Thursday, October 2, 2014

What’s Driving Poor Health in Jeffco?

When it comes to the health of the people of Jefferson County, five risk factors are the main drivers of poor health as determined by the Community Health Assessment (CHA) released last year. These factors are poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and exposure, alcohol use, and stress-- all of which are risk factors of cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke). In 2013, one out of every four deaths in the county was due to cardiovascular disease, making it the leading cause of death in Jefferson County. Directly addressing the risk factors can greatly increase overall health.

A new study from Sweden published this month in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has shown that Jefferson County is not alone. The study found that the combination of healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking, and being physically active may prevent 4 out of 5 heart attacks. Furthermore, the number of heart attacks decreased as positive behavior and lifestyle changes made around these five risk factors increased.

Good health starts long before you need medical attention, and you have control of and can improve many of the factors that contribute largely to your well-being. Whether it’s quitting smoking, creating a healthier diet, committing to an exercise plan, cutting down on your spirits consumption, or reducing stress in your life, or a combination of any of the factors—even small steps in the right direction is a great start!

Visit Jefferson County Public Health’s Healthy People, Healthy Places Jeffco website dedicated to improving health in the county through finding solutions to health issues and providing tips on healthy living, working, and playing.

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