Residents asked to complete county adult health survey

Residents of Anoka County will be asked to complete the 2013 Anoka County Adult Health Survey.

The survey is made possible through funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) through the Minnesota Department of Health. SHIP aims to improve the health of Minnesotans by reducing tobacco use and exposure and obesity through policy, systems and environmental change strategies.

SHIP has awarded grants to local community health boards to implement these strategies designed to create sustainable, population-based changes.

The survey will be mailed to approximately 3,300 households starting the third week of April and asks questions about residents’ access to health care, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use and other social, physical and mental health-related issues.

Results will provide specific data on health risk behaviors and the overall health status of adult residents in the county.

All households have an equal chance of being sampled for the study and those households receiving the survey were chosen randomly. All of the information gathered from individuals will be confidential.

Wilder Research, based in St. Paul, will be conducting the survey on behalf of Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services.

Findings will be used to:

• Identify priorities and opportunities for new and ongoing initiatives to support health.

• Provide evidence to support policy recommendations and positive environmental and system changes to enable physical activity and healthy eating and to reduce tobacco use and exposure.

• Increase public awareness of ways communities, organizations and employers can be involved in supporting healthy lifestyles of adults.

The results will also be compared with baseline data collected in a 2010 survey funded by an earlier SHIP grant. Local public health agencies are required by state law to conduct a community health assessment and develop action plans every five years.

The Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) also emphasizes the need for assessment and requires that at least 10 percent of the local public health funding be allocated for assessment/evaluation and data collection regarding physical activity, nutrition and tobacco use in Minnesota communities.

This type of local level county data, including data on health behaviors, has been identified as a critical gap in community health assessments by agency staff, community members and organizational leaders.