Joe’s Health Calendar for Feb. 17

Check this column regularly for health events of interest to San Joaquin County residents. New events are being added all the time. You never know what you could read here.

Have a health-oriented event the public in San Joaquin County should know about? Let me know at and I’ll get it into my Health Calendar. I’m not interested in promoting commercial enterprises here, but I am interested in helping out nonprofit and/or community groups, hospitals, clinics, physicians and other health-care providers. Look for four categories: Community Events, Hospitals, Public Health and Schools.

TO THE PUBLIC: I won’t list an item here from a source that I don’t know or trust. So I believe you can count on what you read here. If there is a problem, please don’t hesitate to let me know at (209) 546-8278 or jgoldeen@recordnet.comThanks, Joe


40 Days to Health Reform Campaign Kickoff

Feb. 17 (today): Health Care for America Now says the private health-insurance industry and its Republican lackeys are publicly gloating because they think that the recent change in the makeup of the Senate has supposedly “killed” Health Care for America Now’s determined efforts to bring about monumental change to our country’s broken health-care system. There’s no denying that we’ve experienced our fair share of setbacks in this momentous campaign. And now without the 60th vote in the Senate to break the Republican filibusters, the only path to comprehensive health reform is through reconciliation. And while the Senate bill is definitely a step above the status quo, it’s still seriously flawed and needs to be fixed before it can pass in the House. In order to rectify this, the Senate needs to agree to a corrections bill with the House and then pass it under reconciliation rules. And that’s precisely why they’re making one last big push to make sure that health reform is finished right this year! On Feb. 17, Health Care for America Now and its partners are kicking off the “40 Days to Health Reform” campaign – a national day of action to demonstrate mass public support for finishing health-care reform by the Easter holiday using the two-step process involving the Senate’s version of the health reform bill in “Reconciliation.” Visit to find more on the events, or to volunteer to help get the word out!

Business Planning Seminar for H1N1 Pandemic

Feb. 17 (today) 8 a.m. to noon: State Compensation Insurance Fund and UC Berkeley’s Center for Infectious Disease and Emergency Readiness are holding a free seminar to help businesses plan for the H1N1 influenza and a possible pandemic. Designed for business owners, HR managers, health and safety leaders, and risk and security managers, this seminar will help prepare businesses on key concepts of business continuity and emergency planning. Attendees will learn how to prepare their organizations for the potential impact this flu season may have on their work forces. Registration and complimentary breakfast begin at 8 a.m. at the Stockton WorkNet Center, 56 S. Lincoln St. The seminar will end at noon and is open to the public. To register, contact Aurora Zendejas at (209) 476-2723 or visit the Seminars page at

Operation Blanket

Through Feb. 18 (Thursday): Sears customers are invited to show their support for homeless veterans and donate gently used blankets. In exchange for their donation, Sears will provide each customer with a coupon for 20 percent off any one home fashion or home décor item, or a coupon for 10 percent off any one housewares, luggage or furniture item (mattresses are excluded). Customers will receive a coupon for each blanket they donate at any Sears store in San Joaquin County or the nation.

Operation Food Bank Deadline Extended

Feb. 19 (Friday): Because of the Calaveras County community’s positive response to Operation Food Bank, the food bank drive at Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital has been extended one week to Feb. 19. The Employee Satisfaction Team at Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital is helping to restore Calaveras County’s Food Bank after the busy holiday season. Receptacles have been placed throughout the hospital, its four Family Medical Centers and the fire stations at Jenny Lind and Murphys where employees, patients, friends and neighbors can bring nonperishable food and personal household supplies. “It’s easy; anyone can help: a canned good, a frozen turkey, shampoo, toothpaste or even a box of facial tissue are all items much needed by our local resource,” said team member Nicki Stevens. “The hard part is remembering to do it!” Information: (209) 754-2603. The Resource Connection’s Food Bank is located in a new facility at 206 George Reed Drive, San Andreas. It can be reached at (209) 754-1257.

Discount Health Plans: New Rules Considered at Public Hearing

Feb. 22 (Monday) 11:30 a.m.: The California Department of Managed Health Care has scheduled a public hearing regarding the proposed rulemaking action entitled Discount Health Plans at the Elihu Harris State Building , 1515 Clay St. , Conference Room 11, 2nd Floor, Oakland . The purpose of this public hearing is to solicit and receive public comments regarding discount health plans. Oral comments received during the public hearing should be limited to the subject of the rulemaking action and no more than five minutes in length. Click here for the agenda.

Relearning Skills and Comprehension for Stroke Survivors

Feb. 25 (Thursday) noon to 2 p.m.: Healings in Motion presents the Central Valley Recovery, Awareness, Preventing Strokes program (CV-RAPS) at Health Plan of San Joaquin in the Community Room, 7751 S. Manthey Road, French Camp (just west of Interstate 5 at the Mathews Road exit). Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. This month’s speaker is Lia Harp, president of the Harp Learning Institute. She will focus on relearning skills and comprehension.  She will include brain stimulating exercises in her presentation. In addition, stroke survivor Bernard Adeniram shares what he did to regain his strength and start life again after his stroke. Caregiver Catherine Brovelli shares her recent research on social psychotherapy. Could it be helpful to you? Greg Garma, challenged with reading after his stroke, found a way to get his computer to read to him and has designed a format on to show you how to set up your computer to read to you. A computer wiz before his stroke, Greg thought that all abilities were gone until he worked diligently on  this project to regain some of his computer skills again. Reuben Elias, stroke survivor, shares a biblical verse supporting a healthy life and guides us in prayer. Survivors, caregivers and medical professionals collaborate for healing.  Many others seek information for prevention. This ongoing process exemplifies what the nonprofit Healings in Motion personifies. Donation: $15; for survivors and caregiver, the cost is only $5. RSVP is necessary for lunch. Call(209) 234-2802. Exhibits and handouts may also be provided. The public is welcome. Connect with other stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors. Establish links. Receive encouragement and support. Feel included. Be inspired. Discover new resources. Get engaged! Feel comfortable sharing your challenges and hear experts focused on aspects of brain health!

Life or Death for Baby Ricardo

Feb. 25 (Thursday) 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Stockton baby Ricardo Buzo Jr., 14 months, has been diagnosed with Hurler syndrome, an extremely rare genetic disorder characterized by severe abnormalities in development of skeletal cartilage and bone, and mental retardation. By the end of February, he will need a bone marrow transplant or else he is expected to die between the ages of 6 and 10. Several bone marrow drives have been planned for Stockton this month. People, especially of Latino origin, are asked to stop by to fill out a brief questionnaire and have a mouth swab taken. If it’s positive, you will be called back quickly to provide a blood sample and could be asked to become a bone marrow donor. The last scheduled drive is planned for the central quad at San Joaquin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Ave., Stockton. Information: Lupe Buzo at (209) 298-0501.

Spring Health Fair at Ironstone Vineyards

Feb. 27 (Saturday) 7 a.m. to noon: Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Andreas has announced the availability of booth spaces at its first Spring Health Fair at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys. The free, inside fair will include health screenings, blood analysis, senior services, bone-density screenings, nutrition and fitness, and food, music and fun. Health-related community organizations and businesses who are interested in a booth space can contact Nicki Stevens at (209) 754-2603. “This will be an extension of our Fall Health Fair held on the hospital campus which draws over 1,000 participants. We feel this new Fair will favor our Highway 4 communities and spring is a perfect time to get health information,” hospital President Feliciano Jiron said.

Social Security Adds 38 New Compassionate Allowance Conditions

March 1 (Monday): Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of Social Security, has announced that the agency is adding 38 more conditions to its list of Compassionate Allowances and will begin electronically targeting them March 1. This is the first expansion since the original list of 50 conditions – 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers – was announced in October 2008. The new conditions range from adult brain disorders to rare diseases that primarily affect children. Click here for the complete list of the new Compassionate Allowance conditions. “The addition of these new conditions expands the scope of Compassionate Allowances to a broader subgroup of conditions like early-onset Alzheimer’s disease,” Commissioner Astrue said. “The expansion we are announcing today means tens of thousands of Americans with devastating disabilities will now get approved for benefits in a matter of days rather than months and years.” Compassionate Allowances are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that clearly qualify for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. It allows the agency to electronically target and make speedy decisions for the most obviously disabled individuals. In developing the expanded list of conditions, Social Security held public hearings and worked closely with the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, and other groups. “The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s indicates significant cognitive impairment that interferes with daily living activities, including the ability to work. Now, individuals who are dealing with the enormous challenges of Alzheimer’s won’t also have to endure the financial and emotional toll of a long disability decision process,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We will continue to hold hearings and look for other diseases and conditions that can be added to our list of Compassionate Allowances,” Commissioner Astrue said. “There can be no higher priority than getting disability benefits quickly to those Americans with these severe and life-threatening conditions.” For more information about the agency’s Compassionate Allowances initiative, go to

Free Kidney Evaluation

March 6 (Saturday) 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Adults age 18 and older with high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease are invited to receive a free kidney screening at the Kidney Early Evaluation Program, or KEEP. The event will be presented by Memorial Medical Center and the National Kidney Foundation at St. Stanislaus Church Hall in Modesto. KEEP was designed to raise awareness about kidney disease among high-risk individuals. It includes free testing and educational information, which can prevent or delay the complications of kidney disease. People who have a high risk of kidney disease are invited to register for a comprehensive health-risk appraisal, blood-pressure measurement, blood and urine testing, and the opportunity to discuss their health and review results with on-site clinicians. For information or to make an appointment, contact Memorial’s Health Center at (209) 572-7262.

Pacific Family Health Fair

March 7 (Sunday) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: St. Luke’s Catholic Church Gym, 3847 N. Sutter St., Stockton. Free and open to the public. The annual health fair is organized by the Academy of Student Pharmacists, a student organization in University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The event will include a range of free health services, including cholesterol, blood sugar and bone density screenings and medication consultations, as well as eye, ear and dental exams. Information: (209) 553-8368 or

Maintenance Partners For Life

Through March 14 (Sunday): For the third consecutive year, local Jiffy Lube service centers will promote heart health and vehicle health awareness with its Maintenance Partners For Life Campaign. Jiffy Lube customers who make a $3 donation to Go Red For Women will receive the Maintenance Partners for Life book containing $100 worth of vehicle preventive-maintenance savings, as well as contribute to Jiffy Lube’s goal of raising $1.5 million for the American Heart Association’s fight against heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 3 killers in America. These and other cardiovascular diseases kill approximately 450,000 women each year — that’s about one woman every minute. The Go Red For Women movement aims to educate, encourage and empower women to take action to fight heart disease and stroke and live a longer, stronger, healthier life.

Community Health and Vision Fair

April 10 (Saturday) 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: The San Joaquin Lions Club in partnership with Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is putting on its annual health and vision fair at CCBVI, 130 W. Flora St., Stockton. Event is open to the public and will feature a variety of free medical testings as well as free vision screenings by eye-care professionals. Service agencies and vendors will host informational tables to raise community awareness. Information: (209) 466-3836.

Go Red For Women Luncheon

April 29 (Friday): Learn more about the American Heart Association and support its efforts, particularly its fight against heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women. Luncheon will be held at The Hilton Stockton, 2323 Grand Canal Blvd., Stockton. For sponsorship information or to attend the luncheon, contact Janelle Wilkinson at (209) 477-2683 or

Memory Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Oct. 2 (Saturday) 9 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. walk begins: California State Capitol South Steps, 10th and L streets, Sacramento. 3 mile route and 1.5 mile shortcut. Call or email Erin Stone at (916) 930-9080 or We’re on the move to end Alzheimer’s. If you’re the kind of person who’s not going to sit on the sidelines when there’s a chance to change the future, then you’re the person we need. With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and nearly 10 million more serving as caregivers, the time to act is now! When you register for the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk, you’re joining a nationwide community of thousands of people who are standing up and participating in the fight against this devastating disease.

Food Addicts In Recovery Anonymous

Saturdays 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Are you having trouble controlling the way you eat? Are you underweight or overweight? Obsessed with weight or dieting? Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous groups meet weekly and charge no dues, no fees and have no weigh-ins. Tracy Community Church, 1790 Sequoia Blvd (at 11th Street and Corral Hollow), Tracy. Also meeting in Brentwood at John Muir/Mt. Diablo  Medical Center, Second Floor Conference Room, 2400 Balfour Road, from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m. Thursdays and in Modesto at Unity Church of Modesto, 2467 Veneman Ave., from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays. The organization is interested in starting a weekly meeting in Stockton. Information: (408) 491-9824 or (800) 600-6028 or or


LODI MEMORIAL HOSPITAL Educational Opportunities

The following classes are at the hospital at 975 S. Fairmont Ave., Lodi, unless indicated. For information on other classes available at Lodi Memorial, phone (209) 339-7520 or visit

Childbirth Preparation

Feb. 20 (Saturday) 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Lodi Memorial Hospital offers a one-day childbirth-preparation class. Cost is $45 per couple. For more information or to register, call (209) 339-7520.

Joint Replacement Surgery of the Hip or Knee: What You Should Know

Feb. 25 (Thursday) 1 to 3 p.m.: Lodi Memorial Hospital’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Services offers a free, educational class for those planning to have total joint-replacement surgery of the hip or knee. Class will be at Lodi Memorial Hospital West, 800 S. Lower Sacramento Road.  Knee class is at 1 p.m.; hip class at 2 p.m. Learn about preparations and exercises to do before surgery; the day of surgery, and what to expect during the hospital stay; rehabilitation following surgery; techniques to decrease pain and swelling; and ways to promote maximum healing and return to normal function.  Call (209) 333-3136 for more information or to sign up for the class. Family and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Living With Diabetes

March 1-22 (four Mondays) 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Lodi Memorial Hospital offers “Living with Diabetes,” a four-session course to help diabetics better cope with their condition through education on nutrition, blood-sugar testing, exercise and understanding medications. Cost is $5 for the series. For more information or to register, call (209) 339-7520.


March 4 (Thursday) 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Lodi Memorial Hospital offers a breast-feeding course, covering the advantages of breast-feeding, basic anatomy, the breast-feeding process, common problems and solutions. Call (209) 339-7520 to register.

Better Breathers

First Tuesday of every month 10 to 11 a.m.: Lodi Memorial Hospital and The American Lung Association of California Valley Lode offer a free “Better Breathers’” respiratory-support group for people and their family members with breathing problems including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.  Participants will learn how to cope with chronic lung disease, understand lungs and how they work and use medications and oxygen properly. Pre-registration is recommended. Call (209) 478-1888 or (209) 339-7515 for information.

Adult Children with Aging Relatives Support Group

Second Wednesday of every month 4:30 p.m.: Lodi Memorial Hospital offers an Adult Children with Aging Relatives support group at the Hutchins Street Square Senior Center.  For more information, call (209) 369-4443 or (209) 369-6921.

Brain Builders

Thursdays 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Lodi Memorial Hospital and the Hutchins Street Square Senior Center offer “Brain Builders,” a weekly program for people in the early stages of memory loss. There is a weekly fee of $25. Registration is required.  For more information or to register, call (209) 369-4443 or (209) 369-6921.

SUTTER TRACY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL Community Education and Support Groups

All classes are at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital , 1420 N. Tracy Blvd. , Tracy , unless indicated. Preregistration is required for the following classes. Call (209) 833-2321 or email Register online at

Childbirth Education

March 3, 10, 17, 24 or May 5, 12, 19, 26 (Wednesdays) 7 to 9 p.m.: Four-week series. $50 fee waived for those delivering at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital .

Diabetes Education Class

March 4, 11, 18, 25 (Thursday) 6 p.m.: This free four-week series is offered once every quarter. Nursing, dietary, rehabilitation and pharmacy staff cover a variety of different topics. To register call (209) 833-2405.

Childbirth Education

March 6 or May 1 (Saturday) 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: One-day class. $50 fee waived for those delivering at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital .

Childbirth Review

March 31 or June 2 (Wednesday) 7 to 9 p.m.: This free one-day class is for couples that have already had a child.

Sibling Preparation

April 12 (Monday): This class helps big brothers- and sisters-to-be welcome a new baby to the family. Call for time.


April 12 (Monday) 7 to 9 p.m.: This free class is led by a lactation consultant.

Annual Children’s Health & Safety Fair

May 8 (Saturday): Free. Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, 1420 N. Tracy Blvd., Tracy. Information: (209) 835-1500.

Chronic Pain Support Group—New!

Every 1st and 3rd Monday 6 p.m.: The American Chronic Pain Association is providing help and hope for people and their families living with pain. Call Cheryl at (209) 833-3330.

Bereavement and Grief Support Group

Tuesday 7 to 8:30 p.m. and Thursday 10:30 a.m. to noon: For more on this informal support group, call Rev. Becky Cameron at (209) 833-2475.

Down Syndrome Support Group

Every 2nd Tuesday 7 to 8:30 p.m.: Relatives, caregivers and teachers of those with Down syndrome are invited to join this informal group at the Healthy Connections Resource Center. Call Raquel O’Keefe at (209) 830-1712.

Diabetes Support Group—New!

Every 2nd Tuesday 9 to 10:30 a.m. or every 3rd Thursday 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Support for anyone newly diagnosed, with a history, and/or family members needing support and information. Call Pam at (209) 832-3432.

Alzheimer’s Support Group

Every 2nd Wednesday 10 a.m.: Call (800) 540-3340 for more information.

Fibromyalgia Support Group

Every 1st and 3rd Tuesday: informal support group. Call Juanita McHugh at (209) 321-9396.

Stroke Support Group

Every 3rd Thursday 3 to 5 p.m.: Call (209) 830-2137 to learn more.

Tracy Area Cancer Support Group

Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday 6:30 p.m.: Call (209) 833-2338 for more information about this group and other services offered through Tracy Cancer Support Services.

Mental Illness Recovery Support Group

Monday 7 p.m. and Wednesday 10:30 a.m.: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Recovery Support Group offers support for people with mental illness and their family members at Healthy Connections. Call Karen at (209) 834-2313.

Mommy and Me

Call for times: This free group provides a place for mothers of children from birth to 2 to talk, share ideas and ask questions. It meets at Healthy Connections and is led by a lactation educator and social worker. Call (209) 833-2420.

Parent and Me Playgroups

Call for times: Sutter Healthy Connections offers two free playgroups for parents and their children 5 and younger. These interactive, parent-involved groups offer a fun learning environment that both children and parents enjoy. Call (209) 833-2420.

P.R.I.C.E. Parenting Class

Call for times: This free class series is for parents with children 12 and younger and meets at Healthy Connections. Learn strategies to help you become a more effective parent. These strategies include encouraging children to do their best, changing behaviors through appropriate consequences, focusing on having positive attitudes, and more. To register, call (209) 833-2420.

Teen Classes

Call for times: Free teen support group for ages 13 to 18 to learn important life strategies, build healthy relationships, communicate effectively, gain confidence, and manage stress. Space is limited. Call (209) 833-2420.


Monday 6:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m.: Call (209) 547-3086.

Al-Anon En Espanol

Call for times: Para mas informaccion llame, Silvia (209) 834-8539 o Lety (209) 346-5866.

Look Good…Feel Better!

Every 3rd Tuesday 6 to 8 p.m.: This class helps cancer patients realize that looking good can help you feel better. Meet specially trained cosmetologists to learn more about skin care, wigs, scarves and make-up techniques. Call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.

Break Free From Smoking!

Wednesday 7 to 9 p.m.: Trained facilitators use behavior-modification tools to help smokers quit for good during a free seven-week course. A strong student support network helps everyone become tobacco-free. To register, call (209) 832-6009.

Asthma Management

Call for times: Learn how to effectively manage asthma so that you can enjoy an active lifestyle. You’ll receive a free peak-flow meter and personalized asthma action plan. Free class. Call (209) 832-6516 to register.


H1N1 Influenza Vaccinations (Free, No Appointment)

Feb. 17 (Today) 3 to 7 p.m.: Tracy Health Center, 205 W. Ninth St., Tracy.

Feb. 18 (Thursday) 9 to 11 a.m.: San Joaquin County WorkNet, 56 S. Lincoln St., Stockton.

Feb. 23-24 (Tuesday and Wednesday) 10 a.m. to noon: Emergency Food Bank, 7 W. Scotts Ave., Stockton.

Feb. 25 (Thursday) 3 to 7 p.m.: Manteca Health Center, 124 Sycamore Ave., Manteca.

Public Health Services’ HN1 Influenza Vaccination Efforts Expanding Their Reach in February

Public Health Services (PHS) has been providing and promoting H1N1 Influenza Vaccinations during the past few months and will continue vaccination efforts in San Joaquin County during the month of February. County health officials are pleased with the response of residents to the Special H1N1 Vaccination Clinics conducted in January throughout the county where over 4500 H1N1 flu vaccinations were provided free of charge. Health officials remind us that while H1N1 influenza illness cases have dropped, a third wave of H1N1 influenza is possible this year, reinforcing the need for residents to get vaccinated if they have not already done so. Parents are also reminded that children under 10 years of age should get a second or booster vaccination approximately three to four weeks after the first one.

Ongoing resources for updated H1N1 vaccination and clinic information are:

  1. Public Health Services Influenza webpage on its Web site,
  2. Recorded message line at (209) 469-8200, extension 2# for English and 3# for Spanish.
  3. For further information, individuals may call the following numbers at Public Health Services:
  • For general vaccine and H1N1 clinic questions, call (209) 468-3862;
  • For medical questions, call (209) 468-3822.

Health officials continue to recommend these precautionary measures to help protect against acquiring influenza viruses: 1) Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol based sanitizers; 2) Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve, when you cough or sneeze; and 3) Stay home if you are sick until you are free of a fever for 24 hours; and 4) Get vaccinated.

Public Health Services Immunization Clinic Schedules (Adults and Children)

H1N1 vaccine is available at these clinics. Immunization clinic hours are subject to chance depending on volume of patients or staffing. Check the Public Health Services website for additional evening clinics or special clinics at

  • LODI HEALTH CENTER: 300 W. Oak St., Lodi. IMMUNIZATIONS: Thursday 1-4 p.m.; Friday 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.
  • MANTECA HEALTH CENTER: 124 Sycamore Ave., Manteca. IMMUNIZATIONS: 1st Monday of month 1-4 p.m.; other Mondays 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. No clinic last Monday of the month. 1st, 2nd and 4th Wednesday 1-4 p.m.; 3rd Wednesday 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.
  • TRACY HEALTH CENTER: 205 W. Ninth St., Tracy. IMMUNIZATIONS: Tuesday 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. (except 3rd Tuesday).
  • STOCKTON HEALTH CENTER: 1601 E. Hazelton Ave., Stockton. IMMUNIZATIONS: Tuesday and Thursday 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.


Fitness Challenge to Lead Healthy Lifestyles and Overcome Childhood Obesity

February-April: San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE), 2707 Transworld Drive, Stockton, has started this year’s Fitness Challenge!  In an effort to overcome childhood obesity, San Joaquin County Office of Education in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente, University of California Cooperative Extension and San Joaquin County school districts will be celebrating the start of an innovative fitness plan that will motivate children to become more active and lead healthy lifestyles. The three-month program will encourage more than 900 fourth-graders to stride 2,126 miles collectively across the state, stopping at 13 of California’s historical landmarks. Each landmark will tie in with the California State Social Science Standards. All 10 participating schools received money to purchase physical education equipment; pedometers to track the distance gained through exercise; and will integrate Power Play!, nutritional curriculum, into daily classroom activities. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre program will visit schools to help encourage them to meet various milestones. Also, physicians will host after-school health and wellness workshops for parents, teachers, and fourth-graders. The goal is to get students to increase their levels of physical fitness by putting in additional exercise beyond the time required at school. The top four students from each school that collect the most miles win a trip to San Francisco, where they will walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and watch a Giants game. Students and staff of SJCOE are pioneers for health and wellness. As a result of the ever-growing childhood obesity crisis and because children look to adults as role models, San Joaquin County Office of Education is embarking on its fourth annual SJCOE Fitness Challenge thorugh Feb. 24. In an effort to lead by example, individuals have signed up for this activity as an opportunity to participate in a fun, yet competitive challenge toward a healthy lifestyle. The challenge began with a Health Fair, H1N1 Flu Vaccination dissemination and blood drive. It will continue for four weeks with various inspirational activities throughout the month, including a Bowl-A-Thon Feb. 27 at 8 a.m. and Awards Ceremony March 9 at 10:30 a.m. at SJCOE Greenwood III. As the month continues, each week team members will add up their daily and weekly point totals and compete for the most points based upon their nutritional intake, exercise routine and daily educational wellness. At the end of the month, SJCOE students and staff will gather to see which top three teams and individual have won the SJCOE Fitness Challenge, as well as the county vs. county office of education challenge. Information: Jacqueline Ratto, SJCOE Public Information Officer, at (209) 468-4937 or or

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