Kentuckians think cancer is biggest threat to adults, but heart disease kills more men in the state

Cancer is the leading health concern identified by Kentuckians, and is the principal cause of death among women in the state, though heart disease is the main killer of Kentucky men, the Kentucky Health Issues Poll found.

Thirty-six percent of Kentucky adults identified cancer as the most important health issue for men, followed by heart disease at 31 percent, according to a news release for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which co-funded the poll. Heart disease was the leading cause of death for Kentucky men in 2009, followed closely by cancer.

Only about 7 percent of Kentuckians identified obesity as the top health issue facing Kentucky adults, but 29 percent said it was the greatest concern for children, perhaps reflecting considerable public attention to concern about child obesity. “While childhood mortality is rare, there are lifelong health implications that can be linked to struggling with obesity and diabetes at an early age,” the release said.

“Even though the results suggest some confusion about our biggest health threats, there are ways to reduce Kentucky’s chronic disease risks: eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, stop smoking or don’t start,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, CEO of the foundation, which co-sponsored the poll with the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. The poll interviewed a random sample of 1,677 adults, 1,469 by landline phones and 208 via cell phones. In 95 of 100 cases, the estimates are accurate within a 2.4 percent margin of error. To see the report, click here.

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