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Fitness and Nutrition new priority for Council

Fitness and nutrition have been added as top priorities for Grant County wellness by the Grant County Community Health Council at last week's meeting.

Melvyn Gelb, Diabetes Public Health Nurse, reported to the Health Council that over 56 percent of Grant County adults are overweight or obese and 25 percent of Grant County's children are overweight or obese. "We are the majority," Gelb joked, whom has struggled with obesity since childhood. But Gelb is seriously concerned about the consequences of lack of physical exercise and poor nutrition is having on our community.

In a 2002 survey, 78 percent of Grant County residents reported not exercising at all in the last 30 days. Also, 67 percent of 9th -12th graders reported not eating the recommended 5 fruits and vegetables a day on the 2001 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey. With 9 types of cancer attributed to lack of physical activity and poor diet, Gelb worries for the health of our county residents, "Obesity is moving to the forefront as a preventable killer in the United States."

Charlie Alfero, Hidalgo Medical Services CEO and Health Council member, stated, "The two most frequent reasons people visit HMS is diabetes and hypertension, and those two conditions and poor diet and lack of exercise are directly related."

Gelb reported that $324 million is spent for obesity related problems in New Mexico alone, and $10 million more was spent treating diabetes over any other illness in Grant County.

Health Council member, Tony Trujillo said, "The issue of obesity is one the Health Council will have to prioritize, if not now, than later and at a cost to our community. This is without a doubt a major priority in its financial cost to the county and the health of our community."

The Health Council will be joining the work that the community is all ready doing with community health groups like Fitness and Nutrition in Schools, FANS, and the Public Health Department's core team on raising exercise activity in county. Also, the Health Council will be offering a Fitness Challenge in September to promote physical activity in the area.

Fitness and Nutrition joins the Heath Council's other priorities for the county: increasing the number of resilient families, lower the occurrence of domestic violence, lowering the rate of substance abuse, and raising the economic development of the community.

For more information on the Grant County Community Health Council please call Kendra Milligan at 388-9708 ext 13.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:27

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