Chronic Illness in Washington State

Four Common Causes of Chronic Disease plague Washington State Health Departments.

Lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases in Washington State.

  • More than one-third of all adults do not meet recommendations for aerobic physical activity based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and 23% report no leisure-time physical activity at all in the preceding month.
  • In 2007, less than 22% of high school students and only 24% of adults reported eating 5 or more servings of fits and vegetables per day

  • More than 43 million American adults (approximately 1 in 5) smoke. In 2007, 20% of high school students in the United States were current cigarette smokers. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking causes almost all cases. Compared to non smokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer and women who smoke are about 13 times more likely.
  • Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% in women in Washington State. Smoking also causes cancer of the voice box (larynx), mouth and throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, and stomach, and causes acute myeloid leukemia.
  • Nearly 45% of high school students report consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, and over 60% of those who drink report binge drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion) within the past 30 days.
  • A large number of studies provide strong evidence that drinking alcohol is  a risk factor for primary liver cancer, and more than 100 studies have found an increased risk of breast cancer with increasing alcohol in take. The link between alcohol consumption and colo-rectal (colon) cancer has been reported in more than 50 studies.

Depressed? Me too! Tell us what you think and how we can change this. 

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