DPHHS has produced a community health program guide to make it easier to find health resources that are available across Montana.
The Community Health Program Guide, and an interactive map listing the programs found in each county, can be viewed at: http://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/chronicdisease/CommunityBasedPrograms.
Included programs address arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, falls, fitness, tobacco use, and both living and working with a disability. These programs promote healthy lifestyles and successful self-management of disease to prevent or delay illness and premature death. They focus on reducing gaps and disparities in health, such as those faced by people with disabilities.
“These programs have the potential to address inequalities experienced by people who live with disabilities or chronic diseases,” says Todd Harwell, DPHHS Public Health and Safety Division Administrator. “Community-level initiatives can lead us to a healthier Montana by reaching people directly.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75 percent of health care dollars in the U.S. goes toward the treatment of chronic diseases. Americans with chronic diseases or disabilities report more unhealthy days than those without these diseases or disabilities.
Six out of every 10 adults in Montana report having at least one chronic condition, and three out of 10 reported having two or more chronic conditions. The risk of chronic disease is increased by unhealthy lifestyles, mainly obesity, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use.
One recent participant in the DPHHS Diabetes Prevention Program said the program has made a huge difference. “I am striking a much healthier balance between my weight, healthy eating and exercise than would have been possible without the education and tools that the program gave me.”
The CDC also reports about 50 million Americans, or 1 in 5 people, are living with at least one disability.
Almost 40 percent of adults with disabilities in Montana report having fair or poor health, as opposed to about 7 percent of adults without disabilities. Also, Montana adults with disabilities report higher rates of obesity, cigarette smoking, and diabetes compared to Montana adults without disabilities.
In order to support Montanans living with chronic diseases or disabilities, the Community Health Program Guide raises awareness about resources available from DPHHS and its partners.
“The community programs offered through DPHHS are not what people typically think public health is involved in,” continues Harwell. “We are really encouraging people to start to see public health differently, and realize what we can bring to the table in terms of their overall health and well-being.”
The guide highlights programs available in communities across Montana that support health promotion and healthy lifestyle opportunities. These initiatives provide a variety of services for the prevention and management of chronic disease, such as self-management education, lifestyle coaching, and skills development.