According to the 2014 County Health Rankings, health ratings in this region are among the lowest in the state. After reviewing the ratings, three key areas to address have been identified::
- Increase physical activity – Physical Inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, and diet and exercise rankings are all measurements that a vast majority of the region ranked lower than the state average.
- Increase access to healthy foods – Measurements in adult obesity, food insecurity (access to reliable food source), and limited access to healthy foods showed an overwhelming majority of the region ranking worse than the state average.
- Decrease tobacco use – Adult smoking prevalence is the estimated adult population that smokes every day, or most days.
Project 17 is encouraging and supporting initiatives to help local food based businesses increase their sales, as well as making healthier food options more accessible to residents of the region. As the region becomes healthier, overall quality of life will improve. Increased health and well-being can lead to a more productive society, creating economic growth opportunities and more wealth for individuals.
Creating a Healthier Region
Regional Health Improvement Plan
Project 17 has created a unified plan, aligning actions of individuals and organizations to assure progress on strategies to improve health concerns in the region, specifically focusing on increasing physical activity, increasing access to healthy foods, and decreasing tobacco use. The regional plan contains the following points and activities:
- Increase physical activity
- Support development of workplace wellness policies for physical activity.
- Increase bicycle infrastructure and access (bike lanes, share rows, bike racks, etc.).
- Increase community-wide physical activity engagement efforts.
- Increase access to healthy foods
- Increase healthy food preparation and preservation programs through the K-State Extension office and other health education providers.
- Increase the number of fresh food options at grocery stores, convenience stores and community concession stands.
- An asset map has been created that includes all of the region’s farmers’ markets for easy accessibility to fresh produce.
- Decrease tobacco use
- Expand prevention education efforts throughout the region.
- Work with employers to hold tobacco cessation training annually through insurance plans.
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