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health300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 5:17pm.

It is not just the state's mental health programs pulling down the state's overall health ranking. For the 2nd year in a row we are rated 36th in the nation; in the bottom third of all states. Experts say it all comes down to dollars and cents; in North Carolina, like other states, the wealthier communities tend to have a healthier lifestyle. "It's scary to think we're so unhealthy. I'm about to be a father, but it does make sense when you look at the cost of health insurance," said Patrick Bailey. Patrick's concern is shared by thousands of others, and the number of uninsured people in the state is just one area that needs to be improved. In 2008, more than 17 percent of North Carolinians have no health insurance. Almost one in four smokes and nearly a third of us are obese. UNCW nursing professor, Kae Livesey, said these are serious issues dragging our state down in the national ratings. "North Carolinians are more obese than the rest of America. For example in New Hanover County childhood obesity is at about 30 percent, which is higher than the national average as well," she said. Diabetes is linked to obesity and in Bladen County those numbers are on the rise as well. Livesey said socio-economics is the biggest indicator of a person's health, because less money means fewer trips to the doctor; less insurance and less money to spend on healthy food. "When you can go through a drive through and feed your self and family for dollar burgers the cheapest way to eat is bad," added Bailey. There are some obvious things we can do to improve our state's ranking without spending money, and everyone knows what they are: - Stop smoking, it will improve your health and save you money. - Lose weight. - Also get outside and be active.

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