Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Community has Spoken and Mental Health, Physical Inactivity and Poor Diet are Top Concerns

Healthy People, Healthy Places Jeffco, a collaboration of community organizations, health and other service providers, government agencies, worksites, and residents, committed to building a healthier Jefferson County completed its community engagement process and the results are in. Input was gathered during five community meetings, from an online survey and from members of a multi-sector on the newly formed Jefferson County Health Council. Information about the five risk factors (physical inactivity, psychosocial stressors, poor diet, tobacco use and exposure and alcohol use) was presented to all participants. These five risk factors play a role in Jefferson County’s leading causes of death. Participants were asked to prioritize which risk factors the community should commit to working on in their community health improvement plan (CHIP). Prioritization of the risk factors was accomplished by having all participants distribute $100 in play money on the risk factors they felt deserved the most attention.

The community has spoken and physical inactivity, poor diet and psychosocial stressors were overwhelmingly ranked as the highest priorities to address. With the combined rankings from all engagement efforts, $100 would be distributed as follows:

  • Physical inactivity - $29
  • Psychosocial stressors - $28
  • Poor diet - $25
  • Tobacco use and exposure - $9
  • Alcohol use - $9

Healthy People, Healthy Places Jeffco has responded to these results by convening work groups on physical activity and access to healthy food. Both work groups will also tackle psychosocial stressors as it relates.

The problem of psychosocial stress in our communities is real and it can directly impact the choices people make around physical activity and eating. For example, people who have trouble paying the rent, or who don’t live in safe neighborhoods, or don’t have an opportunity for higher education and better living wages, live with higher levels of chronic psychosocial stress. This chronic stress puts them at a greater risk of developing a range of diseases. In addition, the social and economic factors that produce this stress make it harder for them to make healthy choices: people who live in lower-income neighborhoods tend to be surrounded by liquor stores and corner stores that sell non-nutritious food items and cigarettes, and they’re less likely to have places nearby to buy healthy food and safe places to be active . By looking at ways to remove barriers to healthy eating and active living, the work groups hope to also reduce psychosocial stress in Jefferson County.

The CHIP process is an effective way to translate data into action by building partnerships, focusing on key priorities and targeting resources. Ultimately, our goal is to improve the health of all Jefferson County residents.

For more information:
  • To watch the video used in the survey about the risk factors related to health in Jefferson County, please click here. (Please note that the survey is no longer active.)
  • To read our Community Health Assessment, please click here.
To get involved in creating a healthier Jefferson County, please visit healthypeoplehealthyplacesjeffco.com or contact Erika Jermé, MScPl, JCPH Community Health Improvement Planner, at 303-271-5737 or at ejerme@jeffco.us.

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