All in for health for all

We are now at a time when we can no longer expect our children to live a life longer than our own. This fact from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says it all. Kansas State University Research and Extension continues its work in education and joins forces with community efforts in health initiatives to increase the number of Kansans who are healthy at all stages of life.

The fact is no one can do it alone. According to the CDC, genes and healthy behaviors together account for only about 25 percent of population health. With 75 percent of health outcomes influenced by the social and physical environments as well as health services/medical care, change will take more than just personal perseverance or effort.

Things like access to safe and quality housing, affordable healthy foods, accessible health care and quality education all fit into the category of “social determinants of health.” The majority of our health outcomes are due to some big-picture issues, and it will require big steps to improve them. This includes, creating a culture of health to produce ultimate behavior change and make this behavior easy, accessible, affordable, and safe.

Why move to a culture of health, where the healthy choice is the easy choice?

The numbers from the annual health rankings and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation depict a grim outlook, especially in Southeast Kansas.

In Kansas:

Obesity is 31 percent in all age groups over age 10;

Nearly 20 percent of our children are food insecure; and

More than 12 percent of our population is in poverty.


$3,000,000,000,000 Annual health expenditures;

$226,000,000,000 Annual loss of productivity because of health issues; and

More than 1/3 of U.S. children are overweight or obese.

The Principles for a culture of health include:

Good health flourishes across geographic, demographic and social sectors.

Being in the best health possible is valued by all in our community.

Individuals and families have the means and the opportunity to make choices that lead to the healthiest lives possible.

Business, government, individuals and organizations work together to build healthy communities and lifestyles.

Sign up for HPJ Insights

Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

No one is left out.

Everyone has access to affordable, quality health care because it is essential to maintain, or reclaim, health.

Health care is efficient and equitable.

The economy is less burdened by excessive and unwarranted health care spending.

Keeping everyone as healthy as possible guides public and private decision-making.

Our community understands that we are all in this together.

Join the effort. You can make a difference.

When it comes to health and wellness, all Kansans are stakeholders. There are multiple ways to assist with the effort and it is never too late to start.

Crawford County Live Well will be the second Wednesdays of the month at noon. Pick your passion and join one of the various tasks force to get involved.

Wilson County Community Health Improvement Plan, meets the third Tuesday of the month, rotating between Fredonia and Neodesha.

Labette County initial meeting, June 22, 9 to 11 a.m., Southeast Area Office, Parsons.

Live Healthy Montgomery County, meets monthly, various locations

Contact Wildcat Extension District or your Local Extension Unit to find a health movement near you.

For additional information, visit and Or you may contact us at one of our district locations including Girard at 620-724-8233; Fredonia at 620-378-2167; Altamont at 620-784-5337; Independence at 620-331-2690; and Pittsburg, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education, at 620-232-1930. Our website is or follow us on Facebook: Wildcat Extension District.