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Quality of life study is worth reviewing for Oklahoma policymakers

BY DON BETZ Published: February 4, 2011
/articleid/3537921/1/pictures/1363133">Photo - Don Betz
Don Betz
Society should make the best choice also the easiest choice for people to adopt into their daily lives. Adults should minimize their exposure to the “fatal four” of poor diet, tobacco, physical inactivity and excessive drinking. Information campaigns are key to balancing marketing onslaughts that encourage risky behaviors.

Solutions for youngsters are well known to Oklahomans: access to good teachers, stem the high school dropout rate and keep college affordable. A bright, shining light for us is that Oklahoma is one of three states with universal preschool — a condition crucial to long-term social change.

On the economic front, foremost is the need to elevate children out of extreme poverty; create and retain jobs; improve financial literacy, and reform financial sector regulation while improving retirement security.

The American Human Development study merits our review. The data are startling. Many of the authors’ suggestions are apparent. But there is always the persistent matter of leading to find common ground, to establish priorities and to pursue effective solutions that meet the needs of today’s Oklahoma citizens and future generations who will never know our names.

Betz is president of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

If you are an American Indian in Oklahoma, your average life expectancy is 67.2 years — 14 years less than Indians who reside in California.

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