Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


April 8, 2013

Does my FitCOUNTY T-shirt make me look fat?

JACKSONVILLE — It's somewhat of a humbling experience when you're a member of the FitCOUNTY coalition, spearheading a  healthy living revolution in Cherokee County, and you try on your Fit-COUNTY Day In The Park T-shirt and wish you'd ordered the next larger size.

While I'm not obese, I'm heavier than I need to be. I can give you every excuse in the book (and some of them aren't excuses, they're actually valid medical reasons) but excuses don't burn calories (too bad!!!!!).

Joining the FitCOUN-TY coalition has been an eye-opening experience.

Did you know that 33 percent of residents in our county are obese? More than 30 percent of adults report NO leisure time physical activity.

Cherokee County ranks 175th out of 232 Texas counties in mortality rate. Mortality rate is the deaths of individuals younger than age 75 in which the death could have been preventable. That's pretty bad.

Nationwide, 11 percent of people do not have health insurance.

In Cherokee County, that number skyrockets to 31 percent.

There's many more sobering statistics and explanations involving our rate of unemployment in the county (higher than average), our number of motor vehicle deaths in the county (higher than average) and our limited access to healthy food but having lots of fast food available.

We can read statistics all day, but those don't burn calories either.

But you know what does?

Hitting one of the gyms in Jacksonville and Rusk; strolling around one of the public parks or at the athletic complex. Walking around your neighborhood or walking around downtown at lunchtime.

Today is the inaugural FitCOUNTY Day in the Park event. We hope to see you there, as there will be lots of reasons to get motivated to be a healthier county.

I hope next year, when I write this editorial, we will be.

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