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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  • Attack at school in Pennsylvania: Mental illness root of problem

    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

    We may forgive, but we shouldn’t forget, because there’s serious work to do in Washington. That work will never be accomplished as long as flawed zippers - literally or figurately – are a pervasive problem.

    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

    April 9, 2014

  • NSA head lies to Congress, and seems to get away with it

    Is there an obvious pattern of criminality within these governmental agencies? If so, why isn’t the Judicial Department investigating?

    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

    Oklahoma should be rolling in the dough. The statistics bear that out. Thirty-three American Indian tribes operate 117 casinos in this state. Thanks to “compacts,” these tribes have been sharing the wealth with the state of Oklahoma. And thanks to the casinos, that wealth is substantial.

    March 28, 2014

  • It’s time to turn in your candidate announcements

    If you are running for a political office for which Cherokee County voters can cast ballots, it’s time to turn in your announcement. We’ve already run a few, and expect several more. The primary elections are Tuesday, June 24, with the registration period to vote in this election closing Thursday, May 30.

    March 24, 2014

  • Mom responsible for watching kid; restaurant’s not

    If you allowed your child to drink a bottle of drain cleaner, would you feign surprise when he fell to the floor, twitching and foaming at the mouth? If you left your curling iron within reach of your baby and she pulled it off the vanity and burned her hand, would you plan revenge on the store that sold you the appliance?
    You just might, if you’re among the litigious Americans who have abdicated parental responsibility to either sloth or the hope of a better tomorrow through a cash settlement.

    March 19, 2014

  • Palin endorsement won’t do too much for T.W. Shannon

    So Sarah Palin has endorsed former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tom Coburn. We’re not impressed, and we doubt too many other folks in Cherokee County will be, either.

    March 17, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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