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State commissioner opens health care dialogue in Lawton

Southwest Oklahomans had the opportunity this week to make suggestions on how to make Oklahomans healthier.

About 50 people attended a "community chat" to list ways to improve the health of state residents, who for years have been at the bottom of national health rankings.

From obesity to smoking to heart disease, Oklahoma consistently scores poorly in health rating. Dr. Terry Cline told participants at the Lawton session  one of 11 regional meetings  that 400 or so Oklahoma babies die each year before they reach their first birthdays and that only 68 percent of pregnant women in Oklahoma received prenatal care in the first trimester.

The news isn't all bad, he said. The percentage of adolescents receiving the TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine has almost tripled, and the number of adult Oklahomans who smoke dropped more than 10 percent.

Those successes, he said, are the result of Oklahomans' concerted efforts.

The Lawton Constitution

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