There are many factors when it comes to the reasons for the generally poor health of West Virginians. Access to affordable health care, busy schedules and long commutes, the demands of work and family, education about proper nutrition and exercise, too much television, too much alcohol, too much tobacco use, poor eating habits, and obesity -- all are contributing factors. But, all of these factors can be, in large part, overcome by characteristics that I know West Virginians have in abundance: grit, determination, and discipline.
Each one of us, no matter our age, has the means within us to improve our health and the quality of our lives. We cannot all become fitness gurus or Olympic athletes, but we can take simple, low cost steps to become healthier and more fit. The steps are many, but none are hard, and the rewards for our families and ourselves are lasting.
Thanks to investments in health research made by the federal government and privately-funded nonprofit organizations, information about health, nutrition, exercise, smoking and alcohol cessation, dental health, and related topics is widely and publicly available over the internet and in many public libraries. Over the coming weeks, I will summarize some of the information that is available, and provide links to additional resources on nutrition, exercise, smoking and alcohol cessation, and dental health.