February 2018                                      View this email in your browser

Community Health Centre: Healthy People, Vibrant Communities

February 2018 Newsletter

PINK SHIRT DAY: On February 28, 2018, we encourage everyone to practice kindness and wear pink to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying. For more information please visit
Upcoming Events
February is Black History Month the theme of the Government of Canada’s Black History Month campaign is Black Canadian Women: Stories of Strength, Courage and Vision.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week - February 1 to 7

World Cancer Day - February 4

Family Day - February 19 - Clinic Closed

Pink Shirt Day - February 28

Family Day Events in Our Community 
by Brianne MacDowell, Youth Outreach Worker

  • Family Day - Monday, February 19 - Markdale Recreation Committee's 5th Annual Family Day at Kind Edward Park in Markdale.
  • Family Day Weekend - Frazzlefest in Durham. For more info visit  
  • Family Day - Monday, February 19 - Free Movie and Skating at the Holstein Optimist Centre brought to you by the Southgate Youth Action Committee. Visit for more details. 
Don’t Leave Family Time Just for Family Day!

Family Day is a great excuse to go on that special trip for some quality time with your family that you’ve wanted to do for some time now. But why not spend quality time with your family every day? It’s as easy as sitting down for a meal together; putting away your phones, turning off the TV, setting the table, and eating together. Not only does it just feel good to spend that extra time together, but eating a meal with your family is said to have so many benefits!
Eating meals as a family is great for the development of your child!  Having conversations at the dinner table is said by researchers to help develop your child’s social and communication skills. By engaging them in discussion and role modelling social behaviours, your child learns so many things. Think of the phrase, “monkey see, monkey do”, when your child sees a conversation in action, they will take things from it! So don’t just sit and eat, ask your family how their day was. When it comes to nutrition, The Healthy Kids Community Challenge reports that almost 85% of parents say that they eat meals as a family away from the TV. Those who do are over 65% more likely to report their child is meeting guidelines for eating fruit and vegetables. So power off the TV and boost your veggies and fruit!
Not only do family meals help the development of your child, but it also has benefits for your family unit as well. Spending the time together as a family during a meal can help your family feel more connected to each other. You can develop stronger relationships during dinner conversation, by talking about each other’s interests and what goes on in everyone’s life, for example. It gives members an opportunity to reflect on the days that they’ve had, and receive positive feedback and support from their family, which is good for your family but also good for your mental health!
It’s hard to have a family dinner every night, with all the sports, errands, and other priorities after work/school. Find a time that works best for your household, if dinner doesn’t work, try breakfast! It doesn’t have to happen overnight. Try adding one meal a week together until you are ready to add another. Also, don’t leave the cooking, set up, and clean up all to one person. Divide tasks between family members to develop responsibility and teamwork in your home.
So don’t leave spending quality time with family just for Family Day, try it every day!

Program Cancellation Policy
Please note, if school busses are cancelled, programs will NOT be running that day. If highway 10 in Markdale in closed, the CHC will also be closed. All daily programs will be cancelled. If you are unsure of the status of the clinic or programming, please call 519-986-2222.

Healthy Kids Theme 4: Power Off and Play!

by Allison Whitten, Registered Dietitian
The Healthy Kids Community Challenge South East Grey has started their fourth and final theme: Power Off and Play. Within the next 9 months this initiative will focus on supporting families gaining knowledge on best practices and keep screen time to a moderate level.
Three main recommendations include:
  1. Children have less than 2 hours of recreational screen time daily
  2. Putting screens away at least  1 hour  before bed to optimize sleep quality
  3. Participate in device free dining to allow for distraction and screen free meals and snacks
In order to help families “Power Off and Play” this theme will be filled with alternatives to screen time including Healthy Kids Afterschool Programs, Summer Days of Play, contests, Busy Boxes at community centres, community gardens, outdoor learning spaces, library programs, skating programs and much more.  We additionally will be providing kids cooking classes, family inclusive cooking resources and device free dining information to aid in the often screen-filled times of meal preparation and mealtimes. These activities and more community sports, activities, and events can be found in our Recreation and Leisure Guide that will be mailed out later this year. 

Follow Healthy Kids Community Challenge South East Grey on Facebook to stay up to date on programs, events and information or give Allison a call at 519-986-2222 ext 6357 for more information.

SEGCHC News & Highlights
  • SEGCHC in the news: We were featured in news story by South Grey News.  The article highlights a couple of new additions to our free community programs including the Well Drop-in program which offers community members the opportunity to drop-in and use our newly renovated space including pool table and shuffle board. The article also highlights our new program, Heart Healthy Solutions which allows participants to learn about managing and/or preventing high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, prediabetes, and/or weight management. Click here to read the article: 
  • New Transit Route - Owen Sound to Shelburne: A pilot for transportation services in Grey County has been in the works for some time, and beginning in February a new phase of the project is moving forward. Beginning February 5th, there is a new transit option for clients needing rides up and down Highway 10 on Mondays and Thursdays.  Please click here for the transit schedule. 
  • Our new program LGBTQ+ Connection is starting Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 from 7pm-9pm in "The Well" (lower level of Markdale site). We welcome the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer community, their families, friends, and allies to connect with one another! You are free to be yourself in a safe and inclusive environment, while making connections with other people in the community. Join us during this drop-in time for snacks, networking, conversation, and informal support. (If you are looking for formal supports, please ask our staff during drop-in or ask our reception desk during office hours.) If you are interested in this event but cannot make it, please let us know so we can let you know about future opportunities. For more information, contact: Crystal at 519-986-2222 ext. 6376.
SEGCHC's Erskine site is happy to receive a refrigerator donated by Flato Development Inc. The refrigerator will be used to store food for the cooking programs, Community Café and monthly breakfast that takes place at the Erskine Community Health Center in Dundalk. Pictured above is Allison Whitten, Registered Dietitian and John van Burden (VP of Development, North Division). Photo credit: Angela Schermaul
What is a Chronic Disease?

Chronic diseases are long-term diseases that develop slowly over time, often progressing in severity. These diseases can often be controlled but rarely cured. They include conditions such as cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), cancer, diabetes, arthritis, back problems, asthma, and chronic depression. Chronic diseases may significantly impair everyday physical and mental functions and reduce an individuals' ability to perform activities of daily living.

The four major risk factors contributing to chronic diseases are unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, and tobacco use. 

In Ontario chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability. Almost 80% of Ontarians over the age of 45 have a chronic condition. Of those, approximately 70% suffer from two or more chronic conditions. Left untreated or managed poorly, chronic conditions can deteriorate and predispose individuals to other chronic conditions. In Ontario the economic burden of chronic disease is estimated to be 55% of total direct and indirect health costs.
Stressors & Chronic Disease Management
by Penny Pedlar, Clinical Director & Nurse Practitioner

Whether it is a family thing that you are predisposed for or something that has happened through life experiences and habits we have developed, Chronic Disease can be minimized, if not prevented.   When we are young and invincible, the last thing that we think of is how to manage stress, to assure that we get enough exercise or sleep, or to limit behaviours that can be hazardous to our health and well-being.   Then one day, we waken and find ourselves not so sure about eating fast food, habits that we may have developed such as smoking or one alcoholic beverage more than we really wanted, not sleeping as well or more intolerant of what might be going on at work or at home, as easily as we once did.

Here are some tips to stay healthy.  A routine takes about 3 weeks to establish, soon there will be no thought, and you will just end up doing that automatically.

Learn to recognize stress and stressors.   Some you can change others you can’t and stress, these days, seem to a fact of life.   Talk to a professional if stress is making you sick.
  1. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine - Avoid, or at least reduce your consumption of nicotine and any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants which increase stress levels. Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Using alcohol as a way to alleviate stress is not ultimately helpful. Try drinking more water or herbal teas. 
  2. Indulge in Physical Activity - Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Physical exercise can be used to metabolize the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state. Try going for a brisk walk in fresh air or incorporate physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep. 
  3. Get More Sleep - A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Unfortunately though, stress also interrupts our sleep as thoughts keep whirling through our heads, stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep. Do not rely on sleep aid medication; try to maximize your relaxation before going to sleep. Avoid caffeine during the evening, as well as excessive alcohol. Try taking a warm bath or reading a book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that worry you. 
  4. Try Relaxation Techniques - Each day, try to relax with a stress reduction technique.  There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you. For example. try self-hypnosis which is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk or in the car. One very simple technique is to focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you such as "calm" "love" and "peace", or you could think of a self-affirming mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life” or “Grant me serenity”.  Focus on your chosen word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase. If you find yourself becoming tense again later, simply silently repeat your word or phrase. 
  5. Talk to Someone - Just talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful. Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it. Stress can cloud your judgement. Talking things through with a friend, work colleague or even a trained professional can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective. 
  6. Keep a Stress Diary - Keeping a stress diary for a few weeks is an effective stress management tool as it will help you become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed. Note down the date, time and place of each stressful episode, and note what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt both physically and emotionally.  Give each stressful episode a stress rating (on a 1-10 scale) and use the diary to understand what triggers your stress and how effective you are in stressful situations.  This will enable you to avoid stressful situations and develop better coping mechanisms.   
  7. Take Control - Stress can be triggered by a problem that may on the surface seem impossible to solve. Learning how to find solutions to your problems will help you feel more in control thereby lowering your level of stress. Try writing down the problem and as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place. 
  8. Manage Your Time - At times, we all feel overburdened by our 'To Do' list and this is a common cause of stress. Accept that you cannot do everything at once and start to prioritize your tasks. Make a list of all the things that you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegated to others to do. Record which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month, or when time allows. This will allow you to break down tasks into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks spread out over a longer time frame, with some tasks removed from the list entirely through delegation. 
  9. Learn to Say ‘No’ - A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it.  And yet in this situation, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility.  Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence. 
  10. Rest If You Are Ill - If you are feeling unwell, do not feel that you have to carry on regardless. A short spell of rest will enable the body to recover faster.
Get plenty of exercise and eat a healthy diet. Finally, pay a visit to your friendly Primary Care Provider.  Have regular screening tests for Cancer as recommended for you. 

Men and women over the age of 50 should receive a colonoscopy every 1-5-10 years or as recommended for your particular risk factors or a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) every 2 years. Women over the age of 50 should receive a mammogram every 1 to 2 years according to risk factors.  Women ages 21-70 should receive a pap smears every 3 years.
Together you will assess your risk for Chronic Diseases, make a plan for prevention  or management that you are comfortable with.  Take medications as prescribed for you, report any adverse reactions, do not stop medications without discussing with your health care provider.

Lastly, “TREAT YOUR BODY LIKE A TEMPLE”. It’s the only vessel that you have and it is solely yours to look after.
Diet & Managing Chronic Disease
By Erin Bailey, MSc., Registered Dietitian
Diet and nutrition are important factors in the promotion and maintenance of good health throughout your entire life span.  It has been projected that, by 2020, chronic diseases will account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide, and that 71% of deaths due to ischemic heart disease (IHD), 75% of deaths due to stroke, and 70% of deaths due to diabetes will occur. The number of people with diabetes will increase from 84 million in 1995 to 228 million in 2025.
Diet has been known for many years to play a key role as a risk factor for chronic diseases. The diets we eat, in all their cultural variety, define to a large extent our health, growth and development. But diet, while critical to prevention, is just one risk factor. Physical inactivity now recognized as an increasingly important determinant of health, which is the result of an increasing shift of lifestyle towards more sedentary patterns (more time spent in front of screens).
There is a large quantity of scientific evidence highlighting the importance of applying a life-long approach to the prevention and control of chronic diseases.  From the available evidence, the following guidelines have been developed to aid in the prevention of developing a chronic disease:
  • Promote an active lifestyle
    • Adults-2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week and children and youth at least 60 minutes a day.
  • Limit television (screen) time
  • Promote the intake of fruits and vegetables
    • Choose at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day and choose ones prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Limiting foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt such as cakes, pastries, chocolate and candies, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, potato chips, French fries and other salty snacks.
  • Limit the intake of sugar-sweetened drinks (juice, soft drinks, fruit flavoured drinks, sports and energy drinks, sweetened hot or cold drinks).
  • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day and choose ones that are lower in fat, sugar, or salt (whole grain breads and cereals etc.)
  • Select lean meats and alternatives (beans, lentils, tofu)  prepared with little or no added fat or salt
  • Eat at least two servings of fish each week
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
It has been demonstrated that improved lifestyles can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by a striking 58% over 4 years. Other population studies have shown that up to 80% of cases of coronary heart disease, and up to 90% of cases of type 2 diabetes could potentially be avoided through changing lifestyle factors (eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising).  The South East Grey Community Health Centre offers many programs to help in the prevention and management of chronic diseases through our walking programs, fitness classes (Pilates, chair fitness, yoga) and health education classes such as the Health Heart Solutions Program.  Please contact the centre at 519-986-2222 to inquire more about our programs and services available or visit our website program calendar.

1. Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases (2002 : Geneva, Switzerland).  Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: report of a joint WHO/FAO expert consultation, Geneva, 28 January -- 1 February 2002.

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