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Southwind District

Erie Office

111 South Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Fax:  620-244-3829

Fort Scott Office

210 South National
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Fax:  620-223-0332

Iola Office

1 North Washington
Iola, KS 66749
Fax:  620-365-7944

Yates Center Office

211 W. Butler
Yates Center, KS  66783
Fax:  620-625-8645

Health, Nutrition, and Physical Activity

Our overall health is affected by the food we eat and our physical activity.  With proper diet and exercise, we reduce our risks for chronic diseases such as heart disease, many cancers, type 2 diabetes, anemia, and bone loss.  A nutritious diet can also help reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, manage arthritis, and manage diabetes.  Physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, improves cardiovascular health, protects against many health conditions, increases energy, controls weight, and improves mental health and mood. The trick to staying healthy is all about finding a balance of food and physical activity that works for you.

 nutr health

Kansas citizens want reliable research-based information about their food supply.  Busy families want to prepare quick, easy, nutritious meals.  Helping Kansans eat more healthfully and increase physical activity can improve their quality of life now and in the future, and reduce health care costs.  Learning to eat healthfully can also stretch family food budgets.

February is American Heart Month

As American Heart Month, February is the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart.  Heart disease, and the conditions that lead to it, can happen at ANY age, not just older adults.  Half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

Are you at risk?

  • High blood pressure - Millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s.  About half of people with high blood pressure don't have it under control.  Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
  • High blood cholesterol - High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease.  Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
  • Smoking - More than 37 million U.S. adults are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking each day.  Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.

Other conditions and behaviors that affect your risk for heart disease include:

  • Obesity - Carrying extra weight puts stress on the heart.  More than 1 in 3 Americans - and nearly 1 in 6 children ages 2 to 19 - has obesity.  You can calculate your body mass index here: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
  • Diabetes - Diabetes causes sugar to build up in the blood.  This can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle.  Nearly 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes.
  • Physical inactivity - Staying physically active helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy.  Only 1 in 5 adults meets the physical activity guidelines of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity.
  • Unhealthy eating patterns - Most Americans, including children, eat too much salt, which increases blood pressure.  Replacing foods high in sodium with fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure.  But only 1 in 10 adults is getting enough fruits and vegetables each day.  Diet high in trans-fat, saturated fat, and added sugar increases the risk factor for heart disease.

We can help!

Our FCS agents can direct you to K-State Research and Extension publications with more information about heart health, a healthy diet, and exercise.  Here are a few to get you started:  Adopt Habits for Heart Health, Eat for a Healthy Heart, Health Benefits of Exercise: The Facts.

For a heart-healthy shopping list, click here.

Classes and seminars are also offered throughout the year that promote good health.  Call your FCS agent to find out more.

Joy Miller
Southwind District Extension Agent, Adult Development and Aging & Family Resource Management
Fort Scott Office
Phone: 620-223-3720

Kathy McEwan
Southwind Extension District Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Iola Office
Phone: 620-365-2242


Barbara Stockebrand

Southwind Extension District Agent, Adult Development and Aging
Yates Center Office
Phone: 620-625-8620
Southwind District FCS agents address research based information to teach nutrition, meal planning, food preparation, food budgeting and safe food practices.  We work with community partners in Allen, Bourbon, Neosho, and Woodson counties.