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Kentuckians Face Diverse Barriers To Improving Health, Poll Shows

Jennifer Morrow/Creative Commons

Kentuckians have judged their own health in the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

The biggest group of respondents—43 percent—reported their health as "very good or excellent." The percentage of adults who said their health was either "good" or "fair or poor" was pretty close at 26 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

The poll, released Monday, also asked Kentucky adults to name the most important thing they could do to improve their health.

The most common answer was to increase exercise by walking, running, weightlifting and being more active overall.

About 2 in 10 respondents said improving their diet would make them healthier. More specifically, they said they could eat more vegetables, eat less fast food and reduce their sugar intake.

Others listed factors like quitting smoking and improving access to health care as factors that would improve their general health.

Other study findings included:

  • Researchers found a link between how people described their health and the actions needed to improve it. Those who described their health as excellent or very good were more likely to say more exercise and improved diet would give them better health. Those who described their health as "fair or poor" were more likely to say that addressing a current health problem like diabetes, cancer or depression was their most pressing health need.
  • The study found it'll take a variety of solutions to help Kentuckians improve their health. Twenty percent of respondents said they didn't have the motivation or right attitude to change their health, while another 10 percent said they couldn't afford to make necessary changes, like buy health insurance or healthy food. Another twenty percent said they were too busy to make changes, and 1 in 10 respondents said a current health problem was the greatest barrier.
  • Sixty-five percent of the surveyed Kentuckians said it would be difficult or very difficult to make positive health changes, while 32 percent said it would be easy or very easy.
  • Kentucky adults with lower incomes were more likely to report difficulty in making changes that would benefit their health.

The poll was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

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