On February 25th, Western Health Advantage will be raising awareness about colon cancer by participating as a sponsor and as a team – WHAtch Your Tushie – in the 2017 Sacramento Undy Run/Walk put on by the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Last year, Sacramento was one of 24 cities nationwide to hold an Undy Run/Walk, and this February we will be hitting the streets in our boxers or briefs for this family-friendly event. The Undy Run/Walk is a fun twist on a serious topic which is sparking much-needed conversations and kicking colon cancer’s butt, one city at a time.  And if that’s not enough, you even have the chance to stroll through a larger-than-life inflatable colon on site and learn more about colon cancer! (How many chances do you have to do that in your life?)

The 5K and one-mile fun runs – which take place in William Land Park – include a wellness expo area and a special ceremony to support everyone impacted by this disease.

A healthy diet, daily exercise and proper colon screening can help prevent and detect colon cancer.  WHAtch Your Tushie and get your colon checked!   Talk to your doctor and together decide what’s best for you. For more information, visit cancer.org.

Please support the WHA team’s involvement in the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Undy Run/Walk with a tax-deductible donation. Your support will help us end colorectal cancer and save lives. Or even better, join the WHA team and enter WHAtch Your Tushie.

For more information on the Sacramento Undy Run/Walk, visit support.ccalliance.org.

Want more info on colon cancer and events?  Go to Colon Cancer Alliance


To help protect adolescents against dangerous diseases, Western Health Advantage is joining with the California Department of Public Health in recognizing February 12-18 as Preteen Vaccine Week.

“Vaccines offer safe and effective protection from infectious diseases. By staying up-to-date on the recommended vaccinations, people can protect themselves, their families, and their communities from serious, life-threatening illnesses,” said Donald B. Hufford, M.D., WHA’s Chief Medical Officer.

Preteens need vaccines against whooping cough (Tdap), meningitis (MenACWY), and HPV when they are 11-12 years old. Incoming 7th graders must also provide proof of having received the whooping cough shot before starting school. A booster dose of MenACWY is recommended when teens are 16 years old. In addition, flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months or older – not just preteens and teens.

Dr. Hufford reminds parents, “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to ask your doctor about the three vaccines recommended for your child at their preteen visit, plus a flu shot every year.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, all new health plans are required to cover ACIP-recommended vaccines at all ages without charging a deductible or copayment.

For more information about recommended schedules for immunizations, visit mywha.org/teenIZ.



Red puzzle heart with stethoscope on grey wooden background

Western Health Advantage is proud to participate in American Heart Month, in partnership with the American Heart Association. This is a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

Also, if you haven’t had a physical in the last year, schedule one. If you have received a check-up recently, are you following your healthcare provider’s recommendations? And ask the people you care about these questions too.

For more information, visit heart.org and westernhealth.com/hearthealth.


Heart disease is the No.1 cause of death in women and it’s time to take a stand……in RED! Go Red for Women is a nationwide event that is devoted in helping women fight back against heart disease.

Join millions of women in the fight against heart disease Feb. 3, 2017 for National Wear Red Day.  Whether on the job or walking outside, illuminate your wardrobe and support women fighting heart disease.

Alarming heart health statistics include:

  • Every 80 seconds a woman dies of heart disease or stroke.
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 three deaths in women each year.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death.

Take charge of your heart care! Urge your mothers, sisters, and friends to get their heart checkups. Get your cholesterol screening and get regular medical care from your primary care physician.

Get healthier! Resolve, today, to make one healthy change in your life. Eat breakfast, even if it’s an apple or a high-fiber bagel you grab on your way out the door. Switch one soda a day for a glass of water. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Heart disease is largely preventable. Click here to learn more about heart disease prevention and heart healthy tips.

Check out Go Red for Women for more information.


January 8-14, 2017 is Folic Acid Awareness Week! The National Birth Defects Prevention Network promotes this week to increase awareness of the importance of consuming enough folic acid, particularly for pregnant women.

Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. If taken before and during early pregnancy from a multi-vitamin or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent from 50% up to 70% of some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine.

Experts recommend that women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily, from:

  • Eating fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals,
  • Taking a daily multi-vitamin or folic acid supplement
  • Including a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet

The easiest way to be sure to get the recommended daily amount of folic acid is to take a multi-vitamin every day.

More information at: CDC



images-3Many young women are missing the opportunity to be screened for cervical cancer.  As January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, WHA would like to remind you of the importance of cervical cancer prevention and early detection.  Cervical cancer, which forms in the tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina), is almost always caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which is spread through sexual contact.

Pap Test

Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms.  After the Pap test was introduced in the 1950s, the death rate for cervical cancer patients was greatly reduced because cervical cancer started being detected early, when it is most curable. When cervical cancer is diagnosed early, when it has not spread, the 5-year survival rate is 91%.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that most women ages 21 to 65 get a Pap test once every three years. Women ages 30 to 65 may wait five years between Pap tests if they test for HPV at the same time. The HPV test isn’t advised for women under age 30.

HPV Vaccine

Besides early detection with a Pap smear, there is a proven way to prevent many cervical cancers – by getting vaccinated for HPV.  HPV is the cause of most cases of cervical cancer, which is why getting this vaccination is so important for young women. The American Cancer Society recommends that the vaccine be given to girls at age 11 to 12. That’s because a woman should get the HPV vaccine before she has any type of sexual contact with another person.

To protect yourself from HPV and cervical cancer:

  • Have regular Pap tests
  • Get the HPV vaccine
  • Use condoms and limit your number of sexual partners
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain your proper body weight

For more information, visit mywha.org/womenswellness.


The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is a nationwide child injury prevention program dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury. Each year SAFE KIDS observes December as National Safe Toys and Gifts Month.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season and year round:

  • Child-age toys: Choose toys appropriate for your child’s age, interests and skill level.
  • Toys with small parts: For children younger than three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Use the cardboard core of a toilet paper roll to test for size – if a toy can pass through, it is too small for young children and may cause them to choke if swallowed.
  • Toys with sharp edges: Avoid toys with sharp points or edges. Also avoid toys that produce loud noises, and projectiles (such as darts).
  • Strings, straps or cords: Toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches can pose a risk for strangulation for young children.
  • Electrical toys: Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
  • Check labels: Check for safety labels that say whether or not a toy is toxic.
  • Scooters and other riding toys: Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit.
  • Balloons: Choking causes one third of all toy-related deaths – most often from balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons immediately.

Perhaps the most important thing a parent can do is to supervise play.

For additional information about safe toys, visit the National Safe Kids Campaign.

Click here for more toy safety tips

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