Residents encouraged to improve heart health as heart disease grows in West Virginia

HARRISON COUNTY, W.V.a (WDTV) – West Virginia has ranked 47th in overall national health according to the United Health Foundation with factors like tobacco, diabetes, and obesity ranking high on the list.

All of these risks lend a hand to heart disease, the biggest one being our state’s obesity rate.

“It just continues to grow,” said R.N Cheryl Farley. “The percentage of people obese in West Virginia has continued to grow over the last twelve years.”

The easiest way residents can take care of their weight and reduce their risk for heart disease is changing their diet and exercise habits.

“Eating healthy and also exercising. It’s not just what we eat but also what we do. So eating unhealthy and watching T.V. in the evening instead of being up and doing something more active adds to our obesity.”

Farley says something to look for these days when screening for heart disease is a potential family history.

“When you have parents who have heart disease in their forties then it increases the risk for the children. So we need to be screening young adults also. Not just waiting until people are 60-years-old to worry about developing heart disease.”

Raising community awareness is another big way to get the message out about heart disease, which is why there is the annual North Central WV Heart Walk with the American Heart Association.

“It’s to make us more aware that we do need to eat healthier. We do need to exercise. We do need to be aware that heart disease is prevalent. But it’s also about raising money for the American Heart Association,” said Farley.