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Report Gives Insight to Health Habits Throughout the State

Report Gives Insight to Health Habits Throughout the State

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Deanie Wimmer ReportingHow do the health habits in your community compare with others across the state? The Health Department has released a new survey that lets you find out.

For the first time, you can see how your own community stacks up in healthy behaviors. Binge drinking, for example, is highest in South Salt Lake and Summit County. It's the lowest in East Orem, where fewer than 1 percent binge.

Who eats three veggies a day? The healthiest eaters are in North Orem, Provo and Cedar City. The fewest veggie eaters are in Magna, Riverdale and Glendale.

The lowest rate of diabetes is found in the Avenues. Much higher rates are in South Salt Lake and Pleasant Grove.

This information is already helping communities spark change that will help Utah families Stay Safe. Spanish Fork Parks and playing fields welcome families, so city leaders added a new policy to protect those who play there. New on the sign of park rules are no smoking and no tobacco.

Erin Ivers likes the idea. She says, "I think it's a good thing. I think it's important to keep the smoke away from our little ones, ‘cause it's so toxic."

Why the new ban? After all, Utah County has some of the state's lowest smoking rates. New data from the state Health Department identified much higher smoking rates in the communities of Spanish Fork and Springville.

Epidemiologist Michael Friedrichs says, "This report has identified some very large disparities between some areas and others."

So, local health leaders used that information to try and eliminate some of their community's health disparities.

Tyler Plewe works on a tobacco cessation program with the Utah County Health Department. He says, "The disparities that exist aren't just with the people who are smoking, it's also the people who are around them."

Showing a community's health problems isn't meant to stigmatize but to identify where and what programs will make the most difference.

Friedrichs says, "For one think it helps us target our scarce resources to more effectively address the populations where there's a need."

Researchers also hope it will empower residents to make better choices.

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