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Letter to the Editor for County Health Departments

Public Health Week April 3-9

March __, 2000

Dear Editor:

Recent information released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health in their annual State of the State’s Health Report, is alarming. The lack of regular sustained physical activity by Oklahomans has contributed to the following poor health statistics:

  • The heart disease rate for Oklahoman is 19 percent higher than the U.S. rate.
  • The stroke rate is 11 percent higher than the U.S. rate.
  • The injury rate for Oklahoma is 30 percent higher than the U.S. rate.

State Health Commissioner J.R. Nida, M.D., has called for community involvement and action to help improve the health status of Oklahomans. We are losing too many of our productive years to physical disability and early deaths that could be avoided or delayed if we can find ways to motivate entire communities and families to exercise more.

One solution being brought forward is to encourage community organizations, employers, schools, and families to promote physical activity as one possible solution to help improve health and make our communities more livable. Walking, bicycling, and water aerobics for older citizens who may have weight-bearing problems are excellent choices. Citizens can work with businesses and civic organizations to encourage the building of parks with bike and walk paths or adding paths to existing facilities. (Adults and children should always wear approved helmets when bike riding and follow bicycle safety rules.) Local YWCA’s can be encouraged to expand their exercise programs for community use. Right here in _____ County, we have numerous resources that can work together to increase physical activity opportunities (administrators can compile their own list or use the following: city parks and recreation, senior center, adult education programs, cooperative extension service, hospitals, voluntary health organizations, health/exercise clubs, service clubs, church groups).

So, stop being couch potatoes! During Public Health Week, April 3 - 9, begin working on improving your health. Get out of the house and have some fun with family and friends by participating in a physical activity. It is an excellent way to lose weight, prolong healthy years of life and improve interaction with the people in your life.

Sincerely,

__________

Administrator

_____ County Health Department

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