Smoking, obesity top Okaloosa County health concerns

health department ferguson pasternak

Health support technician Adrienne Ferguson, left, and administrative assistant Gloria Pasternak review patient information at the Crestview office of the county Health Department.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 06:02 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The numbers don't mince words when it comes to what Okaloosa County Health Department director Dr. Karen Chapman calls "the major ongoing health issues in our community." Sixty-four percent of the county's population is overweight or obese, and nearly 20 percent smoke.

"Tobacco use and obesity are large cost drivers of health care," Chapman said.

Statistics compiled by her department indicate locals surpass the state average in several unhealthy areas:

•19.2 percent of the county population smokes, vs. 17.1 percent statewide;

• 13.6 percent of local women smoke during pregnancy, compared to 6.9 percent statewide;

• 54.9 percent of local adolescents were exposed to second-hand smoke in a one-week period, vs. 47 percent statewide;

Obesity is also on the rise, according to data compiled by health department Community Health Improvement coordinator Katie Cholcher. In 2007, 22.4 percent of the adult population was obese. By 2010 the figure had risen to 38.7 percent.

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