Findings from Healthy Lucas County’s recently released 2016/2017 Lucas County Community Health Assessment provide a snapshot of how Lucas County children, youth and adults are faring with their health and well-being. The county-wide assessment has data on a variety of health-related topics, including general physical health, mental health, nutrition, exercise, substance abuse and living conditions.
The 2016/2017 Lucas County Community Health Assessment, for example, shows that 34% of Lucas County adults had been diagnosed with high blood pressure, down from 37% in the 2013/2014 Lucas County Community Health Assessment. However, the percentage of Lucas County adults who were obese – which is related to many chronic diseases and other health problems – continues to be high at 36%, while obesity among high school students increased to 15%, according to the 2016/2017 Lucas County Community Health Assessment.
“We have made some great community health strides in Lucas County, but there still are many areas where we need to improve,” said Jan Ruma, Vice President of the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio. “Smoking rates were down among Lucas County adults at 14%, for example, but 37% of Lucas County adults rated their mental health as ‘not good’ on at least four days in the previous month.”
The Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio manages the assessment and coordinates Healthy Lucas County, a coalition of community health improvement organizations founded in 1999. Healthy Lucas County commissions assessments every three years and uses findings to help determine priorities and action steps. Individual healthcare organizations, social service agencies, government entities, educational institutions and others also use the data to make decisions about their community health improvement efforts.
The latest Lucas County community health assessment aligns with multiple metrics in the 2016 Ohio State Health Assessment. Healthy Lucas County’s 2018-2020 Lucas County Community Health Improvement Plan, which will determine priorities and action steps based on the latest Lucas County assessment’s findings, will be discussed during meetings with community leaders in the next several months.
Healthy Lucas County’s 2018-2020 Lucas County Community Health Improvement Plan is expected to support and align with Ohio’s 2017-2019 State Health Improvement Plan, which identified three priority topics: mental health and addiction, chronic disease, and maternal and infant health. Findings from the 2016/2017 Lucas County Community Health Improvement Plan related to those priorities include:
- Mental Health and Addiction: 12% of Lucas County youth in 6th-12th grades seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and 7% did attempt suicide. Among adults, 2% considered attempting suicide in the past year, and 1% did attempt suicide.
- Chronic Disease: 12% of Lucas County adults had been diagnosed with diabetes, and 25% of Lucas County adults had been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. Meanwhile, 7% of parents reported their children ages 0-11 had an episode of asthma or an asthma attack in the past year.
- Maternal and Infant Health: 73% of Lucas County parents of children up to 5 years old put their children to sleep in a crib or bassinette without a bumper, blankets or stuffed animals, and 81% put infants to sleep on their backs. These safe infant sleep practices are among the best ways to prevent children dying before reaching their first birthdays, known as infant mortality.
The 2016/2017 Lucas County Community Health Assessment, infographics related to its findings, past health assessments and other information can be found on the “About Us” section of Healthy Lucas County’s website. Additionally, for the first time, Healthy Lucas County released indepth reports on the health and well-being of African American and Latino residents.