I’ll never forget the day I learned the truth about juice – that as little as six ounces can have almost as much sugar as two donuts!
As a mother of two, I constantly hear about what I should do to keep my kids healthy. I manage their daily schedules, read to and play with them and (of course) shower them with love. It’s hard to find time to educate myself about what’s truly best when it comes to their health.
Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center (SECAHEC)
Working as an intern and volunteer for the Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center (SECAHEC) has opened my eyes to the many resources available to busy parents. SECAHEC aims to improve quality healthcare in Southeastern Colorado. In 2014, we partnered with Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation to start building awareness of the importance of children’s baby teeth. This work started in Pueblo and has since expanded to areas beyond.
Through the partnership, SECAHEC trains oral health promoters, or promotores, to engage with Pueblo families. In this role, I’ve connected with more than 300 members of our community on why baby teeth matter, why it’s important to limit sugary drinks like juice and how to avoid cavities. These are simple things families and communities can do to improve oral health.
The families I speak with appreciate that I, too, am a parent and share their concern and compassion about keeping their children healthy. As a mother, I’m able to provide them with tips I’ve learned firsthand to reduce sugar in my own children’s diets.
Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC)
I also conduct the family discussions at the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) program to introduce the Cavities Get Around campaign to Pueblo-area families in need, while they wait for their appointments. Families enrolled in WIC get a lot of juice. Hopefully this will soon change. and families will get cash value vouchers to buy more fruits and vegetables. In the meantime, education is crucial. At WIC’s Pueblo office, I hand out pamphlets and ask families to serve water, not juice, between meals and at bedtime for a healthy smile. Families who take part are given an oral health goody bag.
The Cavities Get Around campaign is bringing invaluable information and education to families who need it the most. I am so thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful initiative.
Jasmine Hall has been an intern and volunteer for SECAHEC since September 2016.