Study Shows That Several Eastern Kentucky Counties Are Unhealthiest In State

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

A new study shows all but one of Kentucky's ten unhealthiest counties are in our coverage area.

Researchers say a lack of physicians and health insurance are partly to blame, but they say unhealthy diets and not enough exercise are the biggest reasons for our health problems.

Dr. Anthony Yonts knows eastern Kentuckians can't control genetics or limited access to health care, and practicing healthier habits can be tough.

“In order to exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week, it really requires a major lifestyle change,” Dr. Anthony Yonts said.

Carolyn Raleigh lives in Perry County, ranked the fourth least healthy county in the state.

She says it is tough--but not impossible--to find the time to walk around the Perry County Park with her sister after work.

Chris Cornett sets himself apart from the growing number of overweight kids, by practicing his game.

“We have a toy football, we toss it back and forth and try to get better at it,” Cornett said.

To get the most from exercise, experts say we all need to make healthier food choices.

“We all like to have our Snickers, pops, chicken and dumplings, which are all very good, but those like everything, need to be done in limited proportions,” Dr. Yonts said.

Yonts hopes in the next few years eastern Kentuckians will help push their counties to the top of the healthy list.

Kentucky's 10 unhealthiest counties, with No. 10 as the worst:
1. Owsley
2. Powell
3. Hart
4. Knott
5. Lee
6. McCreary
7. Perry
8. Harlan
9. Clay
10. Wolfe

Kentucky's 10 healthiest counties, with No. 1 as the best:
1. Oldham
2. Boone
3. Jessamine
4. Anderson
5. Woodford
6. Fayette
7. Spencer
8. Daviess
9. Calloway
10. Clark

Source: Kentucky Institute of Medicine's "The Health of
Kentucky" report,

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Thinking Out Loud Location: Lexington on Sep 19, 2007 at 10:43 AM
    Hey Connie - I'll agree with you to an extent but there are a large (no pun intended) majority of people who aren't on government assistance who are extremely overweight as well. We can't just blame those on welfare even if that is what we see by hanging out at Wal Mart. I know people who get paid very well for what they do and they are HUGE! Why? They may have gone to college, earned a degree and have a great job but they have never been educated on nutrition and quite frankly, don't think it applies to them. Most people overweight never think it applies to them. People blame the government but then turn around and say there is too much government involvement. It's simply the act of being responsible.
  • by Connie Location: Frankfort on Sep 19, 2007 at 05:53 AM
    Unhealthy? Who is partly to blame for the unhealthy poor? The government! If they are serious about helping change lifestyles, then stop letting people buy colas, candy, chips, and cookies on Food Stamps! Those items are just junk food and have no nutritional value at all! Put your money where you mouth is! It would better serve the poor to add shampoo, laundry soap, toothpaste, and deordergent and take away colas, candy, cookies, and chips! This can be done with simply changing some codes within the current food stamp system. Furthermore, the schools don't help when every time there is a celebration or event, they load the kids up on cupcakes, cookies, and sugary snacks! Or use withholding recess as a punishment! The kids need the exercise, use something else! Moreover, you will not change the lifestyle of some people by harping on it. They will only change when they see the need to do so, not by someone TELLING them they should!
  • by c Location: fkt on Sep 19, 2007 at 05:29 AM
    It's very interesting how all these "research" studies pop up every September! Could it be, they the authors of this study are just bucking for some of our tax dollars to waste on studies like this(which by the way, is nothing more than common sense)? Ever noticed how many of these studies suddenly appear around this time of year? Federal Financial Year starts October 1st! These type of studies are nothing more than a waste of taxpayers money. Use the money to help those who want to be helped! I agree with Wondering, unverisal healthcare is a BAD idea! And to force people to carry insurance coverage, isn't helping anyone but the insurance companies! Look at the car insurance and what problems that has caused! Pay premiums, have a wreck and have to sue to get the car fixed while the ins co pockets your money! BAD IDEA for us, good idea for insurance companies! who by the way are lobbying for unverisal coverage!
  • by Responsibility Location: Lex on Sep 19, 2007 at 04:18 AM
    This to Anonymous with the longer post - The factors you stated uch as supersizing your McDonald's order hold true but nobody is twisting your arm to do that or eat at those establishments. Responsibility for one's own actions is what needs to be looked at.
  • by concerned Location: Pike Co on Sep 18, 2007 at 05:13 PM
    Is it any surprise? To conduct the study, all you need to do is go to your nearest Wal-Mart SuperCenter at the first of the month. As taxpayers, we are paying double for the consequences of overeating. Not all food stamp recipients, but from my observations, a lot of the them fill their carts with chips, twinkes, ho-hos and other sweet treats with no nutritional value. After consuming this type of food, they soon develop chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, which cost the state an incredible amount to treat. The food stamp program should be monitored or structured in a way similar to the WIC program. This doesn’t cure obesity but it is a start.
  • by Jack ramon Location: toler creek on Sep 18, 2007 at 01:02 PM
    Oxycontin, methamphetamine, cocaine, dont mix well with gravy/biscuits, bacon and jogging. My cardiologist says I need to change my diet
  • by darrell caudill Location: perry ky on Sep 18, 2007 at 12:23 PM
    i love bein fat. fat is where its at.i love fat people too. oh yea i love corndogs and pickles mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yummy hahahaha
  • by Anonymous on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:39 AM
    The fast paced lifestyle, lack of health care, good medical services, transportation and economic status as well as moral & family lifestyle changes such not sitting at the table to eat a healthy cooked meal with the family and the fast food marketing contributes to the unhealthy diet and living. When you drive thru McDonalds they ask "would you like to supersize that for only...... or would like to add 2 apple pies......Check out the calories in the fast food places and you will be suprised how much we are eating in caloric intake in a single meal. NO WONDER WE ARE UNHEALTHY.
  • by Thinking Out Loud Location: Lexington on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:18 AM
    I wonder how much money this study cost? Maybe the money it cost to perform this study (which wasn't that hard to figure out) could have gone for free check-up, heatlth screenings and education. All you have to do is look around; you can tell the people who aren't practicing healthy lifestyles. When you see someone drinking an Ale-8 for breakfast with a cigarette or a Moon Pie and RC Cola, you know that isn't healthy. Sure, you can keep a Twinkie in your back pocket all day long and when you finally decide to eat it you pull it out of your pocket and it retains the original shape, but you don't. I know the experts say you should eat like 5 very small meals throughout the day versus 3 meals but you have to realize that 5 Happy Meals is not a good thing. And lastly, universal healthcare is not a good idea. Why should I pay for those who refuse to practice healthy living? The people with bad habits will bankrupt the system before it can help everyone. I'll be hated for this post...
  • by James on Sep 18, 2007 at 09:41 AM
    I sure don't see how Fayette could be all that healthy. Trying to drive thru Lexington is enough to give you a heart attack if not outright kill you.
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