Results of a second survey on the health care needs of Natrona County paint a picture of an unhealthy population.

Findings from a recent Community Health Needs Assessment were shared this week.

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172 citizens responded, out of the 800 contacted, to the latest survey of Health Care Needs In Natrona County. Respondents were asked about their own health and their experience with local health care services.

The survey indicates that  over the last five years there's been a 4 percent increase in the number of uninsured in Natrona County, that tallies to 15.1 percent; a number higher than the national average.

Other higher than average ratings are found in the numbers of obese or overweight people and those who smoke.

A higher than average number of respondents reported having had a stroke, having been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and with high cholesterol.

Around 32 percent of Natrona County residents say they haven't been to the dentist or had their teeth cleaned in the last year-again higher than the national average.

Respondents also indicated higher than average incidence of mental distress. Natrona County tallies the third highest  in the state.

When asked about barriers to care, respondents sited lack of insurance and high deductibles for those who are insured.

Almost a quarter of those responding to the survey say they'd like more health education services in the county.

69 percent say there should be better communication between health providers and their support agencies.

Creation of a health resource directory was cited as a key need in the final summary.

Positive changes in the county since the last health needs assessment in 2005 include an increase in bike and walking paths around Casper, more "Smoke Free Zones" and an increase in available healthy food options.

The National Rural Health Resource Center out of Duluth, Minnesota carried out the survey for a partnership of local agencies including the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health, Kids First of Natrona County, the City of Casper, the Wyoming Medical Center and the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming.

Click here to download a copy of the Natrona County Community  Needs Assessment,

http://www.wmcnet.org/about-us/community-needs-assessment.html