Obese with Hypertension: 1 in 3 Kansans

brfss_logoThe Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has released results from the 2011 Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

BRFSS is the world’s largest, annual population–based telephone survey system, tracking health conditions and risk behaviors in the U.S. It is coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is conducted in every state and several territories.

The following are some of the Kansas 2011 BRFSS data highlights for adults 18 years old and older:

  • 80.6% of Kansas adults use safety belts
  • 36.3% of Kansas adults do not have dental insurance
  • 30.8% of Kansas adults have hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • 29.6% of Kansas adults are obese
  • 22% of Kansas adults smoke cigarettes
  • 9.5% of Kansas adults have diabetes

The CDC made major methodological changes to the way the data were collected and analyzed for the 2011 BRFSS.  The new methodology adjusts for changes in the use of cell phone service in Kansas and thereby provides prevalence estimates more representative of the Kansas adult population, especially in risk behaviors common to younger adults and to certain racial or ethnic minority groups.

To view the 2011 Kansas BRFSS report visit www.kdheks.gov/brfss/publications.html.

  • bluekansas

    Kansas not pursuing federal prevention dollars
    Major federal initiative will bypass Kansas because no one applied for grant

    TOPEKA — “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” — Ben Franklin

    The federal government is poised to start spending $900 million nationwide over the next five years in an effort to battle costly chronic ailments such as obesity and diabetes.

    The initiative is considered the single largest push to date by the national government to encourage disease prevention. But Kansas likely won’t see a dollar of that money.

    Why not? Well, one big reason is that no one here asked.

    The July 15 deadline for submitting applications for the so-called Community Transformation Grants has come and gone.

    The handful of Kansas officials who met the eligibility criteria for submitting proposals to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chose not to for reasons that have left some public health officials disappointed and baffled.

    “I see it as a missed opportunity for the state of Kansas,” said Lougene Marsh, director of the health department in Johnson County, the state’s most populous county. “These large federal grants are not just things that come up frequently.”

    The problem

    Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic maladies – most of which are considered preventable – are thought to cost the Kansas economy about $12 billion a year, according to both the Milken Institute (PDF), an independent economic think tank, and the U.S. government (PDF).

    About $2.6 billion of that estimated sum is for treatments, while the much greater number of $9.3 billion is from lost productivity resulting from days not worked due to sickness and related consequences.

    For purposes of putting $12 billion in perspective, that’s about twice the amount all Kansans pay in state taxes in a single year, including sales and gasoline levies.

    That $12 billion cost also represents Kansas’ share of what many view to be one of the nation’s most pressing problems – the growing amount of money spent on health care, which now accounts for about 17 percent of gross domestic product.

    Most agree those costs put American companies, such as Boeing or General Motors, at a competitive disadvantage with Airbus or Toyota, both of which hail from countries where health care doesn’t eat up such a large share of the economy.

    And many experts say the U.S. would see its health care costs drop dramatically and the nation’s economic situation improve if more Americans would do three seemingly simple things: Exercise more, eat less, and stop smoking.


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