In athletics and in life, those in last place are usually there for a valid reason.
Heart health in Kentucky is atrocious. We are battling with Mississippi, WV and Alabama for dead last in most measures of public wellness.
Yet, this week, Louisville’s director of Metro Department of Health and Wellness, Dr Adelawe Troutman, actually recommended against a city wide ban on trans-fats in restaurants. Instead of the ban, he recommended enhanced education as to the dangers of these toxins.
One who actually doctors in this state and tries valiantly to educate patients and frequently fails, knows that “education” on the dangers of trans-fat will do little. New York, Philadelphia and Boston have city wide bans on trans-fat that have already proven efficacious and business neutral, but this is not persuasive to our chief officer of wellness.
The key to success in heart health is caring for the endothelium, or inside of the blood vessel. Kentuckians have some of the nation’s most inflamed endotheliums. This is due to our state’s epidemic of obesity, smoking, diabetes and hypertension. For the record, trans-fats are also highly inflammatory to the innards (endothelium) of blood vessels and this inflammation is directly responsible for sudden catastrophic events like heart attack, stroke and sudden cardiac death.
There are those who argue that the government should not tell us what we can eat; but, it is not so simple, as trans-fat are directly toxic and cause heart disease which is our leading cause of death. Not opinion here, just facts.
The government tells us what speeds to drive our cars as speeding kills people. They made smoking in public illegal and this has shown to both reduce heart attacks and be business neutral. It follows that, at minimum, the doctor charged with the wellness of such an ill community should have demonstrated strength and advocated what is right and proven successful in much more populated cities than ours. Like our smoking ban which was met with much angst but proved “much ado about nothing,” a trans-fat ban would also prove tenable once implemented.
It would be excessively naive to suggest that simply banning fats in restaurants would miraculously change Kentucky’s poor health. However, success in achieving good health stems not from just one or two factors, but rather a combination of many good decisions. Passivity in dealing with a seemingly easy decree to ban a toxic substance is yet another missed opportunity to send the people of Kentucky an important health message.