by Dr. Richard P. Lofgren
Kentucky is taking a step forward on the road to a healthier lifestyle. On Oct. 11, healthy activities and chronic disease prevention will be the main focus for a health and wellness event here in Lexington as well as across the state. This event, Second Sunday (2S), creates the opportunity for communities to utilize their resources and provide activities that are fun, interactive and that will lead to sustained physical activity.
It is important that we take the necessary steps to prevent the chronic diseases that have plagued Kentucky for many years. As a physician, I have seen the plight of individuals and families with chronic disease, and the health factors in Kentucky that contribute to the prevalence of these diseases. I have a great deal of concern when I see the staggering health statistics for Kentucky. Obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions, even outpacing the national average. Adult smoking rates continue to be high, as do the incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In Kentucky we have the seventh-highest rate of adult obesity, at 29 percent, and the fourth-highest rate of overweight youths (ages 10-17), at 37 percent. These statistics translate into many complications for patients. Obese children are more likely to suffer from health problems related to their heart, lungs and musculoskeletal system. High rates of obesity also correlate with increased rates of cardiovascular disease. Kentucky ranks No. 6 in the nation in deaths due to cardiovascular disease.
Type 2 diabetes, the non-insulin-dependent form of diabetes and also the most common form, is on the rise as well. More than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. We are also experiencing an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, once considered an "adult-onset disease".
Prevention is the one way to begin to reverse these trends and start living a healthier lifestyle. As part of Second Sunday, counties across the state will be closing a road to traffic for four hours to allow access to run, bike, walk and play. With a variety of activities to choose from in the comfort of your own community, you can decide what will work for you. In Lexington you will be able to choose from dancing, martial arts, yoga, healthy food demos, health screenings and many more.
Events like Second Sunday will allow Kentucky to be a leader in attacking the health issues that plague every state. UK HealthCare is excited to participate and partner with the UK College of Agriculture through the Cooperative Extension Service. Together we can “take to the streets” Oct. 11 and start down the road to a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Richard P. Lofgren is Vice President of Healthcare Operations and Chief Clinical Officer for UK HealthCare and Co-Chair of Second Sunday.