February 2016
Health Observances 

American Heart Month is celebrated every February to bring attention to heart health. The American Heart Association leads the month-long charge to address heart disease in a holistic way The leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women is heart disease. However, while many social and environmental factors can lead to disparities in heart disease across different populations, it is important to note that heart disease is often preventable with wiser health choices. Important tips for heart disease prevention, provided by HHS' Healthfinder, are listed below.
  • Planning a grocery store trip this week? Eat heart healthy by choosing foods that are low in sodium.
  • Watch your weight.  
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.                         
To learn more about American Heart Month and how to prevent heart disease, visit the American Heart Association and GoRedForWomen . You can also view the heart month toolkit  or join the conversation on  F acebook  and   Twitter .                                

Are you ready for "Sugar Wars"? National Children's Dental Health Month's (NCDHM) Sugar Wars campaign promotes good dental hygiene and oral health among children. The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that children brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice daily. A well balanced, low sugar diet is also recommended for healthy, radiant teeth and gums. Children should see a dentist for routine checkups to prevent and treat cavities and other issues. Developing these dental practices in children is essential to good oral health in adulthood. 

View the   NCDHM Program Planning Guide  to learn what you can do to with help win the sugar battles across the nation and promote oral health equity for all children.

Oral Health Disparities and Policy

In 2007, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver of Prince George's County died from an abscessed tooth infection that could have been resolved with a simple extraction. His death turned national attention to racial and economic disparities in children's oral health.

A recent report released by the U.S. DHHS Inspector General reveals persistent racial and economic disparities in oral care among children. The report, which covers 4 states, including Maryland, found that 3 out of 4 children on Medicaid are not receiving appropriate dental care, and a quarter of children on Medicaid are not getting any dental care at all. Reasons include a lack of dental practices that are accepting Medicaid and the need for health literacy around oral care. 

February 1-7
February is the perfect time to honor and explore the culinary history throughout the African diaspora
African Heritage & Health Week was designed to raise awareness about the health benefits and exciting flavors of traditional African heritage cuisines, and to invite people everywhere to taste these traditional foods, whether at a restaurant, a special community event, or at home with friends and family.  Celebrated February 1st-7th, African Heritage & Health Week commemorates the flavors and healthy cooking techniques that were core to the well-being of African ancestors from Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the American South. 

This year, communities are celebrating in many ways:
  • A presentation at the National Geographic Museum in D.C. by African heritage & health advisor, Tambra Raye Stevenson
  • African heritage potluck lunches and dinners 
  • Community potlucks
  • African heritage food tastings 
  • Local African restaurant visits 
Visit the Oldways: Health Through Heritage website to learn more about the health benefits of traditional African foods.
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HPRC, a CTIS, Inc. division, is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number #1U54MD008608-01. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.