Commentary: Obesity is bigger health threat than swine flu

This editorial appeared in The Modesto Bee.

The biggest health threat in Stanislaus County doesn't come from pigs, as in the swine flu, but from plain old pigging out.

The worldwide outbreak of H1N1 (as health officials now refer to the swine flu) merits a rapid response, but over the long run, the greater health issues are heart disease, diabetes and strokes, ailments with strong links to being overweight.

This week, Dr. John Walker, Stanislaus' public health officer, released the annual report on community health. Despite some progress, Stanislaus still ranks high for heart disease – 56th out of 58 counties – and 47th for diabetes.

Stanislaus rates high among the counties for colorectal cancer, accidents and drug-induced deaths. Cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea, both sexually transmitted diseases, remain high.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Modesto Bee.