Washington Post article profiles obesity problem in Clay County

By: Melissa Etezadi Email
By: Melissa Etezadi Email

An article in the Washington Post focuses on Clay County being named one of the unhealthiest counties in Kentucky.

The county ranked dead last in a study ranking the healthiness of all one hundred and twenty counties.

The obesity rate is estimated at more than 50 percent, almost double the national average.

For many in Eastern Kentucky, the obesity problem is no secret.

"In each one of our counties we know that there is a problem with the obesity. There is an epidemic of Diabetes, theres a problem with heart disease." Says Lynnett Renner, the Director for Nutrition Services for WIC.

However, health officials say it's the lack of funding, attention and easily available alternatives that makes this a growing problem.

"One of the things at the health department we want to make a priority is to make the healthy choice the easy choice." Says Renner.

They have instilled many school programs to help educate the community at a young age on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

"We also try to do some education with nutritional staff at the school as far as diet, we try to have some input into the school physical education programs." Says Lynda Madden, the Nurse Supervisor at the Clay County Health Department.

They stress though that this requires a group effort from all leaders in the community.

"The health department can't do it all by themselves, so we want our government engaged. We want our school systems engaged. We want the extension office engaged. We want those community leaders at the table to make positive changes and be the real change agents in our community." Says Renner.

They hope that by constantly providing education, people will make individual healthy choices that will become part of their daily lifestyle.

The health department is currently running a one percent or less milk campaign, encouraging people to make simple changes, such as choosing low fat milk.

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