Monday, June 10, 2013

Rural editor joins advocates' crisis call for community and individual action against diabetes

Floyd County in Appalachian Region
The editor of a weekly newspaper in Eastern Kentucky has joined an advocacy group's call for residents in his county to make simple, healthy lifestyle changes, serving as an example of how local newspapers and community members can engage the public to confront poor health status of the area, which is often put on the back burner despite alarming warning signs.

Recently, the Tri-County Diabetes Partnership declared the rate of diabetes in Floyd, Johnson and Magoffin counties "a crisis of epidemic proportions." If the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "saw a similar increase in any other illness, they would probably declare a national emergency,” said J.D. Miller, vice president of medical affairs for Appalachian Regional Healthcare.

The group's statement was an appropriate response to direct public's attention to the imperative of addressing the area's skyrocketing rate of the disease, Ralph Davis of The Floyd County Times wrote in an editorial.

Diabetes will remain a crisis unless we do something about it, and "if you have been waiting for a crisis before making healthy lifestyle changes, we’ve got one for you. In fact, we have several," Davis wrote. "It’s going to require the conscious decision by everyone in the region to do what they can to improve their diet and exercise habits, and to encourage their friends and family to do the same."

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