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Guest column: Improving regional health

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As a community, a state and a nation, we all aspire to improve the quality of life and the health of our families, neighbors, community and ourselves. The World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

According to America’s Health Rankings, North Carolina ranks 33 in the country for overall health. Pitt County specifically ranks 48 out of the 100 North Carolina counties for overall health outcomes. So what does that actually look like? In Pitt County, one in three adults is obese, one in four is considered physically inactive, and one in five people still smokes. All of these factors significantly influence the prevalence rate of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke, and can lead to premature death. These factors are so important that many regulatory bodies, such as The Joint Commission and others prohibit smoking on hospital campuses.

We can do better. Improving our health status is a big job and a major undertaking that requires a united effort from business and community leaders, policy makers, health professionals, educators, insurers, advocacy organizations, consumer groups, the faith community and North Carolina’s residents. It will require everyone’s engagement, help and support to achieve a healthier Pitt County. As leaders, we have the opportunity to create a supportive environment to help people make healthy choices that will lead to improving our quality of life and health status.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart