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Health Report Card: January 16, 2014

Florida is middle of the road when it comes to the health of our residents, coming in 33 overall among the 50 states. The issues that brought the state down slightly from last year are the many of the same being felt in Southwest Florida.

“There’s a very high proportion of chronic illnesses in Lee County,” says Joyce Hall, RN case manager with Lee Memorial Health System.

Hall oversees a community outreach program that helps people to take charge of their health. Her data provides a snapshot of our county. For example 9% of the local population has diabetes.

“That relates to 55,000 adults. And that’s just Lee County so you can imagine how that would multiply for the state of Florida. 45% have high cholesterol, 32% have hypertension or high blood pressure, 34% are overweight and 24% are considered obese,” says Hall.

Obesity was a biggie in this survey. Diet and exercise are two of the criteria that influence both the study and our wellbeing. Statewide almost 3.7 million adults are physically inactive, and approximately 4.0 million adults are obese. Dietitians find the two go hand-in-hand.

“Definitely being obese and overweight put you at higher risk for chronic diseases diabetes, heart disease. So we can try and get the weight under control hopefully before these things comes about,” says Heidi Miller, weight management dietitian with Lee Memorial Health System.

On a high note- fewer people are smoking. Florida now ranks 15th among the states. Kicking the habit greatly improves your health outlook.

“This is one of the few things, unlike genetic disease, where we can modify. We can change our health by choosing not to pick up cigarettes,” says Dr. Sunil Pammi, pulmonologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

And it all comes down to choices and focusing on your personal health report card.