Never too young to start fighting off effects of old age

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Age may only be a number, but as one ages, a number of things start breaking down.  Bones get more brittle, memories may start fading and mobility may lessen. But rather than giving up to the effects of aging, seniors in Bowling Green were invited Wednesday to “Your Highway to Health, 50-plus Health and Wellness Expo” at the Community Center. “We want to encourage people to be as active as they can be,” Andrea Miller, an intern with the Parks and Recreation Department, said as she checked in registrants. The more active and involved people are, the more they experience a better quality of life and a longer life, Miller said. Some of the exhibitors at the expo offered items to help keep people in their homes as they age, such as walk-in bath tubs and hand bars for bathrooms. There were booths that encouraged seniors to continue full lives, like the library exhibit with books on walking and hiking, and the County Parks exhibit that touted the health benefits of being outside in nature. There were stations that checked up on medical issues, such as blood pressure and nutrition. And there was information on fitness activities offered through City Parks and Rec, like the “Silver Sneakers” program, pickleball, yoga and Zumba. “It’s a good time to get started,” for any age senior, said Ivan Kovacevic, Recreation Coordinator with the City Parks and Recreation Department. The expo also looked at other needs for seniors, such as social and emotional. Rita Betz, of…

BG residents want indoor pool, more fitness classes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents jumped right into swimming and exercise discussions at this week’s park focus group – bringing to the surface again the idea of an indoor pool at the community center. Local residents love their swimming. So much that they would like to do it year-round. “They do understand when they say that, that it’s very expensive,” said Kristin Otley, director of Bowling Green Parks and Recreation. Those attending the public forum also had other suggestions for the pool: Flip flop the lessons, so older kids have the early morning classes when the air is the chilliest. The pool is heated, but cool mornings make it seem chillier, Otley said. Make better use of lap lanes which are underutilized. Offer weekend swim lessons. Add a fitness program at the pool for older children. Add an indoor salt water therapy pool. Residents also brought up the possibility of creating a premium pass for the community center, and working out a deal with the Bowling Green State University Recreation Center, to allow members to use the indoor pool in the winter. “People were interested in that,” Otley said. The public forum also focused on the community center and programming offered there. Residents said they were interested in youth and family fitness classes, including parent and child yoga. Others suggested offering fitness classes for parents and children, at the same time but in different areas of the center. It was mentioned that an obstacle trail behind the community center was being considered. “People seemed…

Health and wellness expo for those 50 and older

Mark your calendars and save the date for the inaugural “Your Highway to Health:  50+ Health & Wellness Expo” being held at the Bowling Green Community Center on Wednesday April 27th from 10am–1:00pm.  The Community Center is located at 1245 W Newton Road, Bowling Green. The event is being held in partnership between the Bowling Green Parks & Recreation Department, Wood County Hospital, Wood County Committee on Aging, Wood County Community Health and Wellness Center, and the BGSU Gerontology Department. The goals of the event are to increase health awareness and encourage positive healthy behavior changes in our community through increasing knowledge of local health resources for participants through on-site health screenings, activities, materials, demonstrations, and information. Visitors should come dressed for activity as they will have the opportunity to get active by dropping in on group fitness class demos, trying out Pickleball, and walking the track free of charge. Visitors can also stop by vendor tables to learn about products, as well as activities and programs that promote and improve health and wellness. Health screenings will be available including blood pressure, bone density, oxygen saturation, and balance screening. Opportunities to learn about important topics will be provided through attending our guest speaker sessions including Dr. Robert Lavey from Wood County Hospital speaking about cancer screening; Dr. Nancy Orel from BGSU speaking about BGSU’s Optimal Aging Institute; and Josh Chatfield & Lindy Donaldson from BG Parks & Recreation speaking about fitness opportunities at the BG Community Center. Visitors will also have an opportunity to tour the community center, enjoy a…

Mosquitoes with Zika virus not in Wood County…but health district will monitor

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Northwest Ohio’s less than ideal weather may be its saving grace when it comes to the Zika virus. The shaded areas on a U.S. map showing states with the mosquito species carrying the Zika virus come very close to Wood County. The latest Centers for Disease Control maps don’t show the Zika carriers this far north. “I don’t think Northwest Ohio has enough heat,” said Connor Rittwage, epidemiologist with the Wood County Health District. The Zika virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, and has spread through much of the Caribbean, Central America and South America. So far, there have been no reported cases of Zika virus transmitted by mosquito bites in the U.S. However, cases have been reported in travelers returning to the U.S. from Zika affected countries – including nine cases in Ohio. “There is no risk for Wood County residents just by being in Wood County,” said Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. That means local residents can go about their normal summer activities without undue worry, Batey said. “People shouldn’t be concerned about limiting their summer activities,” he said. However, if traveling to affected areas, local residents should do some research first. “I’ve gotten questions from people planning their honeymoons,” Batey said. Those couples who may want to have children soon, might want to not visit areas where Zika is common. “I’d look at what country and what the risks are.” The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that the Zika virus is much more concerning than initially believed….

BGSU’s Watson honored as 2016 Educator of the Year Award in gerontology

From the BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications The Ohio Association of Gerontology Education (OAGE) will honor Dr. Wendy Watson as “Educator of the Year” tomorrow (April 15) at its 40th annual conference at Youngstown State University. Watson, an associate professor of gerontology, is the coordinator of the undergraduate and graduate programs in gerontology at BGSU. She also serves as the primary graduate faculty adviser and provides mentoring and guidance regarding courses, theses, and other graduate-level projects. According to the association, Watson’s “passion for education, along with the innovative teaching techniques she uses to foster student engagement and motivate students to achieve high academic standards, should be commended.” “I am so pleased to learn that Dr. Watson is receiving this award,” said Dr. Marie Huff, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “She is very student-centered and she consistently receives high praise from her students and advisees.” The competitively selected award recognizes individuals in Ohio’s educational institutions at any level and/or from Ohio’s aging network who have either used educational programs to improve services to older adults in Ohio or advanced gerontological education and training for students and practitioners. OAGE is an association of educators, researchers, professionals and students in Ohio dedicated to gerontological education, research and practice. It promotes gerontological education, supports Ohio’s aging network as a resource for research and practice, and provides professional development for students, faculty and professionals.

Kenwood Elementary closed Wednesday due to discolored water

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Discolored water in a drinking fountain at Kenwood Elementary School has resulted in the school being closed Wednesday. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said this afternoon that the water fountains were all shut off after greenish colored water was noticed. City utility workers were called, tested the water, and found no bacteria in it, Scruci said. As a precautionary measure, a water testing company was called, but was unable to get to the school today. “We have the company coming tomorrow to ensure that the water is without question safe,” Scruci said. Boiler technicians and plumbers are also working on the issue to identify and correct the original cause for the discoloration, he added. Because the water was clear on Monday, it is believed the problem was caused by a boiler backflow valve malfunction. “We believe that we know the cause of the problem but until we are 100 percent certain that the water in the building is safe, we cannot put students and staff at potential risk,” Scruci wrote in an email to parents. Scruci is hopeful the school will be open again on Thursday. But that will only take place if he can be assured the water is safe for students and staff to drink, he said. “If they can’t guarantee me tomorrow that the water is safe, I will cancel school again,” Scruci said. Since the school district did not use all its snow calamity days during the mild winter, the elementary has some “wiggle room,” he said.  

National Walking Day on April 6

American Heart Association Walking Day is Wednesday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the BGSU Perry Field House. Celebrate National Walking Day with BGSU, Wood County Hospital, the City of Bowling Green, and Wood County employees. Lace up your sneakers and improve your odds of living a longer, healthier life by joining us for a Poker Walk! Enjoy a healthful bout of exercise with your colleagues, healthy snacks, raffle prizes, and giveaways. POKER WALK – No prior knowledge of poker is needed to participate. Rather than winning based on skill or speed, the top individuals who collect the best poker hand while walking at the Perry Field House track win great prizes, such as a Fitbit®! The Golden Sneaker Award will be awarded to the employer with the highest percentage of walkers. SPIRIT CONTEST- The participating individual or group (office, colleagues, friends, etc) demonstrating the most enthusiasm and spirit wins a free chair massage (up to one hour) for their office or work area walkers. CELEBRITY WALKERS – Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, President, Bowling Green State University; Mayor Richard Edwards, City of Bowling Green Mayor; Dr. Sidney Childs, Interim Vice-President, Division of Student Affairs; Dr. Nicholas Espinoza, Director, Falcon Health Center; Dr. Marie Huff, Dean, College of Health and Human Services; Craig LaHote, Doris I. Herringshaw and Joel M. Kuhlman, Wood County Commissioners; Andrew Kalmar, County Administrator; Stan Korducki President, Wood County Hospital; Lori Tretter, Municipal Administrator; Monica Moll, BGSU Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety; Viva McCarver, Chief Human Resources Officer.

National Infant Immunization Week approaching

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. This year, NIIW is scheduled to be held April 16-23, 2016. Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes. Because of the success of vaccines in preventing disease, parents may not have heard of some of today’s vaccines or the serious diseases they prevent. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. That is why it is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can still be commonly transmitted in many parts of the world and brought into the country by unvaccinated individuals, putting unvaccinated people at risk. Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines. Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious…

Health survey: More Wood County residents have insurance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Wood County residents need to exercise more and eat fewer unhealthy foods. On the bright side, more of them have health insurance now to cover their medical needs. Every three years, Wood County has its overall health tested by the health district. Data was collected last year from health surveys mailed to a random sample of Wood County adults and students. A total of 513 adults and 489 adolescents responded to the surveys. The surveys showed some good and bad trends. “We did get a little better among adults,” but a little worse for adolescents with obesity and weight issues, according to Connor Rittwage, epidemiologist with the Wood County Health District. So reducing obesity is one of the priorities set in the new Community Health Improvement Plan. “It’s not going to be solved overnight,” Rittwage said. “It’s going to take decades.” Last year’s assessment also showed that more local adults have never smoked, and fewer youth are smoking. Some “major spikes” were seen in mental health issues among youth, with larger numbers purposefully hurting themselves and contemplating suicide. “Those are areas definitely to pay attention to,” Rittwage said. But a good trend was seen with health insurance. “A lot of people ended up having health care coverage,” compared to previous surveys, Rittwage said. Based on the survey results, Wood County agency partners set priorities as: Decreasing obesity. Increasing mental health services. Decreasing violence and bullying among youth. Increasing health care access and utilization. “Those are areas where we as partners can…