Focus on health important for county’s future

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 1, 2011

How do you change an overall culture, an entire mindset that has existed for years?

Answering that question is at the heart of an issue that was recently spotlighted by a study showing that Lawrence is essentially the unhealthiest of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation along with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute used a variety of statistical measures including obesity, teen birth rate, low birth rate, number of children in poverty, number of preventable hospital stays, excessive drinking, adult smoking and more.

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The results were less than encouraging as they showed Lawrence Countians seem to have problems with eating right and exercise, no great surprise as these are problems that exist throughout Appalachia.

Dr. David Lucas, a professor at Ohio University Southern, has helped bring this to the public light is hoping to find ways to change some of the most negative indicators.

Lucas is hoping to partner with community agencies to hold a series of workshops that would promote the need for wellness, offer information about existing programs and develop avenues for exercise.

We applaud Lucas for these efforts and appreciate the fact that the county commission has said it will support this.

Now the big question remains: What exactly can each of us do to address this problem? It won’t be easy and will likely take patience and persistence.

But, the first step is simply acknowledging we have a problem and start working to correct it.