Health

The United Health Foundation says Wyoming has fallen 8 in spots in the organization’s annual health rankings.

Wyoming ranks 25th for overall health in 2014.  Foundation spokeswoman Kristin Hellmer says Wyoming lost ground in the number of people who consider themselves physically active and the numbers of people who are obese.  She says obesity can lead to chronic illness.  Hellmer urges health officials to be proactive.

Wyoming Department of Health

Diabetes in Wyoming has spiked in recent years. The Wyoming Department of Health says almost 9% of adults in Wyoming now have the disease, up from 4.5% in 2001.

Joe Grandpre is an epidemiologist with the Department of Health and says while that rate is already high, some areas of the population have been affected even more.

“So we have about 7.9 percent in white non-Hispanics in Wyoming," says Grandpre. "But in our American Indian population it’s 19.5, so almost one on five of our American Indian adults has been told they have diabetes. And with Hispanics it’s 13.7.”

Obesity rates around the country are rising drastically, and Wyoming  is no different - that’s according to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Around 27.8% of the adult population in Wyoming is obese, nearly double the rate 20 years ago.

Between 2012 and 2013, the state’s obesity rate rose 3.2%. That was one of the biggest spikes in the nation.

Joe Grandpre with the Wyoming Department of Health says the reasons for the state’s growing waistbands are simple.

Wyoming ranks as the 17th healthiest state in the nation.  The rankings from the United Health Foundation say the state has a low percentage of children in poverty, low violent crime rate, and low levels of air pollution. But the Foundations’ Bill Mandell says there are three main areas of concern:

The nonprofit organization Wyoming Dementia Care received a five thousand dollar grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America last week.

Wyoming Dementia Care provides cost-free social support and information to dementia sufferers, their families, and their caregivers.

Carol Crump with WDC says that the organization’s most popular service is a series of support groups for caregivers, who are often the dementia sufferer’s family.

Wyomingites who want to quit tobacco have new tools available to them.

Wyoming Department of Health has partnered with National Jewish Health, a Denver hospital specializing in respiratory health, to beef up the Cowboy state’s tobacco cessation program.

The health department already offers nicotine patches and gum, coaching, and some financial help to cover smoking-cessation drugs. Now, it also offers counseling for pregnant tobacco users and people who chew.

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