Pima County Community Health Needs Assessment Priority
The health and economic burdens of diabetes in Pima County are well known and of major public health concern. In recent years, both prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes have increased in Pima County as a result of the increasing occurrence of obesity and sedentary lifestyle. The increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Pima County has also been linked to low rates of education and health literacy in tandem with manipulative food marketing practices. Even more alarming is the growing epidemic of individuals with pre-diabetes, which may be reversible with timely interventions.
While genetic factors are still poorly understood, it has been well documented that type 2 diabetes can be largely prevented through modifiable behaviors such as losing weight, increasing physical activity, and improving dietary choices. Since type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all diabetes cases in the United States and can be managed through lifestyle modifications and health care interventions, it is an ideal target for prevention strategies at the local level.
During the development of the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment, key informants, focus group participants, and community forum respondents shared the need for education, training, prevention resources, changes to the built environment, and modifications to local policy to reduce the burden of diabetes in Pima County.
In response to the community’s request for more education and prevention resources, Healthy Pima’s Together 2 End Diabetes group will work to accomplish the following objectives from 2017-2018:
- Implement strategies to increase educational opportunities for residents of Pima County with type 2 diabetes.
- Implement strategies to increase awareness of community resources for residents of Pima County with type 2 diabetes.
- Implement strategies to delay and prevent new cases of type 2 diabetes among residents of Pima County.
- Increase communication and information sharing among Pima County organizations that provide type 2 diabetes prevention and self-management programs.
Key informants, focus group participants, and community forum respondents from the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment gave an equal view of type 2 diabetes as a major threat to the community and public health in Pima County. Community members and leaders noted that:
- High stress lead to poor diet and decreased physical activity.
- Cultural preferences for foods that are high in sugar and/or fat exists in certain ethnic groups.
- Teaching “traditional” ways of cooking and preparing food is important when working with minority populations.
- Low wage jobs in tandem with lack of adoption of progressive food policies limit food choices for low-income individuals. This affects families and individuals in both home (e.g., WIC, SNAP) and school (limited lunch menus) settings.
- The availability of fast and convenience foods, grocery store layouts, food deserts (areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food), and poor built environment were identified as contributing factors to an increase in type 2 diabetes.
For more information on the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment, please contact: HealthyPima@pima.gov