AlaskaCare Wellness News | May 2018

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May 2018 | #68


Vitamin D:
Summer's coming and sunny days are ahead! But are you getting enough vitamin D?


National Women’s Health Week is May 13-19

National Woman’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day, May 13, and runs through Saturday, May 19. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health,  the purpose of this week is to empower women to make their health a priority. It is a time to encourage women to start taking steps to improve their health and build positive health habits for life. It’s never too early or late to work toward being your healthiest you!

What steps can I take for better health?   
To improve your physical and mental health, you can:

  • Pay attention to your mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.

Find out what additional steps you can take based on your age.

Local and National Resources

For guidelines based on recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, see Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines.
For health plan benefits, contact the Aetna Concierge at
(855) 784-8646.

Cutting Back on Sugary Drinks
Can Improve Your Health

Every day, parents serve their families foods and drinks. Sometimes, sugar sneaks in to their sweetened cereal at breakfast, the ketchup on their burger at lunch, spaghetti sauce at dinner, and cookies, cakes, or ice cream at dessert.

But do you know how people get most of their added sugar each day?

They drink it.

Sugar is in more than just soda. It’s added to powdered mixes, sports and energy drinks, vitamin drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, chocolate and other flavored milk, and sweetened fruit-flavored drinks.

Over time, sugary drinks can increase your risk of serious health problems:

  • Cavities
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Unhealthy weight gain and obesity
  • Heart disease

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that you limit added sugar to a small amount—less than 10 percent of the calories you eat and drink every day. That means that an adult consuming 2,000 calories a day should limit daily added sugar to 200 calories, which is equal to 12-1/2 teaspoons of sugar. A child, who consumes fewer calories a day, should have even fewer teaspoons of added sugar. A 20-ounce bottle of soda can have 16 teaspoons of sugar!

Here are some ways you can cut back on added sugar in your beverages:

  • Choose water or low-fat milk
  • Pack a water bottle in your bag or your child’s lunch box
  • Flavor your water by adding slices of lemon, lime, or sprigs of mint

Learn more about ways to cut back on sugary drinks at Play Every Day.

Take time to focus on Mental Health

While mental health is not as easily measured as blood pressure or cholesterol, it deserves equal attention.  Addressing mental health is key to promoting overall wellness but it is an often over looked component in wellness programs.  As part of May Monthly Wellness Newsletter, we want to take this time to focus on mental health and emotional wellness. We want to begin by ensuring that AlaskaCare covered employees and their dependents are aware of and have easy access to mental health benefits including Aetna’s employee assistance program (EAP).

EAPs are free of charge and are useful resources in that they can provide referrals to mental health professionals and other services while maintaining strict standards of confidentiality.

To find out more contact Aetna Employee Assistance Program “Resources for Living”.  Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Call: 1-855-417-2493
Visit, select “Employee,” select “Information,” select “Employee Assistance Plan”
For Information on your AlaskaCare Health Plan Mental Health Benefits, always consult your AlaskaCare Health Plan Benefit Summary or contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 prior to receiving care.

Women and Smoking: A Winnable Fight

The promotion of e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking and tobacco use has helped e-cigarettes grow into a 2.5-billion-dollar business—and it’s still on the rise. Popularity is increasing among youth and young adults.

Get the facts. Know the risks. Get help. Review your AlaskaCare Employee Health Plans Smoking Cessation benefit now or consult Aetna’s AlaskaCare Concierge for benefit details. It’s time.  

AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan booklet [PDF]
Alaska's Tobacco Quit Line | 1-800-QUIT-NOW
CDC: Surgeon General's Reports—Smoking & Tobacco Use

Alaska Summer Safety Tips

kayakerAre you exploring Alaska this summer? Our big, beautiful state has something for everyone, from fishing to hunting to camping to kayaking. But the very things that make it appealing also have their share of hazards. Before you venture out into the wild, check out these safety tips. Then get out and explore!

grilled Asian salmon

Recipe of the Month:
Mango Chicken Salad With Jicama


Exercise of the Month:

The Bridges exercise improves performance, posture, and reduces knee and back pain. Strengthening your core helps maintain proper posture when sitting or standing for long periods of time.


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Not sure if that cold is worth the trip? Call the Aetna Nurse line, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Call (800) 556-1555