What Builds a Healthy Community? We are lucky enough to live in Union County, Oregon. Many people live here because of the natural beauty, close community, and rural way of life. We take pride in the many family farms and ranches in this area, many of which have been part of this landscape for over a century. We produce food for the state, nation and world! We value getting outside and being active operating the 3,369 acre Mount Emily Recreation Area as well as city parks in every incorporated community in Union County.
On the flip side there are 487,584 acres of land in agricultural production but not everyone has enough to eat, and only about 1/3 of people get enough fruits and vegetables. Whether because of time, access to transportation, or any other reason many people don’t get enough exercise, even though we are surrounded by beautiful recreation areas. And there are people in our community who suffer from diseases such as emphysema even though they’ve never smoked. As a result our health as a community is declining.
Where we live, work, learn, and play affects our health. It is important that individuals are empowered to make the decisions that will improve their health, but it is equally important that as a community we work to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to make these decisions.
Learn how you can make healthy individual choices, as well as how you can help build a healthier community:
Building a Healthier Union County Overall, roughly 3/4 of all healthcare costs are used to treat chronic disease! Each of these diseases is associated with behaviors such as using tobacco, not eating healthy foods, not exercising, or not effectively managing an existing conditions. In Union County 40% of adults are considered overweight and 21% obese. 20% of the adult population smokes cigarettes, and only 22% of adults and 19% of 8th graders eat enough fruits and vegetables which puts our community at greater risk for chronic disease.
This is a call to action! As a community we can help prevent chronic disease and ensure people have the tools to effectively manage existing conditions. We can do this by supporting policies and environmental changes that increases opportunities to eat healthy food, be physically active and enjoy tobacco free environments where we live, learn, work, and play.
Following is a collection of photos taken during an assessment of how our community helps make the healthy choice the easy choice. What do you think? Is our community doing enough?
What We're Doing About It? In addition to providing clinical services, CHD is actively working to prevent chronic disease at a population level. In 2011, with help from the Oregon Health Authority, CHD conducted an assessment of our community's capacity to prevent chronic disease and help ensure people have the tools to manage existing chronic conditions. We used the Community Health aNd Group Evaluation or CHANGE tool, which was developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using the information from the CHANGE tool we worked with a coalition of community partners to develop a plan to help build a healthier community. Since that time we have been working to implement that plan.
Resources for Healthy Communities
Following is a collection of resources for building a healthier community. This section includes things such as model policies, people you can contact, and active coalitions already working to build a healthier community.
UC Fit Kids - A community coalition for the prevention of childhood obesity. U.C. Fit Kids’ goal is for Union County to become a place in which choosing healthy food and physical activity is a child’s easiest and most appealing option.
Union County Safe Communities Coalition - the Union
County Safe Communities Coalition is working using
population based approaches to prevent youth substance
abuse. Based on a data from our community we are
targeting youth alcohol and tobacco use.
The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division - This website is a jumping off point for a variety of information on what the state of Oregon is doing to support healthier communities. You can find information about Worksite Wellness, City Planning, and much more.
Living Well - Living Well with Chronic Conditions (the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, or CDSMP) is a six-week workshop that provides tools for living a healthy life with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, asthma and heart disease.
Do you think this is sufficient? How would you build a healthier community? Join the conversation or learn about upcoming meetings and events on our Facebook
page. For more information on this initiative, or to get
involved call 541-962-8800 or email
For information specifically on tobacco prevention (which is still the leading cause for chronic disease) as well as resources for quitting tobacco go here.
order to receive government funding, the Center for Human
Development, Inc. (CHD) is required by state and county policies
to charge for services it provides to the public. However no
one will be denied clinical services because of an inability to pay.
CHD does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion,
national origin, family status, age or disability. For further
information on this policy contact
Human Relations, 541-962-8811 or TTY 1-800-735-2900 or 711.
Center for Human Development, Inc. is a Tobacco-Free Zone.
Oregon law prohibits the use of all tobacco products in CHD
buildings and on CHD property.