Healthy Tazewell County Initiative: Variations in Community Quality of Life, Health Problems, and Risky Behaviors by Age Category

Alyssa Carlson, Angela Stegmaier, Maureen Cluskey*, G. Kevin Randall*, Bradley University

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Abstract: The MAPP process, a strategic planning tool that allows communities to prioritize their public health issues, was employed by the Tazewell County Health Department to assess what factors residents perceived to be (a) the most important for community quality of life, (b) the greatest health problems, and (c) the top risky behaviors impacting community health.

Data, collected through an online survey, were provided by 456 participants residing in the county and at least 18 years of age. First, we conducted a frequency analysis on the top three factors for community quality of life, health problems, and risky behaviors as nominated by participants. Second, we assessed whether or not the factors differed by age groups/cohorts: 25-34, 35-44, 45-55, 55-64, and those over 65.

Although the top factors for community quality of life did not vary much by age cohort, 38 percent of those 65+ listed religious or spiritual values as one of their top three. Heart disease and stroke were common health concerns, but the youngest group listed teen pregnancy as a top health concern (35.6%), whereas the three older groups cited health problems associated with aging as a concern. The groups agreed consistently on the top three risky behaviors.

Thus for these survey respondents, the top factors for community quality of life, and the top health problems varied by age category. Implications for public policy are discussed, including how age cohort related issues such as religiosity and health problems impact constituency preferences.

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