A case for raising the legal sale age on tobacco products

Adriana PecinaBy Adriana Pecina, HCF Program Officer

There are many milestones for a parent. Having your child turn 18 may be among the top. It’s an emotional time for a parent.

I should know — my oldest daughter turned 18 this year and she is now a legal adult who can make her own decisions. She can vote. She can join the military. And yes, she can legally buy tobacco products.

That is a lesson I learned the hard way.

Make breakfast time your favorite time

Gretchen Speer PatchBy Gretchen Speer Patch, MPH, Healthy Schools Program Manager for Kansas Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Do you have trouble getting your children out the door with breakfast in hand bright and early in the morning? Do you find yourself begging your child to eat breakfast or sitting in the morning drive thru line? Let me share a time-saving secret that may also save you money-- it’s called school breakfast.

You already know breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it primes your child’s brain for peak performance and studies show children that eat breakfast have better concentration and critical thinking, fewer behavioral issues and reduced tardiness.

The muddled, messy, maddening, mystifying, magnificent Marketplace

Sheldon WeisgrauBy Sheldon Weisgrau, Director of Health Reform Resource Project

Error messages.

Frozen screens.

Inability to log in.

Inability to log out.

Endless buffering.

Vanishing user names.

Lost applications.

By now, anyone who’s been paying attention — and probably even many who aren’t — knows about the disastrous start of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal Health Insurance Marketplace. It was described, at best, as “glitchy” and, at worst, as evidence of “stunning ineptitude.” And this was from ACA supporters. Even President Obama said his administration “fumbled” the rollout.

What are we willing to do on their behalf?

By Bridget McCandless, President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Let’s face it – the weather recently has certainly been a detriment to spending time outside. That is why it struck me just how addictive cigarettes are. As I looked out the window during the polar vortex with wind chills at -20 degrees, I saw a thin elderly woman standing alone in the freezing wind, smoking her cigarette.

Tobacco is still deadly, and we are still fighting for a tobacco-free future

Brenda CalvinBy Brenda Calvin, HCF program officer

It’s been 50 years since we first learned that tobacco smoke is deadly. Since the release of the groundbreaking, 1964 Surgeon General’s report, we have further evidence that links smoking to diseases of nearly all organs of the body.

In light of this significant health anniversary, a new report, The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, was released this week. It states that more than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking.

Smoking, prevention and New Year's Resolutions

By Bridget McCandless, President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

It’s that time of year again when many of my patients are trying to quit smoking.

My job is only to be the cheerleader because I know that they have to choose to quit for their own reasons. I’m as amazed by those who set down the pack and never look back as I am by those who are willing to keep trying to quit, despite their relapses.

Patients tell me that when they give up their smokes it’s like saying goodbye to a friend, confidant and comforter. Some grieve the loss of their cigarettes, but no one ever grieves their ability to breathe better.

All in a day’s work: One health navigator's experience with the insurance marketplace

By Erica Andrade, health navigator for El Centro

Even though I’ve worked here as a health navigator long before “navigator” became synonymous with the health insurance marketplace and its anticipated roll out, I must admit even I was more than a little worried.