The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, May 07, 2009, Page Page 8, Image 8

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    Page 8
The INDEPENDENT, May 7, 2009
Crisis/suicide phone line Oregon obesity a public health crisis
The Task Force for a Com- costs Oregon $781 million per tion program, bring physical ac-
reports large increase
prehensive Obesity Prevention year.
tivity and nutritious food back
Calls to the state’s 24-hour
crisis and suicide prevention
lines run by Oregon Partner-
ship (OP) are coming in at a
rate of about 50 percent higher
than a year ago. And the econ-
omy is a major reason.
“It’s been this way since
September of last year,” said
Leslie Storm, Director of OP’s
Crisis Line Program. “It stands
to reason that when the unem-
ployment rate goes up and
people are hurting financially,
so does the tension level for
more Oregonians.”
OP reports a slight increase
of calls in March 2009 com-
pared to February 2009. Last
month, 1,584 calls came in to
LifeLine (OP’s suicide preven-
tion line) and 1,111 calls came
into HelpLine (OP’s alcohol and
drug crisis line).
In January 2009, the lines
received 71 percent more calls
than it did the previous Janu-
“I wish I could say that with
spring, we’ll see fewer calls,”
says Storm. “But people are al-
ways surprised to learn that
normally, we see an upsurge in
deaths by suicide in April.
Those suffering from depres-
sion, for example, are ener-
gized to take action.”
Psychologists point out that
someone deeply depressed of-
ten lacks the energy to plan
and follow through with a sui-
cide attempt, but once a de-
pressed person starts to come
out of his or her depression a
bit, there’s enough energy to
make a plan.
Storm adds that intervention
is often sufficient for people to
look for safe options and be
available for those thinking of
OP’s Suicide Prevention
Line (1-800-273-TALK) is the
state’s only suicide crisis hot-
line certified by the American
Association of Suicidology and
is part of the National LifeLine
Oregon Partnership’s Help-
Line (1-800-923-HELP) pro-
vides crisis intervention, includ-
ing confidential alcohol and
drug crisis counseling and
treatment referral.
Operated by experienced
staff and approximately 75 vol-
unteers, who undergo 56 hours
of crisis line skills training, the
four lines – including The
YouthLine and Linea de Ayuda
- are the lifeblood for those in
crisis and feel they have
nowhere else to turn.
For this past fiscal year,
more than 25,000 people re-
ceived immediate assistance
from this efficient and cost ef-
fective operation.
Oregon Partnership is a
statewide nonprofit that has
worked to promote healthy kids
and communities for well over
a decade, by raising aware-
ness about drug and alcohol is-
sues, providing prevention ed-
ucation in classrooms, and 24-
hour crisis lines for people
needing help. To learn more,
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Initiative, created by the 2007
Legislature, released a report
on March 31 showing that obe-
sity among Oregon adults and
children is increasing at alarm-
ing rates and calling for invest-
ments in science-based pre-
vention programs.
“One in five Oregon children
today is overweight or obese,”
said Bruce Goldberg, M.D.,
task force chairman and direc-
tor of the Oregon Department
of Human Services. “This is a
public health crisis, and there is
no time to lose in taking action.”
In Oregon today, six of every
10 adults is overweight of
obese – 1.7 million of Oregon’s
total adult population of 2.9 mil-
lion. These adults have a high-
er risk of cancer, diabetes,
heart disease and stroke, as
well as high blood pressure and
high cholesterol.
Every year, another 43,500
Oregon adults become obese.
The proportion of obese adults
has more than doubled in the
past 18 years and the propor-
tion of obese children has
tripled in the past 20. Treating
diseases related to obesity
“The health care costs are
staggering, but we cannot sim-
ply treat our way out of the
problem,” Goldberg said. “What
we need, and the work of the
task force supports this, is a
comprehensive focus on pre-
venting obesity.”
“Obesity is not a problem of
willower or personal character.
People are not all that different
than they were 30 years ago.
What has changed is how and
where we live,” said Mary Lou
Heinrich, MS, BUN, a member
of the task force and executive
director of Community Health
Partnership: Oregon’s Public
Health Institute. “It is too easy
to find high-calorie, low-nutri-
tion food and way too easy to
be sedentary at work and at
home. We need to get to work
and make healthy choices the
easy choices.”
Changing the environments
where Oregonians live, work,
study and play is a high priority
of the task force. The report
states that for Oregon to even
begin to stem the tide of obesi-
ty, we must invest in a compre-
hensive prevention and educa-
into our schools and our daily
lives and make the healthy
choices the easy choices.
The report also recommend-
ed policy changes in the areas
of land use and transportation,
and changes in school, work-
site and health care settings:
“Choices about how active we
are and what we eat are em-
bedded in our social, cultural
and physical environments.
Changes in these environ-
ments caused the obesity epi-
demic. Changes in these envi-
ronments are critical to ending
the obesity epidemic.”
The task force, formed by
the 2007 Oregon Legislature,
studied the epidemic and de-
veloped funding and policy rec-
ommendations. Among the rec-
• Invest an initial $10 million
per year in a statewide, sci-
ence-based obesity prevention
and education program
• Invest an initial $3.5 million
per biennium to support physi-
cal education in schools.
Link to report on Web:
How to practice non-toxic lawn care
Like many moms, Michelle
Franz a Southeast Portland
mother is worried about her
daughter’s health. That’s one
reason why she’s encouraging
mothers across the state to use
a website sponsored by the
Oregon Department of Environ-
mental Quality to help her keep
her lawn healthy to protect her
“Children are more sensitive
to chemicals and contaminants
when they are young and are
much more likely to get into
them when they are crawling
around on the grass,” says
Michelle is featured on a
video on the Healthy Lawns,
Healthy Families website, On the
site, people tell stories about
how they successfully use nat-
ural methods to create healthy,
attractive lawns without chemi-
cals to protect their children
and pets.
DEQ created this website to
provide information about how
to have a great-looking lawn
without chemical fertilizers and
weed killers. Natural lawn care
can actually produce a healthi-
er lawn. Healthy grass can help
keep weed populations down.
Misuse and overuse of pesti-
cides and chemical fertilizers
on the lawn can lead to lawn
problems. Rain or irrigation of-
ten washes the chemicals off
the lawn and into storm drains
and ultimately to rivers and
streams. Once in the water, the
chemicals can cause problems
for fish including birth defects
and reproductive sterilization.
In addition, this pollution builds
up in the tissues of fish and
See Lawn Care page 21
Free talk on women’s heart health
Women and Heart Disease
will be the topic of a free 90-
minute presentation on Thurs-
day, May 14, at 6:00 p.m. at the
Tuality Health Education Cen-
ter at 334 SE 8th Ave., Hills-
Nearly 39 percent of all fe-
male deaths in America occur
from cardiovascular disease
(CVD). Yet, there are still mis-
perceptions that CVD is not a
real problem for women.
Learn what steps women
can take to maintain and im-
prove their heart health.
If you plan to attend, please
call 503-681-1700 so they can
plan for the correct number of