Assessing the health needs and risk of a community requires collecting relevant data. To represent true and statistically significant findings regarding a given population, it is important that large numbers of the respondents participate in the exercise. For purposes of this study, I endeavored to conduct health assessment on my home community in Tippecanoe County. Even though secondary sources were applied in this exercise, collection of the primary data was carried out independently. This assessment was able to identify a number of issues in Tippecanoe community such as unemployment, drug abuse, healthcare affordability and accessibility, physical inactivity, and chronic diseases. Ultimately, Tippecanoe County exhibits significant health issues that need to be addressed for the development of a productive community.
The size of the population assessed in this study numbered 150. I considered this sample relevant enough because it included varieties in gender, income, age, and race. Ultimately, the results from this sample are sufficient to make conclusions regarding the health status of Tippecanoe county. Primarily, thirteen community issues were identified where the respondents checked as small, medium or large. However, two major problems were noted with over fifty percent of the respondents affected regardless of age, income, level, and gender. These included unemployment and drug abuse. More African Americans and Hispanics were more likely affected by the problem of drug abuse compared to Caucasians.
Furthermore, this assessment identified the need to improve the pre-conception health of women in Tippecanoe. Primarily, pre-conception implies a woman’s status of health prior to becoming pregnant. More than half of infant deaths in Tippecanoe County are caused by the mother’s health status, some of which existed before the pregnancy occurred. Hispanic and African American women have high pregnancy rates. This suggests that this population should be targeted for efforts designed to address preconception issues. The ethnic and racial gap is even larger in terms of teenage pregnancies regardless of the reduced rates of teenage pregnancies in the county. Since 2008 however, the county has experienced significant and steady improvements in the reducing rates of gonorrhea and infant deaths (Horwood and Tippecanoe County Tuberculosis Association, 2011).
Another issue involves promoting healthy living and healthy weights. The aspect of weight revolves around body mass index. In this case, having an improper body mass index poses great risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, liver disease, and respiratory problems. While residents in Tippecanoe are less overweight compared to the surrounding counties, most of the adults have a body mass index above the recommended 25. Of the overweight adults, almost half have a body mass index greater than 30 meaning that they are in the obese category. Statistically, this is far from the 2020 goals for Healthy People that aim to lower elevated high blood pressure and cholesterol levels (Horwood and Tippecanoe County Tuberculosis Association, 2011). On the bright side, the residents in Tippecanoe have an incentive of adopting a healthier lifestyle. Seven out of ten respondents in the survey indicated that the community was looking to forward to make necessary amendments. Some of these changes include increasing public access to greenways, parks and trails.
However, tough economic times have led to poor circumstances for families striving for school readiness and child health. The average time families have to wait to acquire childcare subsidy is two months. In September 2012, the county had 1013 children waiting to receive health care subsidy and 1342 children had been served that month. This factor has contributed to the number of Tippecanoe children being enrolled in education programs and licensed early care. At the same time, the rates of child poverty have risen. Even though poor health related to poverty affects all people, children are most at risk. Children go through greater mortality and morbidity rates due to poor education achievement and limited access to healthcare.
Additionally, this study was able to identify the need to increase access to mental and primary health care. Most residents in this county confessed that they were unable to get receive medical care at certain times. Some residents cited lack of insurance or cost as the main reason. This was also the same reason given by most respondents who were unable to receive mental health services. Additionally, fifteen percent of the respondents stated that they were not able to their desired prescription on certain occasions. This finding prompted research on health insurance in the respondents’ households. The question in this case enquired about the respondent, his or her spouse and the children in the household. The results of this exercise held that only seven percent of the respondents were covered by insurance.
Another mode of research revolved around alcohol consumption. In this case, respondents were required to state their intensity of consuming alcohol. Choices to answer this question include occasionally, weekly, daily, or no. In accordance with the CDC, consumption of alcohol has reduced Horwood and Tippecanoe County Tuberculosis Association, 2011). In general, men consume more alcohol compared to women. Additionally, men drink on more occasions than women but women showed a higher prevalence when they engaged in social drinking. Ultimately, major dinking habits revealed a poor health lifestyle in the respondents as well as their immediate family. Resources that could have otherwise secured health insurance or health care services were consumed by alcohol use.
In terms of exercise, national reports suggest that only twenty percent of the population engages in muscle strengthening and cardiovascular activities. Current guidelines recommend 150 minutes of physical activity 75 minutes of weekly vigorous activity. In this regard, this study also set out to establish the commitment of Tippecanoe residents at engaging in physical exercise. Generally, men engaged in more exercise than women did. This is because their lifestyle demands more labor that is physical. However, women showed similar exercising habits in other categories.
From the foregoing, it was important to find out how residents in this county receive information about healthy lifestyles. Respondents receive this information through various ways. Understanding the means through which residents receive information is important in developing open lines of communication. In this regard, television the most common means of receiving information followed by the newspaper and the internet. In addition to these three, the workplace and the radio are also significant sources of information. Ultimately, income, ethnicity, and age determined the means through which people received health information. In this case, this information proved pivotal to the health measures adopted by Tippecanoe residents.
For people aged between 18 and 25 years, the interne is the main source of health information. As people age, the television and newspaper become the main primary source of information. For the older respondents, community news is received in the church. Health information is available in a number of forms hence leaving people with a variety to choose. Generally, women use the internet more compared to men than their use of the television and the newspaper is equal. Friends, family, and word of mouth is also a strong source of health care information regardless of ethnicity. Income also has great effect on health communication. Those with low income were found to have limited or no access to internet. The television was the most common method of conveying health information.
However, this survey had its limitations and sample make up is one of them. A lot of time was spent on representing the minority and low socio economic population in the county. Even though the numbers were small, they sufficed for this exercise. Primarily, this survey looked to acquire the people’s perception of health services and issues. Their response to this exercise may be realistic or not. Nevertheless, when the facts are not equal to this perception, it brings the opportunity for education.
the data and prioritizing is major step towards understanding and addressing
issues of health in Tippecanoe
County. National health
bodies such as the CDC confirmed the findings of this survey that community health
assessment should play a major role in the improvement of community health. This
survey looked beyond target resources and action coordination actions. Ultimately,
every community needs its health status to be assessed with a view of
determining use of resources and establish proper amendments where necessary
(Loue, S., Lloyd, and O’Shea, 2007). The low economic social group was mainly
considered for this exercise because it has the largest use and need of
Horwood, M. P., & Tippecanoe County Tuberculosis Association, Lafayette, Ind. (2011). Public health survey of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, 2011. Lafayette, Ind: Tippecanoe County Tuberculosis Association.
Loue, S., Lloyd, L. S., & O’Shea, D. (2007). Community health advocacy. New York: Kluwer Academic.