With each New Year, 1 in 3 Americans resolve to better themselves in some way, but few stick to it. So, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department wanted to offer five ideas along with local resources to help you lead a healthier, happier life.
Having a glass of champagne or wine to celebrate special occasions is fine but don’t overdo it. In 2011, there were about 240 preventable emergency room visits to Lawrence Memorial Hospital that were associated with binge drinking.
For information about alcohol prevention and treatment services, call Lawrence-based DCCCA at 841-4138 or visit its website at dccca.org.
Benefits to drinking less alcohol include: lower blood pressure, lower risk of cancer and liver problems, and weight loss.
Just 30 minutes of exercise — walking, bicycling or shoveling snow — each day is the best medicine any doctor can prescribe. It can help reduce arthritis, dementia, diabetes, anxiety, depression and risk of death — and it’s FREE. Yet, in 2010, about 15 percent of Douglas County adults did NOT participate in any physical activity or exercise.
There are a number of services and programs in Lawrence, including Red Dog’s Dog Days, which is a FREE program for all ages and fitness levels. It meets three times a week. For more information, visit reddogsdogdays.org.
Lawrence Parks and Recreation’s winter and spring activities are open for enrollment. For more information, visit lawrenceks.org/lprd.
To learn more about the importance of exercise, watch the video by Dr. Mike Evans called “The Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Health.”
3. — EAT HEALTHIER!
Did you know that only 15 percent of Douglas County residents eat enough fruits and vegetables each day?
Don’t make a resolution to go on a diet that denies yourself of the foods you enjoy. It’s a strategy that rarely works. Instead, try … with EACH meal … to incorporate a fruit or vegetable.
It’s less expensive and easier than you think.
4. — STOP SMOKING!
For the 1 in 5 Douglas County adults who still smoke, it’s never too late to quit.
If you’ve tried before, try again!
The Kansas Tobacco Quitline — 1-800-QUIT-NOW (749-8669) or KSquit.org — provides FREE, private counseling and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital is offering a FREE smoking cessation class “Steps to Successfully Quitting Smoking” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8. To enroll in the class, call LMH Connect Care at 749-5800. Minimum size for the class is five.
Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop, and within 12 hours the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. One year later, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
5. — PRACTICE PREVENTION!
Have you had your routine dental and doctor exams? As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
People with a usual source of health care generally have better health outcomes and actually spend less on their health care; yet, 10 percent of Douglas County residents say they don’t see a doctor because of costs. The percentage is even higher for dental work.
In Douglas County, there are several clinics that provide care for low-income residents who meet qualifications. They are:
• Heartland Community Health Center, 1 Riverfront Plaza, Suite 100, 841-7297.
• Health Care Access, 330 Maine, 841-5760.
• Douglas County Dental Clinic, 2210 Yale Road, 312-7770.