The Pryor Times


July 25, 2013

How healthy are we?

Much has been said about how the health of Oklahoma citizens compares to the rest of the nation. I was wondering how the health of my legislative district (Delaware and Mayes Counties) compares to others. As it turns out, it is not a pretty picture.

Heart disease death rate per 100,000 citizens in Delaware County is 263.6, compared to 190.0 for the United States. Mayes County is the same as the rest of Oklahoma at 242.1.

The cancer incidence per 100,000 citizens for Mayes County is 523.4. For Delaware County, it is 507.2. This compares to an incidence of 498.9 for the whole state and 481.7 for the nation.

Regarding obesity, 40.3 percent of Mayes County is obese, while 34.3 percent of Delaware County residents are obese. Statewide, 32 percent of Oklahomans are obese compared to 17.9 percent of all Americans.

Diabetes is a real problem in our area, particularly in Native Americans. In Delaware County, 15.6 percent of residents are diabetic, while 10.3 percent are diabetic in Mayes County. Statewide, 11 percent of Oklahomans are diabetic, while only 8.3 percent of Americans are diabetic.

Regarding smoking, 28.6 percent of Delaware County residents smoke compared to 22.5 percent in Mayes County. Nationally, the number of smokers has fallen to less than 18 percent. Overall, only West Virginia has a higher percentage of citizens who smoke than our statewide rate of 25.5 percent.

The State Health Dept motto of “Eat less, move more, be tobacco-free” describes the simplest things we can all do to improve our health.

If you would like help with quitting your tobacco addiction, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (800-784-8669). The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline provides free telephone and web-based tobacco cessation “coaching” sessions, as well as free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges. Since 2003, the Helpline has served more than 250,000 Oklahomans, saving an estimated $18 million each year in direct medical costs from tobacco users who have quit with the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. Since inception, approximately 2,668 people from Mayes County have called the Helpline, with 487 of those calling during the last year. Approximately 1,883 from Delaware County have used the program, 364 of those in the last year.

After seeing these shocking statistics for our area and our state, I am going to make a better effort to move more, eat less, and remain tobacco-free. I hope you will too.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your state representative.  I can be reached at or 405-557-7415.

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