Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

>A big FAT "F"

June 24, 2010

>In a comparison of the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, Birmingham ranks near the bottom in an index of healthiness.

This was reported in the Birmingham News, and most of this post comes directly from that article.

We ranked 49th, just ahead of Oklahoma City.

In a year, we’ve dropped from 43rd to 49th. Either other cities are improving and leaving us behind (an Alabama staple in many areas, it seems) or we have just completely abandoned any thought of improving ourselves health wise.

The percentage of our population that is obese is 34.1%. That is more than one out of every three of the people around you. The national average among Metropolitan Statistical Areas is 25.6%, just over one out of every four people.

I think that a large number of people are in denial about their health. Be honest with yourselves, folks.

Your life expectancy, and even more important, your quality of life as you approach the end of it, depend on your attitudes and actions regarding your health.

When it comes to 14 personal health indicators and chronic health conditions, Birmingham ranked dead last.

A couple of statistics give Birmingham a glimmer of hope, though they are nothing to brag about. We are 35th out of 50 when it comes to community recreation, including the number of parks and recreation facilities and the level of state-required physical education programs.

Birmingham has considered closing rec centers, however, and Bessemer has none.

Birmingham ranks above average when it comes to the number of Farmer’s Markets, park playgrounds, recreation centers, swimming pools and requirements for physical education in schools, but below average on the number of tennis courts (Birmingham MSA – 1.3%, MSA average – 2.1%), acres of park land per capita ( Birmingham MSA – 2.6%, Average – 10.3%) and percent of people walking or riding their bicycles to work (Birmingham – 1%, Average – 2.8%).

Birmingham spends $37 per capita on funding parks. The average is $102.

Jerri Haslem has taught exercise classes in Birmingham for 20 years. These are sad statistics, she said, calling it the “mindset” of the people and not a lack of opportunity.

If people would use the facilities we have more, then more would be built, she believes. She says a large fitness club might look at our area and say there aren’t enough fitness minded people to build here. On the other hand she, says, a fast food company might take a look at our statistics and see a big opportunity. I’m not sure what she means by that.

An opportunity to exploit our “mindset” that propels us to fast food restaurants? Or an opportunity to improve their menus and the quality of food that they serve, so that they do not continue to adversely affect the health of our communities?

Because of $13.3 million in Federal Stimulus money given through the CDC and the Jefferson County Department of Health, many of the issues in the report will be addressed.

Included will be a push for smoke-free air policies in Jefferson County’s cities and a requirement that restaurants post nutritional information a the point of purchase. Also included will be working with school nutrition and exercise policies and working with neighborhood development such as requiring sidewalks and building greenways to connect parks .

Other health indicators:

Death rate per 100,000 for cardiovascular disease – Birmingham MSA – 259.3, Average – 212.4

Diabetes – Birmingham MSA – 11%, Average 8.3%.

Here’s a link to the full report.

Here’s a community action guide that you or me or our group or agency can use to develop healthier communities.

Here’s a link to all of Birmingham’s statistics in this report (click on the city you want to view).

Housekeeping. I have changed the Facebook share button that appears on each post. By clicking it, you should be able to easily share this or any post with your friends on Facebook.

Coming soon, Twitter share and others. What Share button would you like to see?

Also, Bessemer Opinions is now available in 9 languages other than English. Use the translator at the top of the left sidebar and click on the flag representing the language you want to view. Maybe you can then send the translated post (by copying the link) to your friends that spea that language. Play around with it. Let me know what you think.

>Interesting tids from mags

March 12, 2010

>So we’re flipping through current issues of magazines yesterday evening, and found a few tidbits of information that I would like to share.

Eventually we will get to this.


But first:

From The New Yorker:

“Or maybe it’s Nevada, whose own governor, amid allegations that he had groped a waitress, recently said in a deposition that he had not had sex since 1995.”

After wondering who cares, I cared enough to use the google and find out who this guy is (and how old he is).

His name is Jim Gibbons, he’s 65 years old, he’s a Republican, he’s divorced (sort of); none of which are reasons not to have sex.

In the divorce filings, he said of his ex, “It was once said in another context that being in close quarters with such a volatile person was like being locked in a phone booth with an enraged ferret.”

During the divorce process his ex filed this -“Dawn’s papers alleged that Jim was unfaithful with Durant, and with the woman who received the 860 messages, and “has had similar relationships with many other women during the marriage.”

Do you believe him, that he has not had sex for the last 15 years?

Maybe this tidbit from Men’s Health applies to Jim:

“…a study in the Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality found that the average man gives himself the old love tug 12 times a month…”

Love tug?

Now, all the guys are counting back and all their partners are wondering.

But Martha Stewart Living gave us the most useful and helpful tidbits.

People who followed all four (healthy habits) lived about 14 years longer than those who didn’t.

Here they are.

Keeping physically active. (either on the job or in leisure time).

Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Drinking moderately (defined in this study as one to fourteen servings per week).

Not smoking.

For us, the most difficult is the 5 servings of fruits. We have a hard time counting French fries as a vegetable. We had a banana this morning cut up over our cereal, so today we are off to a good start, I guess.

Fourteen years, friends. Four easy habits. Unless you are a smoker. I know about quitting cigarettes. It’s not easy. I have a friend who is trying right now. Good luck, buddy.

Now, amuse yourself. No, not with a love tug! By watching Lady Gaga and Beyonce in their new video/movie for Telephone. NSFW most likely.

Healthy Kids… a Great Idea

March 24, 2008

If Alabama educators could perform simple arithmetic they could add 2 + 2 and get 4, and could see that high school students + physical education = healthier kids who are better able to learn in school.

But they are resisiting a proposal by Rep. Ken Guin to add PE to high school curriculums. Guin says “Alabama is one of the most obese states in the nation. For children born in Alabama in 2000, there is a one in three chance they will be diabetic.”

Sally Howard, executive director if the Alabama Association of School Boards says the proposal would cost too much ($47 billion) and take time away from academic courses. Of course, she completely ignores that giving children an opportunity to exercise during the day would make them better learners and that healthier kids who are not missing school due to health issues and who feel better would also perform better.

In addition, does she not realize that not turning out kids with current and future diabetes and hypertension (and other conditions linked to obesity) would save the state millions of dollars in health care costs?..enough I am sure to pay for the cost of PE teachers.

In today’s paper also is an expert opinion by Dr. David Calhoun, medical director of UAB’s Vascular Biology Hypertension Program. We all know (at least 50 % of us know, according to the article) that hypertension is associated with stroke and heart disease. But 76 % of us are not worried about getting high blood pressure, even though almost everyone eventually gets it.

Dr. Calhoun tells us that high blood pressure is associated with obesity and physical inactivity, and lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity are part of our defense against it. But lifestyle changes are difficult to make, and kids who learn in high school that being physically inactive is the preferred lifestyle are unlikely to begin to be active when they enter college or the work force.

I don’t know what the chances of this bill passing are, but it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to affect the health of our children and our state by ignoring this issue. Let’s push for passage of this bill.

>Healthy Kids… a Great Idea

March 24, 2008

>If Alabama educators could perform simple arithmetic they could add 2 + 2 and get 4, and could see that high school students + physical education = healthier kids who are better able to learn in school.

But they are resisiting a proposal by Rep. Ken Guin to add PE to high school curriculums. Guin says “Alabama is one of the most obese states in the nation. For children born in Alabama in 2000, there is a one in three chance they will be diabetic.”

Sally Howard, executive director if the Alabama Association of School Boards says the proposal would cost too much ($47 billion) and take time away from academic courses. Of course, she completely ignores that giving children an opportunity to exercise during the day would make them better learners and that healthier kids who are not missing school due to health issues and who feel better would also perform better.

In addition, does she not realize that not turning out kids with current and future diabetes and hypertension (and other conditions linked to obesity) would save the state millions of dollars in health care costs?..enough I am sure to pay for the cost of PE teachers.

In today’s paper also is an expert opinion by Dr. David Calhoun, medical director of UAB’s Vascular Biology Hypertension Program. We all know (at least 50 % of us know, according to the article) that hypertension is associated with stroke and heart disease. But 76 % of us are not worried about getting high blood pressure, even though almost everyone eventually gets it.

Dr. Calhoun tells us that high blood pressure is associated with obesity and physical inactivity, and lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity are part of our defense against it. But lifestyle changes are difficult to make, and kids who learn in high school that being physically inactive is the preferred lifestyle are unlikely to begin to be active when they enter college or the work force.

I don’t know what the chances of this bill passing are, but it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to affect the health of our children and our state by ignoring this issue. Let’s push for passage of this bill.