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Activate Allen County: Allen County youth health and wellness trends

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Activate Allen County in Lima Ohio

Courtesy Activate Allen County

Did you know that Allen County conducts a Health Risk and Community Needs Assessment at least every five years? This is a survey that provides data concerning health related priority areas for both youth and adults. The 2014 assessment was released to the community in April of 2015.

Here is a brief summary concerning the results among Allen County youth (students ages 12-18) followed by a comparison to data collected in 2009:

  • 32% of our Allen County youth were classified as overweight or obese (31% in 2009)
  • 13% reported no intake of fruits or vegetables in the last week (8% in 2009)
  • 50% of youth were physically active at least 60 minutes on 5 or more days in the last week
    (50% in 2009)
  • 17% did not have 60 minutes of physical activity on any day in the last week (13% in 2009)
  • 28% reported watching 3 or more hours of TV per day (43% in 2009)
  • 9% of Allen County youth had smoked a whole cigarette for the first time by 13 years of age
    (13% in 2009)
  • 56% of youth who currently do not smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke
    no data from 2009)
  • 21% reported trying cigarettes (28% in 2009)
  • 29% of Allen County youth reported they felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks
    or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities (27% in 2009)
  • 8% reported attempting suicide in the last 12 months (5% in 2009)

While some progress is being made through community partnerships and programs, there are still many areas that can be improved. Within our funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Partnerships to Improve Community Health Grant, we have goals and objectives set with the hope to directly impact the youth in our county. We plan to work with one local school district to promote a collaborative approach to learning and health (coordinated school health model).

As our community continues to come together around health and wellness, topics concerning our youth need to continue to be a focus. If we want to see real change in the areas of health and wellness in Allen County, it will need to begin with our youth.

For more information about the community needs assessment, please go to allencountypublichealth.org where you can find the full assessment under the Vital Statistics tab.