A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Constance Alexander: The semicolon is a valuable writing tool, that could some day save a life

“The great thing about the semicolon,” I tell my students, “is that it can make your writing look more sophisticated, and forge longer sentences that are flowing, not choppy.” But what I like best about semicolons is how Amy Bleuel transformed the symbol into a badge of hope. Thanks to her, the punctuation mark is a way to honor those who struggle with depression, suicide addiction, anxiety,...

New report shows obesity rates on the rise among Kentucky teens, improving for younger kids

A new report shows fewer young Kentuckians are obese, but the opposite is true for local adolescents. According to latest State of Obesity Report, more than 20 percent of Kentucky teens are obese, the third-worst rate in the country. That number has grown from just more than 18 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, obesity rates for younger kids are improving. Roughly 13 percent of Kentucky children ages...

New research shows binge drinking increases after college instead of subsiding, as previously thought

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Kentucky third in the country for its level of binge drinking, and new research indicates old habits die hard. Research from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) finds that binge drinking increases after age 21, instead of subsiding after the college years as previously believed. Researcher...

Keven Moore: Southwest Airlines no longer serving peanuts — and many allergy sufferers are grateful

As of the first of this month, Southwest Airlines stopped serving peanuts on all flights, abandoning the snack that has been nearly synonymous with the carrier since its inception back in 1967. The Dallas-based airline says it’s making the change “to help protect passengers who have severe peanut allergies.” Peanuts have always been the one snack perhaps most linked to the all-airline services....

CDC offers tips to college students for staying healthy and being safe; resources to help

Going to college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It is a time for gaining new knowledge and experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. Here are a few pointers for college students on staying safe and healthy. Eat healthy and engage in regular physical activity. Click for the Brochure • Choose your plate. Follow an eating plan with a variety of nutritious foods. Avoid foods...

Kentucky among worst states for children left in hot cars; why it happens and how to avoid it

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Temperatures continue to be hot and humid across Kentucky, and with that comes concerns about children being left in cars. Already this year, 25 children across the country have died of heat stroke after being left in a hot vehicle, including a 3-year-old in Franklin County in July. Ari Finkelstein, a spokesperson for the organization “Kars for Kids,”...

Guide to Bug Repellents can help you fend off disease-carrying ticks, mosquitoes as diseases rise

A number of factors should come into play when you’re choosing a bug repellent: what part of the country you live in, where you plan to travel, whether you’re pregnant and whether you are planning to use the product on children. Environmental Working Group‘s 2018 Guide to Bug Repellents can help you find the right product for yourself and your family. No repellent works every place against...

Kentucky Department of Agriculture partners with federal government to improve food safety

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help Kentucky food producers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. Under the cooperative agreement, the FDA will release a total of $2.84 million to Kentucky over the next three years. The funds will be divided among the KDA, the University of Kentucky,...

Kellog’s recalls Honey Smacks cereal after 100 sickened, two from Kentucky; CDC warns ‘do not eat’

All Honey Smacks cereal has been recalled after a multi-state salmonilla outbreak has been linked to the cereal, infecting 100 people in 33 states. Two have been infected in Kentucky. The Kellogg Co. first recalled the product mid-June, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the cereal is still being offered for sale in some places. “Retailers cannot legally offer the cereal for sale...

Ky. ranks next to last in exercise, the closest thing to a wonder drug, say Centers for Disease Control

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky adults rank next to last for getting the recommended amount of exercise, followed only by Mississippi, according to a recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, based on CDC polling that asks people about their exercise habits and health. The poll found that only 14.6 percent of Kentucky adults reported getting the amount of...

Kentucky Health News: Celebrity suicides raise concerns; Kentucky rate higher than most states

“The suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain just days apart . . . have mental health professionals worried about the potential for what’s known as a ‘contagion’ effect, but at the same time they say media coverage may lead people to seek help,” Marek Mazurek and Laney Ruckstuhl report for The Boston Globe. Click to enlarge “Anytime there’s...

Ten Kentucky counties under outbreak status for Hepatitis A; 629 cases reported since November

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Hepatitis A outbreak has become a concern for people because the virus is so rare, yet 10 counties in Kentucky are currently under outbreak status and will receive extra funds for vaccines, a state official said. 
Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey Howard provided an update on the situation Thursday on Facebook Live with the heavily traveled Memorial Day...

Governor’s office names winners in statewide opioid awareness public service announcement contest

Gov. Matt Bevin’s office today announced the winning teams in the “Find Help Now” / “Don’t Let Them Die” marketing challenge, a public service announcement (PSA) competition for Kentucky high school students designed to create awareness about the dangers of opioid use. Sponsored by the Governor’s Office, the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), the U.S. Centers for...

April is Minority Health Month in Kentucky; health status report reveals alarming statistics

Governor Matt Bevin has proclaimed April as Minority Health Month in Kentucky. The Department of Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) joins Governor Bevin, public health professionals and advocates in heightening awareness of health issues affecting minority populations in Kentucky. During Minority Health Month, DPH’s Office of Health Equity releases the 2017...

Centers for Disease Control study ranks Ky. at or near top in several measures of binge drinking

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Binge drinking in Kentucky, which has been rising in recent years, is now among the heaviest in the nation, and tops in one measure. That’s according to the latest study of the topic, by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC defines binge drinking by consumption of alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period: five or more for men, and four...

Rural Blog: Appalachia at high risk of HIV, hep C, but many factors hamper testing, monitoring, treatment

Bloodborne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C are an increasing threat to public health in Appalachia, but the stigma associated with such diseases may be hindering monitoring, testing and treatment, ultimately increasing the risk of outbreaks. A big part of the risk comes from sharing needles while shooting opioid drugs such as heroin. In 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that...

Only 54 percent of Ky. high schools have full-time nurse; poll shows support for one in every school

Barely half of Kentucky’s high schools have a full-time registered nurse, according to the School Health Profiles compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says 45 percent of Kentucky high schools had a part-time registered nurse, while 29 percent had a school-based health center. The latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll found that Kentucky adults “overwhelmingly...

Coalition for Smoke-Free Tomorrow says $1 tax will actually reduce impact of smoking on health

A Coalition of more than 150 organizations is calling on the Kentucky legislature to help reduce smoking rates among low-income and other vulnerable populations by raising the excise tax on cigarettes by at least $1 per pack. The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow says an increase of at least $1 is necessary to reduce the impact of smoking on Kentuckians’ health and the economy; much less,...

Pew Trusts: Overdose deaths have declined in 14 states; Kentucky records a 14 percent increase

By Christine Vestal Special to KyForward New provisional data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdose deaths declined in 14 states during the 12-month period that ended July 2017, a potentially hopeful sign that policies aimed at curbing the death toll may be working. In an opioid epidemic that began in the late 1990s, drug deaths have been climbing...

UK Cooperative Extension goes red to promote heart health during American Heart Month in February

By Carol Lea Spence Special to KyForward In myriad ways, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension has opened its Big Blue heart in February to celebrate and promote American Heart Month. In luncheons awash in red, in all-day knitting sessions and at health fairs, Cooperative Extension spread the important message: take care of your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists heart...