Monthly Archives: March 2018

National Nutrition Month 2018: ‘Go Further With Food’

By Sylvia Blyth, RD, LD, CLC
Nutrition Education Coordinator
Division of WIC Services

March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Choose the right foods

“Go Further with Food” is the theme for 2018, and its importance is timely for many reasons. Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling up before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance, can also help to reduce food loss and waste.

This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer, but it also urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help you “Go Further with Food,” while saving both nutrients and money.

What Can You Do?

  • Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  • Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  • Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  • Continue to use good food safety practices.
  • Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  • Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

For more information, please visit

From Other Blogs: Physical activity, disaster recovery, cardiovascular disease, health disparities & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Keep moving

Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day? How about your kids? Do they just want to flop in front of the TV? Physical activity helps you feel better right away, no matter what kind you choose. Daily physical activity can give you more energy and improve your sleep and focus. Staying active over time also helps you keep a healthy weight. It protects you from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and osteoporosis (weak bones).

How much activity do kids need? — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Disaster Recovery: USDA Answering the Call

In early December, I gathered with a group of neighbors in a Puerto Rican community to watch work begin on a USDA project to protect a nearby bridge. Minute-by-minute, the sound of rumbling equipment grew louder as the excavators emerged from behind houses, rolled along the debris-covered horizon and worked along the river’s edge. I was glad to be able to see first-hand USDA’s disaster recovery work after Hurricane Maria, including this emergency watershed protection project to aid a southern Puerto Rico community. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

Saving a Million Hearts: One Heart at a Time!

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), principally ischemic heart disease and stroke, remains the leading cause of U.S. deaths for men and women and all races and ethnicities in spite of major progress in its prevention and treatment. CVD is also the greatest contributor to racial disparities in life expectancy. In 2012, 120 public and private partners and 20 federal agencies launched the Million Hearts®initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The initiative sought to implement proven, effective, and inexpensive interventions in both clinical and community settings. In healthcare, the initiative helped improve management of the ABCS (aspirin use for high risk patients, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation). — From the CDC’s Genomics and Health Impact Blog

Mission Possible: Addressing Health Disparities in Heart Disease and Stroke Outcomes

As the leading killer of Americans, heart disease and its associated behavioral causes are distributed throughout our country. Even so, some groups of people are more affected than others. Poverty and lack of education have long been associated with poorer health status and heart disease is no exception, occurring more frequently among people with lower incomes and less education. Racial and ethnic minorities, including African Americans and American Indians, whose histories in the United States are marked by severe trauma such as slavery, genocide, lack of human rights and loss of ancestral lands, and who today are often disadvantaged in terms of income and education, also experience higher rates of heart disease. — The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Conversations In Equity blog

Healthy Changes in the Child and Adult Care Food Program

USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) works to combat hunger by bringing nutritious and wholesome foods to tables for children in child care centers, homes, and afterschool programs as well as adults in day care. More than 4.2 million children and 130,000 adults receive nutritious meals and snacks each day through CACFP. As an added benefit, these meals and snacks often reflect regional and local food preferences. — From the USDA blog

It’s Sleep Awareness Week: Be Sure You Get Your Zs

sleepSleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our “sleep health” remains an essential question throughout our lifespan.

Join the National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week, March 11 to 17, 2018. This year’s theme, “Begin with Sleep,” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals.

A good night’s sleep can depend on:

How much sleep do you need to be your best self?

Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours between the sheets a priority. For many of us with sleep debt, we’ve forgotten what “being really, truly rested” feels like.

To further complicate matters, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—interfere with our “circadian rhythm” or natural sleep/wake cycle.

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To determine how much sleep you need, it’s important to assess not only where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum,” but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.

Check out the Bedtime Calculator, which can help you plan your sleep.

sleep chart

Make Sleep a Priority

To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, begin by assessing your own individual needs and habits. See how you respond to different amounts of sleep.

Pay careful attention to your mood, energy and health after a poor night’s sleep versus a good one. Ask yourself, “How often do I get a good night’s sleep?” Like good diet and exercise, sleep is a critical component to overall health.

To pave the way for better sleep, follow these simple yet effective healthy sleep tips, including:

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert, snoring, leg cramps or tingling, gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, prolonged insomnia or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or  find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause.

You may also try using the National Sleep Foundation Sleep Diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period and bring the results to your physician.

Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done; stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.

DHEC in the News: Opioids, drug take back day, flu & more

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Opioid crisis continues to hit Greenville County

Charles Cureton describes himself as a lifelong heroin addict.

The 69-year-old has overdosed on the drug several times throughout the years. Each time, including last month, he survived.

“It just ain’t my time,” the Greenville resident said.

Each year, hundreds of people in South Carolina die from opioid-related overdoses. The crisis has reached the point that the deaths may surpass traffic fatalities when the statistics are released this year.

Conway Police helps host drug take back event

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Conway Police partnered with Shoreline Behavioral Health Services and Horry County CAST Coalition for a prescription drug tack back day, Saturday.

General Interest

Flu season is not over yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions

The number of people sick with flu has continued to decrease across the nation, but experts warn that the season is not over yet. New York City and 21 states continued to experience high activity of flu-like illness during the week ending March 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in its weekly surveillance report.

Looking at the data for recent weeks, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said, “we’re still continuing to see a decline in influenza-like activity. Even though It looks like all signs point to decreasing influenza activity, we’re still in what we normally think of as flu season.”

Controlled burns benefit our forests

The weather in South Carolina in March can be characterized as crisp, cool and perfect for a controlled burn. That’s why it’s fitting that Gov. Henry McMaster has proclaimed March 2018 Prescribed Fire Awareness Month.

Prescribed burning is a very important management tool here in the Southeastern U.S. It is a necessary tool for both managers of forests and crop fields.

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids, coastal floods

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Has the flu loosened its grip in SC? Here’s what the numbers say

It seems the worst has finally passed in regard to flu activity in South Carolina.

Widespread in the Palmetto State for the past 10 weeks, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials now believe the illness is present only on a regional basis.

Opioid prescribing limits to be imposed in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The South Carolina Medicaid Agency and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will limit how many opioids doctors can prescribe to patients in some cases.

This comes after Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order in December establishing an emergency response team to battle the opioid crisis in South Carolina.

General Interest

Coastal floods to be nearly as common as high tides in South Carolina within 80 years, NOAA says

Tidal flooding is accelerating along the South Carolina coast, including at Charleston, federal researchers say. The coast might flood nearly every day by the turn of the century almost 80 years from now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report is the latest in a series of alerts which forecast worsening conditions for South Carolina and the East Coast as seas and storm-surge rise.