LEXINGTON, N. C.- (May 30, 2012)-Wake Forest Baptist Health Lexington Medical Center and the J. Smith Young YMCA have formed a partnership to improve the health of the Lexington area.
The partnership will target the obesity epidemic. Davidson County ranks as the 65th fattest county in North Carolina, according to "County Health Rankings." Approximately 29 percent of the residents are obese, about the state average. The direct medical spending related to obesity in North Carolina totaled nearly $5 billion in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Communities with higher obesity rates also have higher rates of diabetes, so the partnership will address diabetes prevention and continuing education in children and adults.
"Working together, we believe we can make a difference in the health of the community," said Gene Klump, CEO of the YMCA, and Donny Lambeth, president of Lexington Medical Center. "Both the YMCA and the Medical Center have a responsibility to lead the community in improving its health and fitness."
Sally Jones, RN, a diabetes educator at Lexington Medical Center, will teach diabetes prevention classes for the community at the YMCA.
"This is a national health issue, and there is no magic bullet," said Jones. "Nothing short of changing our living environment will be sufficient to discourage overeating, reduce consumption of junk food and change our sedentary lifestyles."
Diabetes is now the 6th leading cause of death in Davidson County, reports the State Center for Health Statistics. Persons living with diabetes are more likely to have heart disease, kidney failure, strokes and become blind. Approximately 60 percent of all lower limb amputations are due to diabetes.
The number of overweight children has more than tripled among some groups in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Other studies have shown that more than 30 percent of American children and teenagers are overweight or obese. The CDC study predicts 42 percent of adult Americans will be obese by 2030. Local leadership is necessary to make a difference, so the YMCA and the hospital are teaming up to take action, said Klump and Lambeth. "The problem will be solved one community at a time, and we want to make a difference right here at home."
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