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Snapshot of county's health shown to board

A snapshot of the state of health in Washington County residents was shown to the county board Jan. 27.

The county health assessment for 2008 noted health and environmental problems in the county, ranging from obesity in children and adults, undiagnosed mental health problems, the risk of abuse and neglect of children and limited access to transportation for residents who need treatment for health conditions.

Sue Hedlund, deputy director for the county's Department of Public Health and Environment, delivered the report to the county board. The information was gathered through an on-line survey, a written survey of seniors, discussion with nine focus groups, and through interviews with participants in the Women, Infant and Children program.

Hedlund highlighted information in the report at a county board workshop, citing increases in the obesity rates in the county, the decline in acute drinking in residents, and the increase in adult mental health cases seen in the county.

Looking ahead, Hedlund also showed a chart showing that the number of residents in the county older than 65 will increase from just more than 8 percent of the population in 2006 to 21 percent of the population in 2030.

The report cited 12 key problems, including the needs of an aging population, waste management, water quality and access to health care.

Part of the assessment process is distributing the information, which will be done on the county's Web site, and submitting a priority list to the Minnesota Department of Health.