Report highlights area concerns

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TOWNSHEND — Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital has released a report outlining the top health needs and concerns of Windham County residents.

Gathering information for a countywide Community Health Needs Assessment was a project of Grace Cottage, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Brattleboro Retreat and the Brattleboro office of the Vermont Department of Health. The information was derived from a number of sources including: a countywide survey of adult residents; surveys of social service agencies serving Windham County; and recent demographic, economic, and Population Health data. Grace Cottage's report also includes input from its healthcare providers.

Based on an analysis of information from 1,257 respondents, Grace Cottage's medical executive and leadership team identified the following significant health needs within its service area: Diabetes/obesity/weight management; mental health (stress, anxiety, depression); substance abuse; healthy aging; dental health; smoking/tobacco use; heart disease (hypertension, high cholesterol).

Some of the statistics cited in the report include:

- 13 percent of Windham County adolescents have made a suicide plan in the past year,

- 15 percent of Windham County teens have used tobacco in the past 30 days,

- 25 percent of Windham County adults are obese.

- The number one health concern of Windham County residents who were recently surveyed is "Healthy Aging" (for themselves) and "Drug Misuse or Substance Abuse" (for their neighbors). Their number one barrier to good health is that they're "too busy to exercise."

The assessment can be viewed at gracecottage.org or at the Townshend Library. For more information, call 802-365-9109.

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