BurlCo Releases Health Improvement Strat

BurlCo Releases Health Improvement Strat While Burlington County residents fare better than average in many health aspects, recent assessments have targeted several priority health issues for improvement, which the County is addressing through a new plan developed with more than 100 public health partners.

Through surveys and community meetings, the County Health Department identified strategies and resources to improve residents’ health through five perspectives – nutrition and physical activity; preventative healthcare; infectious disease prevention; environmental health, and peace and well being.

Freeholder Dawn Marie Addiego, who oversees the Health Department and participated in brainstorming sessions during the plan development, noted that disease and cancer continue to be leading health problems and residents said that cancer had the greatest impact on overall health in the community.

“The plan outlines suggested interventions to reduce risk such as more health screenings and stop smoking programs, as well as education about nutrition and exercise and partnering with communities, schools and churches,” Addiego said. “This proactive planning tool will help guide our efforts where they are most needed and will be the most productive.”

Addiego noted that it is important that residents without health insurance or insufficient coverage take advantage of the affordable health and dental care available in the county through the Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers facilities at Buttonwood Hospital in Pemberton and in Burlington City, as well as their Mobile Medic van which brings health and dental care to other areas in need.

As part of the planning process, the County previously conducted health assessments which identified several goals, such as reducing cancer, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease risks, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, and smoking. As a result of feedback from residents, the health department plans to revise some of its programs to focus more on prevention, Gogats said.

Goals for nutrition and physical activity, for example, include increasing the number of residents who consume the recommended daily amount of water and fruits and vegetables, as well as foods with low fat, low sugar and low salt.

Goals for preventive health care practices include increasing immunization rates and cancer screenings.

For reducing infectious disease, the county is developing ways to decrease Lyme Disease and Hepatitis C, the two most frequently reported, as well as reducing sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS, and other emerging threats.

For more information, contact Public Health Coordinator Robert Gogats at (609) 265-5548 or visit the County Health Department webpage at www.co.burlington.nj.us/departments/health. The Community Health Improvement Plan will be posted on the website

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Author: Press Release-Burlington County

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