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Weight gain, diabetes on rise

October 10, 2012

Auglaize County Health Commissioner Charlotte Parsons

Cookbooks with healthier food choices and calorie counters may be in line for Christmas gifts for purchase this year in Auglaize County, if the 2012 health assessment for the county prompts local action.

In the publication recently released by the Auglaize County Health Department, diabetes and weight gain appeared to be the most significant problem areas in the county.

Auglaize County Health Commissioner Charlotte Parsons provided Health Board members with a copy of the assessment during Tuesday’s Auglaize County Health Board meeting.

Parsons said the report gives a snapshot of where county residents currently stand in terms of their health and health behaviors.

“There were no drastic changes,” Parsons said, “except we are getting fatter.”

According to the assessment, 11 percent of all Auglaize County adults had been diagnosed with diabetes, a notable jump from the 8 percent documented on the last county health assessment in 2008.

That number matches the 11 percent total statewide and is slightly higher than 10 percent nationwide. Diabetes currently ranks as the sixth-leading cause of death in Ohio, as the age-adjusted mortality rate was 37.7 deaths for 100,00 males and 25.3 for females, both higher than state averages.

The majority of those cases were type II (adult onset) diabetes, and the weight status in the county was a solid indicator to those cases. Using the body mass index formula, it was learned 71 percent of adult residents in the county were overweight, and an even more alarming 38 percent were considered obese, in excess the national average of 28 percent.

The other area of focus was youth drug use. While there were no significant changes in use, the types of drugs used had changed to more dangerous items.

“Its not just beer and pot (marijuana),” Parsons said. “The teens are more creative and experimental with their drug-use choices. Youth surveys in schools show some kids starting as early as 10 or 11.”

The assessment showed marijuana still was the leading drug of choice, as 11 percent of youth in sixth to 12th grade had used marijuana. Another 10 percent had used medications not prescribed to them or took more than the prescribed amount for the purpose of getting “high.” K2 and Spice, or synthetic marijuana, was second at 9 percent. Other popular drugs choices were inhalants (8 percent) and posh/salvia/synthetic marijuana (6 percent).

Seven percent of the youth 12 to 17 years old said they had been offered, sold or given an illegal drug on school property.

“It is something that is going to take a collaboration of different groups,” Parsons said.

Board members discussed the clean-up of a property where several dead dogs were found in August.

Wapakoneta Police Department officers responded to a call Aug. 15 when a neighbor reported seeing swarms of flies and a foul odor coming from a home at 907 Logan St. Upon arrival, officers could not get an answer at the door and forced their way into the home.

They discovered three dead dogs and another in poor health upon entry. It was determined the dogs may have went as long as nearly two months without food and water and two of the animals had been caged throughout their ordeal. They were without food and water and in extreme heat as no air conditioning or fans were on and the windows were all closed during the summer months.

The home also was in bad shape and was dirty with food and debris laying around. Rats and opossums were living in the home. It was later determined an elderly person lived in the home and had went to the hospital after becoming ill. A family member was supposed to be caring for the dogs. The resident’s name has not been released.

Parsons said the financial responsibility for the clean-up is likely going to fall back on the Health Department.

“Once we issue the orders and follow through it is very likely the financial responsibility will come to us,” Parsons said.

Board member Dan Harpster suggested getting in contact with county and city officials and making the clean-up effort a joint responsibility, which Parsons said she would investigate.

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