HEALTHIER eating, youth mental health and preventing family violence are the three goals Ballarat Community Health wants clear, measurable improvements in for the region within the next three years.
BCH has put the spotlight on each area for an integrated health promotion strategy, focusing on how to target Ballarat needs in working with the government and primary health care providers.
Organisation chief executive officer Robyn Reeves said BCH was still committed to tackling health issues like smoking and drugs and alcohol but these three areas will be the key priorities in a coordinated approach.
Ms Reeves said healthier eating and active living was a popular priority for most communities and this made sense – preventative health measures aimed to ease the pressure on hospitals and primary healthcare providers for largely preventable conditions.
For Ballarat, Ms Reeves said this focus also included increasing issues of food security with 12 per cent of the city’s population accessing food relief assistance at least once in the past year.
BCH will continue to seek ways to promote water as drink of choice with 13 per cent of Ballarat adults consuming sugary drinks daily – clear above the 11.2 per cent state average.
Ms Reeves said education was vital. A previous BCH heath check about 85 per cent of adults interviewed considered themselves healthy but did not meet recommended guidelines for daily fruit and vegetable serves or exercise, particularly for those with inactive jobs.
Youth mental health is the leading cause of disability worldwide for those aged 10-24. Ms Reeves said impacts can be long-lasting and it was important to work together across the community on proactive stategies like: building resilience, enhancing community connections, promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing discrimination and encouraging active participation in the community.
Family violence has been identified as a key concern across the city with Ballarat family violence rates 36 per cent higher than state levels and the rate of alcohol-related family violence double the state level, according to BCH figures.
BCH wants to measure the collective impact on these three priority areas by 2021.
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