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NACDD Supports Healthy Aging in Recognition of National Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month and Family Caregivers Month

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month and Family Caregivers Month. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be disruptive to daily life for many individuals and their families. Healthy aging, which NACDD promotes through numerous chronic disease prevention projects, supports a healthy brain and better quality of life for older adults and their caregivers.  

According to the World Health Organization, more than 40 million people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015. Factors for dementia include: age, family history, and genetic susceptibility genes; at this time, there are no interventions that definitively prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer’s disease. 

NACDD contributed to efforts to improve brain health and support healthy aging as a member of the project committee for The Health Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018, from the Alzheimer’s Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NACDD served as an advisory group member for the report, The State of Aging and Health in America 2013

NACDD’s funding agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed NACDD to engage in strategic activities with states to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in recent years.  

The Healthy Brain Initiative state projects implemented beginning in 2015 are highlighted in a series of state reports. A 2008 NACDD survey, NACDD helped the Association determine the needs, priorities and activities of the state health departments related to aging. NACDD found that physical activity; falls prevention; diabetes; cancer prevention and control; and heart disease and stroke prevention were among state health departments’ concerns. 

Learn more about NACDD’s health aging projects, find data on self-reported memory loss from 22 states and view a variety of additional resources and reports on health aging on NACDD’s website

Tags:  Alzheimer's disease  caregivers  dementia  Healthy aging  healthy brain  National Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month a 

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Healthy Holiday Living: Lunch Tips For Travelers

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Thursday, November 17, 2016
Updated: Monday, November 7, 2016

Are you traveling this holiday season for your job? We understand that nutritious eating on the go while getting from place A to place B can be a challenge. Here are tips for eating right at the airport and on the road:

1. Planning ahead saves you time and money. Having snacks on hand will help keep temptation at bay during delays and layovers. Slip some of these security-friendly snacks into your carry-on:

Apples or grapes
Whole grain crackers
Granola bar
Peanut butter sandwich

2. Save money on drinks by bringing a reusable empty water bottle. Bottled water is more expensive in the airport. Fill up your water bottle at a drinking fountain (after you pass through security screening, if flying).

3. Many airport eateries—both fast food and sit down restaurants—offer healthier choices these days. If your travels are long, do a bit of research online to see what’s available at your layover airport. 

4. Keep these healthful tips in mind when ordering at a restaurant:

Order the smallest sandwich, without cheese and sauces.
Request all sauces and dressings on the side, and don’t use the entire portion.
Choose a smaller-size lunch portion, if available.
Split the main dish if the servings are large.
Split the main dish if the servings are large.
Avoid fried meats and sides.
Ask for a salad or vegetables instead of fries.

 These tips are provided by the American Diabetes Association. 

Tags:  Healthy eating  Healthy holidays  Holiday season  Traveling 

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NACDD's Healthy Holiday Living Series

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Thursday, November 10, 2016


According to Eat Smart Move More Weigh Less, an online program created by NC State University and North Carolina Department of Public Health, most Americans gain between 1 to 5 pounds during the holiday season each year.

Throughout November and December, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors will be bringing you healthy and delicious recipes from our staff and consultants, easy workouts and other fun holiday tips.

If you have any healthy recipes that you would like to share for the season, please email them to Gillan Ritchie, Communications & Member Services Coordinator, at

Happy holidays!

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Meet Karma Edwards, NACDD Consultant

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Monday, October 31, 2016

Karma Edwards was a community grantee funded by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors in 2008. While she worked on NACDD’s ACHIEVE project, she received technical assistance and guidance from the association.  

Following her work as a community grantee, Edwards had the opportunity to join NACDD’s ACHIEVE team in a part-time role in spring 2011. The position turned from part time to temporary full time, and then Edwards became full time for the remainder of the project. 

“It was an easy decision to join their [NACDD] team in 2011 after having worked with them on the local level for a few years and knowing first hand how great they were and how passionate this team was about the Healthy Communities work,” Edwards said. 

She received her Bachelor of Science in health promotion from Appalachian State University and a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Edwards’ education and prior experience helps her in her day-to-day responsibilities as a consultant for NACDD.

“My niche has always been in community health and with the Healthy Communities movement,” she said. “When coming to the NACDD ACHIEVE team, I believe I brought the community perspective with me. This was an added value to our team since I had participated in the project as a grantee.”  

Edwards manages fiscal and programmatic oversight of two large projects. Her other duties as a NACDD consultant include working with NACDD staff and consultants to implement and accomplish project deliverables. 

“The aspect that I always look forward to as an NACDD consultant is working with the other consultants,” Edwards said. “I believe we have some of the most professional, passionate, and outstanding subject matter experts in the country, and my interaction with them makes me a better professional and person on a daily basis. I am grateful and humbled to be part of such a great group of folks.”

She is currently leading NACDD’s Walkability Action Institute project and the Disabilities and Healthy Communities project. According to Edwards, the Walkability Action Institute provides travel assistance to interdisciplinary teams to attend a multi-day action institute course. The course teaches attendees to promote and build active, walkable communities through the improvement of policy, system and environmental changes. Once the course ends, the teams develop and implement an action plan. NACDD and CDC monitor the outcomes accomplished through each team’s plan.

The Disability and Healthy Communities project funds Disability and Health programs in five states and 10 local communities. The selected programs will make healthy choices readily available in areas where people live, learn, work, pray, play and receive care while focusing on disability inclusion. 

When Edwards isn’t working, she is spending time with her wife and family. They own three dogs – Sadie, Monkey and Zoey Maggs – who have them “wrapped around their little paws.” She loves to swim, bike or run around town whenever she has time, even when she is traveling for work. She just finished her 10th Ironman triathlon.

“I think my passion for physical activity and active lifestyles meshes well with my work niche because I do my job of community design and improvement through the lens of a biker and a runner,” Edwards said. “The changes that I get to help make in my work world ultimately make me safer in my other worlds.”


Tags:  Consultants  Karma Edwards  NACDD  National Association of Chronic Disease Directors  Public health 

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National Association of Chronic Disease Directors: Getting to know the Association

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The general public may be confused about the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors when noting that its core mission includes a statement on “improving the health of the public.” 

NACDD – a nonprofit public health organization – focuses on strengthening state-based leadership and expertise for chronic disease prevention and control by supporting chronic disease program directors and other members in each state and U.S. jurisdiction. Through this work, NACDD expects the health of the public will be improved. 

Founded in 1988, NACDD connects more than 6,400 chronic disease practitioners to advocate for preventive policies and programs; encourage knowledge sharing; and develop partnerships for health promotion. NACDD has been a national leader since 1988 in mobilizing efforts to reduce chronic diseases and their associated risk factors through state and community-based prevention strategies.

The association supports states’ efforts through: providing educational and training opportunities for our members; developing legislative analyses, materials, policy statements and other resources; educating policymakers about the importance of funding for state chronic disease prevention and control efforts; providing technical assistance; and mentoring to state public health practitioners.

NACDD develops partnerships and collaborates with public health and science communities to pursue common goals and address the needs related to specific chronic diseases. NACDD staff and consultants work hard every day to combat chronic disease – the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S.     

To view a list of NACDD’s initiatives, visit the website here


Tags:  NACDD  National Association of Chronic Disease Directors  Public health 

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