Community health survey: We’re fat

Erie County takes a look in the mirror.
Tom Jackson
Jan 30, 2014


A lot of us admit that we are fat.

That’s one of the bits of information in the new community health survey that’s just been issued by the Erie County Health Department. Every three years, the department sends out questionnaires and compiles the answers into a report.

The new report, released last week, shows 74 percent of Erie County adults describe themselves as overweight or obese. It says 44 percent of the county’s adults are trying to lose weight.

The obesity numbers aren’t shocking, because in fact they are high in every Ohio county, said Britney Ward, director of community health improvement for the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio.

“The interesting thing about that is, it is probably underreported” Ward said.

Ward spends much of her time on the road, helping counties prepare their community health assessments. She has worked on reports in Erie, Sandusky, Huron and Ottawa counties. Huron County’s report is being worked on right now.

Erie County youths who answered the survey reported that 30 percent of them text while driving. That’s a big improvement over past results and, in fact, risky youth behaviors in Erie County have fallen, Ward said.

Before any laws banned texting while driving — it’s now illegal statewide — “around 80 percent of the kids were texting and driving” Ward said.

Erie County’s health department uses the results to figure out what officials should be working on, said Pete Schade, the county’s health commissioner.

Past surveys persuaded the health department to open a dental clinic last year, with four dental chairs serving people who weren’t getting dental care, Schade said.

The new survey shows an unmet need for mental health care and treatment for addictions. The health department is now trying to set up a program to meet that need, he said.

Schade hopes the report will be useful to agencies in Erie County applying for grant money.

“The health assessment is intended not only for the health department but for any individual or any group in Erie County to use the data” he said.

“That data is bona fide data that is recognized by a lot of the funding groups nationally and across the state and locally,” he said. “You would be able to use this data to submit to a funder”

Want to read the report?

• The new Erie County Community Health Assessment for 2013 has been posted at the health department’s website, Past reports for other counties in the area are available from the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio website,  .

How are we doing? Facts from the new health survey

• 31 percent of adults have high blood pressure, 35 percent have high blood cholesterol, 38 percent are obese and 21 percent smoke. All are risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

• 14 percent of adults have been diagnosed with cancer. q 10 percent of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes.

• 74 percent of Erie County adults are overweight or obese.

• 15 percent of Erie County adults are frequent drinkers.

• 7 percent of Erie County adults used marijuana in the past six months, while 8 percent used a drug not prescribed for them to get high or feel good.

• 57 percent of Erie County women over 40 had a mammogram in the past year. q 52 percent of Erie County males over 50 had a PSA (prostate)Ho test in the past year.

• Two-thirds of Erie County adults had sex in 2013.

• 2 percent of Erie County adults considered attempting suicide in 2013. 10 percent had a period of two or more weeks when they felt depressed nearly every day.

• 62 percent of Erie County adults visited the dentist in the past year.

• 18 percent of African-Americans had diabetes in 2013 while 47 percent had high blood pressure.

• 8 percent of Erie County youth are smokers.

• 11 percent of Erie County youth used marijuana within the past 30 days.

• 30 percent of youth drivers texted while driving.


Eph 2 8-10

Re: the photo.....that's not fat. It's a beer gut!


A beer gut IS fat. It's just that sort of denial that leads to 74% of people being overweight. I always read that more than 50% of Americans say they exercise at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes, yet it's obvious that far fewer actually do that, if my observations of attendance at the local rec center/bike trails are any indication.

The person in that picture is an example of the dreaded "skinny fat" physique that physicians warn about, in which a male is thin in all parts of their body, except for their midsection. This is associated with a higher rate of heart attacks, strokes and silent ischemia, as compared to other overweight people who have fat distributed more evenly over their body. Judging from the muscle tone of the person in the picture, it's obvious that the only exercise he gets is walking to/from the fridge. So, I don't think we can blame beer...

Eph 2 8-10

I was being sarcastic.


Oops sorry. Most Republicans are devoid of a sense of humor, so that possibility didn't even occur to me :)

Darwin's choice

You're fat between your ears!

No Wake

This is completely correct!


If the cause is really beer, there's probably an enlarged liver involved.


@coasterfan.....I dislike you more and more daily


"18 percent of African-Americans had diabetes in 2013 while 47 percent had high blood pressure"

Don't discriminate. For comparison purposes, what is the percentage of whites and hispanics with diabetes and high blood pressure?


No surprises here!


we die no matter what and this nonsense is used to instill fear to sell products or medical care, etc..

The Bizness

Yep, let's just live our lives as fat blobs and feel like crap all the time. If you look like the man in the picture, you should seriously try dropping some weight because your overall life experience will greatly improve.

Also, weight loss can be fairly cheap. Buy a food scale, weigh your portions so you know you are eating less calories, and go out for a walk every day. I guarantee you will lose weight.


II agree with Bizness. I run 2-3 miles a day, and it's free. The costs of not taking care of yourself are much higher. You die 20-30-40 years prematurely, and have obviously greater healthcare expenses, not to mention your family gets to live without you, since you aren't around anymore. I applaud the author of the article for encouraging overweight people to DO something about their situation.

We all know heavy people who have lost weight. It's not easy, but it CAN be done. I'm in shape, but exercising is still hard work for me. We can either choose to keep in shape, or we can make excuses why we can't. I'd love to sit on my butt with a bag of Cheetos in one hand, and a scoop of Ice Cream in the other, but I don't. For me, I know if I buy those things, I'll eat 'em, so I don't bring them home from the grocery store. And I don't allow myself to sit down and watch TV until I've done my daily run. I went for a 3 mile walk less than a week after back surgery. I do yoga and weight training; they take time, but the time spent is worth it. My same age friends are increasingly immobile, and I just returned from a hiking/climbing trip in Utah. It's all about choices and self-motivation, ya know? If I can do it, anyone can.

I read that each of us pays roughly $400 more in health insurance costs each year, to subsidize the healthcare costs of the overweight and obese.

Darwin's choice

No worries, that wonderful new obamacare is going to fail everyone,and that $400 will soon escalate to over $1000. You should be proud!


Actually . . . my wife and I have less medical care as a result of living a healthier lifestyle. In the past 8 years, the only time we've seen a physician is for our yearly check-up, and every time hear the same thing, "If all my patients were as healthy as you, I'd be out of business!"

Instead of having to spend money on medical visits and pharmaceuticals, or even OTC drugs, we funnel those funds into buying healthier foods. Almost 3 years ago on the advise of my wife, a Nutritional Therapist Practitioner, I made some significant changes in diet, resulting in my dropping 20+ pounds w/o that being my intent, stopped snoring and stopped having frequent bouts of halitosis. It was really amazing at the age of 52 to sport a "six pack". Fast forward to today . . . I feel better now than I did 10 years ago, have more overall energy, and continue enjoying not getting sick. I don't get flu shots yet average only 1 cold/year. I've not gotten sick this winter, continue to run at least 2 miles daily no matter the weather/air temps, and continue to lift weights at least 3x/week.

We threw out our microwave 7 years ago and only use cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans for cooking. We rarely eat out as most restaurants just don't offer the most nutritious food choices. We do enjoy food but choose eating to live vs. living to eat. Do I miss some of the foods I used to eat? Actually, no. I remember how I didn't feel well or suffered problems after eating the foods and therefore have no cravings for those foods anymore.

If I suffered a broken limb, of course I'd seek the proper medical attention. But with the lifestyle choices we follow, we aren't beholden to the medical profession. I know I'll die. I just want to enjoy life, free from pain and suffering, until I do.


WTG OSUBuckeye59 for you and your wife. Thanks for sharing your positive post!

JudgeMeNot's picture

That is a UAW member in the photo.


Speaking of obese, what happened to the Bratton pleading guilty story? It dropped off the website page.

Dr. Information

Until Americans put down the food and get in a gym and start eating healthier, nothing will change. No miracle pill, no supplement, no sprinkle this or dash of that is going to make a difference. Stop eating fast, processed foods and start working out your body.


We are our own worse enemies and killing ourselves. Nobody to blame but ourselves when we make poor choices of activities and food to fuel our bodies. Its okay to have some treats, but all in moderation, most people don't know how to do that.


You are correct: we are indeed our own worst enemies.

As for having some treats "in moderation", unfortunately, that's really not true. In 2011 per my wife's recommendation, I quit eating all animal dairy products and all products with gluten. Cold turkey. No cheese, no yogurt, no 1/2 & 1/2 in my coffee, no butter. I quit drinking milk years ago so that wasn't a problem, but I absolutely loved cheese and also buttered toast/sourdough bread. And within 6 weeks I experienced the weight loss and other improvements as I wrote in a previous posting on this SR story. Was it hard? VERY hard for the first 2 months, but then my cravings actually started to lessen. My health finally improved enough late last year that I started eating products with gluten & could start ingesting butter again. But I'm careful about what butter and gluten products I ingest.

Remember Jack Lalanne? That guy stopped eating all desserts and started a daily diet regimen at age 16 that he never ever wavered from. He shunned all sweets. Even into his 90's he was an incredibly fit individual. I know I'll never have the willpower of Jack in terms of never wavering from a daily food intake, but I have enough of a willpower to be able to truly keep to a diet regimen that insures my overall good health and feeling good.


74 percent of Erie County adults are overweight or obese, • Two-thirds of Erie County adults had sex in 2013.
No wonder there is always a rumble in this county. Future earthwake?


Hard work never hurt anyone. What OSU Buckeye stated is so true. Said it before Obama got in. 1rst smokers, next fatties. We don't need to pay for those that will not take care of themselves.