Quitline provides free help for quitting tobacco

quit smoking

With the 25 cent per package tax increase on cigarettes in Alabama, now is a perfect time to stop using tobacco. The Alabama Department of Public Health urges all tobacco users to break the addiction by calling the Alabama Tobacco Quitline for free help to quit.

Tobacco use in the state of Alabama is responsible for more than $1.88 billion in health care costs every year, which is a tax burden of $841 per household annually. Each year 8,600 Alabamians die from their own smoking. One in 4 heart disease deaths, nearly 1 in 3 cancer deaths, and 8 in 10 deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are caused by tobacco use. More than 16 million Americans are living with diseases caused by tobacco.

For any Alabama resident who is ready to quit tobacco, the Quitline offers two methods of assistance: the toll-free Quitline (1-800-784-8669) and online coaching services. Each operate seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight.

Since April 2005, thousands of Alabamians have called the Quitline to help themselves or family members learn how to be tobacco free. The program helps tobacco users quit by providing information, a quit plan, coaching and nicotine patches, all at no cost. Information and coaching sessions are confidential.

For those preferring electronic services, the website QuitNowAlabama.com, mobile apps and text messaging are also available.

Individuals enrolled in the coaching program can receive a minimum supply of two weeks of nicotine patches, if medically eligible, and up to a maximum of eight weeks of patches, while supplies last.

If you, a friend or family member are ready to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, the Quitline is here to help. All services are free to Alabama residents.

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Tips for parents to ensure their preschoolers get enough sleep


About 20 parents of preschoolers got a lesson Thursday on the importance of sleep for children.

The Albertville Community Learning Center hosted Dr. Christopher Manganaris of Pulmonary and Sleep Associates of Marshall County. Marshall Medical Centers sponsored the event.

Dr. Manganaris told parents that the Centers for Disease Control recommend 4-5 year olds get 11-12 hours of sleep every night. He shared the surprise of the parents, saying that his four children go to bed at 8 pm and get up at 6 am, which totals 10 hours of sleep.

But studies show that preschoolers that get the appropriate amount of sleep are less irritable and have better attentions spans, he said.

Lack of sleep leads to:

  • irritability
  • mood disturbance
  • daytime sleepiness
  • forgetfulness
  • inattention

Long-term lack of sleep can eventually lead to early dementia and loss of memory, Dr. Manganaris said.

Parents said their children get about 7-8 hours per night.

His tips for helping children sleep better include:

  • Keep the same sleep schedule seven days a week.
  • Have children exercise daily for at least 30 minutes
  • Don’t go to bed hungry
  • Have one hour of quiet time before bed
  • Establish a bedtime routine
  • No caffeine
  • No phones, TVs or computers in the bedroom
  • Don’t use the bedroom as a punishment
  • Children should have their own sleep space

“Children don’t need caffeine,” he said. “Especially after noon. It’s important to avoid these things in children so they have good sleep habits.”

Dr. Manganaris also said don’t anticipate catching up on sleep on the weekends.

“It doesn’t work that way,” he said.

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Youth Leaderships starts new year, new students

A new crop of future leaders in Marshall County started their training September 9.

MCYL 2015-16 groupThe 2015-16 group of Marshall County Youth Leadership had their first meeting at Snead State Community College. The 36 juniors from eight high schools in the county participated in a virtual scavenger hunt and performed skits based on lessons from the book, The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teens by Stephen Covey.

Marshall County Youth Leadership is designed to prepare and build leadership resources in high school students from Marshall County. MCYL is an educational opportunity through participatory experiences. Students will learn leadership skills from communication and teamwork to self-esteem and values. MCYL is a cooperative effort between Marshall Medical Centers, Snead State Community College and the Marshall County Leadership Challenge Alumni Association with support from Citizens Bank in Guntersville, as well as many other businesses and organizations throughout Marshall County.

This year’s students are:

Albertville High School: Alan Battle, Andra Williams, Anna Clay Adams, Lauren Martin, McKinley Williams, Jericho Hallcox.

Arab High School: Darby Huguley, Hannah Black, Kate Fleming, Riley Jordan, Summer Kelly, Jared Luke Ridgeway.

Asbury High School: Anna Upton, Lawren Brinley.

Boaz High School: Kaitlyn Williams, Morgan Allen, Pamela Rivera, Joseph Holbrook, Emma Roberts.

Brindlee Mountain High School: Jacklyn Protz, Rowan Rosewarne, Amber James.

DAR High School: Ann Marie Early, Leeann Myers, Elisa Medina, Ragan Stanfield.

Douglas High School: Aaron Spears, Garrett Peppers, Katelyn Warner, Anna Woods, Pauline Landers.

Guntersville High School: Brady Rutland, Cade Dollar, Abigail Glenn, Ross Chandler, Nicklaus Hester.

Monthly sessions will focus on team building, community service, etiquette, healthcare, industry, law enforcement and local government. Students also will visit state legislators in Montgomery.

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State Chief Health Officer warns of health killers

Alabama’s chief health officer told a crowd of Marshall County residents at the Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce Annual Healthcare Breakfast that two killers attacking the state are smoking and obesity. As a result, today’s children are expected to have shorter lifespans than their parents.

“This is the first time in history that has happened,” said Dr. Don Williamson, head of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Dr. Williamson

While strides have been made in lowering the rate of smoking in the U.S., it has not happened because of people’s efforts to be healthier. Rather, it is a result of second-hand smoking laws and the high price of cigarettes, Dr. Williamson said. Alabama has close to the lowest tobacco tax in the country, and almost the highest number of smokers.

Obesity is at 65 percent in the nation, and one out of nine Alabama residents is diabetic.

“It’s not getting better,” he said, recommending that incentives for eating healthier could be the answer. That could mean cutting taxes on healthy food or tax breaks for those who exercise.

Despite the political controversy swirling around Medicaid, Dr. Williams was emphatic about Alabama’s reliance on it.

  • 53 percent of all births in the state are from mothers on Medicaid
  • 45 percent of all Alabama children are insured by Medicaid
  • 62 percent of people in nursing homes are supported by Medicaid

“Medicaid is built into the whole healthcare infrastructure of the state,” he said. “If you’re going to have a healthcare system in Alabama, you are going to have to fund Medicaid.”

The Annual Healthcare Breakfast is sponsored by Marshall Medical Centers.

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Marshall Medical training ground for future doctors

Alabama is in critical condition when it comes to having enough doctors to serve the population. Marshall Medical Centers is doing its part to alleviate the problem by opening its hospitals to train medical students starting next week.

“By offering our hospitals as training grounds for future doctors, we are doing our part to address the shortage of physicians,” said Gary Gore, CEO of Marshall Medical Centers.

Only 28 of Alabama’s 67 counties have an adequate number of physicians to serve their populations, according to the 2015 Community Health Assessment released by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Three students from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan will begin a clerkship at MMC July 27. The third- and fourth-year students will benefit from studying under and working alongside actual doctors while they are treating real patients. Another goal of participating as a training site is that some of the students will like what they see enough to eventually return to Marshall County to practice.

“This clerkship program gives students a chance to do a portion of their training close to home and allows them to become familiar with our facilities and our community,” Gore said. “At the same time, our staff members will have the opportunity to begin building relationships with physicians who may want to practice here when they finish their training.”

Dr Lance Justice0014

One person who knows exactly what that’s like is Dr. Lance Justice, of Medical Centers OB/GYN, who is MMC’s coordinator for the training program.

“It seems like yesterday that I was a medical student rotating for a month at Marshall Medical Centers,” he said. “One of the many reasons that I chose Marshall County to practice medicine was the love I felt from the community, as well as the knowledgeable medical staff and state-of-the-art facilities.”

Justice praised the efforts of the college and the hospitals working together to improve the availability of medical care to all residents.

“The affiliation agreement with ACOM is a win-win situation not only for the students but also for our community,” he said. “We have a very knowledgeable medical staff that loves to teach. The students will get a superb educational experience, and it will be a great opportunity for the community to get to know these students. I feel confident that once these students come to our community and our hospital system they will return here to practice once they complete their training.”

Sarah Senn, Director of Communications for ACOM, said each student is assigned to Marshall Medical Centers for two years where they will complete eight core clinical rotations.

“Additionally, they will have selective and elective rotations to enhance their clinical experiences,” she said.

This is the first time for such a clerkship at MMC, Justice said. The hospitals frequently have nursing students, but it’s a new requirement to have medical students shadowing doctors for all of their core rotations.

ACOM is a four-year, comprehensive osteopathic medical school located in Dothan, Alabama. The private, non-profit college was founded in 2010 to help address the primary care physician shortage in Alabama. ACOM is the third medical school in Alabama and the first osteopathic medical school in the state.

ACOM students spend the first two years of medical school on the college’s campus before moving to a core clerkship site for third and fourth year. During the third year, students will train in six core disciplines – internal medicine, family medicine, OBGYN, general surgery, pediatrics and behavioral medicine – followed by an emergency medicine clerkship during the fourth year.

In addition to Marshall Medical Centers, ACOM has core sites for student medical training throughout Alabama and the Florida panhandle in the following locations: Anniston, Birmingham, Brewton, Centreville, Decatur, Dothan, Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Sheffield, Sylacauga, Tallahassee and Troy.

For more information, visit ACOM’s website at www.acomedu.org or Marshall Medical Centers’ website at http://www.mmcenters.com.



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TherapyPlus employee named Trainer of the Year


When Keith Britton was selected as Trainer of the Year by the Sand Mountain Reporter, he didn’t win by a nose. It was a landslide.

“When they came by to tell me I won, they said I got more votes than all other trainers combined,” said Britton. “I guess word spread.”

It’s not hard to believe that word spread about this high-energy trainer who spends 9-10 hours a day at TherapyPlus, either working out or assisting others in their workouts.

“I enjoy training people,” he said. “I don’t call it a job. I call it fun.”

Britton was born in Ohio and his family moved to Alabama when he was five years old. He headed to California at age 18. He was in the Navy for six years where he got used to doing a lot of exercise. He eventually headed back south to help his Mom take care of his Dad. His death at age 52 from diabetes caused Britton to realize the importance of taking care of his health.

“I fell into fitness,” he said, claiming his bicep was the same size as his wrist when he started working at Powerhouse Gym. “I enjoyed it. It kind of snowballed from there.”

That snowball grew into bodybuilding and competition. Britton won first place in Gadsden’s ‘City of Champions’ men’s physique master’s division in Gadsden last year. He plans to compete in the same category in Birmingham next month.

When he bought a house in Boaz and moved near Marshall South in 2005, Britton began working out at TherapyPlus, which became his employer seven years ago. He lives with his 25-year-old son, Aaron, who also works out at TherapyPlus.

“My goal is to help others live healthier, longer and happier lives,” Britton said. “You can start by making choices – the right choices. That cake, pie or ice cream may taste great now, but what is it doing to your body on the inside? I tell my clients, ‘A moment on the lips, a month on the hips.’”

Keith Britton is a certified fitness trainer and can be reached at (256)572-5920.



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TherapyPlus Member of the Month – Tabatha Hopper

TP Member of Month
A long time ago, my dad told me a story about him growing up on the farm. Before his dad (my grandfather) left for work one morning he was asked to finish putting up a barb wire fence. Most of the fence posts were already in the ground with the exception of 8-10 posts. My dad decided he would save some time by estimating the proper location to place the final posts. Needless to say the final portion of the fence wasn’t straight. When my grandfather got home he made my dad take the entire fence down and start over. Grandfather told my dad “anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.” That was a lesson that only had to be taught one time for my day and myself. Our member of the month also lives by that motto. She gives everything she does 100% and inspires others around her to do the same. On behalf of Therapy plus Fitness, I would like to congratulate Tabatha Hopper for earning Member of the Month for June 2015.

Tabatha decided to start working out to improve her health and to lower her body fat percentage. With the encouragement of her co-worker and friend (Britt Knott), the decision to join Therapy plus Fitness was an obvious choice. Tabatha said the location and the employees here were also a great incentive to become a member at TPF. Since her first workout, she has lost 9 pounds, 5% body fat, and decreased 2 sizes in her clothing. Her workout routine consists of 5 days per week Body Sculpting class with Jack, lifting weights, swimming 2 days per week, and running bleachers once a week.

In her spare time, Tabatha loves to spend time with her sons (Jacob 13 and Joshua 8) and camping. She plans on competing in the Barbarian Challenge in June with Britt. The Barbarian Challenge is an obstacle course race held at Noccalulu Falls in Gadsden. Her suggestion to others is to “make up your mind, set your goals, and go for it!” Tabatha wanted to say a special thanks to her husband for all of his love, support, and encouragement.

Once again Tabatha, congratulation on all of your accomplishments and best of luck in all of your future endeavors. It is great individuals like yourself that makes Therapy plus Fitness the best place around to meet all of your fitness needs.

Jack Morris
Exercise Physiologist

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