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Thomas County acts to address community health

In 2018, the Northwest Kansas Collaborative conducted a survey to examine the perceptions of Thomas County community members about the issues of healthy eating, active living, and tobacco cessation. The survey was part of the Pathways to a Healthy grant, a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas initiative and was written in collaboration with Cheyenne and Rawlins Counties. Here are a few key findings from the survey:

Residents were asked, "In general, how would you rate the overall health of our community." Overall, ... 84% of residents indicated that Thomas County as somewhat healthy to healthy."

Partnerships between the Northwest Kansas Collaborative and Thomas County worksites is a great opportunity to increase the knowledge of what is happening in the county. Worksites are now looking at their policies and deciding what changes need to be made to increase consumption of healthier foods and what policies need to be changed to be a bit more flexible for physical activity.

Residents were asked, "Are you familiar with the recommendations for adult physical activity?" Approximately 53% of Thomas County residents said yes, and 59% felt they are meeting the recommendations. To increase physical activity, the Thomas County Coalition is partnering with worksites and local gyms to provide a discounted price on memberships. Several employees have identified membership costs keep them away from exercising. A couple of the gyms in Colby have stated they are interested in working with worksites on this issue.

Lastly, residents were asked, "Are you familiar with the recommendations for adult fruit and vegetable consumption?" 70% of respondents stated yes, however only 41% of the respondents felt they were meeting recommendations. The Thomas County Coalition, along with members of the Western Prairie Food, Farm, and Community Alliance worked with the City of Colby to turn a portion of Copeland Park into a community garden in Colby and provide opportunities by engaging residents in the immediate neighborhood.

If you would like to become more involved in the Pathways initiative, contact LiveWell Director Travis Rickford at (785) 460-8177.

Information from this article came directly from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Initiative, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.


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