Klickitat County, Washington(Partner: National Association of County and City Health Officials)
The Healthy People Alliance, a coalition of agencies, organizations, and individuals throughout Klickitat County, aims to address chronic disease risk factors prevalent in the county through evidence-based policy, systems, and environmental change strategies.
Klickitat County is one of 39 counties in Washington State and is located east of the Cascade mountain range. The Southern border is the Columbia River, which separates Washington from Oregon. The county is about 100 miles long and 40 miles wide and the two population centers, White Salmon (west) and Goldendale (east), are 45 miles apart. The Census Bureau reports that in 2006, the population of Klickitat County was 20,335. About half of the population resides in one of three incorporated cities and half live in outlying areas in the county. With the decline of the timber industry, the unemployment rate in Klickitat County has frequently been higher than most counties in the state. About 16 percent of Klickitat County residents live below the federal poverty level, while the state average for rural residents living below 100 percent of the federal poverty level is 11.6 percent.
Klickitat County exhibits numerous risk factors that are associated with chronic disease in rural communities, including poverty, sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, low education level, inadequate coverage or lack of insurance, and an older median age than the state or nation. Available local data, while limited, demonstrates the prevalence of chronic disease in the county, particularly those diseases associated with overweight and obesity.
The 2002 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey data shows that 6.7 percent of tenth grade students in Klickitat County schools were considered overweight. The 2004 Healthy Youth Survey data shows that 12.2 percent of the same group of students as twelfth graders were overweight. A random sample of body mass index (BMI) levels of women accessing primary care during 2006 was obtained from each of the two primary care facilities in Klickitat County. In White Salmon, the average BMI for 96 women ages 18-75+ was 31.1 and the BMI for 35 women ages 18-44 was 29.9.In Goldendale, the average BMI for 155 women ages 18-75+ was 29.5 and the BMI for 35 women ages 18-44 was 30.3. The Healthy Youth Survey shows that there has been little progress in decreasing or maintaining the prevalence of overweight individuals or those at risk of becoming overweight across the age groups surveyed.
The long-term consequence of poor nutrition and physical inactivity is reflected in local hospitalization statistics. In 2006, Klickitat County was above the state average in hospitalization rates due to diabetes. The average for mortality rates caused by diseases of the heart over the past four years was 227 per 100,000 in Klickitat County, compared to 173.7 per 100,000 for Washington State. Based on 2007 data, 5.9 percent of Klickitat County adults have been diagnosed with diabetes.
ACHIEVE activities include supporting development of a parks and recreation district; enhancing trails; partnering with schools, organizations, and neighborhoods with an interest in community gardens; increasing worksite wellness programs; working with school districts to increase student and staff access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities; and increasing the number of mothers who breastfeed.