Northstate ranks low in health, local hospital fights for change

Courtesy: SRMC

REDDING, Calif. - New rankings measuring general health in California counties shows ratings for the Northstate that are mediocre at best.

The data for the ratings are compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

They measure a wide variety of unhealthy habits, including the percentage of people who smoke, the rate of obesity, excessive drinking and even the percentage of fast food restaurants in the county.

Here are the rankings for six Northstate counties:

25, Glenn County 40, Trinity County 45, Butte County 47, Shasta County 51, Modoc County 55, Tehama County

At least one county has created an action plan.

Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding has just opened a new health and wellness center.

Registered dietician and certified diabetes educator Joanne Tippin said the health and wellness center brings several of Shasta Regional's long standing programs into one area.

The center will include cardiac rehabilitation, a diabetes center, a smoking cessation program and more.

Tippin said chronic diseases are related, and putting everything in one place just makes sense.

"Diabetes brings along with it heart disease. They may have problems with their kidneys and may need to start getting active. We want to make sure they do it in a healthy way that is good for their heart, and so we can send them over to cardiac rehab and keep them safe while they're getting active."

Several people have already participated in the program.

Gerry Richards was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, or COPD, ten years ago and was referred to the wellness center by her doctor.

"When he first recommended it, he told me I was a candidate for a lung transplant. Since I've been here, I've improved so much, that we don't talk about that anymore," said Richards.

The idea is to promote wellness and prevent chronic disease.

Keep in mind, it's not like a walk-in clinic; you will still need a doctor's referral.