Tahlequah Daily Press


November 20, 2013

Holidays: Give yourself the gift of better health

TAHLEQUAH — As more scientific data becomes available, Americans are beginning to realize  it’s not necessarily fat that’s killing us – it’s the chemicals we’re absorbing from eating too much processed food.

According to the United Heath Foundation and other respected sources, Oklahoma isn’t doing so well in the health arena. Though our obesity may have leveled off somewhat since last year, it has climbed fairly steadily since 1990. In 1990, just about 12 percent of our population had a body mass index of 30 or higher, the indicator for obesity. Now, about 32 percent of us fit the bill. And diabetes has taken an even scarier turn. In 1996, only 3 percent of the adult population had been diagnosed with the disease. That percentage has almost tripled in the past couple of years.

In 2012, Oklahoma ranked 43rd among all the states in terms of health. Many of us don’t feel well, which means we’re not as happy or productive as we could be. It also means we’re spending money on health care that we could have used for, say, a family vacation, if we’d only taken some preventive steps earlier in our lives.

According to the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, Cherokee County ranks 34th among the state’s 77 counties in health outcomes, which puts us about in the middle. But when it comes to health factors – the things that actually influence our health – we’re 63rd. And that’s not good. We smoke too much, we don’t exercise enough, and our diet isn’t that great.

Some of us overuse alcohol, and a higher-than-normal number of us succumb to motor vehicle crash deaths. We don’t seek health care often enough, and when we do, we’re already very sick. And cycles of poor habits continue in families.

The county health coalition has done a tremendous job educating the public, and it’s starting to reap results. Our local health care system is just as good or better than anywhere else in the region. But ultimately, we have to take responsibility for our own well-being, and that of our families. It’s not easy. Many of us are so busy with our jobs, or raising our kids, they we have little time to eat right and exercise. But it’s important that we make the effort, whenever we can.

With Thanksgiving approaching, many local residents are planning healthy, home-cooked meals as part of their family traditions. Perhaps we can make a commitment to continue that trend. Even if we can’t make healthy meals every night, we can choose to cut down on our fast food and processed food intake, and instead of consuming “bad” fats and excessive carbohydrates, we can opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean meat. Say “no” to a second piece of grandma’s pumpkin pie, because all that sugar isn’t good for us. Moderation is key. And as far as exercise, we can start by walking 30 minutes every day.

Yes, it will be difficult during the holidays, and yes, eating right may cost us a bit more. But in the long run, we’ll save money, because we’ll be healthier – and that makes it all worthwhile.

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  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014


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