TOLEDO, Ohio — The Healthy Lucas County coalition of community health improvement organizations released the 2019/2020 Lucas County Community Health Assessment, supplying a snapshot of how Lucas County children, youth and adults are faring with their health and well-being.
The county-wide assessment provides data on general physical health, mental health, nutrition, exercise, substance abuse, living conditions and a variety of other health-related topics from anonymous surveys conducted between November 2019 and mid-March 2020.
The 2019/2020 Lucas County Community Health Assessment, for example, shows that 38% of Lucas County adults were obese – that is up from 36% in 2017 – and 34% were overweight, down from 38% in 2017. And while 45% of Lucas County African Americans were obese, that was down from 58% in 2017, although the percentage of Lucas County African American adults who were overweight increased from 27% in 2017 to 34% in 2020, according to the assessment.
“Lucas County residents have an array of health-related needs and concerns, and conducting these health assessments every three years helps our coalition’s member organizations and our community partners identify them,” said Sister Dorothy Thum, chairwoman of the Healthy Lucas County Executive Committee, which governs the coalition. “Improving our community’s health starts with regularly taking a look at what our biggest challenges are.”
Healthy Lucas County’s 2021-2024 Lucas County Community Health Improvement Plan is expected to support and align with Ohio’s 2020-2022 State Health Improvement Plan, which works to achieve health equity and identifies three priority health outcomes: mental health and addiction, chronic disease, and maternal and infant health.
Mental Health and Addiction: 17% of Lucas County youth in 6th-12th grades seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and 10% did attempt suicide. Among adults, 5% seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and 1% did attempt suicide.
Chronic Disease: 13% of Lucas County adults were diagnosed with diabetes, and 39% of Lucas County adults were diagnosed with high blood pressure. 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: 77% 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 90% 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.
More information about Healthy Lucas County’s 2019/2020 Lucas County Community Health Assessment and 2021-2024 Lucas County Community Health Improvement Plan can be found on healthylucascounty.org
Healthy Lucas County Executive Committee members and other organizations use assessment findings to determine where to direct efforts to improve the health of Lucas County residents. For example, data from prior surveys have helped coalition members receive millions of dollars in grant funding. This funding has helped women have healthy babies, students get afterschool snacks and meals, adults manage diabetes and heart disease, and numerous other projects, Healthy Lucas County said.
Findings from the 2019/2020 Lucas County Community Health Assessment also will be used by the Healthy Lucas County Executive Committee and its partners to help develop the 2021-2024 Lucas County Community Health Improvement Plan. The plan will identify priorities to improve the health of Lucas County residents, outline ways to address disparities in the community, provide action steps to achieve changes that will benefit everyone, and incorporate measurements to determine whether progress is being made.