Instances of several ailments, including diabetes and heart disease, are higher in Eastern Kentucky than in many other American regions. So it comes with no small sense of encouragement with the news this week that some of our local citizens are attempting to do something about it. Susan Hull, a certified diabetic educator and nurse practitioner, is one of three people set to hold the first meeting of a new diabetes support group next week, and we think this a step in the right direction to tackle a disease that for many people could have been prevented. Factors contributing to the high rate of Type 2 diabetes include obesity and lack of exercise, both of which are prevalent here. Any effort to reverse those trends are welcome and should be encouraged by the community at large. Here in Eastern Kentucky, weve got our share of issues, but few are as alarming as our ongoing prescription drug abuse, the number of cigarettes we continue to smoke despite constant health warnings, and the number of lives we lose from preventable causes. In Perry County, premature deaths were 50 percent above the rest of the state and nearly double that of the national number, according to a health assessment released in 2007. There is little wonder, in light of the numerous amounts of data available, why we continue to face hardships and an uncertain economic future when by and large we fail to focus on our own individual health. Efforts like those of Susan Hull, a private individual volunteering her own time for a cause, are steps we need to make to make ourselves healthier, and we hope this step is one of many down that road.