Mission: To protect and improve the health and well-being of all Arkansans.
Vision: Optimal health for all Arkansans to achieve maximum personal, economic and social impact.
The 2016-2019 Arkansas Department of Health Strategic Plan identifies six goal areas to support the mission of protecting and improving the health and well-being of all Arkansans. These strategies were identified using the Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan.
Arkansas ranks the highest in the nation for adult obesity, and in Arkansas, more than one-third of children and adolescents are overeight or obese. These children have a higher likelihood of becoming obese adults, costing the state billions of dollars. By reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity during childhood, we can make a lasting difference in the state.
There is a strong mind-body connection through which mental, emotional, social, occupational, spiritual and environmental factors can directly affect our health. When they aren't in balance, youth suicide; alcohol use disorder and depression among senior citizens; and adverse childhood experiences too often occur. ADH will focus on these issues, recognizing this important link between mind and body.
Vaccines are a key part of public health-saving millions of lives and billioins of dollars by preventing diseases. We want to make sure that everyone in Arkansas reaps these benefits. But right now, the rates are very low, which means too many Arkansans are missing out on a vaccine's protection and are at risk for illnesses that are preventable.
Arkansas ranks 50th (worst) in the U.S. in teen births. Teen pregnancy is closely linked to incomplete education, poverty, premature births, child welfare, overall child well-being, and risky behaviors like alcohol abuse, costing Arkansans about $129 million annually. We could significantly reduce our health and social problems if more children were born to parents who are ready and able to care for them.
Arkansas ranks number one and two among states for the highest heart attack and stroke death rates respectively. Uncontrolled hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. For this reason, screening Arkansans for high blood pressure and helping those with hypertension achieve control are key strategies in preventing potentially life-threatening heart attacks and strokes.
Tobacco use in Arkansas is higher than in almost any other state. Each year, almost 6,000 people die early of preventable deaths and this costs our state about $2.5 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity. Can you imagine if tobacco was eliminated? We can. Our plan is three-fold: stop kids from taking up tobacco by methods such as raising the legal sale age to 21; make it harder for kids to purchase tobacco products by raising the price; and exclude tobacco use, including electronic nicotine devices, from public places.