Health District and DETR Complete Nutrition Standards Policy

By | Consumer, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Policy to be implemented at all DETR BEN locations

In an effort to increase access to healthy foods and beverages, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) and the Southern Nevada Health District developed a Nutrition Standards Policy for DETR’s Business Enterprise Program (BEN). The BEN program provides clients of DETR’s Bureau of Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired with training and on-the-job-experience managing businesses in public buildings.

DETR is adopting the policy in the 28 cafes and snack bars, and the more than 900 vending machines that are operated as part of the BEN program throughout the state. The Nutrition Standards Policy will apply to all concessions, micro-markets, cafeterias, cafes, snack bars, vending machines, and any other food outlets operated or subcontracted through the BEN program. This policy will directly affect almost all of the 53,000 government employees across the state, including those that work in county, state, and federal buildings, said Shelley Hendren, administrator for DETR’s Rehabilitation Division that oversees the BEN program. Nevada is the first state to voluntarily implement this type of progressive healthy food policy.

“We are pleased to partner with the Southern Nevada Health District in creating more opportunities to help Nevada residents find healthier food options,” Hendren said. “As consumers increasingly begin to adopt healthy living, it is important that we do our part to offer those options.”

The policy establishes nutrition standards for beverages, meals and other menu items, and snack foods while also increasing choices for consumers who use BEN operated facilities and cafes. The policy also includes requirements regarding preferential pricing, placement, and marketing for those items meeting policy standards. Food standards for cafes and cafeterias include offering a minimum amount of lean proteins, whole grain products, and fruits and vegetables that are raw or unsweetened, or cooked in such a way that does not add calories. Fifty percent of items in all vending machines will need to meet policy standards, and those items meeting the standards must be clearly identifiable in the machine. Bottled water must be priced lower than regular soda or sugar-sweetened beverages of the same size.

“Our Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has worked closely with DETR to develop this policy with the goal of providing healthier options to patrons and clients in government buildings across the state,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “In Clark County, about a quarter of our adults over the age of 20 can be considered obese, and many of our residents consume fewer than the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. We want to make healthier choices easier and more accessible.”

The Southern Nevada Health District is home to a BEN operated business, the Aroma Café. The Aroma Café is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and serves both Health District employees and clients.

Access information about the Southern Nevada Health District on its website: Follow the Health District on Facebook:, YouTube:, and Twitter: The Health District is available in Spanish on Twitter: Don’t have a Twitter account? Follow the Health District on your phone by texting “follow SNHDinfo” to 40404. Additional information and data can be accessed through the Healthy Southern Nevada website:

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation is comprised of the Rehabilitation Division which provides people with disabilities job placement and other workforce-related services, as well as other divisions that provide services to employers and jobseekers.

Chronic Disease: What Are You Going To Do About It?

By | Consumer, Member News

As the United States heads into the final stretch of a very long election season, Nevadans need to make sure that candidates and the media focus on issues that matter to our daily lives.  Certainly, health care and the policies that candidates are proposing to address health care need to be a vital part of the discussion.

To that end, the Nevada Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is working with its many partner groups to encourage Nevadans to ask candidates what they plan to do to address chronic diseases.  Using television, radio, newspaper, and outdoor advertising–along with participating in health fairs and engaging in other grassroots activities–the Nevada PFCD is working to bring the issue into the forefront of the political dialogue.  The PFCD’s message highlights the importance of addressing chronic disease in health care policies and the major impact that chronic diseases have on our lives, our health care spending and our productivity.

Over half of all Nevadans have at least one chronic disease and nearly 700,000 have more than one.  Chronic diseases account for seven out of ten deaths in our state and 86 cents of every dollar spent on health care costs.  And the problem is getting worse every year.  For example, right now, projections are that one in three first graders will develop diabetes during their lifetime.

Yet the news is not all bad.  The Nevada PFCD released a study showing that simple changes in lifestyles and a focus on prevention and developing new treatments could save nearly 11,000 Nevada lives every year and cut spending on health care in our state by $55 billion over the next 15 years.  Health care policies that work to encourage prevention, medical breakthroughs, and providing treatment options are a major part of the cure.

Chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease impact every one of us, whether we suffer from one of those conditions or a loved one does.  Given the impact of chronic disease on all Nevadans, we should be able to expect candidates to address the issue before they ask for our vote.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is a nonpartisan group and does not support any specific candidate or political party.  As Chairman Dr. Ken Thorpe noted, the purpose of the national and state organizations is to “command the attention of our elected leaders to the spectrum of issues that chronic disease presents and to advocate for policies that will bridge gaps in health care and create opportunities that promote and enable better overall health for our population.”

The Nevada PFCD and its partner organizations will be working hard on all fronts this election season to ensure candidates address health care in a meaningful way.  But advertising and advocacy campaigns won’t work without the vocal support of voters.

So the next time a candidate or a campaign knocks on your door or calls to ask you for your vote, join us by asking in return, “What do you plan to do to fight chronic disease?”

Larry Matheis is a co-chair of the Nevada Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and the Executive Director of the Nevada Medical Center, a nonprofit corporation established to improve the health of Nevadans and Nevada’s health care system by promoting and supporting collaboration and cooperation in the medical community and establishing performance metrics and health indicators to identify priorities and measure community success. He served as Executive Director of the Nevada State Medical Association from 1988-2013.

Getting To Know The Body’s Structural Core

By | Consumer, In The Media

With an estimated 65 million Americans suffering from chronic back pain, the importance of maintaining good spinal health is fundamental to a person’s overall sense of well-being. “Many spinal problems can be prevented and many existing conditions can be corrected, but still patients live in pain,” said Yevgeniy Khavkin, MD, Chairman of Surgery and Director of Spine and Neurosurgery Service at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center.

Read more at the Las Vegas Sun.