Did you know that Allen County conducts a Health Risk and Community Needs Assessment at least every five years? This is a survey that provides data concerning health related priority areas for both youth and adults. The 2014 assessment was released to the community in April 2015.
Here is a brief summary concerning the results among Allen County youth (students ages 12-18) followed by a comparison to data collected in 2009:
• 32 percent of our Allen County youth were classified as overweight or obese (31 percent in 2009)
• 13 percent reported no intake of fruits or vegetables in the last week (8 percent in 2009)
• 50 percent of youth were physically active at least 60 minutes on five or more days in the last week (50 percent in 2009)
• 17 percent did not have 60 minutes of physical activity on any day in the last week (13 percent in 2009)
• 28 percent reported watching three or more hours of TV per day (43 percent in 2009)
• 9 percent of Allen County youth had smoked a whole cigarette for the first time by 13 years of age (13 percent in 2009)
• 56 percent of youth who currently do not smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke (no data from 2009)
• 21 percent reported trying cigarettes (28 percent in 2009)
• 29 percent of Allen County youth reported they felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities (27 percent in 2009)
• 8 percent reported attempting suicide in the last 12 months (5 percent in 2009)
While some progress is being made through community partnerships and programs, there are still many areas that can be improved. Within our funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Partnerships to Improve Community Health Grant, we have goals and objectives set with the hope to directly impact the youth in our county. We plan to work with one local school district to promote a collaborative approach to learning and health (coordinated school health model).
As our community continues to come together around health and wellness, topics concerning our youth need to continue to be a focus. If we want to see real change in the areas of health and wellness in Allen County, it will need to begin with our youth.
For more information about the community needs assessment, please go to http://www.allencountypublichealth.org/ where you can find the full assessment under the Vital Statistics tab.