Here's to a healthier, happier new year

December 27, 2013

At a recent meeting, Beebe Health­care Director of Population Health Megan Williams and Nemours Health and Prevention Services Community Relations Director John Hollis spoke about 2014. They said one of the first initiatives of the new year will be to refocus on reducing obesity in Sussex County.

There was talk about the cost to the United States of the Affordable Care Act, one of the most controversial and far-reaching programs ever undertaken by the federal government. “There is only one way to bring the escalating costs down,” said Hollis. “That is for all of us to live healthier.”

If we, as a national population, continue to live lifestyles that lead to obesity and contrib­ute to the statistic that 70 percent of health issues arise from behavior choices, the Afford­able Care Act can only swell the national debt. Just like any other bubble, it will eventually burst. The resulting chaos will not be pretty.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Healthier Sussex and Sussex Outdoors initia­tives aim to make Sussex County the healthi­est county in the nation. If successful, those initiatives can be repeated across the nation. The goals are to get more people exercising - one of the most affordable medicines there is - and eating healthier diets. This effort will take years.

Old habits - and generational habits in particular - aren’t broken easily. But when the initiatives are successful, the result will be less time spent in the hospital and in the doctor’s office. Less time in those places means fewer health insurance claims, which means less money required for insurance premiums.

A full-page ad in this edition of the Gazette explains how people can join an internet­-based program, the Healthier Sussex County Clubhouse, to track their exercise minutes each day and in the process raise money for the Sussex Outdoors initiative. Go to for more information.

Studies show that people are naturally more active when they’re outdoors. And when they’re more ac­tive they’re healthier. When they’re healthier, they’re happier.

So here’s to being healthier and happier in 2014 and helping Sussex and our nation in the process.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Dave Frederick, sports editor.