Survey: local people make smart health decisions

Updated: Sep. 11, 2019 at 12:33 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Community Health Survey of Adult Residents is put out by the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization.

The organization has teamed up with the North Country Health Compass Partners since 2016 to make the survey.

This year's edition says fewer people in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties use the emergency room before going to their regular doctor.

In the first year, the figure stood at 22 percent.

Data Analyst Megan Donato says there is good reason to see a primary care doctor before going to the ER.

"That's where your, kind of, preventative questions are asked. That's where prevention can occur, and we can catch any health care related issues before it gets to the point that a community member needs to go to the emergency room for care," she said.

For the first time, the survey asked participants about their thoughts on e-cigarettes and vaping.

43 percent of people believe they are as dangerous as smoking a regular cigarette.

"We found that only 2 percent of the adults in the region feel that e-cigarettes aren't harmful at all," said Donato.

"In 2018, the North Country Health Compass Partners added a question about access to healthy foods to their community health survey. In the two years the question has been asked, people that believe that healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are very available jumped from 69 percent in 2018, to 76 percent in 2019."

Shari Simmons has sold produce at the Watertown Farm and Craft Market for a decade. She says her customers like having the option to buy fruits and vegetables grown locally.

"They can come to a farmer's market and get, you know, like fresh carrots that were dug last night, washed, and put out to sale. Then, they're more apt buy something like that than something that came from who knows where and has who knows what done to it," she said.

There’s still room for improvement. The survey shows north country residents that say they are limited by chronic pain has stayed above 25 percent the past two years.

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