Letter from Ilona

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Dear Community Members,

Completing a community report card is both a daunting and exhilarating task. The 2015 Cowlitz County Community Report Card reflects the changes in our community and areas where we should be working together to improve the health of our neighbors. We have seen continued progress for our economy and education. Our health behaviors, however, offer more challenges. Our approach is to embrace social determinants of health as a networking of protective and risk factors that influence our health of the future.

While we have improvements needed for the health of individuals, it really requires both the individual and the support of the community to achieve that. A person who wants a nutritious diet can be thwarted if there’s no fresh affordable food available. Community gardens, school lunch nutrition policies, and support of local farmers are examples of community and policy maker initiatives that support the individual’s desire for a healthy diet. Our report card is meant to inspire our residents, communities, and policies makers and action. As you read the report card and the subsequent data ask yourself “what can I do?” It is the goal of this report to measure, inform and spur action; therefore we ask that you make a commitment today to take positive action for community.

We encourage each one of you to change a personal behavior, join a community effort and/or ask policymakers to implement changes that will positively influence the health of our community.

Ilona Kerby
Lower Columbia Community Action Program