Our nation faces a health crisis due to the increasing burden of chronic disease. In factor, 7 out of the 10 leading causes of death in the US are due to chronic disease while 50% of Americans live with a chronic disease. People suffering from these diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and arthritis experience limitations in function, health, activity, and work which effects this quality of life.
A number of risk factors are associated with chronic disease. They include:
- Tobacco use
- Tobacco exposure
- Physical inactivity
- Poor nutrition
Healthy NC 2020 lists Chronic Disease as a leading focus area for our state. Through evidence based strategies, our state hopes to achieve the following outcomes:
The 2011 Community Health Assessment identified healthy eating, physical activity, and substance abuse prevention as health priorities for Jackson County. Today, these priorities are still relevant. However, primary and secondary data collected during the 2015 CHA process indicated that Chronic Disease was emerging as an issue to note. During the prioritization process, community members used the following criteria to determine if chronic disease was a leading health priority:
- How important or relevant is this issue?
- What will we get out of addressing this issue or how impactful is it?
- Can we adequately address this issue or how feasible is it?
Ranking high on each criteria (diabetes ranked the highest of all health issues), community members determined that Chronic Disease is a health priority for Jackson County.
Community members participate in an annual Stroke Risk Screening, in partnership with Western Carolina University, Harris Regional Hospital, and the Department on Aging.