If anyone knows anything about being unhealthy, it's me. My overall health started to decline after I moved to a farming community in west central Iowa. With no access to any kind of fitness facilities and with nothing to do, it made it easy to fall into bad habits like drinking and of course, eating. I gained at least 20 pounds.

That's what happens though. The environment in which you live can have a huge impact on your health. It is all about making the right choices, but if you don't have access to the people, places and things you need to be successful then it can be hard to achieve your health and wellness goals.

That's the biggest complaint I hear about Rockford. People tell me all the time that they aren't active or engage in a healthy lifestyle because there's nothing here and there's nothing to do. Really? I've lived here for about 7 months and I've never been more active.  But maybe those who say there's nothing here have never left or experienced other things. Without those experiences, it's hard to be open minded about all of the fun things taking place  here like the Insane Inflatable 5K or Neon Vibe.

But having nothing to do wasn't even a contributing factor when it comes to our county being one of the unhealthiest in the state.

The University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute released their annual rankings of the health of nearly every county across the country, with Winnebago ranking 88th out of a 102 counties.  Factors included poverty, education, transportation, housing, violent crime and access to medical care.  There is one positive, though- Winnebago County ranked 31st when it came to clinical care.

What are your thoughts on this? I can honestly say that there have been times when I've been out shopping or running errands and I'll think to myself, "wow, there are a lot of unhealthy people here." And that's not meant to be an insult; it makes me sad because I know how hard it is. Making changes to your lifestyle can be hard and scary, but if you find the strength to take that first step and stick to it, your quality of life will dramatically improve. If there's anything I can do to help, just let me know.



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