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April 2015 Newsletter
Thirsty for more


We’re crunching your data 

Thanks to everyone who gave us your feedback on what makes a healthy community. We met; we surveyed; we heard from about 400 people! Now, we’re looking at all your input, the latest health data, and will share our new plan to create healthier places in July. Stay tuned!

Items to include in this newsletter

Health by Numbers

Diabetes Increase

Over the last 10 years, diabetes has increased 250% in San Mateo County! 1 in 3 kids born in 2000 are expected to develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes. Drinking just 1-2 sugary drinks a day increases your chance of developing diabetes by 25%.

Staff Perspective

Are we Sweet Enough?

Hi, Get Healthy Partners. At San Mateo County Health System, I work to improve access to affordable, healthy food, community capacity and healthy and inclusive urban planning to improve community conditions. For this month’s perspective, I want to delve into the health effects of sodas and other sugary drinks.


Building up educated leaders on health

This month, Community Advocates Leadership Academy (CALA) kicked-off recruitment for their 2015-2016 local training program. Over 30 people came out to hear how CALA helps leaders make an even bigger impact by strengthening leadership skills and creating space for collaboration with other invested community leaders. We hope you’ll consider this great opportunity and encourage your friends and colleagues who want to make the Peninsula a healthier place! Apply by July 15.


It’s never too early

Join our School Wellness Alliance meeting on ‘Addressing Health Disparities through Early Childhood Development,’ May 6 from 3-6pm at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. View The Raising of America – the new health documentary from the creators of Unnatural Causes, learn about innovative program approaches from First 5, the County Office of Education, and UC Berkeley Department of Public health, and discuss local and statewide policy opportunities.


There is such a thing as a free lunch

Does your school need help improving food, drink, and physical activity standards? Wellness policy help is available – for free through the BANPAC ‘Pledge the Practice! Pass the Policy!’ Initiative. Contact the BANPAC Wellness Policy Consultant for technical assistance and help developing, putting into practice, and evaluating healthy policies. Local trainings and education materials are also available. This is a limited time offer and services will be offered on a first come first serve basis.


It’s easier being green

Laurel Elementary School teamed up with Safe Routes to School to improve walking, biking, and driving in and around the school. The result? More crosswalks, safer streets, more trees and gardens that beautify the area, and happier students and parents. Find more about bringing Safe Routes to School funding to your school here.


Breathing easier

Did you know 90,000 people have asthma in San Mateo County? What’s more, many live in unhealthy housing conditions that make their symptoms worse. We’ve teamed up with the County Asthma Coalition and Family Health Services to engage Central Coast Energy Services help low-income people with asthma breathe a little easier at home – all for free through the Home Weatherization Program. This includes reinforcing windows to protect homes from air leaks, which reduces asthma triggers such as mold and poor air quality.


Plan Bay Area

Help create the roadmap for the Bay Area as we adapt to the challenges of future population growth while still preserving the values of our diverse communities, improving public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Give your feedback at the Plan Bay Area 2040 open house on May 6, 7-9pm at the San Mateo County Event Center and help shape the future of San Mateo County and greater Bay Area!


Investing in South City

Youth are taking action #4SouthCity. High school youth joined with community activities during the South San Francisco Downtown Station Area Plan process to advocate for the development of a healthier South San Francisco by creating more parks and transit options, growing the local economy and ensuring future prosperity and stability for all its residents. Students surveyed over 800 local residents about their rent increases and presented this information to the City Council at the public hearing.


Keeping a foot in regional decision-making

Get Healthy’s very own Shireen Malekafzali has been appointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Policy Advisory Council to bring the voice of San Mateo County’s vulnerable communities to the table. Regional decisions on transportation and growth will touch everyone in our County. We will continue to look at the long-term effects of Bay Area planning to make sure we’re advancing the health, equity, environmental, and economic goals of our County. 


Our very own Shila: Runner up for the American Planning Association (APA) Mobile App Contest!

Shila Behzadaria, Get Healthy Graduate Intern, was first runner up in APA’s challenge to design a mobile app in support of good planning! Nine candidates were selected to present out of the many that applied. Facing stiff competition, Shila’s app idea called “Activist” would help streamline and support citizen engagement in planning processes. A user could select a City or County to follow and receive updates on any planning project/effort underway.


Ring the alarm

Our State legislature was considering Senate Bill 203, a warning label bill that would require sugary drinks and beverages with added sweeteners to include a health warning label on containers. This would help youth and adults make more informed choices and understand the unique problems of liquid sugar. Cities across our County worked to support this important public health legislation. Unfortunately, yesterday the bill was shy one vote of passing the policy committee. There are a lot of things we can do locally to achieve similar goals.


Local flavor: Daly City is a leader in advancing health

High fives for Daly City for being the first in our County to formally encourage our Statewide leadership to support a warning label on sugary drinks! The unanimous support for Warning Labels by the City Council Monday night showed real leadership in working towards preventing diabetes and obesity and creating an environment where consumers can make informed choices. While the bill did not pass the Senate policy committee yesterday, this type of local support is what gave the bill such a strong chance at passing! Way to go Daly City!


Growing together

Early this month, the Policy Committee of the San Mateo County’s Food System Alliance and partners Slow Food South Bay and San Mateo County’s Environmental Health Division piloted a cooking demo at the Portola Valley Farmers Market to increase access to locally grown healthy foods. Market goers were enticed by the delicious smells of caramelized veggies, and learned quick tricks of the trade to try at home! Vegetable vendors reported better than average sales, especially of vegetables used in the cooking demonstrations.