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Opinion

March 26, 2013

Cleveland County’s health is top in state

NORMAN — Cleveland County leads the state in at least one health ranking.

A new study by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute lists our county as the state’s top for health factors such as access to health care and No. 2 in health outcomes such as mortality, physical health and birth weight. Only Kingfisher County outranks us in the second category

States that showed some improvement in national rankings this year include New Jersey, which jumped nine slots upward; Maryland, which improved by five slots; and Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Rhode Island, all of which improved by three slots, according to the United Health Foundation’s “2012 America’s Health Ranking.”

Nationally, the five least healthy states are South Carolina, ranked 46, West Virginia, 47, Arkansas, 48, and Mississippi and Louisiana, tied at 49.

The rate of poverty is often an indicator of a county’s overall health. Some elected officials think it has something to do with eating better, too. Diet is important, but shedding a sedentary lifestyle helps as much or more.

Communities benefit with easy access to smoke-free parks, walking and cycling trails, public pools, golf courses and tennis courts.

Access to programs that target smoking cessation and combat obesity are also important. Cleveland County has its own coalition to address such issues. An annual breakfast spotlights the year’s achievements.

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