Upcoming Events

Townhall Meeting on Health Set for February

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a 5-year grant to Alabama Extension at Auburn University to increase access to healthier foods and safe, affordable places for physical activity. The project, ALProHealth, aims to support community coalitions in 13 Alabama counties with an adult obesity prevalence of greater than 40%.

Walking is a good exercise choice for some people.

The Lowndes County Extension office invites you to a Community Conversation to discuss the health and wellness of our community. The meeting will be led by the David Mathews Center for Civic Life (DMC) and will help identify and map key community assets and challenges. It also will challenge the community to identify a shared sense of direction. Following the conclusion of the Community Conversation, DMC staff will write a comprehensive report on the county’s assets, challenges, partnerships and action ideas.

This Community Conversation will take place at the Lowndes County Commission Auditorium, 205 East Tuskeena Street, Hayneville, Alabama 36040. The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. on February 13, 2019.

Fresh vegetables

After the Community Conversation, there will be an opportunity for you or a representative from your organization to become part of the ALProHealth Community Coalition. While developing an action plan and establishing roles and responsibilities, the coalition will initially meet monthly for approximately one hour. The goal of the coalition is to use findings from the Community Conversations to plan and implement opportunities to ultimately improve access to healthy food and physical activity.

ALProHealth is more than just health. It also will have an economic impact in our community. Other cities around the nation have proved healthy environments lead to economically prosperous environments. By combining revitalization efforts and community health policies, economic regeneration is occurring in small, rural towns.

Please join us for this important opportunity to make positive improvements to our community.

For more information and to register your attendance, please contact Tana Shealey at the Lowndes County Extension Office, 334.548.2315 or 334.419.5681.

What Have You Done for Your Heart Lately?

Contributed by: Helen H Jones, Human Science Extension Agent, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health

It is almost February. Where did January go and all those New Year’s resolutions? You were going to
stop smoking and start exercising and eating better, but then life happened and those resolutions
went out the door. Just remember, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” and try again. Your heart will appreciate it.  February is Heart Health Month. Here are some suggestions to improve your heart health.

Stop Smoking

No smoking! If you are a smoker – stop. Research shows that a person’s risk of heart attack greatly
increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have
more than twice the risk of heart attack than nonsmokers.

Helen Jones, a regional Extension agent in human nutrition, diet and health offers the following
tips to improve your chances of success when quitting smoking.

  • Support groups. Online support groups are available to help. Contact the American Lung Association
    for more information at http://www.lung.org/.
  • Prescribed medications. Several prescription medications are available that when used in
    combination with support groups have been effective in helping people to quit smoking.
  • Over-the-counter smoking cessation products. Research has shown that smokers who use some
    form of nicotine replacement therapy and participate in a support group double their chances of
    quitting for good.
  • Making the decision to just quit. The first move has to come from the smoker, but smokers who get support from partners and other people are more likely to successfully quit.

    three people walking in the park
    Some people enjoy walking for exercise.

If you are leading a ‘couch potato’ lifestyle – stop. Research has shown that a person’s risk of heart attack increases with a lack of physical activity. Physical activity is defined as any bodily
movement that expends more energy than is used when you are resting. Walking to your parked car far
from the door or using the stairs are physical activities. Do it more often. Walking is a pleasant
activity when done for stress relief and as part of a neighborhood group; it can be called exercise
when it is planned and done with the purpose of improving your health. Here are some ways you can
increase your physical activity level:

  • Park the car far away from the door. We all need at least 30 minutes of physical activity
    daily. Even so, that doesn’t mean we have to do all 30 minutes at once. Three 10-minute walks or
    the equivalent, add up to our daily requirement.
  •  Cut out one hour a day of television and clean out that closet you have been meaning to do. A
    bunch of fitness bursts give similar health and weight-loss benefits as one longer session.
  •  Take 15 minutes and take a walk break at work instead of a coffee break. Use a pedometer and
    keep track of how many steps you take. Studies have shown that people that wear pedometers walk
    more. The person who gets the most out of the use of a pedometer is the person who has a step goal
    (i.e. 10,000 steps per day).
  • Play outside with your children or grandchildren. Adults should be role models for active lifestyles and provide children with opportunities for increased physical activity.

Eat Healthier Foods

picture of fruits and vegetables in a bowl
Fresh fruits and vegetables add to healthy lifestyles.

If you know you should be eating healthier foods, educate yourself and make some small changes. For
example, reduce the amount of bad fat in your diet (bad fats are those that are frequently found in
dairy, meat and other animal products). A diet high in fat often leads to high LDL cholesterol. If
the body has more LDL cholesterol than it requires, the excess is deposited on the walls of
arteries as plaque. Too much plaque and the arteries become clogged — a condition known as
arteriosclerosis. When arteries in the heart become clogged, it causes a heart attack. If arteries
that lead to the brain are clogged, it can result in a stroke.

Jones offers the following small diet changes that can have a big affect on your heart health:

  • Try a fruit or vegetable you have never eaten to replace a meat-centered meal. Lots of new
    apples are on the market today or maybe get some of that red leaf lettuce you have been meaning to
  • Modify a processed food such as macaroni and cheese by adding broccoli florets to the mix. Processed food is often high in salt, sugar and fat.
  • Plant a garden for spring. Container gardening is a convenient way to grow tomatoes full of that all important lycopene.
  • Try eggs that have Omega-3 in them. Omega-3 enriched eggs are produced by altering the diet of laying hens. Hens are fed a special diet, which contains 10 to 20 percent ground flaxseed. Flaxseed is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fatty acids than other grains. As a result, the eggs produced from hens on this diet are higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

For more information on this topic, or to learn of classes offered by REA Helen Jones, please call the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.

Be SAFE in 2019!

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is continuing its educational program, Be SAFE in Lowndes County public schools this year. Be Safe focuses on the education and prevention of bullying, bias, harassment, and other hurtful behaviors among youth ages 11 through 14.

This week, Regional Extension Agents Synithia Flowers and  Sallie Lide Hooker visited 5th grade classes meeting with about 50 students teaching them valuable lessons about preventing bullying.

Students participating in a lesson
Students participate in an anti-bullying lesson at a Ft. Deposit school during Be SAFE program

During the 3 to 5 lesson program, students learn to do the following: promote social and emotional learning and development; address and reduce bullying; prevent bulling behaviors by tapping into the wisdom of youth and adults and develop positive relationships with peers and adults.

If you are interested in having this program introduced to youth at your school or organization, please contact the Lowndes County Extension office at 334.548.2315.

Gardening Excitement Grows in Lowndes County Schools!

Two classes of 7th graders in Lowndes County are taking what they are learning in science class into their school’s courtyard by preparing raised beds for fall gardening.

In the pictures below, students relay supplies to the building site, learn to measure wood for the raised beds, work together putting the beds together, fill the beds with soil, and add fertilizer. Plants will go in on another date after students learn more about what they will need to do to help their fall crops grow.

UREA Roosevelt Robinson

Alabama Cooperative Extension System Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson and  Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey are working with youth helping them make a connection between the science of horticulture and the hands-on gratification of growing fresh vegetables in their own surroundings.

Robinson, whose area of study includes Home Grounds, Home Gardens, and Home Pests, believes this ongoing project is beneficial to youth who might not have gardens at their homes.

Robinson stated, “School gardening has some amazing developmental benefits for today’s youth that help them to learn and grow. From engaging the senses, to encouraging healthy eating, a well thought out school garden has the potential to enhance motor skills, provide opportunities to introduce math and science concepts, even foster responsibility and teach patience. If your school doesn’t have a garden, then you should consider building one.  School gardens can have a positive effect on the mind, body, and spirit.”

Over the next few weeks, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Lowndes County team will be visiting area schools sharing the latest research on home gardening and creating raised beds. The Lowndes County Extension office is also working with residents in maintaining  raised bed gardens in public housing areas in Mosses and Ft. Deposit; there are plans for creating learning gardens at other locations throughout Lowndes County.

Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey

Shealey said, “We are so excited about the support that we are receiving from the Lowndes County Commission, the Lowndes County Board of Education, area business owners and residents. We are very thankful for the support that our teachers and school administrators are showing towards our youth.”

Much of the work being done in Lowndes County’s public schools is made possible by a federal grant aimed at providing fresh fruits and vegetables to residents, support from the Lowndes County Commission, and donated plants and supplies from a Hayneville hardware store, J.T. Bell Home Improvement Co.