Highlight of the luncheon meeting was a presentation by Beth Delaney of the Tennessee Department of Health on the status of cancer in Tennessee. She emphasized that incidences of cancer in the state are among the highest in the nation.
Delaney said Tennessee is No. 3 in lung-cancer deaths and No. 5 in all cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading type of cancer in the state, with breast cancer second.
She said there is a lot not known about cancer deaths, and the factors leading up to this horrific disease. Delaney said some families have a much higher risk factor than other families, and an individual’s lifestyle can contribute.
More than 70 million people have some type of cancer, and being overweight contributes to about 20 percent of that total.
Tennessee is among the highest states with obesity and cancer, and statistics of the two match very closely. Health officials emphasized that healthy eating can be a preventive measure.
“There are things you can do,” said Delaney, “such as shopping at farmer’s markets and encouraging grocery stores to have a no-candy or gum aisle.”
Another trend for healthy eating is community gardens. The McMinn County jail has a community garden for inmates, and community schools, churches and other organizations are planting community gardens.
There are other lifestyle steps that can be taken to lower your risk of cancer.
Andrea Lockerby, Bradley County’s Healthy Schools coordinator, said her office is getting more and more people going to walking tracks and trails. “It’s an inexpensive way for a healthy activity,” she said. “Exercise is a big part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Joyce Clem, also with the Bradley County Health Department, said the Tennessee Cancer Coalition is planning to meet in Chattanooga next year, which would be an opportunity for Health Council members.
Cancer survivors at Tuesday’s meeting said personal check-ups are a key to detection of the disease. They said anything unusual on your body can be a warning sign and a means of early detection.
It was also announced that this is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
Other Health Council business:
n Scott Webb, former Walker Valley High School football coach and a faculty member at the school, attended the luncheon to invite members to participate in the Pink Ribbon Bowl at Walker Valley.
The powder puff football game will pit teams from Polk County, Meigs County, Bradley Central and Walker Valley. Proceeds will go to the Mary Ellen Locher Foundation. “The game has evolved and we want to promote a healthy living and educational opportunity,” said Webb.
This year’s game is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6, on the Walker Valley High School football field. Webb said plans are to expand the bowl game next year.
Advance tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults. They are available at Gobble Automotive on North Lee Highway. Tickets at the gate are $7.
n The Health Council is planning to merge its Teen Pregnancy and Teen Safety committees.
n Bradley County’s GRAAB Coalition (Going Respectfully Against Addictive Behavior) is planning 31 days of prevention activities for students (and adults) in the community.
More information on this special month of events will be published later.
n The 100 Black Men of Bradley County announced that the local organization is sponsoring its fifth annual Health Fair Saturday.
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bradley Square Mall and is open to the public. There is no admission fee.
The health fair highlights health care providers, vendors in the medical and pharmaceutical industry, health care information, screenings and health education opportunities.
n Ann Marie Brewer of the Cleveland Civitan Club discussed plans to raise funds for the HandiPark adjacent to Stuart Elementary School. The club is planning massive renovations to the park.
One fundraiser is to sell $100 tickets for a chance to win a 2011 GMC Terrain. Ten $100 prizes will also be given away. Don Ledford Automotive Center is a co-sponsor of the giveaway, with tickets available at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Bank of Cleveland at Bradley Square Mall, George Gray’s Allstate on Keith Street, at the automotive center or from any Civitan Club members.