The Jackson County School Health Advisory Council and the Healthy for Life (H4L) Action Team of the Healthy Carolinians Partnership are sponsoring the 10th annual Healthy Snack Master Competition.

This competition is open to all individuals or groups (i.e. classes, after-school programs, clubs, etc.) enrolled in Jackson County Public Schools.

Students are encouraged to create an original recipe and turn it in to their school’s cafeteria manager by Friday, March 6. Submitted recipes will be reviewed by members of SHAC. The top student and group entries will go on to compete in the Healthy Snack Master Competition at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, at Smokey Mountain Elementary School.

At the Healthy Snack Master Competition, a panel of judges will determine the winning healthy snack based on taste, appearance, healthfulness and creativity.

Superlatives will also be awarded for the Best Bite, People’s Choice and Most Creative Name. Flyers with rules and an ingredient list and entry forms are available from K-12 teachers. For more information on the competition call Laura Cabe, school nutrition director, at 586-2311 ext. 1936.


School Action Team recruiting members

The School Health Advisory Council is an action team through Jackson County Public Schools, made up of school board members, faculty, staff, parents, and professionals and individuals in the community.

SHAC’s mission is to support an overall safe and healthy community by providing information and education to children, families and the community about the prevention of substance abuse and the promotion of safe and healthy choices.

SHAC is seeking interested business leaders, youth-serving organizations, religious/fraternal organizations, civic and volunteer groups and any other organizations involved in reducing substance abuse to join the action team. 

SHAC has been and will continue to target youth alcohol, tobacco (including vaping and electronic cigarette) and opioid use in the community.

In the coming months, SHAC will be applying for a federal grant to secure funding and to create a position to combat substance use with county youth.

The next SHAC meeting is scheduled for 3:45-4:30 p.m. today (Thursday) at the Jackson County Board of Education, 398 Hospital Road. All interested persons and groups are invited to attend. 

For more information, contact Laura Cabe, school nutrition director, at 586-2311 ext. 1936 or


Program focuses on pre-natal smoking cessation

Local efforts to protect low-income women during their pregnancy through incentive-based smoking cessation interventions have been replicated across the United States.

A new study from the Colorado School of Public Health at the Anschutz Medical campus shows a significant reduction in infant morbidity due to  he program. The study, titled “Impact of an Incentive-Based Prenatal Smoking Cessation Program for Low-Income Women in Colorado,” published in Public Health Nursing, examines the results of the interventions provided by the BABY and ME – Tobacco Free Program throughout Colorado.

“Young women, especially when raised in low-income households, are a vulnerable target for tobacco use,” said Tessa Crume, Ph.D, MSPH, associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and lead researcher in the study.

In Colorado, smoking in the third trimester of pregnancy is three to four times higher among women who live in poverty relative to women with higher incomes, according to Colorado Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System 2012-2014. 

Smoking during pregnancy is the most substantial modifiable risk factor for infant morbidity and mortality in the United States.

“The problem of prenatal smoking will not go away, especially when tobacco products target a younger generation, and nicotine addictions begin before becoming pregnant,” Crume said. “This study is important because successful interventions improve the health of mothers and children, disrupt familial propagation of tobacco use while also saving Coloradans millions in healthcare costs.”

The BMTFP intervention includes counseling (based on motivational interviewing) provided throughout the pregnancy and postpartum period, biomonitoring feedback via carbon-monoxide breath testing and financial incentives in the form of diaper vouchers contingent on cessation-status. A partner or a family member who also smokes and lives with the pregnant woman can participate in the program, reducing the exposure to secondhand smoke and doubling the incentive.

Key findings from the study include:

• Reduction in infant morbidity: BMTFP participants had a 24 percent to 28 percent reduction in the risk of preterm birth and a 24 percent to 55 percent reduction in the risk of neonatal intensive care unit admissions.

• Significant cost savings: Cost savings per participant in BMTFP compared to the birth certificate population is $6,040 and Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) reference is $2,182. Total annual cost savings for Colorado associated with the BMTFP intervention was $4,144,118 and $1,497,299 compared to the birth certificate and PRAMS reference populations, respectively.

The findings demonstrated in this evaluation are further confirmation that the BMTFP is effective and important. For more information about enrolling or referring a woman to the local BMTFP, contact the Jackson County Department of Public Health at 586-8994.

To learn about the program nationwide, visit the BABY and ME-Tobacco Free Program website at


February is American Heart Month

Nationwide, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Diseases of the heart are the second leading cause of death in Jackson County, trailing cancer.

While the overall heart disease mortality rate has stayed relatively constant, males consistently have a higher rate than females.

To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, the Jackson County Department of Public Health is in February promoting American Heart Month.

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 blood pressure and cholesterol.

• If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

• Get active and eat healthy.

To test your knowledge about heart disease as well as learn about ways to prevent and manage the disease, take the CDC’s Heart Disease Quiz at

For questions about heart disease, contact Rebecca Williamson, BCCCP/WISEWOMAN coordinator, at 587-8213. 

WISEWOMAN is a program that provides cardiovascular disease screening, intervention, counseling and referral services to women enrolled in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program through the Health Department. WISEWOMAN works to provide women with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to improve their diet, physical activity and other habits to prevent, delay or control heart disease.