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Editorial: County has partner in fight for good health

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In an annual review, Indiana ranks 41st in America’s Health Rankings.

Obesity, sedentary habits, high smoking rates, low public health funding and the second-to-worst air pollution in the United States contributed to Indiana’s low rank.

There were a few bright spots in the report, published by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention. Indiana fared better than other states when it came to binge drinking and the number of people who don’t have health insurance.

On the Web

The Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County website is healthierjc.org.

But the low points are telling. Indiana ranked:

  • 44th in smoking
  • 42nd in obesity
  • 42nd in sedentary lifestyle
  • 42nd in physical activity
  • 45th in heart attacks
  • 49th in air pollution
  • 41st in preventable hospitalizations

The report also cited Indiana’s low per capita public health funding.

Indiana has more than 500,000 adults with diabetes, the report found, and more than 1.5 million Hoosiers are obese.

The report said the rate of preventable hospitalizations decreased significantly over the past five years, but the percentage of children living in poverty increased from 10.8 percent to 23.6 percent over the past 10 years.

If there can be any kind of silver lining to this ominously dark health cloud, it is that many of the problems are individually correctable. In other words, these are self-inflicted problems.

So just as we as individuals were responsible for the negatives, many of us can effect solutions. It won’t be easy. Rather, it will be downright difficult.

But Johnson County residents are lucky. They have a strong ally in this fight for good health — Partnerships for a Healthier Johnson County.

For years, this health initiative has worked to help both individuals and communities achieve healthier lifestyles. The group regularly sponsors smoking-cessation classes to help people break the nicotine habit. Periodic Dump the Plump campaigns focus not just on losing weight but on increasing regular exercise and improving diets.

Other programs focus on wellness, prenatal health, infant care and other issues.

As we said, the health rankings do not paint a pleasant portrait of Hoosiers today. But with the help of Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County, local residents have a better chance at improving that picture.

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