EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Eau Claire Healthy Communities now has a plan in place on how to make our city and county a better, healthier place to live.
The plan is 4-year effort that is focused on preventing health issues that have the most significant impact on the health of our community.
Healthy Communities is a collaborative effort by a diverse coalition of residents, community organization, schools and business.
In the new Community Health Improvement Plan, the group identified three major health issues in Eau Claire County that will be addressed in the next years.
They are: chronic disease prevention, high risk alcohol use and mental health.
“Historically speaking these three areas tend to come up regularly for our area,” said Jan Porath, co-chair of Healthy Communities and the Executive Director of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.
It also cost the county a lot of money.
“There is really not a single person in Eau Claire that those thre things don't impact in some way,” said Eau Claire City County Health Department Director, Lieske Giese.
She says binge drinking for example costs Eau Claire County about 160-million per year; costing more than 15-hundred dollars annually to each resident.
The United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley is one of many partners involved in Healthy Communities. And Porath says four years from now the group want to see lower numbers of youth abusing alcohol.
“We would like to see a lowered stigma around mental health,” said Porath, “and potential ease the access of navigating the mental health system in our current area, for individuals to know where to go for resources around mental health.”
And getting the community interested in better nutrition and physical exercise to curb obesity, a common chronic disease in our area.
Healthy Communities say in 2012- 28 percent of the people in Eau Claire County were obese.
“This plan could be used in many different entities, many different systems; whether it’s an education system, or the health system, and even traditional business entities could benefit from being involved or at least knowing about this plan,” explained Porath.
“Our plan does go until 2017 but we know it's going to take a lot longer to make this better; but we really think we can make some differences in those years,” added Giese.
Action teams that are subcommittees of the Healthy Community’s effort will be tracking results and working with academia, health industries and individuals on combating those issues.
If you would like to get involved and become a part of healthy communities, visit the link on the side of the story. You can find the Healthy Communities Improvement Plan 2013-2017 on there as well.