EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCABELL COUNTY HEALTH
from Eyewitness News Online
Study Ranks Overall Health Of Cabell County
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Mar. 21, 2013 3:21 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 22, 2013 1:54 AM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
A study released Thursday by the University of Wisconsin ranks Cabell County 41st out of West Virginia's 55 counties for health.
The rankings are based on not only diet and exercise, but also tobacco and alcohol use, access to care and quality of care, educational levels, employment, community safety and air pollution, among others.
"I think it's important to understand that health is at the mercy of the community as a whole," Cabell Huntington Health Department Director Dr. Harry Tweel said.
The 41st out of 55 county ranking is slightly better than last year's 46th place, but the figures are actually about two years old. Tweel expects things have improved since then.
He said there is better access to fresh food and more ways to get fit. That includes a local food market, the Wild Ramp, which brings locally-produced items like meats, honey, breads, pastas and dairy products, along with seasonal fruits and veggies.
Just upstairs from their spot at Heritage Station is a new place to get fit, Brown Dog Yoga. They even offer some lunchtime classes.
"It's really great to see Huntington embrace yoga, both the mental and the physical aspects of it," instructor Ashley Skeen said.
Tweel said they'll do their part to educate and advocate, and they expect the community to do its part to help.
"I can encourage it. I can talk about it," he said. " We can help and develop ways to make it easier for these things to happen, but the whole community has to address some of these things."
Other notable areas ranked Cabell County as 5th for access to care and quality of care, but 26th and 35th respectively for health behaviors and environmental factors.
Twell said some of the ways they are working to improve some of the areas are through their "Change the Future West Virginia" initiative, which targets unhealthy lifestyles. The initiative includes improving access to healthier foods, addressing problems like high cholesterol and hypertension and addressing a high smoking rate.
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