Stats show W.Va. residents need better heart health

Statistics released by the American Heart Association revealed that West Virginia residents rank at or near the bottom in most categories that contribute to heart-related deaths and illnesses.

Almost one in three deaths in West Virginia were attributed to cardiovascular diseases, according to the AHA. Those statistics indicated there is a high prevalence of smoking among state residents, along with higher rates of diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

According to the American Heart Association, 26.8 percent of state residents are smokers, compared to 17 percent nationwide. That puts West Virginia 49th out of the 50 states. West Virginia ranks 31st in the number of youth smokers.

Just 67 percent of state residents said they engage in a physical activity at least once per month, though 76 percent of the country say they do exercise at least once per month. The lack of physical activity and having a sedentary lifestyle puts West Virginia 48th in the country.

More than two out of every three adults (67.9 percent) in West Virginia are considered to be obese, compared to 63 percent nationwide.

West Virginia ranks 48th in the country in that statistic, and is also ranked 32nd in the number of youths considered to be obese. About 14 percent of West Virginia’s high school students fall into that category, compared to 12 percent nationwide.

Nine percent of state residents have been told they have suffered a heart attack or stroke, compared to about 6 percent across the country. West Virginia ranks 50th in the number of people having what is considered to be a “poor health day” and 50th in the number of people suffering from heart disease and 47th in cardiovascular deaths. The state ranks 49th in the number of people having a heart attack and 46th in the number of people who have a stroke.

In other contributing factors to heart disease, West Virginia ranks 48th in the nation regarding those having diabetes, 40th in the number of people having high cholesterol and 45th in the number of people having high blood pressure.