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Health departments offer tips to stay healthy this year

CADIZ – Local health departments are doing more than battling COVID-19 as 2021 gets underway — they are also offering tips on how residents can have a healthy and happy year.

There are many simple lifestyle changes a person can make to improve their overall health, Garen Rhome, administrator of the Harrison County Health Department, said.

Some of the health department’s main focuses this year are encouraging a healthier diet, exercise and a reduction in tobacco usage. Rhome said a healthy diet is not just about a person limiting their food intake; it is also about making healthier choices when it comes to the foods we eat.

“When I say a healthy diet, it doesn’t have to be a major change. … The amount of sugar that Americans and Ohioans eat is very, very high and if we could just take small steps on an individual level to reduce the amount of refined sugars or added sugars, we would see great strides. In 10 years, we would see a healthier population,” he said.

A reduction in the amount of sugar in a person’s diet could decrease the potential for obesity, diabetes and heart conditions, Rhome said. Small dietary changes can make a big difference, he said.

The same goes for exercise. Rhome said simply getting up and moving around more often or going for a walk around the block every day can improve one’s health.

“You don’t have to join a gym, just move around a little more,” he said.

With many people working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, a standing desk is a good alternative to help a person move around more, he said.

Rhome said the department staff also hope to see a reduction in tobacco usage, including vaping products. Many people are switching from cigarettes to vaping instruments; however, they both can have potential negative impacts on the body, he said.

The health department is hoping to help move the community in a healthier direction.

As the pandemic continues into the new year, Rhome urges residents to follow the coronavirus guidelines — don a facial covering when in public spaces, social distance and limit close contacts.

Belmont County Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul said following the guidelines in the new year is an important step to help avoid contracting or spreading the virus. He also suggests that residents eat healthy meals, exercise and get plenty of rest to remain healthy.

Although many residents are limiting contacts with those outside of their home and workplace, it is important to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Sproul said there are many ways now to keep in contact without person-to-person interaction, including by phone and video chats.

“There’s a lot of things you can do now — there’s Zoom, Facetime, there’s all kinds of technology that people can use to reach out and keep in contact with each other,” he said.

Sproul reminds residents to always remember to social distance and wear a facial covering when around others to ensure everyone’s safety.

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