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March 16, 2011

2010 Yellowstone County Community Health Needs Assessment

Billings—Yellowstone County residents obesity rate increased 10% in the last five years, which is twice the national rate, according to the 2010 Yellowstone County Community Health Needs Assessment. This is the second community health assessment, the first completed in 2005, sponsored by The Alliance (Billings Clinic, RiverStone Health and St. Vincent Healthcare) and conducted by Professional Research Consultants, Inc.

The results were compiled using a 400 person telephone survey, several stakeholder focus group, and existing data. The resulting data compares the health status of Yellowstone County residents with the Montana and United States populations as well as results of the 2005 Community Health Needs Assessment. While no single health issue emerged from either the 2005 or 2010 assessments, results indicate that many residents need to improve their overall. Key findings include:

  • Yellowstone County fares better than the U.S. in: access to care, dental care, overweight children, physical activity, tobacco use, chronic depression, death rates for diabetes and heart disease, STDs, violent crime, infant health indicators, and teen births.
  • Positive trends were found in: cholesterol screening, children's routine medical care, fruit and vegetable consumption, cigarette smoke in homes, and infant deaths.
  • The number of overweight children has decreased over the last five years from 33.8% to 24.3%. Yellowstone County is far below the national average of 42.7%. More Yellowstone County boys are overweight at 28.7% compared to 20.6% of girls.
  • 17.1% of residents report fair or poor physical health, compared to 10.5% in 2005. This is similar to the Montana and national average.
  • Negative trends were found in: overall self reported health status, high blood pressure prevalence, breast cancer screening, liver disease deaths, and births to unwed mothers.
  • One out of six Yellowstone county adults is uninsured.
  • Low-income residents have a difficult time accessing care and prescription medication, a much higher prevalence of chronic depression, an increase in physical activity limitations, and are more than twice as likely to smoke.

Results of the study will guide future Alliance projects. The 2005 assessment led to the formation of the Healthy By Design Advisory Group, a community-based committee currently focusing on complete streets policy development, worksite nutrition, health recognition, women and children's health, and health impact assessment. The Group will host a community forum on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 from 11am-1pm at the MSU-Billings Downtown Campus to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the Community Health Needs Assessment and provide input on future health initiatives and projects.

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