HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 29, 2012 – Two faculty members at High Point University recently presented research at the Southern Criminal Justice Association Annual Conference in Atlantic Beach, Fla. Dr. Kimberly Reich, assistant professor of exercise science, and Dr. Heather Ahn-Redding, assistant professor of criminal justice, both presented an article, titled “Modifiable Lifestyle Risk Factors and Incidence of Diabetes and Hypertension in Prison Inmates.”
The article looked at the impact of health-related lifestyle choices such as smoking, physical activity and body mass index on the odds of prisoners having diabetes or hypertension. The two used survey data of state federal correctional facilities that was collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2004. Reich and Ahn-Redding also explored correctional policies on nutrition and exercise.
Ahn-Redding says that in her corrections class at HPU, students examine issues related to the health care of prisoners. She says that identifying ways to improve the health of prisoners during their incarceration can help them medically and can help reduce the overall costs of prison health care each year.
“Prisoners are often entering the system with a host of medical problems. We are also seeing an increase in the number of elderly inmates, which adds to the costs of incarceration,” says Ahn-Redding. “The health problems they bring in to the prison system have to be addressed because prisoners have a constitutionally protected right to a certain quality of health care in our country.”
Reich says the conclusions drawn from the article directly support the logic being taught in her classroom at HPU.
“As part of the School of Health Science, we focus in the exercise science classroom on the impact of physical activity and exercise on disease prevention,” says Reich. “This research directly supports the idea that physical activity may potentially be used like a prescription of medicine to prevent and combat heart disease and diabetes – it brings the theoretical to life for our students.”