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DOH-Pasco Addresses 2019 County Health Rankings

By Melissa Watts

March 20, 2019

Pasco County, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County (DOH-Pasco) recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and on March 19 acknowledged the 2019 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This study highlights the many community factors that influence health and uses established data, much of which is available from the department at www.FLHealthCHARTS.com.

Pasco County ranks 37th in Florida for overall Health Outcomes in the 2019 County Health Rankings.

“Our ability to impact these numbers is directly connected to our community involvement,” said Health Officer Mike Napier. “We have excellent community organizations working to improve health in Pasco County, however we need better alignment and collaboration to maximize these efforts.”

These rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country, and they emphasize that health is not a singular effort but a combined work in progress across all community partners. The department works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations and many other stakeholders to improve the health of all people in Pasco County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

Pasco County ranked below average in the measure of adult smoking (21 percent). DOH-Pasco and Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) work together to educate people and strengthen local policies to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The Pasco County Tobacco Free Partnership has collaborated with the Pasco County Fair Association, the Pasco County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources, and the Pasco County Housing Authority to reduce the public's exposure to secondhand smoke and to encourage tobacco users to quit. TFF is also working with the Pasco County School District to implement tobacco and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or vape prevention education at local middle and high schools.

Other areas to address in Pasco County are adult obesity (31 percent) and physical inactivity
(29 percent). DOH-Pasco promotes the Florida Healthiest Weight Initiative and partners with
Pasco County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources on programs to increase facility
options for physical activity and to change food policy to include healthier food options at
recreation and youth sports concession stands.

In Pasco County, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is designed to address
specific opportunities for improved health that have been identified by the community. The
department has partnered with many stakeholders to implement the CHIP and collaborates
regularly to track progress.

DOH in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties have partnered with local area
hospitals on a comprehensive survey to better understand and address the health needs of
communities in the Greater Tampa Bay area. The 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment
(CHNA) collects data from residents on nutrition, physical activity, access to care and mental
health. Data collected from the CHNA survey will help local health departments and healthcare
providers better understand the needs of the community to develop the CHIP.

Residents can access the survey at http://bit.ly/healthsurvey2019, which is now open through
April 30, 2019. A link to the survey is also available on participating county health department
websites.

For more information on DOH-Pasco Programs and Services, go to pasco.floridahealth.gov.

To explore more health indicators in your county, visit www.FLHealthCHARTS.com.