Escambia has work to do

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When it comes to health in Escambia County — and Alabama — we indeed have a lot of work to do.

A study released last week shows that Escambia County has an overall ranking of 46 in the state, with health and lifestyle factors — like obesity — causing the low ranking.
Meanwhile, another study released this week showed that Alabama women are more prone to obesity, diabetes and even getting shot.

Despite those grim figures, we do have a lot to be proud of in this county — starting with the initiative that began two decades ago, the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County.
The coalition has made improving the lives of our residents its top priority, and they have made great strides in recent years.

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Unfortunately, it seems some of our residents aren’t paying attention. For example, the county-wide survey showed 1 percent of residents polled said they had access to a park — when really, that number is 16 percent. It’s still not a great number, but it has improved over the years as coalition members have strived to make that an important part of our communities.

We all know what it takes to get healthier — eat right, exercise, see your doctor.
But some of us just don’t make it a priority. It’s easier to grab fast food that plan a healthier meal. It’s easier to sit down in front of the TV than go for a walk as a family.
But if each of us just changed one habit — give up smoking, start walking a mile every day, give up sodas — we would see drastic changes in our individual health and the overall health of our county.

What difference does it make? Besides the obvious individual improvements — like lengthening one’s lifespan — health problems are costly for all of us. And they are especially costly for our children.

We need to set a good example for our children and for our neighbors.

Try changing one habit. You might find that making changes becomes a new habit.