HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Eastern Kentucky has seen its fair share of struggles. From the loss of the coal industry to the struggle to diversify its economy, the hard times seem to pile up.
A recent report lists Eastern Kentucky counties as some of the worst in the state for health outcomes.
"Yea the number is not surprising this has been status quo for the last decade," says John Jones, the medical director of Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky.
Perry and Owsley Counties rank dead last and second to last respectively in the Commonwealth.
"We have many factors that play into our low health factor," says Jones.
One of those factors is the economy. People do not make enough money to purchase healthy food, leading to high obesity levels, Transportation is also an issue preventing people from getting the healthcare they need.
While there is widespread work being done to change the tide, it seems to some that every time Easter Kentucky takes two steps forward, it takes a step back.
"In some areas, we improve but in other areas, it seems we fall backward," says Jones.
It is not all gloom and doom. There is hope for Eastern Kentucky in the form of education.
"Our biggest obstacle is education. We have a cultural problem here, we eat because it tastes good, not because it is good for you," says Jones.
Educating the youth about smart and healthy choices that they can pass on to their children may help turn these terrifying numbers around.