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The 2014 West Carroll Healthy Communities Health Assessment represents a collaboration between Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU AgCenter, Southern University Ag Center, the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Services, and the West Carroll community. The purpose of the health assessment was to identify priority health areas for the parish in order to best direct health interventions and health promotion activities. This report summarizes the results of the health assessment.
A few health areas appear to be better in West Carroll Parish compared to the rest of Louisiana or other rural areas.
- Health care access. West Carroll residents generally report higher access to health care than elsewhere in Louisiana. Nearly 80% of West Carroll residents report having a routine medical checkup in the past year.
- Alcohol use and smoking. A smaller fraction of West Carroll residents report consuming alcohol or being current smokers, compared to the rest of the state.
However, several health areas appear to be worse in West Carroll Parish compared to the rest of Louisiana.
- Behaviors related to obesity. Although obesity levels are similar to the rest of the state, West Carroll residents report consuming fewer fruits and vegetables and engaging in less physical activity. This means that, if left unaddressed, obesity levels in West Carroll Parish can be expected to outpace the state average at some point.
- Diabetes. About 16% of West Carroll residents have been told by a health professional that they have diabetes, which is almost 40% higher than the rest of the state.
- High blood pressure. Nearly 48% of West Carroll residents have been told by a health professional that they have high blood pressure, which is about 20% higher than the rest of the state.
Low-income West Carroll residents are at particularly high risk of poor health.
- Nearly half (49%) of persons in the lowest income group report poor health, compared to only 9% in the highest income group.
- Nearly one out of every four low-income residents report some trouble understanding health materials (low health literacy). This is about 50% higher than in high-income residents.
- Over half (55%) of low-income residents are sedentary.
- Nearly one out of every three low-income residents (29%) has diabetes. This is almost 500% (five times) higher than among high-income residents.
Many people in West Carroll Parish have serious health conditions but aren’t aware of it. And, of those who are aware, many are not controlling their health condition with the help of their medical provider or through lifestyle changes.
- The health assessment identified residents who had not been told they had diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. About one-third of people unaware of their health condition have blood sugar levels indicating pre-diabetes or diabetes, or have borderline high, or high cholesterol. Also, 14% of residents without a prior diagnosis of high blood pressure have blood pressure levels indicating hypertension, with an additional 47% having levels indicating pre-hypertension.
- Overall, 39% of diabetics, 32% of people with high blood pressure, and 39% of people with high blood cholesterol have not been successful at controlling their medical conditions with the help of their medical provider or through lifestyle changes.
In conclusion, the Healthy Communities West Carroll Health Assessment has the opportunity to improve the health of the parish through work that promotes healthy lifestyles. The assessment has identified several health areas that need attention. Health programs that target low-income segments of the population and programs that assist persons with diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol to control their disease will be especially impactful.