In Clinton County, one in five citizens is a smoker. More than a quarter of the population is obese. After those facts were revealed in the first-ever County Health Rankings last year, a coalition formed and members determined to seek funds to solve health problems in their community.
Healthy Communities of Clinton County was successful, earning a grant of $64,000 from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. Today, the county is one of 40 communities in various states – and the only one in Indiana – to join an initiative called ACHIEVE, Action Community for Health Innovation and Environmental Change.
ACHIEVE and its partners focus on policy and environmental changes to make healthier choices easier for residents of a community. As a sample of what the county needed to overcome, the 2010 report indicated only about 25 percent of residents had access to healthy foods and 19 percent already had fair or poor health.
“Many factors lead to being inactive, eating poorly, obesity and chronic disease,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory N. Larkin, M.D. “The places where we live, learn, work and play influence whether or not more nutritious foods and physical activity are even options.”
ISMA Past President Stephen D. Tharp, M.D., the Clinton County health officer, applauded the grant funding and sees it as a jump start on the road to better health.
“This award is well-deserved fruit from countless hours of hard work and service to our community advocating for weight loss to reduce obesity, walkways to encourage healthy activity, promoting a smoke-free environment and improving health care access for minorities,” he said.
Dr. Tharp welcomes your questions about how to help your own community seek funding and become healthier. Contact him via e-mail or you may also call the Purdue Extension Service of Clinton County at (765) 659-6380.
ACHIEVE is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in addition to:
- National Association of County and City Health Officials
- National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
- National Recreation and Parks Association
- YMCA of the USA
- Society for Public Health Education
Find a listing of funded communities here.