohibited in Healthy Altoona Partnership hosted event areas. This tobacco/nicotine policy applies to all volunteers, independent contractors, steering committee members, participants in events, and the general public while in attendance. During this outdoor event the use of tobacco and nicotine is prohibited in these areas: (all vendor areas, restrooms, concession areas, walk ways, performance areas, buildings and their entrances).

Assistance to tobacco users:
Those volunteers/vendors who use tobacco and would like to take this opportunity to quit using tobacco are encouraged to call the Iowa Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.


  1. Appropriate signs shall be posted in the above specified areas.
  2. The community, especially event attendees and staff, will be notified about the policy.
  3. It is the responsibility of the board members or their designee to provide enforcement.
  4. Any person found violating this policy will be asked to refrain from tobacco and nicotine use or risk immediate ejection from the event grounds for the remainder of the event.
  5. If the violator refuses to leave, the staff may contact local authorities.

Effective date:
This policy statement is effective immediately upon the date of adoption.

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Be the Architect of Your Health

Authored by Ana Coppola, MPH, Community Health Educator, Polk County Health Department

What if there was an easy way to lose weight that guaranteed you showing up at the gym multiple times a week; make small, permanent changes to your diet; and change the way you thought about health without really having to try? Think going from a temporary challenge to a lifetime of experimentation and enjoyment!

Well there very well might be! And is a tool that you have! It is about how humans beings learn things. It is a plan based on your individual strengths and success.

Health coaching is a technique that helps motivate individuals make changes in their lifestyle, such as drinking less alcohol, quitting tobacco use, eating breakfast, increasing fruits & vegetables, taking nature walks, cycling more driving less, etc. A health coach will not ‘prescribe’ you a certain diet or exercise plan but will work with you to set up reasonable goals, develop strategies to reach those goals, identify and overcome barriers and provide accountability.

The power to accomplish a specific task is the most powerful collection of forces someone can exploit for themselves. That is when you decide to do something with friends and learn confidence from each other’s struggles.

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Nurturing Willpower–Tips from a Successful Weight Loss Manager

3rd in a series on maintaining your weight. . .

Willpower can be strengthened, but there is NOT an unlimited supply! Medical studies have shown that if you stress willpower too much it can work against you! Just as a muscle resists doing more when it’s been overworked, overworked willpower can lead to binge eating. Here are my strategies to preserve willpower:

  1. I give myself (occasional) planned indulgences! It is amazing how wonderful a chocolate 2015 (2)small piece of chocolate, melting slowly in my mouth with my eyes closed can refresh my willpower! If your nemesis is a salty treat—enjoy some from time to time—just remember to measure your portion, remove distractions, and enjoy it a bite at a time.
  2. If time permits, I survey the entire buffet before filling my plate. When I select small amounts of the foods I enjoy most I am able to resist going back for more.
  3. I request a to-go box before my food arrives. When willpower is low, I order the dish I really want but I cut my meal in half as soon as it arrives. I put the “left overs” in the box and close the lid before I starting eating. Even better—sometimes a dining companion will split an order with me.
  4. I enjoy a yummy snack before . . . making dinner . . . packing lunches . . . going to the meeting / party . . . and then I brush my teeth to reduce the impulse to nibble!
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Oral health has been found to impact overall health so it is important to instill good habits at a young age.  Baby/primary teeth have four functions:

 Eating            Talking           Smiling           Saving space for the permanent teeth

1. Tooth decay is contagious! Babies do not have the bacteria that cause cavities wheStickers Katin they are born.  They “catch” the bacteria from their parents or siblings.  This is unavoidable, but parents can delay this by:

  • kissing those cute cheeks, not the baby’s lips.
  • not putting baby’s spoons, bottles or pacifiers in your mouth to test or “clean.”
  • frequently washing toys, especially those handled by other children.

2. Pacifiers are important for some babies. 

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf used correctly, orthodontic pacifiers satisfy the sucking needs that some babies have without causing orthodontic problems. Popular brands include Nuk and Avent.
  • Try to limit pacifier use to sleep time and brief soothing times during the day.
  • 2-3 years of age is the suggested goal to discontinue pacifier use.

3. Cleaning your baby’s gums and teeth.

  • Soft bristled toothbrushes are designed for gums so parents can clean your baby’s mouth before teeth start erupting.
  • After the last evening feeding, use a wet toothbrush to gently brush the gums.
  • Begin using a “smear” of toothpaste when the teeth begin to erupt.

4. Visit the dentist at 1 year of age.

  • It is important to start a prevention program and identify problems early to avoid painful and expensive treatment later.
  • Early visits help your child develop a positive relationship with the dental team.
  • Families may be eligible for assistance from the I-Smile Dental Home Initiative.
  • Visit for more information

5. Food habits that affect your baby’s oral health.

  • Only put formula, milk or water in your baby’s bottle.
  • Try to wean around their first birthday.
  • Do not put a bottle in bed with your baby or only have water in the bottle.
  • Limit juice to 4-8 oz. per day, in a cup, at a mealtime.
  • Be careful with sippy cup use, encourage water in between meals.
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Altoona Family Fun Fest Needs You

By Vern Willey, City of Altoona

 The Altoona Family Fun Fest is a daylong event on July 11, 2015 at the Heritage Civic Plaza; starting at 7:30 am until 6 pm.   Volunteers are needed resize_SAM_0612to make this event happen.  The event was previously known as the Altoona Bike Fest but this year the event is designed to promote family and healthy living; bringing the community together.   Proceeds will go to the Altoona Parks and Trails.   Proceeds from our 2015 event will be designated to a Bike Fix-It Station that will be placed along the trail just west of the Altoona Campus.

 The planning is in the initial stages and volunteers are needed now and on the day of event.  We need volunteers that are willing to provide help over resize_SAM_0680the next couple of months, some for just a couple weeks and others for just the event day.  All skill sets are required from handing out flyers to maintaining the event’s Face book page.

 Please contact Vern Willey at or call 967-5136 if you are interested in helping or you have questions on how to be a sponsor or vendor.

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Halt the Salt and Save your Heart

Infographic by Terri Henkels

Heart Healthy Final

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Chase Away the Winter Blues by Renting Your Community Garden Plot Now!

IMG_6392 2There is nothing better during these cold gray Iowa winter days than dreaming about planting your own herbs, flowers and vegetables. If you don’t have a garden but always wanted one OR you used to garden but don’t have the space OR you just want to try a new hobby OR meet new friends then the Altoona Community Garden is just what you need!

2015 garden plots are now available for rent – $10 for a 6 ft. x 6 ft. plots and $35 for a 15 ft. by 6 ft. plots. See our Community Garden tab for all the garden details and application.

You can also sponsor a community giving plot. Last year almost 1200 pounds of produce was donated to the AltoonGarden Sponsora Caring Hands Food Pantry, Altoona Senior Meal Site, Youth Emergency Shelter and other area shelters and food pantries. What a great way to give to those in need – a truly labor of love! Find out more about sponsorship at our Community Gardening tab.

The Altoona Community Garden will be hosting some awesome events this year all of which will be open to gardeners and IMG_63342the general public including another fundraising Farmer’s Market! Schedule to be announced soon.

Community Gardeners reap the benefits of:

  • Tranquility
  • Stress Relief
  • Boosted Moods
  • Fresh Air
  • Feelings of Reward
  • Connect and meet neighbors
  • Money Savings
  • Good NutritionIMG_6389 2
  • Moderate Activity
  • Decreased risk of dementia
  • Luscious Fresh Vegetables & Herbs
  • Increased Vitamin D from the sunshine
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Women: Do you know your risk for heart disease?

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

WOMEN & HEART DISEASEAt age 21, having bad cholesterol or thinking about heart disease was the least of my worries. I remember sitting at my doctor’s office finding out that my cholesterol was higher than normal, which is a risk factor for heart disease. I wondered how that could be; I exercised daily and ate healthy. Yet, I was unaware of the larger role your family’s health can contribute to your own personal health. My dad had triple bypass surgery at the age of 50 and my grandma had several heart surgeries, all due to heart disease.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Women are under the assumption, their greatest health risk is cancer related. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills approximately one woman every minute. Heart disease kills one out of three women each year compared to breast cancer, which kills one in 31 women. We are often misinformed about the signs and symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks because men and women experience it differently. Well, women, it’s time to get informed!

Heart disease affects your cardiovascular system. The American Heart Association notes many problems arise from this, the most common one being related to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis happens when plaque which includes cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries. This buildup makes it difficult for the blood to flow through the arteries. If a clot does form, it can stop the blood from flowing and can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Heart disease can also cause congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm and valve problems.

Most often, women overlook a heart attack because we don’t think it could happen to us or are unaware of the signs. According to the American Heart Association, some women have assumed heart attack symptoms were associated with normal aging, the flu or even acid reflux. The symptoms of a heart attack for women are different from men.  One of the more common symptoms for women is chest pain. The pain could feel like uncomfortable pressure or squeezing. This pain could be found anywhere in your chest, not just the left side. Chest pain could also appear gradually. Any unusual chest pain should be reported to your health care provider. Jaw and back pain are other symptoms women experience when having a heart attack. This could be due to referred pain because sometimes our heart can’t give us a good signal to where the pain is coming from. Women could also have abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, cold sweats or light-headedness, which could be easily confused for the flu. If you are having a difficult time breathing for no apparent reason, this could be another indication you are having a heart attack, especially if you are suffering from one of the above symptoms. If you think you have any of these symptoms, seek emergency help and call 911. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Heart disease is scary, but by developing healthy behaviors, you can lower your chances. February is American Heart Month. Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to learn if you are at risk for heart disease or heart attacks. If you smoke, now is the perfect time to quit. If you quit for a year, you can improve your risk of heart disease by 50 perfect. Call Quitline Iowa at 1 800 QUIT NOW or visit them online at for help and tobacco cessation tools. Stay physically fit; this includes exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week and eating healthy. This will help to decrease your risk for a heart attack.

Now at the age of 29, it sometimes is a struggle to stay active and eat foods that are good for my heart, but by living a healthy lifestyle, I will lower my chances of heart disease. I will benefit my health and my family’s health in the future!

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Altoona Participation in Live Healthy Iowa

ThLHI logoe Healthy Altoona Partnership is encouraging citizens to take advantage of a special opportunity to get healthier during the 10 week Wellness Challenge sponsored by Live Healthy Iowa.

Over the course of the ten weeks, teams of two or more people track physical activity and/or weight loss through the Live Healthy Iowa website.  Each team has a personal online dashboard to report and monitor progress – and access valuable resources.

Friendly competition between teams is encouraged.

Teams of individuals need to register by February 15 by visiting web and clicking on “Communities”.   Use Altoona’s group ID for registration — LHIALTOONAP.  There is a $20 registration fee.

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Snacking Tips from a Successful Weight Manager

Nibbling can still be a challenge for me, especially if my day is either stressful or boring. Here are some tricks that help me get through the temptation minefields.

Strategies to manage your snacking impulse!

Strategies to manage your snacking impulse!

  1. I brush my teeth after meals and snacks. The fresh feeling in my mouth inspires me to abstain from nibbling.
  2. Sugar-free mints or cinnamon candies. I carry these in the pocket of my notebook and purse. I find the fresh and powerful flavor does not blend well with other temptations.
  3. I abstain from treats at meetings. Especially before my willpower developed, it was easier to decline than stop at one treat.
  4. Taking a healthy snack to meetings where snacks will be served. I generally prefer to wait and enjoy my snack after my meeting but some people find this a less stressful approach.
  5. I stay away from the food / snack table. Looking at temptations increases my longing and reduces my willpower. If I must look (or pass the plate), I pretend the snacks are pictures that I can’t eat anyway.
  6. I select healthy snacks at home, measure appropriate portions into containers, and take only enough for each day. It’s too easy for me to eat more if there is more. If your days are spent in your home, set today’s snacks out on a counter or desk and don’t open the supply cabinet!
  7. I set aside specific times to enjoy my snacks and I try to focus on enjoying my treats slowly. There is nothing more disappointing than realizing I have just eaten the last piece—where did it go? I try to take a short walk or gaze out a window . . . and enjoy!
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