Around 26 percent of the 3,140 Oakland County adults surveyed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said they were obese.
The Oakland County Food Policy Council, formed in September 2016, which aims to increase consumption, accessibility, and affordability of healthy foods among county residents, is trying to combat that issue but it needs the public’s help.
Through April 16, the council will be conducting a food system assessment survey to gauge the eating habits of those living in the county. Anyone over 18 years of age who lives in the county can take the survey online at oakgov.com/echo. For anyone wanting a paper copy or information on how to distribute the survey in their community, contact the county health division at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248)-858-0845.
The council will use the Information gathered to make healthy food accessible to more county residents, understand what barriers people face in trying to purchase health foods, what assets, such as farmers market and food pantries, exist in the community and what ways the council can collaborate with community partner.
This is the first assessment of the food system in Oakland County, according to Health Division Manager Leigh-Anne Stafford.
“Gathering input from the community is a critical part of the food system assessment,” said Stafford. “Hearing from residents and people who work or recreate in Oakland County enhances our understanding of what people experience and need when trying to purchase healthy foods.”
Stafford said input gathered from the survey will answer three key questions including:
• Where do they shop?
• Do they have a grocery store or farmers market?
• What prevents them from purchasing healthy foods?
According to the Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2014-2016 report, nearly 14 percent of the 3,329 county residents surveyed said their health was in fair or poor condition.
The food policy council is one of four action teams working for the Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland (ECHO) county-wide health improvement initiative, organized by the county health division. It’s focused on achieving a community where every person that lives, works, attends school, worships, or plays in Oakland County is a healthy person.
The council, which helped develop the county’s Community Health improvement Plan, has 81 members from 49 organizations representing 7 different sectors.
Take the assessment: https://oakgov.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b7zYlyRZSeWeZ93
Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland website: https://www.oakgov.com/health/echo/
Food policy council website: https://www.oakgov.com/health/echo/Pages/Food-Policy-Council.aspx
Health improvement plan: Oakland County’s Community Health Improvement Plan
State obesity statistics: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdhhs/2014-2016_MiBRFSS_Reg__LHD_Tables_608878_7.pdf