Dr. David Colby, CK Medical Officer of Health. Oct 18, 2017. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

CK Medical Officer Of Health Urges People To Butt Out

The Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health is trying to rally municipal councillors to do more to address chronic disease in the community.

The latest local health unit statistics show that compared to the province, Chatham-Kent has significantly higher rates of heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer.

Doctor David Colby admits that the numbers haven’t improved in many years and wants council to better prioritize its planning decisions to get people healthier.  “I know that this is a priority for council but the health implications of having walkable cities and active transportation are often lost in preference of other considerations,” says Colby.

The statistics also show that 24% Chatham-Kent adults smoke, 51% are inactive, 64% are obese and 68% don’t consume enough vegetables, which are all worse than the rest of Ontario.  Colby says the best ways to get people healthier is to stop them from smoking and get them more active.  “These are the latest figures that we have but they don’t show much improvement from previous reports that we’ve had. We are still having the same problems and we need to get people to stop smoking and exercise more,” Colby says.

Colby wants council to make planning decisions that improve ‘walkability’ across Chatham-Kent.

“Stop smoking and exercise more. Those are the two most cost effective and effective interventions that we can make to improve the health of the people of Chatham-Kent. We need to shift gears and try and up the game,” says Colby.

The local health unit will make a presentation at a future Chatham-Kent council meeting to bring home the message.