MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

January 9, 2013

Embrace healthy lifestyle

Oklahoma has improved its slot in state-by-state health rankings.

But that’s not nearly enough.

Oklahoma is ranked 43rd in the nation for wellness of its citizens.

That’s up from 49th in 2009.

Oklahomans need to make literal strides to better health.

Dr. Terry Cline says Oklahoma’s spot in the bottom 10 of the health rankings is pulled down by high rates of smoking, obesity and sedentary lifestyles that result in thousands of premature deaths every year.

“You don’t need to be dying in your 50s and 60s. How do you change that norm?” Cline told the Associated Press. “If you’re in the bottom five, even in the bottom 10, that to me is alarming. My goal is to get us out of the bottom 10.”

Cline, Oklahoma’s secretary of health and human services, is spearheading the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan.

Cline says, and we all realize, that we need to eat better, get more exercise and stop using tobacco.

“The good news is those are all things we can influence,” Cline said. “They drive health outcomes.”

Oklahoma  ranked 48th in the nation in the percentage of adult smokers in 2011. Oklahoma ranked 47th last year. About 26 percent of Oklahomans, or 745,000 adults, smoke.

“One in four Oklahomans smoke, and it’s the number one preventable cause of death,” Cline said.

Now is the time of year when many of us decide to get back into the gym.

Now is the time when we decide to eat better and drop bad habits.

The key is to keep those resolutions until they become an integral part of your life.

If you start today, you can make a difference in your lifespan and lifestyle.

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