Study: Northern Virginians Could Use Some Help, Health-Wise

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File photo of a doctor holding a stethoscope. (Photo credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

File photo of a doctor holding a stethoscope. (Photo credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

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ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — More than half of Northern Virginians are overweight or obese, about 20 percent of them are at risk for binge drinking, and one in four haven’t seen a dentist in the past two years.

Those are just some of the statistics that were released Friday along with Northern Virginia Health Foundation’s study on the well-being of people living in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.

“While income plays some role, this report tells us that this is not only about poor people in poor health,” NVHF President Patricia N. Mathews said.

The region’s health problems, in fact, come from all income levels and ethnic groups.

Some other stand-out statistics have to do with Northern Virginia’s youth.

The study says 20 percent of children haven’t seen a dentist in the past year, more than a quarter of all youth reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in a row and and that more than a quarter of all youth are overweight or obese.

“This is a call to action for the region,” Mathews said. “Improving access to medical care is important, but it’s not enough to make meaningful change in people’s lives. We must work together to address the socioeconomic factors that we know influence how healthy we are.”

The foundation is hosting a health summit Friday to brainstorm ideas along those lines.

The upside of the study’s findings? Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax counties are among the healthiest locales in the state when looking strictly at death rates and disease.

To see the full health report, visit the Northern Virginia Health Foundation’s website.

WNEW’s Kevin Patrick contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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