Tobacco’s Toll: New push aims to curb the other addiction problem in country’s sickest states

By Mary Meehan Special to KyForward Hundreds of kids scurrying to buses are oblivious to a sign above them declaring Bourbon County High School “100 percent Tobacco Free.” But upstairs in the library, sophomore and anti-smoking advocate Jacob Steward unfurls a six-foot scroll with earth-toned papers trapped between clear sheets of laminate. He begins reading the anti-smoking slogans he’ll post...

Kentucky anti-smoking coalition launches with goal to add $1 to cigarette tax in next legislative session

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News More than 100 people representing at least 84 groups gathered at the state Capitol Annex Wednesday to launch the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow, with its leader boldly stating they hope to add $1 to Kentucky’s 60-cent-per-pack cigarette tax in the 2018 legislative session. “We hope that we can make some progress on this cigarette tax in this...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky favors taxes on sugary drinks to fight obesity, higher cigarette levy

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has taken a tougher stance toward tobacco, advocating a $1-a-pack increase in the state cigarette tax as a way to reduce smoking and its health-care costs. Now its CEO says the foundation also favors taxes on sugary drinks as a way to fight obesity, another bad health statistic in which Kentucky is a national leader. “We think sugar taxes are a good way...

Most Lexington adults physically active, but not getting enough fruits and vegetables, poll shows

About eight in 10 adults in the Greater Lexington area are physically active, which puts them on par with state average, but only 24 percent eat the recommended amount of both fruits and vegetables, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) special report on the region. KHIP is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Cincinnati-based Interact for Health. The findings have...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky offers workshop to help businesses implement smoke-free policies

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is offering a workshop to help businesses learn how to implement smoke-free policies in their workplaces Aug. 31 in Louisville. “More than 70 percent of Kentucky adults and 90 percent of Kentucky businesses support smoke-free, so it’s never been easier for Kentucky businesses to adopt workplace policies to protect their employees from the dangers of...

Foundation for Healthy Kentucky’s Chandler gives legislature overview of state’s health challenges

Citing the need for Kentucky to move from a health care rescue system that treats patients once they become acutely ill to a system that promotes health on the front end, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky outlined several policy measures to improve Kentucky’s relatively poor health compared to the rest of the nation.   The presentation made by President and CEO Ben Chandler at Wednesday’s...

Smoking largely responsible for shorter life spans, higher infant death rates in Appalachia

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News People who live in Appalachia are dying sooner than two decades ago, and the region has a higher infant death rate compared to the rest of the nation. A new study blames both largely on the region’s high smoking rate, as well as its other bad health habits. “What this report shows is the extreme damage that tobacco is causing our people, and how we are...

Information sought for Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s 2017 statewide group directory

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will issue its 2017 statewide directory of Kentucky-based coalitions and other groups that are working to improve health in their communities. It is asking groups who want to be listed to enter their contact information in an online form by Sept. 8. The Foundation and other organizations use the directory to offer training, share funding opportunities, and connect...

Commentary: Expanded Medicaid program in Kentucky is working and we ought to stick with it

By Ben Chandler Special to KyForward Improving health takes time. Almost everyone has struggled to improve their health — whether it’s trying to achieve a healthier weight, recover from a serious illness, reduce anxiety and stress, or overcome an addiction — and we don’t expect overnight results. But when we find something that truly helps, we know we ought to stick to it and see it through...

Heroin use continues to increase in Kentucky; all regions affected by opioid abuse, KHIP report shows

Heroin use has increased in Kentucky and opioid abuse remains high, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) report, released Tuesday. Twenty-seven percent of Kentucky adults say they know someone who has abused prescription pain medication; 17 percent know someone who is using heroin, up from 9 percent in 2013. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that...

Half of state adults know someone who is depressed, 30 percent don’t know where to call for treatment

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Nearly half of Kentucky adults know someone who has a serious problem with depression, and most say they know who to contact for treatment, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. “Depression is common in Kentucky, as it is elsewhere in the country, and it’s important to understand that it is a serious mood disorder that can and should...

With support for statewide smoking ban increasing, foundation may increase lobbying effort

As more Kentuckians favor a statewide smoking ban — but the state legislature won’t even ban smoking at schools — the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky says it may become more active in lobbying against tobacco and for tobacco taxes because of the damage it does to the state’s health. “We are looking at the possibility of really getting involved in a big way,” foundation...

Kentucky Health Issues Poll shows support for statewide smoke-free law increases to 71 percent

After three years of holding steady at about 66 percent, support for a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law among adults queried in the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) jumped five points over the past year to 71 percent. That’s an upsurge of 17 points since 2011, when KHIP first asked this question. Opposition to such a measure fell 6 points in just the last year, from 31 percent to...

County Health Rankings show trend of more premature deaths, mostly fueled by drug overdoses

By Danielle Ray Kentucky Health News The premature death rate is getting worse in 44 of Kentucky’s 120 counties and improving in 12 counties, according to a health rankings report released this week. The figure is calculated using data from 1997 through 2014 and is part of the annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and...

Report: While more Kentuckians have insurance, health outcomes show little progress so far

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The percentage of Kentuckians without health insurance has dropped by more than half since the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act three years ago, and few of the insured are having trouble finding a doctor when they need one, according to a report for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. However, the report also said little progress...

Kentucky, surrounding states have fewer companies on government health insurance exchanges

The number of health insurance companies offering subsidized coverage didn’t shrink just in Kentucky, but in most of adjoining states, according to a study done for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The report found that the number of insurers on Kentucky’s exchange dropped to three in 2017 from seven in 2016. Likewise, the number of insurers in Illinois and Indiana also dropped by...

Poll finds most Kentucky adults have access to healthy food, but don’t take advantage of it

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Most Kentucky adults don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables every day, even though most of them say they have easy access to them, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. “Too many Kentuckians still aren’t getting their ‘apple a day’,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky,...

KHIP poll finds 22 percent of Kentucky adults say they delay or forgo health care due to the cost

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Two in 10 Kentucky adults continue to report that someone in their household has delayed or skipped needed medical care because of cost, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. The survey found that such struggles are greatest for the poor, people with the poorest health, and those without health insurance. The poll, taken from Sept. 11 to Oct. 19,...

Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion covered 78 percent of five preventive health screenings last year

Medicaid covered more than 44,000 dental screenings as well as tens of thousands of four other preventive health screenings for non-elderly Kentucky adults during the third quarter of 2016, according to the latest snapshot from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s ongoing study of the Affordable Care Act. The study also shows that more than 78 percent of these screenings were for Kentuckians...

Kentucky Health Issues Poll: Health insurance still uncertain for two in 10 state adults age 18-64

The latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) shows that, despite big gains in getting Kentuckians covered by health insurance, 21 percent of Kentucky adults still don’t have stable coverage. According to the poll, 12 percent of Kentucky adults 18-64 remain uninsured and another 9 percent who currently have insurance said they had been without it sometime in the prior 12 months. KHIP is an annual...