The death rate from heart disease is nearly twice as high in Perry County (Wikipedia map) as in Kentucky as a whole, so there’s no better time than now to announce that the University of Kentucky Medical Center is close to finalizing a three-year agreement with Hazard Appalachian Regional Healthcare Medical Center to provide continuing care, outreach and education to local physicians and county residents, including more and better information about heart-healthy food choices. Bailey Richards of the Hazard Herald reports that this last task is daunting, particularly since availability of good food is an issue in remote parts of the county.
Richards writes that a 2011 study of the heart-healthy food options in Perry County “showed that the area severely lacks low-fat and low-sodium options.” Kevin Luley, a registered nurse at the UK Medical Center and winner of the “Heart Health in Rural Kentucky” grant, surveyed all of the restaurants and grocery stores in Perry County and found that most do not have many off-the-shelf options for a healthy diet.
Of all of the items available at the restaurants in Perry County, fewer than 6 percent were considered healthy. (Residents can consult their own smartphones for that information. It should also be posted or available upon request.) Of a standard list of produce items, on average only 60 percent were found at the local grocery stores, Luley found. (Read more)