Community priority No. 3: Wellness and chronic disease

By Activate Allen County

Throughout 2017 Allen County, with the help of the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, surveyed the residents to gain information regarding health-related data and from those results, priority areas were determined. These priorities are created based on community needs and developed through deliberation between multiple community agencies and members. This week and in following two weeks, we continue discussing each of these priority areas. Our upcoming topics will include the following areas: Transportation, Housing & Tobacco and Youth Health. Today we’d like to take a closer look at the priority area of Wellness and Chronic Disease.

During the remainder of 2017 and into 2018, the goals for improving wellness and decreasing chronic disease in Allen County includes increasing the number of businesses impacted by the Activated Business Challenge, increasing the number of schools and childcare settings impacted by the Activated School and Childcare Challenges, and expanding fresh produce access through the Lima farmers market and local garden initiatives.

Much of this work is divided among the following four work groups: the Allen County Food Policy Council (Kayla Monfort at Activate Allen County: 419-303-2868), the Activated School Challenge and Activated Childcare Challenge (Josh Unterbrink at Activate Allen County: 419-303-3387), the Allen County Worksite Wellness Collaborative (Robin Johnson at West Central Ohio Regional Healthcare Alliance: 419-226-9167) and Allen County Creating Healthy Communities (Shelly Miller at Allen County Public Health: 419-228-4457).

There have been many successes to celebrate here in Allen County regarding Wellness and Chronic Diseases. The highlights include: the establishment of the Allen County Food Policy Council, five school joined the Actived School Challenge in 2016 (impacting approximately 4,500 students), the return of the Downtown Lima Farmers Market in 2015, the Healthy Happens Here small store program was launched in 2014, the LACNIP Community Garden Program continues to grow and now includes an aquaponics system, three school districts have implemented safer walking and biking routes to school and two have implemented 100 percent tobacco free policies, 4,700 employees from 19 Allen County businesses are participating in the Activated Business Challenge and lastly 20 restaurants are taking part in the Active Menu Challenge. However, we still have much work to do.

While there have been many successes around wellness and chronic disease, the numbers state that we have to improve. For example, 70 percent of Allen County Adults are overweight or obese. Another alarming statistic is that nearly 1 out of 5 adults did not have any servings of fruit in the past seven days and that number climbs to 1 out of 4 of African American adults. When it comes to vegetables, 53 percent of our adults eat less than 1 vegetable serving per day. As you can see, the numbers do not lie, and we need to continue to work to improve numbers. We ask that you support local businesses and the farmers markets that sell fresh produce, join one of our workgroups, work with your child’s school or preschool in the Activated School Challenge or Activated Child Care Challenge, and/or consider how you may be able to improve your personal own well-being.

It will take all of us, working together, to continue to improve the health of the residents in Allen County. For more information about the County Health Assessment or Improvement Plan, please call the Activate Allen County office at 419-221-5035.

By Activate Allen County

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