Obesity prevention, mental health top priorities in new state health plan
Obesity prevention and mental health/substance abuse are the flagship priorities in the state’s second public health improvement plan, released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment today.
“Healthy Colorado: Shaping a State of Health” is a five-year plan for improving public health and the environment. It brings together initiatives such as CDC’s Healthy People 2020, Colorado’s Winnable Battles and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2013 “State of Health” report.
“We’ve connected the dots between the many worthwhile efforts on public health improvement into one state plan,” said department Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Larry Wolk.
The 2008 Public Health Act requires a public health improvement plan every five years. The first plan, in 2009, outlined improvements to be made in the statewide public health system. Those improvements paved the way for this coordinated plan, which lays out measurable goals for specific health and environmental issues.
“Obesity and mental health/substance abuse were the top concerns in communities across Colorado,” said Dr. Wolk. “These two top priorities are data-driven, but they also reflect areas where more funding and strategy development is needed. This plan provides a framework for action.”
For example, one goal is to reduce the obesity rate by 10 percent by 2020. To do that, agencies will work together to create a positive shift in healthy eating and active living at various life stages. Strategies include:
· Breastfeeding-friendly hospitals and environments
· Nutrition and physical activity environments for children
· Worksite wellness programs
· Access to healthy foods and beverages in government settings
The plan is based on 2013’s statewide health assessment and plans written by local health departments and community partners. Its other priorities are health care access and coverage, marijuana, Colorado’s Winnable Battles and continued improvements to public health infrastructure.
The plan will be monitored, evaluated and revised annually.