Citizens asked to help prioritize future efforts

The results of a community health assessment are in and now it’s time for the public to react.

The public health division of Sherburne County Health and Human Services conducted the survey of residents in early 2014. The results provide the foundation for improving and promoting the health of a community, according to county officials.

The data gathered is intended to serve as a snapshot of the current state of health within the community. The countywide data will be presented at three upcoming community meetings, the first of which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 11, at the Elk River YMCA.

There’s also identical presentations planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, at Big Lake High School and at 4 p.m. June 12 at Talahi Elementary in Becker.

This health assessment identified 10 important community health issues specific to Sherburne County.  Health and Human Services staff invites community members, stakeholders and interested parties to attend one of the sessions to give feedback.

Information presented will be representative of community perception, demographic trends, student surveys, and statistical reports on topics such as access to health care, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, as well as other physical and mental health related issues.  Responses from this survey were used to assess current health practices of residents, explore community perceptions of health and well-being, and identify barriers to healthy living.

“Input from community and business leaders will be vital in helping public health staff identify the top three to five main priorities for community health in Sherburne County, as the agency works to create collaborative strategies to address each of these issues over the next several years,” said Amanda Larson, a Sherburne County Health and Human Services planner.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Matt Jackson at 763-765-4115 or Matt.Jackson@co.sherburne.mn.us.

Top 10 community health concerns in Sherburne County

Adult alcohol use/drinking and driving 

•One-third of Sherburne County adults report binge drinking during the past 30 days.

•Over half of Sherburne County adults view “alcohol use in adults” as a moderate or serious problem.

•There were 46 alcohol-related crashes and 508 DWI arrests in Sherburne County in 2012.

Community mental health 

•Almost half of Sherburne County adults view mental illness as a moderate or serious problem.

•One-third of Sherburne County adults view “difficulty obtaining mental health services” as a moderate or serious problem.

•The number of suicides in Minnesota increased 13 percent from 2010 to 2011, with Sherburne County having the fourth-largest incidence of self-directed violence in Greater Minnesota (outside of the seven-county metropolitan area).

Financial stress 

•Unemployment rates in Sherburne County doubled from 2006-2010, trending higher than average rates in the state.

•Approximately 70 percent of Sherburne County adults view unemployment as a moderate or serious problem.

Environmental concerns

•Sherburne County is a Zone 1 radon area, at increased risk for high radon levels.

•Sherburne County is a high-risk area for tick-borne diseases.

•Injuries and sickness related to extreme heat have been on the rise among Minnesotans.

Emergency preparedness 

•Approximately two-thirds of Sherburne County adults do not have a family emergency plan.

Immunization education 

•Over half of Sherburne County adults report not getting immunized against influenza, tetanus and pertussis, aka whooping cough.

•Almost half of Sherburne County adults view “infectious diseases such as flu, pneumonia or whooping cough” as no problem or minor problem, yet in 2012, Sherburne County had one of the largest outbreaks of whooping cough in the state.

Obesity and other related health trends 

•More than 50 percent of deaths in Minnesota are from obesity-related chronic diseases, with rates among children and adults continuing to rise.

•Sherburne County youth report high consumption of sugary drinks, diets low in fruits and vegetables, and low levels of physical activity.

•Approximately 22 percent of Sherburne County ninth-graders are overweight.

•Approximately 70 percent of Sherburne County adults view obesity, lack of physical exercise and unhealthy eating all as moderate or serious problems.

Parenting skills 

•Approximately 65 percent of Sherburne County adults view “parents with inadequate or poor parenting skills” as a moderate or serious problem.

•Approximately 30 percent of the county’s population is under the age of 18, indicating many families with young children in their care.

Risky behaviors in youth 

•More than half of Sherburne County adults view bullying as a moderate or serious problem.

•Over half of sixth-graders report being made fun of or teased in the last 30 days.

•Sherburne County adults report alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and teen pregnancy as problems.

Uninsured/underinsured status 

•Approximately 13 percent of Sherburne County adults were without insurance in 2010.

•More than 60 percent of Sherburne County adults view “people without health insurance or medical coverage” and “people not getting needed care because of inadequate health insurance or high deductibles” as moderate or serious problems.

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