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Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


December 2014

STEP 12: Establish Healthy Habits

Prevent the spread of illness by washing your hands, covering your mouth and getting regular check-ups.

Your Health is in Your Hands: WASH

Frequent and proper hand washing kills the germs that cause gastro-intestinal illnesses, such as norovirus and E. coli, influenza, the common cold and many more.  Follow the steps to proper hand washing, and help ensure your hands stay germ-free:
STEP 1: Start with warm or hot water
STEP 2: Lather up with soap
STEP 3: Rub and scrub thoroughly for 20 seconds
STEP 4: Scrub palms, back of hands, between fingers and under fingernails
STEP 5: Rinse well, and then use a paper towel to shut off faucet
STEP 6: Dry hands completely

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good alternative when soap and water are not available to wash hands. Also, cough or sneeze the proper way – into your upper sleeve, not your hands, or use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose and discard in trash

Source: Fairfax County Health Department

Critical Numbers

Even if you’re not experiencing any abnormal health symptoms, it is still important to monitor and track your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body weight. By drawing blood, your health care provider can conduct a blood lipid profile to check your blood cholesterol and glucose tests to check your blood sugar. Your blood pressure and weight are even easier to check with a blood pressure monitor and scales respectively.

  • BLOOD PRESSURE: Less than 130/80 mm Hg
    Blood pressure is the force of blood against the arteries when the heart beats and rests, and is typically measured using an air-pressured cuff. Systolic pressure (top number) is the peak pressure in the arteries, and diastolic pressure (bottom number) is the lowest pressure.
  • BLOOD SUGAR: HbA1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) less than 6%
    Blood sugar is the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood, and is measured by the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in your blood. An HbA1c test gives you a picture of your average blood sugar control for the past 2 to 3 months.
  • CHOLESTEROL: LDL cholesterol levels below 100 mg/dL; HDL cholesterol level above 40 mg/dL for men and 50mg/dL for women; Triglycerides below 100 mg/dL
    Blood cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver. It is unable to dissolve in the blood and has to be transported to and from the cells by carriers called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (or LDL) cholesterol, is known as "bad" cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein (or HDL) cholesterol, is known as "good" cholesterol.
  • BODY WEIGHT: A body mass index (BMI) of 18.6-24.9; waistline smaller than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
    A person's ideal body weight varies by gender, age, height, and frame. Your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference provide good indicators of whether you are at a healthy weight. Calculate your BMI: weight (lbs.) / [height (in) 2] x 703.

Source: American Heart Association

Holiday Cookies the Healthy Way

These healthful recipes prove that you can bake with less sugar, more healthful fats and more nutrients and still enjoy great-tasting holiday cookies. Chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are made with coconut oil, fiber-rich oats and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate chips. Likewise, the gingerbread cookies are made with fiber-rich whole wheat flour, nutrient-rich blackstrap molasses and less butter and sugar than most holiday cookie recipes.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat coconut oil and sugars with an electric mixer until the sugars are well-incorporated. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating on low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Stir in the oatmeal and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonsful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies. Bake 10-14 minutes until golden brown around the edges, but still soft in the middle. Don't overbake, or the cookies won't be chewy. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Easy Soft Gingerbread Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 cup molasses (recommended: unsulphured blackstrap)
1 large egg
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in the brown sugar and molasses until the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is well-combined. Remove from heat.
  2. Let the mixture cool 5 minutes and pour into a large mixing bowl. Beat in the egg.
  3. Dump the flour, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice on top of the sugar mixture. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula until you can't see any flour anymore. The dry ingredients should be well-incorporated, but do not overmix, or the gingerbread cookies will be tough.
  4. Divide the gingerbread cookie dough in half. Form each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 days.
  5. When ready to bake, remove gingerbread cookie dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Place a little flour on parchment paper. Unwrap the dough, and place the plastic wrap on top of the dough as a buffer to keep the rolling pin from sticking to the dough. Roll the gingerbread cookie dough to a thickness of 1/4- to 1/2-inch. Cut into desired shapes. Arrange the gingerbread cookies on the baking sheets, so that they are 1-inch apart.
Bake the gingerbread cookies 7-14 minutes until just firm to the touch. The cooking time will depend on how thick you rolled the cookies. Decorate with colored sugars, sprinkles or icing.

Step Up!

  • KIDS: Wash your hands after eating, using the bathroom or touching animals.
  • TEENS: With help from your family, gather up healthful nonperishable foods and gently-used winter clothing and donate to a local homeless shelter.
  • ADULTS: Give the gift of health to yourself (and your family) – setup an annual physical with your primary care physician.




Download Your

Take 12 Steps for Community Health in 2015 Calendar

Download 2015 Calendar

Download 2014 Calendar

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great community wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

Take 12 Steps to Family Health

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!
2015 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015

2015 Healthy Strides Community 5K/10K
Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015, 7:30 a.m.
7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA 22039

We are seeking support from local businesses and organizations for Take 12! Steps for Community Health in 2015. Our participants are the same people your business is looking to attract. Take advantage of this opportunity.



Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Take 12 Newsletter
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Email: Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov
Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/take12/ is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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