Healthy senior citizens exercising outdoors

Utah Is the Healthiest State in the Nation But with One Dark Spot

Utah has always topped the list when it comes to the healthiest populations. Utah residents are fitter than most and obesity-related problems like diabetes and heart problems are not too much of a problem. However, living elevated comes with its own problems — one of which is almost unavoidable.

Fittest in the Nation

Whether it’s obesity, diabetes, or heart problems, Utah residents consistently rank at the bottom of the list. Utah tops the nation when it comes to diabetes management, especially in Provo-Orem. Provo-Orem ranked first when it comes to diabetes management with less than 6 percent of its population having the condition. Altitude has also been found to have a positive effect on heart conditions. Residents of cities and counties situated in high altitudes have lower chances of dying from heart problems and live longer lives. Elevation might also be a factor in obesity, as residents of both Colorado and Utah have some of the lowest obesity rates. Coupled with the Utah culture of healthy living and love of the outdoors, obesity in Utah is rare.

The Sun Is Not Friendly in Utah

Woman out on a sunny dayUtah’s love of the outdoors is also the reason for one of its most significant problems: skin cancer. Utahns have the highest rate of diagnosed skin cancer in the U.S. The rate of skin cancers in Utah is almost double that of the nation, and you have the sun to blame. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the leading cause of skin cancers, and elevation increases the concentration of UV rays. The intensity of UV rays increases by almost 7 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level, and Utah cities are well above sea levels. Salt Lake City stands at over 4,000 feet above sea level, and residents are exposed to close to 30 percent more UV radiation. Park City, standing at over 7,000 feet above sea level gets bombarded by almost 50 percent more UV radiation.

Avoiding the Big C

Skin cancer is one of the safest and easiest to manage of all cancers. However, cancer is still cancer, and even melanomas can prove fatal if left untreated. Skin cancer can be detected with the naked eye and treatment is usually quite safe and straightforward compared to other diseases. However, prevention is still better than cure, and you can easily prevent skin cancers by avoiding UV radiation. Wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen if you’re going out. A simple cap can protect your face from the sun’s rays and adding sunscreen can protect you from 94 to 99 percent of UV rays. Get some UV filtering film for your car windows. It might not seem like much, but your daily drive exposes you to a lot of UV radiation. If your house has large windows facing the sun, you might want to have them treated too. It’s either that or apply sunscreen in your own home.

Utahns might have it good when it comes to obesity, diabetes, and heart problems, but skin cancer is a reality that you need to deal with. Of course, you can easily deal with skin cancer through regular checkups, tinting your windows, and applying sunscreen.

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