Last week on the TownBrook.com Facebook page we posted updates on the work of Passavant Area Hospital, the Morgan County Health Department and the Childhood Wellness Coalition to make Jacksonville, Illinois a more health community. One of the priorities is battling metabolic syndrome.

Wendy Smith had an article in The Source Newspaper with details . . .

You’ve heard about heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, but did you know there is a syndrome made up of a cluster of risk factors that increases your risk for all three? Metabolic Syndrome is a group of metabolic risk factors that, occurring together, increase the risk of these deadly conditions.
According to the National Institutes of health, metabolic syndrome is present if you have three or more of the following signs:

  • Blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85 mmHg
  • Fasting blood sugar (glucose) equal to or higher than 100 mg/dL
  • Large waist circumference (length around the waist) Men– 40 inches or more   Women -35 inches or more
  • Low HDL cholesterol   Men– Under 40 mg/dL   Women ­ under 50 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL

Many people have just one of these conditions, but that does not mean they have metabolic syndrome, although all of the conditions are independent markers of an increased risk for serious disease. More than one of these conditions in combination increase that risk.
There are several risk factors for metabolic syndrome. To name a few:

  • Extra weight around the middle (having an apple shape)
  • Insulin resistance or a family history of diabetes
  • Aging (Your risk develops as you age, although warning signs are often seen in childhood)
  • Race (Asians and Hispanics tend to be more affected)
  • Genes
  • Hormone changes
  • Not exercising

The poor American diet and sedentary lifestyle has created a population that is plagued by signs of metabolic syndrome. While many people have been diagnosed, there are many more that have the condition and do not know it. Even more have never even heard of metabolic syndrome.
The Morgan County Health Department and Passavant Area Hospital have both identified metabolic syndrome as a priority health need. Morgan County showed higher rates than Illinois averages of smokers, obesity, physical inactivity, and low consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Prevention of metabolic syndrome and its complications (heart disease, stroke, and diabetes) are not much different than the regular healthy things you know to do, but just as a healthy reminder, here are some lifestyle remedies to reduce your risk:

  • Get regular check-ups! Having blood work and seeing your family physician often are the best way to prevent disease and diagnose things early. He or she will monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, cholesterol, glucose, and triglycerides. Also, consult your doctor before trying a new diet or exercise plan.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Having a BMI greater than 25 increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • Get moving! You don’t have to join a gym, although that can be great motivation. A brisk 30-45 minute walk each day will do the trick. This will not only keep your weight and blood pressure down, but may help your mood as well.
  • Eat a healthy diet.  You know the good stuff: fruits, veggies, lean meat, whole grains. Watch your fat and cholesterol and salt by avoiding fried and processed foods and added salt. Summer is the best time to get started, think grilled fish and chicken, farm fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of cold water.

Thanks to Wendy and The Source for letting us reprint their article. For more information check our Facebook page for . . .

  • The Helen A. Dean Community Garden, at 32 Book Lane, Jacksonville Illinois 62650. Project of Illinois College, Starhill Forest Arboretum and the Passavant Area Hospital Community Childhood Wellness Coalition. Illinois College has partnered with Passavant Area Hospital’s Community Childhood Wellness Coalition, and the internationally-known Starhill Forest Arboretum to create a community garden in the city of Jacksonville. The Helen A. Dean Community Garden, located at 32 Book Lane., provides an opportunity for Illinois College students to integrate their learning, leadership and service with the goal of the health and wellness of the greater Jacksonville community, especially school children and their families. Located in a residential neighborhood, the Garden is a living and learning laboratory.
  • Passavant Area Hospital & Morgan County Health Department Community Health Needs Assessment. Need to exercise for metabolic syndrome. (or complete document).
  • Did you know that Illinois ranks tenth highest in the nation for Childhood Obesity? (local report) According to a report released last summer by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 20.4 percent of our state’s children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese. Upon learning this alarming fact, Passavant Area Hospital initiated a Community Childhood Wellness Coalition. The goal of this group is to create a partnership of community leaders from government agencies, schools, churches, day care providers, healthcare providers, and other local businesses to work together and create awareness, education, and programs devoted to physical fitness, nutrition and weight management for children and their parents.

A park and a path along the Town Brook and connecting Jacksonville’s waterways and parks would be an encouragement for youth and for all to be more physically active and lead to a healthier community.

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