Community Determines 3 Priority Health Issues

After a nine month process of reviewing local county-level data, Healthy Cabarrus’ Community Planning Council has determined the top three community health priorities facing residents in 2016. The top three community priorities for Cabarrus County are substance use, mental health, and obesity. 

“The top three priorities were chosen as a result of much discussion around what health issues have the highest consequences if left unaddressed, are feasible to address successfully within a few years, and widely impact the community,” said Lauren Thomas, executive director for Healthy Cabarrus.

The 40-member local coalition is made up of health professionals, educational administrators, nonprofit directors, business representatives, and community members.   This group reviewed secondary data from local, state, and national sources and reviewed primary data from over 1,800 Cabarrus residents through anonymous paper and online surveys. 

Findings from the local research showed that:

  • Prescription drug overdose is becoming a leading cause of unintentional deaths in Cabarrus County.  Misusing and abusing prescription drugs, including narcotics and benzodiazepines, is becoming widespread among youth and s.
  • In the past year, over one-third (36%) of community members experienced an unmet counseling need.  Respondents reported that they wished they had spoken to someone about an issue (ex. anxiety, depression, household finances, relationship problems, negative past experiences), but did not do so. 
  • Approximately 67% of adults are either overweight or obese in Cabarrus County.  Children living in the Harrisburg zip code (28075) are significantly less likely to be overweight compared to other zip codes in Cabarrus County.
  • An emerging fourth issue of housing was also identified.  In the past year, one-fifth (20%) of community members report sharing their housing with additional person(s) who cannot afford to live on their own.

As a result of identifying these priority areas, Healthy Cabarrus will enlist and motivate community partners to collaborate and address these unmet needs. Over the next few months, members from the Healthy Cabarrus coalition will share information with local groups, businesses, organizations, policy makers, and residents across Cabarrus County. 

A final report called the 2016 Community Needs Assessment will be made available by January 2017.  This is the 5th Community Needs Assessment report that Healthy Cabarrus has conducted over the past twenty years.


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