Public health action plan released for Onslow County

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) — The Onslow County Health Department released its Public Health Action Plan at last night’s board of commissioners meeting.

The department is focusing on six priority areas in conjunction with Onslow Memorial Hospital.

They are substance abuse, nutrition, obesity, blood pressure, diabetes and suicide prevention.

“We want to make sure we know where all of the food banks and food pantries are but also we want to do some education with those food pantries and with the public who likes to donate to them so that they’re getting healthier options,” said Pam Brown, community relations officer with the health department.

Within each area, the department has developed goals and steps it plans to take to make sure needs are met for the community.

“Obesity, for example, we want to make sure the county is considering the environment,” Brown said. “So when you’re making a new housing development, are there sidewalks? Are there places to be physically active within the community?”

The health assessment is conducted every three to four years.

The county is ranked 18th for overall quality of life in the state from 2016-2017, according to County Health Rankings. That’s up from 26th place. Graduation rates are up, violent crime is down, and the number of uninsured has decreased throughout the county.

“We’re trying to look at things that are doable and realistic that the community can be involved with as well so it’s not just these agencies but it’s the entire community working together,” Brown said.

However, the department says it still needs to improve exercise access, the number of folks struggling with housing issues, the low birthweight of babies and the health of residents.

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