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Monday, August 19, 2013

Platform for a 21st Century Hickory - an Agenda on Health and Wellness

4) an Agenda on Health and Wellness...  The Gallup-Healthway study is a prime example of a valid scientific study that casts a negative light on Hickory. How do we address what this study finds? Dr. Jody Inglefield admits that he doesn't have all of the answers, buts says that is why we need local health professionals to weigh in, but what does stand out is the negative issues this community faces involving health.

31.2% of the people in this community are defined as Obese and this does not include those who are overweight. A recent Gallup survey, related to the Well-Being index, from July 22 of this year shows that the Heart Attack Rates Double in Low-Wellbeing Metro Areas - Average of 5.5% in metros with lowest wellbeing have had heart attack. The Hickory Metro is ranked as the 5th lowest Metro area in the country in relation to Gallup's Well-Being study. In the survey on Obesity, we are the 19th most obese metropolitan area in the nation with 31.2% of the residents of this area defined as obese. Our community is the lowest ranked metro in North Carolina when it comes to obesity and also physical activity.

We need an Agenda on Health and Wellness. "Wellness Well Crafted" would encourage, not mandate, healthy lifestyles. We do this by creating programming and opportunities to exercise, eat right, create personal health goals, and preventative care that are user friendly and can be maintained through the various stages of life.

We talk about people having a negative outlook in the community. Healthy people tend to have better mental attitudes. That is a fact. When you take away opportunities for people to be active and lead healthy lifestyles and turn a blind eye towards people leading unhealthy lifestyles, then it leads to what we have here in Hickory. Parks, Greenways, and recreation programming need to become a key component of this wellness agenda.

According to an article from the Live Science Website entitled The Skinniest and Fattest US Cities Revealed - Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor - March 07, 2012
Supporting an abundance of research linking obesity with a long list of health ailments, those living in the 10 most obese areas were much more likely, compared with the skinniest cities, to report chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression, at some point in their lives. For instance, compared with people living in the lowest-obesity cities, residents of the most obese areas were 70 percent more likely to report diabetes, 58 percent more likely to have had a heart attack, 30 percent more likely to report a diagnosis of depression, and 23 percent more likely to report high cholesterol, Gallup noted. [Infographic: Diabetes & Obesity in US]

Obesity not only plagues the individual, it can also drain Americans' wallets, with the National Institutes of Health estimating the average incremental health-care cost for an obese person is $1,429 every year. With that number, Gallup estimates that in the 10 metro areas with the highest obesity rates, Americans cumulatively pay about $1 billion more in annual health-care costs than if those states had obesity rates of 15 percent.

For example, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area pays more than $400 million in unnecessary health-care costs each year because of its high obesity rate. If it reduced the obesity rate to 15 percent, the area could potentially save more than $250 million annually, Gallup estimates.
We are paying a price for not seriously investing in the community's health. You can read the above and see that serious investment in fitness pays for itself many times over. And yet, over the past decade we have seen recreational and fitness facilities/opportunities reduced and destructed. Exercise and Recreation should be more than afterthoughts in a city budget.

There are direct links that show that Health Disparities Across Incomes Are Wide-Ranging (Gallup - October 18, 2010); comparing those making less than $24,000 per year versus those with more income. Those in the lower income strata have greater chances of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, asthma, cancer, depression...

Those with more wealth do not seem to understand that the overall physical health of the community, as a whole, affects the economic health of the community and thus their own  individual personal well-being.  These are investments well worth making.


wandaarnold1716 said...

If, as in Dr. Mercola's opinion, about 80% of your health and well-being is directly attributed to what you eat, we've got a struggle ahead to improve health in Hickory. Our food supply is incredibly polluted and getting worse every day.

Big AG controls what we eat and the grocery stores are filled with GMO processed food.

In addition, I've never seen a city with so many fast food restaurants. Doesn't anybody cook at home anymore? It's easy to slip soy or fibers into the meat dishes at a restaurant because few list the ingredients in the dishes they serve.

When I first moved here I was disturbed to learn that our water supply is fluoridated. The science is there and country after country has made it illegal. I did write several letters to my city council representative, but there was no sympathy there. I was left with the idea that this is mandated by the state and we have no choice. Other cities have taken individual action and Hickory should too.

Education is the key and this year, for the first time I can walk into the nearby health food store and find it crowded and the owners hiring new employees. People was starting to realize how very dangerous our food supply is.

Anything we can do to support our local farmers and encourage individual gardens can only help. Local farmers are struggling to compete with government subsidized big AG. We have a very big job ahead of us.

James Thomas Shell said...

The local officials here simply do not care about the health issue. They care only about getting continuously elected. The people, at the top, who support them aren't the brightest light bulbs in the stadium lighting and they have mandated that we don't invest in anything, especially the people of Hickory, unless it sticks money in their pockets.

Wanda, I agree with everything you have said here, but it only gets us defined as crackpots around here; because if it isn't shown on the Corporate news programs, then it is beyond comprehension to most people.

I have a Big Berkey water filter to take the fluoride out of the water, but it is impossible to avoid the chemical cocktail all together, because it is everywhere. And it is a pain to use the water filter all the time.

Big jobs start one step at a time and it is time to start taking some baby steps.

The problem I have seen is that the older generations here, who dominate the local culture, could seem to care less about the future.

wandaarnold1716 said...

Just as I can see evidence of more concern from health food store customers, I see in your blog the evidence of the first baby steps you refer to and that is why I support and applaud it.

As people begin to understand that there is no truth being shown on the corporate news programs, they will begin to turn to alternative and independent news, so small blogs like yours are important.

The older generation lacks the energy to be as active as they would like to be. I agree that many think they will be gone in 10-15 years and the problems won't be theirs, so why get stressed out.

But the older generation holds the memories of what it used to be like. They are the ones that have witnessed the falling apart of the country they love. They need to be reminded over and over that the "new normal" isn't normal. They're very upset, but don't know what to do about it. (See how easy it was to get enough signatures for the recent referendum?)

I noticed the letter to the editor today from David Williams. He says, "We have become a lazy, irresponsible people, always expecting someone else to solve our problems." Voting is undoubtedly filled with fraud that never comes to our attention because there is no way to keep track of it. We need to protect it as the one last final control "we the people" have.

I used to decry California's rule by referendum. Those were the days when I actually thought our representatives were better equipped to be writing the laws. I don't think that way any more and believe that more "direct democracy" is what we need. Okay, it doesn't always turn out for the best, but if you get Americans riled up about an issue, globalists look out!

Anonymous said...

It grieves me to say this, however, Thom, you're exactly right. It seems that they don't care because they don't, at least, not about you or me. They care about themselves, their families, their cronies, and how much they can make. It's always about how much they can make.

Anonymous said...

Duh. It doesn't grieve me to say you're right; you've been so for quite some time Thom. It grieves me to speak that reality. I've thought it for some time and the reality of what is just can't be ignored any longer.

You sir have been on track for quite some time. Those that detract despise having it pointed out to them and everyone else coming to realize it what's been done to them.

Carry on.

Harry Hipps said...

Wanda, I used to advocate for direct democracy but I don't think that would solve our issues. The problem is that, unfortunately, many still either swallow the dominant media line or are the "low information" voters that the political industry uses to sway the public.

there are true believers on both sides of any issue and the decision is made by those in the middle. And the opinion makers are great at polling and focus group testing to find out how to sway the gullible. If that doesn't get you there then outright fraud can cover the difference.

At the end of the day, any democracy can't survive without an educated, informed, and morally fit populace. I don't understand it, but we, in the West, have cut off our cultural and societal roots, liberty, God, the rule of law and the things that made us great and exchanged it for a belief in nihilism. Until this changes, I don't believe any tweeking of the process will matter much.

Anonymous said...

Hi Harry. I know you didn’t respond to me so I hope you don’t mind if I write a few words in response to your last post. I concur however with your first observation; direct democracy wouldn’t work. It is difficult enough to obtain consensus among more than two people, more would be impossible and sometimes even two is debatable.

True enough, there are true believers on both sides. But holding a belief is not entitlement to truth or polity. But we seem to have become radicalized in our beliefs, drifting further and further away from the mainstream that is/was the heart of America toward a caustic stance in pick your poison extremism. We have shifted from a stance that despite our differences we are Americans and we’ll endure for the common good, to a ‘you’re either for me or against me’ extremist stance in whatever view one holds. Look at the lengths that were gone to in the just past election to change representation as a shining example of the depths some will stoop to in order to win. I’m surprised the Hickory Inc. coalition didn’t accuse CEG of being card carrying Communists and did imply they were socialistic, given who they tried to associate CEG with.

I’m not sure at this particular point, viewing the political quagmire that is Hickory Inc., that having a platform or stance on particular hot button issues is conducive to betterment of the community. It may be conducive to personal progress, gain, or palm greasing of others. How could I say such a thing? Right now, I think we need some passion. We need people who genuinely care. A group of people who represent the various communities that make up Hickory in totality fairly, passionately, and are willing to work toward common goals, advancing the welfare and general wellbeing of all rather than a niched group of individuals that are looking to take and take and take. Those who step forward have to believe in the people of this community and forsake their nuanced beliefs because what is good for one isn’t usually good for all. Because one person believes this or that doesn’t mean all do or should and it likewise doesn’t mean they are qualified to lead the community.

A hash tag, logo, cutesy saying, or a false illusion of something that never was is a lie or at the least a half-truth created to be enjoyed by the few at the cost to the many. I can’t do that Harry and I don’t think you would either.