Chronic disease focus of county’s new program

Mesa County residents have a higher rate of diabetes and obesity than other Coloradans, prompting local health officials to announce Wednesday a new program aimed at preventing and managing chronic disease.

Tawny Espinoza, prevention and chronic disease manager with the Mesa County Health Department, highlighted a new program called “Healthier Living: A Chronic Disease Self-Management Program” at a news conference Wednesday at Marrilac Clinic, 2333 N. Sixth St.

Any individual with a chronic disease or who is caring for an individual with a chronic disease can enroll in the Health Department program with six sessions that provide information about controlling, managing and preventing certain chronic diseases.

The program costs $25 per person and will be overseen by LiveWell in Mesa County.

The chronic diseases targeted by the program are asthma, diabetes and other lifelong diseases without a cure but are manageable.

In addition to the new program, the Health Department has other programs targeting smoking cessation and obesity, which can lead to diseases such as heart disease and hypertension.

In Mesa County, 24 percent of adults are obese compared to 18 percent in Colorado, Espinoza said, citing the 2006 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.

Nearly 22 percent of adults smoke in Mesa County compared to 18 percent statewide, she said. 

A 2005 study by the Milken Institute, an independent think tank, showed chronic diseases in Colorado cost $16.5 billion annually in terms of lost worker productivity and treatment costs.


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