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Features Health & Wellness

For 28 years the month of March has been known as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The declaration was made by President Ronald Reagan and tremendous strides have been made over the years to promote and protect the rights of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) to live, learn, work and play as valued and contributing members of their communities. When President Reagan signed the proclamation in 1987 the estimation of the number of individuals in the U.S. with developmental disabilities was four million. Now it is estimated that there are more than seven million individuals with I/DD in the U.S. alone.

The Arc of North Carolina has been providing advocacy for individuals with I/DD and their families for more than 60 years. Part of this advocacy involves the N.C. State Legislative advocacy. This year The Arc of N.C. has identified nine priority areas for legislative advocacy on behalf of individuals with I/DD.

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N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis recently published a new web resource titled, “Healthy Living,” found at plantsforhumanhealth.ncsu.edu. The new section is focused on sharing information directly from PHHI researchers, specifically identifying food crops that impact disease and promote a healthy body.

An image of the human anatomy anchors the collection of research-based findings, which are categorized by diseases or common health concerns affecting each of the nine body systems. Each body system links to a list of food crops that PPHI scientists have evaluated for impact on a particular illness. Each crop page includes: a brief summary of the relevant research findings, a link directly to the journal article, a healthy recipe to utilize the crop, and a cross reference list to other body systems the crop may affect. A glossary was also developed to help users better understand the vocabulary used in the research, including plant compounds and medical terminology.

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Macon County Public Health is currently conducting a series of public listening sessions to gain public input on a variety of vulnerable health populations who live in Macon County.

  • A listening session to learn more about the issues affecting Latino residents of Macon County will be held on Thursday, March 12, at 6 p.m. Dinner will be provided. The meeting will be held at the Sunset Restaurant, 498 Harrison Ave. in Franklin.
  • A listening session to learn more about the issues affecting senior citizens will be held on Friday, March 13, at noon. A lunch will be provided. The meeting will be held at the Macon County Senior Center, 108 Wayah Street in Franklin.
  • A listening session to learn more about the issues affecting uninsured and/or lower income citizens will be held on Monday, March 16, at 6 p.m. A meal will be provided. The meeting will be held at Macon County Public Health, 1830 Lakeside Drive in Franklin.
  • A listening session to learn more about the issues affecting those living with a mental illness in Macon County will be held on Monday, March 30, at 6 p.m. Dinner will be provided. The meeting will be held at the Sunset Restaurant, 498 Harrison Ave. in Franklin.
  • A listening session to learn more about the issues affecting the uninsured and/or lower income residents of Highlands will be held on Tuesday, March 31, at noon. A lunch will be provided. The meeting will be held at the Highlands Community Care Clinic, 52 Dora Lane in Highlands.

Harris Regional Hospital, in partnership with both the Western Carolina University Nutrition Club and the Jackson County Department of Public Health, will host the March “Tuesdays to Thrive” session, focused around nutrition and eating for a healthy lifestyle, on Tuesday, March 3, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the main lobby of Harris Regional Hospital. The event, which is open to all community members, is part of a year-long series of wellness events in partnership with Jackson County Department of Public Health held the first Tuesday of each month.

Event attendees will learn how to “eat smart, move more, and weigh less.” Experts on the topic of nutrition and healthy eating will provide education as part of National Nutrition Month, as well as doing a healthy cooking demonstration. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the experts and get assistance developing a nutrition and healthy lifestyle plan that works for them.

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