That’s what we’re asking everyone in Lucas County – including those involved in the Healthy Lucas County collaboration – to take as we work to improve our community’s overall health. Heart disease and cancer are by far the leading causes of death in Lucas County, and both can be prevented by taking some of the same steps.
Eat healthier. Are you among the whopping 94% of Lucas County residents who don’t get at least five servings of vegetables and fruits every day? If so, start adding just one more serving a day. Gradually work up to eating five servings of produce, the daily amount recommended by the American Cancer Society to remain healthy. If you live in urban Toledo, these neighborhood corner stores carry fresh produce as part of Eat Fresh, Live Well’s initiative.
Exercise more. While 70% of Lucas County adults are overweight or obese, 25% had not participated in any physical activity in the previous week. The CDC recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise a week, such as brisk walking, plus muscle-strengthening exercises that work all major muscle groups at least twice a week. This is another area where almost everyone can build up to including more exercise in their daily routine.
Watch sodium. The vast majority of American adults eat more sodium than they need, and more than 75% comes from restaurant, prepackaged and processed foods, according to the CDC. Start making more meals from scratch and watching both menus and labels so your sodium intake is less than 2,300 mg a day. It should be less than 1,500 mg a day if you’re African American; have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease; or are at least 51 years old.
Stop smoking. Overall, 19% of Lucas County adults smoke, and 33% of African Americans and 31% of those making less than $25,000 a year do. Not only is it good for your health to quit smoking, but it will benefit your loved ones, neighbors and others to not be around secondhand smoke. Plus, if you’re not buying cigarettes, you have more money to buy nutritious food, join a gym or make other investments in your health. Please call the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department at 419-213-4259 for smoking cessation classes.
Visit providers. Make regular visits to your healthcare providers and get recommended tests, screenings and exams. That will help determine whether you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer or other illnesses that need treatment. If you’re a low-income Lucas County resident without a healthcare provider, please call 419-842-0800 to get help from Toledo/Lucas County CareNet or the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB.
By taking baby steps, together we can improve our county’s overall health status. Our new mantra? Be healthy, Lucas County.
Please note: All Lucas County data comes from the 2013-2014 Lucas County Community Health Assessment.