Health officials respond to Washington Post survey

By: Melissa Etezadi Email
By: Melissa Etezadi Email

In a state wide survey reported by the Washington Post on unhealthiest Kentucky counties, Clay County ranked number one.

WYMT’s Melissa Etezadi spoke to both government officials as well as Clay County health officials to see how they are battling this growing epidemic.

Local health officials say they've been taking action through school programs and community outreach.

These programs teach everything from portion control to prevention of disease.

They say it's been extremely effective.

“I've seen weight loss, I've seen increase in exercise, I've seen decrease in body mass index, I've seen decrease in body fat, I've seen people lower their blood pressure, I've seen people stop smoking,” Veronica Hagen said.

However, their denied government funding has made this an uphill battle.

“We have applied for the Carly White Pep Grant two times in the past and also 21st Century Grant, these are federal grants, and each time we've been turned down,” Deann Allen said.

Allen says it's the community that has decided to take action.

“These efforts that we're doing is a combination of our local funds. Local people coming together none of these programs are involving federal or state money,” Allen said.

But state officials say there are many factors that play into this epidemic.

But one takes precedence.

“Their social economics is going to play a big part on their health,” Elaine Russell said.

Overall, the health leaders in Clay County say they hope to achieve awareness and education through programs. Officials are saying sometimes it’s never too late and never too early.

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