Last week was an important week.
It was so important that President Obama issued a proclamation recognizing its importance. I am speaking about National Public Health Week, which occurred April 4-10.
During this week, our focus was directed at teaching the public, health care providers and politicians about topics that give everyone the chance to be healthy. I would like to focus on just one of the facts for the week which sums it up: “Build a nation of safe, healthy communities.” Make it our own, and we have.
“Meigs County equals safe, healthy communities”
So, does this equation hold true? To know that, let’s take a look at the recently released “report card,” the 2016 County Health Rankings. This yearly report comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and gives us a lot of health-related information on almost every county in the U.S. Communities can then use this information to decide on areas to work on, and create ways to improve them.
There are five categories that include items for each county, such as health outcomes, health behaviors, and clinical care. Each category contains more detailed information, and when all are added up, give three overall health scores per county. Meigs came in 79th out of Ohio’s 88 counties for overall health; 80th for quality of life (basically how we rate health of our mind and body); and 73rd for how long we live.
We scored higher than Ohio’s average for all counties in the areas of less excessive drinking (but only by 3 percent less), and more high school graduates (91 percent to 83 percent for the state). Though we have bragging rights in these two areas, there are many other topics that need our attention. The great thing is, most of them are things we CAN change, if we want to.
So, in Meigs County, we have more:
• Adult smokers;
• Obese adults;
• Physical inactivity;
• Driving deaths from alcohol;
• More people still uninsured;
• More unemployed;
• More children living in poverty;
• More people: less health providers.
So, you may be wondering what you can do.
Taking a look at ourselves is always a good place to start. Any areas that could use some TLC (tender loving care)?
If not, how about someone you love or care about?
• Anyone need or want to quit smoking, or just have someone to talk to about it? Call us.
• Anyone need to find a places to go for more physical activity? Call us.
• Anyone needing to see someone for physical or mental health problems? Call us.
• Know of someone who feels depressed, hopeless, or lonely? Call us.
• How about someone who wants to quit drugs or alcohol so badly, but can’t? Call us.
This is what public health is all about. If we are not healthy individually, how can we be healthy together?
And friends, that is what we’re here for. To help, call us at 740-992-6626..
Aimee Imbrosciano is health commissioner of the Meigs County General Health District. She is also a lecturer of nursing at Ohio University.