Progress made in overall health outcomes, physical environment


BURLINGTON – Community mobilization and public awareness of health issues are proving to be the key ingredients in a recipe for better health amongst Alamance County residents.  The annual County Health Rankings, released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, show Alamance County advancing six spots from 26th in 2010 to 20th healthiest in North Carolina.

“This is a remarkable achievement and a testament to just how powerful our community can be when there’s a call to action,” said Alamance County Health Director Barry Bass.  “Through the joint efforts of the health department, Healthy Alamance, and community groups, we are making an impact in the health and lifestyles of Alamance County residents.”   “While we’ve made progress in some areas, there’s much more to accomplish before we can become the healthiest county in North Carolina,” Bass concluded.

Since the release of last year’s rankings, many groups and agencies have joined forces to address some of Alamance County’s major health issues, resulting in:

• Parks and recreation departments throughout the county collaborating with the Alamance County Health Department and Healthy Alamance to develop the Physical Activity and Recreation Challenge (PARC) Passport program.  In its inaugural year, PARC Passport exposed over 5,000 residents to the county’s most popular, as well as undiscovered recreational areas, in an effort to get residents to get up, out, and moving.

• Significant facility renovations and enhancements, such as the addition of a dance/aerobics room, a physical activity arcade, a new walking track, lighting, and outdoor fitness stations at Burlington’s North Park.  The project was funded though a N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund FIT Communities grant.  Through the efforts of Healthy Alamance, Burlington Recreation and Parks, and neighborhood residents, park utilization has increased significantly, as well as a renewed sense of community pride in this socio-economically challenged area.

• The development of Mebane’s City Trail systems.  The trails, tentatively scheduled to open in the summer of 2011, are located throughout Mebane and range from approximately 1 to 4 ½ miles in length.  This project was born through a partnership between Mebane on the Move, the City of Mebane, and citizens from the area.

• The Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce, Alamance Regional Medical Center, and Alamance County Health Department partnering with NC Prevention Partners (NCPP) and Pfizer for the Alamance County Prevention Academy.  The academy, consisting of approximately 25 local businesses and organizations, utilizes NCPP’s WorkHealthy America, an innovative and successfully proven program to help employers reduce healthcare costs while improving employee health.  The program is being provided to the participating businesses and organizations at no charge over the next three years, a value of $6,000 per participating entity.

• The expansion of the air quality flag and vehicle anti-idling programs to all campuses within the Alamance-Burlington School System (ABSS).  This awareness initiative between the Healthy Alamance Pediatric Asthma Coalition, ABSS, and the Alamance County Health Department, has expanded with funding from the North Carolina Asthma Program.  Expansion funding currently provides asthma education to childcare providers and will debut Know the Code, an awareness campaign to familiarize Alamance County residents with what each air quality color means.

This is the second year of the County Health Rankings, the most comprehensive report of its kind to rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states by using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. The Rankings helps everyone see how where people live, learn, work and play influence how healthy they are and how long they live.

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