A survey of Highland County released last week underlined health issues within the county, but also emphasized that a large percentage of the adults surveyed felt a sense of community, which the report ties to good health.
The survey was conducted was on 270 Highland County adults as part of the 2013 Greater Cincinnati Community Health Status Survey (CHSS), sponsored by Interact for Health. The purpose of the survey was to learn more about the residents’ perspectives on things relating to their health.
“The home and community in which a person lives can affect all aspects of health,” the report says.
Researchers found that eight out of 10 Highland Countians said that people can depend on each other in the community, and nine out of 10 said that living in their respective communities in Highland County “gave them a secure feeling.”
“Highland County is a wonderful community, but we still face a number of health challenges,” said Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner. “This report from Interact for Health highlights some areas where additional work is needed. Highland County lags behind the state in smoking, obesity and physical activity rates,” he said in the report.
As to physical health, the survey found 73 percent of people said that “poor health did not interfere with usual activities.” But, only 36 percent said their health was “excellent or very good,” while about 31 percent “said they were unhealthy, either physically or mentally, for two weeks or more of the previous month,” according to the report.
Further health-related issues reported were:
• Only two out of 10 adults surveyed said they ate the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, though 80 percent said it was “easy to buy healthy food in their neighborhood.”
• More than four in 10 had been told that they have high blood pressure.
• About two out of 10 had been told they have severe allergies, asthma, diabetes, or heart trouble. These rates are higher than the rates of the region.
• About four in 10 said that in the last 12 months said needed dental care had been delayed or not taken care of at all, a percentage that is higher than the rest of the region.
• Thirty-nine percent of Highland County adults were considered obese.
• Less than seven in 10 reported that they had engaged in regular exercise, apart from their jobs.
• About 36 percent of Highland County adults at the time of the survey were smokers, less than 2 percent were heavy drinkers, and about 7 percent were described as binge drinkers.
Further detailed in the report was that 66 percent said there was good or better availability to recreation facilities in their neighborhoods, with only about two in 10 adults saying that they used those recreational facilities at least once a week.
The survey was conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. Nearly 5,000 randomly selected adults from eight counties in Ohio, as well as counties in Kentucky and Indiana, were interviewed by telephone over about a six-month period ending in January 2014.
For more information about CHSS, visit interactforhealth.org/greater-cincinnati-community-health-status-survey. For more information about the independent nonprofit Interact for Health, go to interactforhealth.org.
“Our goal in providing high quality health data on the community level is to give the community the resources to make health a more important part of their agenda,” said Mary Francis with Interact for Health. “The data can help the community establish realistic health goals.”
“Future efforts of the health department are focused on public health education,” Warner said. “Our hope is that by providing information about how to improve their health, community members will make healthier decisions for themselves and their families.”
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.