Special to the News By Lisa Gish, RN, MHA
As a resident of southwestern Indiana, I’m concerned about the health of our shared region.
It is easy to get bogged down in negative talk about personal health and health care. We hear endlessly about costs, diseases, obesity and access to good care.
There is some good news to share, and there are things we can improve.
First, I’m going to share local and national perspectives, and then show how some local partnerships are improving care in southwestern Indiana.
According to Indiana Indicators, a report published by the State of Indiana, Posey County ranks slightly higher in diabetes prevalence with an indicator of 10.7 against a state ranking of 10.3 (based on county health data)
The obesity rate in Posey County is also slightly higher than the state of Indiana for adults over age 18 who are considered obese, with a number of 31.1 against the state number of 30.9. Those numbers are almost too close to call.
The state collects data on various health indicators. To see the Posey County data, visit www.indianaindicators.org
According to a Center for Disease Control study released in June 2012, there are positive and negative trends in American’s health.
Research reported, “More people are exercising, and fewer are smoking. But more Americans are obese and have type 2 diabetes.”
The article quoted Dr. Pascal James Imperato of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.
“Aerobic exercise has been widely embraced by many younger people, which is an excellent development as it addresses not only the health need to be active, build muscle tone and bone density, and promote cardiac fitness, but also the prevention of obesity.”
Dr. Imperatro believes the decline in smoking among adults is a result of considerable public health education plus a reduction in the social acceptance of smoking. Indiana has been proactive with smoke-free building laws.
As a registered nurse and the Director of Clinic Operations with Tri State Community Clinics, I’ve seen how patients can positively impact their health. We’ve witnessed individuals – who had not seen a doctor in years – discover on a first clinic visit risks for diabetes. What is even more exciting is that these patients often change their behaviors and reduce risk factors.
You also can reduce the risk factors over which you have control.
We know that smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to certain health conditions.
Smoking: The CDC estimates “that the economic costs of smoking are $3,391 per smoker per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity.”
What about the personal costs to your health? The State of Indiana offers a free counseling service at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Losing Weight: For starters, losing weight provides the obvious reasons of feeling good and enjoying increased energy. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.
A 2012 study by Reuters confirmed that the cost of obesity for the American worker has exceeded the cost of smoking.
Reuters said in the study, “The startling economic costs of obesity, often borne by the non-obese, could become the epidemic’s second-hand smoke. Only when scientists discovered that nonsmokers were developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing smoke-filled air did policymakers get serious about fighting the habit, in particular by establishing nonsmoking zones.”
What can you do to maintain optimal weight? Since 2010, the Indiana Health Initiative implemented a comprehensive program with goals toward reducing obesity. The State of Indiana web site at http://www.in.gov/isdh/20195.htm offers free information about weight loss. You can calculate your Body Mass Index and understand how it relates to your weight goals.
Body Mass Index, or BMI, estimates human body fat based on a person’s height and weight. Many medical providers use this tool in helping patients grasp weight issues.
Exercise: A third way to reduce controllable health risk factors is by increasing exercise.
During football season, we all love Sunday afternoon on the couch. We might even have some Queso sauce and chips. Like everything else, this is probably okay in moderation.
Moderation is the key word here. Can you get off the couch and include regular exercise in your routine? Thirty minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week, can significantly improve your overall fitness, weight, blood pressure, and even stress levels.
Because the health of our shared community is important, I am committed to the mission of Tri State Community Clinics. The group, with Chad Perkins, MD, as Chief Medical Officer, positively impacts healthcare in a partnership with local businesses since 2010.
Tri State Community clinics join with the following businesses in providing on-site health care for employees: Evansville ARC, A&A Metal Products, FLANDERS, Anchor Industries, Buchta Trucking, Omni Plastics, and the MSD of North Posey County.
Employers know that having healthy employees is a positive for business.
Healthy employees miss less work, are less stressed, and are often more productive.
Insurance premiums for healthy employees cost less.
Our partner companies understand how an on-site employee clinic can help employees determine the risk factors. Clinics offer easy access for employees, and in most cases, is included with their health insurance premiums.
If you are interested in more information about Tri State Community Clinics and their unique community partnerships, visit our web site at www.tscommunityclinics.com.