A survey conducted last year across Northwest Arkansas indicates more concern regarding diabetes, obesity and mental health than previous issues of cancer, drug use and aging.
The Northwest Arkansas Community Health Survey, taken from June to October of last year, involved 1,108 responses from residents in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.
Results of the report were released Tuesday (June 4) by Mercy Northwest Arkansas.
The top concern among those surveyed was obesity (33%), while 25% named diabetes, which goes along with obesity. Mental health (29%) ranked second among respondents as their biggest health concern. Results were similar for respondents who identified as Hispanic, while 72% of Pacific Islanders ranked diabetes the area’s top health concern.
“We encouraged all members of the community to complete the survey, but we also made an effort to reach people in our most underserved and vulnerable populations,” Dr. Lisa Low, Mercy’s medical director of community health, said in a news release. “The survey results confirmed and validated the health needs our hospital has chosen to address in this next three-year Community Health Needs Assessment cycle: access to care, behavioral health, diabetes and obesity and homelessness.”
Mercy said other partners will use the results for health needs assessments efforts, grant writing purposes and to better understand and care for the populations they serve, Low said.
Loy Bailey, the administrator of the Benton County Health Unit, said the survey provides valuable information to all partners who participated.
“This four-county Community Health Survey was the first such undertaking since 2004,” he said. “Information gained from the survey will help guide local health care providers as they work to identify key issues and how they may be best addressed.”
Mercy said the anonymous 24-question survey hosted at www.harknwa.com did not require registration and took about 10 minutes to complete. The partners collaborating on the report include: Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, Arkansas Department of Health, Benton County Health Unit, Carroll County Health Unit, Community Clinic Northwest Arkansas, Hark at the Center for Collaborative Care, Madison County Health Coalition, Madison County Health Unit, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, Ozark Guidance Center, Washington County Health Unit, Washington Regional Medical Center and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest Arkansas.
Detailed information about the survey and its results are available here.