These are the top health concerns among Central Floridians

A new study performed by local hospitals and agencies has identified some of the major health concerns among Central Florida residents.

The 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment, which was conducted by AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division, Orlando Health, Aspire Health Partners, local health departments and other health centers, involved polling residents in Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties about their health and overall well-being.

The findings include statistics about preventive care, chronic conditions, communicable diseases, causes of death, drug use and more.

Researchers said the top three health concerns among Central Floridians are access to mental health care services, access to care and food insecurity.

“Caring for individuals’ whole person health also means caring for the community’s health. AdventHealth is committed to tackling major health issues like access to healthy food and mental health care services,” said Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division. “The CHNA will serve as the roadmap for all of us to care for the communities where we live.”

Other key findings from the report include:

More than 58% of those surveyed said they are hopeless or depressed.
Almost 33% of respondents said they are unable to access high-quality care and affordable, healthy food.
Accessing affordable health care is a struggle for 45% of those polled.
The number of deaths tied to fentanyl doubled or nearly doubled in all four counties.
The region is ranked No. 2 in the nation for new HIV cases.
Fewer kindergarteners are getting vaccinated.
Obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol are among the most common chronic conditions locally.
Cardiovascular disease and cancer were the top causes of death.
Those with untreated mental illness and substance abuse said their conditions make it difficult for them to obtain gainful employment and stable housing.
Obesity increased among adults and middle school students.
Fewer mothers received prenatal care during their first trimester.
Diabetes and asthma hospitalizations and the prevalence of colorectal cancer and lung cancer decreased.

AdventHealth and Orlando Health officials said they plan to launch a joint project that will help tackle food insecurity in the area.

“Having worked in the field of public health for many years, I know what an important role the Community Health Needs Assessment plays in identifying the health challenges facing our residents and in creating a better environment for our visitors,” said Dr. Paul Pino, interim director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. “Besides showcasing the pressing issues, the assessment also affords us the opportunity to draw upon the strengths of our many partners and stakeholders, allowing us to collaboratively address these issues and improve health outcomes.”

To read the 487-page report in its entirety, click here.

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