State Board of Health's State of the State

Friday, February 23rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Doctors say the prognosis is grim if Oklahoman's don't start taking better care of themselves.

The State Board of Health released its State of the State's Health Thursday and Oklahomans failed their physical. KOTV's Donn Robertson explains how a Tulsa mother is trying to make a difference.

For dinner, the meal is grilled cheese sandwiches and orange juice for Brianna and Kayla Mireles. No chips on the side, no cookies for dessert, a little later on they'll get some fruit, vegetables or cereal. Ronda Mireless says, "I want them to grow up and be healthier than me. I've had health problems because of my weight."

4-year-old Brianna's been eating healthy since she was born. Her mother took free classes through the Tulsa County Health Department where she learned about cooking healthier for children. "And if you teach them to eat healthy, maybe they will grow up as adults eating healthy also."

The State Board of Health says many Oklahoma parents need to follow Mireless lead of providing and pushing a healthier lifestyle. The panel released a report saying smoking rates exceeds the national average. So do pregnancy rates. Oklahoma's over-eating problem increases risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Oklahoma doctors are seeing diabetes at earlier ages because of an obesity problem with children. The report did praise three programs being run by area health departments though. Leaders say the programs are working. They just need to reach more people.

Oklahoma Board of Health members says money may be one answer, per capita, Oklahoma is 40% below the national average in money spent on prevention. They say it also takes commitment, like the one Ronda Mireless is giving to her children.