Region ranks poorly in latest health survey

Region ranks poorly in latest health survey

When it comes to being healthy some places in the U.S are doing it better than others.

Gallup-Healthways did a survey of 189 metropolitan areas in and the results are not good for this region. The survey included Kingsport, Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia, along with Johnson City and other surrounding counties.

The region had an obesity rate of 30 percent, it was third-highest for blood pressure, and had a 16 percent poverty rate.

The results don't surprise some, including those who are working to make changes. "It's really behaviors and habits that have built up over many, many years. We all realize it's something that's not going to change overnight," says Todd Norris with Wellmont Health System.

Wellmont Health System serves many of the regions included in the survey. Its 'Live Well' program is aimed at helping people develop healthy habits.

We're told it starts with small steps. "The small starts are really, really important because they give people a manageable way to take action today to do something a little bit differently, like parking a little bit farther away from a restaurant or a store or taking the stairs rather than the elevator," adds Norris.

At the YMCA in Bristol, Tennessee there's a program where local doctors refer patients to the gym."Getting people to move will help lower blood pressure. Any time you're moving you are burning calories," explains YMCA Fitness Director Tim Howser.

We're told many patients who are pre-diabetic, have high blood pressure or are borderline obese go to the YMCA for help getting started. "In some way, shape, or form, everyone can exercise," adds Howser.

Many who work in the health industry say the distinction of being third least healthy is not good, but something can be done to change that ranking.

Other things factored into the survey include income and education levels.

Of the people surveyed from this region, less than 20 percent had at least a bachelor's degree; that's lower than the 30 percent average in the U.S.

To read the entire well-being index visit:

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