Live Well Polk ini­tia­tive of­fers a healthy New Year

The Standard Journal - - REGIONAL - Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter By Matt Gor­man

Ed­i­tor’s Note: This is a new fea­ture pro­vided by Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter as is meant for in­for­ma­tional pur­poses only.

For many of us, a new year brings an op­por­tu­nity for re­flec­tion and a re­solve to take a more pos­i­tive ap­proach to life.

Whether it’s a de­sire to lose those ex­tra pounds, to take steps that will help lower our choles­terol or to fi­nally put down those cig­a­rettes for good, many of us be­gin the new year with the best of in­ten­tions, only to see that re­solve slip away as the cal­en­dar flips for­ward.

This year can be dif­fer­ent. 2018 can be the year that Polk County re­verses that trend and es­tab­lishes a new one, be­com­ing a ex­am­ple for the com­mu­ni­ties around us.

Polk County’s health is­sues are no dif­fer­ent than those of our neigh­bors, but the ex­tent of the need is greater. When com­pared to neigh­bor­ing coun­ties, which in­clude Floyd, Chat­tooga, Bar­tow, Gor­don and Chero­kee, Alabama, Polk has the high­est rate of lung and oral can­cer, the high­est rate of di­a­betes in the Medi­care pop­u­la­tion and the high­est rate of deaths from heart dis­ease.

While those stats seem daunt­ing, they are not ir­re­versible, but change re­quires re­solve.

The Live Well Polk ini­tia­tive, led by Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter, was de­vel­oped with that res­o­lu­tion in mind.

Through t he es­tab­lish­ment of com­mu­nity part­ner­ships, the cre­ation of ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams and the seek­ing of op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, Live Well Polk pro­grams are de­signed to help peo­ple who live or work in Polk County get ac­tive, eat better, break bad habits and build good ones.

Through es­tab­lished part­ner­ships with or­ga­ni­za­tions like Polk County Schools and emerg­ing ones with groups like the Rock­mart Farm­ers Mar­ket, progress is al­ready be­ing made.

Two com­mu­nity events ad­dress­ing the se­ri­ous top­ics of sui­cide aware­ness and opi­oid ad­dic­tion drew large au­di­ences. Stu­dents are safer in schools be­cause of ac­cess to EpiPens and AEDs, at no cost to the school sys­tem.

Plans are in the works to pro­vide greater ac­cess to healthy food op­tions for stu­dents in the school sys­tem and the com­mu­nity at large.

All of these strengthen the ef­fort to make Polk County a health­ier com­mu­nity in 2018.

In com­ing weeks, this space will of­fer ideas that help make liv­ing health­ier more man­age­able — ideas about how to in­cor­po­rate nu­tri­tional foods into your diet, how to pre­pare for vis­its to the doc­tor, what to do with ex­pired med­i­ca­tions and how to es­tab­lish rea­son­able ex­er­cise and fit­ness pro­grams. Live Well Polk is about more than help­ing you get better when you feel bad. It is about help­ing you live better and not feel­ing bad to be­gin with.

In short, it is a res­o­lu­tion to build a health­ier com­mu­nity.

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