by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
Results for the 2015 Community Health Assessment, prepared for Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District Public Health, were presented to the public at Isothermal Community College yesterday. Given that:
A survey of 200 Polk County residents was used to create the data presented at the forum;
we are told the survey results showed the median age of Polk County residents was 49.1. This leads me to believe some surveys were administered to infants who could neither read nor write, so I’m not sure how we validate the responses as theirs and not the people who prepared their surveys. The survey also revealed that life expectancy is 80.2 years for those born between 2011 and 2013. Perhaps I misunderstand.
As for data I believe could have been gathered in a survey, we find 16 percent of respondents said “they had more than seven days of poor mental health in the past month.” Personally, I believe anybody experiencing poor mental health probably wouldn’t be competent to self-diagnose or even keep track of incidents.
17.2 percent of respondents reported “fair” or “poor” “overall health” in 2015. Again, I’m not sure how we quantify this accurately, since, as I continue to gripe, I got tested for heart problems when I complained of what I thought was a broken foot. The tests showed I had no heart problem, and the x-rays from the “guy next-door” showed his foot was OK. If this is how professionals diagnose health problems, how are mere people to judge “fair” or “poor” “overall health”? Here’s one I can believe. “The statistic for people without health insurance has risen from 10.4 percent to 11.2 percent,” though I’m surprised it’s not higher.
25.7 percent of respondents “did not get any leisure-time physical activity during the last month.” I would be surprised if 25.7 percent of the population had any leisure time, as everybody with whom I speak is working three 24-7 jobs, volunteering, serving on boards and commissions, spending quality time with children, . . . . Pant! Sweat! 23.7 percent, whether of the 25.7 percent or the total, blamed their lack of activity on neck and back problems; it is likely the bulk of these were lower-back problems known as the boss.
Other data showed to the trained eye that the number of people who are overweight or obese “has risen 3.1 percent in Polk County from 60.6 percent in 2012 to 65.6 percent in 2015.” Please add to this statistic the person in Buncombe County who could do math in 2012, and now can’t figure out what the blank you are trying to say.
To solve these problems, attendees at the presentation were divided among four breakout sessions. One group had to figure out how to make social and emotional help more readily available. Presumably, the concept of friends telling friends to “buck up” was not among strategies floated to expand outreach and awareness about potentially qualifying for programs commissioned to grow capacity. And, no doubt, once in the system and on the right meds, clientele will learn the art of tweeting photos of Kim K’s rear end with acronyms for breaking the Third Commandment; and learn true sanity is going gaga over hip and flashy politicians screaming irrational sound bites. I digress.
As for eating right, breakout group spokesperson Jimmi Buell offered:
“Fresh fruits and vegetables need to be introduced. There should also be a ‘no soft drinks’ campaign outside of the schools, because the schools already aren’t allowed soft drinks,” Buell said. “Targeting new moms, having low cost meals and assessing why people aren’t eating healthy should be a solution. We also should increase the total acreage of community gardens and get schools to offer healthier options.”
Free activities such as yoga, walking activities and clubs for these activities were proposed by Buell and her group.
The third issue was how to deal with tobacco and other drugs.