News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Opinion Columns

December 14, 2013

Raising the bar

Hoosiers need to change perceptions about health

TERRE HAUTE — Around coffeeshops, kitchen tables and office watercoolers, Hoosiers have cussed and discussed the federal health care law.

In those chats, we typically enumerate our various ailments and share horror stories of getting those ills treated.

Some folks might watch cable TV commentators take turns ranting for hours about the latest twists in the Affordable Care Act’s implementation.

By contrast, Indiana residents aren’t spending much time preventing the need for health care. Too many of us smoke. Too few of us exercise. We weigh too much. We breathe too much polluted air. Too few of us are bothered by those tendencies. In a state that prides itself in independent thinking — common-sense Hoosier values — we struggle with maintaining our own physical well-being. Snubbing good-health practices may seem like an act of independence, but too often that defiance puts an I’ll-do-it-my-way type in a medical clinic waiting room with, ironically, dozens of other people. We’ve all been there.

The previous paragraph is hard to accept, but it’s Indiana — just like mushroom hunting, basketball and the Indy 500. The numbers, from multiple sources, consistently affirm and reaffirm our profile.

“We smoke a lot. We sit a lot,” said Kristin Adams, director of the Indiana Office of Public Health and Performance Management in Indianapolis.

The United Health Foundation’s 24th annual report, released last week, verifies her assessment. The foundation ranked Indiana among the worst states in overall health. Again. Indiana was No. 41 in 2012 and stayed 41st this year. The rest of the bottom 10 states are in the South — Tennessee was 42nd, followed by South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and, the most unhealthy, Mississippi.

Indiana stands out in some categories, and not in positive ways. Only six states have higher smoking rates, with 1.1 million Hoosiers lighting up regularly. More than 1.5 million adults — almost a third of the grownup population — are obese, a huge jump from 15 percent in 1990. The state ranks 49th, almost the worst, in its levels of air pollution. We have the 41st worst case of physical inactivity. Diabetes is prevalent in Indiana, 11th from the bottom. Not surprisingly, the infant mortality rate tops all but five other states. Just eight states have higher rates of cancer deaths.

A larger percentage of Hoosiers report “poor mental health days” than residents in 42 other states.

While we vent about the cost of changes in health care, let’s remember this lifestyle pushes the pricetag up even more. It hurts the economy, too.

“A well population goes to work, and they miss fewer days of work,” Adams said, “and they’re more productive.”

The Indiana Department of Health — under Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess, who took office a year ago — has targeted three primary behavior changes to break the unhealthy cycle, Adams explained. The goal is to decrease the rates of adult obesity, smoking and infant mortality. That doesn’t happen magically. The governor, legislators and the state health department can lead, guide and fund initiatives, but they can only do so much. Businesses, schools, churches and, especially, families must consider Indiana’s generally poor health behaviors a big problem, too. There has to be a willingness to address the touchiest issues, such as chronic air pollution and its impact on the numbers of asthma and chronic breathing problem cases.

“Everybody has a piece of this,” Adams said.

Hoosiers have to change their perception of “health care.”

“Taking on a prevention model, rather than a ‘sick’ model [of health care], is really one of our pushes across the state,” Adams said. Prevention of diseases, such as diabetes and heart ailments, would have a tremendous effect on Hoosier well-being and standards of living.

“It is much cheaper to do the prevention side than the ‘sick’ health care,” she said.

Coordinated efforts work. Despite Indiana’s myriad health issues, some progress has occurred. In the past year, the prevalence of physical inactivity has dropped to 25.9 percent of adults from 29.2 percent.

Being near the bottom in so many categories has one upside. There’s only one way to go.

“Sometimes those [health rankings] are a good thing because you have to stop the downslide before going up,” Adams said.

That makes sense — Hoosier common sense.

Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or mark.bennett@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion Columns
  • RONN MOTT: The Czar of Russia

    If you are expecting Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Republic, to react to the crisis in the Ukraine as an ordinary elected official, think again. Even though Putin is the President of the Russian Republic, this is not the job he wants. Putin also doesn’t want to be the chairman of a newly resurrected Communist Party in Russia. No, what he wants is to be the czar of a greater Russia.

    July 24, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Dragonfly

    The other morning I was moving the canister that holds our recycling material out to the curb when I saw a strange sight. What I saw was a dragonfly fighting with a bee.

    July 22, 2014

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Chickens as pets always turned out same way

    I suppose many of us who grew up on farms or in small towns adopted unusual pets. I had a fondness for chickens. My folks always kept a few chickens, not only to fry or roast, but also for the eggs.

    July 21, 2014

  • LovellEdwards.JPG MARK BENNETT: Former Terre Hautean Jim Lovell stood ready as Neil Armstrong’s backup on Apollo 11

    The words “Apollo 11” stir optimism in me.
    I was an elementary school kid growing up in Vigo County when Neil Armstrong put the first footprint on the moon on July 20, 1969. So much seemed possible

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • RONN MOTT: World Cup over, but it was fun

    After many weeks and many games, the World Cup is over. While the world calls it “futbol,” only we in North America play another brand of football. It is very simple to understand why this is the world’s favorite game … all it takes is an empty lot, a round soccer ball, and you can get a futbol game together.

    July 18, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Presidential Ambush

    No wild-west ambush, either real or fiction, has been as successful as the ambush on President Barack Obama.

    July 17, 2014

  • MET071614band.jpg MARK BENNETT: Are you ready for some oom-pah along the banks of the Wabash?

    Any time I hear Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly,” the sound transports me to 1973, when that classic song bubbled from my parents’ car radio on the drive to Sheridan Park for my youth football games.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • RONN MOTT: Collett Park

    Saturday at the Park, Collett Park, another beautiful wedding was held. They looked so nice in the warm weather with the Gazebo acting as church sanctuary, I would almost be tempted myself to do it again, and do it outdoors at the Park. No, no, no, not again, even as pretty as it is in the Park on a nice July Saturday.

    July 15, 2014

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Lots we did not have in those good ol’ days

    In my thankful moments, I’m glad I was not my grandmother’s daughter. I would miss the modern conveniences.

    July 14, 2014

  • wefight.jpg MARK BENNETT: Filmmaker captures late uncle’s walk through illness and into ‘whatever is next’

    Paul Fleschner sensed a remarkable strength as he filmed his beloved uncle one final time.

    July 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • RONN MOTT: Troubled history in that place called Iraq

    People are dying, again, in Iraq. And, again, people other than Iraqis will ultimately make the decision about what happens to this ancient land.

    July 11, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: That Old Man River

    I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • RONN MOTT: Black Dog

    We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
    There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.

    July 8, 2014

  • MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations

    Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”

    July 7, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson

    During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.

    July 4, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country

    The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Cats

    Looking at the situation as a whole, the adopted cats, plus one, seem to be doing OK. The boys, Magic and Mellow, like to roam occasionally, which causes some consternation when they are gone for a long time.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Oldtime fans will never give up on the Cubbies

    My Best Friend claims to be the world’s oldest living Cubs fan. I am willing to take him at his word, but surely there is some long-lived fan out there in the right field bleachers who would dispute his claim.

    June 30, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: These are tough times to be an opossum

    Who killed the opossum before man and the automobile? The automobile and mankind have started an evolutionary run on how the opossum continues his bloodline.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • RONN MOTT: These are tough times to be an opossum

    Who killed the opossum before man and the automobile? The automobile and mankind have started an evolutionary run on how the opossum continues his bloodline.

    June 27, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Teamwork

    Teamwork. You remember the drill. In the movie “Hoosiers,” the coach demanded four passes before anything else happened on the court. The idea of teamwork is you work toward a victory by making sure your self-interest doesn’t come before the team.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: World Cup

    I remember in junior high school, in physical education class, we were told to meet outside. The track and baseball diamond were in back of the school. We were met with a small, dimpled ball and the teacher told us it was soccer. It is played all over the world and you can use your head, your body and your feet, but not your hands. I decided then it was not a game for me.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS. TAKES: Words no one wants to hear: ‘At your age’

    The other evening, a friend limped into the dining room. Judging from the grimace, she was in some degree of pain, so I asked if she had fallen.

    June 23, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Great effort brings rewards

    I want to tip my hat to young David Fuson who has become the spokesperson for the family business.

    June 20, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Iraq, again

    Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, lifted into Heaven on a rock, on a hill, in Jerusalem. The binding of military might and strategies, and a religion that was meant for everyone, began to fall apart at that time in history.

    June 19, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: The Stanley Cup

    I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, a proud American who wants to see the USA win just about everything — except the Stanley Cup.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Son has a knack for rescuing lost birds

    I think the excitement of last week is over — for now. It all began when Number One son opened the door to a storage area and found a small bird, very much alive. Because my family likes to talk in a soothing voice to all animals, Number One assured the little guy that he was not to worry. “I’ll take you back outside so you can find your family.” Oddly enough, the little bird calmed down and sat quietly in our son’s hand until he put it down outside.

    June 17, 2014

  • tsBennett MARK BENNETT: Dad-to-dad advice

    Giving unsolicited advice is like offering somebody else your toothbrush, because it’s worked so well for you.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • RONN MOTT: Looking back on yet another birthday

    I have a birthday this week. And, I suppose that like some of you, I tend to look back over the lifespan to reflect on how it has been going.

    June 13, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: The Tony Awards

    The opening of the Tony Awards saw Hugh Jackman hopping down Broadway, into the theatre, down the aisle, a big leap onto the stage, then back stage and back out to start the show … all the time hopping like the Wolverine that he is.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity