Get Healthy Utah News and Blog

May 31st 2024

Alysia Ducuara Alysia Ducuara is the Executive Director for Get Healthy Utah. Springtime means conference and event season at Get Healthy Utah! From visiting with our parks and recreation champion...

April 30th 2024

Trilby Cox Trilby Cox is Co-Executive Director for Bike Utah, a Utah-based nonprofit. Bike Utah is partnering with Get Healthy Utah and Move Utah for the Connected Communities Summit this fall. Bi...

April 18th 2024

The Healthy Utah Community designation is valid for three years. To qualify for redesignation, communities must complete the following: Submit a new letter of commitment Continue to hold health...

April 18th 2024

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest Healthy Utah Community designees. Six cities and towns qualified this spring: Mapleton, Ore...

March 14th 2024

Get Healthy Utah partnered with the Utah Worksite Wellness Council and Utah Community Builders to host the second annual Utah Business of Health Event! The event took place on February 7th, 2024 at th...

March 7th 2024

Chet Loftis R. Chet Loftis is the Managing Director of PEHP Health & Benefits, a public sector health plan that covers over 170,000 members. He is also the new Board Chair for Get Healthy Utah. Go...

January 17th 2024

Morgan Hadden Morgan is the Program Coordinator for Get Healthy Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. and M.P.H in Health Education and Promotion. Chances are, your city or t...

January 2nd 2024

Greg Bell Greg Bell is the outgoing Get Healthy Utah Board Chair. Greg previously served as president of the Utah Hospitals Association and lieutenant governor for Utah. In 2014, a group of us cre...

November 3rd 2023

Cindy Nelson Cindy is an Extension Associate Professor in Beaver County Utah with responsibilities in Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H. She loves the people she serves, and the variety of progra...

October 17th 2023

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Stakeholder Retreat this October at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. This year’s theme was “Connection: Building a Culture of Health.” Topics included the con...

September 26th 2023

Devynne Andrews, JD Devynne Andrews is the Communications Coordinator for Get Healthy Utah. Recently, the Get Healthy Utah staff attended an advance screening of UnCharitable, a documentary about...

September 5th 2023

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest Healthy Utah Community designees. Four cities and towns qualified this fall: Coalville, Hol...

August 4th 2023

Dr. Amy Locke Amy Locke is the Chief Wellness Officer for the University of Utah Health, executive director of the University of Utah Health Resiliency Center, Professor of Family and Preventive Med...

July 31st 2023

Elisa Soulier Elisa Soulier is the Vice Chair for the Get Healthy Utah Board. She works as Director of Health and Wellbeing at Castell. She focuses on delivering more high value holistic care for pa...

July 17th 2023

Jennifer Porter and Rachel Bowman Jennifer Porter, RDN, is a Health Program Coordinator, and Rachel Bowman is a Nutrition Coordinator for the Utah WIC program. Visit wic.utah.gov to learn more. Nu...

July 11th 2023

Key Takeaways: “Green streets” have more plants, soil, and water-friendly systems than traditional streets Originally, green streets were designed to capture rainwater locally Green streets al...

Cover for Utah Foundation Report

June 28th 2023

The Utah Foundation recently released a report, Healthy Communities: Advancing Wellness and Safety, focused on policy solutions for Utah communities to increase physical activity. The report is meant...

June 9th 2023

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Advisory Council this May. We want to thank everyone who attended and shared their ideas on how we can improve healthy eating and active living in Utah through system-...

Two adults and two kids doing pottery.

May 16th 2023

Key Takeaways: Utahns are in a mental health crisis and need the healing and social connection that arts and culture can deliver. The arts foster connection, support the healing process, and com...

Healthy Utah Community Logo

April 24th 2023

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest designees of the Healthy Utah Community award. Six cities and towns qualified this spring:...

Children Eating Lunch at School

April 19th 2023

Kathleen Britton Kathleen Britton, SNS has served as the Director of Child Nutrition Programs at the Utah State Board of Education, since February 2014. Ms. Britton began her nutrition work as a Die...

Kids at Recess

April 10th 2023

Kimberly Clevenger Kimberly Clevenger is an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Health Science at Utah State University, with a background in exercise physiology. Her research interests are in th...

School child with healthy school lunch

March 25th 2023

Greg Bell Greg Bell is the Get Healthy Utah Board Chair. Greg is president of the Utah Hospitals Association, and previously served as lieutenant governor for Utah. Recent research in Great Britai...

February 27th 2023

This February, Get Healthy Utah and the Utah Worksite Wellness Council held the Utah Business of Health event, with the theme “Good Health is Good Business.” Leaders from Utah businesses and insurance...

October 28th 2022

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Stakeholder Retreat this October in Salt Lake City, with the theme “Building Healthier Communities.” A variety of leaders attended to learn more about their common...

August 3rd 2022

Organization: Get Healthy Utah Contact: Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director Location: 2180 S 1300 E, Suite 440, Salt Lake City, UT 84106 Program Details: The mission of Get Healthy Utah is to c...

July 14th 2022

In June 2022, Get Healthy Utah offered mini-grants to cities and towns that want to provide their citizens with better opportunities for healthy living. Cities and towns could apply for up to $5,000 t...

October 13th 2021

Each year, Get Healthy Utah gives Partnership Awards to organizations that have collaborated across sectors to significantly improve community health. This year at the Fall 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stake...

October 13th 2021

The Fall 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat was held in-person on October 7th in Salt Lake City. Attendees represented various sectors that have an upstream impact on community health, such as...

August 1st 2021

On June 30, 2021, Get Healthy Utah held a virtual information session on type 2 diabetes, the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), and the importance of Medicaid coverage. During the i...

June 2nd 2021

The Annual Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat was held virtually on May 5, 2021. The event focused on the One Utah Roadmap. Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson provided the keynote address. The closing s...

March 10th 2021

What is a wellness policy? A wellness policy creates a safe and healthy environment for students and staff to practice lifelong healthy habits. The school community (which includes parents, students...

November 3rd 2020

Social and economic conditions where we live, work, and play can impact our health status. These include income, affordable housing, safe places to walk, healthy food access, discrimination, and healt...

August 20th 2020

Get Healthy Utah is proud to have partnered with Comagine Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Utah Department of Health, and University of Utah Health to host the free virtual summit for worksites Impro...

August 4th 2020

Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH Medical Director, Health Care Informatics, Comagine Health Meredith Agen, MBA Vice President, Health Care Analytics, Comagine Health The COVID-19 pandemic has seemed both distan...

June 20th 2020

Guest Post by Brett McIff Brett McIff, PhD is the Physical Activity Coordinator for the EPICC Program at the Utah Department of Health. His research has focused on the perception of the built envir...

April 21st 2020

Rural communities often have poorer health outcomes than non-rural communities. This is due, in part, to barriers to accessing healthy food, opportunities for physical activity, and mental health reso...

April 15th 2020

A new, and timely, report from the Utah Foundation examines trends and challenges related to teleworking. Findings include: Teleworking seems to have a positive effect on productivity and employee...

March 24th 2020

Gyms, recreational facilities, schools, and extracurricular activities are cancelled. While we are all doing our part to stay home and maintain proper social distancing, it is important to be physical...

March 18th 2020

To help in preventing the spread of COVID-19, Utah schools are dismissed for a soft closure until March 27th. What does this mean for school meals? On average, 50% of Utah K-12 students participat...

February 20th 2020

Guest Blog Post By, Kate Wheeler, Child Nutrition Specialist, Utah State Board of Education Kate works on farm to fork and local procurement initiatives. Kate has an MPH from Emory University. Prior...

January 14th 2020

The Utah State Board of Education has provided Best Practice for Recess Guidelines. While not mandated, the guidelines support the Utah State Board of Education’s Strategic Plan Safe and Healthy Schoo...

It’s an Exciting Time for Healthy Food Access in Utah

Guest Blog Post By, Kate Wheeler, Child Nutrition Specialist, Utah State Board of Education

Kate works on farm to fork and local procurement initiatives. Kate has an MPH from Emory University. Prior to joining the team at USBE, she worked with various food access programs in Oregon, Atlanta, and overseas.

Eating food that is both delicious and nutritious is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, but not all Utahns have equal access to healthy food. 135,000 children in Utah are food insecure, putting them at increased risk of diet-related diseases and stunting their opportunities for learning and growth.

The good news is that this is an exciting time to be working on healthy food access in Utah. Various groups are working on projects that seek to both “feed the need” (provide healthy food options to those who need it now) and “shorten the line” (strengthen our food system to eliminate root causes of hunger).

Start Smart Utah

The Start Smart Utah program is a bill that will provide students with additional access to nutritious food during the school day, including a requirement that all public schools who participate in the national school lunch program also participate in the national school breakfast program. Currently 105 Utah public schools do not participate in the breakfast program—that’s a lot of kids starting their day without a meal. If you’d like to track the progress of this bill in real time, sign up to get updates on HB 222 at le.utah.gov.

Incentivizing Local Food in Schools

Why do schools served canned peaches at lunch when we grow such delicious fresh peaches right here in Utah? Cost is a major factor. Other states have successfully overcome that barrier with incentive programs that reimburse school districts for purchases of local food. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and Utah State Board of Education are working together to create one of these programs in Utah. We’ve requested $275,000 in appropriations this legislative session to help get it up and running—your help is needed to secure the funding. Click here to find out how you can advocate for this request.

Food Hubs

Food hubs are processing and distribution centers that focus on local food. They make it easier for small farmers to work together to sell their products to large institutions like school districts and hospitals. Utah is currently one of only five states without a food hub—but not for long! Sapa Investment Group is set to break ground on Utah’s first food hub this summer, and UDAF and the City of Salt Lake are working on support for additional food hub projects. Here’s to opening more markets for Utah’s small farmers, and making it easier for all of us to buy healthy local food!

School Meals During Statewide School Closures

To help in preventing the spread of COVID-19, Utah schools are dismissed for a soft closure until March 27th.

What does this mean for school meals?

On average, 50% of Utah K-12 students participate in school meals daily. Roughly one-third of students qualify for free or reduced meals. These students are at a greater risk to be impacted by school closures.

The good news is that Utah schools will still provide school meals on weekdays during the closure period!

Providing school meals ensures that students have access to a nutritious meal during the day, even though schools are closed. Schools will be taking precautionary measures that allow students to get a healthy meal while maintaining social distance and remaining safe. Meals will be “grab-in-go” meaning students will not be allowed to stay and eat on campus. Many schools will be implementing curbside pick-up. Some schools will have bus stop drops or multiple locations to help avoid crowds.

The Utah State Board of Education has created a map of locations for school meals.

Hover over the dots for details about each site. View MAP

Additional Food Resources:

Utahns Against Hunger

Utah Community Action

United Way 211

Utah Food Bank

Additional COVID-19 Resources:

How to talk to your children about COVID-19

Healthy activities to do at home

Resources for schools and families during COVID-19

How to work from home with kids

Utah Coronavirus

Remaining Physically Active While Staying Home

Gyms, recreational facilities, schools, and extracurricular activities are cancelled. While we are all doing our part to stay home and maintain proper social distancing, it is important to be physically active. Physical activity improves muscle and bone strength, reduces risk of chronic disease, helps with healthy body weight, and improves mental health. Physical activity at any level is linked to a lower risk of early death. In times of high stress, physical activity is even more important.

There can be challenges to being physically active. With gyms and recreation centers closed, many people no longer have access to exercise equipment.  Families are trying to figure out how to keep kids active who are at home all day.  People working from home may find it difficult to have the motivation and energy to be active. But, being active does not necessarily mean running on a treadmill or lifting weights. Being active can be done by incorporating physical activity throughout the day such as going for a walk, making games out of chores, and even utilizing technology.

Below find a number of resources to help keep you and your family active!

Physical Activity Resources for Adults 

American College of Sports Medicine: Staying Active During COVID-19
American Heart Association: Create a Circuit Home Workout
CBS News: Exercises While Working From Home
National Council on Aging: Encouraging Older Adults to Stay Active and Safe
National Institute on Aging: Physical Activity
NY Times: Taking Care of Yourself in Coronavirus Quarantine
University of Utah: Healthy AlternativesUS Department of HHS

Physical Activity Resources for Children

Action for Healthy Kids
Active Schools: Resources to Get Kids Moving
Alliance for a Healthier Generation: COVID-19 Resources
American Heart Association: 25 Ways to Get Moving at Home
BOKS Kids
CATCH: Health at Home
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Go Noodle
Playworks; Game Archive
Shape America
Walkabouts

Physical Activity Resources for Families

American Heart Association: How to Move More Anytime Anywhere
American Heart Association: Physical Activity Around the House
Fit Sanford: 5Ways to Incorporate Physical Activity
TrailLink: Find a Trail
USDA: Physical Activity
YMCA 360

For up-to-date Utah information visit:  Coronavirus.utah.gov

Healthy Habits While Working From Home

A new, and timely, report from the Utah Foundation examines trends and challenges related to teleworking. Findings include:

  • Teleworking seems to have a positive effect on productivity and employee retention, as well as lowering absenteeism.
  • There are significant potential financial benefits for employers beyond increased productivity.
  • There are concerns about telework; research suggests that two-thirds of teleworkers are not engaged in their work, and more than one-third get no direct contact with their teams.

As a result of COVID-19, many people are adjusting to working from home, at least temporarily. While teleworking may have some benefits, it takes time and patience to figure out how to make working from home a success. You may find yourself moving your workspace from your kitchen counter to your couch, squeezing in a homeschool lesson, or making frequent trips to the fridge. Adjusting to a new normal can be difficult, especially when traditional schedules are almost nonexistent.  It is important to stay healthy by making time to be physically active, eating healthy, and paying attention to your mental health.

Physical Activity

Physical activity improves physical and mental health. Staying active keeps you healthy and can help you take care of others.

  • Develop a workout routine. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to go for a walk or bike ride, do a workout video, or do any other type of physical activity that you enjoy.
  • Workout with your kids. Kids need to be active too! Being active with your kids helps them know the importance of physical activity and provides something fun to do together.
  • Stand up and stretch! Sitting for long periods of time can reduce productivity and put strain on your back and neck. Make sure you stand up and stretch throughout the day.

Healthy Eating

Eating healthy supports your immune system and boosts your energy. Eating nutritious foods can help you feel good, be more productive, and conquer your workday!

  • Start the day right. Eat a protein-rich breakfast like oats, fruit, avocado, or eggs.
  • Eat at the table. Avoid eating where you work, which may contribute to snacking throughout the day.
  • Pack a lunch. Even though you won’t be going into the office, packing a lunch can help with portion control.
  • Stay hydrated! Drinking water helps you feel better and reduces headaches and fatigue.
  • Find healthy snacks. Snack on healthy items like fresh fruits and vegetables or nuts.

Mental Health

It is normal to be experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety.  A simple routine can help you feel a sense of normalcy and provide some social interaction.

  • Get ready for the day. Getting dressed can help you feel ready to work and be more productive.
  • Make a plan. Create a schedule and list of tasks you want to accomplish each day. Be sure and allow yourself flexibility.
  • Create a dedicated workspace. If you can, it helps to create a dedicated workspace. It doesn’t have to be a fancy home office, a spot on the kitchen table or a folding table in the living room can work.
  • Get social interaction. Social interaction is important to your mental health. Call and video chat with co-workers. Even though we need to practice social distancing, we can still interact virtually.
  • Sleep! Try and go to bed at the same time you would have before working from home. A good night’s sleep helps your body relax and prepare for the next day.

Tips for Employers

Are you worried about how you can support employee wellness when experiencing budget cuts and employees are working from home? You don’t have to do it alone! The Utah Department of Health and local health departments offer free resources, services, and technical service to help your organization become the best it can be.  You can also find resources from the Utah Worksite Wellness Council. Make sure and communicate with employees often via email, webinars, conference calls, social media, and newsletters in order to provide support, encouragement, and resources for employee wellness. Remember to share and educate on what your employee assistance program and health plan already offers.

Active Living

Offer virtual challenges
Share online exercise classes and apps
Encourage working out with the family
Share walking and biking trails
Share transportation services
Encourage going for a walk when taking calls
Support the National Diabetes Prevention Program

Healthy Eating

Encourage preventative care
Provide healthy recipes
Share information about local food pantries
Educate on nutrition assistance programs
Provide local farmers markets information
Share information on local community gardens

Mental Health Resources

Educate on mental health resources
Check-in with employees
Offer flexible work schedules
Consider offering paid mental health days
Share suicide prevention resourcesShare mindfulness apps

We encourage employers to message with values. Individuals want to be healthy, be there for the ones they love, and live a high quality of life. Click HERE for free messaging materials to help communicate with individuals on the importance of healthy lifestyles.

Resources:

Utah Public Health Association: Stay Healthy
Bloomberg News: Tips from Experts
Simple Stretches You Should Be Doing While Working from Home
Utah Foundation Teleworking Report