Did You Know… 

The Did You Know series is a spotlight on health diversity by the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities.  This series is intended to raise awareness and provide quick facts and general information about diseases that are impacting African Americans, Latinos, Women, the elderly and other populations.  Each week a different topic will be introduced with ways to treat, prevent, delay, recognize discomfort or pain and/or other symptoms that may require medical attention.  If you would like to learn more about a disparity concern, please contact our office at 501-661-2622 to submit a request.  To tell us how you like this series or submit a request online, fill out the Feedback/Disparity Request Form.  Want to share your story?  Leave a post on the Department's Facebook page.

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week

April 16th – April 22nd is National Minority Cancer Awareness Week.  African-Americans are disproportionately affected by cancer when compared to Whites.  In Arkansas African-American males were more likely to die from colorectal cancer than White males, and Black females were more likely to die from this disease than White females.  As a result of cancer disparities, National Minority Cancer Awareness Week was developed to promote increased awareness of prevention and treatment among those segments of the populations that are at greater risk of developing cancer.  To learn more about cancer disparities and what can be done, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/healthdisparities/

National Nutrition Month

Overweight and obesity are among the most serious health problems in Arkansas today and are at epidemic proportions in our state.  More than a third of Arkansans are overweight and almost one third are obese. In Arkansas the percentage of persons who were either overweight or obese rose from 52.6% in 1997 to 67.2 in 2010, a 27.8% increase. In 2010, 44.5% of Blacks were obese in comparison to 30% of Whites. Higher proportions of Black and Hispanic children were also either overweight or obese when compared to other racial/ethnic groups.  During the 2009-2010 school year 38% of public school students in Arkansas in Grades K, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, were either overweight or obese. Overweight and obesity are associated with many chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, gallstones, sleep apnea, depression, osteoporosis and some cancers. Achieving and maintaining a healthier weight will contribute to your overall health and well-being.

Studies have shown that eating more fruits and vegetables can help reduce some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and arthritis as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight. In the 2009 BRFSS survey, 79.6% of adult Arkansans reported that they did not consume the minimum recommended number of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This was higher than the national average of 76.5%.

For more information:

National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (20)

Native American populations continue to face serious issues related to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as challenges associated with the integration of their culture into the mainstream culture. In Arkansas, Native Americans make up an estimated 0.8 percent of the population in 2010. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a serious health threat to Native communities. Although AIs and ANs represent 1% of the U.S. population, they have historically suffered high rates of health disparities, including HIV/AIDS. National STD rates among American Indians are two to six times higher than rates for whites. This fact is important because the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases increase a person’s vulnerability to an HIV infection if exposed to the virus. To prevent an increase of HIV infections, it is important to properly classify new infections and accurately track HIV and STDs in Native American communities and to identify and treat infected members of these communities. For more information visit:

Colorectal Cancer

Cancer of the colon or rectum is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. In the United States, colorectal cancer disproportionally affects blacks, who have higher incidence and mortality rates compared to whites. From 2002 to 2006, the average annual incidence rate for colorectal cancer was 48.6 per 100,000 for white men and women combined, compared to 59.9 per 100,000 for black men and women. The annual mortality rates for the same time period were 17.7 per 100,000 for white men and women, and 25.4 per 100,000 for black men and women. Several studies have found that blacks are more likely than whites to be diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer, which is more difficult to treat and has worse survival outcomes. Every year, Arkansas has approximately 1,475 new cases and 602 deaths. The age-adjusted mortality rate of colorectal cancer is significantly higher among males and blacks, and it increased with age. The good news is, colorectal cancer is a slow growing cancer and if detected early is very treatable. With early detection there is a 90% survival rate. More than 90% of cases occur in people aged 50 or older. You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, and then continue getting screened at regular intervals. For more information visit:

Disabilities

According to data found in the 2005 Chartbook on Disability, 14% of people in Arkansas have a moderate disability and 8% have a severe disability.  Also, persons with disabilities are more likely to have had a heart attack, angina, and/or a stroke as well as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, and arthritis. Moderate disability means a person has some limitation but do not need outside additional help.  Eight percent (8%) of the population has a severe disability which means they need outside additional help or cannot walk the length of a house.

Persons with disabilities are more likely to be: 

  • female
  • older
  • have less education
  • lower income 
  • less likely to be married or living with a partner
  • less likely to be working

In Arkansas, data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) indicates that around 26.7% of adults living in the community have some type of disability. To find out more information on Disability and download Disability Reports visit: http://www.uams.edu/ar_disability/health_stats.asp

Hypertension

The prevalence of adult hypertension in Arkansas was 48%, as found in the 2008 Arkansas Cardiovascular Health Examination Survey (ARCHES), with Blacks affected more than Whites.  This is 55% higher than self-reported data using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). If you have hypertension or prehypertension, you may be able to lower your blood pressure by:

  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese 
  • Getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity each week. 
  • Limiting alcohol to one drink per day 
  • Quitting smoking if you smoke 
  • Reducing stress

HIV Testing

HIV infection is preventable through testing, educating, and protecting yourself.  The HIV/STD Section at ADH is calling for all Arkansans to Know Now and Get Tested for HIV and STDs.

Go to your local health unit to get tested or check out one of these testing events coming to a location near you:

  • February 8, 2012 -  Marianna
  • February 11, 2012 - Shorter Gardens, North Little Rock
  • February 21, 2012 - West Memphis
  • February 23, 2012 - El Dorado
  • February 29, 2012 - Texarkana

To find out more about Testing in February call 501-661-2408 or  the ADH HIV Prevention and Testing Page  

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Did you know that January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and the theme for this year is "And the Beat Goes On…Looking to the Future for Healthy Hearts” which focuses on congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect.  Each year in Arkansas, approximately 1,300 babies are diagnosed with a birth defect and more than 100 babies will die because of them. 

National Blood Donor Month

Did you know that January is National Blood Donor Month?  Researchers have found that among blood donors, African-Americans are vastly underrepresented.  However, it is crucial that African-Americans donate because blood types O and B, the blood types of about 70 percent of African-Americans, are also the blood types most in demand.  Donating blood is simple and to find out how to become a donor, please visit www.redcroosblood.org/ or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733 2767). 

Healthy Weight Week

Did you know that January 15th – 21st is Healthy Weight Week?  In 2010, 38% of African American Arkansans reported being overweight and 44% reported being obese.  Being obese or overweight can lead to serious health problems.  By staying in control of your weight, you reduce your risk of several chronic diseases.  To find out more about healthy ways to lose weight or for tips to maintain your current weight, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/index.html.

Arkansas Disability and Health

64.7 percent of Arkansans with developmental disabilities are obese. That’s compared to 25.5 percent of the general population. Why is this important? Because obesity is a known risk factor for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic conditions that lead to premature death. Which is why Partners for Inclusive Communities and the Arkansas Department of Health have joined forces to form the Arkansas Disability and Health Program. Want to join the fight? Go to the Arkansas Disability and Health Program site to learn what you can do to bring this “epidemic” under control.

HIV in the Latino Community

Cultural and socioeconomic factors can greatly contribute to the HIV epidemic in the Latino community

  • Cultural factors may affect the risk of HIV infection. Some Latinos may avoid seeking testing, counseling, or treatment if infected out of fear of discrimination, stigmatization or immigration status. Traditional gender roles and the stigma around homosexuality may add to prevention challenges. 
  • Socioeconomic factors such as poverty, migration patterns, lower educational attainment, inadequate health insurance, limited access to health care or language barriers add to Latino HIV infection rates. Due to fear of disclosure, undocumented immigrants may be less likely to access HIV prevention services, get an HIV test, or even receive adequate treatment and care if living with HIV.

Spanish

Los factores culturales y económicos pueden contribuir grandemente a la epidemia de VIH en la comunidad Latina. 

  • Los factores culturales pueden afectar el riesgo de contraer la infección por el VIH. Algunos hispanos o latinos evitan hacerse pruebas, buscar asesoramiento psicológico o tratamiento para la infección por miedo a la discriminación. El estigma en torno a la homosexualidad aumenta los retos para la prevención (p. ej. los roles tradicionales según el sexo al igual que las normas sociales como el "machismo" contribuyen a que los hombres latinos homosexuales se consideren "hombres fracasados"). 
  • Los factores socioeconómicos como la pobreza, los patrones migratorios, las estructuras sociales, o las barreras del idioma contribuyen a aumentar las tasas de infección de los hispanos o latinos. Entre los problemas asociados al estado socioeconómico se encuentran el desempleo, la transitoriedad, la falta de educación formal, el estado migratorio, el seguro médico inadecuado y el acceso limitado a atención médica de calidad.

Para obtener más información, visite: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/spanish/hispanics/

Did you know that the HIV epidemic is a serious public health issue in the Latino community and Latinos are disproportionally affected?

  • In 2009, Latino men accounted for 79% (7,400) of new infections among all Latinos. The rate of new infection among Latino men was two and a half times as high as that of white men  (39.9/100,000 vs. 15.9/100,000). 
  • In 2009, Latino men who have sex with men (MSM)3 accounted for 81% (6,000) of new HIV infections among all Latino men and 20% among all MSM. Among Latino MSM, 45% of new HIV infections occurred in those under age 30. 
  • While Latina women accounted for 21% (2,000) of new infections among Latinos in 2009, their rate of HIV infection was more than four times that of white women. To learn more click: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/hispanics/

SPANISH/ESPAÑOL

¿Sabía usted que la epidemia del VIH es una seria amenaza de salud para la comunidad hispana o latina y que los latinos son afectados desproporcionalmente? 

  • En el 2009, los hombres hispanos o latinos constituyeron tres cuartos (79%) de las nuevas infecciones en la población hispana o latina. La tasa de nuevas infecciones en los hombres hispanos o latinos fue dos y medio veces mayor que la de hombres blancos. 
  • En el 2009, los hombres hispanos o latinos que tuvieron relaciones sexuales con hombres (HSH) representaron el 81% de las nuevas infecciones en los hombres hispanos o latinos y 20% de todos los HSH. Entre los HSH hispanos o latinos, el 45% de los casos se presentó en los HSH menores de 30 años de edad, y el 57% restante ocurrió en los de 30 años o más.
  • Aunque las mujeres hispanas o latinas representaron 21% de las nuevas infecciones en los hispanos o latinos durante el 2009, su tasa de infección por el VIH fue más de cuatro veces superior a la de las mujeres blancas. Para obtener más información, visite: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/spanish/hispanics/      

Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia, the medical term for high blood sugar, is a prime cause of complications among people with diabetes.  Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to break down and absorb sugars.  Undetected and uncontrolled diabetes can have serious side effects, such as blindness, heart disease, nerve disease and kidney disease.  The American Diabetes Association mentions these warning signs of hypoglycemia: Having a high blood glucose reading; having above-normal levels of sugar in the urine; urinating frequently and feeling increasingly thirsty. Individuals with Adult-Onset, Type 2, Diabetes represent 90 to 95 percent of all diabetics.  You can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, maintain a healthy weight. If you think you are at risk for Adult-Onset Diabetes, try this Diabetes Type II Risk Calculator at http://www.healthcalculators.org/calculators/diabetes.asp  

Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month, a time to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of diabetes prevention and control.  The 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet estimates that there are 25.8 million children and adults in the United States (8.3%) of the population with diabetes.  The Arkansas Department of Health (2010) estimates 9.6% or 212,000 Arkansas adults were diagnosed with diabetes, a 45% increase over the past 10 years. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in 2007 in Arkansas and the seventh leading cause of death for the U.S.  African-Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives are more than twice as likely to develop diabetes as are Caucasian Americans. More than 10 percent of all Hispanic Americans (2 million) have diabetes. Hispanic Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes than are Caucasian Americans. Diabetes is twice as common among Mexican-Americans and Puerto Rican Americans than among Caucasian Americans. While data concerning diabetes prevalence among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islander Americans is limited, diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islander Americans between ages 45 and 64.

Alcoholism

According to the 2009 Healthy Status of African Americans in Arkansas report by UAMS, a large number of people get into serious trouble because of their consumption of alcohol.  In the United States, 27% of adults aged 18 years and older reported that they engaged in binge drinking during the past month.  While fewer African American adults (2.3%) identified themselves as heavy drinkers compared with White adults (4%), there are about 14.2% African Americans adult who identified themselves as binge drinkers, which was slightly more than White adults (12.4%). To find out more about substance abuse prevention, alcoholism and risk factors, visit:  http://www.samhsa.gov/about/csap.aspx.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD)

According to the 2009 Healthy Status of African Americans in Arkansas report by UAMS, a large number of people get into serious trouble because of their consumption of alcohol.  In the United States, 27% of adults aged 18 years and older reported that they engaged in binge drinking during the past month.  While fewer African American adults (2.3%) identified themselves as heavy drinkers compared with White adults (4%), there are about 14.2% African Americans adult who identified themselves as binge drinkers, which was slightly more than White adults (12.4%). To find out more about substance abuse prevention, alcoholism and risk factors, visit rhe Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) website.

Infant Mortality

Arkansas has good news. Our state is one of few (if any other) states that have seen a decrease in African- American Infant Mortality Rate ( A/A IMR) disparity. Arkansas has seen a greater decrease in A/A IMR. A/A have always had higher IMR compared to Whites. One of the main causes is due to higher A/A rates of premature births. An A/A baby weighing only 2 pounds at birth (a baby born at 28 weeks) has the same neonatal mortality rate (dying in the first 28 days of life) as a white baby born weighing only 2 pounds (both IMR are bad but equal). The “disparity” is that A/A women have 3 Xs as many births before 28 weeks (per 1000 of each race/ethnicity) as White and Hispanic women. Caution must be taken before claiming “victory” because A/A infant mortality represents small overall numbers and small increases or decreases can cause bigger changes in the overall Black IMR.A few more A/A deaths next year could result in a return to historical high levels. That being said, Arkansas has seen a continued drop in A/A IMR with little change in White IMR. This results in a decrease in the disparity that is historically seen nationwide between White and A/A IMR.

Arkansans can do many things to decrease these sometimes preventable deaths in their babies:

  • Not smoking (1 out of 4 women in Arkansas still smoke during pregnancy)
    • Dad or Mom smoking in the home or car increases the chance of the baby dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
    • The free AR QUIT Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) has helped many parents (or future parents) quit
    • Stopping smoking before getting pregnant decreases birth defects (50% of pregnancies are unplanned)
  • Avoiding all alcohol and recreational drugs also decreases birth defects (use effective contraception if drinking socially or not planning a pregnancy)
  • Future parents and grandparents should have currently recommended immunizations
    • Tdap booster (within the last10 years) for anyone being around the baby (Whooping cough may have no symptoms (asymptomatic) in adults but can be deadly for newborns)
    • The Flu shot during pregnancy can prevent 50% of preterm deliveries (50% of infant deaths are caused by babies delivering before 32 weeks gestation)  during the flu season and give the new baby “passive antibody protection” from mom’s antibodies that will last through the first few months of the baby’s life
  • Vitamin B-9 (folic acid) prevents Neural Tube Defects (NTD) only if taken before you get pregnant
    • NTD resulted in about 4000 cases/yr before 1998 when the FDA began requiring cereal and flour companies to add Vitamin B-9 to their products
    • This resulted in about 1000 less (25% reduction) cases/yr of babies born with “open” spines (lifetime paralysis) or being born with no brain (100% fatal)
    • An additional 2000 NTD could be prevented each year if the FDA increases Vit B-9 in the food supply to adequate levels (fortification); or all reproductive age women (15-44) start taking 400-800 mcg (supplementation available over the counter [OTC]) every day (50% of pregnancies are unplanned)
      • Taking these levels for at least one year before getting pregnant may also decrease premature deliveries by 50%
  •  “Back-to-Sleep” the successful campaign by Pediatricians to convince moms, grandmothers and daycare workers to only place babies less than 1 year old to sleep on their backs in a safe crib without soft blankets and stuffed toys has resulted in a 50% decrease in SIDS deaths
    • In 2001 11% of White infants were still being put to sleep on their tummies (21% of Black infants)
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, and then to continue breastfeeding along with the introduction of solid foods up through 1 year of age 
    • Breastfeeding decreases post neonatal IMR by 20% and also decreases childhood obesity by 30%
  • 50% of babies that die before their 1st birthday were born before 32 weeks
    • Women with a previous preterm delivery can decrease their chances of it happening with their next pregnancies by 25% when given 17-OH Progesterone

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community

Health disparities in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community are caused by multiple factors. There are no biological or physiological differences between LGBT and heterosexuals, rather the disparities are caused by a combination of social/economic factors and behaviors, many of which can be traced to the stress of living as a sexual/gender minority in this country. LGBT people are less likely to have health insurance than our heterosexual counterparts, partially because most employers do not offer coverage for unmarried domestic partners. Transgender people have the lowest insurance rates of all groups. Studies have shown that women in same sex relationships are less likely than women in heterosexual relationships to visit a doctor or have a regular source of health care, and are more likely to report experiencing unmet medical needs as a result of cost issues. In 2005, there were estimated to be almost 64,500 gay, lesbian, and bisexual people (single and coupled) living in Arkansas.  Arkansas’s same-sex couples are more racially and ethnically diverse than their married counterparts: 18% of same-sex couples are nonwhite, compared to 13% of married couples. For more information about the unique challenges of LGBT health care visit: 

Dental Sealants

Did you know that dental sealants are almost 100% effective if they are retained on the tooth?   Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on these surfaces. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces from tooth decay by keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves.  The process to apply the sealants is short and easy.  Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure.  After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist or dental hygienist also may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield and the sealant can last as long as 5 to 10 years.  To find out more about dental sealants and the benefits, please visit: http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/oralhealth/Pages/DentalSealants.aspx

National Dance Day

Did you know that Arkansas is now a part of a national movement to bring awareness to dance as a form of physical fitness. The Stars Come Out, Inc., was created to encourage health and wellness for all individuals in Arkansas by promoting healthy lifestyles through increased levels of physical activity utilizing dance as a form of fitness; while exposing individuals to the arts. The Stars Come Out is now sponsoring a video contest: that is aimed to coincide with National Dance Day which is on July 30, 2011. Go to the site below to learn more and enter to win private lessons from a local dance studio or a Savings Bond in the amount of $100.00, $50.00 or $25.00, courtesy of Maumelle Bank of the Ozarks

SIDS

Did you know that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year of age? One of the easiest ways to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS is to put him or her on the back to sleep.  Research shows that babies are less likely to die of SIDS when they sleep on their backs.  Additional recommendations for safe sleeping are:

  1. Place your baby on a firm surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet.
  2. Keep soft objects, toys and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  3. Do not allow smoking around your baby.
  4. Keep your baby’s sleep are close to, but separate from, where and others sleep.
  5. Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep.
  6. Do not let your baby overheat during sleep.
  7. Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  8. Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  9. Reduce to chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head – provide “Tummy Time”.

For a complete list of recommendations and for more information about SIDS, please visit the site below:

Folic Acid

Did you know that folic acid helps prevent certain birth defects?Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps a baby’s neural tube to grow healthy during pregnancy.  The neural tube will become a baby’s brain and spinal cord.  Folic acid should be taken before getting pregnant and during the first few weeks of pregnancy.  The best way to get enough folic acid is to take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic and eat a healthy diet.  Some good food choices for folic acid are orange juice, broccoli, spinach and melons.  Want to tell us what you think?  Leave a post on the Department's Facebook page. For more information about folic acid, please visit:

National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month. The National Safety Council is on a mission to prevent unintentional injury and death by educating and influencing people to adopt and maintain safe and healthy practices in the workplace, on our roads and highways, and in our homes and communities. The goal of National Safety Month is to raise public awareness of safety, as the summer season traditionally is a time of increased unintentional injuries and fatalities. To view a list of summer safety and health fact sheets, click on the link below. Want to tell us what you think?  Leave a post on the Department's Facebook page.

National HIV Testing Day

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. This annual observance which promotes HIV testing was founded in 1995 by The National Association of People with AIDS. The CDC estimated there were 1.1 million people living with HIV infections at the end of 2006. Below are suggested actions you can take in response to HIV/AIDS:

  • Ask your doctor for an HIV test and get tested.
  • People who inject drugs should get an HIV test at least once a year.
  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men should get an HIV test at least once a year.
  • Practice safer methods to prevent HIV
  • Talk about HIV prevention with family, friends, and colleagues
  • Provide support to people living with HIV/AIDS

To find a testing center in your area please visit the Department of Health’s website at http://bit.ly/mkZr51.

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. There are several types of sickle cell disease. The most common are Sickle Cell Anemia (SS), Sickle-Hemoglobin C Disease (SC), Sickle Beta-Plus Thalassemia and Sickle Beta-Zero Thalassemia. Sickle cell disease occurs in one out of every 500 African American births and one out of every 36,000 Hispanic American births. An estimated 1,000 to 1,250 people are living with sickle cell disease in Arkansas. Sickle cell disease is most prevalent in minority populations. The treatment, or lack of treatment, often highlights the racial and ethnic health disparities that exist across the country. To find out more about sickle cell, please click on the links below.

Men's Health Awareness Month

The month of June gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. A resource guide “Blueprint for Men’s Health: A Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle,” discusses the main health issues that men face today and can be downloaded in English or Spanish.  Want to share your story?  Leave a post on the Department's Facebook page. To find out more, please visit the sites below.

New Food Pyramid

For the last two decades the federal government has used the Food Pyramid as the basis for good nutritional advice, which never told people how much of which types of foods they should eat. Many also criticized it for not taking into account the impact on insulin of some high carbohydrate foods. The food pyramid is giving way to a simple, plate-shaped icon, which is sliced into portions for basic food groups - fruits and vegetables take up half the space. The plate symbol will be announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. The aim of the plate is to provide US citizens with an easy-to-use reminder of what a basic health diet should consist of.
The fruit, vegetables, grains and protein sections are colored individually. There is a small circle next to the place for milk, yogurt or other similar products.  Want to tell us what you think of the new design?  Leave a post on the Department's Facebook page.

Community Gardens

As part of Let’s Move! Faith and Communities, congregations and neighborhood organizations have been challenged to plant gardens in their communities. There are many positive benefits to starting a community garden such as  increasing access to healthy, fresh food, improving soil and water quality; providing exercise for people within a wide range of physical ability, and creating the opportunity to teach about nutrition, agriculture, and ecology.  Community gardens are also helping to tackle childhood obesity!  To learn more about a community garden in Little Rock view the video on our Facebook page. To find a community garden near you or learn more about gardening check out these sites below:

Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.

Cancer

Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Untreated cancers can cause serious illness and even death. No matter where a cancer may spread, it is always named for the place where it started. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the liver is still called breast cancer, not liver cancer. Different types of cancer can behave very differently. For example, lung cancer and breast cancer are very different diseases. They grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. The risk of developing most types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person's lifestyle, for example, by quitting smoking, limiting time in the sun, being physically active, and eating a better diet. in Arkansas, cancer mortality rates among African Americans are 26% higher for all cancers combined and more than 40% higher for breast and colorectal cancer. The sooner a cancer is found and treated, the better the chances are for living for many years.

National Walk@Lunch Day

Take charge of your health by joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country and participating in the 2011 National Walk@Lunch Day. National Walk@LunchDay helps you incorporate physical activity into your work day and encourages you to increase your daily physical activity by walking at lunch every day. So take the first step toward a healthier you and participate in the 2011 National Walk@Lunch Day—Wednesday, April 27. To tell us how you plan to get moving today, go to the Department’s Facebook page.

Childhood Obesity

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. Want to get moving to Beyonce’s new exercise song?  Check out the video on the Department's Facebook page.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of cells (endometrial cells) similar to those that form the inside of the uterus, but in a location outside of the uterus. The cells of endometriosis attach themselves to tissue outside the uterus and are called endometriosis implants. These implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. Endometriosis is estimated to affect over one million women (estimates range from 3% to 18% of women) in the United States. It is one of the leading causes of pelvic pain and reasons for laparoscopic surgery and  hysterectomy. Estimates suggest that between 20% to 50% of women being treated for infertility have endometriosis, and up to 80% of women with chronic pelvic pain may be affected.