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No good answers for laziness

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By Meaghan Downs

Let’s face it. We’re lazy.
Not just Anderson County, but the entire nation.
Millions of dollars have been spent to study how easily and efficiently we become lazy.
Who knows how much has been charged to credit card accounts so we can get the physique and fearless reputation of Chuck Norris.  
The University of Wisconsin’s Population Institute recently released its 2012 study on the County Health Rankings, including Anderson County.
Lawrenceburg squeaked into the Top 10 of counties for its health factors, such as availability of education, environmental quality, and social and economic factors.
But then it dropped 14 spots, trailing behind area counties like Shelby, Spencer, Fayette and Franklin to spot No. 24.
So what gives?
It seems to me, after thoroughly analyzing this data until my eyes bled, that Anderson County does a fantastic job of providing many positive influences to make way for healthier behavior.
But residents seem like they don’t want to take the bait.
Last year, Anderson County ranked 61 out of 120 counties for diet and exercise.
This year, we’ve sunk to a low of 97 out of 120 counties in the commonwealth in that same category.
Statistics aren’t everything, I know. Compared to last year’s overall health rankings, Anderson County actually improved in many areas.
But there’s something I still don’t understand.
If we rank above so many other counties in high-quality environment and availability of health education, how come we’re not healthier?
The answer could be an easy one.
Put down the French fries, and pick up the free weights.
But as we all know, the obesity epidemic is so much more than just unhealthy eating habits.
It’s exercise. It’s genetics. It’s motivation.
Joan Martin, Anderson County’s extension agent for family and consumer science, said motivation is one of the biggest factors in changing health behavior.
Martin recommended the 5-2-1-0: Healthy Numbers for Kentucky Families childhood obesity campaign program as one way for Anderson County residents to get healthy.
The formula includes children eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day; limiting screen time to no more than two hours a day; being physically active for at least an hour a day; and drinking zero sweetened beverages.
Sounds like a great idea.
But again, doesn’t solve our laziness problem.
And motivation, being less than concrete, isn’t exactly an easy part of our personalities to change.
Sure, there are people trying, in a high-tech manner.
For smart phone aficionados, you can download an application and voluntarily join a program that charges your bank account every time you don’t hit the gym, forcing you to make healthier choices where it hurts the most — your wallet.
There’s even a type of stationary exercise bike that simulates a zombie attack on screen so you’ll run faster.
I guess that’s one creative approach to kick starting motivation.
But in all seriousness, our nation’s motivation problem in getting healthy isn’t going away any time soon, zombies or no zombies.
County health rankings, or no county health rankings.
One thing is certain: sitting in an office chair only analyzing health data isn’t going to be the solution, either.