Community health forum being presented

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Smoking cessation will be one of the topics addressed at a community health forum scheduled for March 26 at Plains Regional Medical Center.

Tonjia Rolan

New Mexicans are more unhealthy today than they were three years ago, according to a Presbyterian Healthcare Services survey.

If you live in New Mexico, your chances of dying of chronic illness, such as heart disease, lower respiratory disease, diabetes or cirrhosis of the liver are higher than the national average, according to the survey.

“All indicators suggest that personal habits play a significant role in our health,” Plains Regional Medical Center Director of Nursing Terri Marney said.

The three leading causes of chronic disease are tobacco use, lack of exercise and poor nutrition, the survey said.

“We would like to tackle the root causes of disease before they become chronic conditions,” Presbyterian Healthcare Services public affairs official Brad Treptow said.

To that end, Presbyterian Healthcare Services is presenting community health forums at Plains Regional Medical Center this month to address three priorities:

• Healthy eating

• Active living

• Tobacco cessation

According to Treptow, the objective of the forums is “to seek input and feedback from individuals on the best ways to address the health priorities of the community.”

According to New Mexico First, a non-profit public policy organization, chronic disease in New Mexico cost $7 billion in 2003.

Treptow said the forums were initiated for two reasons. “To identify innovative approaches to health care that increase quality of care while decreasing cost” and “in anticipation of federal healthcare reform initiatives.”

“We’re hoping to come up with some creative ideas in a collaborative effort between PRMC, Presbyterian and the community,” Marney said. “Our goal truly is to improve the health of the people of Curry County.”

The forums are free to the public but seating is limited and registration is required.

“We want the community to participate,” said Treptow. “We want to hear their voices.”