Southwest Minnesotans not as healthy as they think they are

More than half of southwest Minnesota adults consider themselves to be about the right weight, when in reality 70 percent are overweight or obese.

That’s according to a 2015 public health survey of 16 counties in southwest Minnesota to measure physical activity, nutrition, tobacco use, dental health and mental health

Most survey respondents reported an increase in their physical activity since 2010 by utilizing walking paths and trails. But many report barriers to physical activity, including lack of will power and time.

According to survey results, 18 percent meet the recommendations of moderate physical activity and vigorous physical activity, while 60 percent do not.

Over half (51 percent) of the respondents reported over two hours of “screen time” per day.

Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Project (SHIP) is working to change these trends in order to help residents live healthier and reduce the burden of chronic disease, according to Judy Pitzl, SHIP Coordinator.

“This is where SHIP initiatives through workplace wellness, active living in communities and active school day encourage best practices for achieving the recommended amount of physical activity per day,” Pitzl said.

She said the survey information will continue to build community support for the work in SHIP.

For example, work is underway to extend welfare benefits at farmers markets and encourage other healthy eating initiatives. Similar efforts are in place to encourage active living in schools and communities.

To learn more about the Southwest Minnesota Healthy Communities Survey and see county level results, visit SWHHS’s website at http://www.swmhhs.com/public-health-assessment-and-planning/.

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