Editorial: Live strong, live better

Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Alisa Corey

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Dave Pike

— Community representative

• Joshua Roberts

— Newspaper representative

Our View

Moffat County's health data contained in a recent report is nothing short of alarming and is a black eye on an otherwise good community. Behaviors like smoking, drinking, and exercise have to improve, if not for adults then for setting a positive example for children. Improvement boils down to individual decisions, so begin today by taking the right steps to live better, healthier, and ideally longer.

Pick a word to describe Moffat County's rankings in a recent health report: failing, embarrassing, regrettable, unfortunate.

Those are just a few, and the more politically correct ones, that come to mind.

But there's another word that certainly can't be applied — surprising — and another that certainly can — crisis.

The health rankings, put before the community front and center on today's front page, indicate Moffat County's physical and mental health in many areas is among the worst in the state.

In fact, Moffat County indeed ranks last in one specific category, healthy behaviors, which includes smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and drinking.

Overall, our community ranks 50th in its health profile, out of 59 counties in the state.

Other than the county's ranking of 11th in physical environment, there's little in the report for our community to be proud of. There's little in the report that shouldn't make us embarrassed about our profile put before the rest of the state.

So often we talk in our community about having a positive image to out-of-town visitors.

Perhaps now we should begin talking just as much about making a good first impression in areas that aren't tied directly to dollars and cents.

Don't misunderstand the editorial board — the report isn't a bad thing.

We're lucky Lisa Brown, chief executive officer of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, brought the report before the Moffat County Commission earlier this month, shedding light and public debate on an important issue.

Consider this a wake-up call, and a much needed one at that.

Many in our community have known for a long time now that Moffat County isn't exactly brimming with healthy people. But, this issue has mostly been ignored or rarely talked about.

That's not so easy to do now that the report is circulating.

Though efforts will most likely be made by the VNA and The Memorial Hospital in Craig to address shortcomings in the report, the editorial board doesn't believe it falls to those health care providers or government or any organization to bolster the healthier ways of residents.

No, board members believe rectifying the problem is a responsibility that falls on individuals and families.

Adults have to make a conscious decision to not only improve their own lives, but also set a positive example for their children.

There's simply no valid excuse for living in a recreation-rich environment like we have here in Moffat County, in one of the most beautiful and natural settings on the planet, and be this unhealthy.

If you need help to get started on the path to a healthier lifestyle, there's no shortage of professionals able and willing to help get you started.

But, they can't do the work or make the choice for you.

That falls to you.

The good news is our community's health profile can't get much worse.

We're close to rock bottom as it is. Now it's time to make the climb up.

Will it be hard? Yes.

Is it impossible? Not by a long shot.

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Comments

onewhocares 1 year, 12 months ago

Joe did a great job writing this article, but I got to point out the irony; you guys are advertising for McDonalds on the same page as this editorial on the internet.

I seriously doubt much will change in this area until the community as a whole embraces the concept of getting Moffat County healthy. To start, bike paths up Thompson Hill, a path up through Loudi Simpson on the hillsides that is county property, walk/bike path up on the sand rocks area, just to start.

Sadly, the county leaders are more concerned about benefiting from gas/oil exploration than encouraging the health of its' constituents, which has been obvious for years & years with this article showing the outcome..

**I have been running & biking all over the place, but I have had very close calls getting hit by cars due to lack of a path on the shoulder of Thompson, stopped by out of state vehicles with men in them on the county roads in a menacing manner, and almost attacked by dogs. Most people aren't willing to take chances like that just to exercise.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 12 months ago

The most relevant excerpt from the article: "But, [health professionals] can't do the work or make the choice for you. That falls to you."

Whine all you want about McDonalds and petroleum; it's just noise. Our "county leaders" wil never be the catalyst for healthier lifestyles, any more than they'll get me to watch reality tv.

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David Moore 1 year, 12 months ago

This report does not surprise me one bit. There are paths through Loudy and there is a path across the top of the sand rocks, and if you do it right (I ride), you can easily get 8-10 miles out of it in one ride. But in my opinion, it's just not enough. I know paths are expensive to build, but even I would settle for a dirt path in leiu of a paved one from town to Loudy or even out to the golf course and would eagerly volunteer my time to help construct them. One of my biggest fears is myself or my kid being hit out on a street or road by a "you don't pay taxes to ride" driver who thinks the roads belong to him(or her). That attitude is why many don't walk or ride the surrounding streets and roads which limits their choices of living healthy. We need to change the attitude as well as the lifestyle in order to get out of this pit the community has been thrust in. A trail system, even a primitive one, would help that and keep everyone happy.
Also, a store like Whole Foods or something would be a great addition and would provide the community with the alternate means to eat healthy, they are awesome places. Bottom line is that the blame lies upon ourselves, WE as citizens of Moffat County are to blame but we as citizens can EASILY turn this thing around. You cannot blame any business, health facility or government entity on why we were put in this position, the blame simply lies within each and every one of us, however, the solution lies in the same place. Get up, get out, enjoy the fresh air we have, try to eat better and to those who don't think people belong on the streets and roads, show some courtesy (same goes for those walking and riding) so we don't feel our lives are in danger when we are trying to better ourselves.....and our community.

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s 1 year, 12 months ago

Our town could become a ghost town if our fossil fuels, which generate/fuel our economy, are over-regulated. If this happens, these sad statistics won't much matter....

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Nadja Rider 1 year, 12 months ago

Though it's good to pay attention to reports like this, I don't think we should get too excited over it. Like any survey, numbers may not tell the whole story. I received a call and participated in the survey. They happened to catch me on a day that I felt crummy from a bad cold, so when the question was asked if I felt I was healthy, I said generally yes - but the interviewer wanted to know how I felt that day - so I ended up saying fair. Also when it came to smoking, the question was "did I smoke at least 100 cigarettes during my adult life" - well like most teens during my era, I did. However I quit after high school and never smoked again. So technically according to the survey, I was an adult smoker even though I hadn't smoked in 35+ years.

Another question was whether I exercised regularly, which I do - mostly daily walks and hikes. However I could see where many folks may answer no, because they already have a physical job. This area has a high percentage of blue collar workers and their jobs are physical.

We also need to remember that Colorado ranks #1 as the healthiest and most active. Without dissecting the numbers to see if it's simply a slight difference between the various counties within Colorado or a dramatic difference for certain areas, I don't think Moffat county is any more unhealthy than other states. So I would say take the survey info with a grain of salt. If you have some bad habits, work on them and by all means get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine! And don't forget the sunscreen :-).

I support better and more walking and bike trails. I use the one over the top of the hill (past the hospital) in Ridgeview all the time, but it ends at Murdoch's which is really sad. They even have a light there for the crosswalk, but it goes nowhere. I can remember walking along the Sandrocks many years ago as well, and that trail is no longer accessible. At one time Craig planned on completing a trail all around the town, I would like to see that project picked up again. The Loudy Simpson trails are nice and I use them often. I used to ride my bike over Thompson Hill, but I no longer ride that route for fear of getting run over. Not sure how costly it would be to widen the shoulders to accommodate bike riders, but I would love a nice circle loop to ride without having to worry about getting run over. So yes... the city and county could do a bit more to encourage safe outdoor activities.

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