Ky’s children improved on several health measures in last year, but many counties remain far behind

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News More Kentucky children than ever have health insurance, fewer Kentucky teens are getting pregnant, fewer mothers are smoking during pregnancy, and the state has fewer low-birthweight babies – but that’s not the case in every county, according to the annual Kentucky Kids Count report. The report, released Nov. 15 by Kentucky Youth Advocates, is part of...

Casey County student smoke-free group receives first Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion award

A group of 19 Casey County High School Students are the first recipients of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s new Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion award for their work to change the smoking culture on their school campus. The Casey Youth Coalition’s (CYC) campaign has helped reduce smoking, leading to a 10 percent decrease in 30-day tobacco use among 10th graders in 2016, for example....

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...

New award to recognize champions behind laws, policies to improve Kentucky’s health

Do you know someone who is a tireless advocate for health policy changes in your community or in Kentucky? A new award announced by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will recognize individuals and organizations from every corner of the Commonwealth working to enact local or state policies or laws that improve health. The Foundation will present up to two Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion awards...

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...

Patient Advocates work to educate Kentuckians on tobacco cessation during “Kick It, Kentucky!” week

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and 26 other leading health organizations are offering support to those Kentuckians looking to quit tobacco as part of the first-ever Kick It, Kentucky! week. ACS CAN and a broad coalition of advocacy organizations and health systems from around the state, including the American Lung Association, Baptist Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,...

Dreamland author says opioid epidemic leads to discussion of addiction, first step to finding solutions

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Since Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic was published in 2015, the author says the nation has seen both positive and negative changes in the epidemic that is sweeping Kentucky and other states. “The negative changes are pretty dramatic,” Sam Quinones said in a telephone interview with Kentucky Health News. “The number...

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...

Appalachian region endures dramatic health challenges compared with nation, research shows

Health Disparities in Appalachia, a new report issued Thursday by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, documents dramatic disparities in health outcomes and other health-related factors in the Appalachian Region when compared with the nation as a whole, as well as substantial variations in health throughout...

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...

Human resources workshop August 31 to help employers implement tobacco-free workplaces

Businesses looking to create healthier workplaces for their employees can learn how to implement tobacco-free policies at a workshop hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in Louisville Aug. 31. Smoking costs businesses an estimated $5,800[i] per smoker in extra expenditures each year, including productivity losses and additional health care costs, and puts them at risk for the health consequences...

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...

Kentucky’s opioid crisis focus of Sept. 25 meeting of Howard Bost Health Policy Forum

Author and journalist Sam Quinones, whose book Dreamland chronicles the rise of prescription opioid abuse and subsequent heroin addiction across suburban and rural America, will keynote the Howard L. Bost Health Policy Forum on Sept 25 in Lexington. The title of the 15th annual forum, underwritten by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky with support from Gilead Sciences, Inc., is “Kentucky’s...

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...

Foundation’s $3 million program helps seven counties become healthier, independent evaluation says

A five-year, $3 million Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky initiative focused on children’s health is helping change community policies and environments, improve physical activity and nutrition, and strengthen health coalitions in seven Kentucky communities. The grants are also providing useful lessons for place-based grant-makers, according to an independent evaluation released by the Foundation...

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...

Kentucky hospitals struggling to find enough nurses; colleges working toward finding solutions

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News While studies show Kentucky will have a surplus of registered nurses in the next decade, right now many of the state’s hospitals are struggling to hire enough nurses to care for patients. “I am hoping this is cyclical,” said Susan Ellis, the vice president of Patient Care Services at Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg. “But...