Editorial: Healthier communities that prosper

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 12:43 PM

Reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes, chronic disease and lifestyle issues, and success in schools are the three areas recently targeted by a biennial report on health in Vance and Granville counties.

The trio is just part of the overall health picture for the counties served by the Granville-Vance District Health Department.

The health of individuals in our country is an interesting study. Medical advances have allowed us treatments and assistance in ways that, in some cases, are truly the difference between life and death.

And yet, many have problems maintaining healthy lifestyles, from fighting the waistline battle to any number of other negatives. Specialists are aplenty, as are new prescription drugs. Despite our growing knowledge, plenty of us need more help.

Vance County’s pregnancy rate improved 35 percent in a 10-year period ending in 2011. But it still ranks 63 percent higher than the state norm, and eighth-worst among the 100 counties.

A number of programs are in place, including some related to pregnancy prevention, adolescent parenting, outreach, and educating children on sex and risk behaviors.

Our area has outlets to assist against chronic disease and making healthier lifestyles as well. The Eat Smart Move More weight loss challenge is already in its fifth year, and the Girls on the Run program is growing. Granville County has plans in place for pedestrians and bikes, and Vance and Granville are part of an eight-county region trying to make a transformation through a grant project that will assist such areas as farmers markets.

Clergy and lay leaders are also at work in a faith initiative linked to healthy and educated communities.

Schools, as the report notes, are vital to getting a good start in life. Success in the early years provides no guarantee, but it does build a foundation.

Already in action in both counties are the Judicial Attendance Council, Teen Court, recreational activities through several organizations including the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA, and Career & College Promise at Vance-Granville Community College.

Our communities have a broad spectrum of places to plug in and build upon healthy habits. But they’re only valuable if we use them, and find even more to create additional choices.

Examining our lifestyles and our health is the first step. Then it’s just a matter of using the tools to make it better.