CLINTON — A coalition is working to improve the health of the Clinton area community.
Clinton County Public Health Nurse Michelle Cullen said the effort started a couple of years ago when a local group started discussing how to improve the health of residents. The state's Blue Zones health effort then became the focus of the group, but after Clinton did not get selected, they regrouped to continue the efforts.
Cullen said reversing low rankings of Clinton and Clinton County in recent health rankings is part of the “Let’s Live Healthy, Clinton” project. The goal is to “improve the overall health of all citizens of Clinton and the surrounding area by influencing policy and cite compelling evidence that will prompt voluntary behavioral changes to effect positively on the health and well-being of the citizens of Clinton and the surrounding area.”
In the recent rankings, Clinton County ranked 86 out of 99 counties in terms of health outcomes or areas such as premature death, days of work missed and general health. Clinton County ranks 99 out of 99 in terms of health behaviors such as adult smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, excessive drinking and teen pregnancy. She said said the low rankings mean there is a lot of room for improvement.
Cullen said the group is using a Centers for Disease Control program to gather data to help the community start making changes to “improve the lifestyle in Clinton and the area and that will improve the overall health and we know that people who are healthier are happier.”
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She said they hope to take some small steps to see positive impacts in a short time, then look at longer range goals that may need some funding.
The communities’ strengths and weakness will be analyzed using the community health assessment and group evaluation, or CHANGE, tool.
The effort is being led by the same four people who chaired the Blue Zones effort with Cullen — Lori Freudenberg, Andrea Barnett and Beth Freehill.